1 Kings 11:7
At that time on a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites.
Solomon's SinJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 11:1-8
The Fall of a KingJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 11:1-8
Solomon's FallC. E. E. Appleyard, B. A.1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon's SinMonday Club Sermons1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon's SinH. Crosby, D. D.1 Kings 11:1-13
Solomon and TolerationW. C. E. Newbolt, M. A.1 Kings 11:7-8
The Half-And-Half ManH. W. Beecher.1 Kings 11:7-8

Solomon was a king of men. Not only was he supreme civil ruler of his nation, he was also chief in wisdom and knowledge, and distinguished in the favour of God (Nehemiah 13:26). This moral royalty is open to all. The prize is nobler than that of the most glittering "corruptible crown." From this kingship Solomon fell, though he retained the throne of the nation. The rascal often lurks in the heart that is under an anointed face. Let us consider -


1. Solomon had many wives.

(1) This was an invasion of God's order. That order was exhibited in Eden, when Eve stood singly by the side of Adam. Lamech was the first polygamist (Genesis 4:19). He was, ominously, the fifth in descent from the fratricide Cain.

(2) Moses tolerated polygamy, as he also suffered divorcements, not with approval of these customs, but rather in judgment upon the people for the hardness of their hearts (see Matthew 19:8-9).

(3) This principle will explain many Mosaic ordinations the observance of which was a burdensome yoke, and from which, by the mercy of Christ, we are happily released (Acts 15:10, 11). Note: God's order cannot be invaded with impunity. It is our duty carefully to ascertain it, and faithfully to keep it.

2. His wives were strange women.

(1) Not only were they foreigners, they. were also idolaters. There is no proof that even Pharaoh's daughter was a proselyte. Solomon could have no spiritual sympathy with these without compromising his loyalty to Jehovah.

(2) They were idolaters of those very nations against alliances with which the law of God was express (see ver. 2; Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:8, 4). The sin was therefore most flagrant.

(3) The spirit of this inhibition still binds (see 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14). The reason for it is in the nature of things and must abide. Note: Many a man has had his heart pierced and his head broken by his own rib.

3. David had too many wives.

(1) The example of David may have injuriously influenced Solomon. A large harem may have been a sign of grandeur; but these kings ought to have been superior to such fashions (see Deuteronomy 17:17).

(2) The evils in the examples of good men are especially mischievous, for they are liable to be condoned into harmlessness; the more readily so when to follow them is agreeable to natural inclination.

(3) They are liable to be carried farther. If David had many wives, Solomon had very many. David's wives were chiefly daughters of Israel, but Solomon's were daughters of foreign idolaters. Amongst his 700 wives and 300 concubines, not one was good (see Ecclesiastes 7:28). Note: Good men should be especially watchful over their influence - parents, ministers, Sunday school teachers, professors of religion.


1. First the heart is set against the head.

(1) The earliest record here is that Solomon's heart was turned away. His head at first seems to have been clear, as Adam's also was, who, though in the transgression, yet was "not deceived" (1 Timothy 2:14). But his heart, like that of Adam, was fatally susceptible to female influence.

(2) It is a foolish thing in a wise man to trust his head when he gives his heart to evil. "Man at his best is vanity."

2. Then the heart rules the head.

(1) This is the next stage and inevitable. This may be disputed long, but will assert itself in time. Observe well that when Solomon was "old" he so far yielded to the influence of his wives as to encourage and join in their idolatry.

(2) Probably his vices made him prematurely old. Calmer supposes him to have been eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned forty years (ver. 42). Thus he could be only fifty-eight at his death.

3. Finally the wise man becomes a fool.

(1) Behold this wisest of men trying to solve the impossible problem of serving Jehovah and Ashtaroth! He went not fully after the Lord his God as did David his father.

(2) David indeed fell into grievous sin, but his offence was more directly against man; indirectly against God. Even then the offence as against God was the venom of his crimes (Psalm 51:4). But the sin of Solomon was against God directly. Note: Offences against society are denounced without mercy by men, while the mental rebellion of the unbeliever against God is even glorified as "honest doubt!" but the Bible is explicit that "He that believeth not shall be damned."

