Solomon’s heart turns away from the LORD. (1-8)
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. – Mathew Henry Commentary.
The greatest Kingdom of the world started to crumble, not by external forces, but from internal weakness. God’s righteousness will not kick until our actions warrant God to start judging us. The judgment of God will not kick start when we cross certain spiritual boundaries, because those lines are warnings and we will have the enough opportunity to return. Taking God’s longsuffering (patience) for granted will lead us into more and more trespasses. This is one way of deception. His choice of Pharaoh’s daughter, and accumulation of horses. In His response to Solomon’s prayer in chapter 9, God gave a warning and an opportunity set right things which he did not heed.
Vs. 1& 2…loved many foreign women…Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites…. Exodus 34:16, Deut. 7:3&4, and Duet 17:17, it was forbidden to marry many wives. The reason for this restriction was that pagan wives would lead God’s people into idolatry. Nehemiah mentioned Solomon in Chapter 13:223-26. We have to be ever watchful over those things for which our hearts long.
V. 3: his wives turned away his heart: It happened exactly as God warned.
Vs. 5-7: Ashtoreth….Milcom (molech)…Chemosh : Astoreth was the Canaanite goddess of fertility whose worship involved sexual rites and Astrology. Milcom or Molech, which is the god of underworld includes human sacrifices, especially of Children. Chemosh was cruel and involved astrology. Did evil in the sight of the LORD (v.6)… kings are characteristically assessed in 1–2 Kings in terms of whether on the whole they “did what was right” or what was evil in the eyes of the Lord,; Judean kings are additionally said to be “like David” or “not like David.”
God’s anger. (9-13)
Solomon as well as readers get the clues in 2:4; 8:25; and 9:4–5 what God would do. He said it and He did it.
V. 12: I will not do it in your days…: At the same time in the midst of judgment, God showed mercy by promising not to take the Kingdom from Solomon in his lifetime.
V. 13: give one tribe to your son: God is assuring him that his son will reign over one tribe. God said that HE would do it because of His servant David, and for the same of Jerusalem, which He has chosen.
Solomon’s adversaries. (14-25) In addition to the internal weakness, God is bringing external opposition by raising up adversaries. While Solomon kept close to God and to his duty, there was no enemy to give him uneasiness; 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.
Adversary 1: Hadad, the Edomite (Vs. 14-22). Hadad was a victim of David’s war (2 Sam. 8:13 & 14). Hadad opposed Solomon from the south.
Adversary 2: Rezon, of Zobah (vs. 23-35). Rezon, had supposedly escaped from the battle recorded in 2 Sam 8:3 & 4. Unwilling to submit to the rule of David from Jerusalem, Rezon fled to Hadadezer, King of Zobah. Later he went to Damascus. During this period Damascus became the capital of Syria. Syria became significant power during the time of David and Solomon and became a serious problem to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah even to the extent of the northern kingdom was ultimately absorbed into the Assyrian Empire. Rezon opposed Solomon from the north.
Jeroboam, the Prime adversary within. (26-40) Jeroboam was the prime adversary the Lord raised up against Solomon.
V. 27: …an Ephraimite…: Jeroboam is from the Tribe of Ephraim
V. 28: Officer over all the labor force…: Jeroboam served in Solomon’s court as the superintendent of the labor force who was helping in construction work in Jerusalem.
V. 29: …prophet Ahijah met him on the way…: Prophet with a new garment (shawl) met Jeroboam outside the city of Jerusalem privately in a field.
Vs. 30 & 31: …tore into 12 pieces…: Prophet Ahijah tore the new garment into 12 pieces each piece representing the 12 tribes of Israel, and prophesized God’s plan for Israel after Solomon. God will divide the twelve tribes and give 10 tribes to Jeroboam.
V. 32: …one tribe for the sake of…: God said through Prophet Ahijah that one tribe which is Judah will be given to the descendants of David. That one tribe is for the sake of David, and Jerusalem. But, Benjamin tribe is missing (12:12) here, perhaps for the reason Jerusalem is originally is part of Benjamin.
Verses 33-35 are God repeating what He has spoken to Solomon in verses 11-13.
V. 36: …David may always have a lamp before Me…: Even in the midst of His righteous indignant God is very particular about what HE has promised to David. This is another example of how much God is interested in having generations for Himself. God will honor HIS promises about our generation, even after we depart this world.
V. 38: …build for you an enduring house…: Our God is not a God of partiality. He is promising Jeroboam that he can have a dynasty like David’s if he obeyed like David.
V. 40: …Solomon…sought to kill Jeroboam …: We don’t know if Jeroboam’s rebellion in verse 26 prompted Solomon to kill him. However, the prophecy on Jeroboam’s elevation is not a new news for Solomon. Despite, he sought to kill Jeroboam. Solomon knew that the counsel of the LORD will stand forever. Also, God promised that all these things will not happen until he dies. We see here the pride, jealousy, and fear will move a carnal man to go any extend if he doesn’t keep himself in the LORD.
Jeroboam… fled to Egypt:Jeroboam had to flee to Egypt to find refuge under Shishak. Shishak is said to be Solomon’s brother-in-Law, but gave refuge to Jeroboam. May be Shishak was angry at his sister’s husband that he had 999 other women in his life.
The death of Solomon. (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? – Mathew Henry Concise Commentary
V. 41…Book of the acts of Solomon … In the public records, where the lives and actions of kings were registered from time to time. This was only a political, not a sacred book.
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. – Mathew Henry Concise Commentary.
…did he repent before he died? This seems to be put out of dispute by the book of Ecclesiastes; written after his fall; as is evident, not only from the unanimous testimony of the Hebrew writers, but also, from the whole strain of that book, which was written long after he had finished all his works, and after he had liberally drunk of all sorts of sensual pleasures, and sadly experienced the bitter effects of his love of women, Ecclesiastes 7:17. which makes it more than probable, that as David writ 51:1 – 19.So Solomon wrote this book as a public testimony and profession of his repentance.- Wesley’s Explanatory Notes. (John Wesley’s commentary on the whole Bible was produced bet. 1754 & 1765)