On his knees king Solomon asks for the wisdom he will need to lead his people. He has put off his crown, and offers a number of sacrifices. A group of citizens and a priest stand next to him, fear in their expressions. God is depicted as a swarm of angels.
The painting by Govert Flinck actually combines two episodes. First the king made his sacrifices. Then, in a dream, God asked him what he desired. Solomon asked for an understanding heart, able to discern between good and bad. His wishes were granted.
This large canvas was made for the mantelpiece of a room in Amsterdam City Hall where the city's administrators held their meetings. They too needed wisdom. The painting still hangs in the very same spot.