(3) Behold this wise man further building a temple to Molech, the murderer, the devil, on the Mount of Olives, over against the temple of the Lord, the glorious work of his royal youth! Could folly go farther?

(4) The mischief of Solomon's idolatry remained to the times of Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:13). Who can say that it terminated even then? Eternity will declare. - M.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh.
1. Proverbs, it has been said, are "the wisdom of many and the wit of one," at least they are most often trustworthy exponents of a uniform experience. And there is a proverb which tells us that no one ever became thoroughly bad all at once. And so it was with Solomon; as the stream of his career sweeps by us in Holy Scripture, windows, as it were, are opened for us through which we gaze out on that sunny flood, so full of promise, carrying on its bosom such rich opportunities and varied treasures, and we note that as it gets wider it loses its pure beauty, as it gets deeper it parts with its simplicity. Here and there these glimpses into his life prepare us for a catastrophe. It requires a vast store of wisdom to keep a man unspoiled amidst popular applause. The power of wealth with all its opportunities may very easily sweep away the calmer dictates of a higher reason. Solomon is the liberal patron of error. He is not an idolater; it would not be fair to call him that. But as he would tell us, "he is no bigot," that the Zidonians and Moabites were sincere in what they believed and practised. That his first duty was to the empire, and to consolidate the acquisitions which he had made. After all, there is an element of truth underlying all religions — "All worships are true." Take care, Solomon! The next step is only too easily taken,. which goes on to proclaim, "All worships are false." I suppose there is no chapter in Church history which we look back upon with such unfeigned horror and humiliation as that which deals with religious persecution. We never shall forget the fires of Smithfield, or look with anything but disapproval at the stern and repressive violence of the Puritan Rebellion. At the same time it must be remembered that there is one thing which, if less repulsive, may be equally deadly in God's sight. Toleration, which springs from a real respect for our neighbour's convictions, is one thing; indifference, which does not feel strongly enough to oppose, is another. At the present moment we are oddly enough confronted with these two developments combining in their efforts to weaken religion.

2. But Solomon does not stop at undenominationalism. No one does. It is an impossible position. He settles down a step further into aestheticism — the worship of the beautiful, the luxurious, the fascinating. A protest against Ritualism is, no doubt, an excellent thing in which every intelligent Churchman should join, if we mean by the term a religion which consists of mere rites and ceremonies, void of real significance, subversive of the sterner realities of religious truth. There is always a tendency, in view of the extreme difficulty of religion, to put up with something easy, in which the heart and the intellect, and the better part of man, need of necessity have no share. Some people think they can saunter into heaven on a ceremony; or be wafted there on the wings of music; or be carried there on a text of the Bible; or be admitted without any trouble, if they sufficiently protest against somebody else. But the very essence of religion is intense personal exertion and personal devotion, and religion has always had to pay the penalty of this difficulty, which belongs to all true excellence, in the various shifts and substitutes invented by indolent humanity. Ritual, music, the accessories of Divine service, are utterly abhorrent unless they mean something. Solomon was not spreading religion when he erected his numerous shrines for the manifold superstitions of the East, and their attractive rites. He was degrading it, he was vitiating the religious instinct and depraving the religious sense. Do let us remember, dear brethren, that all the beauty, all the magnificence of the services of the Church, are for the honour and glory of God, and that if we fail to honour Him, fail to find Him, fail to worship Him, they only add to our own condemnation.

