Scripture reading – 1 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 9

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Having concluded our study of the Book of Ecclesiastes, our chronological reading of the Scriptures brings us to the final years of Solomon, king of Israel. You will notice that 2 Chronicles 9 is a parallel account of 1 Kings 10. As a reminder, 1 Kings was recorded before the Babylonian captivity, and its parallel account in 2 Chronicles was penned after Israel returned from exile.

2 Chronicles 9 (1 Kings 10)

The Visit and Gifts of the Queen of Sheba (2 Chronicles 9:1-12)

Solomon’s wisdom and the vast wealth of his kingdom attracted international fame. As recorded in 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba (believed to have been a wealthy dominion in the southern Arabian Peninsula) traveled to Israel so that she might inquire of the king (2 Chronicles 9:1). A description of the great caravan that accompanied her and an inventory of the gifts she presented to Solomon are described (1 Kings 10:1-10; 2 Chronicles 9:1, 9).

The Queen, having “heard of the fame of Solomon” (2 Chronicles 9:1), came to see if the king was as great as the reports. In an astonishing revelation of the queen’s meeting with the king, we read that she came to “prove Solomon with hard questions.” She also “communed with him of all that was in her heart” (2 Chronicles 9:1; 1 Kings 10:1-3). She inspected “the house that [Solomon] had built” (2 Chronicles 9:3; 1 Kings 10:4), saw the evidence of his administrative skills, and the rich apparel of the servants who assisted him (2 Chronicles 9:3; 1 Kings 10:5).

She was astonished by all that she saw and concluded that all she had heard of Solomon was not only true, but his wisdom exceeded his “fame” (2 Chronicles 9:6; 1 Kings 10:6). Moreover, the queen noted, all who served Solomon were “happy” (2 Chronicles 9:7; 1 Kings 10:8).

The balance of 2 Chronicles 9 parallels 1 Kings 10. Listed are the Queen of Sheba’s gifts to the king and his favors to her (2 Chronicles 9:9-12).

The Magnificence of Solomon’s Court (2 Chronicles 9:13-28)

The luxury of the king’s palace, including his throne of ivory covered in gold (2 Chronicles 9:17), is given. Also, the approach to Solomon’s throne was unlike any in the world, being appointed with twelve lions (2 Chronicles9:18-19). The king’s wealth was so vast that he displayed beaten shields of gold in his palace, known as “the forest of Lebanon” (2 Chronicles 9:15-16). Indeed, the “riches and wisdom” of Solomon exceeded “all the kings of the earth” who came to his kingdom “to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart” (2 Chronicles 9:22-23).

The Close of Solomon’s Reign (2 Chronicles 9:29-31)

Although Solomon’s death was recorded in 2 Chronicles 9, the writer of that book did not give us the tragic commentary on the last years of his life. We must turn our focus to 1 Kings 11 for that dreadful tale.

1 Kings 11

The Failings of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-8)

After stating the fame of Solomon’s wisdom and the vast wealth of his kingdom (1 Kings 10:14-29), we read the sad revelation that the king departed from the LORD and was disobedient. The consequences of his sins are recorded in 1 Kings 11:1-8.

Following the pattern of heathen kings who seek alliances with other kingdoms by marriage, Solomon adopted that practice and took into his palace “many strange women” (11:1). Numbered among the foreign wives was “the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites” (1 Kings 11:1). Solomon’s wives brought their idols to Jerusalem. Tragically, despite God’s warnings, the king’s “wives turned away his heart after other gods…and Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD” (1 Kings 11:3-4, 6).


Who were the gods of Solomon’s wives?

Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians,” the Canaanite goddess of sex and war (1 Kings 11:5). “Milcom,” also known as Molech, to whom the Ammonites, and later Israel, sacrificed their children (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35). Solomon also built a “high place for Chemosh,” the god of the Moabites (1 Kings 10:7).


The Displeasure and Wrath of the LORD (1 Kings 11:9-40)


Rather than the blessing of the LORD, the latter years of Solomon’s reign provoked His wrath and judgment (1 Kings 11:9). Because the king disobeyed and “kept not that which the Lord commanded” (1 Kings 11:10), the peace of Israel was replaced with turmoil. God forewarned that the kingdom would be divided upon Solomon’s death (1 Kings 11:11-13).


The LORD raised three adversaries against Solomon. (1 Kings 11:14-32)

Hadad the Edomite” (1 Kings 11:14-22), Rezon, who “reigned over Syria” (1 Kings 11:23-25), and Jeroboam, who fled to Egypt during Solomon’s reign (1 Kings 11:26-32). It was Jeroboam whom the LORD appointed to “rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon,” and his son faced the consequences of God’s judgment for his father’s wickedness (1 Kings 11:31).

Upon Solomon’s death, Jeroboam led an uprising against Rehoboam, and ten of the twelve tribes followed his revolution (11:31). Only the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin (which was incorporated within Judah’s territory) remained loyal to Solomon’s lineage (1 Kings 11:32).

Our study of Solomon’s life and his forty-year reign concludes with the revelation that he went the way of all men, for he died and “slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead” (1 Kings 11:43; 2 Chronicles 9:29-31).

Closing thoughts –


When Solomon was young and his heart tender, he enjoyed the blessings of the LORD. Tragically, when he was old, he made wicked, foolish choices that shadowed the final years of his life. The consequences of Solomon’s sins brought ruin to his family and kingdom. Though blessed with wisdom and discernment from his youth, Solomon was an old fool when he died.

It has been said that “an old fool is the worst kind of fool…and there is no fool like an old fool.” Indeed, that is true of Solomon. Remember, the wise choose the path of the righteous, and fools select the way of sin.

Which path will you choose?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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