came to the throne on the death of David but not without some internal strife 1 Kings 1. However, these matters resolved, Solomon’s reign is established and it is a very encouraging beginning. ‘Solomon loved the LORD walking in the statutes of David his father…’ 1 Kings 3.3a. We will return to 3b in a moment.
God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said ‘Ask what I shall give you’ 3.5 and Solomon asked for wisdom which God gave him, and much more besides. The world came to his door, notably the Queen of Sheba to hear his wisdom and to marvel at his riches, the grand house he lived in and the Temple which he built. Not only that but it is recorded in 4.25 that ‘Judah and Israel lived in safety from Dan even to Beersheba every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon’
But note there is, as it were, a modifying clause ‘all the days of Solomon’. This period of peace and prosperity was finite for returning to chapter 3.3b we read ‘only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places’. It is easy to miss the significance of these words but here was a chink in the armour which allowed the canker of sin to flow out and in.
Deuteronomy 17.14-20 set out the rules for kingship, against the day when Israel would ask for a king and although he started so well Solomon failed to observe them.
2 Chronicles 8.11 gives us a glimpse.
Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the Lord has come are holy.”
The marriage outside of Israel was wrong and he knew it but he wanted to live with a foot in each camp and as Jesus said, many years later ‘A house divided against itself will not stand’ .
Furthermore it is noted of Solomon that ‘he loved many foreign women…from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, ‘you shall not enter into marriage with them. …….Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.” 1 Kings 11.1-3
A great start, a tragic end and the line of succession passes to Rehoboam. His reign as we will see tomorrow did not have an auspicious start but the Covenant with David stands as the great backdrop to the succeeding history of Advent and is marked by God’s sovereign overruling.