I Kin. 11:1-43; II Chron. 9:29-31
Perhaps Solomon’s life was one of the greatest paradoxes found in the entire Scripture. God is a jealous God and has explicitly commanded loyalty from His people. At the beginning of his reign as king, Solomon was true to God and blessed enormously because of his relationship with Him.
It was customary in that time for marriages of kings to be political in nature. Upon forming an alliance with the king or other notables of other nations, Solomon was given a wife of that person’s family. That practice prevented many wars because of the family ties involved. Solomon in his greatness married seven hundred wives and had three hundred concubines.
Those wives remained faithful to their own foreign gods. He built special places for his wives to worship and also turned toward those gods as well. “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord…” Israel had been strictly commanded to refrain from marrying foreign wives.
In His righteous anger, God informed Solomon that the kingdom would be taken away from him and given to his servant. However, for the sake of David and to fulfill His promise of the Messiah, one tribe would be preserved under his lineage.
The Lord had protected Solomon during his years of faithfulness, but because of his sins, God allowed men to gain strength to punish him. Hadad had fled to Egypt as a child from David’s armies and had later returned to his home in Edom. Rezon had been living in Damascus, Syria. These men had been dormant enemies of Israel but began to build their own armies.
As the Israelites had been divided on different occasions in the wilderness, they continued with their divisions. When David became king, only the tribe of Judah accepted him as king. The other tribes anointed Ishbosheth, Saul’s son to lead them. Later, all of the tribes were united with David as their king and that unity continued throughout Solomon’s reign.
Sometime after God had informed Solomon of the impending division of Israel, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, one of his labor force officers was met by the prophet, Ahijah. The prophet took Jeroboam’s new garment and tore it into twelve pieces and instructed him to take ten of them for himself. He explained that God had taken the kingdom from Solomon and that he would be king of ten tribes of Israel and that Solomon’s son would rule over one tribe [Actually, Judah and Simeon were combined (Josh 19:9)]. God speaking through the prophet, Ahijah also promised Jeroboam His blessings if he would heed His commandments as David had done.
“Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam.” He fled to Egypt and remained until after Solomon’s death.
Sadly, the great king, Solomon died after reigning forty years, but his legacy of wisdom and riches was tarnished by his departure from the one true God who had blessed him with those attributes. His son, Rehoboam followed as king of Israel.