I Kings 11
Solomon’s Defection (vs. 1-13)
The observant reader will have already remarked in this history some intimations
of Solomon’s approaching fall. Among these are, first, the repeated warnings which
are addressed to him, especially in ch. 9:6-9, and, second, his repeated transgressions
of the law by which he ruled. We have already heard of the multiplication of silver
and gold (ch.10:14-25), in defiance of Deuteronomy 17:17, and of the multiplication
of horses (1 Kings 10:27-29), in disregard of v.16 of the same chapter. We now read
how the ruin of this great prince was completed by the multiplication of wives.
The historian obviously had the words of Deuteronomy 17 in his mind as he wrote. It is
remarkable that the chronicler is altogether silent as to Solomon’s fall, as he is also as
to David’s sin.
1 “But” – Hebrew – “and” – This chapter is a continuation of the previous chapter.
“king Solomon loved” - The polygamy was but a part of his worldliness, like the
chariots, gold, etc. - “king Solomon loved” - [The LXX. h+n filogounhv –
philogune – loved women - is misleading. It is perfectly clear that it cannot have
been mere sensuality that led to this enormous harem. This is evident from
at their strongest — that his wives turned away his heart.
thousand concubines cannot be kept for mere purposes of passion.
array of mistresses was to enhance his state and renown. As he exceeded
other kings in glory, wisdom, and power, so must he excel them not only
in armies, chariots, and horses, but also in the number of his wives. It is
clear, therefore, that the “lust of the eye” and “the pride of life” -
(I John 2:16) had their part in this huge establishment. The same
consideration of state which leads a Western prince or noble to multiply
horses, leads an Eastern prince to multiply wives, with often as little
personal consideration in the one ease as in the other.
“many” – Solomon is blamed for their number - “strange (foreign) women,”
Proverbs 5:20; 6:24; 7:5, “together with the daughter of Pharaoh, - Pharaoh’s
daughter is regarded as his lawful wife – “women of the Moabites, Ammonites,”
Perhaps these two nations are mentioned first because such alliances as these,
though not forbidden in terms by the law, would nevertheless, from its spirit and
bearing towards these races, be looked upon with especial disfavour. If the
Ammonite or Moabite was not to be received into the congregation until the tenth
generation (Deuteronomy 23:3); if the Israelite was not to seek their peace or
prosperity all the days of his life (v. 6), then the idea of intermarriage with them
must have been altogether repugnant to the Hebrew polity, as indeed we may
gather from the book of Ruth - “Edomites,” - Favourably distinguished
(Ibid. v. 7) from the two preceding races. The Edomite was a “brother.”
His children of the third generation might enter into the congregation -
“Zidonians, and Hittites;”
As stated above, Solomon’s wives were strange women.
proof that even Pharaoh’s daughter was a proselyte. Solomon could have
no spiritual sympathy with these without compromising his loyalty to
the law of God was express (here; Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4).
The sin was therefore most flagrant.
6:14). The reason for it is in the nature of things and must abide. Note: Many
a man has had his heart pierced and his head broken by his own rib (Genesis
ü The example of David may have injuriously influenced Solomon. A
large harem may have been a sign of grandeur; but these kings ought
to have been superior to such fashions (see Deuteronomy 17:17).
ü The evils in the examples of good men are especially mischievous, for
they are liable to be condoned into harmlessness; (compare the
influence of the indiscretions, while in office, of President Bill Clinton
on the youth of
2010) - the more readily so when to follow them is agreeable to
ü They are liable to be carried farther. If David had many wives, Solomon
had very many.
David’s wives were chiefly daughters of
Solomon’s were daughters of foreign idolaters. Amongst his 700 wives
and 300 concubines, not one was good (see Ecclesiastes 7:28). Note:
Good men should be especially watchful over their influence —
parents, ministers, Sunday school teachers, Christians.
2 “Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children
with the Hittites alone (Exodus 34:11-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4), though the
Zidonians are probably to be included, as being Canaanites (Genesis 10:15).
But the principle which applied in the ease of
the seven nations of
applied equally to all other idolaters. “They will turn away thy son from
following me,” (Deuteronomy 7:4). The spirit of the law, consequently, was
as much violated by an Edomite or Ammonite as by a Hittite alliance.
“Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you:”
The historian does not cite any special Scripture, however, but gives the
substance of several warnings - “for surely they will turn away your
heart after their gods:” (Exodus 34:16) - “Solomon clave” - same word
as in Genesis 2:4 – “unto these” - emphatic in Hebrew - “even to these,”
instead of cleaving to God (Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 30:20) - each of which
has the same word as here, despite the prohibitions of the law - “in love.”
3 “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred
concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.” - Satan hath found this
bait to take so well that he never changed since he crept
4 “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned
away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with
the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” Note the
progress of this evil:
ü The earliest record here is that Solomon’s heart was turned away.
His head at first seems to have been clear, as Adam’s also was, who,
though in the transgression, yet was “not deceived” (I Timothy 2:14).
But his heart, like that of Adam, was fatally susceptible to female
influence. (Apparently, Solomon became very liberal and broad in
his personal views, he was far advanced from the traditional knowledge
of that age, and often conversed with wise men of other creeds. Slowly
he lost his sense of THE PRE-EMINENCE OF THE TRUTH
REVEALED TO HIM! Solomon’s moral history confirmed the truth
of his own proverb “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool”
ü It is a foolish thing in a wise man to trust his head when he gives his
heart to evil. “Man at his best state is altogether vanity.” (Psalm 39:5)
Solomon’s love became debased to lust, because it was divorced from
purity. Physically as well as morally, he became a wreck, and though
not sixty years old when he died, he was already weary, broken and
old. Some light may be thrown upon his downward progress by the
books which bear his name, and which, if not written by him, were
declarations of the experience he knew. If the Song of Solomon
represents his bright youth, when love, though passionate, was
undefiled, the book of Ecclesiastes is the outcry of his age, when all
seemed “vanity and vexation of spirit,” and when he tried once
more painfully to lay the old foundation of the shattered fabric of
his life (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Compare him with Samson; note how the
indulgence of passion destroys kingliness. Even such sin was not
beyond pardon. It would have been well for Solomon had he returned
to God, as his father had done (see Psalm 51.)
ü This is the next stage and inevitable. This may be disputed long, but
will assert itself in time. Observe well that when Solomon was “old”
he so far yielded to the influence of his wives as to encourage and join
in their idolatry.
ü Probably his vices made him prematurely old. Calmet supposes him to
have been eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he
reigned forty years (v. 42). Thus he could be only fifty-eight at his death.
ü Behold this wisest of men trying to solve the impossible problem of
serving Jehovah and Ashtaroth! He went not fully after the Lord his
God as did David his father.
ü David indeed fell into grievous sin, but his offence was more directly
against man; indirectly against God. Even then the offence as against God
was the venom of his crimes (Psalm 51:4). But the sin of Solomon was
against God directly. Note: Offences against society are denounced
without mercy by men, while the mental rebellion of the unbeliever against
God is even glorified as “honest doubt!” but the Bible is explicit that “He
that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
ü Behold this wise man further building a temple to Molech, the
murderer, the devil, on the
Lord, the glorious work of his royal youth! Could folly go farther?
ü The mischief of Solomon’s idolatry remained to the times of Josiah (360
years later – (see II Kings 23:13). Who can say that it terminated even
then? Eternity will declare!
