Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, May 18th, 2024
Eve of Pentacost
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 11

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

Verses 1-43



1 Kings 11:1-43; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31

See 1 Kings 11:1-43 and 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, with which compare (1) Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; Ezra 9:1; Nehemiah 13:23. (2) Deuteronomy 17:14-20. (3) The two visitations of Jehovah, 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:4-9; 2 Chronicles 7:17-22. (4) The whole book of Ecclesiastes.

1. When Solomon became old he fell away from Jehovah in heart and life.

2. He, himself, furnishes the motto for a heading of this part of his life, "Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition anymore" (Ecclesiastes 4:13).

3. And he, himself, fitly describes a miserable darkened old age, thus:

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say. I have no pleasure in them; before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened, and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; yea, they shall be afraid of that which is high, and terrors shall be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets: before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity. (Eccl. 11:9-12:8).

4. The immediate occasion of his fall was the influence of his foreign idolatrous wives.

5. They led him astray on these lines: (1) The sensual indulgence of harem life sapped his physical vitality, enervated his mind and blunted the perception, and dulled the sensitiveness of all his moral faculties. (2) Being themselves idolaters, they induced him to provide temples for the idols of their own countries. (3) To suit their convenience they led him to locate these houses and altars of idolatry over against God’s holy Temple. (4) They finally led him to participate himself in this idol worship.

6. His sin consisted of these elements: (1) Primarily and mainly he sinned grievously against Jehovah, who had exalted him. (2) He grossly violated the kingdom charter. (3) He openly violated the Mosaic law of marriage.

7. His sin against Jehovah may be thus particularized: (1) It was open violation of both the first and second commandment of the decalogue. (2) It was against the light of two visitations from Jehovah, the second one particularly warning him against the sin. (3) In placing the idol houses over against the Temple it was flaunting an insult in Jehovah’s face. (4) It was a sin against Jehovah’s revelation, and an abuse of the wisdom given to seek through philosophy the chief good and chief duty of man, as he himself confesses he did in the book of Ecclesiastes. (5) It was a sin against Jehovah as the supreme and only satisfying portion of the soul to seek happiness by experiment in wealth, pleasure, luxury, and other ways as he confesses he did in the book of Ecclesiastes.

8. He sinned against the charter of the kingdom in these particulars: (1) The charter says, "He shall not multiply horses to himself," it being against the divine purpose that his people should depend on cavalry and chariots. But this is what he did: "And Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen" (1 Kings 4:26). (2) The charter said "Neither shall he multiply wives unto himself, that his heart turn not away." But this is what he did: "Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which Jehovah said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go among them) neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods; Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father" (1 Kings 11:1-4). (3) The charter said, "He shall not greatly multiply to himself silver and gold," but he filled his coffers with gold) silver, and jewels beyond computation in value. (4) The charter said, "His heart shall not be lifted up above his brethren," but for display, and for the buildings of his wives and their extravagant support, he raised forced levies of workmen from his own people, and imposed onerous taxes which caused a revolt in the days of his son, Rehoboam, and the loss of ten tribes. (See 1 Kings 4:6; 1 Kings 5:13-14; 1 Kings 7:19-23; 1 Kings 11:28; 1 Kings 12:4.)

9. He sinned against the sanctity of the Mosaic law of marriage in taking wives from nations of the Canaanites and other idolatrous nations. (See Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4, as interpreted in Ezra 9:1 and Nehemiah 13:23, and compare 1 Kings 11:1-2.)

10. We find somewhat of a parallel in Louis XIV of France, who reduced his nation to pauperism to support his extravagant displays and mistresses, so that in the days of Louis XVI came a revolution that painted hell on the sky.

11. The sin of Solomon greatly provoked Jehovah, who sternly denounced these penalties: (1) The greater part of the kingdom was rent from him and given to his servant, but for David’s sake, the execution was stayed till Solomon died (1 Kings 11:9-13). (2) Adversaries were stirred up, ready to strike on the first opportunity. (3) These adversaries were Hadad, the Automat, who in David’s time had sheltered in Egypt; Rezon, the Syrian, who sheltered in Damascus and who abhorred Israel; Jeroboam, the Ephrathite, whom Solomon promoted, but who, having been informed by Jehovah’s prophet that he would rule over ten tribes, did not wait on Jehovah’s time but instantly revolted, but when Solomon sought to kill him, fled to Egypt and sheltered there.

