Monday, August 26, 2019

The Fall of King Solomon

"The weight of gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents" (1 Kings 10:14).

Before he became king, David collected wives in violation of the laws of kingship found in Deuteronomy 17:16–17. Yet, God did not allow these sins to disqualify David or destroy the order of the kingdom. God sent Nathan to announce the new kingdom covenant that He was instituting with David and his house. Right after this new covenant was set up, David fell into adultery with Bathsheba, a new “fall of man” that threatened to destroy the kingdom.

We see the same pattern in the life of Solomon. At the beginning of his reign, Solomon entered into a politically expedient marriage with the royal house of Egypt, and he worshiped carelessly on the high places (1 Kings 3:1–3). Yet God did not hold these sins against him, but instead appeared to him at Gibeon and had him build the temple. God gave Solomon wisdom and godly influence throughout the world. Then, after the kingdom was settled, Solomon fell into sin, a fall that disrupted the kingdom.

Immediately after the visit of the Queen of Sheba, the climax of Solomon’s greatness and influence, we are told that Solomon broke the three laws of kingship. First, he multiplied gold and wealth for himself, and surely the number 666 in 1 Kings 10:14 has prophetic significance. Second, he multiplied horses and sent to Egypt to get them (1 Kings 10:26–29). Finally, he multiplied wives and concubines, who turned away his heart from the Lord (1 Kings 11:1–8). He also instituted a system of forced labor, reducing the people to slavery and thereby “returning them to Egypt” (1 Kings 12:4). Solomon had forgotten the meaning of the temple as we studied it yesterday.

Just as David’s great fall brought trouble on his house for the rest of his days, so Solomon’s great fall brought war upon the land for the rest of his. Hadad the Edomite rose up against him, as did Rezon of Zobah, and finally, Solomon’s greatest threat arose in the person of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was raised up to oppose Solomon by God Himself through the prophet Ahijah (1 Kings 11:9–40).

With God, there is forgiveness and abundant mercy. He is also characterized as long-suffering and slow to wrath. This was evidently true with both David and Solomon, and yet God has appointed boundaries which, when crossed, finally provoke His wrath and/or discipline. If you are playing brinksmanship with sin, pushing it to the limit, repent immediately before God chastises you in discipline.