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Solomon's Compromise

King Solomon, who succeeded his father King David, is known to Bible History as one of the wisest men that has ever lived - and, paradoxically, also as one of the greatest fools. Although Solomon directly knew God, actually had God speak to him, and was greatly blessed by God, in his later years he compromised the Truth with pagan trash. He may well have been talking about himself in Ecclesiastes 4:13 with "Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who will no longer take advice." Solomon's example is a lesson for all that compromise with what God says is right and acceptable can carry a very high price.

Solomon 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?"

"It pleased The Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days." (1 Kings 3:7-13 RSV)

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."

"Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. And so he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods."

"And The Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from The Lord, the God of Israel, Who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what The Lord commanded. Therefore The Lord said to Solomon, "Since this has been your mind and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:1-13 RSV)

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?
See Rehoboam

This Week's Bible Quiz

Which book of The Bible follows:

1. Genesis?

2. Esther?

3. Jeremiah?

4. Daniel?

5. Zechariah?

6. John?

7. Galatians?

8. Titus?

9. Hebrews?

10. Jude?

For the answers to this November 28 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page

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