1 Kings 11:1
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh--women of Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon, as well as Hittite women.
Sermons
What Happened to SolomonCharles Wesley Naylor1 Kings 11:1
Solomon's SinJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 11:1-8
The Fall of a KingJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 11:1-8
Solomon's FallC. E. E. Appleyard, B. A.1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon's SinMonday Club Sermons1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon's SinH. Crosby, D. D.1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon was a king of men. Not only was he supreme civil ruler of his nation, he was also chief in wisdom and knowledge, and distinguished in the favour of God (Nehemiah 13:26). This moral royalty is open to all. The prize is nobler than that of the most glittering "corruptible crown." From this kingship Solomon fell, though he retained the throne of the nation. The rascal often lurks in the heart that is under an anointed face. Let us consider -

I. THE OCCASION OF THIS DELINQUENCY.

1. Solomon had many wives.

(1) This was an invasion of God's order. That order was exhibited in Eden, when Eve stood singly by the side of Adam. Lamech was the first polygamist (Genesis 4:19). He was, ominously, the fifth in descent from the fratricide Cain.

(2) Moses tolerated polygamy, as he also suffered divorcements, not with approval of these customs, but rather in judgment upon the people for the hardness of their hearts (see Matthew 19:8-9).

(3) This principle will explain many Mosaic ordinations the observance of which was a burdensome yoke, and from which, by the mercy of Christ, we are happily released (Acts 15:10, 11). Note: God's order cannot be invaded with impunity. It is our duty carefully to ascertain it, and faithfully to keep it.

2. His wives were strange women.

(1) Not only were they foreigners, they. were also idolaters. There is no proof that even Pharaoh's daughter was a proselyte. Solomon could have no spiritual sympathy with these without compromising his loyalty to Jehovah.

(2) They were idolaters of those very nations against alliances with which the law of God was express (see ver. 2; Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:8, 4). The sin was therefore most flagrant.

(3) The spirit of this inhibition still binds (see 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14). The reason for it is in the nature of things and must abide. Note: Many a man has had his heart pierced and his head broken by his own rib.

3. David had too many wives.

(1) The example of David may have injuriously influenced Solomon. A large harem may have been a sign of grandeur; but these kings ought to have been superior to such fashions (see Deuteronomy 17:17).

(2) The evils in the examples of good men are especially mischievous, for they are liable to be condoned into harmlessness; the more readily so when to follow them is agreeable to natural inclination.

(3) They are liable to be carried farther. If David had many wives, Solomon had very many. David's wives were chiefly daughters of Israel, but Solomon's were daughters of foreign idolaters. Amongst his 700 wives and 300 concubines, not one was good (see Ecclesiastes 7:28). Note: Good men should be especially watchful over their influence - parents, ministers, Sunday school teachers, professors of religion.

II. THE PROGRESS OF THE EVIL.

1. First the heart is set against the head.

(1) The earliest record here is that Solomon's heart was turned away. His head at first seems to have been clear, as Adam's also was, who, though in the transgression, yet was "not deceived" (1 Timothy 2:14). But his heart, like that of Adam, was fatally susceptible to female influence.

(2) It is a foolish thing in a wise man to trust his head when he gives his heart to evil. "Man at his best is vanity."

2. Then the heart rules the head.

(1) This is the next stage and inevitable. This may be disputed long, but will assert itself in time. Observe well that when Solomon was "old" he so far yielded to the influence of his wives as to encourage and join in their idolatry.

(2) Probably his vices made him prematurely old. Calmer supposes him to have been eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned forty years (ver. 42). Thus he could be only fifty-eight at his death.

3. Finally the wise man becomes a fool.

(1) Behold this wisest of men trying to solve the impossible problem of serving Jehovah and Ashtaroth! He went not fully after the Lord his God as did David his father.

(2) David indeed fell into grievous sin, but his offence was more directly against man; indirectly against God. Even then the offence as against God was the venom of his crimes (Psalm 51:4). But the sin of Solomon was against God directly. Note: Offences against society are denounced without mercy by men, while the mental rebellion of the unbeliever against God is even glorified as "honest doubt!" but the Bible is explicit that "He that believeth not shall be damned."

(3) Behold this wise man further building a temple to Molech, the murderer, the devil, on the Mount of Olives, over against the temple of the Lord, the glorious work of his royal youth! Could folly go farther?

