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.
Of course what gets my attention here is the sheer number of wives and concubines. 1,000 women. Wow! I can’t even imagine how such an arrangement worked in the real world. Regardless, in ancient times marriages were often arranged to strengthen one’s political, economic, military position. Solomon was not just ruler over all Israel, but many neighboring kingdoms paid tribute to him. Receiving daughters from these various places may have been shrewd from a political perspective, but there’s a reason why the Lord told Solomon, “You shall not enter into marriage with (foreign women)”. I’m reminded of Proverbs 14:12
12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
I’m really good at rationalizing poor decisions. Though scripture reveals the pitfalls to me, I can always figure out why I’m an exception. I tell myself what I’m doing isn’t really wrong. Or that scripture is disqualified by a radically different cultural context than my own, so what was true then is not true now. I can think of many more.
What this passage is reminding me of this morning is that God’s ways are beyond my ways and that my sound logic is not sound in the eyes of God. Like all believers I’m asked to trust that God knows what I do not. That the Lord has named boundaries for my own benefit, not to cramp my style. Lord, let it be so. Amen.