1Kings 11:1-11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 9, 2002

Ignoring the Warnings

We can get into trouble when we ever ignore those warning labels.  Some warnings are kind of silly. These are actual warnings printed on consumer goods:

On Sears hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.

On a Korean kitchen knife: Warning keep out of children.

On packaging for a Rowenta iron: Do not iron clothes on body.

On a Japanese food processor: Not to be used for the other use.

On a child's superman costume: Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

Some warnings are pretty serious.

There are a lot of questions being asked in Washington right now as to just how much the various intelligence agencies knew before September 11.  The CIA was apparently aware of some of the suicide pilots, but didn’t pass the information on to the FBI in time.  It’s possible that we might have missed some of the warning signs.

We’re going to see what happened when the world’s smartest man thought he didn’t have to pay attention to the warning label God put on his life.

:1-8 Solomon’s sin

:1 king Solomon loved many strange women

strangenokriy – foreign, alien

loved‘ahab – to love; human love for another, includes family, and

:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said …

Here’s one of the warning labels.  God had warned Israel:

(Deu 7:1-6 KJV) When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; {2} And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: {3} Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. {4} For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. {5} But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. {6} For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.


Pay attention to God’s warnings

God doesn’t tend to give warnings without a reason.
God says to stay away from “strange women” (and “strange men”)
God says they will turn you away from following the Lord.
God says to tear down their altars, don’t get involved in the things that will take you away from the Lord.  Yet Solomon will build their altars, not tear them down.


Unequally yoked

There’s a danger of having relationships with people who will lead you away from the Lord.  We need to be careful about who we let into the deepest places of our heart.

:2 Solomon clave unto these in love.

clavedabaq – to cling, stick, stay close, keep close, stick to

(NLT) Solomon insisted on loving them anyway

(NIV) …Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

Josephus (Antiquities, 8:7:4) says, “He grew mad in his love of women, and laid no restraint on himself in his lusts”

:3 he had seven hundred wives…three hundred concubines:

I imagine for some guys, this sounds like heaven. I guess for some guys, this sounds like the other place.  A very bitter Solomon wrote at the end of his life:

(Eccl 9:9 NLT) Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you in this world. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.

Note that Solomon says “woman” in the singular. Stay with one woman. He didn’t find fulfillment in wife number two, three, four, five hundred, or the thousandth.

:4 when Solomon was old


Danger at the top

Solomon has done it all. He’s “arrived”. And he’s in trouble.
Alexander the Great conquered the world by the age of 32. He found himself in great despair because there was nothing left to conquer. He got drunk. He went out in a rainstorm, got sick, and died.

:4 his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

perfect shalem – complete, safe, peaceful, perfect, whole, full, at peace. There’s a little irony here. This is the root of Solomon’s name. He was not what he was supposed to be.

(1 Ki 11:4 NLT) In Solomon's old age, they turned his heart to worship their gods instead of trusting only in the LORD his God, as his father, David, had done.


A perfect heart

“Perfect” doesn’t mean that David never sinned.
David had a couple of whopper sins.
But David’s heart was “perfect” because he never turned his heart away from the Lord.
On his deathbed, David had warned Solomon:

(1 Ki 2:2-3 KJV) I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; {3} And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

But now Solomon is turning away from the Lord.
In his old age, Solomon would write,

(Eccl 12:1 NLT) Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living.

I wonder if in his old age, Solomon wished he had paid more attention to the warnings that his dad had given him.

Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that we’ll live a wild life while we’re young and then straighten up when we get older.

Solomon is saying that you’re wasting your life. Straighten up while you’re young and you’ll enjoy life more.

:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth …and after Milcom

Ashtoreth‘Ashtoreth – “star”; the principal female deity of the Phoenicians worshipped in war and fertility; this was one of the original “sex goddesses”, also known as ‘Ishtar’ of Assyria and ‘Astarte’ by the Greeks and Romans

MilcomMalkam – “great king”; the god of the Ammonites and Phoenicians to whom some Israelites sacrificed their infants in the valley of Hinnom; also called ‘Molech’ by the Ammonites.

:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD


Smart and Stupid

Usually we expect just us stupid people to do stupid things.
Under the category: “Too Stupid,” here is a true story out of San Francisco. It seems a man, wanting to rob a downtown Bank of America, walked into the branch and wrote “This iz a stikkup. Put all your muny in this bag.” While standing in line, waiting to give his note to the teller, he began to worry that someone had seen him write the note and might call the police before he reached the teller window. So he left the Bank of America and crossed the street to Wells Fargo. After waiting a few minutes in line, he handed his note to the Wells Fargo teller. She read it and, surmising from his spelling errors that he was not the brightest light in the harbor, told him that she could not accept his stick up note because it was written on a Bank of America deposit slip and that he would either have to fill out a Wells Fargo deposit slip or go back to Bank of America. Looking somewhat defeated, the man said “OK” and left the Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo teller then called the police who arrested the man a few minutes later, as he was waiting in line back at the Bank of America.

