It is true Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” for it is recorded in God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, in 1 Kings 11:3. It has been suggested many of his wives and concubines could have been daughters given as gifts to him by surrounding potentates when peace treaties were negotiated with the Kingdom of Israel. As Solomon’s kingdom and influence grew so did his desire for these foreign women whom God strictly forbade His people as they entered the Promised Land from becoming involved with because of their idol worship (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; 1 Kings 11:1-2).
After all the magnificent successes God had given King Solomon throughout his reign, the Book of Kings records “when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart after other gods.” Those gods included “Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians… Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites… Chemosh, the abomination of Moab… and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.” Solomon offered sacrifices and burnt incense unto the gods just as his forbidden wives did who did not worship the One True GOD who had blessed Solomon in wisdom and riches (1 Kings 11:5-8).
Because of His Righteousness, God’s judgment fell upon Solomon and the entire Kingdom of Israel. It was then God pronounced the kingdom would be divided after Solomon’s death into the Northern Kingdom consisting of ten tribes of Israel, and the Southern Kingdom consisting of the remaining two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. Solomon’s son Rehoboam would rule the Southern Kingdom consisting of Jerusalem, while Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam, would rule the Northern Kingdom (1Kings 11:11-13,43; 12:1-24). As a Divided Kingdom God’s judgment continued to be poured forth as a result of Solomon’s sin for the next 400 years, until eventually the Northern Kingdom was carried away captive by the Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom found themselves under captivity in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 17:5-6; 2 Kings 24:10-16; Jeremiah 52:28-30).
According to 1 Kings 11:4 Solomon’s “heart was not perfect with the LORD his God” concerning his many wives and worship of idols. King Solomon is made mention in the closing words of Nehemiah’s book after the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt and the return of Israelites from the Babylonian captivity had taken place. Nehemiah contended with those who were once again taking wives of the Ammonites and the Moabites, saying, “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things?… God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?” (Nehemiah 13:23-27). Solomon is not one to be emulated or used as an example for having multiple wives, for in doing so he greatly sinned against the One True God.