1 Kings 11
The Lord Punishes Solomon for Idolatry1 King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 2 They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them! ▼
▼ Heb “you must not go into them, and they must not go into you.”If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.” ▼
▼ Heb “Surely they will bend your heart after their gods.” The words “if you do” are supplied in the translation for clarification.But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them. ▼
▼ Heb “Solomon clung to them for love.” The pronominal suffix, translated “them,” is masculine here, even though it appears the foreign women are in view. Perhaps this is due to attraction to the masculine forms used of the nations earlier in the verse.
3 He had 700 royal wives ▼
▼ Heb “wives, princesses.”and 300 concubines; ▼
▼ Concubines were slave women in ancient Near Eastern societies who were the legal property of their master, but who could have legitimate sexual relations with their master. A concubine’s status was more elevated than a mere servant, but she was not free and did not have the legal rights of a free wife. The children of a concubine could, in some instances, become equal heirs with the children of the free wife. The usage in the present passage suggests that after the period of the Judges concubines may have become more of a royal prerogative (cf. also 2 Sam 21:10–14).his wives had a powerful influence over him. ▼
▼ Heb “his wives bent his heart.”4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to ▼
▼ Heb “bent his heart after.”other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been. ▼
▼ Heb “his heart was not complete with the Lord his God, like the heart of David his father.”5 Solomon worshiped ▼
▼ Heb “walked after.”the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. ▼
▼ Heb “Milcom, the detestable thing of the Ammonites.”6 Solomon did evil in the Lord’s sight; ▼
▼ Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.”he did not remain loyal to ▼
▼ The idiomatic statement reads in Hebrew, “he did not fill up after.”the Lord, like his father David had. 7 Furthermore, ▼
▼ Heb “then.”on the hill east of Jerusalem ▼
▼ The hill east of Jerusalem refers to the Mount of Olives.▼ Solomon built a high place ▼ for the detestable Moabite god Chemosh ▼
▼ Heb “Chemosh, the detestable thing of Moab.”and for the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. ▼ 8 He built high places for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and make sacrifices to their gods. ▼
▼ Heb “and the same thing he did for all his foreign wives, [who] were burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.”
9 The Lord was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance ▼
▼ Heb “bent his heart.”away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions ▼ 10 and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods. ▼
▼ Heb “and had commanded him concerning this thing not to walk after other gods.”But he did not obey ▼
▼ Or “keep.”the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you, ▼
▼ Heb “Because this is with you, and you have not kept my covenant and my rules which I commanded you.”I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, for your father David’s sake I will not do this while you are alive. I will tear it away from your son’s hand instead. 13 But I will not tear away the entire kingdom; I will leave ▼
▼ Heb “give.”your son one tribe for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of my chosen city Jerusalem.”
14 The Lord brought ▼
▼ Or “raised up.”against Solomon an enemy, Hadad the Edomite, a descendant of the Edomite king. 15 During David’s campaign against Edom, ▼
▼ Heb “when David was [fighting (?)] with Edom.”Joab, the commander of the army, while on a mission to bury the dead, killed every male in Edom. 16 For six months Joab and the entire Israelite army ▼
▼ Heb “and all Israel.”stayed there until they had exterminated every male in Edom. ▼
▼ Heb “until he had cut off every male in Edom.”17 Hadad, ▼
▼ The MT reads “Adad,” an alternate form of the name Hadad.who was only a small boy at the time, escaped with some of his father’s Edomite servants and headed for Egypt. ▼
▼ Heb “and Adad fled, he and Edomite men from the servants of his father, to go to Egypt, and Hadad was a small boy.”18 They went from Midian to Paran; they took some men from Paran and went to Egypt. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, supplied him with a house and food and even assigned him some land. ▼
▼ Heb “and they arose from Midian and went to Paran and they took men with them from Paran and went to Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and he gave to him a house and food and he said to him, and a land he gave to him.” Something seems to be accidentally omitted after “and he said to him.”19 Pharaoh liked Hadad so well ▼
▼ Heb “and Hadad found great favor in the eyes of Pharaoh.”he gave him his sister-in-law (Queen Tahpenes’ sister) as a wife. ▼
▼ Heb “and he gave to him a wife, the sister of his wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.”20 Tahpenes’ sister gave birth to his son, ▼
▼ Heb “bore him Genubath his son.”named Genubath. Tahpenes raised ▼
▼ The Hebrew text reads וַתִּגְמְלֵהוּ (vattigmelehu, “weaned him”) but a slight alteration of the consonantal text yields וַתִּגְדְלֵהוּ (vattigdelehu, “raised him”), which seems to make better sense.him in Pharaoh’s palace; Genubath grew up in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. 21 While in Egypt Hadad heard that David had passed away ▼
▼ Heb “lay down with his fathers.”and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. So Hadad asked Pharaoh, “Give me permission to leave ▼
▼ Heb “send me away.”so I can return to my homeland.” 22 Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack here that makes you want to go to your homeland?” ▼
▼ Heb “Indeed what do you lack with me, that now you are seeking to go to your land?”Hadad replied, ▼
▼ Heb “and he said.”“Nothing, but please give me permission to leave.” ▼
▼ So Hadad asked Pharaoh… This lengthy description of Hadad’s exile in Egypt explains why Hadad wanted to oppose Solomon and supports the author’s thesis that his hostility to Solomon found its ultimate source in divine providence. Though Hadad enjoyed a comfortable life in Egypt, when the Lord raised him up (apparently stirring up his desire for vengeance) he decided to leave the comforts of Egypt and return to Edom.
