Solomon wrote the Proverbs at the end of his kingship. The good thing is, he did learn from his many mistakes. Polygamy had caused his father David no end of trouble, but Solomon took wives from heathen lands and that was deliberate disobedience towards God’s law and principles concerning the law of Israel.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife? 21 For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. 22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. 23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.
20 My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, 24 keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. – Proverbs 5:20–23 and 6:20–24
What was the cause of this repeated sin? Solomon’s heart was not right with God (11:4). God wanted “integrity of heart,” but Solomon had a divided heart—he loved the world as he tried to serve God. The man who built the temple to the one true God of Israel should worship at heathen altars. God was angry. He sent several disciplines to bring Solomon back into faith. But his heart did not turn—it got worse.
The warning message (vv. 1–13) God threatened to take the kingdom away from Solomon—but this warning apparently had no affect. If a person will not listen to the Word, then the Lord has to take even more drastic measures.
An invasion by Edom (vv. 14–22) Solomon’s “kingdom of rest” is now upset by war. Solomon’s alliances with Pharaoh were not accomplishing much, because Egypt turned out to be an ally with the Edomites.
James 4 gives the spiritual explanation for this:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?
Trouble from Rezon (vv. 23–25)
This band of warriors harassed Solomon’s borders for many years. The apostate king was losing ground rapidly.
Competition from Jeroboam (vv. 26–43)
Solomon had promoted Jeroboam into a good position within his kingdom because of his bravery and industry. But God chose this young man to be the king over ten tribes. The tribe of Judah would remain out of his hand along with “little Benjamin” (12:21). When Solomon heard that he had a rival, he tried to kill him. Now Solomon was trying to kill the Lord’s newly appointed king.
The people were complaining of being under the heavy taxes and forced labor programs of Solomon (12:6–11). In fact, Adoram, who was in charge of the “public works” was stoned by the people (12:18).
Solomon’s death left his son Rehoboam to reign in his place. Had Solomon remained true to the Lord, his later years would have been filled with blessing and victory instead of chastening and defeat. He left to his son the problem of winning back the love of the people and lifting the heavy tax burdens that were a part of Solomon wealth.
1 Kings 11:9-43
The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Forbidden to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon,
“Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Solomon Makes Adversaries
The Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom… While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go, that I may return to my own country.”
“What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?” Pharaoh asked.
“Nothing,” Hadad replied, “but do let me go!”
And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah. He gathered men around him and became the leader of a band of rebels when David destroyed the forcesa of Zobah; the rebels went to Damascus, where they settled and took control. Rezon was Israel’s adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.
Jeroboam Rebels Against Solomon
Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.
Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph.
About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam,
“Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:
‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.
“ ‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who observed my commands and statutes. I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.’ ”
Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death… Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
PSALM 89: 35-52