1 Kings 11

Listen to 1 Kings 11

Solomon Turns from the Lord

1 Now 1King 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 people of Israel, 2"You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love.
3 He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.
4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and 3his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, 4as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after 5Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after 6Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for 7Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for 8Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.
8 And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods.

The Lord Raises Adversaries

9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because 9his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, 10who had appeared to him twice
10 and 11had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded.
11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, 12I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.
12 Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 However, 13I will not tear away all the kingdom, but 14I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem 15that I have chosen."
14 And the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite. He was of the royal house in Edom.
15 For 16when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the slain, he struck down every male in Edom
16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom).
17 But Hadad fled to Egypt, together with certain Edomites of his father's servants, Hadad still being a little child.
18 They set out from Midian and came to 17Paran and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house and assigned him an allowance of food and gave him land.
19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.
20 And the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the sons of Pharaoh.
21 But when Hadad heard in Egypt 18that David slept with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, "Let me depart, that I may go to my own country."
22 But Pharaoh said to him, "What have you lacked with me that you are now seeking to go to your own country?" And he said to him, "Only let me depart."
23 God also raised up as an adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master 19Hadadezer king of Zobah.
24 And he gathered men about him and became leader of a marauding band, 20after the killing by David. And they went to Damascus and lived there and made him king in Damascus.
25 He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing harm as Hadad did. And he loathed Israel and reigned over Syria.
26 21Jeroboam the son of Nebat, 22an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, also 23lifted up his hand against the king.
27 And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king. 24Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of David his father.
28 The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph.
29 And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet 25Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country.
30 Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, 26and tore it into twelve pieces.
31 And he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Behold, 27I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes
32 (but 28he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, 29the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel),
33 because they have[a] forsaken me 30and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did.
34 Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes.
35 31But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and will give it to you, ten tribes.
36 Yet to his son 32I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have 33a lamp before me in Jerusalem, 34the city where I have chosen to put my name.
37 And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel.
38 And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, 35I will be with you and 36will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
39 And I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever.'"
40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled into Egypt, to 37Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
41 38Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon?
42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.
43 And Solomon 39slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And 40Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

1 Kings 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

Solomon's wives and concubines, His idolatry. (1-8) God's anger. (9-13) Solomon's adversaries. (14-25) Jeroboam's promotion. (26-40) The death of Solomon. (41-43)

Verses 1-8 There is not a more melancholy and astonishing instance of human depravity in the sacred Scriptures, than that here recorded. Solomon became a public worshipper of abominable idols! Probably he by degrees gave way to pride and luxury, and thus lost his relish for true wisdom. Nothing forms in itself a security against the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. Nor will old age cure the heart of any evil propensity. If our sinful passions are not crucified and mortified by the grace of God, they never will die of themselves, but will last even when opportunities to gratify them are taken away. Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall. We see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace of God; let us therefore live in constant dependence on that grace. Let us watch and be sober: ours is a dangerous warfare, and in an enemy's country, while our worst foes are the traitors in our own hearts.

Verses 9-13 The Lord told Solomon, it is likely by a prophet, what he must expect for his apostacy. Though we have reason to hope that he repented, and found mercy, yet the Holy Ghost did not expressly record it, but left it doubtful, as a warning to others not to sin. The guilt may be taken away, but not the reproach; that will remain. Thus it must remain uncertain to us till the day of judgment, whether or not Solomon was left to suffer the everlasting displeasure of an offended God.

Verses 14-25 While Solomon kept close to God and to his duty, there was no enemy to give him uneasiness; but here we have an account of two. If against us, he can make us fear even the least, and the very grasshopper shall be a burden. Though they were moved by principles of ambition or revenge, God used them to correct Solomon.

