In this chapter we see the failure of Solomon. The development described here and the related events lack in 2 Chronicles.
Solomon violates the royal law (Deu 17:14-2014“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’15you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, [one] from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.16Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’17He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.18“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.19It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,20that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.) in a multiple manner. Here it is mainly about the influence of women on Solomon. When the female element dominates the male, we see what happens here. Nehemiah seriously accuses the returned remnant because of their unholy connections and refers to the great disobedience of the great king Solomon, who thereby caused Israel to sin (Neh 13:2626Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin.). He took a thousand wives, but he has not found a good one among them (Ecc 7:2828which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.; cf. Song 6:8-98“There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;
9[But] my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
She is her mother’s only [daughter];
She is the pure [child] of the one who bore her.
The maidens saw her and called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines [also], and they praised her, [saying],).
His father David did not give him a good example (1Sam 25:42-4442Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.43David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives.44Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.; 2Sam 11:26-2726Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.27When the [time of] mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.) and Solomon goes much further in this deviation from the LORD. In any case David still had wives from the people of God, but Solomon takes them from the surrounding pagan nations. He does this against God’s express commandment that His people should not engage with these women (Deu 7:3-43Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.4For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.; Exo 34:1616and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons [also] to play the harlot with their gods.). With all his wisdom he is not able to control his lusts. If this happened to Solomon, it must make us small and it will be our wisdom to take the warning to heart: “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands, look out that he does not fall” (1Cor 10:1212Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.).
With his many wives, Solomon also takes their gods into his house. David never did that either. David has always, with all his failures, remained faithful to the LORD. The idolaters all have their own gods, but Solomon takes them all into his house. Someone who knows God’s Word and deviated from it often makes it worse than someone who has never been in touch with God. The corruption of the best is the worst corruption.
This all happens “when Solomon was old”. The flesh in the believer does not get better with the climbing of the years. It will even assert itself when we have grown old and we may think that the dangers of life no longer threaten us and we are no longer vigilant. Then it will still do its devastating work with us.
The man who so humbly prayed to the LORD at the dedication of the temple becomes an admirer of the Ashtoreth, Milcom, and other pagan abominations. He who built a temple for the LORD sinks so low, that he “built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, … and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon” and for the detestable idols of all his strange wives. The one for Chemosh he builds “on the mountain that lies before Jerusalem” (verse 77Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.), as it were before the face of Zion, beloved by the LORD.
In our time one would call Solomon a big-hearted man. He leaves everyone in his value and participates in all religions. He is no longer a man for whom there is only one God, he is not a ‘fundamentalist’. All gods have become equal to him. He even attaches himself “in love” to them (verse 22from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, [for] they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.). Then you are king of all people, aren’t you? But you are no longer one after God’s heart! He does “what was evil in the sight of the LORD” (verse 66Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father [had done].). It’s not about how people judge the things we do, but how God judges them.
In the history of the kings of Israel we have a picture of the history of Christianity. In the middle of the history of Israel we find Ahab and Jezebel. Jezebel is also found in the prophetic description of church history in Revelation 2-3. In the middle of that description we see the church in Thyatira. The Lord Jesus sees something in that church about which He must exhort that church and that is that they tolerate the woman Jezebel (Rev 2:19-2419‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.20But I have [this] against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit [acts of] immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.21I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.22Behold, I will throw her on a bed [of sickness], and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.23And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.24But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you.). After Ahab and Jezebel comes Jehu, whom we see in the picture in the church in Sardis (Rev 3:1-31“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.2Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.3So remember what you have received and heard; and keep [it], and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.). Before Ahab and Jezebel we first have Jeroboam. He is a picture of the church in Pergamum (Rev 2:13-1613‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.14But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit [acts of] immorality.15So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.16Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.).
However, the deviations begin with the church in Ephesus, with leaving the first love (Rev 2:44But I have [this] against you, that you have left your first love.). We have a picture of this in Solomon, because his heart deviates by his wives to the idols of those women. His heart is no longer undivided for the LORD. That is why the lampstand will over time be removed.
After the giving up of the first love by the church in Ephesus, a tribulation comes in the church in Smyrna as punishment of the Lord (Rev 2:9-109‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.). We see this in the picture in the opponents the LORD has begotten against Solomon later in this chapter.