1 Kings 11

The Book of 1 Kings
Chapter 11

Chapter Overview:

Solomon's many wives turn his heart from God, ver. 1 - 8.
God reproves and threatens him, ver. 9 - 13.
Stirs up Hadad and Rezon against him, ver. 14 - 25.
An account of Jeroboam, ver. 26 - 40.
Solomon's death and burial, ver. 41 - 43.
11:3Seven hundred wives, &c. - God had particularly forbidden the kings to multiply either horses or wives, 17:16 ,17, we sawchap. 1 Kings 10:29 , how he broke the former law, multiplying horses: andhere we see, how he broke the latter, multiplying wives. David set theexample. One ill act of a good man may do more mischief than twenty of awicked man. Besides, they were strange women, of the nations which Godhad expressly forbidden them to marry with. And to compleat the mischief,he clave unto these in love; was extravagantly fond of them, Solomonhad much knowledge. But to what purpose, when he knew not how to governhis appetites?
11:4Was old - As having now reigned nigh thirty years. When it might have been expected that experience would have made him wiser: then Godpermitted him to fall so shamefully, that he might be to all succeedinggenerations an example of the folly, and weakness of the wisest and thebest men, when left to themselves. Turned his heart - Not that theychanged his mind about the true God, and idols, which is not credible; butthey obtained from him a publick indulgence for their worship, and possiblypersuaded him to join with them in the outward act of idol - worship; or, atleast, in their feasts upon their sacrifices, which was a participation oftheir idolatry.
11:5Milcom - Called also Moloch.
11:6Did evil - That is, did not worship God wholly, but joined idols with him.
11:7An high place - That is, an altar upon the high place, as the manner of the Heathens was. The hill - In the mount of olives, whichwas nigh unto Jerusalem, 15:30 , and from this act was calledthe mount of corruption, 23:13 . As it were, to confront thetemple.
11:8And sacrificed, &c. - See what need those have to stand upon their guard, who have been eminent for religion. The devil will set upon themmost violently: and if they miscarry, the reproach is the greater. It isthe evening that commends the day. Let us therefore fear, lest having runwell, we come short.
11:12Fathers sake - For my promise made to him, 7:12 - 15.
11:13One tribe - Benjamin was not entirely his, but part of it adhered to Jeroboam, as Bethel, 12:29 ,and Hephron, 2 Chronicles 13:19 , both which were towns ofBenjamin.
11:15In Edom - By his army, to war against it. To bury - The Israelites who were slain in the battle, 8:13 ,14, whom hehonourably interred in some certain place, to which he is said to go upfor that end. And this gave Hadad the opportunity of making his escape,whilst Joab and his men were employed in that solemnity.Had smitten - Or, and he smote, as it is in the Hebrew: which ishere noted as the cause of Hadad's flight; he understood what Joabhad done in part, and intended farther to do, even to kill all the malesand therefore fled for his life.
11:18Midian - He fled at first with an intent to go into Egypt, but took Midian, a neighbouring country, in his way, andstaid there a while, possibly 'till he had by some of his servants triedPharaoh's mind, and prepared the way for his reception.Paran - Another country in the road from Edom to Egypt, where hehired men to attend him, that making his entrance there something like aprince, he might find more favour from that king and people. Land - Tosupport himself and his followers out of the profits of it.
11:19Found favour - God so disposing his heart, that Hadad might be a scourge to Solomon for his impieties.
11:21Joab - Whom he feared as much as David himself.Own country - Whither accordingly he came; and was there, even from thebeginning of Solomon's reign. And it is probable, by the near relationwhich was between his wife and Solomon's; and, by Pharaoh'sintercession, he obtained his kingdom with condition of subjection andtribute to be paid by him to Solomon; which condition he kept 'tillSolomon fell from God, and then began to be troublesome, and dangerousto his house and kingdom.
11:23Who fled - When David had defeated him. Zobah - A part of Syria, between Damascus and Euphrates.
11:24A band - Of soldiers, who fled upon that defeat, 10:18 , and others who readily joined them, and livedby robbery; as many Arabians did. Damascus - And took it,whilst Solomon was wallowing in luxury.
11:25All adversity - He was a secret enemy, all that time; and when Solomon had forsaken God, he shewed himself openly. Beside - Thisinfelicity was added to the former; whilst Hadad molested him in thesouth, Rezon threatened him in the north. But what hurt could Hadador Rezon have done, to so powerful a king as Solomon, if he had notby sin made himself mean and weak? If God be on our side, we need not fearthe greatest adversary. But if he be against us, he can make us fear theleast: yea, the grasshopper shall be a burden. Syria - Over all thatpart of Syria, enlarging his empire the more, and thereby laying afoundation for much misery to Solomon's kingdom.
11:28Charge - The taxes and tributes.
11:29Went - Probably to execute his charge. Were alone - Having gone aside for private conference; for otherwise it is most likely that hehad servants attending him, who, though they hear not the words, yet mightsee the action, and the rending of Jeroboam's coat; and thus it came toSolomon's ears, who being so wise, could easily understand the thing bywhat he heard of the action, especially when a prophet did it.
11:39For this - For this cause, which I mentioned ver. 33 .Not for ever - There shall a time come when the seed of David shallnot be molested by the kingdom of Israel, but that kingdom shall bedestroyed, and the kings of the house of David shall be uppermost, asit was in the days of Asa, Hezekiah and Judah. And at last theMessiah shall come, who shall unite together the broken sticks ofJudah and Joseph, and rule over all the Jews and Gentilestoo.
11:40Solomon - To whose ears this had come. Shishak - Solomon's brother - in - law, who yet might be jealous of him, or alienated from him,because he had taken so many other wives to his sister, might cast a greedyeye upon the great riches which Solomon had amassed together, and uponwhich, presently after Solomon's death, he laid violent hands, 2 Chronicles 12:9 .
11:41The book - In the publick records, where the lives and actions of kings were registered from time to time, so this was only a political,not a sacred book.
11:42Forty years - His reign was as long as his father's, but not his life; sin shortened his days.
11:43Slept - This expression is promiscuously used concerning good and bad; and signifies only, that they died as their fathers did.But did he repent before he died? This seems to be put out of disputeby the book of Ecclesiastes; written after his fall; as is evident,not only from the unanimous testimony of the Hebrew writers, butalso, from the whole strain of that book, which was written long afterhe had finished all his works, and after he had liberally drunk of allsorts of sensual pleasures, and sadly experienced the bitter effects ofhis love of women, Ecclesiastes 7:17 , &c. which makes it more than probable,that as David writ 51:1 - 19.So Solomon wrote this book as a publick testimony and profession of hisrepentance.