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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 11

 

 

Verse 1

1 Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, [and] Hittites;

Ver. 1. But king Solomon loved many strange women.] Praeceps ruit in libidinem, as if he had been born pro l’amore delle donne, - as Boccace saith of himself, - merely for love of fair ladies, to putrify and perish daily (a) under a tabes of impure lusts, as Tiberius did at Caprea - though a good prince at first, as was also Alexander the Great, Nero, and some others. This was a bitterness beyond that of death. [Ecclesiastes 7:26] And surely it had been better for Solomon to have been buried alive, than thus to have miscarried in his old age, to the great dishonour of God, and offence of his people Israel, the beginning of whose sins, causing the destruction of Solomon’s temple, and ruin of that commonwealth, is reckoned from the seven and twentieth year of Solomon’s reign; about which began this his foul revolt here related, [Ezekiel 4:5] as Junius observeth.

Together with the daughter of Pharaoh.] Or, Besides her; by a monstrous kind of polygamy and γυναικομανια, such as hath hardly been heard of in any other. His father, David, cannot be excused for his many wives and concubines, but himself much less; who could not but know that it was a direct violation of the law, [Deuteronomy 17:17] and that in the kingdom of pleasure, virtue could not consist.


Verse 2

1 Kings 11:2 Of the nations [concerning] which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: [for] surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

Ver. 2. Solomon clave unto these in love,] i.e., In lust; which, when once set on fire, is as hard to be quenched as the fire of Etna. See 16:16. Libidinous persons will not spare to bury name, substance, soul, carcass, all in the bosom of a filthy harlot.


Verse 3

1 Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

Ver. 3. And he had seven hundred wives.] Numerum effraenem. Fewer they were by far at first, as some do gather from Song of Solomon 6:8, threescore queens, and fourscore concubines - wives of an inferior rank - and virgins without number: these likely were kept for store, as at this day sundry are in the great Turk’s harem, and turned off at pleasure, as Esther 2:14, "they came in to the king no more, except he delighted in them." Miserabilis fuit hic lapsus, saith one. (a) This was a miserable fall indeed of so wise and holy a man into so foul evils: to teach us the truth of that old rhyming couplet,

Vestis pulchra, iocus, potus, cibus, otia, somnus,

Enervant mentem, luxuriamque fovent. ”

And his wives turned away his heart.] O wives! the most sweet poison - saith one of our historians, {b} speaking of the Duke of Somerset’s lady, in King Edward VI’s time - the most desired evil in the world, &c. Woman was first given to man for a comforter, and not for a counsellor, much less for a controller and director: and therefore in the first sentence against man, this cause is expressed, "Because thou obeyedst the voice of thy wife."


Verse 4

1 Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, [that] his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as [was] the heart of David his father.

Ver. 4. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old.] And therefore the less to be excused, because his soul had had so long communion with God and experience of his goodness: as also because his body had now despumed, and was declining, so that his lust was the more monstrous, like as it is to behold green apples on a tree in winter. Augustine inveigheth against those - and worthily - who consecrate the flower of their youth to the devil, and reserve for God the dregs of their old age: Solomon offended on the contrary part. Let every man look to what lord he dedicateth both his youth and his age: for it sometimes falleth out, that Satan preyeth upon those when old, whom he could not prevail with when they were young; and it is not for nothing that the heathen sages say, that old age is to be feared, as that which cometh not alone, but is itself a disease, and bringeth with it not a few diseases both of body and mind.

That his wives.] Working upon his impotencies, and having him wholly in their power, as it was said of the Persian kings, that they were captivarum suarum captivi, (a) slaves to their concubines, though lords of many nations.

And his heart was not perfect.] Magnae artis magnaeque sapientiae est, saith one, (b) It is a high point of heavenly skill, to take heed by Solomon’s example, that thou use not thy happiness and welfare otherwise than well, and to thy spiritual disadvantage.


Verse 5

1 Kings 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

Ver. 5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth,] i.e., Venus, as some will have it, or Juno, as others.

And after Milcom,] i.e., Saturn, as it is thought. Hinc patet Solomonem vere coluisse idola, saith A Lapide: hence it appeareth that Solomon did indeed worship idols: yea, Pineda and Salianus say, that he sacrificed his sons to this Milcom or Moloch. But I cannot be of that mind. He gave way, indeed, to those idolatries, and built temples for those dunghill deities, &c., atque ita obnubilabat gloriae multiplices cursus, as Marcellinus saith of Julian, and thereby be much dishonoured and endangered himself; carnal love drowning his zeal to God.


Verse 6

1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as [did] David his father.

