Scriptures

1 Kings 11

Introduction

‘King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.’ 1 Kings 11:1-8

Solomon’s Wives

In this chapter we read about Solomon and his many wives, as a result of marrying foreign women, this led him into idolatry. Later we will read about his death and how the United Kingdom, became the Divided Kingdom.

It appears that Solomon is so focused on his wealth, he either totally forgot about God’s commands or he deliberately chose to break them. He marries women from different nations, by doing so this would give him political leverage over these nations.

He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines but marrying foreign women was strictly forbidden by God, Exodus 34:16 / Deuteronomy 7:3-4.

Because he married foreign women, there will be a consequence to pay, in Solomon’s case, it was his loyalty to God. This is why God often tells His people not to marry foreign women, because they may lead them into idolatry, Deuteronomy 17:17.

Ashtoreth was the goddess of the Sidonians, this is the same as Astarte, who was called Ishtar in Mesopotamia; in Syria she was the female consort of Baal, and a model for the Greek Aphrodite. She was the goddess of fertility and of erotic love. The Canaanites worshipped her with unbelievable licentiousness and so, it’s not hard to see why Solomon went after that kind of a goddess.

Molek was the detestable god of the Ammonites, he was possibly the fire god, who was associated with child sacrifice. Later the worship of Molech became very common in Jerusalem, with its accompanying sacrifices of children.

Chemosh was the detestable god of Moab, this was a sun god and worshipped by the Moabites as a god of war. He is also called a god of the Ammonites, Judges 11:24.

Notice that Solomon built high places for the god Chemosh and for the god Molek, the high places would be temples. Solomon’s heart is so far from God at this point in time, he’s more interested in pleasing his wives than pleasing God, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. He’s more interested in worshipping these false gods than he is in worshipping the One True God who gave him everything he has.

Solomon is nothing like his father, David, who stayed focused in trying to please God and keep His commandments, all the days of his life, 1 Samuel 13:14 / Acts 13:22.

‘The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s command. So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.’ 1 Kings 11:9-13

Because of Solomon’s disrespectful attitude towards God, God becomes very angry with him. This is understandable considering Solomon has married many foreign wives, and not only committed idolatry, he encouraged it. Solomon had no one to blame but himself, as God is now going to bring to an end this this United Kingdom period, Amos 9:8.

Solomon’s punishment wouldn’t begin straight away, it would begin when God brings to an end the united kingdom of Israel. As we shall see later, ten tribes are going to be removed from the kingdom of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, but God was going to allow him to live long enough to see that his unwise decisions would cause the division of Israel.

In essence what Solomon did, was set the trend for idolatry within Israel and even when the kingdom was divided into two kingdoms, the north and the south, both are going to get involved in idolatry which would lead to them being taken into captivity.

Notice that God says for David’s and Jerusalem’s sake, He won’t ‘tear the whole kingdom from him but will give him ‘one tribe’. When we read through Kings, Chronicles and the prophets, we learn that the phrase ‘one tribe’ is a reference to the tribe of Judah. However we must bear in mind that this also includes the tribe of Benjamin, 1 Kings 12:21.

When we enter into the Divided Kingdom period, we read that the northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes, whilst the southern kingdom consisted of two tribes, that is Judah and Benjamin.

David’s legacy would continue through Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, who would reign over Judah and Benjamin.

Solomon’s Adversaries

‘Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom. Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking people from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food. Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh’s own children. While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Let me go, that I may return to my own country.’ ‘What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?’ Pharaoh asked. ‘Nothing,’ Hadad replied, ‘but do let me go!’ 1 Kings 11:14-22

Solomon’s reign of peace over the nations was now about to come to an end as God raises up adversaries beginning with Hadad. A few years before this event Edom had was under the reign of David, and been restrained by Joab who led David’s army, 2 Samuel 8:13-14.

It was during that siege by Joab we read that Hadad had ran away to Egypt. It appears that God was at work in bringing him back to Edom, along with the Edomite fighting men to rise up against Solomon.

Hadad, who hated Israel and ruled in Edom would prove to be a powerful enemy of Israel. It was only the providence of God that prompted Pharaoh to grant such wonderful favours to this potential enemy of Solomon.

It appears that the Pharaoh whose daughter was married to Solomon, 1 Kings 3:1 / 2 Chronicles 8:11, had, at this time, been succeeded by another.

‘And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. When David destroyed Zobah’s army, Rezon gathered a band of men around him and became their leader; they went to Damascus, where they settled and took control. Rezon was Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.’ 1 Kings 11:23-25

After Hadad, God sent Rezon son of Eliada to rise up against Solomon.

Rezon had established himself in the far northern region of Palestine and it appears that he had organised a raiding group of bandits who continually harassed the Israelites who had also settled in the northern region of Palestine. Under the leadership of Rezon, Israel eventually lost control of the Syrian territory.

Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon

‘Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah. Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labour force of the tribes of Joseph. About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did. ‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’ Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.’ 1 Kings 11:26-40

After Hadad and Rezon, God sent Jeroboam to rise up against Solomon. We know that God sent him because God uses the prophet, Ahijah.

Jeroboam from this moment onwards, played a huge role in Israel’s history, he led God’s people into idolatry again, which eventually would lead them into Babylonian captivity.

When Jeroboam was younger, he proved himself to be a very capable leader and because of this, Solomon showed favour towards him. Here we see him in charge of all the forced labour in Solomon’s kingdom.

Alijah took a new cloak and tore it into twelve pieces and told Jeroboam to take ten pieces. Because Jeroboam was told he would reign over ten tribes, this tells us at this point in time, that many people in Israel were feeling the heavy burden of Solomon’s tax payments, which helped subsidise his huge building efforts, 2
Chronicles 8:1-8.

This will become clear later, when we see that only two tribes, that is Judah and Benjamin would stay with Rehoboam. God says the reason one of the main reasons why Israel will became a divided nation is because ‘they forsook Him’.

In other words, they followed Solomon’s example of idolatry and become an idolatrous nation. This was something that David never got involved in and never promoted when he reigned as king of Israel, David sought to live and lead the nation in the ways of God, 1 Samuel 13:14 / Acts 13:22.

David’s righteous influence is shown in God’s heart as God made it possible that the seed line promise that was made to David would bring about the promise that was given to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3.

It would be from David’s seed that the Messiah would eventually come, 2 Kings 8:19 / 2 Chronicles 21:7 / 2 Samuel 21:17. Remember that God promised David that his house would stand forever, 2 Samuel 7:16.

It’s clear that Jeroboam became a little arrogant when Ahijah tells him that he would reign over the ten tribes of Israel. He soon fell out of favour with Solomon because he tried to fulfil this prophecy too quickly. He didn’t wait until Solomon had died and as a result he ended up fleeing to Shishak, the king of Egypt, 1 Kings 14:25. This is the first time a Pharaoh is mentioned by name in the Scriptures.

Go To 1 Kings 12

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

Ephesians 2:8

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