The Lord Punishes Solomon for Idolatry
King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them! If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.” But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them. He had 700 royal wives and 300 concubines; his wives had a powerful influence over him. When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been. Solomon worshipped the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. Solomon did evil in the Lord’s sight; he did not remain loyal to the Lord, like his father David had. Furthermore, on the hill east of Jerusalem Solomon built a high place for the detestable Moabite god Chemosh and for the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. He built high places for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and make sacrifices to their gods.
The Lord was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods. But he did not obey the Lord’s command. So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. However, for your father David’s sake I will not do this while you are alive. I will tear it away from your son’s hand instead. But I will not tear away the entire kingdom; I will leave your son one tribe for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of my chosen city Jerusalem.”
The Lord brought against Solomon an enemy, Hadad the Edomite, a descendant of the Edomite king. During David’s campaign against Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, while on a mission to bury the dead, killed every male in Edom. For six months Joab and the entire Israelite army stayed there until they had exterminated every male in Edom. Hadad, who was only a small boy at the time, escaped with some of his father’s Edomite servants and headed for Egypt. They went from Midian to Paran; they took some men from Paran and went to Egypt. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, supplied him with a house and food and even assigned him some land. Pharaoh liked Hadad so well he gave him his sister-in-law (Queen Tahpenes’ sister) as a wife. Tahpenes’ sister gave birth to his son, named Genubath. Tahpenes raised him in Pharaoh’s palace; Genubath grew up in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. While in Egypt Hadad heard that David had passed away and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. So Hadad asked Pharaoh, “Give me permission to leave so I can return to my homeland.” Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack here that makes you want to go to your homeland?” Hadad replied, “Nothing, but please give me permission to leave.”
God also brought against Solomon another enemy, Rezon son of Eliada who had run away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. He gathered some men and organized a raiding band. When David tried to kill them, they went to Damascus, where they settled down and gained control of the city. He was Israel’s enemy throughout Solomon’s reign and, like Hadad, caused trouble. He loathed Israel and ruled over Syria.
Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s servants, rebelled against the king. He was an Ephraimite from Zeredah whose mother was a widow named Zeruah. This is what prompted him to rebel against the king: Solomon built a terrace and he closed up a gap in the wall of the city of his father David. Jeroboam was a talented man; when Solomon saw that the young man was an accomplished worker, he made him the leader of the work crew from the tribe of Joseph. At that time, when Jeroboam had left Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road; the two of them were alone in the open country. Ahijah was wearing a brand new robe, and he grabbed the robe and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he told Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Look, I am about to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and I will give ten tribes to you. He will retain one tribe, for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. I am taking the kingdom from him because they have abandoned me and worshipped the Sidonian goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom. They have not followed my instructions by doing what I approve and obeying my rules and regulations, like Solomon’s father David did. I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand. I will allow him to be ruler for the rest of his life for the sake of my chosen servant David who kept my commandments and rules. I will take the kingdom from the hand of his son and give ten tribes to you. I will leave his son one tribe so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as my home. I will select you; you will rule over all you desire to have and you will be king over Israel. You must obey all I command you to do, follow my instructions, do what I approve, and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel. I will humiliate David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.” Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and found refuge with King Shishak of Egypt. He stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.
Solomon’s Reign Ends
The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, including all his accomplishments and his wise decisions, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of Solomon. Solomon ruled over all Israel from Jerusalem for forty years. Then Solomon passed away and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam replaced him as king.