(4) The mischief of Solomon's idolatry remained to the times of Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:13). Who can say that it terminated even then? Eternity will declare. - M.







But King Solomon loved many strange women.
Monday Club Sermons.
A few years ago two paintings were exhibited in this country, which attracted wide attention. One of them represented Rome in the height of her splendour, and the other in the depths of her decay. The contrast was melancholy and instructive. One could not repress the question as he turned from one scene to the other, What led to this mighty change? It was the old story, which every great nation thus far in history has illustrated sooner or later, that of a secret, slow-moving moral decay, preceding and occasioning social upheaval and ruin. We might fancy that a similar picture might be drawn between two periods in the history of Israel — one, that of the latter part of Solomon's reign, when there was an unsurpassed wealth and glory and power in the holy city; and the other, only a few years later, when the kingdom was rent and the sceptre had departed.

I. SOLOMON'S SIN. This was no ordinary transgression of an ordinary evil-doer. It was not the general unworthiness of his life — an unworthiness that pertains to every child of Adam. It was a distinct thing. It had an historical character — Solomon's sin. We now ask briefly in what did it consist?

1. It was not, primarily, sensuality. That was only the outworking of an inner and far deeper evil. The simple and honest historian tells us that he loved many strange women, thus breaking an explicit command to the chosen people. Now the ultimate evil against which Moses was led to legislate in this particular was not polygamy nor licentiousness, but the idolatry which the foreigner would inevitably introduce. Among these women he found an intellectual stimulus and gratification. They were more brilliant than Jewish maidens, and their culture was a distinct and attractive element in the royal pursuit of "wisdom." For in that great experiment of life Solomon commanded the most costly and varied forms of pleasure and of learning. All the world — all there was in man — was made tributary to the object held up in view.

2. Nor was it pure and simple idolatry. That also was a symptom of inner disorder and weakness. It was like polygamy, a form only of heart-wandering from God. He built high places for his wives, which burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. There is not the slightest evidence that he ever abandoned the worship of Jehovah, or set up images of him as Jeroboam did, or that he ever lost faith in Jehovah as the one and only true God. But his heart was not perfect; and this was the sin beneath his sensuality and idolatry. He began to waver by tolerating the false religions of his wives. He was liberalised in religion. If people were only sincere, he may have said, no matter what they worship. If they live up to their light, it is well enough without letting in more light. Who knows absolute truth? Who can say, "Thus saith the Lord"? Who, thought this king, sets himself up to say that there is only one narrow way of life? The religious world of to-day finds its most subtle and powerful temptation in the general revolt against restraint and constraint. It takes now one form and now another. It comes as a protest against what is called narrowness, even in construing the terms of the gospel upon which men enter into life. The world has always seen the insolence of greatness against the law of God. It sees now the same insolence under cover of the grace of God. But whatever we may discover in science or art, whatever gains we may make in the domain of reason, there can be nothing essentially new in the way of life by Jesus Christ. The data of theology are all furnished, and have been for ages. The path of life is just as narrow and just as broad as ever. God demands the whole heart, because anything less is nothing at all to Him. Half even of Solomon's great soul is worthless in the kingdom of heaven.

II. SOLOMON'S PUNISHMENT. We observe at once that it was of a character to be peculiarly felt by one of his great endowments and brilliant opportunities. It came very slowly In the first place, although we do not find it here recorded, he lived long enough to see that his splendid experiment in life had been a miserable failure. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, was his sad verdict. His "world" passed away and the lust of it. He ceased to desire. Punishment came in another form. He was unable to transmit the kingdom to his posterity; and such men have an eye to the future, in which their greatness will come to be fully seen and honoured. They are above the narrowest lines of an ignorant selfishness. They would make coming ages tributary to themselves. To Solomon, who had been made acquainted with the mind of God towards Israel, there must have been a profound sorrow in the certainty that his failure carried the nation down with himself. Those in authority hold a peculiar place in the divine economy, because their defections entail such widespread disasters. Hence God rightly exacts extraordinary punishments of them.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

Solomon had come to the throne of the most important kingdom then on the earth at the youthful age of twenty. Proud of his sublime eminence and flattered by the obsequious attentions of foreign nations, he formed matrimonial alliances with the royal families of them all until a harem of seven hundred wives disgraced the Holy City. These heathen wives required their heathen chapels and chaplains, and the complaisant king surrounded Jerusalem with temples for the enactment of pagan idolatries. To the king, prematurely old, at length comes the prophetic voice declaring the wrath of Jehovah upon the apostate kingdom, the doom, however, softened in two particulars for the sake of David, who, though long dead, still benefited the land by the effects of his piety. The rending of the kingdom from the Solomonian line should not take place till Solomon himself had passed away, and then a remnant (Judah) should remain with the regular succession.