5 “For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians,” –
tr,Tov][", Asta>rth, - Astarte – Ashtoreth - probably connected with ajsth>r,
stella, and star, by some identified with the planet Venus, by others with the moon,
is here mentioned for the first time in the singular (Ashtaroth, plural, is found in
Genesis 14:5; Judges 2:13; 10:6; I Samuel 7:4; 12:10) - With Baal, she divided
the worship of the Phoenicians, the antiquity of which is evident from Genesis
14:5; Numbers 22:41. It was really an impure cultus of the reproductive powers –
(promiscuous sexuality, if you will – CY – 2010) - “and after Milcom” –
According to Gesenius, the same as Molech (i.e., the king) in v. 7. This is “the
first direct historical allusion” to his worship in the Old Testament. A warning
against it is found Leviticus 20:2-5. He was the fire god, as Baal was the sun god,
and the sacrifices offered to him were those of children, who would seem to
have not only “passed through the fire,” but to have been burnt therein (Psalm
106:37-38; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; Ezekiel 23:39) – “the abomination [the hateful,
detestable idol] of the Ammonites.” (One cannot imagine the judgment of God
upon those who have been instrumental in 45,000,000 children being aborted in
the United Statees
– I recommend Abortion Rationale
site – CY – 2010)
6 “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully
after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 “Then did Solomon build an
high place for Chemosh, the abomination of
the god of war. The mention of Ashtar-Chemosh on the Moabite stone
“connects the Moabite religion with the Phoenician,” where Ashtar is the
masculine form of Astarte - It is probable that Chemosh, Baal, Ashtoreth,
Molech, etc., were originally so many names of the one supreme God, worshipped
under different attributes, and with various rites in different countries - “in the hill
that is before
of Olives. The altar would seem to have stood on the south peak, which is now
known, as it has been for centuries past, as the Mons Scandali, (mount of
scandal) or the Mons Offensionis (mount of offense) - the Vulgate rendering of
II Kings 23:13 – “and for Molech, the abomination of the children of
Ammon.” (So much for religious tolerance in reality, or theory - think of
import today with progressive secularists opening the door of
heart to Islam – CY – 2010)
8 “And likewise did he for all his strange wives,” – Solomon, having done
it for one, he must needs do it for all and no hill about
chapel of devils - “which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.”
Solomon built the altars and his wives sacrificed thereon. Incense is mentioned
before sacrifices because vegetable took precedence over animal offerings in
nature worship of
note Cain’s offering in Genesis 4 – the Bible teaches “without shedding of
blood is no remission” (of sins – Hebrews 9:22)
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THE SIN OF SOLOMON (vs. 4-8)
What led to Solomon’s sin? He had pious parentage, a religious education, a
promising youth, extraordinary intellectual endowments, frequent warnings of
his danger, and yet he failed and fell short of the glory of God!
ü Worldly alliances
ü Worldly friendships.
· The despising of God’s commandments.
ü The counsels of God were lightly esteemed. (Many commands
of God are today held to be antiquated and are quietly ignored.
The directions of Scripture in regard to what are deemed minor
things are set aside. The spirit of unbelief is there. For individuals
and for churches it must prove a seed of sin and spiritual disaster.
only a strong enough inducement to go further, and it found it here. To
please his wives, altars to their gods were built on
his own soul was taken in the snare of their abominations.
We see, then, that the essence of this sin was that having permitted himself, or
purposes of state and pride and ostentation, the love of many strange women, he
permitted them, and possibly some of his subjects also, to worship their false gods.
And by so doing:
his actions but it was not thus that the God of his fathers viewed the deed.
This philosophic tolerance of other creeds, He called the teaching of falsehood.
He was leading poor souls away from the light and changing the truth of God
into a lie (Romans 1:25). It was “making the blind to wander out of the way”
(Deuteronomy 27:18) in the worst possible sense of the words.
what the “abominations” of these Semitic divinities were like. The idolatry
of the East always involved impurity; hence its powerful hold on a nation
like the Jews, for whom the worship of “silver and gold, the works of
men’s hands,” could have had but little charm. Its “vile affections”
(Romans 1:26) were its chief attractions. And Solomon, who knew
what the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth meant, who knew how unclean
were their rites, and what painful and shameful sacrifices Molech and
Chemosh demanded of their votaries, nevertheless gave the word, and
presently the hills about
the Lord our God is one Lord.” But Solomon robbed Him of His rights;
of the exclusive sovereignty and the undivided authority which belonged to
God alone. By building idol altars he claimed homage for idol deities; before
the eyes of the Lord’s people, he thrust rivals and pretenders on to the Lord’s
throne, and degraded “the uncorruptible God into an image made like
to corruptible man.” (Romans 1:23).
were not built in a corner. They did not shrink from the light as in a past
age; they were not frequented by pagasi. They rose “on the hill that is
were visible to the priests in the temple court; their smoke ascended to the sky
along with the smoke of the daily sacrifice. If insult had been designed, it
could hardly have been more open or obtrusive.
