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Why did God allow Solomon to have 1,000 wives and concubines?

Staff Member
Why did God allow Solomon to have 1,000 wives and concubines?

First Kings 11:3 states that Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.” Obviously, God “allowed” Solomon to have these wives, but allowance is not the same as approval. Solomon’s marital decisions were in direct violation of God’s Law, and there were consequences.

Solomon started out well early in his life, listening to the counsel of his father, David, as recorded in 1 Kings 2:2-3, “Be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” Solomon’s early humility is shown in 1 Kings 3:5-9 when he requests wisdom from the Lord. Wisdom is applied knowledge; it helps us make decisions that honor the Lord and agree with the Scriptures. Solomon’s book of Proverbs is filled with practical counsel on how to follow the Lord. Solomon also wrote the Song of Solomon, which presents a beautiful picture of what God intends marriage to be. So, King Solomon knew what was right, even if he didn’t always follow the right path.

Over time, Solomon forgot his own counsel and the wisdom of Scripture. God had given clear instructions for anyone who would be king: no amassing of horses, no multiplying of wives, and no accumulating of silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). These commands were designed to prevent the king from trusting in military might, following foreign gods, and relying on wealth instead of on God. Any survey of Solomon’s life will show that he broke all three of these divine prohibitions!

Thus, Solomon’s taking of many wives and concubines was in direct violation of God’s Word. Just as God had predicted, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4). To please his wives, Solomon even got involved in sacrificing to Milcom (or Molech), a god that required “detestable” acts to be performed (1 Kings 11:7-8).

God allowed Solomon to make the choice to disobey, but Solomon’s choice brought inevitable consequences. “So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates’” (1 Kings 11:11). God showed mercy to Solomon for David’s sake (verse 12), but Solomon’s kingdom was eventually divided. Another chastisement upon Solomon was war with the Edomites and Aramians (verses 14-25).

Solomon was not a puppet king. God did not force him to do what was right. Rather, God laid out His will, blessed Solomon with wisdom, and expected the king to obey. In his later years, Solomon chose to disobey, and he was held accountable for his decisions.

It is instructive that, toward the end of Solomon’s life, God used him to write one more book, which we find in the Bible. The book of Ecclesiastes gives us “the rest of the story.” Solomon throughout the book tells us everything he tried in order to find fulfillment apart from God in this world, or “under the sun.” This is his own testimony: “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired . . . a harem as well–the delights of the heart of man” (Ecclesiastes 2:8). But his harem did not bring happiness. Instead, “Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (verse 11). At the conclusion of Ecclesiastes, we find wise counsel: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man” (12:13).”

It is never God’s will that anyone sin, but He does allow us to make our own choices. The story of Solomon is a powerful lesson for us that it does not pay to disobey. It is not enough to start well; we must seek God’s grace to finish well, too. Life without God is a dead-end street. Solomon thought that having 1,000 wives and concubines would provide happiness, but whatever pleasure he derived was not worth the price he paid. As a wiser Solomon said, “God will bring every deed into judgment” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

source: Why did God allow Solomon to have 1,000 wives and concubines?
First, a couple of things. Are you familiar with the passage that talks about the sacrifice that Solomon made to the Lord, and Him coming to Solomon and asking what it was that Solomon wanted, and what God's reply was? If not, and we are interested in truth, then looking that passage up would be a good thing. Once we understand how GOD promised to bless Solomon, and what that included, then we can figure out to what extent GOD blessed Solomon, and to what extent Solomon took charge of His own blessings. Did God's blessings include a "Heap" of Gold", according to the passage? Did God's blessings include a "Heap" of horses, according to the passage? Did God's blessings include a "Heap" of wives, according to the passage? I know that sounds foreign to our modern "Western" "Christian" views, but we also need to consider WHERE GOD SAYS SOLOMON STEPPED OVER THE LINE. Not where we would decide to draw the line in our modern view of things.

So what was Solomon reproved for, by God, in ALL of the scriptures? Rampant lust gone wild? 1000 wives, not only looking at them naked, but sleeping with them, and having children by them? Shouldn't Solomon be the poster child for ungodly lust, throughout ALL of the scripture? Should not God have reproved him for his rampant sexual indulgences? How about adultery? We have our "Modern" "Western" definition of the word. How many wives do I need to take, and have children with before I commit adultery according to the modern "Christian" definition that we have? 2? 3? 23? How many wives, and children by them, did David have BEFORE "GOD" SAID he committed adultery? Who gave David those wives, and what does God say He would gladly have done if only David had not chosen to commit adultery with another man's wife? If you want truth, and not just to hold to the common modern Western Christian views, looking at the reproof of David for his adultery, when he committed it after wife number ____ would be important.

