Solomon: A wise king who broke the covenant

by Narelle Atkins

King David appointed his son, Solomon, to rule as the king of Israel after his death. God blessed Solomon and answered his request in 1 Kings 3 by giving Solomon great wisdom and a discerning heart. Solomon became famous for his wisdom and people from faraway lands travelled to see him, including the Queen of Sheba.

King Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem and the royal palace. Israel prospered under his leadership. In 1 Kings 9 the Lord appeared to Solomon and reminded him of the importance of obeying the Lord and keeping the covenant. God said that if Solomon or his sons turned away from the Lord or worshiped other Gods, they would lose the covenant blessings including the land given to them by the Lord.

Solomon’s downfall was his love for foreign women. “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew older, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. ” 1 Kings 11:3-4.

Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord and his idolatrous worship angered the Lord. He built shrines for the Moab god, Chemosh, the Ammonite god, Molech, and the other gods who his wives worshiped and offered sacrifices on their altars. Although his father David was far from perfect and committed many sins, David was also repentant and didn’t worship idols.

“So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.’” 1 Kings 11:11-13.

After Solomon’s death in 930BC, the kingdom of Israel was split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). The Southern Kingdom kept the line of David intact and included the holy city of Jerusalem. The Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom in 722BC. The Southern Kingdom was conquered in 586BC and the people were taken into exile by the Babylonians.