1 Kings 11

Solomon's wives and women

1 Solomon loved Pharaoh's daughter who came from Egypt. But he also loved many other women from foreign countries. They were called Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites because of the countries that they came from. 2 The Lord had said this to the Israelites about these countries. ‘You must not marry people from these countries, because they would cause you to love their own gods.’ But Solomon did love these foreign women. 3 He had 700 wives who were important ladies. Also, he had 300 other women who lived with him. His wives caused him to become the servant of other gods. 4 This happened when Solomon got older. His wives caused him to love other gods. Solomon did not completely love the Lord his God. David, his father, had always loved the Lord. 5 Solomon made Ashtoreth his god. She was the female god of the people in Sidon. He also made Molech his god. He was the really bad god of the people who lived in Ammon. 6 So Solomon did what the Lord did not like. His father David had completely obeyed the Lord. But Solomon did not completely obey the Lord. 7 There was a hill east of Jerusalem. Solomon built a high place there for Chemosh and Molech. They were really bad gods of the people who lived in Moab and in Ammon. 8 Solomon did the same for all his foreign wives. They burned incense and they offered sacrifices to their own gods in these places.

9 So the Lord became angry with Solomon. Solomon had stopped loving the Lord the God of Israel. The Lord had appeared to Solomon twice. 10 The Lord had told Solomon that he should not become the servant of other gods. But Solomon did not obey the Lord. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘I have seen what you are doing. You have not obeyed my covenant. You have not done what I ordered you to do. So, I will tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your servants. 12 But I will not do it while you are alive. This is because of the promise that I said to David your father. I will tear the kingdom from your son. 13 But I will not tear the whole kingdom from him. I will give to him the one tribe called Judah. This is because I have chosen Jerusalem. Jerusalem is in Judah. Also, it is because of what I promised to my servant David.’

11:13Solomon's son ruled the tribe called Judah. He may also have ruled the tribe called Benjamin. Jerusalem was in the country called Judah.

Solomon's enemies

14 Then the Lord brought Hadad to Edom. He was an enemy of Solomon. Hadad was a man in the king's family in Edom. 15 David had fought against Edom a few years before. Then Joab was the leader of David's army. He had gone to Edom to bury the dead people. These were people from Israel who were killed in the battle. He killed all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and all the army from Israel stayed in Edom for 6 months. They killed all the men in Edom. 17 But Hadad was only a boy at this time. He ran away to Egypt, with some people from his father's government. 18 They started from Midian and they went to Paran. They took men from Paran with them and they went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh the king of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Hadad a house and land and food. 19 Pharaoh was so happy with Hadad that he gave him a wife. She was the sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes. 20 Tahpenes's sister had a son with Hadad. They called him Genubath. He lived with Tahpenes in the king's palace. Genubath lived there with Pharaoh's own children. 21 In Egypt, Hadad heard that David had died. Also, Joab, the leader of David's army, was dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Let me return to my own country.’ 22 Pharaoh asked him, ‘Why do you want to return to your own country? What have you not got here that you want?’ ‘Nothing,’ Hadad replied, ‘but do let me go!’

11:14Edom was a country to the southeast of Israel.
11:15The story of David's war with Edom is in 1 Samuel chapter 8.

23 And God brought another enemy against Solomon, called Rezon. He was the son of Eliada. Rezon had run away from his master, Hadadezer, the king of Zobah. 24 Rezon had men with him and he became their leader. They wanted to fight David, after he had destroyed the army of Zobah. Rezon's men went to Damascus. They decided to live there. They became leaders in Damascus. 25 Rezon was Israel's enemy all the time that Solomon was alive. Like Hadad, he caused trouble for Solomon. So Rezon ruled in Aram and he was an enemy of Israel.

11:24Damascus was the capital of Aram. Aram is called Syria now.

26 Then, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, started to fight against the king. He was one of Solomon's officers. Jeroboam came from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow. Her name was Zeruah. 27 This happened when Jeroboam started to fight against the king. Solomon had built the Millo on top of the wall of the City of David his father. 28 Jeroboam was an important man. And Solomon saw that the young man Jeroboam did his work very well. So, Solomon made him the leader of all the workers from the tribe of Joseph. 29 At that time, Jeroboam went out from Jerusalem. He met Ahijah who was a prophet from Shiloh. Ahijah was wearing a new coat. They were both alone, in the country. 30 Then Ahijah took off the new coat that he was wearing. He tore it into 12 pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take 10 pieces for yourself, because the Lord, the God of Israel, is saying to you, “I will tear the kingdom away from Solomon and I will give you 10 tribes. 32 But for two reasons Solomon will have one tribe:

11:26Ephraim was north-east of Jerusalem. One of the biggest tribes of Israel lived there.

I promised something to David.

I have chosen Jerusalem.

33 I will do this because Solomon has gone away from me. He has worshipped Ashtoreth, the female god of the people in Sidon. He has also worshipped Chemosh, the god of the people in Moab. He has worshipped Molech, the god of the people in Ammon. Solomon has not lived in my ways. He has not done what I see to be right. He has not obeyed my words or my rules. David, Solomon's father, obeyed all my words. 34 But I will not take all the kingdom away from Solomon. I have made him ruler of Israel for all of his life. That is because of my promise to David my servant. I chose David and he obeyed all my words and my rules. 35 I will take the kingdom away from his son and I will give 10 tribes to you. 36 I will give one tribe to his son. So my servant David will always have a light in front of me in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the city where I chose to put my Name. 37 But I will do this to you. You will rule everything that you want. You will be the king of Israel. 38 But you must do everything that I order you to do. You must live in my ways. You must do what I see to be right. You must obey my words and my rules, as my servant David did. If you do that, I will always be near to you. I will build for you a family that will continue as long as David's family. I will give Israel to you. 39 David's family will think that they are not important because of this. But it will not always be like this.” ’ 40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to Shishak the king of Egypt. And he stayed there until Solomon died.

11:33‘live in my ways’ means ‘do what I want him to do’.
11:36‘Chose to put my Name’ means ‘chose to live’.
11:38‘live in my ways’ means ‘do what I want him to do’.
11:38‘Israel’ means the 10 tribes north of Judah and Benjamin.

Solomon dies

41 Other things happened while Solomon was king. They are all in the Book about Solomon. It includes his wisdom and everything that he did. 42 Solomon ruled all Israel from Jerusalem for 40 years. 43 Then he rested with his ancestors. People buried him in the city of his father, David. And his son Rehoboam was king after him.

11:43Verses 28-36. Joseph may be another name for Ephraim. Each of the tribes of Israel had to help Solomon to build the Millo. Bible students think that they did not like this. Part of Jerusalem was in Judah, not in Ephraim! So maybe that is why Jeroboam wanted to fight Solomon. Ahijah said that the Lord would give 10 tribes (in the north) to Jeroboam. In the south, Judah would remain with Solomon's son. Part of Jerusalem was in Judah, but the other part was in Benjamin. Maybe Ahijah counted Benjamin as part of Judah!