Solomon Disobeys the Lord
1-2 The Lord did not want the Israelites to worship foreign gods, so he had warned them not to marry anyone who was not from Israel.
Solomon loved his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt. But he also loved some women from Moab, Ammon, and Edom, and others from Sidon and the land of the Hittites. 3-4Seven hundred of his wives were daughters of kings, but he also married 300 other women.
As Solomon got older, some of his wives led him to worship their gods. He wasn't like his father David, who had worshiped only the Lord God. 5Solomon also worshiped Astarte the goddess of Sidon, and Milcom the disgusting god of Ammon. 6Solomon's father had obeyed the Lord with all his heart, but Solomon disobeyed and did what the Lord hated.
7Solomon built shrines on a hill east of Jerusalem to worship Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon. 8In fact, he built a shrine for each of his foreign wives, so all of them could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.
9-10The Lord God of Israel had appeared to Solomon two times and warned him not to worship foreign gods. But Solomon disobeyed and did it anyway. This made the Lord very angry, 11and he said to Solomon:
You did what you wanted and not what I told you to do. Now I'm going to take your kingdom from you and give it to one of your officials. 12But because David was your father, you will remain king as long as you live. I will wait until your son becomes king, then I will take the kingdom from him. 13When I do, I will still let him rule one tribe, because I have not forgotten that David was my servant and Jerusalem is my chosen city.
Hadad Becomes an Enemy of Solomon
14Hadad was from the royal family of Edom, and here is how the Lord made him Solomon's enemy:
15-16Some time earlier, when David conquered the nation of Edom, Joab his army commander went there to bury those who had died in battle. Joab and his soldiers stayed in Edom six months, and during that time they killed every man and boy who lived there.
17-19Hadad was a boy at the time, but he escaped to Midian with some of his father's officials. At Paran some other men joined them, and they went to the king of Egypt. The king liked Hadad and gave him food, some land, and a house, and even let him marry the sister of Queen Tahpenes. 20Hadad and his wife had a son named Genubath, and the queen let the boy grow up in the palace with her own children.
21When Hadad heard that David and Joab were dead, he said to the king, “Your Majesty, please let me go back to my own country.”
22“Why?” asked the king. “Do you want something I haven't given you?”
“No, I just want to go home.”
Rezon Becomes an Enemy of Solomon
23Here is how God made Rezon son of Eliada an enemy of Solomon:
Rezon had run away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24-25He formed his own small army and became its leader after David had defeated Hadadezer's troops. Then Rezon and his army went to Damascus, where he became the ruler of Syria and an enemy of Israel.
Both Hadad and Rezon were enemies of Israel while Solomon was king, and they caused him a lot of trouble.
The Lord Makes a Promise to Jeroboam
26Jeroboam was from the town of Zeredah in Ephraim. His father Nebat had died, but his mother Zeruah was still alive. Jeroboam was one of Solomon's officials, but even he rebelled against Solomon. 27Here is how it happened:
While Solomon's workers were filling in the land on the east side of Jerusalem and repairing the city walls, 28Solomon noticed that Jeroboam was a hard worker. So he put Jeroboam in charge of the work force from Manasseh and Ephraim.
29-30One day when Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, he met Ahijah, a prophet from Shiloh. No one else was anywhere around. Suddenly, Ahijah took off his new coat and ripped it into twelve pieces. 31Then he said:
Jeroboam, take ten pieces of this coat and listen to what the Lord God of Israel says to you. “Jeroboam, I am the Lord God, and I am about to take Solomon's kingdom from him and give you ten tribes to rule. 32But Solomon will still rule one tribe, since he is the son of David my servant, and Jerusalem is my chosen city.
33“Solomon and the Israelites are not like their ancestor David. They will not listen to me, obey me, or do what is right. They have turned from me to worship Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of Ammon.
34“Solomon is David's son, and David was my chosen leader, who did what I commanded. So I will let Solomon be king until he dies. 35Then I will give you ten tribes to rule, 36but Solomon's son will still rule one tribe. This way, my servant David will always have a descendant ruling in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to be worshiped.
37“You will be king of Israel and will rule every nation you want. 38I'll help you if you obey me. And if you do what I say, as my servant David did, I will always let someone from your family rule in Israel, just as someone from David's family will always rule in Judah. The nation of Israel will be yours.
39“I will punish the descendants of David, but not forever.”
40When Solomon learned what the Lord had told Jeroboam, Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. But he escaped to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died.
(2 Chronicles 9.29-31)
41Everything else Solomon did while he was king is written in the book about him and his wisdom. 42After he had ruled 40 years from Jerusalem, 43he died and was buried there in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam then became king.
What a contrast and a paradoxical situation between chapter 10 and 11. From a time of glory and witness we are confronted with a time of apostasy and idolatry. It is very hard to understand how such a wise man, who talked with God and who had received all his intellectual and personal gifts from God would turn away from His statutes. The key to all this, is that he "loved many strange women." In the former chapter he is witnessing to a regal lady and the next he has been led astray by women! It is well known that one woman can turn a man from following God, as well as one man can lead a woman to perdition. And these were pagan women who took his heart away from God and led him to false gods. Solomon has seven hundred wives and princesses plus 300 concubines! He was aware of the command of God regarding intermarriage. It was so subtle that he did not realized that they were changing his heart.
We have seen many young people who disregard the counsel of their parents and pastors and associate with men and women who do not love the Lord. The majority of these relationships have been disastrous! For a man like Solomon who had built a Temple for God he now follows Astoreth, the godess of love, and Milcom a chief god of the Ammonites. God who was so proud of Solomon and gave him so much wisdom became disappointed with him. It was because of David that the kingdom was not taken away from Solomon and he was able to lead the people for 40 years.
We are able to see the consequences of Solomon's departure from God and His commandments! There was trouble in the land and this was stirred up by the Lord Himself. Hadad, from Edom, a young prince during the days of David ran away to Egypt and when he learned that David was dead he became a thorn in the flesh for Solomon. Another trouble maker for him was Rezon. Those who reject God's grace have to face the consequences, and when God takes away His protection it gives room for Satan to come in. Jeroboam was another problem for Solomon, without much hesitation Solomon trusted him for he was a man of valor and very capable, but he stood up against Solomon. One day as Jeroboam left Jerusalem Ahijah the prophet met him on the road. Jeroboam was wearing a new outer garment when Ahijah took it from Jeroboam and tore it into 12 pieces, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Ten tribes were to be given to Jeroboam and two to Solomon's son Rehoboam. Here we see the result of sin and apostasy. When Solomon died his kingdom was divided as the prophet had said. Solomon's last days and his abandonment of God and His commandments resulted in a fragmented kingdom!
Retired GC Vice-President