1 Kings 11:1
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:
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(1-8) The defection of Solomon is distinctly traced to his polygamy, contracting numerous marriages with “strange women.” Polygamy is also attributed to David (see 2Samuel 3:2-5; 2Samuel 15:16), marking perhaps the characteristic temperament of voluptuousness, which seduced him into his great sin; but it was carried out by Solomon on a scale corresponding to the magnificence of his kingdom, and probably had in his case the political object of alliance with neighbouring or tributary kings. We find it inherited by Rehoboam (2Chronicles 11:18-21), and it probably became in different degrees the practice of succeeding kings. Hitherto, while polygamy, as everywhere in the East, had to some degree existed in Israel from patriarchal times, yet it must have been checked by the marriage regulations of the Law. Nor had there yet been the royal magnificence and wealth, under which alone it attains to full development. We have some traces of it in the households of some of the Judges: Gideon (Judges 8:30), Jair (Judges 10:4), Ibzan and Abdon (Judges 12:9; Judges 12:14). Now, however, it became, in spite of the prohibition of the Law (Deuteronomy 17:17), a recognised element of royal self-indulgence—such as is described in Ecclesiastes 2:7-8, and is perhaps traceable even through the beauty of the Song of Solomon. In itself, even without any incidental consequences, it must necessarily be a demoralising power, as sinning against the primeval ordinance of God, and robbing natural relations of their true purity and sacredness. But in actual fact it sinned still more by involving forbidden marriages with idolatrous races, with the often-predicted effect of declension into idolatry.

(1) Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, Hittites.—The first three of these races were kindred to Israel and of the stock of Abraham, and were now among the subjects of Solomon; the last two were of the old Canaanitish stock, and were now inferior allies. To the last alone properly attached the prohibition of the Law (Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4); but the reason on which that prohibition was grounded was now equally applicable to the others; for they also had fallen into the worship of false gods. Hence the extension of it to them, recognised by the Jews after the captivity (Ezra 9:2; Ezra 9:11-12; Nehemiah 13:23-29).

It is to be noted that the marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh is apparently distinguished from these connections, which are so greatly censured, and that there is no mention of the introduction of any Egyptian idolatry.

1 Kings 11:1. King Solomon loved many strange women — It was not a fault in him that he married Pharaoh’s daughter; she being a proselyte, as is generally supposed, to the Jewish religion. But in marrying so many other women besides, he committed two sins against the law; one in multiplying wives, and another in marrying those of strange nations, who still retained their idolatrous religion; which was expressly against the law, as the next verse declares.11:1-8 There is not a more melancholy and astonishing instance of human depravity in the sacred Scriptures, than that here recorded. Solomon became a public worshipper of abominable idols! Probably he by degrees gave way to pride and luxury, and thus lost his relish for true wisdom. Nothing forms in itself a security against the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. Nor will old age cure the heart of any evil propensity. If our sinful passions are not crucified and mortified by the grace of God, they never will die of themselves, but will last even when opportunities to gratify them are taken away. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. We see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace of God; let us therefore live in constant dependence on that grace. Let us watch and be sober: ours is a dangerous warfare, and in an enemy's country, while our worst foes are the traitors in our own hearts.In noticing successively Solomon's excessive accumulation of silver and gold 1 Kings 10:14-25, his multiplication of horses 1 Kings 10:26-29, and his multiplication of wives, the writer has in mind the warning of Moses against these three forms of princely ostentation, all alike forbidden to an Israelite monarch (marginal reference).

Zidonians - i. e., Phoenician women. A tradition states that Solomon married a daughter of Hiram, king of Tyre.


1Ki 11:1-8. Solomon's Wives and Concubines in His Old Age.

1, 2. But King Solomon loved many strange women—Solomon's extraordinary gift of wisdom was not sufficient to preserve him from falling into grievous and fatal errors. A fairer promise of true greatness, a more beautiful picture of juvenile piety, never was seen than that which he exhibited at the commencement of his reign. No sadder, more humiliating, or awful spectacle can be imagined than the besotted apostasy of his old age; and to him may be applied the words of Paul (Ga 3:3), of John (Re 3:17), and of Isaiah (Isa 14:21). A love of the world, a ceaseless round of pleasure, had insensibly corrupted his heart, and produced, for a while at least, a state of mental darkness. The grace of God deserted him; and the son of the pious David—the religiously trained child of Bath-sheba (Pr 31:1-3), and pupil of Nathan, instead of showing the stability of sound principle and mature experience became at last an old and foolish king (Ec 4:13). His fall is traced to his "love of many strange women." Polygamy was tolerated among the ancient Hebrews; and, although in most countries of the East, the generality of men, from convenience and economy, confine themselves to one woman, yet a number of wives is reckoned as an indication of wealth and importance, just as a numerous stud of horses and a grand equipage are among us. The sovereign, of course, wishes to have a more numerous harem than any of his subjects; and the female establishments of many Oriental princes have, both in ancient and modern times, equalled or exceeded that of Solomon's. It is probable, therefore, that, in conformity with Oriental notions, he resorted to it as a piece of state magnificence. But in him it was unpardonable, as it was a direct and outrageous violation of the divine law (De 17:17), and the very result which that statute was ordained to prevent was realized in him. His marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh is not censured either here or elsewhere (see on [311]1Ki 3:1). It was only his love for many strange women; for women, though in the East considered inferiors, exert often a silent but powerful seductive influence over their husbands in the harem, as elsewhere, and so it was exemplified in Solomon.Solomon’s wives and concubines, which in his old age seduce him to idolatry, 1 Kings 11:1-8. God threateneth him, 1 Kings 11:9-13. His adversaries are, Hadad, who fleeth into Egypt, and is entertained there, 1 Kings 11:14-22; Rezon, who reigned in Damascus, 1 Kings 11:23-25; Jeroboam, to whom Ahijah foretelleth that he shall be king: Solomon seeketh his life, 1 Kings 11:26-40. His acts, reign, and death. Rehoboam succeedeth him, 1 Kings 11:41-43.

