Scripture: 1 Kings 11:1 King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. 3 Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David.
Observation: Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Wow. Those numbers are simply astonishing. But why so many? Some possibilities:
- Providing for this many wives and children would have been incredibly expensive. Hence a family this large would have been a symbol of great wealth.
- It is believed by some scholars that the virility of ancient kings would have been interpreted as a reflection of the virility of the nation as a whole.
- Royal marriages were often used as a political tool to form alliances among nations. I’m thinking this was the main motivator for Solomon, particularly given the fact the author identifies the various nations from which Solomon’s wives came.
One would think that forming these political alliances would have saved God’s people the expense and bloodshed of war. Smart right? Well, maybe not. Why? Because in doing so Solomon fell into the trap of worshipping other gods – which was the reason why God stipulated to the kings of Israel they were not to marry outside their own people in the first place. Plus, forming this many political alliances would have reflected a greater trust in human agreements than trust in God for protection.
Application: While I’m certainly no king, I often make the same kinds of mistakes Solomon made. I will tend to trust more in human plans than in God, particularly when faced with adversity or difficulty. I plan and strategize and weigh the logical pluses and minuses. I’m not suggesting there is no place for this sort of thing. My problem is I tend to go to this kind of process – first. Then, eventually, turn to the Lord in prayer. This is where our passage challenges me this morning. Maybe you too? Here’s my take-away:
Seek the Lord FIRST, makes plans SECOND.
Prayer: Lord, Solomon was said to have been the wisest ruler in history, yet even he made mistakes. Big mistakes. Give us grace this morning to place our trust in you before trusting anything or anyone else, for you can accomplish in a moment what humans cannot accomplish in a lifetime. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.