Study Notes

1Kings 11:1-43


God's will for the nation of Israel was that they live up to their name, which means "governed by God." He desired that they would be content to have God as their king, not a man. But He knew that they would not be satisfied with this arrangement for very long. During the days of the prophet Samuel, the people cried out for a king to rule over them.

The Lord knew this would happen, and because of that, He gave a warning through Moses back in the book of Deuteronomy. He said,

Deut. 17:14-20 "When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, {one} from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.' Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

The king of Israel was not to multiply horses, multiply wives, or greatly increase silver and gold for himself. But as we have seen in the book of 1Kings, Solomon gathered a ridiculous amount of silver and gold, and had 40,000 stalls of horses.

Now, as we pick up the story in chapter 11, we see that he is zero for three.

11:1-2 Solomon's Foreign Wives

As we saw in our study of chapter three, soon after Solomon became king, he entered into a marriage alliance with a princess of Egypt, Pharaoh's daughter. That was the first of many women, and many marriages that Solomon was partnered in.

When Joshua was old, and Israel had rest from their enemies, God warned them,

Josh. 23:6-13 "Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, in order that you may not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make {anyone} swear {by them,} or serve them, or bow down to them. But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day. For the LORD has driven out great and strong nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to this day. One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God. For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you.

This was for each of them individually, as well as nationally. Solomon, however, did not observe this commandment.

11:3 A Thousand Women

In his lifetime, Solomon gathered to himself a thousand women. These were probably marriage covenants with leaders of other nations, because they are all called princesses. But this is certainly no excuse. And it doesn't make atonement for the three hundred women that Solomon took as concubines, either.

Did Solomon find pleasure in all these women? Later in life, Solomon wrote a simple proverb,

Prov. 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing...

Notice the singularity of the statement! Men are much happier with only one wife. That is, after all, the way God created us. Jesus said,

Matt. 19:4-6 ..."Have you not read, that He who created {them} from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

One man for one woman - that is the perfect will of God.

11:4-8 Turned His Heart Away

Solomon's wives turned his heart away after other gods. This destroys the fallacy of "ministry marriage" and "evangelical dating." When a Christian partners together with a non-Christian, more often than not, it is the believer who changes for the worse, not the unbeliever for the better. We are gravely warned in Scripture,

2Cor. 6:14-17 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

Solomon didn't lose his faith entirely, he just added other sinful things to his life. He compromised. These verses tell us that "his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD" and that he "did not follow the LORD fully." He hadn't forsaken the Lord, he simply had a divided heart. But a half-heart for God is the same as no heart for God. Jesus told the church of Ephesus,

Rev. 2:4-5 "But I have {this} against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place —unless you repent."

These believers had allowed Jesus to fall from first place in their hearts, from having first priority in their lives.

Solomon had turned his heart from the exclusive relationship that God desired, and had fallen into sin.

Our God is a jealous God. He does not take kindly to sharing you with other false gods. He has said,

Deut. 6:14-15 "You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

God doesn't want to share you with any others.

False Gods

Who were these gods that Solomon went after? Ashtoreth was the goddess of fertility, love, and war, and was the wife of Baal. Milcom was the king of the gods, according to the Ammonites. Kem-OSHE was the Moabites' powerful god that they supposed gave them land (Judges 11:24). And Molech was a god to whom worshippers offered child sacrifices on the fire.

11:9-11 The Kingdom Will Be Torn

God was angry that Solomon's heart had turned away. After all, He had even appeared to Solomon twice. David kept his heart towards the Lord without ever having a vision of the Almighty! Over and over again, God had made a conditional promise regarding the prosperity of the kingdom and the longevity of the Davidic dynasty. David had also reminded Solomon of this,

1Kgs. 2:3-4 "...Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

But Solomon had not been faithful to do this. God was angry, and said that the result of Solomon's sin was that the kingdom would be torn from him, to be given to his servant. That servant will be introduced to us at the end of this very chapter.

11:12-13 Nevertheless

God's mercy towards David kept the kingdom from being removed in Solomon's day. It would actually be taken from Solomon's son. Also for David's sake, the Lord promised to allow one tribe to remain faithful to the kingship of Solomon's son. We will see this happen in our next study.

11:14-22 Hadad the Edomite

You should remember Yo-AWB from our studies in the book of Samuel. He was the commander of David's army that was like a loose cannon. He did what the king said only when it suited him. The rest of the time, he was off on his own, doing what he wanted to. He had killed righteous men, and proved to be treacherous and self-serving.

Part of Yo-AWB's lasting legacy was the destruction of the men of Edom. One of the royal line of Edom was a young boy named Had-AD, who survived the massacre by fleeing to Egypt.

Pharaoh had treated him well, giving him a house and food. Eventually, he married the Pharaoh's sister-in-law (the sister of his wife Takh-pen-ACE).

He had a son named Ghen-oo-BATH, who was treated just like one of Pharaoh's own sons. All in all, he was living a comfortable and happy life.

But then the news came that David and Yo-AWB were dead, and he desired to return to Edom. He didn't have a good reason why, but only that he felt that he must go back.

He returned to Edom and did evil towards Israel, in revenge for what Israel had done to his people.

11:23-25 Rezon

Had-ad-EH-zer had been the king of Tso-BAW (which David had defeated in battle back in 2Samuel 8, and again in chapter ten). He had a man named El-yaw-DAW defect from his kingdom. El-yaw-DAW had a son named Rez-ONE who also became an adversary of Solomon's by becoming the leader of a band of marauders based in Damascus, eventually becoming the ruler over all Arawm.

11:26-28 Jeroboam

Another enemy is raised up against Solomon - and this is the one that will be king. A widow named Tser-oo-AW, from the tribe of Ephraim in Tser-ay-DAW had a son named Jeroboam (his father had been Neb-AWT).

He was put in a place of prominence during the Jerusalem work projects, when Solomon had seen that Jeroboam was a hard worker. Solomon placed him in a supervisory position over the forced labor. But Jeroboam rebelled.

11:29-39 Ahijah's Prophecy

Akh-ee-YAW the Shee-LO-nite was a prophet, and came to Jeroboam as he was leaving Jerusalem. Akh-ee-YAW took the cloak he was wearing and tore it into 12 pieces, symbolizing the tribes of Israel. He gave ten of the pieces to Jeroboam, saying that the other two would stay under the authority of the house of David - Judah and Benjamin. They are referred to as one tribe, because Benjamin was so small, and the territory that they occupied was connected.

The same deal is offered to Jeroboam as to all previous kings: if you walk in My ways, I will establish you.

11:40 Solomon Sought To Put Jeroboam To Death

It has been prophesied, and it will happen. Although Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam, he escapes to Egypt until the death of Solomon.

11:41-43 Solomon Dies, Rehoboam Becomes King

When Solomon dies, his son Rehoboam becomes king in his place.

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