“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites-- from the nations of whom 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.’ Solomon clung to these in love” (1 Kings 11:1-2).
Solomon’s reign had started off so well. God had blessed him with great wisdom, understanding and “largeness of heart” (1 Kings 4:29). Solomon had been blessed to build the Temple of the Lord and witnessed God’s glory filling the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11). God had appeared to Solomon a second time and promised to continue to bless Solomon and his descendants forever if Solomon would continue to follow after God’s commandments (1 Kings 9:1-5).
However, Solomon began to stray. He began to oppress the people of God burdening them with heavy burdens (cf. 1 Kings 12:4). He mistreated his allies and the allies of his father by giving them worthless cities in exchange for the help they had given him (cf. 1 Kings 9:10-14). Worst of all, he turned from following after the Lord and began to serve the gods of his many wives.
As the opening verse states, Solomon had a terrible weakness for women. It appears he was unable to control his sexual appetites. In fact, he goes on to marry 700 women and has an additional 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). His desire for all these women weakened his desire for God. In the end, they turned his heart away from the Lord and to their gods. As he turns away from Jehovah God, the Bible says about Solomon’s desire for these women that he, “clung to these in love” (1 Kings 11:2).
Solomon would go on to regret what he had done. The book of Ecclesiastes is essentially Solomon’s confession of how foolish he had been during these years of his kingdom. He would say about this time period, “Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). He realized how incredibly foolish he had been seeking to satisfy himself with pleasure. In the end he concludes, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Although Solomon realized the errors of his ways and regretted how foolish he had been, the consequences of his sins would out live him. His kingdom would become divided and the majority of the tribes of Israel would no longer follow the reign of his sons (1 Kings 11:11-13). Unfortunately, he had wasted the many blessings God had given to him because of his inability to control his sexual appetites and his clinging to all these women in love.
As I consider this part of Solomon’s life, I ask myself, “What am I clinging to?” Am I clinging to things which are fruitless and a complete wasting away of my life such as desires for sex, money, fame or power? Or, am I clinging to Jehovah God by walking by faith in Him and setting my mind on things above (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1-2)? Today, I will rejoice in God and cling to Him in faith!
“For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You” (Psalm 71:5-6).