It is said of Solomon “even him did outlandish women cause to sin” (Nehemiah
13:26). He was one of those select secretaries whose hand it pleased the Almighty
to employ in three pieces of the Divine monuments of sacred Scriptures (Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. He is fallen, but his writings stand. He still
preaches to others, though himself a castaway. There have been authors whose
pestilent writings go on corrupting and destroying souls for ages after they have
ceased to speak. But Solomon’s is in some respects a sadder case than theirs. His
writings have taught and blessed the world for nigh three thousand years after he
himself fell into “utter wretchlessness of most unclean living.” It is strange that
one who knew the priceless value of one true woman’s love (Proverbs 31:10-31)
should surrender himself to immodest and forbidden women. Can there be a
reference to his thousand wives and concubines in those pessimist words of
Ecclesiastes 7:26-28? If one woman undid all mankind, what marvel is it if many
women undid one?”
9 “And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was
turned from the LORD
him twice,” - The anger arose partly from the exceptional favors which
had been shown to him.
It was after repeated warnings. He had had the:
I Chronicles 28:9),
And to these may surely be added
others. But all these went for nothing. And so it is too probable his own
words “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall
suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1)
found a fulfillment in his own person. The saddest consideration of all is
that this great preacher has unconsciously predicted his own fall, and
passed sentence on himself. “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee,”
10 “And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go
after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.”
11 “Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is
done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes,
which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from
thee, and will give it to thy servant.” This was probably by a prophet,
Ahijah or Iddo – there would hardly be a third appearance! The message
was that “a servant” should be heir to his glory. For a hireling Solomon’s
vast treasures had been prepared. This verse should be read in light of
Solomon may have excused his sin to himself because it conciliated neighboring
princes and nations and so strengthened his kingdom. But while he fancied himself
building up, he was in reality casting down. Forgetfulness of God is
forgetfulness of one’s own good.
The dominion is given to a servant. There is not only loss but shame. There are
first that will be last, and last first (Mark 9:35). Solomon’s rebellion and
ingratitude are punished by rebellion and ingratitude. The kingdom is rent
from him by a subject, and by one whom he had trusted and advanced (v. 28).
“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
As the wicked have shut out God, God will shut out them.
12 “Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's
sake:” – The threatening had two gracious and merciful limitations:
Romans 9:27; 11:5 - for David thy father’s sake [because
both of David’s piety and God’s promise to him (II Samuel 7:13)
“but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.”
13 “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one
tribe” – Judah – “the tribe of
reservation of one tribe is called a gift - “to thy son for David my servant's
sake, and for
would have demanded that the city of their solemnities should be placed elsewhere –
Shiloh, which for 400 years had been God’s “bright sanctuary,” or at
which from far earlier times had been a holy place. (See on ch.12:29, 32).
The above is the inevitable consequence of sin. Had God expressed no displeasure
against Solomon, what mischief might not his example have wrought? The terrible
judgments of the Great Day will have a most salutary effect upon the order and
stability of the whole moral universe. If men sufficiently considered these things
they would hesitate before they plunged into vices. Let us be admonished
from this history!
SIN WORKS RUIN! It ruins individuals, families, nations.
A SHORT SYNOPOSIS OF vs. 1-13
After the consecration of the
reign, both in a spiritual and temporal point of view. His fame and his dominion
continued to increase. The Queen of Sheba came from the far East to pay him homage.
From this summit of glory he had a sudden and shameful fall, and became all but an
apostate. This son of David, whose high honor it was to have built and consecrated
mankind, sank into idolatry. The causes of his fall were:
The fall of Solomon repeats in a manner the features of the first transgression.
It began in the desire to be as God, and was consummated in the gratification
of the flesh. Its emphatic warning to all God’s people is, “Let him that thinketh
he standeth, take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). Chastisement
from God is the consequence of this fall. God had already warned Solomon
that His most glorious promises were contingent on obedience to His
commands. “If thou walk in my ways,” etc. ( 3:13-14). God
chastens Solomon because He loves him, and does not altogether take His
mercy from him, since He still leaves the
descendants. The book of Ecclesiastes, with its blending of bitterness and
repentance, is perhaps the ripening fruit of this merciful severity.
