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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 11

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-43

Solomon’s Errors and their Consequences. His Death

This chapter furnishes an account of Solomon’s marriages with numerous foreign princesses, and traces the evil effect of such in the toleration of idolatry, which provoked the Lord’s anger. This was manifested in the growth of opposition abroad and disaffection at home, so that an otherwise brilliant reign had a cloudy ending.

3. Seven hundred wives] The Persian king Darius Codomannus is said to have had, besides his own wife, 329 concubines.

4. Not perfect] Solomon’s heart was divided between the Lord and other gods. Without abandoning the service of Jehovah, he tolerated, and even took part in, the religious rites practised by his wives. His luxury and sensuality led to more serious errors still.

5. Ashtoreth] the Phœnician name of the goddess worshipped by the Babylonians under the title of Ishtar, the goddess of love. Milcom] identical with the Molech of 1 Kings 11:7.

7. Build an high place] i.e. construct an altar or sanctuary upon a height. Chemosh] The name of this god occurs on the inscription of Mesha, king of Moab, who was contemporary with Ahab. Before Jerusalem] i.e. E. of Jerusalem, the corresponding expression ’behind’ being used to denote the W. (Joshua 8:4, Joshua 8:9; Deuteronomy 11:24 RV). The lull here designated is the Mt. of Olives: cp. Ezekiel 11:23.

15. David.. Edom] see 2 Samuel 8:14. Joab] cp. Psalms 60 (title). According to 1 Chronicles 18:12 the actual victory over the Edomites was gained by Abishai, the brother of Joab.

18. Midian.. Paran] NE. and N. of the Sinaitic peninsula.

19. Pharaoh] either the Egyptian king whose daughter Solomon had married, or his predecessor.

23. Zobah] a small Syrian state lying eastward of Mt. Hermon.

24. Damascus] According to 2 Samuel 8:6; David had placed garrisons in Damascus, which Rezon and his followers must have expelled.

26. Ephrathite] i.e. an Ephraimite (as in 1 Samuel 1:1), not a Bethlehemite (as in Ruth 1:2).

28. Made him.. charge] RV ’gave him charge over all the labour’; see 1 Kings 5:13, 1 Kings 5:14. As the system of forced labour introduced by Solomon had as its object the adornment of his capital, which was most closely connected with Judah and Benjamin, it would be the more resented by the other tribes: cp. 1 Kings 12:4, 1 Kings 12:16. Jeroboam’s position enabled him to detect and work upon the discontent, which would be strongest in Ephraim, inasmuch as in the times of Joshua and the Judges it had enjoyed the preeminence which had now passed to Judah.

29. The Shilonite] i.e. a native of Shiloh (1 Kings 14:2).

30. Rent it.. pieces] The prophets frequently illustrated the meaning of their utterances by the use of impressive symbolic actions: see 1 Kings 22:11; Isaiah 20:2; Jeremiah 19:1-13; Ezekiel 12 Zechariah 11:7, Zechariah 11:10, Zechariah 11:14

32. One tribe] in 1 Kings 12:21, 1 Kings 12:23; Benjamin is reckoned with Judah, but see on 1 Kings 12:20.

36. A light] cp. Psalms 132:17 and contrast Job 18:6. The figure is drawn from the fire or lamp which is usually associated with a permanent habitation.

38. If thou wilt hearken] the same condition as in Job 9:4. A sure house] i.e. a long and unbroken line of descendants. As the condition imposed was not fulfilled, the promise was not carried out, and Jeroboam’s house was extirpated in the second generation by Baasha.

39. Not for ever] in spite of the humiliation suffered by the house of David through Jeroboam’s revolt, the Davidic dynasty in Judah outlasted the kingdom of the Ten Tribes; and though it finally lost all temporal power, it attained higher preëminence than ever when Christ was born of Mary, a descendant of David.

40. Sought.. to kill] This implies that Jeroboam had excited the king’s suspicions by some open act of disloyalty. Shishak] i.e. Sheshonk, the first king of the 22nd dynasty, of Libyan descent.

41. The book, etc.] probably a history based on the official documents kept by the. ’recorder.’ The instructiveness of Solomon’s history is twofold. (1) Outward zeal for the honour of the Lord, such as Solomon showed by building the Temple, is no proof of inward devotion. (2) Material blessings bestowed by God (like the wealth and honour conferred on Solomon) bring with them increased temptations, needing divine grace for their conquest.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/1-kings-11.html. 1909.
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