What does it say?
The Queen of Sheba (modern Yemen or Oman) comes to visit Solomon having heard of his wisdom and the prosperity of his kingdom (1Ki 10). This chapter details the abundance of Solomon’s kingdom and his influence to the nations around him.
1Kings 11 is a critical turning point in Solomon’s life and kingdom. He is an incurable womanizer and assembles a harem of 700 wives and 300 concubines (secondary or servant wives). Not only was Solomon attracted to women, but specifically to foreign women who distracted his heart from God. As a result God promises that his kingdom would eventually suffer the consequences of his spiritual infidelity. The focus now turns to the emergence of external enemies. Even within his kingdom, opposition occurs with the rebellion of Jeroboam and the seeds are sown for the eventual civil war and division of Israel. 2Chronicle 9 is a shortened version of the same period covered by the two chapters in 1Kings.
What does it mean?
In many ways Solomon in all the glory of his kingdom is a foreshadowing of the coming kingdom of the Messiah. It appears that finally God’s mission is about to take shape as surrounding kings are influenced by Solomon and drawn to him and Jehovah. The Queen of Sheba (Queen Balkir in Arabian history). At long last it seems that God’s blessing upon Solomon and his kingdom is poised to be a blessing to the families of the earth precisely as promised to Abraham (Gen 12:1-3).
Tragically, a fatal flaw in Solomon’s character appears in 1Kings 11 as Solomon’s heart is stolen by his many wives in clear violation of Deu 17:17. Suddenly the foreshadowing turns from Christ to antichrist. Solomon does not turn from worshipping Jehovah God, but rather adds to religious life devotion to many other gods represented by his wives (syncretism). David was guilty of serious sin on occasion, yet his heart remained devoted to the God of Israel. Solomon’s apostasy is far more grave as he abandons the covenant and in the process the prospect of God’s mission of bringing the nations to Jehovah comes crashing down.
How will I respond?
I know that I have put my faith God through the finished work of Jesus Christ. I believe in him, faithfully attend church and do what I can to pray, give witness and serve. But, have I allowed allegiance to other “gods” creep into my life diverting part of my devotion to God? What do I consider to be my “Achilles heel” like Solomon’s insatiable attraction to other women? What step will I take today to address this weakness in my character?