Solomon was able to accomplish so much, and he is to be commended. He was wise, he consolidated and strengthened the king’s rule, he established treaties, he strengthened national defenses, he was wildly successful in commercial activity and wealth building (so that the Queen of Sheba could hardly believe her eyes), he built the temple among other significant construction projects, and he penned much Scripture. Solomon’s rule was so prosperous that some refer to this period as “the Golden Age” of Hebrew history, but all that glitters is not gold.
In spite of these accomplishments, all things were not well in Israel. Problems were already arising that were to result in the division of the kingdom. Numerous problems existed but the greatest of them was the increasing idolatry and religious syncretism. Thinking about Solomon’s reign, it’s good to reflect on the fact that God most desires from us, not great public works and such but our hearts. The writer of Kings tells us that Solomon “had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart” (1 Kings 11:3); that is, his heart was turned away from God. For us, rather, may our testimony be:
Now my soul breaks forth in singing
Glorious songs of victory!
Jesus in my heart is reigning,
He shall have eternal sway.
Oh! I know ’tis He who guides me,
And I follow His command;
For I feel He is so near me,
As to lead me by the hand. -- Celia Kilpatrick (1885)