Solomon’s Fall from the Lord
No man can serve two masters, especially when one of them is supposed to be the Lord.
The First Commandment proclaims, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). To that end, God’s Word provides instructions to light our paths and help us live. One of those instructions for believers is not to be unequally yoked with those who do not love the Lord.
King Solomon failed to heed this admonition, and it caused him and his descendants no end of problems. His choice affected the Jewish people profoundly and resulted, after his death, in the demise of the Israelites’ united kingdom.
Scripture traces Solomon’s fall from the Lord to his involvement with foreign women:
King Solomon loved many foreign women…from the nations of whom the Lᴏʀᴅ had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these [women] in love (1 Ki. 11:1–2).
Yet it wasn’t always so. Solomon began well. When the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ”Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon responded admirably. He did not request long life, wealth, or the death of his enemies. Instead, he asked, “Give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (3:5, 9).
Solomon asked for wisdom. His request pleased God, and the Lord gave him not only wisdom but also riches and honor, making him unrivaled among the kings of his day (v. 13).
Solomon was wise indeed. But he willfully forsook that wisdom and married heathen women whose pluralistic values overrode his love for God. His house became divided, his loyalties split, and ultimately “his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lᴏʀᴅ his God….For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lᴏʀᴅ” (11:4–6).
Most of those women were probably given to Solomon through peace treaties with heathen nations. Rather than trusting God to protect Israel, Solomon forged alliances.
Because of Solomon’s disobedience, his throne will never be established, like that of his father, David. There is no direct descent from Solomon to Israel’s Messiah. The legal messianic line, recorded in Matthew 1, establishes the right to rule through Solomon’s descendant Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather. But the Messiah’s bloodline through His mother, recorded in Luke 3, sidesteps Solomon and goes from King David to David’s son Nathan (1 Chr. 3:5; cf. Lk. 3:31). In the future, when Messiah Jesus rules, He will sit on David’s throne, not on Solomon’s, because of Solomon’s failure to keep his heart loyal to God.
Solomon’s sin also opened the floodgates to a problem that would hound the Israelites for hundreds of years: idolatry. It was Solomon who first introduced false religion into Jerusalem. This besetting sin would eventually shatter the united kingdom and lead the Israelites into captivity.
But perhaps the biggest irony of all is that the man who was blessed with such great wisdom, the man who built the first Temple to the Lord, is the one who also built temples for all his wives to worship their false deities. The Bible states, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Lk. 16:13).
Our world today is replete with those who profess faith in Jesus but seek to dilute His Word, His authority, and His authenticity. Believers, however, should not heed their words but remain steadfast and unmovable, serving God alone.
Frances R. Havergal had it right when she wrote “Like a River Glorious” in 1876. Her timeless hymn declares, “Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest/ Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”