Solomon: Courage, Wisdom and Leadership

Part 7

When Wisdom Turns Stupid

Solomon was made king when he was twenty years old. As a youthful and immature king, Solomon had enough smarts to ask God to give him wisdom and understanding so that he might rule his people well. God answered his request and for several decades, Solomon ruled with wisdom and humility before God. God blessed Solomon and the nation of Israel and made them great and famous among all the nations of the world. 


Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men … I Kings 4.29-31 


But, after many years as king of Israel, the wisest man in the world became stupid. 


Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord has said to the sons of Israel, ‘you shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, or they will surely turn your heart away after their gods’. I Kings 11:1,2 


Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives … and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been …  Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. I Kings 11.3-6 


How does a wise man become so stupid? 


Solomon had a weakness; he loved foreign women. We all have weaknesses. Having weaknesses isn’t sinful on its own. However, caving into the weaknesses is the beginning of the fall; but it’s not the end yet. Allowing our weaknesses to bring about negative actions moves one closer to a place of demise, but it’s not there yet.  


The final straw in the case of Solomon was that he embraced his sin and did not repent.  


Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done. I Kings 11.6 


His love for his foreign wives led him to worship their idols. Solomon caved into the old adage of Happy wife, happy life. Solomon made idol worship a part of his life and didn’t repent of it. He didn’t have the heart of David. He didn’t do what his Father David did when he sinned. He didn’t have the heart of David to repent and forsake his sin. 


Here’s the progression of Solomon’s fall – take heed and learn! 

  • First, he had unlimited wealth, which put him in an extremely vulnerable situation. Wealth alone isn’t sinful, but extra attention is needed if one is rich because of the temptation of self-sufficiency. In Solomon’s case, his wealth was actually a manifestation of the wisdom that God had given him, which is good. But nevertheless, extreme wealth increases one’s vulnerability to sin. 
  • He loved foreign women. His unlimited wealth, his position as king of the most powerful nation in the world (at that time) and his justification that marrying foreign women fortified his kingdom, all led to caving-in to his moral weakness. 
  • Just like Samson, Solomon shared his heart with foreign women. His heart, which was to be wholly devoted to God, became a divided heart. Ultimately, a divided heart, unchecked, will lead to sin. For Solomon, his love of foreign women led him to forsake the God of Israel and follow after the gods of his foreign wives. 
  • The ultimate sin and fall of Solomon are that he continued in this sin until his death. His father David, did many stupid and sinful things in his life. David probably sinned more than Solomon. However, every time he sinned, the heart of David was to repent and turn back to God. Solomon didn’t turn back to God in humility and contrition, like his father. 


It’s not like Solomon wasn’t warned. The scrolls (the Books of Moses) available to Solomon were very clear about how God viewed other gods.  


He (the king of Israel) shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. Deuteronomy 17:17 


Then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the people who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God … Deuteronomy 6:12-15 


The key phrase that Solomon did not follow from the teaching in Deuteronomy is these three words; then watch yourself … Solomon allowed circumstances in his life that were dangerous to his walk with God. Take inventory. Yes, there is no doubt varying levels of sin in your life and mine. Follow the example of David and not Solomon. See Psalms 51. 


Father, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Do not let my heart grow cold or calloused to my sin. Make me sensitive to quickly repent, turn to you and see your grace and forgiveness. You are always quick to forgive and restore my heart. Praise You for Your everlasting love. Amen!