by Wayne Blank
Solomon's Early Years - Wisdom and Righteousness
After David died, Solomon became king of all Israel at an early age, likely in his teens. Despite his youth and inexperience, he had something going for him that guaranteed his greatness - complete obedience and faithfulness to God:
"And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people whom Thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give Thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this Thy great people?"
The Latter Years - Corruption
Ironically, Solomon's success, or his not keeping it in perspective in relation to the God Who gave it all to him, led to his failure. It was actually more of a slide than a fall - he came to trust in his wealth and political power more than in God, Who made it all possible; his great wealth and diplomatic influence allowed him to collect a harem of 1,000 women from all sorts of nations that The Lord had told the Israelites not to get involved with; his many "wives" led him into worshipping their idols.
Solomon may not have outright rejected the True God, he did continue to worship Him, but he also compromised the Truth by tolerating all sorts of paganism at the same time. His weak and foolish judgment resulted in very dire consequences for the kingdom of Israel - which have affected the world right to the present day.
"Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which The Lord had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods"; Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to The Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of The Lord, and did not wholly follow The Lord, as David his father had done."
Fact Finder: Which of Solomon's sons succeeded him and caused the division of the united kingdom of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" - exactly as God said would be done?
This Week's Bible Quiz
Which book of The Bible follows:
For the answers to this November 28 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page