Solomon’s Adversaries (vs. 14-43)
As the historian has collected together in chps. 6, 7, 8 all the information he can
convey respecting the temple, and in chps. 9 and 10 all the scattered notices
respecting Solomon’s power and greatness, so here he arranges in one section
the history of Solomon’s adversaries. It must not be supposed that the following
records stand in due chronological order. The enmities here mentioned did not date
from the delivery of the message of which we have just heard; on the contrary, the
hatred and opposition of Hadad and Rezon began at an early period, though not
the earliest (ch. 5:4), of Solomon’s reign. It was only in his later life, however, that
they materially affected his position and rule; hence it is that they are brought before
us at this stage of the history, and also because they are manifestly regarded as
chastisements for Solomon’s sin.
14 “And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the
Edomite: he was of the
king's seed in
David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury
the slain, after he
had smitten every male in
it is clear that the whole Edomite nation did not perish. The words point to a
terrible slaughter (see I Chronicles 18:12-13) – here Abishai is credited with
slaying the Edomites where in Psalm 60, according to the title, Joab did the
slaying – the two brothers were both in high command, or Abishai may have
been detailed by Joab to this service. 16 (For six months did Joab remain
there with all
Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to
18 “And they arose out of Midian,” - Midian embraces the eastern portion of
arises in both instances from the same cause, that the country was almost entirely
desert. Midian would thus extend along
the back or east of
Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, (as guides through the desert
possibly as a protection also) – “and
they came to
gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so
that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes
the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son,
whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house: and Genubath was in
Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 And when Hadad
of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may
go to mine own country.” It comes out very significantly here what a name of
terror Joab’s had been in
bloody vengeance of a quarter of a century before had made.
22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that,
behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing:
howbeit let me go in any wise. 23 And God stirred him up another adversary,
Rezon the son of Eliadah,” - Whether he was a usurper, who had dethroned
Hadad (see Josephus.,
either before or after the battle of II Samuel 8:3-5, is uncertain. The following words
agree equally well with either supposition - “which fled from his lord Hadadezer
king of Zobah: 24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over
a band, when David slew
them of Zobah: and they went to
dwelt therein, and
26 “And Jeroboam” - Viewed in the light of their history, the names Jeroboam
and Rehoboam are both instructive. The first means, “Whose people are many;”
the second, “Enlarger of the people.” The latter might almost have been bestowed
in irony, the former by way of parody - “the son of Nebat,” - The case of
Jeroboam is now related at much greater length, not so much because of the
importance of the rebellion at the time, as because of its bearing on the later history
It was the first great symptom of the decadence of the power of Solomon; of his
decline in piety we have had many indications. We see in it an indication that the
Hebrew commonwealth has passed its zenith - “an Ephrathite” - Ephraim was
the ancient rival of
aspire to the headship of the tribes (Genesis 49:26; 48:19; Deuteronomy 33:17;
Joshua 17:17) - of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was
Zeruah, a widow woman” - His mother’s name is recorded, probably because
his father, having died early, was comparatively unknown. But it is not impossible
that the similarity either with Zeruiah (ch. 1:7) or Zererah had something to do
with its preservation. The people would not readily forget that Solomon’s other
great adversary was the son of Zeruiah. And we have many proofs how much the
Jews affected the jingle of similar words, “even he lifted up his [Hebrew a] hand”
[i.e., rebelled. Synonymous expression II Samuel 18:28; 20:21. Observe, we have
no history or account of this rebellion except in the LXX., but merely of the
circumstances which led to it] – “against the king.” 27 “And this was the
cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo,
and repaired the
breaches of the city of
the word, “repaired” consequently, not of a part broken down, but of a portion
unbuilt. As Millo was built about the 25th year of Solomon’s reign (ch. 9:15),
we are enabled to fix approximately the date of Jeroboam’s rebellion. It was
apparently about ten or twelve years before Solomon’s death. 28 And the man
Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor: and Solomon seeing the young man
that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house
of Joseph.” - The
tribe of Ephraim, with its constant envy of
been mortified to find themselves employed — though it was but in the modified
service of Israelites — on the fortifications of
revealed to Jeroboam the unpopularity of Solomon, and perhaps suggested
thoughts of overt rebellion to his mind.