23 God also brought against Solomon ▼
▼ Heb “him”; the referent (Solomon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.another enemy, Rezon son of Eliada who had run away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 He gathered some men and organized a raiding band. ▼
▼ Heb “and he was the officer of a raiding band.”When David tried to kill them, ▼ they went to Damascus, where they settled down and gained control of the city. 25 He was Israel’s enemy throughout Solomon’s reign and, like Hadad, caused trouble. He loathed ▼ Israel and ruled over Syria.
26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s servants, rebelled against ▼
▼ Heb “raised a hand against.”the king. He was an Ephraimite ▼
▼ Heb “Ephrathite,” which here refers to an Ephraimite (see HALOT 81 s.v. אֶפְרַיִם).from Zeredah whose mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27 This is what prompted him to rebel against the king: ▼
▼ Heb “this is the matter concerning which he raised a hand against the king.”Solomon built a terrace and he closed up a gap in the wall of the city of his father David. ▼ 28 Jeroboam was a talented man; ▼
▼ Heb “man of strength.”when Solomon saw that the young man was an accomplished worker, he made him the leader of the work crew from the tribe ▼
▼ Heb “house.”of Joseph. 29 At that time, when Jeroboam had left Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road; the two of them were alone in the open country. Ahijah ▼
▼ The Hebrew text has simply “he,” making it a bit unclear whether Jeroboam or Ahijah is the subject, but in the Hebrew word order Ahijah is the nearer antecedent, and this is followed by the present translation.was wearing a brand new robe, 30 and he grabbed the robe ▼
▼ Heb “and Ahijah grabbed the new robe that was on him.”and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he told Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Look, I am about to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and I will give ten tribes to you. 32 He will retain one tribe, for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 I am taking the kingdom from him ▼
▼ The words “I am taking the kingdom from him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.because they have ▼
▼ This is the reading of the MT; the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate read “he has.”abandoned me and worshiped the Sidonian goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom. They have not followed my instructions ▼
▼ Heb “walked in my ways.”by doing what I approve and obeying my rules and regulations, like Solomon’s father David did. ▼
▼ Heb “by doing what is right in my eyes, my rules and my regulations, like David his father.”34 I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand. I will allow him to be ruler for the rest of his life for the sake of my chosen servant David who kept my commandments and rules. 35 I will take the kingdom from the hand of his son and give ten tribes to you. ▼
▼ Heb “and I will give it to you, ten tribes.”36 I will leave ▼
▼ Heb “give.”his son one tribe so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me ▼
▼ Heb “so there might be a lamp for David my servant all the days before me in Jerusalem.” The metaphorical “lamp” symbolizes the Davidic dynasty. Because this imagery is unfamiliar to the modern reader, the translation “so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me” has been used.in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as my home. ▼
▼ Heb “so there might be a lamp for David my servant all the days before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for myself to put my name there.”37 I will select ▼
▼ Heb “take.”you; you will rule over all you desire to have and you will be king over Israel. 38 You must obey ▼ all I command you to do, follow my instructions, ▼
▼ Heb “walk in my ways.”do what I approve, ▼
▼ Heb “do what is right in my eyes.”and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; ▼
▼ Heb “I will build for you a permanent house, like I built for David.”I will give you Israel. 39 I will humiliate David’s descendants because of this, ▼
▼ Because of this. Reference is made to the idolatry mentioned earlier.but not forever.” ▼
▼ Heb “but not all the days.”40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and found refuge with King Shishak of Egypt. ▼
▼ Heb “but Jeroboam arose and ran away to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt.”He stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.
Solomon’s Reign Ends41 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, including all his accomplishments and his wise decisions, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of Solomon. ▼
▼ Heb “As for the rest of the events of Solomon, and all which he did, and his wisdom, are they not written on the scroll of the events of Solomon?”42 Solomon ruled over all Israel from Jerusalem ▼ for forty years. 43 Then Solomon passed away ▼
▼ Heb “lay down with his fathers.”and was buried in the city of his father David. ▼ His son Rehoboam replaced him as king. ▼
▼ Before this sentence the Old Greek translation includes the following words: “And it so happened that when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard – now he was in Egypt where he had fled from before Solomon and was residing in Egypt – he came straight to his city in the land of Sarira which is on mount Ephraim. And king Solomon slept with his fathers.”
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