Solomon’s apostasy is blamed on his many marriages to the original inhabitants of the land in violation of Deuteronomy’s proscriptions.
“All’s well that….” Unfortunately, Shakespeare’s adage is entirely inappropriate for Third king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple. The reign that had begun in such horror, seemed to right itself and grow increasingly magnificent now crashes in the final chapter. There have been warning signs along the way stemming from the Deuteronomistic editors’ carefully placed warnings in the narrative. Here, the king is charged with apostasy, going after other gods as a result of his marriages to foreign women (vv. 4-5). Twice, God had appeared to Solomon, warning him about the consequences of his lack of faithful obedience (3:5-14; 9:1-9). Now, the divine punishment appears in the form of two foreign “adversaries” (satan), Hadad the Edomite (11:14) and Rezon of Damascus (vv. 23-24), and an internal foe, Jeroboam son of Nebat and the prophet Ahijah (v. 29). By ripping his garment into twelve pieces and giving ten to Jeroboam, Ahijah prophetically announced that God was giving Jeroboam the territory of the ten northern The patriarch Jacob fathered twelve sons who became the ancestors the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Divisive political conditions led to a separation of these united tribes into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms after the death of Solomon in 931 B.C.E. Jeroboam even received the same assurance of a secure dynasty if he remained faithful (vv. 37-38). Jeroboam fled to Egypt until the death of Solomon, which is related in verses 41-43.