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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 11

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-43

  1. Intro: Single-Minded
    1. At this point the story of Solomon suddenly changes. The glory passes away, and we observe his rapid degeneracy and doom.
      1. A life so filled with promise, ends in gloom and failure.
        1. Wealth, privilege, and position didn’t help him or maybe partly caused his downfall. Wealth can be a blessing or a curse. Great privilege entails great responsibility. He let the world squeeze him into its mold. (Rom.12:2, Phillips)
      2. Notice how many times you hear the word heart mentioned.
  2. POLYGAMY & PAGANISM (1-8) Causes
    1. In keeping with the fashion of typical Oriental courts...the more in your harem, the greater the ruler!
      1. ​​​​​​​Perhaps Solomon’s great sin was not so much sexuality as it was simply the desire to be thought great.
    2. Solomon had wisdom for everybody else but would not apply it to himself.
      1. Rom.2:21-24 nlt Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”
      2. The man who wrote Prov.4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life, did not obey it.
        1. It’s one thing to know the word it’s one thing to another word but quite another thing to do it.
    3. See if you have a stoney heart, God can soften it, turn it into flesh. But a divided heart cannot ever be cured as long as it remains divided.
      1. See Solomon didn’t just wake up 1 day and decide to build high places for foreign gods. Rather, his singular love for God was Slowly replaced with other loves. A heart once devoted to the Lord had become a divided heart.
        1. A divided heart loses both worlds. AB Simpson
      2. See a divided heart usually leads to a divided family, which leads to divided relationships, which leads to divided kingdoms or nations or churches.
    4. Note: it was a clinging issue. (see vs2) קַבָּד dabaq-to hold firmly or tenaciously, usually w/hands.
      1. This is the same Hebrew word used in Deut.11:22 For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do - to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him.
      2. When an earthly love replaces our love for God, & we find ourselves clinging to other things for our full satisfaction, we have erected an idol in our life.
    5. 6 Signs of a Spiritually Divided Heart [illust: cut apple in 8 parts w/apple slicer]
    6. How do I know if I’m seeking God with all my heart?
    7. How do I know if I love God with all my heart?
    8. How do I know if I believe God with all my heart?
    9. How do I determine if my heart is divided or united to fear God’s name in truth?
      1. Ps.86:11,12 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. [unite = singleness of heart]
        1. This is a prayer about forming the right habits rather than making the right moves.
        2. Unite my heart - a beautiful metaphor, conveying the idea, that the heart of man is full of noise, torn in pieces, & often scattered about in fragments.
          1. Its a state when the heart may be: insincere, uncertain, hesitant, vacillating, or in a tug-of-war.
          2. *The uniting of a heart is when God gathers it to Himself & holds it together in a state of steady and preserving obedience.
        3. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart. (12)
          1. His whole heart is absorbed in praise. He’s not going to wait passively for the spiritual maturity he has been seeking in vs.11.
    10. 6 Signs of a Spiritually Divided Heart: from Ps.119
      1. A spiritually divided heart is emotionally unstable.
        1. Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him w/the whole heart. Ps.119:2
        2. Blessed/happy. Not necessarily wealthy, successful, powerful, popular, or prominent.
          1. A divided heart is revealed in a saddened or discouraged countenance.
          2. Is my life characterized by happiness and peace or worry and confusion?
          3. Am I tossed into the depths of despair through every undesirable circumstance or have I entrusted my innermost source of happiness to God’s word?
      2. A spiritually divided heart is wandering.
        1. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments. Ps. 119:10
        2. God’s word is not a list of rules keeping me boxed in under the heavy thumb of dictatorship.
        3. God’s word was inspired and written for my greatest good.
        4. The Bible clearly outlines and defines what path to travel, what attitude is appropriate. My heart is divided when I fight against the truth of God’s revealed word and willfully or ignorantly choose my own path.
