Proverbs 3 -King Solomon, Thurs. Day #14

In todays episode we will look at the life of King Solomon and why he fell. We will also look at the consequences of his actions and how that affected him, his family, and the nation of Israel.

Moments in Proverbs
King Solomon

We left chapter 2 with a long list of things to avoid on that path of destruction that leads to death, learning that seeking God’s knowledge, which brings understanding, leading to wisdom is not a one-time event, but a daily choice to purpose to seek God’s wisdom in all aspects of our life – day in and day out.

Sadly, we can’t use Solomon as our example of one who stayed on the right path throughout his life.  Solomon who was once considered the wisest man on earth, ended his life in despair, doing everything he told his son NOT to do and a whole lot more.

Today, I simply want to share King Solomon’s life with you – and why he fell.  Where did he go wrong?

At the beginning of his reign (967 BC) King Solomon was walking with the Lord and had everything going for him.  God had granted Solomon wisdom and wealth.  And in his earlier years of reign Solomon had a deep relationship with the Lord, which we see from Psalm 72 and Psalm 127, in which he wrote of his loving devotion to the Lord.

People would come from far and wide just to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.  He was known for giving out Proverbs to everyone who came to see him.  As such, many of his 3000 proverbs got written down in the Scriptures, which we will find over 1000 of them in the Book of Proverbs alone.  Solomon also wrote 1005 songs which were played in the newly built temple he had erected in Jerusalem.  Solomon also wrote the Book of Song of Solomon, and late in his life wrote Ecclesiastes after falling from the grace of God and looking back at the failures of his life.

Young Solomon had grown up under a lot of bloodshed with his father, King David, as David fought nation after nation around Israel to maintain peace within his home country.  So much bloodshed was smeared across many surrounding nations of Israel to where God had told King David he would not be the king to build the temple of God in Israel because he had too much bloodshed on his hands.

God then told David that his son would be the one to build the temple of God in Jerusalem.  And that is exactly what Solomon, David’s son did.  It took Solomon seven years to build the temple according to 1 Kings 6:14-27.  It was a temple of splendor. People came from far-off lands to see all the splendor of the City of Jerusalem and to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

King Solomon, however, chose to use a different tactic than his father used to keep Israel safe from foreign invasion.

 Instead of doing battle with the surrounding countries to keep peace in his land, he chose to do trade deals and treaties with his foreign threats.  It was also a fairly common practice to exchange foreign nations king’s daughter to assure peace between the two nations. That is exactly what King Solomon did.  As such, Solomon took on many foreign king’s daughters as his wives…most of them simply being political moves.  The thought behind this kind of trade was one of protection for Israel – for if the king from one of those surrounding countries had a daughter who was married to King Solomon, peace would probably remain between the two countries.

That however, created many other problems, the first being God told Solomon not to get involved with foreign women – for they would be his downfall.

Solomon, however, began his marriages to foreign women by marrying the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt. 

This began Solomon’s love for foreign women that spread as he married the daughters of the Midianites, Hittites, Amorites and the other “ite” countries that surrounded Israel. All of these countries were pagan countries with pagan gods.  All of these countries did not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and furthermore, violated the Mosaic law in that the LORD 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.”

This act of intermarrying foreign women only spread throughout the land as Israel’s religious system changed to where King Solomon and the country of Israel fell to these foreign gods.

You see, each of Solomon’s foreign wives brought with them their pagan gods.

Then Solomon built high places, which means worship centers, with big idols of worship for these foreign gods.  Then Solomon himself began to follow the pagan religions of his wives.  These foreign religions involved all kinds of grossly immoral and idolatrous practices, including child sacrifice to the pagan gods Molech and Chemosh.

These trade agreements also expanded Solomon’s trade empire – even as far as Spain, which increased Israel’s wealth and prestige…which also fed into Solomon’s greed for more money and power.

Solomon’s kingdom had spread and expanded until it covered 50,000 square miles – from Egypt in the south to Syria in the north to the borders of Mesopotamia in the east.

