Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 11

Marriages to women from nations that served false gods

1 Kings 11:2

As a truly rich king, Solomon was able to marry as many women as he wanted. His desires were strong, so he brought many foreign women to his palace as his wives.

In verse 1, the author gave a list of nations from which these women came. He now adds that God commanded Israel’s people not to marry anyone from those nations.

That command appears in Exodus 34:15-16 and Deuteronomy 7:1-3. However, those passages refer only to the nations that were the original inhabitants of the country called Canaan. Only one of the nations in 1 Kings 11:1 was among those nations: the people called Hittites. So, we may ask how God told Israel’s people not to marry anyone from the other nations.

The answer to that question appears in 1 Kings 11:2. God’s laws were not like our modern laws which try to make a rule for every possible situation. Rather, God was giving examples of right and wrong behaviour, so that his people would learn how to live. They should not marry people from the nations in Canaan, because those nations served false gods. Therefore, for the same reason, they should not marry people from other nations which served false gods. To do that, would turn Israel’s people away from the one true God.

That was how Ezra (Ezra 9:1-3), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:23-27) and Paul (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) understood this command. It is also clear from God’s commands about the people from Ammon, Moab and Edom in Deuteronomy 23:3-8.

Next part: Solomon's 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3-4)


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