Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 11

Solomon builds altars for false gods

1 Kings 11:5-8

When Israel’s people received their own land, the sacred places of other religions were already there. Especially, there were altars – places to burn sacrifices (animals) on the tops of the hills. God strongly warned the people not to use those places for the purposes of religion. Instead, he would provide a place where they should offer their sacrifices to him (Deuteronomy 12:1-9).

That place was the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, that Solomon built. However, even when Solomon was still loyal to God, he still offered sacrifices (to the true God) on the high hills (3:1-3).

Many of Solomon’s wives came from foreign nations, which all served false gods. Solomon was eager to please them, and so he allowed them to follow their own religions. On the hills round Jerusalem, he built altars for their false gods, so that they could offer sacrifices there. Some of those religions included particularly wicked practices – but Solomon still allowed his wives to follow these religions. He tried, both to remain loyal to the true God and to support his wives in their false religions. However that, of course, was impossible (Deuteronomy 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

Ashtoreth was a female false god that people served in Sidon, and formerly in Canaan (Judges 2:13). Molech or Mitcom has a different spelling from the Molech for whom people killed their children (Leviticus 18:21). So, this may have been a different religion – but it seems to have been similarly wicked. So was the false god Chemosh, for whom the King of Moab killed his own son in 2 Kings 3:26-27. People continued to serve these false gods at these altars for several centuries, until the rule of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).

Next part: God's judgment against Solomon (1 Kings 11:9-13)


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