1 Kings 11
New English Translation
The Lord Punishes Solomon for Idolatry
11 King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 2 They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them![a] If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.”[b] But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them.[c]
3 He had 700 royal wives[d] and 300 concubines;[e] his wives had a powerful influence over him.[f] 4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to[g] other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been.[h] 5 Solomon worshiped[i] the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom.[j] 6 Solomon did evil in the Lord’s sight;[k] he did not remain loyal to[l] the Lord, as his father David had. 7 Furthermore,[m] on the hill east of Jerusalem[n] Solomon built a high place[o] for the detestable Moabite god Chemosh[p] and for the detestable Ammonite god Milcom.[q] 8 He built high places for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and make sacrifices to their gods.[r]
9 The Lord was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance[s] away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions[t] 10 and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods.[u] But he did not obey[v] the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you,[w] I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, for your father David’s sake I will not do this while you are alive. I will tear it away from your son’s hand instead. 13 But I will not tear away the entire kingdom; I will leave[x] your son one tribe for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of my chosen city Jerusalem.”
14 The Lord brought[y] against Solomon an enemy, Hadad the Edomite, a descendant of the Edomite king. 15 During David’s campaign against Edom,[z] Joab, the commander of the army, while on a mission to bury the dead, killed every male in Edom. 16 For Joab and the entire Israelite army[aa] stayed there six months until they had exterminated every male in Edom.[ab] 17 Hadad,[ac] who was only a small boy at the time, escaped with some of his father’s Edomite servants and headed for Egypt.[ad] 18 They went from Midian to Paran; they took some men from Paran and went to Egypt. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, gave him a house and some land and supplied him with food.[ae] 19 Pharaoh liked Hadad so well[af] he gave him his sister-in-law (Queen Tahpenes’ sister) as a wife.[ag] 20 Tahpenes’ sister gave birth to his son,[ah] named Genubath. Tahpenes raised[ai] him in Pharaoh’s palace; Genubath grew up in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. 21 While in Egypt Hadad heard that David had passed away[aj] and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. So Hadad asked Pharaoh, “Give me permission to leave[ak] so I can return to my homeland.” 22 Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack here that makes you want to go to your homeland?”[al] Hadad replied,[am] “Nothing, but please give me permission to leave.”[an]
23 God also brought against Solomon[ao] another enemy, Rezon son of Eliada who had run away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 He gathered some men and organized a raiding band.[ap] When David tried to kill them,[aq] they went to Damascus, where they settled down and gained control of the city. 25 He was Israel’s enemy throughout Solomon’s reign and, like Hadad, caused trouble. He loathed[ar] Israel and ruled over Syria.
26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s servants, rebelled against[as] the king. He was an Ephraimite[at] from Zeredah whose mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27 This is what prompted him to rebel against the king:[au] Solomon built a terrace, and he closed up a gap in the wall of the city of his father David.[av] 28 Jeroboam was a talented man;[aw] when Solomon saw that the young man was an accomplished worker, he made him the leader of the work crew from the tribe[ax] of Joseph. 29 At that time, when Jeroboam had left Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road; the two of them were alone in the open country. Ahijah[ay] was wearing a brand new robe, 30 and he grabbed the robe[az] and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he told Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, for this is what the Lord God of Israel has said: ‘Look, I am about to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and I will give ten tribes to you. 32 He will retain one tribe, for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 I am taking the kingdom from him[ba] because they have[bb] abandoned me and worshiped the Sidonian goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom. They have not followed my instructions[bc] by doing what I approve and obeying my rules and regulations, as Solomon’s father David did.[bd] 34 I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand. I will allow him to be ruler for the rest of his life for the sake of my chosen servant David who kept my commandments and rules. 35 I will take the kingdom from the hand of his son and give ten tribes to you.[be] 36 I will leave[bf] his son one tribe so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me[bg] in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as my home.[bh] 37 I will select[bi] you; you will rule over all you desire to have and you will be king over Israel. 38 You must obey[bj] all I command you to do, follow my instructions,[bk] do what I approve,[bl] and keep my rules and commandments, as my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David;[bm] I will give you Israel. 39 I will humiliate David’s descendants because of this,[bn] but not forever.’”[bo] 40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and found refuge with King Shishak of Egypt.[bp] He stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.
