1 Kings 11: Solomon's Downfall

All great rulers have a weakness, these verses tell us Solomon's.

Introduction

It seems that the love of women ran in the family for the House of David, which makes it interesting that Boaz (a direct descendant of David's) is often marked as the perfect husband. If you thought David had a lot of wives, you'll keel over when you find out how many Solomon had! Solomon seems to only marry foreign women, which was against the law of Israel and displeased God. Solomon had wives that were Egyptian, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Zidonite, and Hittite. We must remember that none of these descriptors represent race. The issue was not that Solomon was one color and his wives were another, or that the Israelites were a superior race. The issue was who was worshiped by each nation and the people that came from those nations. Each of these foreign countries worshipped different gods than the God of Abraham. With this, came different traditions and practices. Even with converts, people have a tendency to fuse their old customs with their new found religion. You can see this within modern Christianity. God feared that if the Israelites married into these cultures the blending would distort the method of worship the Israelites followed. Just as God feared, Solomon's 700 wives turned his heart away from the LORD.
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Solomon Turns Away From God

In Solomon's old age, he becomes weak in his relationship with God. Solomon begins to worship the false gods of his wives' people. He even builds an altar for some of these gods. It is assumed that Solomon builds these altars for his wives who have not given up their gods. Despite being gentile, these women were in the land of Israel which meant God expected them to follow Him and His law. God despised pagan worship; we were all destined to worship Him, most nations simply turned away and God chose the Israelites to hold on to His truth in the mean time. Being in love, Solomon gave into pressure to accommodate that which he knew was wrong. He gave up truth for love. We are often asked to do the same in today's world. This is why we have to be careful who we tether ourselves to. We should never compromise the word of God because someone we love has asked us to.
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Consequences

God decides to take the kingdom away from Solomon, but He promises to deliver a portion of the kingdom to Solomon's son for David's sake. God uses the divide that existed between the two kingdoms to pull the kingdom apart. He then fulfills His promise to David by allowing Solomon's son to reign in the southern kingdom of Judah where Jerusalem and the Temple had been established.

We often wonder about God's people committing acts that we find to be atrocious, but here we see an example of how these actions play out. God knew that this point would come, and He knew how the actions of the past would shape the punishments of the present. David had slain the people of Edom and now, one of the survivors was ready to avenge his fallen brethren. Although God may forgive us for troubling things we do, that doesn't mean the consequences won't be felt. Solomon and his son reaped the atrocities his father had committed. In punishing Solomon, God allows these enemies that were created by David's wars to attack Israel. As more enemies spring up it weakens the nation.

Solomon may have thought that by allowing his wife to continue her customs, Egypt would act as an ally. Egypt does not come to Israel's aid. If Solomon had been looking to God as a ally, he wouldn't have needed an Earthly ally. We should remember this as we choose who we align ourselves with.
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Passing of the Throne

Photocredit: FreeImages.com/Aureliy Movila
A prophet named Ahijah informs a man named Jeroboam that he will be king of 10 tribes. Just as Saul went mad and tried to murder David, Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam. Like Saul, Solomon is unwilling to let go of the kingdom even though he knows he has failed God. When we fail God and turn away from His way, we are least likely to realize our mistakes. This is because it is the Spirit of God that gives us understanding and discernment. Jeroboam is forced to flee into Egypt to escape Solomon's wrath, which further proves that bending to pagan customs did not garner Egypt's support.

Solomon dies after he reigned over Israel for 40 years. He is buried with David and Rehoboam, his son, is crowned king.

References

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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