Shall we turn to I Kings, chapter nine.
And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon (9:1-2).
When Solomon began his reign, the Lord appeared unto him, told Solomon to ask what he might want the Lord to do for him. Solomon requested that the Lord might grant to him wisdom. “I’m a young person, I’m a novice, I don’t know how to govern your people. God give me wisdom, to govern your people.” God was pleased with his request, told him He would not only give him wisdom, but would give him riches, and victory over his enemies. And the Lord then spoke to him concerning his commitment. “If you will remain true and faithful, then I will establish your kingdom, as I promised to David.” God spoke to Solomon concerning that commitment.
Now, Solomon has been engaged in building projects. The temple is complete, his beautiful palace is complete. A lot of times when a person is in the midst of major projects, you’re so pressed for time, you’re so busy, that uh, you’re just caught in the whole momentum of what’s going on. But many times, at the completion of a project, there’s sort of a let down. “It’s all done. What am I gonna do now?” These times of let down, can sometimes actually be times of depression. Alexander the Great, when he had conquered the world, sat down and cried, “There’s nothing else to conquer. You know, what am I gonna do”. He was depressed.
Solomon came to him the second time. A fresh visitation. I mean God came to Solomon the second time. It was a fresh visitation from God. And God again, and it could be that Solomon was everything was finished, he’d done all he’s desired, and it could be that Solomon was beginning to show signs of what further, what happened further in his life, in turning away from God, and the Lord appeared to him a second time. This time it’s pretty much a warning. First of all God says that He’s gonna answer his prayers. But then God definitely warns him, concerning apostasy, and gives to him the conditional promises of maintaining of his kingdom. “So he appeared unto him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.”
And the Lord said unto him, I have heard your prayer and your supplication, that you have made before me: [And this is no doubt reference to the prayer at the dedication of the temple.] Because [he said] I have hallowed this house, which you have built, [That’s basically what Solomon prayed. “Lord, the heaven of heavens cannot contain you. How much less this house that we have built”. And yet, “Lord set your name in this place. Let the people meet you here.” So God said, “I’ve hallowed the house which you have built”,] to put my name there for ever; [And then the Lord said,] my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually (9:3).
In his prayer, he said to the Lord, “Hearken to the supplications of your servant”, and he asked, “that the eyes of the Lord be on this place”. So the Lord responds, “Not only my eyes, but my heart will be towards this place”. Now the Lord warns him.
If you will walk before me, as David your father, in the integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep my statutes and my judgements: Then I will establish the throne of your kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David your father, saying, There shall not fail of thee a man upon the throne of Israel (9:4-5).
So here is the conditional promise. It’s conditioned upon Solomon keeping God’s covenant. Keeping God’s word, the commandments, His statutes, His judgements, as did David his father. Now, David as we all realize was far from a perfect person, as far as sinlessness is concerned. David did sin. Yet David never was involved in idolatry. He never went after other gods. He remained true and faithful in his commitment unto Jehovah. There was never any inkling in David, of turning after other gods. He remained faithful and true to Jehovah, even though there was personal failure, there was that overall commitment to Jehovah.
We, as Christians, at times experience personal failure in our walk, but there is that overall commitment of faith in Jesus Christ. Though we may have times where we stumble, where we fall into sin, underneath, basically the foundation underneath, is a commitment and a faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t turn our backs upon Him. We don’t turn away from our faith in Him. It’s a failure of our flesh, it’s a weakness. But not the turning away, not the apostatizing. But the Lord warns him…
But if you shall at all turn from following me, or your children, and they don not keep the commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but they go and serve other gods, and worship them: [So the apostatizing is what God is warning about. Turning to other gods.] Then I will cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, I will cast out of my sight; and Israel shall become a proverb and a byword among all people (9:6-7):
So it is a conditional promise of God. “Do my commandments, follow my statutes, serve me, and I will establish your kingdom for ever. But if you, or your children turn away from me, begin to worship other gods, then I will turn away from you. This house that I have hallowed will become desolate. You’ll be scattered into the other nations, where you’ll become a byword, a proverb.” Now tragically, as we read history, and as we read on in a couple of chapters, we find that the many wives of Solomon turned his heart away from the Lord. He began to build altars, and shrines and all, for the other gods, right there in Jerusalem. Solomon did this! After the warning of God.
