From his deathbed, David told his son, Solomon, to follow the Lord’s statutes closely. And looking simply at the results, the early years of Solomon’s reign seem to bear the principle that David spoke: “Walk in His ways . . . keep His statutes . . . that you may succeed in all that you do” (1 Kings 2:3). However, we know Solomon eventually earned the Lord’s anger, and a portion of the kingdom was torn away from Solomon’s descendants (11:1–13). How did this happen?
The cracks in Solomon’s foundation were evident long before the events of 1 Kings 11. He began his reign with bloodshed, killing off his own brother and the old commander of David’s army without a violent provocation. And then, not long after becoming king, Solomon began his practice of taking foreign wives, including making a marriage alliance with Pharaoh’s daughter. Such a practice had been prohibited in the Law since the Israelites had taken possession of the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 7:1–4). But here was the leader of the people committing this very sin, starting himself down a path that would eventually ruin his household and his nation.
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