Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Kings Chapter 11

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-22)
Theme: The United Kingdom (c 1-11)
Message: Solomon's Wives Lead Him Into Idolatry (v 1-29)

1 Kings 11 Commentary 

(11:2) Solomon Fails to Follow God's Commands -  Although Solomon had clear instructions from God not to marry women from foreign nations, he chose to disregard God's commands. He married not one but many foreign women, who subsequently led him away from God. God knows our strengths and weaknesses, and his commands are always for our good. When people ignore God's commands, negative consequences inevitably result. It is not enough to know God's Word or even to believe it; we must follow it and apply it to the way we live and all our decisions. Take God's commands seriously, and make your closest allies those who are also striving to follow God. Like Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, we are not as strong as we may think.

(11:3) Solomon Shows Flaws - For all his wisdom, Solomon had great flaws. He could not say no to compromising his character or to lustful desires. Whether he married to strengthen political alliances or to gain personal pleasure, these foreign wives led him into idolatry. You may have strong faith, but you also have areas of weakness--and that is where temptation usually strikes. Ask God to show you how your weaknesses have led you to dishonor him, and let him strengthen your faith so that you will be able to defend against outside attack.

(11:4) Solomon's Wives Pressure Him - Solomon handled great pressures in running the government, but he could not handle the pressure from his wives who wanted him to worship their gods. In marriage and close friendships, it is difficult to resist pressure to compromise. Our love leads us to identify with the desires of those we care about. Faced with such pressure, Solomon at first resisted it, maintaining pure faith. Then he began to tolerate a more widespread practice of idolatry. Finally, he became involved in idolatrous worship himself,

rationalizing away the potential danger to himself and to the kingdom. Because we want to please and identify with our loved ones, God warns us not to marry those who do not share our commitment to him.

(11:5-8) Ashtoreth - Now Ashtoreth (Asherah) was a goddess symbolizing fertility, a mistress of the god Baal. Milcom, another name for Molech, was the national god of the Ammonites, called an "abomination" because worshiping him included child sacrifice. Chemosh was the Moabites' national god. The Israelites were warned against worshiping all other gods in general and Molech in particular (Exodus 20:1-6; Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5).

(11:9-10) A Compromise on Sin - Solomon didn't turn away from God all at once or in a brief moment. His ultimate spiritual coldness began with what he might have assumed was a justifiable departure from God's laws (3:1). This sin encouraged the waning of his commitment to God and his laws. Over time that halfhearted commitment petered out into no commitment at all and resulted in Solomon's downfall. It all happened one sin at a time. Every sin is a step in turning away from God. It is not the sins we don't know about but the sins we excuse that cause us the greatest trouble. We must never let any sin go unchallenged. In your life, is an unchallenged sin spreading like a deadly cancer? Don't excuse it. Confess this sin to God and ask him for strength to resist temptation.

(11:11-13) A Tolerance for Sin - Solomon's powerful and glorious kingdom could have been blessed for all time; instead, it was approaching its end. Solomon had God's promises, guidance, and answers to prayer, yet he allowed sin to remain all around him. Eventually it corrupted him so much that he was no longer interested in God. Psalm 271, written by Solomon, says, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it." Solomon began by laying the foundation with God, but he did not follow through in his later years. As a result, he lost almost everything. It is not enough to get off to the right start in building a marriage, career, or church on God's principles; we must remain faithful to God to the end (Mark 13:13). God must be in control of our lives from start to finish.

(11:14-22) Edom's Revolt - Edom was the kingdom southeast of the Dead Sea. David had added this nation to his empire (2 Samuel 8:13-14). It was of strategic importance because it controlled the route to the Red Sea. Edom's revolt was disturbing the peace of Solomon's kingdom.

(11:29-39) A Prediction of Division - The prophet Ahijah predicted the division of the kingdom of Israel. After Solomon's death, ten of Israel's 12 tribes would follow Jeroboam. The other two tribes, Judah and the area of Benjamin around Jerusalem, would remain loyal to David's descendants. Judah, the largest tribe, and Benjamin, the smallest, were often mentioned as one tribe because they shared the same border. Both Jeroboam and Ahijah were from Ephraim, the most prominent of the ten rebel tribes. (For more on the divided kingdom, see the note on 12:20.)


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1 Kings with Chapter 11.  In our text, we see the downturn of Solomon's life as he married wives that led him into idolatry. Ignoring the Word of God, we see the adversaries of Solomon leading to his eventual death. In all this, we see a principle of the Scriptures coming to light. Pride leadeth to a fall. God blessed Solomon as he sought God, and when he received the blessings of God - He forgot God and His Word. In making applications, we see the same principle today. As we are humble and seek God through obedience, we receive the blessings of God. If we are not careful, we will take credit for how God blesses us and tend to forget God. How about you? Do you forget where your blessings come from, the Lord? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Solomon to remember the principle that Pride cometh before a fall. 


1 Kings 11

1 Kings 11

 1But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:

 2Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

 3And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

 4For 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.

 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

 6And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

 7Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

 8And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

 9And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

 10And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

 11Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

 12Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

 13Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

 14And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.

 15For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;

 16(For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

 17That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.

 18And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.

 19And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.

 20And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh.

 21And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

 22Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

 23And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:

 24And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.

 25And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

 26And 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.

 27And 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.

 28And 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.

 29And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:

 30And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

 31And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

 32(But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

 34Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:

 35But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

 36And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

 37And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

 38And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

 39And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

 40Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

 41And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

 42And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.

 43And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.