Ver. 6. And Solomon did evil.] Howbeit that evil one touched him not, [1 John 5:18] sc., with a deadly touch: he was not transformed into sin’s image.

And went not fully after the Lord.] Heb., Fulfilled not after the Lord. Some render it, He persevered not in following the Lord, and therehence infer his utter apostasy. Bellarmine reckoneth him among reprobates; and he is commonly pictured by the Papists half in heaven and half in hell. But Hilary (a) holdeth him a saint, and numbereth him with Moses and Peter, who sinned indeed, but repented and received mercy. {See Trapp on "Ecclesiastes 1:1"} {See Trapp on "Ecclesiastes 1:2"}


Verse 7

1 Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that [is] before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

Ver. 7. For Chemosh.] Unde Kωμος et Comessatio. Some take it to be Bacchus, others Pluto.

In the hill that is before Jerusalem.] Even in Mount Olivet - called for that cause, the "mount of corruption" and of "scandal" [2 Kings 23:13] - in the very face of God’s house; so that God never looked out of the sanctuary, but he saw that vile hill of abominations.


Verse 8

1 Kings 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Ver. 8. And likewise did he for all, &c.] After that he had once gratified his mistresses of Moab, the rest of his women would needs have the like courtesy done them.


Verse 9

1 Kings 11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

Ver. 9. And the Lord was angry with Solomon.] Though he were his Jedidiah, his darling. His chastisements laid on his children are the fruits of love displeased. The Antinomians say - but not truly - that God is never displeased with his people, fall they never so foully; no, not with a fatherly displeasure. See to the contrary, Isaiah 57:17, 1 Corinthians 11:30.

Which had appeared unto him twice.] Good turns aggravate unkindnesses. See on 1 Kings 9:2.


Verse 10

1 Kings 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

Ver. 10. And had commanded him.] To despise God’s express command, is a foul offence. [2 Samuel 12:9] {See Trapp on "2 Samuel 12:9"} "Rebellion is" as bad "as witchcraft." [1 Samuel 15:23]


Verse 11

1 Kings 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Ver. 11. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon.] He said it, and he did: though Solomon repented, yet since the decree was come forth, it was accomplished. Repentance may come too late in respect of temporal judgments.

I will surely rend the kingdom.] God loves to retaliate. Solomon had let go the sincere service of God by sharing himself between him and idols: his servant therefore shall share the kingdom with his son, and bear away the better half from him.


Verse 12

1 Kings 11:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: [but] I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Ver. 12. Out of the hand of thy son,] i.e., Rehoboam, the only son that Solomon had by so many wives and concubines, quod prodigii instar est, saith one, which may well seem a wonder. See Psalms 127:1, Hosea 4:10 {See Trapp on title of "Psalms 127:1"}


Verse 13

1 Kings 11:13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; [but] will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

Ver. 13. I will not rend away all.] Here is a second mitigation of the sentence. See 1 Kings 11:12. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion: he quickly repenteth him of the evil, and leaveth a blessing behind him.

One tribe.] Benjamin is reckoned as part of Judah, because within him. [Joshua 19:1; Joshua 19:9]

For David my servant’s sake.] Five times in this chapter is David honoured with this title, and therein God’s dear respects unto him expressed: but all of mere mercy. How this message wrought upon Solomon is uncertain. Some hold that hereupon he repented; others judge otherwise, and that (1.) Because he replied nothing; (2.) Because that after this he sought to slay Jeroboam, to prevent the rending away of his kingdom threatened, as Saul did to slay David.


Verse 14

1 Kings 11:14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he [was] of the king’s seed in Edom.

Ver. 14. And the Lord stirred up an adversary to Solomon.] So that we may say of him, as Pliny (a) did of Metellus, qui infelix dici non debet, felix non potest, since

Ante obitum felix supremaque funera nemo.

Now God is said to have stirred up Solomon’s adversaries, not by infusing this malice into them, but as using it to punish his wickedness by them; even as a workman worketh by tools that another made; and by crooked tools oft maketh straight and smooth work.


Verse 15

1 Kings 11:15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;

Ver. 15. When David was in Edom.] See 2 Samuel 8:14, {See Trapp on "2 Samuel 8:14"}

To bury the slain.] David’s garrison soldiers, say some, left to keep Edom in subjection, but slain by the Edomites, which moved Joab to slay all the males he met with amongst them. War is the slaughter house of mankind. Pολεμος signifieth much blood.