12. The fearful consequences of Solomon’s sin were sweeping and far-reaching, as appears from these facts: (1) The contrast between the glorious unity when David was made king over all Israel (1 Chronicles 11:1-3; 1 Chronicles 12:23-40) and the disunion under Solomon’s son (1 Kings 12:1-19). (2) This division resulted in the idolatry and destruction of the ten tribes except the elect remnants that returned to Judah, thus preserving and perpetuating all the tribes. (3) The idolatry of the ten tribes was communicated to Judah in Ahab’s day, threatening the blotting out of all the tribes. (4) The division made them weak in the presence of enemies to both, and their prestige and position among the nations were lost. (5) The destruction of the ten tribes resulted in the rise of the Samaritans, a mixed people who rejected all revelation except the Pentateuch, and established a rival temple, whose pretensions to superiority persisted till Messiah’s time (See John 4:20). (6) The precedent of seeking in speculative philosophy and in sinful experiment man’s chief end, chief good, chief aim, was taken up and followed by Greek and Roman philosophers – Zeno, Epicurus, Lucretius, and Democritus, Gnostics, Agnostics and modern radical evolutionists even to this day – all adopting his methods and denying his conclusions.

13. The question naturally arises: Was Solomon’s apostasy total and final, and is he today a lost soul? Adam Clark, the commentator, like nearly all Methodists, Arminian in doctrine, teaches that Solomon was finally and forever lost; from which position the author dissents for the following reasons:

1. The record expressly teaches that his apostasy was not total, but only that his heart toward Jehovah was not perfect as was the heart of David.

2. That his apostasy was not final seems evident from the repentance evidenced in the book of Ecclesiastes, which, after recounting all his experiments in turning from revelation to philosophy and all ending in vanity, comes back to the conclusion that to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man.

3. The promise of Jehovah to his father David expressly forbids the idea of his total and final apostasy in saying, "When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men, but my loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee" (2 Samuel 7:12-15). The contrast here between Saul and Solomon is very marked. Saul sustained no filial relation toward Jehovah, but Solomon did. Saul was punished as an alien; Solomon was chastised as a son. The Holy Spirit was withdrawn from Saul, but not from Solomon.

14. Solomon’s fall teaches many great lessons, among which may be named:

1. Sensuality in a man is like the dry rot which crumbles foundation-timbers.

2. A little child may learn from revelation in a day more about origin, character, destiny, the chief-end, the chief-good, and the chief-aim of man than all the speculative philosophers throughout the ages have discovered or will ever be able to discover.

3. Man himself, in his moral dignity, is more than all his learning, accomplishments, wealth, rank, or social position. The rank is but the guinea’s stamp, The man’s the gowd for all that.

4. God himself is the only satisfying portion of the soul. Tis no’ in titles nor in rank, "Tis no’ in wealth like London bank To give us peace and rest; If happiness ha’e not her seat And center in the breast, We may be wise, or rich, or great But never can be blest.

5. When kings live in splendor and luxury and irresponsibility to moral laws, maintaining vast, varied, and costly establishments, the people must groan under onerous taxation and servitude until revolution comes to paint hell on the sky.

6. Men professing themselves to be wise become fools (see Romans 1:22; 1 Corinthians 1:18-29).


1. At what period of his life does Solomon fall away from Jehovah?

2. What motto by himself would serve as a heading for his fall?

3. How does he himself describe an old age weakened and made miserable by sin?

4. What was the occasion of his fall?

5. How did these women lead him astray?

6. Of what particulars did his sin consist?

7. Particularize his sin against Jehovah.

8. Particularize his sin against the charter of the kingdom.

9. Particularize his sin against the sanctity of the Mosaic marriage law.

10. What parallel to Solomon, in his sin, in modern history?

11. How did Solomon’s sin affect Jehovah, and what penalties did he denounce?

12. What facts show the sweeping and far-reaching consequences of Solomon’s fall?

13. How do Arminians answer the question: Was Solomon’s apostasy total and final, and is he not a lost soul, and what the biblical reasons for dissent from this interpretation?

14. What great lessons from Solomon’s fall?

15. How do you reconcile 1 Kings 11:3; 1 Kings 11:2Ch_6:8?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/1-kings-11.html.
Ads FreeProfile