Why did King Solomon have many wives?

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In the Old Testament, especially among Kings, having many wives (bigamy) was common. History reveals that Solomon was very aggressive in his foreign policy. In sealing treaties in ancient days, it was customary for a lesser king to give his daughter in marriage to the greater king. Every time a new treaty was sealed, Solomon ended up with another wife. These wives were considered tokens of good will between the two kings.

But the Lord instructed that the kings of Israel “shall not multiply horses to himself… Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away” (Deuteronomy 17:16-17). Solomon was disobedient to God’s clear instructions. He was seeking power and wealth that it affected his spiritual life and he fell into sin.

In marrying more than one woman, Solomon was going against God’s revealed will regarding monogamy. From the very beginning God created one woman for one man (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-25).

“For it came to pass, when he 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… Then he built a 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 foreign wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon…” (1 Kings 11:4-9).

Sadly, the king lost God’s favor and blessings for a season. But later in his life, filled with emptiness and pain, he exclaimed, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 12:8). And he repented of all his sins and the years he wasted away from God. He gave this council, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

At the end of his life, Solomon advised, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13, 14).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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