Again let me say, whenever God warns you about something, pay attention. We so often feel that the warnings of God are not necessary. “Lord, thank you, I appreciate your thinking about me, but no problem there Lord. That’s wired, you know I’ve got that all under control.” Watch out! That’s the very area where you’re gonna be slipping up. God does not warn us needlessly. So it is wise to pay attention, when God is speaking to you about an issue. Even though you may not think that it’s important or necessary, listen. Be obedient, because He does not warn unnecessarily.
“Israel shall become a proverb, and a byword.” And for years, the Jews, have become a proverb and a byword. God warned this in Deuteronomy, He spoke of it again through the prophet, and you hear of the anti-Semitism. There are people who just hate Jews, because they’re Jews. I mean they’re, it’s, it’s, terrible, but there’s just all kinds of bitterness and hatred against them, as a race, by people. Very bigoted, and opposed to the Jews, and they say, “The dirty Jews”, and they’ve become, just a byword. It’s all a part of what God said would happen, if they would turn to other gods, which unfortunately they did.
And at this house, which is high, every one that passes by it shall be astonished, and they will hiss; and they will say, Why has the Lord done this unto this land, and to this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook Jehovah their God, who brought [them, brought] forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and they have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshiped them, and served them: therefore hath Jehovah brought upon them all this evil (9:8-9).
Isn’t it interesting, how that we blame God for every calamity that comes along. Even though we have so many times turned our backs on God. Turned away from Him, walked after our own flesh. Then when something tragic comes along, say, “Why would God allow this to happen?”, you know. “How could a God of love do that to me?”. You know, so God said, “When they see this temple that’s so beautiful and high, when they come by it and they see it in desolation, they’re gonna hiss at the thing, and then say, ‘Why would Jehovah allow that to happen?’.” The answer is because the people turned their backs upon Him. They worshiped and served other gods.
So it came to pass at the end of twenty years [And now as we get into the rest of this chapter, it’s going to give us a little bit of the background of, of all of the wealth of Solomon, and how he came by all of this wealth. So, “At the end of the twenty years”, he reigned for forty years, so this is midway through his reign,] when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all that he desired,) and then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they did not please him. And he said, What cities are these which you have given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day (9:10-13).
Which means, they think “displeasing”, it, we don’t, they don’t know exactly what the word Cabul means, but it is thought that it might mean, displeasing. In other words, they were little villages. Cabul, and there is a village of Cabul to the present day, it’s about eight miles east of Acco. Now some of our young people here, served on kibbutz, which is, I forget the name of the kibbutz right off hand, but it’s just in the area of Cabul. Those that served up on that particular kibbutz. It’s just, just about where Cabul sits.
Hiram wasn’t pleased with it. He, twenty of these little villages, but he probably wanted Acco, uh the Phoenicians of course, were sailors, they had that great port city of Tyre, and uh Acco, was another important port city. He probably was wanting Acco. The area of the villages in the upper Galilee, is rather mountainous, it’s rocky, it’s not very valuable. So, he came out and saw it, and felt that he got a bad deal.
And Hiram sent the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold. [Now, the, the amount of the talent of gold, is a number that is estimated by different commentators, a different value. But it is generally thought to be about a million, two hundred and eighty thousand dollars would be a hundred and twenty talents of gold.] And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, [Now Millo is a, the temple mount, there in Jerusalem. It means actually, a uh, built up place, or a covered over place. So it is thought that he first of all, filled in portions of the Tyropian valley. In Jerusalem today, the city, uh the area of the Tyropian valley is where the western wall is, and the Jews go to pray at the western wall. There at the western wall, the pavement that is there is some sixty feet above the bedrock. Under the pavement of the western wall, there is sixty feet of debris. And this debris was covered over, and it was debris that was dumped in the Tyropian valley, so that you wouldn’t have to go way down into the valley, and come up to the temple. There were also bridges that were built across the Tyropian valley, during the time of Herod, in order that the people that came from the upper city, could come directly across to the temple mount, without going way down into the Tyropian valley. It’s also called the valley of the cheese makers. This valley separated the upper city of Jerusalem from the temple mount area, or mount Zion, from mount Moriah. They were separated by this valley, which today, you would hardly know that it is there, because it’s been filled up with debris, and covered up with pavement. If you will go inside, next to the western wall, you can look down a shaft, and you can look sixty feet down the shaft, and see where they have excavated on down, next to the wall. The wall actually goes on down sixty feet there, and you look at the, at the bottom, sixty feet below. It’s all been filled with debris, and covered over. It is thought that Millo is perhaps the piling up in the Tyropian valley, and also the building up of the temple mount, by Solomon, in order that there might be a large flat area, there at the temple so that when the thousands of Jews would come for their holy days, they would have a place to assemble, on the temple mount. That the entire temple mount was not built by Herod, but he actually followed more or less, the pattern that Solomon had established.