Solomon’s Reign Ends
41 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, including all his accomplishments and his wise decisions, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of Solomon.[bq] 42 Solomon ruled over all Israel from Jerusalem for forty years. 43 Then Solomon passed away[br] and was buried in the city of his father David.[bs] His son Rehoboam replaced him as king.[bt]
- 1 Kings 11:2 tn Heb “you must not go into them, and they must not go into you.”
- 1 Kings 11:2 tn Heb “Surely they will bend your heart after their gods.” The words “if you do” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- 1 Kings 11:2 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.
- 1 Kings 11:3 tn Heb “wives, princesses.”
- 1 Kings 11:3 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).
- 1 Kings 11:3 tn Heb “his wives bent his heart.”
- 1 Kings 11:4 tn Heb “bent his heart after.”
- 1 Kings 11:4 tn Heb “his heart was not complete with the Lord his God, like the heart of David his father.”
- 1 Kings 11:5 tn Heb “walked after.”
- 1 Kings 11:5 tn Heb “Milcom, the detestable thing of the Ammonites.”
- 1 Kings 11:6 tn Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.”
- 1 Kings 11:6 tn The idiomatic statement reads in Hebrew, “he did not fill up after.”
- 1 Kings 11:7 tn Heb “then.”
- 1 Kings 11:7 sn The hill east of Jerusalem refers to the Mount of Olives.
- 1 Kings 11:7 sn A high place. The “high places” were places of worship that were naturally or artificially elevated (see 1 Kgs 3:2).
- 1 Kings 11:7 tn Heb “Chemosh, the detestable thing of Moab.”
- 1 Kings 11:7 tc The MT reads “Molech,” but Milcom must be intended (see vv. 5, 33).
- 1 Kings 11:8 tn Heb “and the same thing he did for all his foreign wives, [who] were burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.”
- 1 Kings 11:9 tn Heb “bent his heart.”
- 1 Kings 11:9 sn These two occasions are mentioned in 1 Kgs 3:5 and 9:2.
- 1 Kings 11:10 tn Heb “and had commanded him concerning this thing not to walk after other gods.”
- 1 Kings 11:10 tn Or “keep.”
- 1 Kings 11:11 tn Heb “Because this is with you, and you have not kept my covenant and my rules which I commanded you.”
- 1 Kings 11:13 tn Heb “give.”
- 1 Kings 11:14 tn Or “raised up.”
- 1 Kings 11:15 tn Heb “when David was [fighting (?)] with Edom.”
- 1 Kings 11:16 tn Heb “and all Israel.”
- 1 Kings 11:16 tn Heb “until he had cut off every male in Edom.”
- 1 Kings 11:17 tn The MT reads “Adad,” an alternate form of the name Hadad.
- 1 Kings 11:17 tn Heb “and Adad fled, he and Edomite men from the servants of his father, to go to Egypt, and Hadad was a small boy.”
- 1 Kings 11:18 tn Heb “and they arose from Midian and went to Paran and they took men with them from Paran and went to Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and he gave to him a house and food he said to him, and a land he gave to him.”
- 1 Kings 11:19 tn Heb “and Hadad found great favor in the eyes of Pharaoh.”
- 1 Kings 11:19 tn Heb “and he gave to him a wife, the sister of his wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.”
- 1 Kings 11:20 tn Heb “bore him Genubath his son.”
- 1 Kings 11:20 tc The Hebrew text reads וַתִּגְמְלֵהוּ (vattigmelehu, “weaned him”) but a slight alteration of the consonantal text yields וַתִּגְדְלֵהוּ (vattigdelehu, “raised him”), which seems to make better sense.
- 1 Kings 11:21 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.”
- 1 Kings 11:21 tn Heb “send me away.”
- 1 Kings 11:22 tn Heb “Indeed what do you lack with me, that now you are seeking to go to your land?”
