1917.) 1 Kings 11

“The Idolatry of Solomon” by Frans Francken II, 1622 (Getty Museum)

1 Kings 11   (NIV)

Solomon’s Wives

We are back in the Old Testament and at a critical time. David’s son King Solomon is finessing his legacy before his death, and it is not a pretty sight. Because of his unfaithfulness, there will soon be calamitous change for the nation of Israel.

1 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.

Deuteronomy 17:17 (New Living Translation)

The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord.

Solomon Sore Lips
by Calvin Miller

King Solomon of Israel
Had seven hundred wondrous wives,
And when he kissed them all good night
He puckered seven hundred times.

Although he kissed them at the rate
Of two-o-three-point-five per hour,
It still took three-point-four long hours—
Before his last wife was in bed,
And Solomon was nearly dead,
Overwhelmed by halitosis,
Lip-fatigued by puckerosis!

When Solomon first married them
He really didn’t have a clue
(Although it made an awful racket
When the great horde said, “I do!”)
All seven hundred nagging wives
Meant just as many pairs of jaws
And several million gripes and groans
And quite a lot of mom-in-laws!

At first he kissed frenetically,
But soon just alphabetically.
He’d kiss his way from Abigail
To Zelpha of Judea,
Taking two ten-minute breaks
At Bilpah and at Leah.

He mostly hated Thursdays,
For that was “concu-night.”
That night besides his hordes of brides
He had to kiss the concubines.
While “concues” were less favored,
He owned two hundred fifty-one,

So kissing them required an hour
If he kissed them on the run.

As Solomon grew very old,
He left his alphabet technique
And tried a different way to go
That he believed was quite unique.
And started with the ugliest
(To get the worst out of the way).
Then he kissed the sick ones
(Who had been in bed all day).
And then he kissed the ones with colds
And those with nasal hair,
Smooching rapidly along
Until he gladly reached the fair.

But kissing all the wives goodnight
Gave Solomon his greatest strain:
He kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed
Until his whole mouth felt the pain!

Each evening when his job was done,
Somewhere near three o’clock a.m.,
He always went straight to his bed,
Because he had to wake at five
To kiss them all good morn again.

I’ve heard that when he finally died
And went up to his home on high,
His welcome wasn’t quite divine;
It made a chill run down his spine
To see a thousand concubines,
Standing puckered in a line.
He cried, “I’m doomed, alas, poor me!
I wish I’d married sensibly!”

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.

“Solomon Sacrifices to Idols” by Sebastien Bourdon (The Louvre, Paris)

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.”

1K11 one tribe

God promised the entire kingdom of Israel to the descendants of David forever, if they only remained obedient. David reminded Solomon of this promise shortly before his death (1 Kings 2:4). Yet they could not remain faithful even one generation.

–David Guzik



HERE  is “Find Us Faithful”  by Steve Green.


Solomon’s Adversaries

Two foreign adversaries . . .

14 Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary,

In 1 Kings 5:4, Solomon says to King Hiram, who is helping him build the temple, “But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster.” Yet here we read, “the LORD raised up an adversary.”  God will try various methods to get our attention when we stray away from his ways.  Heavenly Father, help us follow you in all things.

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

. . . and an Israelite adversary.

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.

“Jeroboam” by Gabriel Picart.  In Who’s Who in the Bible”(1994). Reader’s Digest.

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.

The image of a lamp becomes a special metaphor for David and for the continuity of his line.

Psalm 132:17 (Amplified Bible)

There will I make a horn spring forth and bud for David; I have ordained and prepared a lamp for My anointed [fulfilling the promises of old].

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.’”

What a magnificent and astonishing opportunity is knocking at Jeroboam’s door!  He can follow the Lord, and God promises to make him an illustrious dynasty, like that of David!  (Now guess what he will actually do . . .)

40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death.

Solomon’s Death

1K11 3 kings

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.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Francken.    http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=656&handle=li
smooch.    http://media.photobucket.com/image/smooch/xluckiiduckiiOox/smooch.gif
Bourdon.    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/image/joconde/0002/m503604_91de2069_p.jpg
I will give one tribe.   http://carolinasnalc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/1-kings-11_13.jpg
Picart.    http://www.gabrielpicart.com/english/illustration.htm
ancient Canaanite lamp.    http://www.victorie-inc.us/images/Oil-Lamps/CananiteOilLamp.jpg
Opportunity knocking.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/b1251-opportunity_knocking.jpg
3 kings.    http://images.slideplayer.com/20/5991929/slides/slide_3.jpg

2 Responses to 1917.) 1 Kings 11

  1. Sue says:

    So good to revisit this account – and it hit me for the first time, the promise given Jeroboam! CM’s poem is hysterical! Thank you Rebecca- as always

    • Rebecca says:

      I am always struck by the generosity of God, when I read these Old Testament stories! Chance after chance after chance to follow the Lord faithfully!

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