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Solomon’s Adversaries

Due to Solomon’s rebellion against the Lord, God raised up three adversaries against him.

Despite the fact that God expressly warned King Solomon not to multiply wives, that is precisely what he did. And he did so with great defiance as the Bible records that he had a staggering 700 wives and 300 concubines. And the result was exactly as God had predicted: “his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not completely devoted to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David” (1 Kings 11:4). Though God chose not to destroy Solomon or to take the kingdom away from him presently, the Lord did raise up strong adversaries against him.


One of these adversaries was Hadad the Edomite.  Of royal descent, he was forced to flee to Egypt as a little boy during King David’s eradication of all Edomite males. When Hadad arrived in Egypt he found tremendous favour with the Pharaoh who not only gave him food and provisions, but also a house and land. And if that wasn’t enough, Pharaoh even made him a part of his family by giving him the Queen’s sister as a wife. When David eventually died, Hadad returned to Edom as its king where he would vehemently oppose Solomon.


A second enemy God raised up against Solomon was Rezon. Like Hadad, Rezon’s revenge would also be motivated by David’s exploits. Apparently while serving as a commander under King Hadadezer of Zobah David attacked and defeated Zobah. But Rezon seems to have either escaped from the battle or else fled from King Hadadezer later, unwilling to submit to imperial rule from Jerusalem.[1] Whatever the case, Rezon became an outlaw and formed and commanded an army of bandits who helped him seize Damascus and become king of Aram. “This became the rise of the Aramean kingdom, which, by the end of the ninth century BC, became the most powerful nation in the Levant.”[2]


But it was the final adversary the Lord raised up against the son of David that was the greatest threat because he was within Solomon’s own ranks. A servant of the king, Jeroboam son of Nebat was a brave warrior who oversaw one of Solomon’s forced labour units. But that all changed when a prophet of God named Ahijah told Jeroboam that the Lord was about to tear the kingdom away from Solomon (or more specifically Solomon’s son) and make him the king over 10 out of the 12 tribes of Israel. And, in a scene very reminiscent of King Saul’s undoing in 1 Samuel 15, Ahijah tore his garment into twelve pieces and gave ten of those pieces to Jeroboam as a symbol that God was indeed going to tear the kingdom away from Solomon. Although Solomon tried to thwart the fulfillment of this prophecy by having Jeroboam killed, Jeroboam escaped to Egypt where he stayed until Solomon died. Sadly, years earlier Solomon had told King Hiram that he had peace on every side (5:4) but now (due to his ongoing disobedience) he found himself totally surrounded by these adversaries.


It appears that God was surrounding and pressing on Solomon for the purpose of bringing him to repentance. God wanted Solomon’s heart to be fully committed to Him. And many think, based upon Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes, that he did recommit his life back to God before his death. And isn’t that what God wants from all of us? It’s not that God is an ego maniac or that He’s on a power trip. It’s because in Him and only Him is life. He loves us so very much. And God disciplines those He loves just as we discipline our own children because we love them and want to protect them. Okay, but are difficulties we face in life always due to sin in our lives or being out of the will of God? Absolutely not. Just as Job’s friends were dead wrong to believe that his suffering was a result of sin in his life, we also would be wrong to assume that someone is suffering for the same reason. There are many reasons we could be struggling. For example, like Job, it could be that we’re being tested. Or it could be that we are in harmony with God’s will and purpose and therefore the enemy of our souls is trying to discourage us and destroy us. And it could also be simply that we live in a cursed and fallen world. God didn’t create it that way but man’s sin in Eden brought that on all humanity. Nevertheless, the current state we’re in isn’t forever. Christians will enjoy an eternity with the Lord free from the problems we face in this life.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Iain W. Provan, ESV Study Bible, Note on 1 Kings 11:14-25.
[2] Catherine L. McDowell, Archaeology Study Bible, Note on 1 Kings 11:23.

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