29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of
that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite” – Nathan was probably now dead and
this portion of the history is probably derived from Ahijah’s writings mentioned in
II Chronicles 9:29 - “found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a
new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30 And Ahijah caught
the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:” – the first
instance of an acted parable in the Bible. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take
thee ten pieces: for
thus saith the LORD, the God of
will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes
to thee:” - Keil insists that “ten”is here mentioned merely as the number of
completeness; that, in fact, it is to be understood symbolically and not
arithmetically. He further states that in point of fact the
only consisted of nine tribes, that of Simeon being practically surrounded by
But surely, if that had been the idea in the prophet’s mind, it would have
been better expressed had he torn off one piece from the garment and given
the rest, undivided, to Jeroboam. And the reference to the number of the tribes is
unmistakable. As to Simeon, we have no means of knowing what part that
tribe, if it still existed, took at the division of the kingdom. See on ch.19:3.
Its members had long been scattered (Genesis 49:7), and it gradually
dwindled away, and has already disappeared from the history. But even if it
a corporate existence and did follow the lead of
conclusive on the question, for we know not only that the historian uses
round numbers, but also that we are not to look for exact statements, as
the next verse proves.
32 (But he shall have one tribe” – Some would understand “one tribe, in
note on v.13. Possibly neither Judah nor Benjamin is here to be thought of
separately. In ch.12:21, and II Chronicles 11:3, 23, they are both reckoned to
Rehoboam. They might be regarded as in some sense one, inasmuch as they
platform. But it is perhaps safer, in view of ch.12:20, to understand the term
hardly deserving of separate mention - “for my servant David's sake, and
not alone in his idolatrous leanings – “have forsaken me, and have
worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god
of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and
have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes,
and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.
34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I
will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's
sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my
statutes:” If Solomon break his covenant with God, God will not break
His covenant with the father of Solomon! 35 But I will take the
kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.”
36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may
have a light alway before me in
me to put my name there. 37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign
according to all that thy
soul desireth, and shalt be
We have absolutely no proof that Jeroboam at that time had ever meditated
rebellion. It is quite possible that the idea was inspired by this interview.
38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee,
and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep
my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that
I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David,
and will give
or accept His gracious offer? And then again, how have you and I
reacted to this offer in our own homes? – CY – 2010) There was no
promise to Jeroboam, as there was to David, of an enduring kingdom.
It was not God’s design to take away the kingdom from David in perpetuity.
39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.” This
promises, if not a restoration of the kingdom to the house of David, at any rate
a renewal or continuance of God’s favor. We may perhaps regard the promise
fulfilled in the subsequent history of the kings of
last for nearly 500 years, but the royal house of David maintained its position to
the time of Zerubbabel. Nor is it to be overlooked that He “of whose
kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33) was the son of David.
40 “Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose,
and fled into
until the death of Solomon.” The prophecy of Ahijah was no justification
of treason or attack on Jeroboam’s part. The fact that God had revealed His
purposes was no reason why Jeroboam should forestall them. David knew and
others knew that he was destined to be king, but he piously left it for God, in His
own time and way, to place him on the throne. Jeroboam’s rebellion is the more
inexcusable, because Ahijah had expressly stated that Solomon was to retain the
kingdom during his lifetime. However “he lifted up his hand;” (v. 26) - there
was some overt act of rebellion, and Solomon, because of this, and not because
of the prophecy (of which, indeed, he may never have heard), sought to slay him.
Nor was the king without justification in so doing. Treason must be promptly
suppressed, and treason against a benefactor (see v. 28) is doubly hateful.
41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his
wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? The
sources of this history are mentioned more specifically in II Chronicles 9:29.
And the time that
Solomon reigned in
forty years.” It is somewhat remarkable, but affords no just ground for suspicion,
that each of the first three kings of
numerical coincidences occur in exact history. Saosduchinus, Chiniladanus, and
Nabopolassar, three consecutive kings of
43 “And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of
David his father: and Rehoboam his son” - So far as appears his only son.
“Solomon hath but one son, and he no miracle of wisdom.” Many a poor
man hath a houseful of children by one wife, whilst this great king hath but
one son by any housefuls of wives. It is worth remembering in this connection
that Psalm 127., which speaks of children as God’s reward (v. 3), is with good
reason ascribed to Solomon - “reigned in his stead.”