3. But the worship of aestheticism has no finality about it. It is a religion of butterflies after all, who flit from flower to flower, who expand in the sunshine and die in the frost, who are here to-day and are gone to-morrow. Ephemeral, creatures of a day! Do not suppose it, for one moment, if any of you have given up vital belief, if you have teased to believe in God, that you will be able to go on finding religious satisfaction in beautiful sounds, and artistic sights; you will either get better, or you will get worse — and it is terribly easy to get worse. The end of Solomon's career is not encouraging; the best you can say of it is, that it is shrouded in gloom. It was an easy step from a worship of the beautiful to the nature-worship so-called, which was the distinguishing feature of so many of the cults which he imported to Jerusalem. There is a seamy side to many a renaissance, so-called, and there is a seamy side to much which is dignified now by the name of the love of the beautiful. Nature-worship in its simplest form, and apparently its least harmful form, takes the shape of the worship of what we take to be our own nature. It is startling to find how intensely people dislike anything in religion which is stern, or causes them trouble, or appeals to self-denial. This appears in all manner of little ways. Solomon erects his nature-shrine for the pent up denizen of the city, at some little distance outside, and tells him that it is far better for him to go and worship God in the green fields, and among the hedgerows, or even on the river, than to shut himself up in a musty church in Jerusalem. He will tell him that "the Sabbath was made for man," and that to fill his lungs with pure air, and to scent the flowers and be cheerful, is the best worship which God seeks from him. And the worshipper of nature comes back with a tired body, a dissatisfied mind, and a starved soul, and believes that he has spent a happy Sunday. There, in the old temple at Jerusalem, are the double sacrifices and the long round of services, because those who have studied the mind of God believe that He requires on His day a certain proportion of our time, not the smallest contribution which a Christian can make, at the earliest possible hour in the morning, or the latest moment at night. And if they ask for happiness and enjoyment, they remember how Mary says, "He fills the hungry with good things," or how the Psalmist says that God "never fails them that seek Him." But Solomon turns his back, his wisdom departs from him, and he seeks for other gods. He is indifferent, and he calls it toleration. He is intolerant, and he calls it religion. He dishonours the Church, and he thinks that he does God service. He becomes aesthetic, he is lingering now in the courts of the temple, he has turned his back on her realities, he is like a man who just stays a little longer to hear the anthem. He has turned his back, he is gone, he is worshipping nature, in all the downward gradations of that terrible cult. Wise Solomon! who began with building the temple, goes on by tolerating error, to become a besotted voluptuary, and to insult God. It is the history of many a soul, who has forgotten the lesson of his youth, who is false to his tradition, and falls below his own standard. "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceits? There is more hope of a fool, than of him."

(W. C. E. Newbolt, M. A.)

Up to a certain point, being a true Christian is a terrible thing. The advantage lies in carrying it far beyond that point where fruit is to be reaped. As long as the nights are long and the days are short we have the stern certainties of winter; as long as the days are long and the nights are short we have the sweet, precious, genial hours of summer; but when the days and the nights are just about alike, and the equinox comes on, and light and dark strive for the mastery, that is the time for storms to rage. And so, in Christian experience, so long as the night is longest, you have the peace of darkness; and when the day is longest, you have the peace of light; but when the night and the day are of about the same length, and they strive to see which shall rule, that is the time for storms. The hardest way to live is to be half a Christian and half a sinner. The easiest way to live is to be wholly a sinner or wholly a Christian. Harmonise on one side or the other, if you want quiet. Take the middle ground, if you want perpetual gales.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Ahijah, Ammonites, Aram, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, David, Edomites, Eliada, Eliadah, Genubath, Hadad, Hadadezer, Hittites, Israelites, Jeroboam, Joab, Joseph, Milcom, Moabites, Molech, Nebat, Pharaoh, Rehoboam, Rezon, Shishak, Sidonians, Solomon, Tahpenes, Zeruah, Zidon, Zidonians
Damascus, Edom, Egypt, Jerusalem, Midian, Millo, Moab, Paran, Syria, Zeredah, Zobah
Abomination, Ammon, Ammonites, Build, Built, Chemosh, Detestable, Detestation, Disgusting, East, Front, Hill, Idol, Jerusalem, Moab, Moabites, Molech, Mount, Mountain, Solomon, Sons, Worshipped
1. Solomon's wives and concubines
4. In his old age they draw him to idolatry
9. God threatens him,
14. Solomon's adversaries were Hadad, who was entertained in Egypt
23. Rezon, who reigned in Damascus
26. And Jeroboam, to whom Ahijah prophesied
41. Solomon's acts, reign, and death. Rehoboam succeeds him