That is known as Millo.] and also the wall of Jerusalem, [So these are part of the buildings of Solomon, the taxes were to build these things.] the city of Hazor, [Going up out of the sea of Galilee, into the upper Galilee region, towards uh, Dan. As you come up out of Galilee, you come to this city of Hazor, which today of course, is just ruins. It’s a very important city in the ancient world, in that one of the major uh, entrances to Israel, from the north. They would have to come through that area. So, Hazor was always an important city, and was a fortified city. Solomon built the walls, and the um, fortification of Hazor. Now, the interesting thing,] also Megiddo, [Megiddo of course, is in the valley that will be famous. The valley of Megiddo, Armageddon, the war to be fought there. Now, the interesting thing, when you go to Hazor, and you go to Megiddo, you can see the gates that Solomon built. They are the same style. He had a particular style of gates that he built, so when you find this particular style of gate, you know that it goes back to the Solomonic period, and was built by Solomon. It’s interesting, you read of him building these cities, and fortifying these cities, and you can go today, and still see uh, these fortifications, the remains, the ruins, and the fortifications of the city that were built by Solomon.] and also Gezer (9:14-15).
Which is in the southern part, and protected the area coming up from Egypt. Now, he received Gezer in an interesting way.
For Pharaoh the king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, [Now, he had married the Pharaoh’s daughter, and so the Pharaoh took this city, which was a Philistine city.] he burnt it with fire, and he had slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and then he gave it as a present to his daughter, who was Solomon’s wife. [And so,] Solomon [fortified and,] built the city of Gezer, and Bethhoron the lower city, [Of Bethhoron. There are two Bethhorons, the upper and the lower. The nether, means the lower, and the lower was, more or less, in the valley. The upper was above it on a uh, the hillside there.] And also Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness in the land (9:16-18),
[Now these,] And all of the cities of storage that Solomon had, the cities for his chariots, the cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all of the land of his dominion. [So Solomon, had really developed the land, built all of these cities to store the goods. The cities for fortifications, the protection of the land.] And all of the people that were left in the land the Amorites, the Hittites, Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel were also not able to utterly destroy, he levied a tribute [or a tax,] that they became bondservants (9:19-21).
So you read of his having thirty thousand slaves, that he spent ten thousand a month, and then the eighty thousand, and these were a portion of the slaves that he used, in this slave labor, in building all of these cities.
But the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were the men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and the rulers of his chariots and his horsemen. These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work. [So he really had the thing organized, and set out in a very efficient manner.] But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: and then did he build Millo (9:22-24).
Now she probably was living in David’s palace, which was down the hill, called Offal, the city of David, and Solomon was building the upper area of the city, her house up there, and it was near the temple. In fact, Solomon’s house was adjacent, also to the temple, so, she moved on into her place.
And three times in a year did Solomon offer the burnt offerings, and the peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house. [The three times was no doubt, the three major feasts of passover, Pentecost, and tabernacle.] And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, [This is down in the gulf of Aqaba. The area of Elat, today.] which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. [So down there in the gulf of Aqaba, he began to build a navy.] And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, who were midshipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. [So, the Phoenicians of course were famous for their navy, in the ancient world. Hiram sent some of these skilled sailors down to train Solomon’s men, in seamanship.] And they came to Ophir, [Whether Ophir was in Arabia, the area of Yemen, or in India, is a matter of argument, among the theologians. We’ll let them argue, and we just say we don’t know.] and he brought from there gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon (9:25-28).