The Punishment of Solomon’s Sin (vs. 31-35)
We have lately traced the gradual declension in piety of this most powerful
prince; we have seen him steadily sowing to the wind. The next thing
Scripture records concerning him is the retribution which befell him. It is
now for us to see him reaping to the whirlwind. But in considering the
recompenses of his sin, it is essential to remember:
punishment which attended him. It may be that was all. Possibly the
flesh was destroyed that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord
(I Corinthians 6:5). It may be that, foully as he fell, he did not fail finally,
but of this no man can be certain. It may be, therefore, that he still awaits
the just recompense of wrath in the day of wrath (Romans 2:5).
considering the enormity of his sin and the greatness of the gifts and
privileges he had abused — it is partly because the temporal punishment
was mitigated for his father’s sake. The avenging hand could not smite
Solomon without at the same time hurting David. We are expressly told
that Solomon was maintained on the throne all his life, and that one tribe
was given — the word implies that the gift was unmerited — to his
son, for David’s sake (vs. 34-36). If, therefore, we are tempted to think
that the punishment was not exemplary, let us see in it an instance of God’s
“showing mercy unto thousands” (sc., of generations, Exodus 20:6) —
a proof of the Infinite Love which “remembered David and all his
afflictions” (Psalm 132:1). But such as it was, it was sufficient to teach
us these two lessons at least:
ü “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
ü “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
For this retribution was of two kinds. There was:
ü His life was shortened. Probably by the operation of natural laws.
It is not suggested that he was directly smitten of God; it is quite
possible that his rank voluptuousness destroyed his energies and
induced premature decay. But all the same his days were cut short.
Not only was long life the principal sanction of the dispensation under
which he lived, but it had been expressly promised him as the reward
of piety (ch. 3:14). But his sun went down while it was yet noon. He
was not sixty when the mandate went forth, “Remove the diadem,
and take off the crown” (Ezekiel 21:26). If the old saying is true,
“that great and rare earthly possessions make deathbeds miserable,”
it must have cost Solomon a sharp pang to leave so soon his cedar
palace and his chryselephantine throne.
ü His life was embittered. If, as is most probable, we have in the book
of Ecclesiastes a chapter of his autobiography, it is clear that his glory
brought him little satisfaction (ch. 3. passim; 5:13; 6:12; 7:26); there
was a worm at the root of all his pleasures. Of what avail were his
houses, his gardens, his pools of water, etc., so long as he had not the
heart to enjoy them?
“It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
That maketh wretch’d or happy, rich or poor,
For some, that hath abundance at his will,
Hath not enough, but seeks a greater store.”
He knew nothing of “the royalty of inward happiness.” How different
Paul, “Having nothing, yet possessing all things,” (II Corinthians
6:10). What a commentary on the “confessions” of Solomon, as they
have been called, with their everlasting refrain, their vanitas vanitatum,
“vanity of vanities” is that confession of a man who suffered one long
martyrdom of pain.
ü He was tortured by remorse. This is not expressly stated, but surely it
may with good reason be inferred. For the wisest of men could not be so
insensate, when he heard the message of doom (ch.11:11), as not
to reflect how different his end was to be from his beginning; how fair the
flower, and how bitter the fruit. Surely the cry he has put into others’ lips
would often rise from his own, “How have I hated instruction,”
He was haunted by
forebodings. “This great
builded, how soon should it be destroyed. The empire which he had
consolidated should barely last his life. “One tribe” — how those words
would ring in his ears! Then he had good reason, too, to fear that his son
was one of the class he had himself described (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20;
17:25; 19:13. Cf. Ecclesiastes 2:19), and no match for Jeroboam, of
whose designs upon the throne he cannot have been ignorant (ch.11:26-27).
He had the mortification of knowing that his “servant” would enter into his
labors. And to the prospect of dissensions within, was added the certainty
of disaffection without. Hadad and Rezon were already on his border, and
were only biding their time. The political horizon was indeed black and
ü He was harassed by adversaries. For it is clear from vs. 14, 28, 26,
that Solomon’s enemies were
not content to wait for his death.
was a thorn in his side.
peace which he once enjoyed he had lost. The clouds of war were not
only gathering, but some of them had burst. His throne of ivory and gold
can have been but an insecure and uncomfortable seat for some time
before he vacated it.
But men like Solomon think of posterity and of posthumous fame as
much as of themselves. If every father has “given hostages to fortune,”
how much more vulnerable is a king in the person of his successor. Let us
now trace the calamities which betel Solomon’s house and kingdom.
