Solomon's Heathen Wives
(1 Kings 11:1-14)

(1 Kings 11:1-8) But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 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. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 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. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 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. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Who were these false gods and goddesses?

  • Ashtoreth (verse 5)
  • Also known as Astarte, a Canaanite goddess, identified with the planet Venus. The name in Babylonian is Ishtar, the goddess of sensual love, maternity and fertility. Licentious (unrestrained by law or morality) worship was conducted in honour of her. The center of her worship was in Zidon, which is present day Lebanon.

  • Milcom (verse 5)
  • The national god of the Ammonites. Milcom is often associated with Molech (see below).

  • Chemosh (verse 7)
  • The national diety of the Moabites, honoured with horribly cruel rites like those of Molech, to whom children were sacrificed in the fire. It is very interesting archaeologically to note that the anger of Chemosh is said in the famous Moabite Stone to be the reason for Israel's subjugation (the act of bringing under the power or absolute control of another) of Moab. Solomon made a fatal mistake of rearing an altar to Chemosh in Jerusalem. This abomination was not destroyed until almost three centuries later.

  • Molech (verse 7)
  • A detestable Semitic (pertaining to Arabs of ancient times including Babylonians, Assyrians, Phoenicians and others of the eastern Mediterranean area) deity honoured by the sacrifice of children, in which they were caused to pass through or into the fire. Palestinian excavations have uncovered evidences of infant skeletons in burial places around heathen shrines. Ammonites revered Molech as a protecting father. Worship of Molech was stringently prohibited by Hebrew law (Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5). Solomon built an altar to Molech at Tophet in the Valley of Hinnon. The prophets sternly denounced this form of heathen worship (Jeremiah 7:29-34; Ezekiel 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26). No form of ancient Semitic idolatry was more abhorrent (hated; detested) than Molech worship.

(Unger's Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago, c 1957, pp. 412-416, 1023.) (definitions: Noah Webster's First Edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828)

Do you remember who the Ammonites and the Moabites were? (If not, refer to the study on Lot and his daughters.) The Moabites, the descendents of Lot's firstborn, enticed Israel into idolatry and intermarriage with them. God pronounced judgement against Moab on several occasions.

The Ammonites, the descendents of Lot's youngest daughter, were also a cruel, covetous, proud and vindictive nation. Together with the Philistines they oppressed Israel for eighteen years. Solomon's intermarriage with their women introduced idols into Israel.

On numerous occasions God clearly commanded the people of Israel to destroy the heathen nations that they came in contact with. Take a moment and read Deuteronomy 7:1-6. God warned His people over and over and over again not to intermarry with the heathen. Was God being unfair? Was God being cruel? No! God was protecting His children. God's orders were not just to destroy the men but also the women and children. He wanted their gods, their culture and their influence totally destroyed.

Galatians 5:9 warns us that, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." On the night of the Passover when the Israelites would leave Egypt God told them to take all the leaven out of their homes. Leaven represents sin. The sin had to be removed first before the blood could atone. This is a picture of salvation. We must confess that we are sinners and repent of our sins before we ask Jesus Christ to save us by His blood.

Because the Israelites allowed many of these nations to survive, in disobedience to God's commands, the false gods of these cultures negatively influenced the children of Israel time and time again.

These were the false gods and goddesses that Solomon eventually came to worship because of his love for his wives.

I'm not going to go into what became of Solomon because this is not a study of men of the Bible. Instead I want to return to Solomon's wives and what they did.

Women can and always have had a strong and powerful effect on men. There are many examples throughout history where men did things they otherwise would not have, because of the love for or lust of women. Love is a powerful force. It transcends all logic. Once you enter the realm of emotions reason goes out the door. A classic example is Samson. You can read about his sad story in the study on Delilah.

Intermarriage of opposing beliefs will not work. Period. Neither party will be happy with the other's religion. One member will always be in false doctrine according to the other. The children will suffer the most because they will be torn between which "religion" to follow and many times will abandon both.

A Christian should never marry an unbeliever. A Christian should never even consider marriage with an unbeliever. The Bible warns us to be separated from those who are not in agreement with our doctrine.

(2 Corinthians 6:14-18) "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

Paul gives us a study in opposites here: righteousness and unrighteousness; light and darkness; Christ and Belial; believers and infidels; the holy temple of God and idols. None of these individual groupings have anything in common. They all oppose each other: good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, the things of God vs. the things of the devil. There are no exceptions.

A child of God cannot knowingly and willingly serve God fully, love God wholly and abide by God's commandments and precepts totally while yoked together with an unbeliever. Don't fool yourself. You are not the exception. Solomon couldn't and neither can you. It was his downfall and it will be yours.

(1 Kings 11:9-14) And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 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. 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. 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. And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.

God punished Solomon for turning away from Him to these others gods. God is very clear as to why He alone wants to be the God of our lives. We are told in Exodus 20:3-5, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"

Matthew 22:37-38 says, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."

To love anything else or anything more than God is to commit idolatry and that is a sin.

As Christian wives we have to ask ourselves this question: What do we cling to in our lives that will lead our husbands astray? For our "gods" will surely turn our husband's hearts from the Lord.

Is it romance novels? Do we read novels that hint at jealousy, lust and adultery and fill our minds with foolishness and ungodly thoughts? Are we prisoners to novels that make us dissatisfied with our own husbands or with the lives we lead? "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:16-17)

Even "Christian" romance novels are not exempt from this kind of writing. These kinds of books can be a stumbling block to our husbands because they will begin to feel they can no longer satisfy us and will concentrate on trying to please us rather than trying to please the Lord.

Philippians 4:11 tells us to be happy with what the Lord has provided for us even if it is not what we want, He knows that it is what we need. "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Love your husband even if he is not the "tall, dark, handsome, romantic type" that you have read about in those trashy novels. God gave him to you and you should be satisfied.

Are your idols collectibles? Do you have a collection of something that has a prominent place in your home? Is your husband's hard earned money, which should be going for the Lord's work, filling your curio cabinets with idols? Does he have to buy you the latest addition for your collection for each and every special day that comes along (birthday, anniversary, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc.)? Are you willing to admit that you have idols in your home? Because that is what they are! "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths." (Psalm 135:15-17). Are you guilty of having set up an altar in your home to these false gods? You may be turning your husband's heart away from the Lord.

What about that new dress or television or piece of furniture or car or house (you fill in the blank) that you have been bugging your husband to buy? "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John2:15-17).

What are your motives for wanting such items? Do you really need them or did your best friend or neighbour just get something that you suddenly feel the need to have? Are you covetous? Those feelings of dissatisfaction can easily be transferred to your husband.

The Bible is very clear on this, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24). God says He is a jealous God and this is why.

Our heart and that of our husband's must wholly be set on God and the things of God. Just a few verses prior to this Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21). Make sure that your heart is set on God and things above and it will be easier for your husband to keep his mind on God also. You do not want to stand before God at the Judgment and have to answer for being responsible for your husband's spiritual decline and/or destruction. Yes, he has the responsibility for his own spiritual welfare but your responsibility to him is to keep yourself from sin and idolatry and that could a stumbling block to him.

Take stock of your lives, ladies, and if there is anything questionable in them, then act immediately and get it out. Don't wait another day. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you are wrong and to convict you of your sin. Don't be shocked at what He might show you or tell you what to do. Humble yourself and do it for your sake as well as for your husband's. May God bless you.