      3. A spiritually divided heart is selfish.
        1. Turn my heart towards your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Ps.119:36
        2. Left to my own devices I am bent towards selfishness.
        3. When I am offended by the opinions of others, threatened by the status of a peer, or hesitant to give of my abundance to someone in need, I am selfish.
        4. I have strayed from God’s word and will and allowed my flesh to take over. My heart has been divided. I have failed to esteem others as better than myself Phil.2:3
      4. A spiritually divided heart is inconsistent.
        1. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. Ps. 119:56 niv
        2. Can I truthfully proclaim that I obey God’s word without falter every second of every day? Not a chance.
          1. However, the undivided heart, or the heart walking through life believing God’s word, will be swayed towards obedience.
            1. Willful rebellion will be the exception, not the rule.
            2. When my daily practice is devoted to knowing and following God’s word, my heart is united in truth.
      5. A spiritually divided heart is sour.
        1. How sweet are your words to my taste; sweeter than honey to my mouth. Ps.119:103
        2. When I am hurt, angry, bitter, sour, tart, or vinegary, where do I turn for guidance and comfort?
          1. Do I seek the opinions of friends, family, pastors, and teachers first or do I seek the counsel of God?
            1. The more of His words I consume, the more nourished I will be.
            2. When I neglect His guidance and first seek help from human sources I am left hungry, malnourished, w/a sour taste in my mouth.
          2. If I don’t know the word of God, how will I know if the advice I’m given is biblical?
          3. The prophet Isaiah said, Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Is.55:2
      6. A spiritually divided heart is fearful.
        1. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love. Ps.119:46-47
        2. If my Mon-Sat life does not line up with my Sun life, I should be afraid to speak of my faith.
        3. Without a living, active gospel displayed through my life, I will be put to shame when I witness to others. How can I preach to someone when my life is the opposite of my message?
    11. Every time you read Psalm 119 be reminded to check your heart-status.
      1. Am I whole-heartedly seeking God and His word or am I offering up only the pieces I prefer?
      2. Make your desire to live with an undivided heart, wholly united w/God’s word.
  3. ADVERSARIES W/IN & W/OUT (9-25) Consequences: civil war, 2 enemies
    1. God now spanks Solomon with 3 human rods. Hadad, Rezon, & Jeroboam.
    2. (9) The Lord became angry with Solomon. (used for divine anger only, 14 x’s)
      1. His sin was aggravated by the great privileges he enjoyed. Eg. God appearing to him twice.
    3. Really, he built these high places on the hill that is east of Jerusalem. (7)
      1. This is not another than the Mount of olives. Jesus loves this mountain.
    4. (21,22) Hadad didn’t even know why he wanted to leave Egypt.
      1. Like migratory birds feel the call to southern lands.
      2. But behind the scenes...It was God (14). God’s overruling hand!
  4. JEROBOAM & REHOBOAM (26-40) Jeroboam’s Rebellion
    1. ​​​​​​​R & J –
  5. DEATH OF SOLOMON (41-43) Solomon’s Death
    1. ​​​​​​​He started well, but finished poorly. What a bold contrast with the testimony of Paul, I have fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith. 2 Tim.4:7
    2. Solomon’s sun, which had risen in such splendor, was now about to set behind the darkest clouds.
    3. Rehoboam - reigned over all Israel a very short time. The seeds of division planted in the time of Solomon now came to full bloom.
    4. Jesus final words...Mt.22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
    5. Contemplation Time:
      1. What are you clinging to?
      2. Which heart best sums up mine tonight?...distracted heart. Idolatrous heart. Troubled heart. Deviated heart. Hot/warm/cold. Black/white/pale. Whole/divided. Wise/Foolish.
      3. Emotionally unstable or happy heart?
      4. A wandering heart or one on a straight path?
      5. A selfish heart or a selfless one?
      6. An inconsistent heart or a consistent one?
      7. A sour heart or sweet?
      8. A fearful heart or a Brave-Heart?
        1. William Wallace: Every man dies, not every man really lives.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-kings-11.html. 2017.
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