And then the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, and she came to prove him with hard questions (10:1).
She heard that this guy is so wise, this guy just can answer anything. So she came with these hard questions. Now Sheba, could be in Arabia, or there are those who say it was in Ethiopia. That she came from Ethiopia. She did come from a long way. Jesus made mention of her long journey. That, “The queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon, is here”, He said. There are stories that the Ethiopians, declare, they, they say that in sending her away with all that she desired, that, that also included a child. In other words that she became pregnant by Solomon, and that, that child became the king of Ethiopia. The Haile Selassie, who was the last to rule in that border, was the, according to their claim, a direct descendant of Solomon. He calls, of course, himself, the lion of the tribe of Judah. Haile Selassie, who was the king over Ethiopia, prior to the communist overthrow of the monarchy there. But they, they acclaim that they can trace it all the way back. That monarchy, all the way back to Solomon. Which is interesting.
She came to Jerusalem with a very great company, [Probably part of her army.] with camels that bare spices, very much gold, precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all of her questions: and there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. [He was able to answer all of these questions.] And when the queen of Sheba had seen all of Solomon’s wisdom, and this house that he had built, And the meat of his table [Now you remember the meat of his table, each day it was ten prime beef, twenty commercial beef, a hundred sheep, and all. Man when she saw you know the food that they prepared for this guy’s table!] the attendance of the servants, [The way you know, they serve, the orderliness.] and their apparel, [Probably dressed very fancy. Remember Jesus talked about the lilies of the field, how they grow, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not you know, dressed as beautiful as one of these, but no doubt a lot of fame about the glorious garments, and all that were worn.] the cup bearers, his ascent by the which he went up to the house of God; [The way he came to the house of God, and the worship there.] there was no more spirit in her (10:2-5).
She was wiped out!
And she said to the king, It is a true report that I heard in my own land of all of your acts and of all of your wisdom. Howbeit I did not believe the words until I came, and my eyes have seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: of your wisdom and prosperity it exceeds the fame which I heard (10:6-7).
Now, the fame, or what she heard, was probably the stories of the sailors, who were going out and gathering all of the gold, and all for Solomon, as they were sailing through the area of the Red sea, and on over towards India and all. They probably wherever they went were telling of the glory, and of the wisdom, and all, of Solomon. So the fame of Solomon spread. She, she heard, she was curious, she came to see if this were all true. When she saw the whole thing, she said, “Wow! It is true, only they didn’t tell the half of it!”, and just the glory of Solomon’s kingdom. And then she said…
Happy are the men, [are your men] happy are these your servants, which stand continually before you, and that hear your wisdom. [“Oh how happy are these people.” And then,] Blessed be Jehovah your God, which delighted in you, to set you on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore he made you king, to do judgement and justice. [And so, her declaration, “How happy are these that have the privilege of just being here, standing before you, and listening to your wisdom! Oh how blessed is God. He must love those people tremendously, making you the king over them!”] And so she gave to the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices a very great store, and precious stones: and there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon (10:8-10).
She gave to him these marvelous gifts.
And the navy also of Hiram, that brought the gold from Ophir, brought it in from Ophir great number of these almug trees, and precious stones. [Just what the almug tree is again, is a matter of discussion among the scholars. But it was a wood that was good for musical instruments, and we find that they made out of these, harps and psalteries. So, these musical instruments were made of this.] precious stones. The king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and harps and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were there seen unto this day (10:11-12).
I mean these were primo, you know they were just great trees, whatever kind they were!
And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, [And that’s where they say that, that included a child.] whatsoever she asked, and beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year [And that is probably one of the years that the navy brought in their gold from Ophir. The weight in just one year that they brought in,] was six hundred and sixty six talents, [An interesting number indeed! Probably not coincidental.] And beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all of the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went into one target. He made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went into one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon (10:13-17).
Now, the king’s house, you remember, when he built his palace, he used forty five pillars. These huge cedars, pillars, and so his house was called, uh the forest of Lebanon. Walking in, you’d think you were in a forest! All of these big cedars that were used for the pillars, forty five of them. So, when you read there concerning the forest of Lebanon, that is a reference to the palace that he had built. So, these golden shields and all, were made and placed there in the house, the targets.
Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, [And this of course, is something that is fabled. You read about it in some of the historians, Josephus mentions it.] he overlaid this ivory throne with the best gold. And the throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind it: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and there were two lions that stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: and there was not the like made in any kingdom (10:18-20).
I mean a fancy throne, ivory, overlaid with gold, with these two stays next to the throne, ivory overlaid with gold, with these two stays next to the throne, this round part behind it. And these lions, and then on each of the steps, probably a total of fourteen lions. Again, theologians argue over the craziest thing, whether or not there were twelve, or fourteen lions altogether. The two on top, did they constitute part of those you know, those poor guys, they don’t have anything better to, what difference does it make?
And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, all of the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon [The forest of Lebanon being his palace again.] were of pure gold; and none of them were of silver: because it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon (10:21).
“Silver?”, yeah that’s plebeian, it’s silverware, “my”, you know. He had the whole thing of gold, because it says, “He made silver as common as the rocks in Jerusalem”. Ever been to Jerusalem, you know how many rocks there are. Silver was as common as rocks.
For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish [Now, a second navy. First navy, plied the areas towards India. Brought back all of the gold, the spices from that area. The second navy plied the Mediterranean. Tarshish was thought to be in Spain, possibly as far as England. So plying the area of the Mediterranean, going to Africa, Spain, perhaps even as far as England.] Once in three years they would make their circuit. [It’d take them three years to make their circuit.] and they would bring back gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks (10:22).
So, the luxury, you know and you start. Ah, one sad thing about prosperity is that it does often lead to uh, that kind of luxury that is almost criminal. It’s a sad thing, when people um, don’t have anything better to spend their money on, than fancy birds or something, you know. When there are other people that are really hungry. I mean it’s almost criminal that a person would spend you know a million dollars for a diamond, when people are really suffering. People don’t have a place to live and all, and yet, there are those that live in such luxury. It’s just not right.
So king Solomon exceeded all of the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom (10:23).
Notice here now, what is first. The wisdom became secondary. Now it was God who said, in the beginning he wanted wisdom above everything else. But we see the beginning of the turn in Solomon. Now, the riches became more important than the wisdom. The wisdom became secondary to the riches.
And all of the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, vessels of gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, mules, at a rate year by year. And Solomon gathered together the chariots, the horsemen: and he had a thousand four hundred chariots, twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and the cedars were like the sycamore trees that were in the vale, for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: and king’s merchants and he received the linen yarn at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty: and so for all of the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out of their means (10:24-29).
So the going down to Egypt now. Horse trading and all. Let’s turn back to Deuteronomy, chapter seventeen. Beginning with verse fourteen. Remember this was written about four hundred and fifty years before the reign, rather five hundred and fifty years before the reign of Solomon.
“When you come into the land, which the Lord”, or “Jehovah your God gives you, and you possess it, and dwell there, and shall say, I will set a king over me like all of the nations that are about me. You shall in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord your God shall choose. One from among your brothers shall you set over you. You may not set a stranger over you, which is not your brother. But 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, you 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.”
Solomon failed. just the things that God said the king should not do, are the things that he did. Horse trading in Egypt. Multiplying wives. In the next chapter we read that he had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines. Then he multiplied the gold and the silver. Exactly what God said not to do.
There is some strange perversity in the heart of man, that somehow feels that you can get by, with disobedience. That somehow God’s word doesn’t apply to you, or to your situation. Solomon, with all of his wisdom, came to folly, because he thought that he could get by. Though God had specifically warned of these very things, it is almost as though Deuteronomy was a prophecy, a prediction, of what the kings would do! Surely this must be a temptation for kings, and that’s why God gave the commandments, knowing that this is a particular temptation. You wanted horses, in order that you might have this military strength, so that you can trust in your uh, military power. The gold and the silver. Then the multiplying of wives.