I. A LIFE OF LUXURY IS PERILOUS TO THE SOUL. God intended man to labour even when he was in Paradise. The idler is practically opposing a fundamental law of the Most High. An abundance of wealth tempts a man to a life of pleasure, which is selfish idleness, and when official power is added to the wealth the flood-gates of sin are opened in the soul in almost all cases. He who, if busy in an honest trade or profession, would readily throw off the approaches of gross sin by his preoccupation. Solomon was a luxurious idler. He was not a statesman busying himself for the good of his country. The young man who has independent resources is in a very hazardous position. He is tempted to play the Solomon on his own small scale. The sin, however, is just as great, and the ruin as profound. He seeks associates who will amuse him, and, instead of growing in spiritual wisdom and strength, he descends rapidly to the plane of stupid carnality.

II. THE WAY OF WICKEDNESS IS A STEEP DESCENT. Solomon found the step from Pharaoh's daughter to Pharaoh's god a very easy one. Youth flatters itself with an idea of its own strength, and plans a descent into sin only a short distance, when it will return and walk in the path of righteousness. It is the silly bird caught in the fowler's net. Association with evil blunts the perception of the evil, and the young man is soon found apologising for the wickedness he formerly condemned.

III. THE WRATH OF GOD IS A DREAD REALITY. Men of loose life love to harp on the truth that God is love, and then interpret love as amiable weakness. It was the Divine anger with Solomon and his corrupted people which rent Israel asunder and raised up formidable foes to destroy the prosperity of the land. Our text is perfectly plain on that head

IV. THE SOURCE OF THE FALSE LIFE IS IN THE FALSE HEART. Solomon's heart was not perfect with the Lord God. The word "perfect" here is not to be understood as referring to the character, but to the motive and intent. A perfect character never existed on earth since man fell, except the Lord Jesus. Solomon s religion was a political and fashionable affair. A heart devoted to God had nothing to do with it. He would pay outward respect to the religion of the land, but with the grand liberality of a worldly heart he would be so broad in his views and so free in his charity as to welcome all religious into his realm and capital. It is simply the heart that is not perfect with God pursuing its course of nature. It is the heart that can indulge in sin to any extent, and yet speak eloquently on universal love and the excellent glory of humanity in general. The so-called philosophy of the day is brimful of it, destroying the idea of the personality of God in order that it may make room for a universal righteousness, sin being eliminated as an old wife's fable. It is the religion that is lauded on the stage by depraved men and women, because it finds no fault with their defilement. This is the Solomonian religion, which is set over against the Davidic religion in our text.

(H. Crosby, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF SOLOMON'S FALL.

1. It was gradual. No man becomes wholly abandoned or altogether depraved at once; formation of character is, both in its construction and destruction, a gradual process.

(1)Because of the power of conscience.

(2)Because the Spirit strives.

(3)Because the Mediator pleads, "Let it alone this year also."

(4)Because a warning is oftentimes given.

2. It was sure. From bad to worse, like a stone rolling down a hill.

II. THE CAUSES OF SOLOMON'S FALL.

1. The mixing of self-interest with God's service. He chose wives from nations with whom God had forbidden His people to intermarry; hence contagion from such a bad example.

2. The union of piety and superstition.

III. THE CONSEQUENCES OF SOLOMON'S FALL.

1. It brought down God s displeasure.

2. It brought ruin on his kingdom. Even the sins of obscure men pass in their effects beyond the power of their perpetrators (as no man liveth, no man dieth, so no man sinneth to himself) but how much more the sins of the great ones of the earth!

IV. THE LESSONS OF SOLOMON'S FALL.

1. Great opportunities bring great responsibilities, and such cannot be neglected with impunity.

2. Riches hinder access into the kingdom of God. Wealth applied to selfish ends carries no blessing, but hardens the heart and causes it to lose its hold upon God.

(C. E. E. Appleyard, B. A.)

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