Verses 26-40 In telling the reason why God rent the kingdom from the house of Solomon, Ahijah warned Jeroboam to take heed of sinning away his preferment. Yet the house of David must be supported; out of it the Messiah would arise. Solomon sought to kill his successor. Had not he taught others, that whatever devices are in men's hearts, the counsel of the Lord shall stand? Yet he himself thinks to defeat that counsel. Jeroboam withdrew into Egypt, and was content to live in exile and obscurity for awhile, being sure of a kingdom at last. Shall not we be content, who have a better kingdom in reserve?

Verses 41-43 Solomon's reign was as long as his father's, but his life was not so. Sin shortened his days. If the world, with all its advantages, could satisfy the soul, and afford real joy, Solomon would have found it so. But he was disappointed in all, and to warn us, has left this record of all earthly enjoyments, "Vanity and vexation of spirit." The New Testament declares that one greater than Solomon is come to reign over us, and to possess the throne of his father David. May we not see something of Christ's excellency faintly represented to us in this figure?

Cross References 40

  • 1. Nehemiah 13:26; [Deuteronomy 17:17]
  • 2. See Exodus 34:16
  • 3. [1 Kings 8:61]
  • 4. 1 Kings 9:4
  • 5. ver. 33; Judges 2:13; 2 Kings 23:13
  • 6. [ver. 7]
  • 7. Numbers 21:29; 2 Kings 23:13
  • 8. Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-4; 2 Kings 23:10; Acts 7:43; [ver. 5]
  • 9. ver. 2, 4
  • 10. 1 Kings 3:5; 1 Kings 9:2
  • 11. 1 Kings 6:12; 1 Kings 9:6
  • 12. ver. 31; [1 Kings 12:15, 16]
  • 13. [2 Samuel 7:15; Psalms 89:33]
  • 14. ver. 32, 36; [1 Kings 12:20]
  • 15. Deuteronomy 12:5, 11
  • 16. 2 Samuel 8:14; 1 Chronicles 18:12, 13
  • 17. Numbers 10:12; Deuteronomy 33:2
  • 18. 1 Kings 2:10
  • 19. [2 Samuel 10:16]
  • 20. 2 Samuel 8:3; 2 Samuel 10:8, 18
  • 21. 1 Kings 12:2; 2 Chronicles 13:6
  • 22. 1 Samuel 1:1
  • 23. 2 Samuel 20:21
  • 24. 1 Kings 9:24; [2 Samuel 5:9]
  • 25. 1 Kings 12:15; 1 Kings 14:2; 1 Kings 15:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29
  • 26. [1 Samuel 15:27]
  • 27. ver. 11-13
  • 28. ver. 13; 1 Kings 12:21
  • 29. 1 Kings 14:21; See Deuteronomy 12:5
  • 30. ver. 5, 7
  • 31. ver. 12; 1 Kings 12:16, 17
  • 32. [See ver. 32 above]
  • 33. 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Samuel 21:17; 2 Kings 8:19; 2 Chronicles 21:7
  • 34. [See ver. 32 above]
  • 35. Joshua 1:5
  • 36. 1 Samuel 2:35; 2 Samuel 7:11, 27
  • 37. 1 Kings 14:25; 2 Chr. 12:2, 5, 7, 9
  • 38. For ver. 41-43, see 2 Chronicles 9:29-31
  • 39. 1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 14:20
  • 40. Matthew 1:7

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate he has; twice in this verse

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the false steps Solomon took, notwithstanding all his wisdom, in marrying strange wives, and worshipping other gods, 1Ki 11:1-8 upon which the Lord threatens him to rend the kingdom in his son's time, 1Ki 11:9-13 and he raised up adversaries against him, Hadad, Rezon, and Jeroboam, 1Ki 11:14-26 of which last an account is given, and of his being assured by Ahijah the prophet of his having ten of the tribes of Israel given to him; which Solomon having notice of sought to slay him, 1Ki 11:27-40 and the chapter is concluded with an account of Solomon's death and burial, 1Ki 11:41-43.

1 Kings 11 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.