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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When Wisdom Goes Awry

King Solomon.

You'll recall that my last post was on his amazing wisdom. God told Solomon he could have anything he asked for and Solomon asked for wisdom. (1 Kings 3) God was so pleased with this request that He not only gave Solomon wisdom, but He also gave him what he didn't ask for, which was riches and honor throughout his lifetime. Solomon used his wisdom to conquer enemies, amass wealth, solve disputes. He was a king like no other.

But despite his amazing wisdom, Solomon had a weakness.

Pretty girls.

Yep. King Solomon loved the women! In 1 Kings 3:1 he marries the daughter of Pharaoh king of Egypt. He brought her to Jerusalem and set up housekeeping with her in the new palace he built.

And they lived happily ever after...right?

Well, not exactly.

"King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter--Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, 'You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.' Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray." 1 Kings 11:3

The first time I read this verse years ago, this is what I wrote in the margin of my Bible: "Good grief!"

And I mean it!!

GOOD. GRIEF!!!

Where was all that wonderful wisdom?

How could he forget his words from just three previous chapters when he prayed that the Israelites' hearts would be "fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands"?

God made it clear Hebrew men were not to intermarry with foreign women. Period. Not even to make treaties.

But that's exactly what Solomon did. Maybe I can understand that, because after all, they lived in a time when war was the norm. And maybe I can even understand him seeing a beautiful woman and wanting her for his wife (like his dad David did with his mom). That kind of thing still goes on today, although we call them 'affairs' because polygamy is not allowed.

BUT SEVEN HUNDRED WIVES AND THREE HUNDRED CONCUBINES?????

Come on, Solomon!!

There is simply no understanding those numbers! And the implications that come with this whole story are mind-boggling.

God wasn't pleased about it either. In 1 Kings 11:9-13 God is angry with Solomon. To the point that God is going to take away the kingdom because of Solomon's behavior.

{{{{Heavy sigh of disappointment}}}}

When wisdom goes awry.

It ain't pretty, folks.

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