1 Kings 11

The Lord punishes King Solomon

1 Solomon loved Pharaoh's daughter and many other foreign women. Those women were Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 The Lord had warned the Israelites about these nations. He said, ‘You must not marry people from these nations. If you do, they will cause you to worship their own gods.’ But Solomon did love these foreign women and he married them.

3 Solomon had 700 royal wives. He also had 300 slave wives. His wives caused him to turn away from the Lord. 4 When Solomon became old, his wives caused him to serve other gods. Solomon no longer completely loved the Lord his God as his father David had done.

11:3The royal wives were daughters of kings or important people in foreign nations.

5 Solomon worshipped Ashtoreth, the female god of the Sidonian people. He also worshipped Molech, the wicked god of the Ammonite people. 6 As a result, Solomon did things that the Lord said were evil. He did not serve the Lord faithfully as his father David had done. 7 On a hill east of Jerusalem Solomon built a place to worship false gods. He worshipped Chemosh, the wicked god of the Moabite people, and Molech, the wicked god of the Ammonite people. 8 Solomon also built places where his foreign wives could worship their gods. They burned incense and they offered sacrifices to their own gods in these places.

9 So the Lord became angry with Solomon. Solomon had turned away from the Lord, Israel's God, who had appeared to Solomon twice. 10 He had warned Solomon that he must not serve other gods. But Solomon did not obey the Lord's command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘I see the things that you have chosen to do. You have not obeyed my covenant and the laws that I commanded you to obey. So I will take the kingdom away from you. One of your servants will rule the kingdom instead of you. 12 But I will not do this while you are alive, because your father David was faithful to me. Instead, I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 But I will not take away the whole kingdom from him. I will leave one tribe for him to rule as king. I will do this because King David served me faithfully, and because I have chosen Jerusalem as my special city.’

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

Solomon's enemies

14 The Lord brought an enemy to attack Solomon. He was Hadad who came from Edom. Hadad belonged to the king of Edom's family. 15 When David was king, he had fought against Edom's people. Joab, the leader of David's army, had gone to Edom to bury the dead Israelite soldiers. At that time, Joab killed all the men in Edom. 16 Joab and Israel's army stayed in Edom for six months. During that time, they killed all the men in Edom. 17 Hadad was a small boy at that time. He escaped from Edom with some of his father's officers. They went towards Egypt. 18 They went from Midian as far as Paran. They took some men from Paran and they all went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Hadad a house to live in and food to eat. He also gave Hadad some land. 19 Pharaoh was very pleased with Hadad, so he gave Hadad a wife. She was the sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes. 20 Tahpenes's sister gave birth to Hadad's son, called Genubath. Queen Tahpenes took care of Genubath in the king's palace. Genubath lived there with Pharaoh's own children.

11:14Edom was a country to the south-east of Israel.
11:15The story of David's war against Edom is in 1 Samuel 8.

21 While Hadad was living in Egypt, he heard the news that King David had died. Joab, the leader of David's army, was also dead by this time. So Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Please let me return to my own country.’ 22 Pharaoh asked him, ‘Why do you want to return to your own country? Is there anything that you do not have here?’ Hadad replied, ‘There is nothing wrong, but please let me go.’

23 God also brought another enemy to attack Solomon. He was Eliada's son Rezon. He had run away from his master, Hadadezer, the king of Zobah. 24 After David had destroyed Hadadezer's army, Rezon became the leader of a group of bad men. Rezon went to Damascus with his men, and Rezon became ruler of the city. 25 Rezon was Israel's enemy all the time that Solomon was alive. He caused trouble for Solomon, as Hadad also did. Rezon ruled in Syria and he hated the Israelite people.

11:24Damascus was the capital city of Syria.

26 Nebat's son Jeroboam was one of Solomon's officers. He came from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow. Her name was Zeruah. Jeroboam turned against King Solomon. 27 This is what happened: Solomon had built the Millo. He had also mended the walls of the City of David his father. 28 Jeroboam was a strong young man. Solomon saw that he did his work very well. So he made Jeroboam the leader of the workers who belonged to Joseph's tribe.

11:26Ephraim's land was north east of Jerusalem. It was one of the biggest tribes of Israel.

29 During that time, Jeroboam travelled out from Jerusalem. A prophet, Ahijah, met him on the road. They were alone in the country. Ahijah came from Shiloh. He was wearing a new coat. 30 Ahijah took off his new coat. He tore it into 12 pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten pieces for yourself. This is what the Lord, Israel's God, is saying to you: “I will take Solomon's kingdom away from him! I will give you ten tribes to rule over. 32 But Solomon will continue to rule over one tribe. That is because King David served me faithfully, and because I have chosen Jerusalem as my special city. I did not choose a city in any of the other tribes of Israel.

33 I will take the kingdom away from Solomon because he and his people have turned away from me. They have started to worship Ashtoreth, the female god of the Sidonian people. They also worship Chemosh, the god of the Moabite people, and Molech, the god of the Ammonite people. They have not lived in a way that pleases me. They have not done the things that I say are right. They have not obeyed my rules and my laws. They have not lived in a good way, as Solomon's father David did.

34 But I will not take the whole kingdom away from Solomon. I will let him continue to rule as king while he still lives. I will do that because of my servant David that I chose to be king. David obeyed my commands and my rules. 35 I will take the kingdom away from his son and I will give ten tribes for you to rule. 36 But I will leave one tribe for Solomon's son to rule. Then my servant David will continue to have a descendant who serves me as king in Jerusalem. That is the city where I have chosen for people to worship me.

37 But I will make you, Jeroboam, king of Israel. You will rule over all the land that you want for yourself. 38 But you must do everything that I command you to do. You must live in a way that pleases me. You must do the things that I say are right. You must obey my rules and my commands, as my servant David did. If you do that, I will always be with you. I will cause your descendants to continue to rule Israel. What I have done for David's family, I will also do for your family. The nation of Israel will belong to you. 39 Because of Solomon's sins I will punish David's descendants. But I will not punish them for ever.” ’

11:38‘Israel’ means the 10 tribes that were north of Judah and Benjamin.

40 Solomon then tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt. Shishak, the king of Egypt, kept Jeroboam safe. Jeroboam stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.

Solomon dies

41 The other things that happened while Solomon was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of Solomon’. It tells about Solomon's wisdom and everything that he did. 42 Solomon ruled over all Israel for 40 years while he lived in Jerusalem. 43 Then he died. They buried him with his ancestors, in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam became king after him.