Melachim 1 / Kings 1-Chapter 11: Shlomos wives, sins, death, & rebellion of Yeravam

1.      The wives of Shlomo and the sins they caused Shlomo to commit:

  • King Shlomo loved many Gentile women, including the daughter of Pharaoh [who he loved the most]. He loved [and married] Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.
  • Scripture chastises Shlomo for his love of Gentile women: From amongst all the nations that God told the Jewish people not to intermarry with due to that they will stray their hearts towards their deities, to specifically these nations did Shlomo draw his heart to love.
  • The number of wives: He had 700 royal wives, and 300 concubines.
  • The wives lead Shlomo to sin to idolatry: The wives of Shlomo causes heart to go astray. This occurred in his old age, that his wives caused his heart to go astray after foreign gods. The heart of Shlomo was not complete with Hashem as was the heart of David his father. Shlomo followed after Ashtoros, the God of the Tzidonim, and after Milcom, the abomination of the ammonites. Shlomo performed evil in the eyes of God and did not follow after Him devotedly as had David his father
  • The altars of idolatry that were built: Shlomo then built an altar for Chemosh the abomination of Moab. It was built on top of a mountain which faced Jerusalem. An altar was also built for Molech the abomination of the ammonites. So was done for all of his Gentile wives who would offer incense and sacrifices to their deities.

2.      Hashem chastises Shlomo for his actions and promises him that his kingdom will be split:

  • Hashem became angry with Shlomo being that his heart strayed against Hashem the God of Israel even though He had appeared to him twice. God had instructed him regarding this matter that he should not stray after other gods, although he did not keep that which God had commanded.
  • Hashem then said to Shlomo [through a prophet known as Achiya Hashiloni[1]], “being that this has occurred with you, and you have not guarded my covenant and laws which I commanded you, I will tear your kingdom from upon you and I will give it to your servant. However, I will not do this in your lifetime out of respect for David your father, although I will tear the kingdom during the reign of your son. I will not tear the entire kingdom away from you and I will hand to your son one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.

3.      Hadad the Edomite regains strength to fight the Jewish people:

  • Hashem raised the power an adversary again Shlomo, by the name of Hadad, the Edomite who was from royal lineage of Edom.
  • The history of Hadad: When David was in Edom, Joab the commander of the Army went up to bury the dead, as he had slain every male of Edom. Yoav and all the Jewish people had remained there for six months until they had slain every member of Edom. Hadad fled towards Egypt together with a number of Edomite men from amongst his father’s servants. At this time Hadad was yet a small child. Prior to arriving to Egypt they arrived to Midian and from there they traveled to Paran. They took men with them from the area of Paran and traveled to Egypt, to Pharaoh the king of Egypt. Pharaoh granted them a home and food and land. Hadad found much favor in the eyes of Pharaoh, and so Pharaoh gave him his wife’s sister as a wife, the sister of Queen Tachpenes. The sister of Tachpenes gave birth for him to a son named Genuvas. He was weaned by Tachpenes in the palace of Pharaoh and so it was that Genuvas grew up amongst the children of Pharaoh. When Hadad heard while in Egypt that Dovid and his general Yoav had passed away, he asked Pharaoh to send him off back to his land. Pharaoh pushed back against this request arguing to Hadad that he lacks nothing by him and there’s no reason for him to leave his land. Nonetheless, Hadad insisted that he let him return.

4.      Other adversaries that God raised again Shlomo:

  • God also raised against Shlomo as an adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliada, who had fled from Hadadezer, the king of Zobah, who was his master. He assembled men around him and became the commander over an army when Dovid had slain them. So they went to Damascus and settled there and reigned over Damascus. He was an adversary to the Jewish people throughout all the days of Shlomo, in addition to all the evil that was caused due to Hadad. He hated the Jewish people and reigned over Aram.

5.      Yeravam Ben Nevat:

  • His lineage: Yeravam was the son of Navat, who was an Ephraimite of Tzeradah [from the tribe of Binyamon[2]]. His mother’s name was Tzeruah, and she was a widow. He was a servant of Shlomo, and he rebelled against the king [by chastising him in public[3]].
  • His chastising of Shlomo: He rebelled against Shlomo by chastising him in the following matter: Shlomo built up the Millo [i.e. the courtyard of the city of David] and closed up the breach of the city of David, his father. [David had made a breach in the wall of the city of David to allow the pilgrims easy access to the temple area and palace, while Shlomo closed it up for the sake of the daughter of Pharaoh and her servants.[4]]
  • His rise to power as a tax collector: Yeravam was a mighty warrior. Shlomo saw that the young man was a diligent worker, and he thus appointed him in charge of collecting all the taxes of the tribe of Joseph.


6.      Yeravam meets the prophet Achiya HaShilony, and is promised the kingship over the ten tribes:

  • One time when Yeravam had left Jerusalem, he met on the road Achiya HaShilony, who was a prophet.
  • Achiyah tears the garment to ten pieces: One of them[5] was wearing a new garment. The two of them were alone in the field. Achiya grabbed the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.
  • The prophecy of G-d to give him the kingdom: He then said to Yeravam, “Take ten torn pieces for yourself, as Hashem the God of Israel has said, “I shall tear the kingdom out of Shlomo’s hands and I shall give you the ten tribes. Shlomo will remain with one tribe, for the sake of My servant David’s and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen of all the tribes of Israel. I am making this happen since they have deserted Me and have prostrated themselves to Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, and to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Milcom, the god of the children of Ammon, and they have not walked in My ways, to do what is right in My eyes to keep My laws as did David his father. However, I will not take the entire kingdom away from him and I will allow him to remain King throughout all of the days of his life for the sake of David My servant, whom I chose, and who kept My commandments. However, I will take the kingdom away from his son, and will give to you the ten tribes. I will give his son one tribe so that David My servant may have a kingdom before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I chose for Myself to place My name there. I shall take you, and you shall rule over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. Now, if listen to all my commands and remain righteous in My eyes as did David My servant, then I shall be with you and build for you and everlasting dynasty as I have built for David My servant, and I shall give Israel to you. And I shall afflict David’s descendants because of this, but not forever [as in the times of the Messiah, David’s monarchy will be reestablished[6]].”


7.      Shlomo tries to kill Yeravama who flees to Egypt:

  • Shlomo sought to kill Yeravam [for having rebelled against him by chastising him[7]], so Yeravam got up and fled to Egypt to Shishak, the king of Egypt, and he remained in Egypt until Shlomo’s death.

8.      The Chronicles of the life of Shlomo and his wisdom:                      

  • All the other matters relating to Shlomo, and all that he accomplished and all of his wisdom are written in the books “Divrei Shlomo” [which was a special book that contained all of the history of Shlomo, and has since been lost[8]].
  • The amount of years of Shlomo’s reign: Shlomo reigned in Jerusalem over all the Jewish people for a total of forty years.           
  • Shlomo passes away: Shlomo passed away and was buried together with his father and in the city of David.

9.      The next king of Israel:

  • Rechavam, the son of Shlomo became the next king after him.

[1] Radak 11:11

[2] Metzudos Dovid and Radak 11:26

[3] Rashi 11:26

[4] Rashi 11:27

[5] See Radak 11:29

[6] Rashi 11:39

[7] See Metzudos Dovid 11:40

[8] See Metzudos Dovid and Radak 11:41

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