Read 1 Kings 11
11 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 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. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 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. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 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. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 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. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 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. 12 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. 13 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.”
14 Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom. 15 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. 16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father. 18 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.
19 Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage. 20 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.
21 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.”
22 “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!”
23 And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 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. 25 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.
Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon
26 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.
27 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. 28 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 labor force of the tribes of Joseph.
29 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, 30 and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 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. 32 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. 33 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.
34 “‘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. 35 I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. 36 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. 37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 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. 39 I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’”
40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.
41 As for the other events of Solomon’s reign—all he did and the wisdom he displayed—are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon? 42 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 43 Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
1 Kings 11 describes the fall of Solomon, but in order to fully understand what’s at work here, let’s look at Deuteronomy for some context. As king of Israel, Solomon was instructed not to amass great numbers of horses, many wives, or large amounts of silver and gold. He was instructed to write out these laws and read them all the days of his life to remind him to carefully follow all the laws of the Lord. If the king kept these commandments, then he and his descendants would continue to reign over this kingdom in Israel. (See Deuteronomy 17:16-20). But as we’ve seen in our reading so far, Solomon does not follow carefully the law of the Lord; instead, he collects great wealth and many horses. In today’s chapter, we see that he takes 700 wives and 300 concubines whose influence leads him astray.
The Lord reminds Solomon that as punishment for disobedience, the Almighty will tear the kingdom away from him. And we’ll see this unfold in the coming chapters – the kingdom will be divided and destroyed. But even in His anger, God extends grace. He will not tear away the kingdom in the days of Solomon but will tear it from the hands of his son (v. 12). And He will not tear away the whole kingdom, but will leave one tribe for the sake of David and for the sake of Jerusalem (v. 13). Even in executing judgment, God chooses to show mercy.
Solomon allowed the things of the world to distract him from the call of God on his life. His heart was divided and not fully devoted to the Lord. “So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done” (v. 6).
God wants our whole hearts, not just little pieces of them, not just what’s leftover after we’ve given most of our attention to pursuing the things of this world. In the New Testament, James puts it this way, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?” (James 4:4-5). Devotion is serious business. Let’s learn from the example and warning of Solomon’s life and choose to live a life wholly devoted to the Lord and undistracted by worldly pursuits.
- What tends to distract you from wholehearted devotion to the Lord? Confess this to your Life Group or a trusted friend, and ask them to hold you accountable.
- If someone audited your life (what you spend your time doing, thinking, spending money on, etc.) what would they conclude that you are devoted to?
- What do we learn about God from this text? What truth can you reflect on throughout the day?
Pray these words from Psalm 86:11-13 over your day today:
11 Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.
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7 thoughts on “1 Kings 11”
1 Timothy 6:10 ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’
-One thing I’ve never understood about the NT is the need for so many wives/concubines. I just can’t wrap my head around that.
-I’ve always associated power with evil. That evil awaits where there is the greatest influence. It’s biblical—all thru the Bible. With all of Solomon’s wisdom, he wasn’t wise enough to see the devil’s schemes. So unfortunate and sad to read.
-I also noticed too that the prophet spoke the same prayer from God as a blessing to Jeroboam as he did to Solomon.
May we learn today, power or no power, the devil-our adversary- is working hard to kill anything pleasing to God. He will take your weakest grip on sin and use that to lead you astray. Be on guard! Try to think about what sin do you not see first that doesn’t tempt you?
Let us be wise today, Lord. Open our eyes and create a clean spirit in our hearts to see the devil’s schemes apart from you. May we turn from chasing after evil and run directly to you. In your name I pray.
1. God keeps his eyes word, what he says he completely fulfills.
2. Humanity is inherently sinful, prone to follow the ways of culture and drift into rebellion.
3. We become like those we keep close company with, choose wisely.
Gotta be honest. This is why I’ve never enjoyed or gotten much out of Song of Solomon. Yes, Yes…I know God can use a donkey. But, trying to extract Gods heart for His bride from a pleasure seeking man who’s writing to who knows which one of his ladies is challenging. (Not saying that all of scripture isn’t God breathed) just saying if JP went on an evil spree starting tomorrow and it lasted until he died…I probably wouldn’t pick up one of his prior books to be inspired by and grow from.
~Don’t kick me out~🤣
Agree! Thanks for putting this out there. Love the sentiment indeed…But why stop with Solomon?
King David – the author of so many Psalms having an affair with Bathsheba and killing her husband Uriah; Samson, egregiously ignoring the vows of a Nazarite; The host of characters throughout Judges; Peter denying Jesus 3 times, and then even after the resurrection gets rebuked by Paul for hypocrisy in his actions between Gentiles and Jews; and yeah, I know that you know the list goes on and on and on. Which, for me is encouraging to know that – man, his heart, yeah, deceptive above all things – and yet God loves us and chooses to use us in, “His Kingdom come…”
Truth is truth – God’s Word is God’s Word, despite the condition of the mailman that delivers it…but again, back to your point – I hear ya and I feel your pain too!
I don’t think anyone will be kicking you out of the Church…if they do, we can go hand in hand!
I knew I liked you🤝
” I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. 36 I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem” What happened to the 12th tribe?
What immediately strikes me is the clear parallel between Solomon’s actions and God’s response: Solomon raises up shrines to other gods … God raises up adversaries against Solomon.
More importantly, I’m reminded again of the compounding nature of sin—and the deadly futility of addiction.
Solomon is instructed not to amass large collections of anything (possessions or people), but he does. He’s given clear directions not to marry foreign women, but he does anyway. He gives his heart away, not once, but hundreds of times. And sure enough, these forbidden loves seduce him into loving not just them, but their “horrible, detestable” gods, to the point that he turns his back on God completely.
The Message translation describes it this way (emphasis added mine):
“King Solomon was OBSESSED with women… he took them from the surrounding pagan nations of which God had clearly warned Israel, “You must not marry them; they’ll seduce you into infatuations with their gods.” Solomon fell in love with them ANYWAY, refusing to give them up. He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines—a thousand women in all!
And they did seduce him away from God. As Solomon grew older, his wives beguiled him with their alien gods and he became unfaithful … he openly DEFIED God.”
-1 Kings 11:1-5 MSG
Separation from God can be a full about-face—or a slow but steady progression. Like Solomon, I am continually misled by my own desires, “following my heart rather than informing it” (as JP says). I ignore God’s warnings as I run farther and faster away from him, chasing after things that will never satisfy.
This chapter reminds me that God is deadly serious about such idolatry. But instead of raising up adversaries against me, he allowed his son to die to defeat my adversaries.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this powerful reminder to get just as serious about my own sin!