King Solomon was obsessed with women. Pharaoh's daughter was only the first of the many foreign women he loved - Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite.
He took them from the surrounding pagan nations of which God had clearly warned Israel, "You must not marry them; they'll seduce you into infatuations with their gods." Solomon fell in love with them anyway, refusing to give them up.
He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines - a thousand women in all! And they did seduce him away from God.
As Solomon grew older, his wives beguiled him with their alien gods and he became unfaithful - he didn't stay true to his God as his father David had done.
Solomon took up with Ashtoreth, the whore goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the horrible god of the Ammonites.
Solomon openly defied God; he did not follow in his father David's footsteps.
He went on to build a sacred shrine to Chemosh, the horrible god of Moab, and to Molech, the horrible god of the Ammonites, on a hill just east of Jerusalem.
He built similar shrines for all his foreign wives, who then polluted the countryside with the smoke and stench of their sacrifices.
God was furious with Solomon for abandoning the God of Israel, the God who had twice appeared to him
and had so clearly commanded him not to fool around with other gods. Solomon faithlessly disobeyed God's orders.
God said to Solomon, "Since this is the way it is with you, that you have no intention of keeping faith with me and doing what I have commanded, I'm going to rip the kingdom from you and hand it over to someone else.
But out of respect for your father David I won't do it in your lifetime. It's your son who will pay - I'll rip it right out of his grasp.
Even then I won't take it all; I'll leave him one tribe in honor of my servant David and out of respect for my chosen city Jerusalem."
God incited Hadad, a descendant of the king of Edom, into hostile actions against Solomon.
Years earlier, when David devastated Edom, Joab, commander of the army, on his way to bury the dead, massacred all the men of Edom.
Joab and his army stayed there for six months, making sure they had killed every man in Edom.
Hadad, just a boy at the time, had escaped with some of the Edomites who had worked for his father.
Their escape route took them through Midian to Paran. They picked up some men in Paran and went on to Egypt and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house, food, and even land.
Pharaoh liked him so well that he gave him the sister of his wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage.
She bore Hadad a son named Genubath who was raised like one of the royal family. Genubath grew up in the palace with Pharaoh's children.
While living in Egypt, Hadad heard that both David and Joab, commander of the army, were dead. He approached Pharaoh and said, "Send me off with your blessing - I want to return to my country."
"But why?" said Pharaoh. "Why would you want to leave here? Hasn't everything been to your liking?" "Everything has been just fine," said Hadad, "but I want to go home - give me a good send-off!"
Then God incited another adversary against Solomon, Rezon son of Eliada, who had deserted from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah.
After David's slaughter of the Arameans, Rezon collected a band of outlaws and became their leader. They later settled in Damascus, where Rezon eventually took over as king.
Like Hadad, Rezon was a thorn in Israel's side all of Solomon's life. He was king over Aram, and he hated Israel.
And then, the last straw: Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was an Ephraimite from Zeredah, his mother a widow named Zeruah. He served in Solomon's administration.
This is why he rebelled. Solomon had built the outer defense system (the Millo) and had restored the fortifications that were in disrepair from the time of his father David.
Jeroboam stood out during the construction as strong and able. When Solomon observed what a good worker he was, he put the young man in charge of the entire workforce of the tribe of Joseph.
One day Jeroboam was walking down the road out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh, wearing a brand-new cloak, met him. The two of them were alone on that remote stretch of road.
Ahijah took off the new cloak that he was wearing and ripped it into twelve pieces.
Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten of these pieces for yourself; this is by order of the God of Israel: See what I'm doing - I'm ripping the kingdom out of Solomon's hands and giving you ten of the tribes.
In honor of my servant David and out of respect for Jerusalem, the city I especially chose, he will get one tribe.
And here's the reason: He faithlessly abandoned me and went off worshiping Ashtoreth goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh god of the Moabites, and Molech god of the Ammonites. He hasn't lived the way I have shown him, hasn't done what I have wanted, and hasn't followed directions or obeyed orders as his father David did.
"Still, I won't take the whole kingdom away from him. I'll stick with him through his lifetime because of my servant David whom I chose and who did follow my directions and obey my orders.
But after that I'll remove the kingdom from his son's control and give you ten tribes.
I'll leave one tribe to his son, to maintain a witness to my servant David in Jerusalem, the city I chose as a memorial to my Name.
"But I have taken you in hand. Rule to your heart's content! You are to be the king of Israel.
If you listen to what I tell you and live the way I show you and do what pleases me, following directions and obeying orders as my servant David did, I'll stick with you no matter what. I'll build you a kingdom as solid as the one I built for David. Israel will be yours!
I am bringing pain and trouble on David's descendants, but the trials won't last forever."
Solomon ordered the assassination of Jeroboam, but he got away to Egypt and found asylum there with King Shishak. He remained in exile there until Solomon died.
The rest of Solomon's life and rule, his work and his wisdom, you can read for yourself in The Chronicles of Solomon.
Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years.
He died and was buried in the City of David his father. His son Rehoboam was the next king.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)