Lectionary Calendar
Friday, June 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 11

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-43

7. Solomon’s Failure: judgment Announced and the beginning of Disruption


1. Solomon’s polygamy and departure from God (1 Kings 11:1-13 )

2. Hadad the Edomite (1 Kings 11:14-22 )

3. Rezon the second adversary (1 Kings 11:23-25 )

4. Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:26-40 )

5. Solomon’s reign and death (1 Kings 11:41-43 )

“But--.” An ominous word with which this chapter begins. It introduces us to the sad picture of Solomon’s great apostasy. “He shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses, for as much as the Lord hath said unto you, ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away, neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold” (Deuteronomy 17:16-17 ). The Lord anticipated a royal form of government for Israel and gave these instructions concerning the King. The first failure is seen in the previous chapter. He multiplied horses and brought them out of Egypt. Egypt is the type of the world. God had answered his prayer and then added riches and everything else. But his heart was captivated by riches and luxuries. No doubt he loved these things and multiplied silver and gold. The Devil’s crime, pride, was found in him. His heart was lifted up (Deuteronomy 17:20 ). But worse than all he multiplied wives. The sad record is found in the opening verses of this chapter. Then his heart was turned away by his wives and concubines after other gods. David, though his trouble also originated in polygamy, had always, in all his sin and failure, clung to Jehovah. In this sense David’s heart was perfect with the Lord his God. He did not turn away from the Lord, nor did David go after strange gods. Solomon’s guilt was great. The Lord had appeared twice to him; He never appeared to David. And with all the Lord had done for Solomon, the evidences of His grace towards him, the house he could build, the superior wisdom he had, the great king departed from the Lord. Such is the heart of man, desperately wicked. It becomes now evident that the oathbound covenant concerning a man to sit upon the throne of David with a glorious kingdom established, must be fulfilled in another son of David. Solomon fails. The kingdom is rent from him. The glory departs. Never again were the scenes of glory repeated in the kingdom of Israel. But when David’s Lord and David’s Son appears, the King of Righteousness, the Prince of Peace, the kingdom and the glory will be restored to Israel.

It has been stated that Solomon himself was not actually guilty of idolatry. If he built the places of idolatrous worship for his many wives only, he was guilty of the sin of idolatry. The abominations were then introduced. Luxuries, wealth, self-indulgence, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life led into idolatry. It is the same in the closing days of the present age. Ashtoreth, a Phoenician goddess, was worshipped with impure rites. Milcom (Molech) was the idol-god of the Ammonites. Chemosh was the sun-god and war-god of the Moabites.

And the Lord who had appeared twice unto Solomon, the Lord who had commanded him not to go after other gods, was now angry with Solomon. Judgment is announced. Two adversaries were stirred up at once against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite and Rezon of Syria, who abhorred Israel.

Jeroboam, a servant of King Solomon (verse 11) lifted up his hand against the king. Ahijah the prophet, attired in a new garment, meets the future king of the ten tribe division and tore his garment into twelve pieces. “And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces, for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee.” But the message of the Lord through Ahijah also declared His faithfulness to David. Jehovah still speaks of “David my servant”; he is “to have a light always before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen to put My name there.” The house of David in the midst of all the evil is not forgotten. There will be affliction, “but not forever” (verse 39). And Jeroboam also has the opportunity of having a house “as I built for David” on the condition of obedience. But ambitious Jeroboam did not keep the statutes and commandments of the Lord.

And Solomon? Not a word of repentance! No tears like those his father wept. No confession as it came from David’s lips. Only one thing is stated. Only one act is mentioned of apostatized Solomon. He sought to kill Jeroboam. After a reign of 40 years, Solomon passed away not quite 60 years old.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/1-kings-11.html. 1913-1922.
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