But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 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. (1 Kings 11 :1-4)
Through the account of all of the glory, prosperity, blessing, favor and honor of the reign of Solomon, runs a continuous thread of of a coming destruction. Solomon had steadily sown the seeds of his own destruction , in spite of the Wisdom God had granted him.
Deuteronomy, which is the national covenant of God with Israel, has a section in chapter 17 called “the Law of Kings” which gave explicit warning to all of Israel’s Kings to make sure to not transgress in three areas; the accumulation of Gold, Horses and Wives, (particularly foreign wives). Solomon ignored all three of these warnings.
In more than one place in Deuteronomy, Kings and subjects are warned that intermarriage with foreign wive would “turn their hearts away” from God himself.
The language in 1 Kings 11 echoes other parts of Deuteronomy, for example, we are told Solomon “Clave” to his wives…but in Deuteronomy 10 we are told to “Cleave” to God.“Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name” (Deuteronomy 10:20).
Solomon’s heart most definitely turned unto these new objects of his affection and away from his God. When Solomon loved God he built for Him, but now he accomodated the ‘gods’ of his wives, building temples and shrines to them, even in the Holy City.
For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,( I Kings 11:5-9)
It is unthinkable, but true that Solomon, the Son of David actually “went after” Ashtoreth, Malcom,Chemosh, Molech as he had once gone after the God of Israel!
His heart went after what he loved, but Solomon had allowed himself to love the wrong things! He had been warned about the danger of letting his heart turn, but he ignored the warnings. The heart always pursues what it loves supremely, therefore it is very critical to only allow the heart to love what is good.Solomon loved his foreign wives.
Being who he is, the Son of David, the Messiah, the King, in a sense the “son of God” and Shepherd of Israel, there would be political consequences for his defection. When David stole bathSheba’s wife, the nation split in two as a consequence, but soon came together again. You could say, the Kingdom died, but was resurrected.
The consequences for this sin would be far more extensive and painful.
The way that the Most High chastised his idolatrous son, was to raise up three “satans”, (ie adversaries) against him, an Edomie, a Syrian, and a Jew.
And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. ( I Kings 11:14)
And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:( I Kings 11:23)
And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. ( I Kings 11:26)
The first two adversaries were foreigners who had grievances which went back as far as David and his conquests of Edom and of the Kingdom of Zobah. The Edomite had been sheltered by Solomon’s father-in-law, in case he would need him sometime as an ally or a proxy warrior.
Jeroboam was an Israelite, an Ephraimite , who had once distinguished himself working for Solomon. One day he was confronted by a prophet of the LORD and told that he would be given ten of the twelve tribes to govern.
And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) Because that they 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.
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: But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. 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 Israel unto thee.( I Kings 11:28-38)
David was the standard that Solomon fell short of. In spite of the many sins and failures of King David, recorded openly for all to see, David was and is the standard for Kings. Solomon was no David. In all of his flaws, we never see David succumb to idolatry, He definitely reminded loyal to God. No matter how dark the sin, David always repented, truly and deeply, turning back in humility and contrition to his God.
When Solomon died, they held a coronation at Hebron for Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. Jereboam, the adversary God had raised up, attended that coronation and consulted with the new King, pledging loyalty and the loyalty of the people of Israel, as long as Rehoboam would cut come of the heavy taxes and Levees Solomon had instituted for his numerous building and infrastructure projects.
Some of the more aged counselors of Solomon testified that this was true and vlid wisdom, but Rehoboam also sough counsel from younger cunselors sought to make a name for themselves, by counseling Rehoboam to come down even tougher on the people, increase the taxes and let them know He was in control. Rehoboam agreed with the younger counselors and spoke roughly to the people.
This “tough guy” approach provoked the split, ten tribes broke away to form their own nation, and Rehoboam became King of Benjamin and Judah. The Twelve tribes were now only two, for the Kingdom was now split. The ten Northern tribes now had most of the people, the wealth, land and power. The southern Kingdom , Judah, retained Jerusalem and the Temple.