The book of First Kings is a book of historical transition between one king to the next. At the start of the book, David is still king, but he is now transferring his authority to his son Solomon. There are two things David passed on to Solomon that ought to be mentioned. First, Solomon had his dad’s example. Whatever is to be said about David’s failings, it was the loyalty David manifested to the Lord that stayed with Solomon. Second, David’s charge to Solomon to never forget the Lord (1 Chronicles 28:9).
Into his reign Solomon took these two teachings points with him, though, of course, he took more than that with him. He took the major governmental document governing all Israel (the Law of Moses), his dad’s example, and the Lord’s wisdom. This was, we might say, constitutional law for the nation. These three things in place made the future for Solomon very bright.
Something happened along the way, however. Solomon was blessed with something no other king in human history was; he was blessed with an abundant amount of wisdom from God (1 Kings 3:12). It appears that Solomon handled this abundance very well in his reign; that is, he handled it well until he got near his end (1 Kings 11). What happened? Solomon allowed his pride to get in the way and, even worse, he allowed the wisdom of others to get in the way (11:4; cf. Proverbs 16:18).
Solomon, in his pride, became progressive. In studying 1 Kings 11 one can’t help but notice that Israel’s king did not want to be governed by the Lord and His “constitution” (the Law of Moses). Solomon allowed the affluence of wealth, political tolerance, religious pluralism, and hedonistic desires to control him. That which controls the top filters down to the people. Because of all this, the nation was divided religiously, morally, and politically.
The lesson is not lost on those of us today who take the time to observe. RT