Although King Solomon was noted for his wisdom, he made some very foolish decisions. Some of his lapses in judgment would even have to be categorized as dumb mistakes and fatal sins. One of his worst mistakes was buildings a harem of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3). His foreign wives, most of whom he married for political reasons, made many demands on the king. He allowed them to worship their pagan gods to the point where his faith in the one true God began to weaken.
Finally, he himself succumbed to worship of some of those gods (1 Kings 11:5). Because of his lapse into idolatry, the LORD told the king He would tear his kingdom for him and give it to one of Solomon’s subordinates (1 Kings 11:11). This would happen after Solomon died. God also promised that part of the nation would remain faithful to David’s line because of the promise of an eternal kingship that He had made to David.
Solomon’s lavish lifestyle and his expensive government bureaucracy were other serious problems. To support these, he placed a heavy burden of taxation on his people. In the last years of his reign, the nation began to come apart as a spirit of rebellion spread throughout his kingdom (1 Kings 11:14-25).
Solomon’s reign came to an end with his death and the elevation of his son Rehoboam to the throne (1 Kings 11:41-43). Would Rehoboam be able to calm the stormy waters and continue to rule over a united Israel? We will discover the answer to this question as we examine the next period of biblical history