Solomon Turns from God
11 Now king Solomon [defiantly] loved [a]many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the very nations of whom the Lord said to the Israelites, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for the result will be that they will turn away your hearts to follow their gods.” Yet Solomon clung to these in love.(A) 3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred [b]concubines, and his wives turned his heart away [from God]. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not completely devoted to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the [fertility] goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the horror (detestable idol) of the Ammonites.(B) 6 Solomon did evil [things] in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as his father David had done. 7 Then Solomon built a [c]high place for [worshiping] Chemosh the horror (detestable idol) of Moab, on the hill which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the horror (detestable idol) of the sons of Ammon. 8 And he did the same for all of his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 So the Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe (remember, obey) what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it in your [d]lifetime, for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son (Rehoboam). 13 However, I will not tear away all the kingdom; I will give one tribe (Judah) to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
God Raises Adversaries
14 Then the Lord stirred up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of royal descent in Edom. 15 For it came about, when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army had gone up to bury those killed [in battle] and had struck down every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all [the army of] Israel stayed there six months, until he had killed every male in Edom), 17 that Hadad escaped to Egypt, he and some Edomites from his father’s servants with him, while Hadad was [still] a little boy. 18 They set out from Midian [south of Edom] and came to Paran, and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave [young] Hadad a house and ordered food and provisions for him and gave him land. 19 Hadad found great favor with Pharaoh, so that he gave Hadad in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 The sister of Tahpenes gave birth to Genubath, Hadad’s son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house; and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 But when Hadad heard in Egypt that David [e]had died and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me leave, so that I may go to my own country.” 22 Then Pharaoh said to him, “But what have you lacked with me that now you ask to go to your own country?” He replied, “Nothing; nevertheless you must let me go.”
23 God also stirred up another adversary for Solomon, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 Rezon gathered men to himself and became leader of a marauding band, after David killed those in Zobah. They went to Damascus and stayed there and they reigned in Damascus.(C) 25 So Rezon was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, along with the evil that Hadad inflicted. Rezon hated Israel and reigned over Aram (Syria).
26 Jeroboam, Solomon’s servant, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zeredah whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king. 27 Now this is the reason why he rebelled against the king: Solomon built the Millo (fortification) and he repaired and closed the breach of the city of his father David. 28 The man Jeroboam was a brave warrior and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he put him in charge of all the forced labor of the house of Joseph. 29 It came about at that time, when Jeroboam left Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road. Now Ahijah had covered himself with a new cloak; and the two of them were alone in the field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 He said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am going to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes— 32 but he [and his descendants] shall have [f]one tribe (Benjamin was annexed to Judah), for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel— 33 because [g]they have abandoned Me and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways and followed My commandments, doing what is right in My sight and keeping My statutes and My ordinances as did his father David. 34 However, I will not take the entire kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you: ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give [h]one tribe, so that My servant David may have a [i]lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My Name and Presence. 37 I will take you [Jeroboam], and you shall reign over whatever your soul desires; and you shall be king over Israel (the ten northern tribes). 38 Then it shall be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, keeping and observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 And in this way I will afflict the descendants of David for this (their sin), but not forever.’” 40 So Solomon attempted to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam set out and escaped to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.
The Death of Solomon
41 The rest of the acts of Solomon—and all that he did, and his wisdom—are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 The time Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept [in death] with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David. Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
- 1 Kings 11:1 It was a common practice among pagan rulers in the Near East to ratify treaties with other kingdoms by marriage to foreign wives. In Deut 17:17 the kings of Israel were strictly forbidden from participating in such alliances. Solomon’s defiance of God’s command led him into sin and the loss of his kingdom.
- 1 Kings 11:3 See note Gen 22:24.
- 1 Kings 11:7 I.e. an altar on the top of a hill, which was customary for pagan worship. The only proper place for worship was the temple.
- 1 Kings 11:12 Lit days.
- 1 Kings 11:21 Lit slept with his fathers and so throughout.
- 1 Kings 11:32 It is evident from v 30 and later from 12:21 that two tribes are in view here: Judah and Benjamin. The Greek OT (the LXX) actually reads “two” here and in v 36, indicating that its translators rejected the Hebrew reading in both verses as an error. Other explanations are possible, however. Some have suggested that the tribe of Benjamin was often regarded as one with Judah. Another possibility is that Benjamin is not counted or mentioned because of the despicable sin committed by certain men of Gibeah (Judg 19:21 ff; Gibeah was a city in Benjamin), and the refusal by the tribe of Benjamin to turn the offenders over to justice (Judg 20:13). In fact, the tribe almost faced extinction as a result of their refusal and the war that followed between Israel and Benjamin (Judg 20:14-21:24).
- 1 Kings 11:33 I.e. the people of Israel under the leadership of Solomon.
- 1 Kings 11:36 See note v 32.
- 1 Kings 11:36 I.e. a descendant on the throne.