The Bible record tells us, “Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh’s daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall all around Jerusalem” (1 Kings 3:1).
The Pharaoh That Solomon Married His Daughter
The Pharaoh with whom Solomon made a friendship is thought to be one of the kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty, whose capital was at Tanis which was located in Lower Egypt. It must have been a forerunner of Shishak (Sheshonk), who established the Twenty-second Dynasty, who captured Judah in the fifth year of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25). The Pharaoh with whom Solomon made friendship with is believed by many commentators to have been Psusennes.
Political leagues were often accompanied by marriages between royal families. There was no divine rebuke for Solomon’s marriage with this pagan princess. The Bible only recorded the fact. But the absence of reprove doesn’t mean this act was approved by God. For this union was a clear breaking of God’s command which stated,
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you… you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son” (Deuteronomy 7:1-3.
Though Pharaoh’s daughter supposedly left the religion of her fathers, this did not justify the marriage. And Pharaoh seized the city of Gezer from the Canaanites and gave it to his daughter as a dowry and to the king of Israel (1 Kings 9:16).
The Alliances With Pagan Nations
Solomon’s first goal after seizing the throne was to achieve internal security. After that was done, he was ready to focus his attention to the external issues. The first step was the royal marriage to a daughter of Pharaoh. Similarly, in the story of David’s rule over Judah, there is also first mention of steps taken to secure internal security (2 Samuel 2:1–32; 3:1), followed by a mention of David’s sons and wives (2 Samuel 3:2–5). And after his anointing as king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1–3), the first story reported is the setting up of his power over Israel (2 Samuel 5:6–12), followed again by a mention of his wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13–16).
Security Comes From God Not Man
Solomon didn’t need to marry Pharaoh’s daughter and the daughters of other nations to secure Israel’s safety. For the strength and security of Israel relied on the nation’s faithfulness and obedience to God. The Lord promised Israel, “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1).
The Lord clearly instructed that the king of Israel “shall not multiply horses to himself, nor … shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away” (Deuteronomy 17:16,17). David broke this command (2 Samuel 5:13), but Solomon much more so (1 Kings 11:3). Many marital alliances entered into by Solomon were simply motivated by political interests (1 Kings 11:1, 3).
The kings of Israel needed to realize that it was faithfulness to God that leads to success and prosperity not alliances with nations nor even the weapons of war (Psalm 20:7). It was never God’s plan that His people should have to rely upon humans for victory. “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).
In His service,