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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 11

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-43

Solomon’s idolatry (11:1-43)

Although some of Solomon’s marriages were for political purposes, most of his wives and concubines were probably given to him as gifts. These women usually brought their gods into Israel, and Solomon’s weakness in worshipping these gods led finally to his downfall (11:1-8). God’s judgment on Solomon and Israel was to bring the long-standing friction between northerners and southerners to a climax in the division of the kingdom. Only Solomon’s tribe Judah (which had by this time absorbed Simeon in the south) along with neighbouring Benjamin would be left for Solomon’s son to rule. The remaining tribes, led by Ephraim, would form the breakaway northern kingdom (9-13).

By this time the king of Egypt who had been friendly to Solomon (see 3:1) had died. The new Pharaoh, fearful of Solomon’s power, encouraged any rebellion inside or outside Israel that would weaken Solomon. Hadad, crown prince of Edom, had been taken to Egypt in childhood when David conquered Edom. He grew up in Egypt, and later returned to Edom, from where he carried out guerilla attacks against Israel (14-22). Other enemies used Syria as a base from which to conduct guerilla warfare against Solomon. The leader in this case was Rezon, another who had escaped when David conquered his country (23-25; cf. 2 Samuel 8:3,2 Samuel 8:13).

Meanwhile the prophet Ahijah revealed that Jeroboam would be the next king. Jeroboam was one of Solomon’s most capable administrators, an ambitious hard-working young man whom Solomon put in charge of the Ephraim-Manasseh workforce (26-33). Ahijah also warned Jeroboam that he had to be obedient to God. But Jeroboam’s immediate concern was to gain power, and no doubt he used his position to influence his fellow northerners against Solomon and so gain a following for himself (34-39).
When Solomon tried to kill him, Jeroboam escaped to Egypt, for he knew he could be sure of Pharaoh’s support. He stayed there till the death of Solomon, awaiting his opportunity to return and seize the throne of Israel (40-43).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/1-kings-11.html. 2005.
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