- AP 11-14-97.

Yet here is the wisest man on earth doing the stupidest thing on earth.
You don’t have to be stupid to do stupid things.

:7 did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh…and for Molech

Chemosh[email protected] – “subduer”; the national deity of the Moabites and a god of the Ammonites; also identified with ‘Baal-peor’, ‘Baal-zebub’, ‘Mars’ and ‘Saturn’

MolechMolek – “king”; the god of the Ammonites and Phoenicians to whom some Israelites sacrificed their infants in the valley of Hinnom

:7 in the hill that is before Jerusalem

This would be the Mount of Olives. Solomon didn’t build these places for idolatry in some distant land, but right across the valley from the Temple! Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, “Not My will but Thine”.  Solomon set up places of idolatry there.

:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives

strangenokriy – foreign, alien

:9-13 God rebukes Solomon

:9 which had appeared unto him twice,

Solomon didn’t have any excuses in not staying faithful to the Lord. He had experienced two encounters with God.

God appeared to Solomon in a dream while he was in Gibeon. It was there that Solomon asked God for wisdom (1Ki. 3).

God appeared a second time to Solomon to answer Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple (1Ki. 9:2).


Experiences won’t last

You can’t live on past experiences.
There is a danger when a person has one of those incredible, once-in-a-lifetime religious experiences. Sometimes a person can base their whole relationship with God on that one experience.
We need to maintain a current, living, vital relationship with God.
(John 15:4-5 KJV) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. {5} I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
It is not having been close to God in the past that counts.  God wants us to STAY close to Him.

:10 had commanded him concerning this thing,

(1 Ki 11:10 NLT) He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord's command.

They say that the train wreck that occurred a month ago in Placentia happened because a freight train ignored the warning signal on the track and ended up crashing head first into a commuter train.

Don’t ignore God’s warnings.  Stop the train wreck.

:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon,

God most likely spoke through a prophet.

:11 I will surely rend the kingdom from thee

This is exactly what will happen.  The fault of the kingdom splitting goes back to Solomon’s actions.

:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Because of God’s love for David, the full judgment against Solomon’s reign wouldn’t take place until after Solomon’s death.

:13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

The kingdom will split into two parts.

The southern kingdom will be known as “Judah”, and will include the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The northern kingdom will be known as “Israel”, and will contain the other ten tribes. This kingdom will also be called “Ephraim” after the largest of the tribes, or “Samaria” after the city that would eventually be the capital.

When you are reading your Bible, it is important to understand the time context of the passage you are reading. If the passage was written after the division of the kingdom (such as the prophets Isaiah or Jeremiah), and you see the name “Israel”, it most likely refers to the northern kingdom.

Solomon’s lessons


The easier way

Solomon learned some lessons the hard way. There is a better way – pay attention to God’s Word and obey it.
My sons like to play video games. When they get a new video game, one of their favorite things to do is to either buy a book that gives you all the tricks and hints at winning the game, or they go onto the Internet and find the information they need to win the game.
Your life is like a new video game. There are some tricks and hints to completing and winning the game.
God’s word is like a guidebook that tells you what NOT to do.  If Solomon had paid attention, he would have seen that a guidebook had been written specifically for him.
(Deu 17:14-20 KJV) When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; {15} Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

These are going to be guidelines for kings.  This is something Solomon should have paid attention to.

{16} But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

The first rule for a king is not to multiply horses, and especially not to go down to Egypt to acquire more horses. Yet this is exactly what Solomon has done (1Ki. 10:28). Multiplying horses is all about gaining power and military strength. God wanted His people to trust Him for their protection, not their own strength.

{17} Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away:

Again, another warning, and Solomon has again crossed the line, a thousand times.

neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.

Here’s the third warning, and again Solomon has crossed the line (1Ki. 10:27).  The desire for power, sex, and money are the things that trip us up the most.

God doesn’t just say what NOT to do, but now He gives us instruction on what to do.
{18} And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: {19} And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

One of the prescriptions for a king was to stay in God’s Word. He was to make his own handwritten copy and read it every day.

The result of staying in God’s Word is that the king would:

1) Fear the Lord

2) Obey the Lord

{20} That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren,

A result of staying in God’s Word is humility.  You can tell if you’re doing this right or not.  If you are looking down on others, if you think that others can’t do it as good as you, you’ve missed it.

and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Ultimately, God wanted obedience from His kings.

Towards the end of Solomon’s life, he will write out some of the bitter lessons he had learned.

(Eccl 12:13-14 NLT) Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. {14} God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
Did you notice that Solomon reached the same conclusions that he should have learned from Deuteronomy 17?  Fear God and obey Him.
In the end, make sure your relationship with God is good. Be sure you pay attention to God’s ways. God is serious about the things He wants to keep us from.
God wants you to avoid being judged.

(John 3:16-18 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. {17} For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. {18} He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God wants you to start trusting in Jesus.