In one episode of The Game of Thrones, Charles Dance’s incomparable Tywin Lannister quizzes his grandson on what it takes to be a good king. A good king must be holy, his grandson replies, but Tywin responds that a previous “holy” king fasted himself to death because his views became so extreme that he saw food as sinful. A good king must be just, his grandson tries again, but Tywin counters that one just king was too naive to anticipate his assassination. A good king must be strong, the grandson proposes, but Tywin talks about how Robert Baratheon was strong enough to rebel and take the crown but too drunk and stupid to rule the kingdom properly. What did these kings lack, Tywin asks? Then the grandson gets it: Wisdom. A good king must be wise. Of course, typical of Tywin, he pushes the conversation in a way that benefits him and leaves him in control, but his definition of wisdom is interesting: “A wise king knows what he knows and what he doesn’t.” At any rate, whatever one thinks wisdom is, surely everyone will agree that a good king or leader should be wise.
For Christians and Jews, there is one king who exemplifies wisdom, and that is Solomon. Solomon is traditionally credited with writing many of the Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and most of Ecclesiastes, all part of what we call the “wisdom literature.” There is another apocryphal work that refers to him as well, aptly titled “The Wisdom of Solomon.” Disputes over authorship for any of these works isn’t my concern here; the fact is, Solomon is a figurehead for the concept of wisdom. Even the goofy DC superhero, Captain Marvel, who draws his powers from different mythological gods or demigods, gains his wisdom from the human Solomon, the first letter for his magic word “Shazam.”