Solomon built palace complexes for many of his wives, which then cost him dearly.  He continuously had extravagant building projects underway for his many wives.

He purchased timber from the Phoenicians and hired them as workers – first for the temple, and then it continued on with the building of the many palaces for his many wives taking large chunks of money out of Israel’s treasury.  And over the course of 40 years of reign, King Solomon had collected 700 wives and 300 concubines, giving us an indication of the huge building projects that were continually in progress.

At first, this added to Solomon’s large empire.

 As time continued, however, especially toward the latter years of Solomon’s 40-year reign, he had built up such a huge debt to the Phoenicians for timber and labor.  Then things began to turn.

To save money, Solomon then began to hire his own people for the labor in his building projects,…but still continued to purchase his supplies from the Phoenicians.  While the debt to the Phoenicians lessoned some, the debt did not go down far enough, so he then began forced labor on his own people, in which many became slaves to work on the king’s building projects for his wives.  This then caused great division within the country of Israel with many of Solomon’s own people hating him.

By this time, King Solomon had built so many high places for his wives’ pagan gods, which led the people to go to these false gods instead of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Little by little, over the period of his 40-year reign, Solomon’s heart had turned away from God.  As such, he ended up doing evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David.

 The Lord then said to Solomon in 1 Kings 11, “because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days, for the sack of your father David.  I will tear it out of the hand of your son.  However, I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”

And that is exactly what happened.

After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king, but war broke out with Jeroboam, the captain of the army and the new King Rehoboam.

Jeroboam ended up conquering 10 of the 12 northern tribes, and King Rehoboam ended up with only two southern tribes – the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  But God saved the house of David because Scripture had prophesied that out of it would come the Messiah.  One thousand years later, Jesus, the Christ – the Messiah came out of the Tribe of Judah.

Israel became divided into two – with Judah being the southern kingdom and Israel the northern kingdom.

A whole country was torn apart because their leader who once walked with God, chose to sin against God and walked away.  If the world with all its advantages could not satisfy the soul of King Solomon and give him real joy, what does this say to us.

Even if we think we are a mature believer and immune to committing serious sin, all we have to do is remember Solomon’s downfall.  If Solomon could fall, we too can fall.  He was once a man who loved God, had a deep relationship with Him, but he fell to sin.  For him it was allowing foreign women to rule over his heart, but for you or I, it could be something else.

None of us are immune to the ploys of Satan.  It didn’t happen all of a sudden, but Solomon’s heart strayed away from the Lord little by little, causing him to turn away from the Lord - more and more.

This could happen to any believer.  Sin comes in all kinds of forms – not just women – but lots of sin.  It could happen to you. It could happen to me.  Choosing to follow the Lord is a daily affair.

We must never forget Solomon’s downfall!

At the very end of his life, looking back at all of his mistakes, this is what King Solomon had to say.

Eccl 12: 13 When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

King Solomon died with regrets upon regrets for how he had fallen away from God.  His end brought him to realize that everything God told him in the beginning was the right thing, and he had fallen from grace from the Lord.

I hate to use the words that many parents use when they correct their children by saying “do as I say and not as I do.”   

But sadly, Solomon was a perfect example of this - telling his children one thing and ended up living another.  As a result, Solomon’s children did not go by the pathway of the wisdom of God.  His children did not even know God.  And because of Solomon’s failure to consistently follow after the things of the Lord, it deeply affected the whole nation of Israel.  Hundreds of thousands of people turned to worshiping pagan idols instead of the one true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  What a travesty.

So, let’s seek the words that God instructed Solomon to say to his son, but let’s not follow after his life.

For he was vulnerable just like any human being, in need of God’s daily discipline, and failed to obey.  We need to purpose in our heart to follow after God’s instruction each and every single day.

Tomorrow we will go into chapter 3 of Proverbs to learn more of how to receive God’s wisdom.

God bless!

Pastor Joyce Erickson

Written by Pastor Joyce A. Erickson

Believers Bible School, Founder