ü In the infatuation of his son. Was there ever a political crisis
so woefully mismanaged as that which marked Rehoboam’s
accession? A few pacific words, a graceful concession, and all
would have gone well. But his brutal non possumus (inability
to do anything about the situation) precipitated his downfall. It
was enough to make Solomon turn in his grave. But it is for us to
remember that “his mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess”
(ch. 14:21, 31). And this is the result of multiplying wives.
ü In the dismemberment of his kingdom. The vast empire which
Solomon had founded with so much care and pains, how short a
time sufficed to tear it asunder. What a contrast between the
“one tribe” with its barren territory, and the description of ch.
4:20-21. How had he spent his strength for naught, or rather for
his slave Jeroboam, who inherited all the fairest and wealthiest
portions of the realm. And this was the end of his land hunger —
that he was left with the
ü In the invasion of Shishak. For he had not long slept with his
fathers when the vast treasures which he had lavished on the palace
of the Lord and his own palaces were carried away to
the precious metals which David had accumulated, all the
acquisitions of Solomon’s fleets, all the royal offerings of the queen
to the swart children of Ham. He had amassed prodigious wealth,
but it was for aliens and enemies. Not only the shields and drinking
vessels, but the candlesticks, bowls, and the very laminae which
had glorified the sanctuary, all fell to the invader. What a case of Sic
vos non vobis! (thus do ye but not for yourselves) - What would
Solomon have said could he have foreseen Rehoboam’s “Brummagem”
shields, and the punctilious ceremony with which they were paraded
and preserved? And this was the end of multiplying silver and gold to
himself. He had put it all into a bag with holes (Haggai 1:6).
demoralization of his people. For the idolatries of
images, the groves, the Sodomites (ch.14:23-24), were but the
continuation and development of the idolatries which Solomon
had inaugurated. His son did but reap the crop which himself had sown.
Nay, so exact is the lex talionis (the law of retribution) that we presently
find a queen of
(see note on ch.15:13). And this was the result of building altars for his
queens and princesses “on the hill that is before
within a few years the Lord’s people, whose was the law and the temple,
built them high places, etc., “on every high hill and under every green
tree” (ch. 14:23).
ü In the captivity of the nation. For the dispersion and enslavement of the
Jewish people, though only consummated some four centuries later, and
though it was the retribution of a long series of sins, was nevertheless,
in a sense, the result of Solomon’s sin. That is to say, his sin was (as ch.
(9:6-7 show) the first beginning of that ever deepening apostasy from
the Lord, of which the captivity was, from the first, denounced as the
punishment. Other princes no doubt followed in his steps and filled up the
measure of iniquity, but the Grand Monarque of their race had first
showed them the way. And so the people who had held sway even to the
were carried beyond the
subject kings in their land became subjects in a foreign land (cf.
Jeremiah 5:19). How full of instruction and warning is it that the
captivity which Solomon foretold (1 Kings 8:46) he should have done
so much to precipitate. He predicted, i.e., both his own and his nation’s
ü But the multiplication of horses, that too, like the other sins, seems to
have brought its own peculiar Nemesis. For whence, let us ask, came the
army that pillaged
came in the footprints of the horses. First, the invasion of Solomon, and
then the invasion of Shishak, “with twelve hundred chariots and threescore
thousand horsemen” (II Chronicles 12:8). And what came of the horses
supplied to the Tyrians and Hittites? See chps. 20:1 (“horses and chariots;”
v. 25; 22:31; II Kings 6:15; 7:6) It is extremely probable that the cavalry
he supplied to foreign kings became an instrument in their hands to scourge
his own people. Nor is it wholly unworthy of notice that the murderer Zimri
was “captain of half the chariots” (ch.16:9). Assuredly, that unhallowed
trade did not go unpunished. Such, then, is the principal moral of this
history: “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god”
(Psalm 16:4). And among the additional lessons which this subject teaches
Ø That where much is given, much will be required – (Luke 12:48)
Ø That judgment begins at the house of God – (I Peter 4:17)
Ø “He that knew his lord’s will and did it not shall be beaten with
many stripes;” – (Luke 12:47)
Ø “Every transgression and disobedience shall receive its just
recompense of reward;” – (Hebrews 2:2)
Ø “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed that He
lest He also spare not thee.” – (Romans 11:21)
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