- 1 Kings 11:22 tn Heb “and he said.”
- 1 Kings 11:22 sn So Hadad asked Pharaoh…. This lengthy description of Hadad’s exile in Egypt explains why Hadad wanted to oppose Solomon and supports the author’s thesis that his hostility to Solomon found its ultimate source in divine providence. Though Hadad enjoyed a comfortable life in Egypt, when the Lord raised him up (apparently stirring up his desire for vengeance) he decided to leave the comforts of Egypt and return to Edom.
- 1 Kings 11:23 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Solomon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Kings 11:24 tn Heb “and he was the officer of a raiding band.”
- 1 Kings 11:24 tn The Hebrew text reads “when David killed them.” This phrase is traditionally joined with what precedes. The ancient Greek version does not reflect the phrase and some suggest that it has been misplaced from the end of v. 23.
- 1 Kings 11:25 tn The construction (Qal of קוּץ + בְּ [quts + bet] preposition) is rare, but not without parallel (see Lev 20:23).
- 1 Kings 11:26 tn Heb “raised a hand against.”
- 1 Kings 11:26 tn Heb “Ephrathite,” which here refers to an Ephraimite (see HALOT 81 s.v. אֶפְרַיִם).
- 1 Kings 11:27 tn Heb “this is the matter concerning which he raised a hand against the king.”
- 1 Kings 11:27 sn The city of his father David. The phrase refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 1 Kings 11:28 tn Heb “man of strength.”
- 1 Kings 11:28 tn Heb “house.”
- 1 Kings 11:29 tn The Hebrew text has simply “he,” making it a bit unclear whether Jeroboam or Ahijah is the subject, but in the Hebrew word order Ahijah is the nearer antecedent, and this is followed by the present translation.
- 1 Kings 11:30 tn Heb “and Ahijah grabbed the new robe that was on him.”
- 1 Kings 11:33 tn The words “I am taking the kingdom from him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- 1 Kings 11:33 tc This is the reading of the MT; the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate read “he has.”
- 1 Kings 11:33 tn Heb “walked in my ways.”
- 1 Kings 11:33 tn Heb “by doing what is right in my eyes, my rules and my regulations, like David his father.”
- 1 Kings 11:35 tn Heb “and I will give it to you, ten tribes.”
- 1 Kings 11:36 tn Heb “give.”
- 1 Kings 11:36 tn Heb “so there might be a lamp for David my servant all the days before me in Jerusalem.” The metaphorical “lamp” symbolizes the Davidic dynasty. Because this imagery is unfamiliar to the modern reader, the translation “so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me” has been used.
- 1 Kings 11:36 tn Heb “so there might be a lamp for David my servant all the days before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for myself to put my name there.”
- 1 Kings 11:37 tn Heb “take.”
- 1 Kings 11:38 tn Heb “If you obey.” In the Hebrew text v. 38 is actually one long conditional sentence, which has been broken into two parts in the translation for stylistic purposes.
- 1 Kings 11:38 tn Heb “walk in my ways.”
- 1 Kings 11:38 tn Heb “do what is right in my eyes.”
- 1 Kings 11:38 tn Heb “I will build for you a permanent house, like I built for David.”
- 1 Kings 11:39 sn Because of this. Reference is made to the idolatry mentioned earlier.
- 1 Kings 11:39 tn Heb “but not all the days.”
- 1 Kings 11:40 tn Heb “but Jeroboam arose and ran away to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt.”
- 1 Kings 11:41 tn Heb “As for the rest of the events of Solomon, and all which he did, and his wisdom, are they not written on the scroll of the events of Solomon?”
- 1 Kings 11:43 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.”
- 1 Kings 11:43 sn The city of his father David. The phrase refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 1 Kings 11:43 tc Before this sentence the Old Greek translation includes the following words: “And it so happened that when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard—now he was in Egypt where he had fled from before Solomon and was residing in Egypt—he came straight to his city in the land of Sarira which is on mount Ephraim. And king Solomon slept with his fathers.”