1 Kings 4:29–31 (ESV)

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore,

The writer’s description of Solomon’s wisdom and discernment is found in the remaining verses of the chapter. In 1 Kings 4:29–30, the writer gives a general description of the wisdom Solomon was given and a general comparison of it to the wisdom found in the wise men of foreign nations, specifically Egypt and the east.

1 Kings 4:31 presents Solomon’s superiority to men who were recognized in Israel as extraordinarily wise. The men listed are all said to be the sons of Mahol. The first listed is Ethan, the Eremite. To him is ascribed Psalm 89:1–52. Heman was a Levite and a prophet, for he is called in 1 Chronicles 25:5, the king’s seer (an early term for prophet). The list concludes with Calcol and Darda. They were brothers to the two listed above. Other than this, we know nothing about them, and even this is assuming that Darda is the same as Dara in 1 Chronicles 2:6 in which the other three are listed as his brothers along with a certain Zimri, who does not find a place in 1 Kings.

The verse concludes with the mention of the international character of Solomon’s fame. The immediate context of the statement and comparison with the final verse of the chapter compels us to believe that it was the fame of Solomon’s wisdom of which the writer spoke.