What in the world was Solomon thinking? That’s the first thing I ask myself when reading 1 Kings 11. Verse 2 repeats Exodus 34:16 “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” This is concerning women of different religions and outside of his first marriage. One verse later (v. 3) it then says Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (prostitutes). Solomon didn’t just cross the clear line God gave regarding the covenant of marriage between one man and woman, but instead bulldozed past that line.
In the passages following verse 3 we see how this was a great evil in the eyes of the Lord and led to the false worship of those other women’s false gods. Not just for Solomon but for God’s people who he influenced. We see how wide and far these consequences effect the kingdom in this chapter and sadly it’s part of his legacy as he passes at the end of this chapter.
This is especially relevant for us today as we see how tempting it is for husbands and wives to break their marital covenants between God and each other. We may even justify it by saying the “wisest” king in the Bible had 699 and 300 more affairs than my one, tryst but the consequences are the same and the legacy we can leave is similar. In fact, Russell Moore (President of ERLC) recently said that a wise pastor friend of his told his congregation concerning adultery: “Jesus will forgive you. Your wife might. Your children will not.” This is not going to be Gospel truth for every circumstance but we get the point when we read about the consequences of Solomon’s affairs and even think about others today.
May this be a warning from God to fight against temptation and to not put our selves in the places where those desires and opportunities meet. God is faithful in His covenant with us and gives us hope as we see the fruit from that faithfulness. We can give that same security and peace to our spouses and children that we receive when reflecting on His promise-keeping covenantal love with us.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor