Solomon is famous for his wealth, his wisdom, and his women.
Certainly, the picture of his wealth is the extravagance of his palace and his Temple. His wisdom and his women, however, are more fluid, more intertwined and are, in fact, inversely proportional.
We see Solomon’s request for wisdom in 1 Kings 3:9-12:
9 “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
The we see in 1 Kings 11 that he “loved many foreign women” and eventually had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Whatever your take on polygamy, that’s a bit much to handle. With three hundred sixty-five days in a year and a thousand anniversaries, someone is going to end up with hurt feelings. He must have had the flower shop on speed-dial, and half his wealth must have been spent on apology gifts.
All this is in direct defiance of Deuteronomy 17:17 which instructs that when Israel finally gets a king, that king had better keep his wife collecting addiction in check or his heart will be turned away from the LORD. This is, of course, exactly happened to Solomon’s heart in the course of his “gotta marry’em all” campaign. Solomon “went after” Ashtoreth of the Sidonians, Milcom of the Ammonites, Chemosh of the Moabites, and Molech, building altars and making sacrifices to the gods of his wives.
So the question is…the question that I’ve never heard anyone ask, the question that plagues my sense of common…sense… The question is: If Solomon was as wise as the text proclaims him to be, how was he so foolish as to bind himself to a thousand women from various cultures with differing beliefs and allow himself to be oriented away from the God who gifted him with the “wisdom” he now abandons? Or more succinctly, how can such a wise man, in his wisdom, abandon wisdom? And perhaps more succinctly still, how can a wise man be so foolish?
For profile on Solomon’s life, click here.
For a pondering of Biblical polygamy, pop on over here.