Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 11

Solomon’s 700 wives and 300 concubines

1 Kings 11:3-4

Solomon filled Jerusalem with beautiful women, and he did everything possible to please them. He made beautiful gardens (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6) and he provided the best food (4:22-23). That was what the greatest kings in other nations often did at their own palaces (for example, Esther 2:1-17).

Some of these women, called Solomon’s concubines, worked as maids in his palace. They considered Solomon to be their husband, so they did not marry other men.

Most of Solomon’s wives, however, did no work. Their only tasks were to make themselves beautiful and to please Solomon. They came from the royal families of other nations. Their marriage to Solomon made stronger the peaceful relationship between Israel and their own nations.

It seems likely that many of Solomon’s wives also came from the families of Israel (see, for example, the Song of Solomon). However, our attention is upon his foreign wives, because of the terrible effect that they had on Solomon’s religion.

Solomon never decided to change his religion. He continued to give honour to the true God (9:25). However, he was too eager to please his foreign wives who served false gods. He began to think that he could serve those false gods in addition to the true God.

David, Solomon’s father, had been guilty of some wicked acts, but still he truly loved God. So, when David saw his wrong deeds, he was eager to turn back to God (2 Samuel 12:13; 2 Samuel 24:10-17; Psalm 51). However, Solomon’s wives tempted him away from God; Solomon no longer truly loved God (compare 1 Kings 3:3).

Next part: Solomon builds altars for false gods (1 Kings 11:5-8)


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