The temple. His own palace (with much forced Canaanite labor, 9:15). New cities (9:17-19) Increased bureaucracy (9:23) A great fleet of ships (9:26) Chariots and horsemen and unmatched trade (10:26-29). Solomon enjoyed such success that the Queen of Sheba observed, “the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard” (10:7).
But there is also this: “King Solomon loved many foreign women” (11:1); 700 wives and 300 concubines! The Lord had prohibited marriages with foreigners and, just as he had warned, “when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (11:4). Because of his disobedience, God told Solomon that the kingdom would be torn away from his son, all except Judah and Jerusalem. When Solomon died, things went precisely as God had said. Rehoboam ruled in the south, and Jeroboam in the north: now, two separate kingdoms. Jeroboam set up golden calves in Bethel and Dan and drew the northern tribes ever farther away from God. Both Rehoboam and Jeroboam died, and under both reigns the people did evil in the sight of the Lord. It didn’t take long, after David’s reign, for things to pretty much fall apart. But, then, that’s about what should have been expected. The Lord had warned his people not to follow after the ways of the Canaanites. He had called them to obedience. They failed on both points.
Can’t help but feel the great need for us, as with Solomon, to watch our hearts. And how do we do that? By keeping God’s Word always before us and in our meditations. Remember how the Lord instructed Joshua? “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). And David: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways” (Psalm 119:15).