God had given Solomon wisdom that had reached to the far ends of the known world. People travelled from far away just to hear his wisdom and to get answers to their questions.
But, the devil wanted to find a way to get the children of Israel to quit worshiping God. He had been watching Solomon and he knew just what he could use to make Solomon turn his back on the Lord. Once the king started worshiping idols, the devil knew the people would follow.
I Kings 3:1- And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.
I Kings 11:1-5- But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
God had told Moses to tell the Jews to only marry people who were Jews. If they started marrying people who worshipped false gods they would be tempted to worship idols with their spouses. Solomon didn't listen to God's law.
The devil knew that Solomon would be tempted to make his wives happy. He knew that these women were raised to worship idols and they would want their husband to worship with them. It took time, but the devil was very patient. When Solomon was old he no longer wanted to tell his wives "no", and so he started to worship false gods with them.
I Kings 11:6-8- And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
God has told us to be very careful with two things- who our friends are and who we marry. Why? Because both will either encourage us to do God's will in our lives, or they will turn our hearts from following the Lord!
This happened to the wisest man that ever lived! Not only did he worship false gods, but he also built temples for these idols around Jerusalem. The city that Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, had said that his name would dwell there now had many different temples and idols in it.
Do you remember God's conditional promise to Solomon? He said if Solomon would continue to serve Him that He would establish Solomon's kingdom. Solomon had seen God in a dream twice in his life- that's more contact than even David had with God. Solomon broke his end of that agreement! He turned his back on the God that had spoke with him twice!
I Kings 11:9-13- And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.
God had promised David that his children would sit on the throne of Jerusalem, but now He had to punish Solomon for his sin of worshiping false gods. The Lord was going to split the nation of Israel-2 tribes would follow David's lineage, and the other 10 would crown a new king. God was going to bring this change as soon as Solomon's son took the throne.
The other punishment God sent Solomon's way was enemies. Up to this point Solomon had peace in his kingdom. But, now he was going to have trouble.
I Kings 11:14-20- And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh.
The first enemy God sent Solomon's way was his Egyptian wife's uncle. David had slaughtered this man's nation because of how they treated his men when they went to comfort the new king in his time of grief. But, General Joab had missed one. This man married Pharaoh's sister-in-law and became a mighty man in Egypt. Now, he wanted revenge for David's actions.
I Kings 11:23-25- And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.
The next enemy also had a history with David. David had slaughtered his home village after he had fled. This man set himself up as a king in Damascus and reigned over Syria.
So now, Solomon had enemies on two sides of his kingdom. But, there was one more that God was going to raise up. This one was going to take the 10 tribes from Solomon's son once Solomon died.
I Kings 11:26-31, 37- And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
Jeroboam had been a leader in Solomon's army. God sent a prophet to anoint him and tell him that he would be given 10 tribes to rule over. God gave him the same promise He had given Solomon- serve me and I will allow your lineage to keep ruling over my people.
When Solomon found this out he tried to kill him!
I Kings 11:40- Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
Jeroboam had to run for his life! He went to Egypt to hide from Solomon.
God always keeps His promises. Once you disobey His commands He will punish you as He has promised in the Bible. Adam and Eve couldn't escape the punishment God said they would suffer if they ate the fruit. The people in Noah's day couldn't escape the judgement God said would come if they didn't get on the ark. Pharaoh with all his power couldn't escape the 10 Plagues that God sent to curse his land and people during the time of Moses. Not even the wisest man in the world, Solomon, could use his wisdom to evade God's punishment.
God sent his judgement during the rest of Solomon's life, and carried it through even after Solomon's death.
I Kings 11:41-43- And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.