Verse 16

1 Kings 11:16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

Ver. 16. Until he had cut off every male,] viz., That was taken in the heat of the fight. [1 Chronicles 18:12]


Verse 17

1 Kings 11:17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad [being] yet a little child.

Ver. 17. That Hadad fled.] So did Muleasses, king of Tunis, to Charles V, who protected him: so did Zemes, the great Turk’s younger brother, to the Pope, who for money betrayed him into the hands of the tyrant.


Verse 18

1 Kings 11:18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.

Ver. 18. Who gave him a house, &c.] As not knowing but that himself might one day have as much need to borrow mercy, as now he had to lend it.


Verse 19

1 Kings 11:19 And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.

Ver. 19. So that he gave him to wife, &c.] Orphans are God’s clients: he ordinarily pitieth outcasts, as he did Ishmael, and promiseth to do to his poor people in that condition. [Jeremiah 30:17] See Isaiah 16:4.


Verse 20

1 Kings 11:20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.

Ver. 20. Whom Taphenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house.] This implieth, saith an interpreter, that though she was a princess, yet she gave suck to her child, as Genesis 22:1; Genesis 22:8.


Verse 21

1 Kings 11:21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

Ver. 21. Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.] Patriam quisque amat, non quia pulchram, sed quia suam. (a) We all naturally affect our native country. Oh that we could heaven as well! Repatriasse hoc erit, saith Bernard, to go to heaven is to go home again.


Verse 22

1 Kings 11:22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

Ver. 22. Howbeit let me go in any wise.] Heb., No, but in sending send me away. Fugiamus et nos ad clarissimarn patriam: hasten we also to heaven, though the world would detain us longer here by her blandishments and largesses, Rivers run to the sea, whence they came; the dove returneth to the ark; &c. Nature hath ingrafted in every creature to love the place where it took birth and beginning.


Verse 23

1 Kings 11:23 And God stirred him up [another] adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:

Ver. 23. And God stirred him up, &c.] See on 1 Kings 11:14.

Which fled from his lord Hadadezer.] Whom David had beaten. [2 Samuel 10:18; 2 Samuel 8:3-4] False friends will be the causes, but not companions of calamity.


Verse 24

1 Kings 11:24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them [of Zobah]: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.

Ver. 24. He gathered men unto him.] He rallied his master’s scattered forces, and therewith, after a while, he thrust out David’s garrison, and reigned in Damascus.


Verse 25

1 Kings 11:25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad [did]: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

Ver. 25. All the days of Solomon.] But stirred not much till he saw Solomon effeminate, infatuated and become contemptible. See Hosea 13:1, {See Trapp on "Hosea 13:1"} Beside the mischief that Hadad did, [1 Kings 11:14] see the like in Isaiah 9:12-13, - "The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind, and both devouring Israel with open mouth: for all this God’s anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." And why all this? "For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts."


Verse 26

1 Kings 11:26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name [was] Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up [his] hand against the king.

Ver. 26. And Jeroboam the son of Nebat.] Not of Shimei, whom Solomon slew, as some Rabbis fabled.

An Ephrathite,] i.e., Of the tribe of Ephraim, that arrogant and turbulent tribe, co-rival ever with Judah for the government.

Solomon’s servant.] But unthankful and disloyal, such as was Ahithophei to David, Brutus to Caesar, Phocas to Mauritius, Frederick III’s courtiers and creatures to him, Biron to Henry IV of France. That king had made him, of a common soldier a captain, of a captain a knight, of a knight duke of Biron, marshal of France, governor of Burgundy, &c.; yet all this and more could not keep him from conspiring the death of his king, queen, and prince, that the kingdom might be transferred to others, and the Huguenots rooted out. (a) It appeareth that Jeroboam was not only employed by Solomon, but preferred to be ruler over the whole house of Joseph, where he first talked his pleasure against his master, and then acted against him, in his posterity especially. [1 Kings 12:12-24]


Verse 27

1 Kings 11:27 And this [was] the cause that he lifted up [his] hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, [and] repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.

Ver. 27. And this was the cause that he lifted up.] Vatablus readeth it thus, And this was the word whereby he lifted up his hand; that is, made way to his open rebellion afterwards. Solomon buildeth Millo, &c., and so putteth the people to an excessive charge and pains; and repaireth the breaches &c., which his father, though wise enough and able enough, never did.


Verse 28

1 Kings 11:28 And the man Jeroboam [was] a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.

Ver. 28. A mighty man of valour.] Able and also active, and so the fitter to be the head of a faction.

And Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious.] This is all that most masters look at in the choice of their servants, that they be meet for their work; though otherwise their religion be either a Popish puppet and calf worship, as one tightly complaineth, or a flat irreligion. But it had been happy for Solomon’s house that a man of more conscience, though of less skill, had been retained.