We find in the next chapter, the sad story of the result of Solomon disobeying the commandment of God. Because just what God said would do, did happen. This man who was so wise, that the whole world sought after his wisdom, committed great folly. It led him to a emptiness, and a life that he, by his own confession, felt was just empty and frustrating. Tragic what Solomon did!
King Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, [Zidonites, or,] Zidonians, and the Hittites; And of the nations concerning which the Lord said the children of Israel, You shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in to you: for surely they will turn your heart after their gods: Solomon loved them. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart (11:1-3).
Just exactly what God said would happen. Did happen. There is an old Greek proverb. “The dice of the gods are loaded”, which they are saying, you just can’t go against God and win! God knows what he’s talking about. When God says you’re not to do this, because this is what’ll happen. If you do it, that’s what’s gonna happen! So with Solomon, he went against the word of God, the commandments of God. He turned his back on the commandments of God, and did exactly what God said a king should not do. Just what God foresaw, did take place. Solomon’s heart was turned away from the Lord.
So it came to pass, when he was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. [David was never guilty of, of um, idolatry.] Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, after Milcom [Which is Molech.] the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after [David as, after] Jehovah, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination [Or Chemosh, the abomination,] of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all of his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed to other gods (11:4-8).
So he had all these wives from these other nations, and they all maintained their own worship, of their false gods. Here it was brought right in to Jerusalem. “A high place”, right there before the temple! Tragic, tragic! This is the beginning of the end. So soon, the glory of the kingdom fades.
To me it is tragic that this seems to be the story of history. That when times are tough, people call upon the Lord. They seek the Lord. God blesses them. God loves those who will turn their hearts towards Him, He blesses those who will turn their hearts towards Him. Because of His love, He pours out His blessings, but then tragically, so often when a person is blessed, they lose sight of God. Their material things begin to take a primary position in their life. It begins to crowd the Lord out of their lives. That commitment is no longer there. That devotion is no longer there. Soon, their hearts are turned after other things, and have grown cold towards the Lord. So God takes away His hand of blessing. He takes away His protection, and the people begin to go through great trials. The nation begins to experience real hardship. Then they cry unto the Lord, and they seek God, and there’s a spiritual revival, and a spiritual renewal. As the people seek the Lord, and turn to God, God loves them, begins to bless them, and again they turn away from God. And it’s over, and over, and over, a repeated story of history. That’s why my dad always used to pray, “Lord, never bless me beyond my capacity to contain my love for you. God if you have to keep me poor, to keep me loving, you keep me poor. Don’t bless me so much Lord, that my material things will turn my heart away from you.” Great danger. A very prevalent thing.
So, he did evil in the sight of the Lord, didn’t go fully after the Lord, as David. He built these high places, and his wives were offering their sacrifices unto their gods.
And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from Jehovah the God of Israel, which had appeared to him twice (11:9).
Here, a man that had, had an actual visitation of God, two occasions of his life, and yet he turns away from God.
And had commanded him concerning these very things, [God had given him a warning and commandment.] that he should not go after other gods: but he did not keep that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said to Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of you, and you have not kept the covenant and the statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. [However, or] Notwithstanding in your days I will not do it for David your father’s sake: but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Howbeit I’ll not tear away the whole kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen (11:10-13).
So, there’ll be a division of the kingdom. “I’ll tear away the nation, uh the tribes from you. I’ll leave only one tribe, so there’ll be the southern kingdom with the two tribes, the northern kingdom, with the ten tribes.
And so the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was the king’s seed in Edom. It came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months Joab remained there with all of Israel, until he had cut off every male that was there in Edom:) [But this fellow Hadad, who was just a kid at the time,] He and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, fled to Egypt; he was just a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men and went out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt; which gave him a house, appointed him his food, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen (11:14-19).
So actually, Solomon’s wife’s, sister was given to this fellow Hadad, who had escaped out of Edom unto Egypt.
And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David had slept with his fathers, and Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to my own country. And Pharaoh said unto him, But what have you lacked with me, why do you seek to go back to your own country? [“Man, you’ve got everything here.”] And he answered, Nothing: let me go anyhow (11:20-22).
He, he had that desire to return back to Edom.
And so God stirred him up another adversary, this Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his Lord Hadadezer the king of Zobah. And he gathered men unto him, and they became the captain over the band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt there, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, besides the mischief that Hadad did: and they abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria (11:23-25).
