Royalty and Ruin


The Warning and Solomon’s First Wrong Step

The Lord especially cautioned anyone who might be anointed king not to “multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.” Verse 17. RR 19.4

For a time Solomon obeyed these warnings. His greatest desire was to live and rule in harmony with the laws given at Sinai. His way of administering the kingdom contrasted sharply with the customs of the rulers around him who trampled God’s holy law underfoot. RR 19.5

When he set about to strengthen relations with the powerful kingdom south of Israel, Solomon ventured on forbidden ground. Satan knew the results that would follow obedience, and he worked to undermine Solomon’s loyalty to principle and to cause him to separate from God. “Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David.” 1 Kings 3:1, NRSV. RR 19.6

From a human point of view, this marriage seemed to prove a blessing, for Solomon’s heathen wife united with him in worshiping the true God, and Solomon apparently strengthened his kingdom along the Mediterranean seacoast. But in forming an alliance with a heathen nation and sealing the treaty by marriage with an idol-worshiping princess, Solomon rashly disregarded God’s provision for keeping His people’s purity. The hope that he could convert his Egyptian wife was a feeble excuse for the sin. RR 19.7

In His mercy, God overruled this terrible mistake for a time, and by following a wise course the king could have done much to stop the evil forces that his poor choices had set in operation. But Solomon had begun to lose sight of the Source of his power and glory. Self-confidence increased, and he reasoned that political and commercial alliances with surrounding nations would bring these nations to a knowledge of the true God. Often he sealed these alliances by marriages with heathen princesses. RR 20.1

Solomon deceived himself into thinking that his wisdom and example would lead his wives to worship the true God and that the alliances would draw the nations into close touch with Israel. Foolish hope! Solomon made a fatal mistake by thinking he was strong enough to resist the influence of heathen associates. RR 20.2

The king’s contacts with heathen nations brought him fame, honor, and riches. “The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.” 2 Chronicles 1:15. In Solomon’s day an increasingly large number of people became wealthy, but the fine gold of character was marred. RR 20.3