God made it pretty clear to Moses and to Joshua (most recently Joshua 12: 12-13) that no Israelite should marry a person of another faith. Moses also warns specifically in Deuteronomy 17: 17 that Israel’s future King “must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” NIV
God granted Solomon wisdom, but apparently that wisdom was reserved for matters of state and civil judgments – not for personal spiritual decisions.
Like this one:
Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David… except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. (1 Kings 3: 3)
Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. (1 Kings 3:1a)
Not an auspicious start for a King who wanted to show his love for God and obey the instructions he received from David (which I imagine included the prohibitions against intermarriage in Deuteronomy and Joshua…).
Well, by chapter 11 of Kings, Solomon’s early infractions paved the way for full blown apostasy. He married 700 foreign wives (!) despite God’s commands not to – and they “led him astray:”
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 1 Kings 11: 4
I guess not.
Solomon knew what God wanted. He professed love for God.
And yet…he married an Egyptian, kept the high places, and accumulated enough foreign wives to turn His heart from God.
I just can’t figure it out: What was Solomon thinking?
It was bad enough that he married the Egyptian princess. But turning to worship idols? Well, it just goes to show that the old adage is true: Marry a non-Christian and you are more likely to turn away from Jesus than your spouse is to turn to Jesus.
I still don’t understand how Solomon could disobey so egregiously, then turn away. But I do understand why God took the kingdom from him.
And it’s really scary to think how easy it is for any of us to walk away into horrific disobedience. Thank God for the Holy Spirit…
Today’s Readings: 1 Kings 11:1-12:33, Psalm 69:5-12, Proverbs 17:20-22, John 12:1-19. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).