So, guerilla warfare was begun by this fellow, Hadad, and by this other Rezon. They began a guerilla warfare against Solomon. Began to give him real problems.
And then Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was of the tribe of Ephriam, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, [or Zerah] a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon had built this fortress, and he repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. [He repaired the walls and so forth, really fortified the city.] And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, made him ruler over all of the charge of the house of Joseph (11:26-28).
Which was Ephriam and Manasseh.
And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he clad himself with a new garment; and there were two of them alone in the field. [So, when Jeroboam left Jerusalem, Ahijah the prophet came to him. Jeroboam had on a new robe.] And Ahijah took hold of it, and he ripped the thing in twelve pieces: and [he handed two pieces to Jeroboam. I mean ten. He said,] take ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord the God of Israel, Behold, I’m going to tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and I will give ten tribes to you: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all of the tribes of Israel:) Because that they have forsaken me, [And this is the reason. “They have forsaken me”,] and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, Milcom [Or Molech] the god of the children of Ammo, and they have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in my eyes, and to keep my statues and my judgements, as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto you, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant my have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen to put my name there. And I will take you, and you shall reign according to all that your soul desires, and shall be king over Israel. And it shall be, [Now here, God is commissioning Jeroboam. “It shall be”,] if you will hearken unto all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do that which is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and commandments, as David my servant did; then I will be with you, and build you a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto you. And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever (11:29-39).
So Solomon therefore [Hearing what happened to Jeroboam,] sought after Jeroboam to kill him. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, to Shishak the king of Egypt, and was in Egypt till the death of Solomon. And the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned [over Jerusalem] in Jerusalem over all of Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead (11:40-43).
So we come to the end of Solomon’s career. A tragic story indeed. Because here’s the man who had every opportunity in the world. God had blessed him abundantly. Every opportunity God had visited him. Yet, somehow he thought that he could play loosely with the commandments of God. He thought he could violate the rules and get by. He thought that he was above the rules. No one is above the rules, not even Solomon. He found that God was right, as we always find that God is right. God has established the laws for our benefit, for our blessings, for our prosperity. If we violate the laws of God, we do so to our own harm, as did Solomon.
Now, the interesting thing as we move into the next few chapters, this fellow Jeroboam. God gave him a chance. “Here’s what I’m gonna do for you. I’m gonna give you the kingdom, and if you’ll follow after me, I’ll establish…”, and so forth. Jeroboam immediately turned away from God. The moment he gained the power of the northern kingdom, he built altars in Dan, and in Bethel, and he put golden calves on these altars, and he said, “These are the gods that brought you out of Egypt”. And immediately went into idolatry. Thus God cut Jeroboam off, as we will find as we move along and we see completely. Just, God said, “Okay, gonna cut you off cold”.
Oh that we would learn, that we would learn to obey the Lord, and to cleave unto the Lord. Oh that we would learn not to turn after the gods of silver and gold, steel, tin, wood, stone, masonry. That we would not be so taken with the material things, that our heart turns from the Lord. But that we would diligently serve the Lord, and seek the Lord, all of the days of our lives, that it might be well with us. That we might see the goodness of God, as God pours out upon us, His love, and His blessings, as we follow after Him. What important lessons are here for us to learn! God help us to learn them, not to just say, “Yeah that’s right”, and then walk away, and do our own thing. But that we will seek the Lord with all of our heart, and continue to seek the Lord.
As we read this morning in that one Psalm, “If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them. Keep your heart set on the Lord”. Let Him be always first in your life, and you will be blessed, and God will prosper you. And you’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. But you turn your back on God, you forsake the Lord, and you’re gonna suffer. It’s gonna catch up with you. You can’t escape it.
Father, help us. Lord we are so prone, in the weakness of our flesh, to fail even as others. O God, we want that our heart should always be steadfast, unmovable, as we seek the Lord. His will. His way. Lord help us, we pray, to ever be faithful to Your word, to Your covenant. O Lord, we want that our lives should please You, in all things. May Your Holy Spirit, Father, correct us when we go astray. Lord chasten us, whenever necessary, to keep us on your path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.