Verse 29

1 Kings 11:29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two [were] alone in the field:

Ver. 29. When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem,] sc, To take this prefectureship or principality upon him, which was not the cause, but some occasion of his rebellion.

And he had clad himself with a new garment.] Ahijah had; and he might well make bold with his own.


Verse 30

1 Kings 11:30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that [was] on him, and rent it [in] twelve pieces:

Ver. 30. And rent it.] This he did for a sign. See 1 Kings 11:11, where the kingdom is likened unto a glorious mantle upon the king’s shoulders, as 1 Samuel 15:28.


Verse 31

1 Kings 11:31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

Ver. 31. I will rend the kingdom.] I who am the absolute disposer of the kingdom newly erected in the house of David, as is signified by my new garment now rent.


Verse 32

1 Kings 11:32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

Ver. 32. For my servant David’s sake.] See on 1 Kings 11:13.


Verse 33

1 Kings 11:33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do [that which is] right in mine eyes, and [to keep] my statutes and my judgments, as [did] David his father.

Ver. 33. Because that they have forsaken me.] Not Solomon only, but the people also by his example; for Magnates sunt magnetes; and in people, as in a beast, the body followeth the head.


Verse 34

1 Kings 11:34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:

Ver. 34. Howbeit I will not.] See on 1 Kings 11:13.

But I will make him prince all the days, &c.] Jeroboam therefore was too hasty, if he attempted anything by word or deed in Solomon’s days.


Verse 35

1 Kings 11:35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, [even] ten tribes.

Ver. 35. But I will take the kingdom, &c.] And accordingly he did; [1 Kings 12:12-19] whence some begin the three hundred and ninety days in Ezekiel 4:5. Others, distinguishing between God’s decree and his command, say that Jeroboam in revolting from the house of Solomon, and drawing off the ten tribes, is not to be excused; because he acted against God’s command, though according to his decree.


Verse 36

1 Kings 11:36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

Ver. 36. May have a light alway.] This was most properly fulfilled in Christ, who was "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel." [Luke 2:32]


Verse 37

1 Kings 11:37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

Ver. 37. And thou shalt reign.] This the bramble held a goodly business, not so the vine and fig tree. [ 9:8-15]

According to all that thy soul desireth.] God oft gratifieth the wicked for a mischief to them; filling their bellies with his hid treasure, [Psalms 17:14] which they must afterwards vomit up again with pain enough. [Job 20:15]


Verse 38

1 Kings 11:38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do [that is] right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

Ver. 38. If thou wilt hearken.] Here were fair premonitions and promises to this foul sinner; but all was worse than spilt upon him, save that for this he was the more severely punished.

And build thee a sure house.] Such impious princes as build upon mines of gunpowder are soon blown up by the roots, as Shallum, [Jeremiah 22:11] Zimri, Caesar Borgia., &c.


Verse 39

1 Kings 11:39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

Ver. 39. But not for ever.] For some kings of Judah - as Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah - grew very great; but especially is this to be understood of Christ, in whom the glory was restored to David’s house, such as never any mortal king had.


Verse 40

1 Kings 11:40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Ver. 40. Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam.] And with him Ahijah also, as saith the Chaldee Paraphrast, whereupon they both fled into Egypt

Unto Shishak king of Egypt.] Who might haply be offended with Solomon for taking so many wives besides his sister.


Verse 41

1 Kings 11:41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, [are] they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

Ver. 41. And all that he did.] His repentance is not expressly recorded, but may be evidently gathered from other texts of Scripture. as 2 Chronicles 11:17, Psalms 89:33, 2 Samuel 7:15, 2 Peter 1:21, but especially the Book of Ecclesiastes, that public monument.

In the book of the acts of Solomon.] Who had his historiographers and annalists. In his time lived Homer, as it is thought: in whose golden pen Alexander the Great held Achilles to be thrice happy.


Verse 42

1 Kings 11:42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel [was] forty years.

Ver. 42. And the time.] Heb., Days; one of the shortest measures of time. Solomon [Ecclesiastes 3:2] alloweth men a time to be born, and a time to die, but no time to live. Punctum est quod vivimus et puncto minus. (a)


Verse 43

1 Kings 11:43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

Ver. 43. And Rehoboam his son.] Who was both a fool and unfortunate; as Solomon feared, and hinted as much. [Ecclesiastes 2:18-19] Yet afterwards this Epimetheus is said to deal wisely. [2 Chronicles 11:23]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-11.html. 1865-1868.

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