14 Fall of Solomon

UNIT #: 
III
Lesson Theme: 
Be obedient to God's commandments
Aim: 

Focus on whom we develop our relationships. Life without God will be meaningless, regardless of education, fame, the greatest of pleasures, and abundance of wealth

Bible Passage: 

1 Kings 11:1-13

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Solomon’s Errors

11 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 had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.

Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Main Ideas: 

God's Abundant Blessings

Solomon was the son of David born to Bathsheba. David picked Solomon as his successor as a teenager to rule Israel with no leadership experience. In 1King 2: 3-4, David advices Solomon to “observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me”.

In 1 King 3:4-1 it says King Solomon went to Gibeon that was the most important high place, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. Lord appeared to Solomon in his dream in Gibeon and said “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon replied “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”. Lord was pleased with what Solomon asked for and gave wise and discerning heart for administering justice, so that there will never be anyone like Solomon, nor will there ever be. Moreover, he also blessed Solomon with wealth and honor, so that in his lifetime he will have no equal among kings

Power and Supremacy

Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt and had peace on all sides. He was wiser than anyone else to interpret complex situations and had great knowledge of science, and his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. People came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. The neighboring kings accepted his supremacy primarily because of his divine blessings and God’s help in defeating enemies of Israelites.

Temptations and Distractions

However with that power came temptations of life and distractions from his relationship with God. He ignored the advices given by his father David to be obedient to God’s commands and laws. Regardless of all the blessings and being the wisest person, Solomon made wrong choices that lead to his downfall.  Solomon thought he could get away with sins since God has given him all the wealth and supremacy of power among all the neighboring kings.

           Focusing on wealth and use of forced labor

By relying on wisdom and power, Solomon amassed wealth beyond anyone’s imagination through his diplomatic and trade relations with neighboring countries. He undertook huge building projects that took 7 years to build Temple, 13 years to build his palace that used forced labor of his citizens. In 1 Kings 12:4, you can see the Israelites revolting against Solomon’s son Rehoboam due to the hardships they had to go through during Solomon’s time. This eventually resulted in splitting of the Israel into two.

           Marriage to foreign women

Israelites were forbidden to marry foreign woman since they will persuade Israelites to worship pagan gods. Yet Solomon married women from other religion against God’ command. Indeed, Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord by building high places for worshiping the pagan gods and offering sacrifices.

God’s punishment

1 Kings 12:11-13 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

God raised many enemies against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, Rezon son of Eliada and Jeroboam (son of Nebat) who served as In-charge of labor force of the tribes of Joseph. After 40 years of rule by Solomon, his Son Rehoboam took over as the king of Israel. Based on God’s verdict to Solomon, God split 10 out of the 12 tribes of Israel and gave to Solomon’s servant Jeroboam. Rehoboam only had control over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Throughout biblical history, God warned Israelites to refrain from forbidden things through prophets and religious leaders, yet their kings foolishly institutionalized and worshiped pagan gods. God’s wrath and punishments were consistent and yet human struggle to be obedient to His commandments & maintain relationship with Him.

Lesson Review: 

Fill in the blanks

  1. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon at Gihon
  2. Lord appeared to Solomon in his dream the first time after he offered 1000 burnt offerings in __________ and then appeared a second time after he dedicated the Temple to God
  3. Solomon built Temple and palaces using __________  _________ of his citizens
  4. Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord by building high places for __________________  ___________  __________ and offering sacrifices

Answer the Questions

  1. Explain the advice that David gave Solomon when he handed over the power.
  2. What did Solomon ask God as a blessing?  Explain blessings he received in return.
  3. Why was God angry at Solomon?
  4. Explain the God’s punishment for Solomon
Values for Life: 

Your parents are blessed and you are born as privileged children. Being at high risk to getting distracted in life with all the choices around you, remember the life of King Solomon 3000 years ago. Solomon didn’t use his wisdom, wealth and power wisely, but did evil on God’s eyes. In Ecclesiastes 2, he is confessing that he sinned while his mind was sill guided by the wisdom since he didn’t know how to say NO to evil desires. His life is a great lesson for us to be obedient to the teachings from parents and God’s commandments.

In the end, even being wealthy, Solomon was not happy in his life, for he says in Ecclesiastes 2:11 “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

So don’t get carried away by your wisdom or abilities compared to your friends, for that means nothing unless you live a righteous life and God blesses you a good life. If you focus on materializing the talents given to you, the wealth amassed will not give you satisfaction. Invest your talents to build the Kingdom of God rather than building for yourself.

Memory Verse: 

2 Chronicles 7:14

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Closing Prayer: 

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for teaching us the lesson on Solomon. Help us to live wisely by being righteous and obeying to elders. Please remind our conscious that sin is lurking at our doors and we should win over it. Give us strength and wisdom to say NO to evil desires. Let our thoughts and actions be pleasing to you Lord.

Amen

status: 
scope and sequence