Through the Bible Day by Day
But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
A HEART TURNED AWAY FROM GOD
The practice of mixed marriages was in direct violation of the divine Law, Deu_7:3-4, and it led to idolatry. All around the Holy City arose heathen temples. It seems almost incredible that Solomon should have lent himself to such unblushing patronage of idolatry. His sin was aggravated by the great privileges he had enjoyed, 1Ki_11:9, and there was no escape from chastisement, 2Sa_7:14. The more privileged we are, the more disastrous our fall, and the more inevitable the penalty. If God loved us less, He might be more sparing of the rod. We are often punished with the rod of men, that is, we suffer at their hands; but God does not cease to love us. The father will listen at the door of the room of the child whom he has been compelled to chastise to detect the first sign of broken-hearted grief.
It is sad to witness the break-up of a noble ship. Listen to the boom of the successive waves: “His heart was not perfect”… “Did that which was evil”… “The Lord was angry”… “Behold, I will rend the kingdom.” But out of loving regard to David’s memory, one tribe was left. See 1Ki_11:12; 1Ki_11:32; 1Ki_11:34; 1Ki_11:38-39. Your children’s children will benefit as the result of your consecrated life. God will not forget.
BREAKING THREE COMMANDMENTS
1Ki_21:1-29; 1Ki_1:1-53; 1Ki_2:1-46; 1Ki_3:1-28; 1Ki_4:1-34; 1Ki_5:1-18; 1Ki_6:1-38; 1Ki_7:1-51; 1Ki_8:1-66; 1Ki_9:1-28; 1Ki_10:1-29; 1Ki_11:1-43; 1Ki_12:1-33; 1Ki_13:1-34; 1Ki_14:1-31; 1Ki_15:1-34; 1Ki_16:1-34
From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Lev_25:23; Num_36:7; Eze_46:18.
Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2Ki_9:26. The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Rev_6:9-10.
And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.
ADVERSARIES OF THE RECREANT KING
Two of the instruments of Solomon’s chastisement are enumerated in this paragraph.
First, Hadad, the Edomite, 1Ki_11:14-22. Notice the importance of a little child. All the male representatives of the royal family of Edom had perished; but in this child, the line was preserved and perpetuated, to be, through long years, a formidable menace to Israel. Never neglect a little child. You never know what good or ill may be hidden in a tiny bud-an Ingersoll or a Garfield, a Paine or a Wilberforce. Mark in this man Hadad the trace of those strange impulses which determine destiny. He could not assign the reason that led him to leave Egypt, but he knew he must go, 1Ki_11:22. Thus migratory birds feel the call of southern lands.
Second, Rezon, also, hated Israel, 1Ki_11:23-25. It is an awful thing when such hatred arises between two peoples. We as Christians must use all our power to arrest and allay it. Only love and good-will can guarantee a lasting peace. It was by these two human “rods” that God chastened Solomon. Let us live in such conformity to His will that he may not need to chasten us as individuals or as a nation. “Our God is a consuming fire!”
And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.
THE KINGDOM PROMISED TO HIS SERVANT
The opening chapters of Jeroboam’s life were very promising. He sprang from the ranks of the toilers, but his business talent attracted the notice of Solomon, who set him over the forced labor which was levied from the great tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, Whether Jeroboam had entertained the prospect of rulership before the prophet met him, we cannot tell, but after that interview his whole life was altered. And if only he had observed the injunction of 1Ki_11:38, he might have lifted Israel to a level of prosperity and glory that would have blessed the world. But, alas! he sinned, and made Israel to sin- 1Ki_12:30; 1Ki_13:34; 1Ki_14:16; 1Ki_16:2; 1Ki_16:9; 1Ki_16:26, etc.
When God has given you your place, do not devise things out of your own heart, in order to retain it, 1Ki_12:33. The plans that Jeroboam laid to secure the stability of his throne led to its undoing, and covered his name with undying infamy. “Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land.” “Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” “Thou maintainest my lot.” Let those who feel compelled to do wrong in order to keep their business or position, dare to stand with God against the temptation. He will honor those who honor Him, 2Sa_2:30.
And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
THE WISE KING’S FOOLISH SON
Solomon’s reign had been splendid but very oppressive, and it was reasonable to ask for some relief. The people felt that the accession of the new king gave them their opportunity, and apparently they took the first step in this momentous crisis. We are expressly told that Rehoboam came to Shechem. If this mighty gathering had been called by himself or his court, the people would have had to come to him at Jerusalem. Here was the muttering of the rising storm.
There was much wisdom in the counsel of the older men: “Serve them… then they will be thy servants forever,” This principle underlay the sacrifice of Calvary. “Thou art worthy to take the book, for thou wast slain,” Rev_5:9. It is because Jesus girded Himself with humility and washed our sins in His own precious blood, that He has ascended to the throne, not only of God, but of our hearts and lives. And He has taught us, that whosoever would become great must begin by being the servant of all. The proud and lofty in this world are served often enough with the eye-service that gives superficial obedience for wages and rewards, Eph_6:6, but what is this compared with that which is yielded by gratitude and love!