He loved them inordinately and lustfully, and he sinned against God’s known law, both in their number, Deu 17:17, and in their quality.

But King Solomon loved many strange women,.... His love was a lustful and not a lawful one, and of women who were not only of foreign countries, but not his lawful wives, and these many:

together with the daughter of Pharaoh; besides her, or as he loved her, and perhaps more; his sin was not that he loved her who was his lawful wife, but others with her; it is very probable she was a proselytess, and had no hand in turning him to idolatry, since we read not of any high place built for an Egyptian idol:

women of the Moabites, Anmonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; all of the neighbouring nations. Some think he did this with political views, to get intelligence of the state of those countries, or to abate and extinguish their enmity; but it rather seems to be the fruit of lust or pride.

But king Solomon loved many {a} strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

(a) Who were idolaters.

Chap. 1 Kings 11:1-8. Strange wives turn away Solomon’s heart (Not in Chronicles)

1. Solomon loved many strange women] Where polygamy was common there would be a great temptation to a powerful king to connect himself by marriage with all the nations about him. At the same time a large harem was an element in Oriental pomp. Most of these women were heathen, and their worship would be practised in the harem. In all the nations of antiquity women had special religious observances which they practised without the assistance of the priests. But Solomon built temples for foreign worship. It seems from 1 Kings 11:8 that these were for the women. If this were so they must have come, under attendance no doubt, from the harem to the Temple. In taking Pharaoh’s daughter Solomon had joined to him a mighty but somewhat distant monarch. The other nations mentioned in this verse were close at hand. Edom bordered on the south of Palestine, Moab and Ammon were on the east, and Sidon and the Hittite kingdom on the north. The LXX. (Vat.) adds Syrian and Amorite wives to the number, and incorporates part of 1 Kings 11:3 with this verse.

Of this part of Solomon’s conduct and character no mention is made in the books of the Chronicles.Verse 1. - But [Heb. And. This chapter is a direct continuation of the preceding. LXX. κὰι ὁ βασιλεὺς κ.τ.λ. The polygamy was but a part of his worldliness, like the chariots, gold, etc.] king Solomon loved [The LXX. η΅ν φιλογόνης. is misleading. It is perfectly clear that it cannot have been mere sensuality led to this enormous harem. This is evident from

(1) his time of life. It was "when he was old" - i.e., when passions are not at their strongest - that his wives turned away his heart.

(2) The number - if the numbers are to be trusted - of his wives. A thousand concubines cannot be kept for mere purposes of passion.

(3) The large number of princesses, which shows that the object of this array of mistresses was to enhance his state and renown. As he exceeded other kings in glory, wisdom, and power, so must he excel them not only in armies, chariots, and horses, but also in the number of his wives. It is clear, therefore, that the "lust of the eye" and "the pride of life" had their part in this huge establishment. "The same consideration of state which leads a Western prince or noble to multiply horses, leads an Eastern prince to multiply wives, with often as little personal consideration in the one ease as in the other" (Kitto) ] many [He is blamed for their number. This was against Deuteronomy 17:17] strange [not merely foreign, though that is the primary meaning of the word, but strange as opposed to a lawful wife. Cf. Proverbs 5:20; Proverbs 6:24; Proverbs 7:5, etc. No doubt the harlots in Israel were principally aliens] women, together with [הפּ מאךלךט רךתךארפ ,׃ך׃ך וְאֵת־בַּתאּכּי. (Maurer). Pharaoh's daughter is regarded as his lawful wife] the daughter of Pharaoh [see note on 1 Kings 3:1], women of the Moabites, Ammonites [Heb. Moabitesses, etc. Perhaps these two nations are mentioned first because such alliances as these, though not forbidden in terms by the law, would nevertheless, from its spirit and bearing towards these races, be looked upon with especial disfavour. If the Ammonite or Moabite was not to be received into the congregation until the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:3); if the Israelite was not to seek their peace or prosperity all the days of his life (ver. 6), then the idea of intermarriage with them must have been altogether repugnant to the Hebrew polity, as indeed we may gather from the book of Ruth], Edomites [Favourably distinguished (Deuteronomy 23:7) from the two preceding races. The Edomite was a "brother." His children of the third generation might enter into the congregation], Zidonians [Rawlinson thinks this word lends "some countenance to the tradition recorded by Menander (ap. Clem. Alex. 'Strom.' 1. p. 386), that Solomon married a daughter of Hiram, king of Tyre." But such tradition was sure to arise; the uxorious character of Solomon and his close relations with Hiram are quite sufficient to account for its growth. And a daughter of Hiram would hardly have been passed over without special mention], and Hittites [see on 1 Kings 10:29]. In 1 Kings 10:23-29 everything that had to be stated concerning the wealth, wisdom, and revenue of Solomon is summed up as conclusion (cf. 2 Chronicles 9:22-28 and 2 Chronicles 1:14-17).

1 Kings 10:23-25

1 Kings 10:23, 1 Kings 10:24 point back to 1 Kings 5:9-14. ויּגדּל: Solomon became greater, not was greater, on account of the Vv consec. כּל־הארץ, all the world, corresponds to כּל־העמּים in 1 Kings 5:14. The foreigners out of all lands, who came on account of his wisdom, brought Solomon presents: gold and silver vessels, clothes (שׂלמות, court dresses, which are still customary presents in the East), נשׁק, armour, spices, horses and mules.

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