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1 Kings 11:1-8

Context
The Lord Punishes Solomon for Idolatry

11:1 King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 11:2 They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them! 1  If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.” 2  But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them. 3 

11:3 He had 700 royal wives 4  and 300 concubines; 5  his wives had a powerful influence over him. 6  11:4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to 7  other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been. 8  11:5 Solomon worshiped 9  the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. 10  11:6 Solomon did evil in the Lord’s sight; 11  he did not remain loyal to 12  the Lord, like his father David had. 11:7 Furthermore, 13  on the hill east of Jerusalem 14  Solomon built a high place 15  for the detestable Moabite god Chemosh 16  and for the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. 17  11:8 He built high places for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and make sacrifices to their gods. 18 

1 tn Heb “you must not go into them, and they must not go into you.”

2 tn Heb “Surely they will bend your heart after their gods.” The words “if you do” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

3 tn Heb “Solomon clung to them for love.” The pronominal suffix, translated “them,” is masculine here, even though it appears the foreign women are in view. Perhaps this is due to attraction to the masculine forms used of the nations earlier in the verse.

4 tn Heb “wives, princesses.”

5 sn Concubines were slave women in ancient Near Eastern societies who were the legal property of their master, but who could have legitimate sexual relations with their master. A concubine’s status was more elevated than a mere servant, but she was not free and did not have the legal rights of a free wife. The children of a concubine could, in some instances, become equal heirs with the children of the free wife. The usage in the present passage suggests that after the period of the Judges concubines may have become more of a royal prerogative (cf. also 2 Sam 21:10-14).

6 tn Heb “his wives bent his heart.”

7 tn Heb “bent his heart after.”

8 tn Heb “his heart was not complete with the Lord his God, like the heart of David his father.”

9 tn Heb “walked after.”

10 tn Heb “Milcom, the detestable thing of the Ammonites.”

11 tn Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.”

12 tn The idiomatic statement reads in Hebrew, “he did not fill up after.”

13 tn Heb “then.”

14 sn The hill east of Jerusalem refers to the Mount of Olives.

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

15 sn A high place. The “high places” were places of worship that were naturally or artificially elevated (see 1 Kgs 3:2).

16 tn Heb “Chemosh, the detestable thing of Moab.”

17 tc The MT reads “Molech,” but Milcom must be intended (see vv. 5, 33).

18 tn Heb “and the same thing he did for all his foreign wives, [who] were burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.”



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