So where did Solomon go wrong? Where was his sin? Why didn't Jesus comment on Solomon's MANY sins in this area? The epistle writers? Where does GOD say Solomon's sin was? In the taking of "FOREIGN" wives, right? If Solomon was sinning for taking 1000 wives, do you not think that God's reproof would have been different? If David had committed adultery with his first ____ wives, do you not think God would have called him on it with wife 2, 3, 4 ...

According to our modern views, Solomon's sin was not just in the taking of foreign wives, because we cannot fathom that GOD HIMSELF might have blessed Solomon with the gold, horses ... and wives, that were not foreign. Yet, in God's reproof of David, we see what God says He would gladly have done.

What do we want to try and "FORCE" to be true? Our beliefs? Is it so important that we hold fast to our modern western beliefs that we will close our eyes and ears, make God completely inconsistent, completely unreliable, completely inaccurate (Reproving Solomon for foreign wives when He should have done so for the other 600 wives as well.) and actually participating in what we believe to be sin (See what God says He would have gladly given David to prevent adultery.) to "Force" the word of God to say what we want to believe?

What would the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus time have done when logic, and reason, and the word of God was used to show the inconsistencies in their beliefs that they had held to for centuries, and that they had all been in agreement with for centuries? Did they close their eyes and ears to the logic, reason and passages that Jesus presented? Is this what the godly should do?

If the passage we use to hold to our modern Western Christian beliefs is a command of God, why is it not in the form of a command? "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother ..." Is this a command? If so, why does God participate in it's violation with David? Why, in all of scripture, are those who, according to scripture God considered to be godly, but who had multiple wives, not reproved for their behaviors? Why the command of God not to lessen your support for your first wife, or her marital rights, if you wish to take a second? Why the commands not to take two sisters?

Are our eyes and ears closed to considering these things? To examining all of the data? To consider what belief(s) are consistent with all that the word of God says and means on this, and other, topics, making godly men and women (According to God) consistent, and making God Himself consistent?

If God gave Solomon all of His Non-Foreign wives, then what sin did Solomon commit? The taking of foreign wives, right? If Solomon was sinning by heaping TO HIMSELF ALL of his wives, then God is inconsistent, unreliable, and blind for the other 600 or so. Along with not reproving the man with the largest stables in the history of the earth, and the most accumulated gold of any person who ever lived as well. God's blessing, and thus no reproof necessary because there was no violation, or a blind, inconsistent, unreliable ... God.

Lastly, some want their God to be exactly the way they want Him to be, and cannot consider, at all, anything outside of their beliefs as to who He is, what He should do, when He should do it ... and those people are in every belief group that believes there is a God. Tell a Mormon that their core beliefs about God are wrong, inconsistent, do not fit with the scriptures when logic and reason is applied ... and share the passages that point out these inconsistencies, and most of those viewing this post would applaud my opposition to false beliefs. If I used scripture and logic and reason and tore apart the views of a Jehovah's Witness, and showed the inconsistency between their beliefs, the word of God, the behaviors and actions of the Godly throughout the scriptures, again, most would give their approval. Why? Because most of you would agree with me, and because it is not your beliefs that are on the rack. It is not your beliefs that I am asking you to reconsider.

Do not think, even for an instant that I like the fact that my beliefs on this issue have altered contrary to the modern western Christian view. It makes many things "uncomfortable". I wish I could hold to views that make God, and scripture inconsistent, and make all the writers of scripture idiots for not pointing out the many sins of lust committed by Solomon. Geesh, we talk about pornography being a sinning our modern Christian views, how about not only looking at a thousand women naked, but sleeping with all of them? Where was the outrage throughout the scriptures over all of that? Something tells me that the rest of the elders almost of our churches would reprove me well before I took my 100th wife. What we see in scripture paints a different picture, and tells a different story though. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Anyone can gather passages and facts to prove their beliefs to be true, and all opposing beliefs to be false and interpret their "Selected" data in the light of their beliefs, and die with their beliefs intact. If this is what you do to hold fast to your beliefs, regardless of the belief group you are in, do you love truth, or do you hate it? Those in all those "other" belief groups that you consider "lost" use this methodology to hold fast to their beliefs "as" truth. They alter the meaning of scripture to hold fast to their beliefs. They close their eyes and ears to any conclusions other than that their core beliefs "are" "truth". Are you more righteous than they are? Or do you condemn yourself by what you yourself habitually do? Do you REALLY love truth more than your accepted beliefs, or are you just like those you consider to be lost because you yourselves do the exact same things with the word of God to hold fast to your beliefs about Him? If you really love truth, do you not need to open your eyes and ears and consider things that might be contrary to the accepted beliefs of your belief group? What would the religious leaders at the time of Christ have said? If you are on their side, what does that say about you?
I personally am not sure Solomon received salvation at the end.

1 Kin 11:3; He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
1 Kin 11:4; For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
1 Kin 11:5; For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.
1 Kin 11:6; Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done.
1 Kin 11:7; Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.
1 Kin 11:8; Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.