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 11:7

     4245   hills
     7374   high places
     8747   false gods

1 Kings 11:1-8

     5711   marriage, restrictions

1 Kings 11:1-11

     5811   compromise

1 Kings 11:4-8

     6103   abomination

1 Kings 11:5-7

     8799   polytheism

1 Kings 11:7-8

     7435   sacrifice, in OT
     7442   shrine
     7735   leaders, political
     8769   idolatry, in OT
     8848   worldliness

The New Garment Bent
'And Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. 27. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. 28. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. 29. And
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fall of Solomon
'For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. 7. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

What Happened to Solomon
In his early manhood Solomon was noted for his deep piety and his fervent love of righteousness. When he became king, he found a great work ready for his hand, and he set about the task with a glad heart. To build a temple to Jehovah was his delight, and he threw into it his whole strength. His prayer at the dedication of the temple shows a deeply reverent and submissive spirit. As the years went by he increased in riches and honor. His name became a synonym for wisdom. Many nations paid him tribute.
Charles Wesley Naylor—Heart Talks

"When Solomon was Old. "
"It came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other Gods." 1 KINGS xi. 4. Who could have predicted that this would come to pass? And yet it is often so, for it is still true that NO AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE WILL SAVE FROM BACKSLIDING THOSE WHO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO GOD. We learn from verse 10 that God had taken pains to save Solomon from idolatry, (see 1 Kings vi. 12, and xi. 6). But what good is it for even God to try to save a man who will have his own way? And
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread

Scriptural Types.
1. The material world is full of analogies adapted to the illustration of spiritual things. No teacher ever drew from this inexhaustible storehouse such a rich variety of examples as our Saviour. His disciples are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a hill. From the ravens which God feeds and the lilies which God clothes, he teaches the unreasonableness of worldly anxiety. The kingdom of heaven is like seed sown in different soils, like a field of wheat and tares
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Situation of the Jews During this Period.
As we have seen in earlier chapters, the declarations of Holy Writ make it very clear that Israel will yet be restored to God's favor and be rehabilitated in Palestine. But before that glad time arrives, the Jews have to pass through a season of sore trouble and affliction, during which God severely chastises them for their sins and punishes them for the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah. Fearful indeed have been the past experiences of "the nation of the weary feet" but a darker path than
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

How to Split a Kingdom
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt); 3. That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4. Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Political Religion
'Then Jeroboam built Shechera in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"This Thing is from Me"
"Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me."--1 Kings 12:24. IT IS VERY DELIGHTFUL to read a history in which God is made prominent. How sadly deficient we are of such histories of our own English nation! Yet surely there is no story that is more full of God than the record of the doings of our British race. Cowper, in one of his poems, shows the parallel between us and the house of Israel,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 42: 1896

Covenant Duties.
It is here proposed to show, that every incumbent duty ought, in suitable circumstances, to be engaged to in the exercise of Covenanting. The law and covenant of God are co-extensive; and what is enjoined in the one is confirmed in the other. The proposals of that Covenant include its promises and its duties. The former are made and fulfilled by its glorious Originator; the latter are enjoined and obligatory on man. The duties of that Covenant are God's law; and the demands of the law are all made
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Temporal Advantages.
"We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."--1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. Every age has its own special sins and temptations. Impatience with their lot, murmuring, grudging, unthankfulness, discontent, are sins common to men at all times, but I suppose one of those sins which belongs to our age more than to another, is desire of a greater portion of worldly goods than God has given us,--ambition and covetousness
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
1. The knowledge of God the Creator of no avail without faith in Christ the Redeemer. First reason. Second reason strengthened by the testimony of an Apostle. Conclusion. This doctrine entertained by the children of God in all ages from the beginning of the world. Error of throwing open heaven to the heathen, who know nothing of Christ. The pretexts for this refuted by passages of Scripture. 2. God never was propitious to the ancient Israelites without Christ the Mediator. First reason founded on
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint.
1. The carnal mind the source of the objections which are raised against the Providence of God. A primary objection, making a distinction between the permission and the will of God, refuted. Angels and men, good and bad, do nought but what has been decreed by God. This proved by examples. 2. All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God. Examples, with answers to objections. 3. These objections originate in a spirit of pride and blasphemy. Objection, that
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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