June 9, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for 1 Kings 10-13
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Context: In chapter 10, we see how far Solomon's reputation had spread. People, kings and queens, came from afar to speak with Solomon, to hear his wisdom, to verify what they had been told. Through this, many people, such as the Queen of Sheba, came to know the Lord. Israel was enjoying a time of peace and prosperity. The end of chapter 10, and into chapter 11, sets up the fall of Israel. Solomon is greatly concerned with his earthly wealth. He disobeys the commands of the Lord to not intermarry and to not build up his army. Solomon turns away from the Lord to worship false gods with his many wives. Because Solomon has turned away from the Lord, the Lord will destroy the kingdom of Israel following Solomon's death. Following Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam succeeds him as king. Rehoboam faced the same situation that many governments throughout the world face today: too much taxation. The taxation was due to Solomon's large building projects. Instead of reducing the cost of the government, Rehoboam increased it, prompting 10 of the 12 tribes to leave and elect Jeroboam as their king. Since those with Jeroboam could no longer go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord God, Jeroboam erected two golden calves which the people could worship. A man of God, a prophet denounced Jeroboam's false alters, foretelling of a king who would come and destroy such alters. As a prophet, you would think this man would have God's favor, yet he received a horrible death because he was deceived by a fellow prophet. How many people say they are Christians yet live in sin? Today, just as then, we must be wary of everyone! Unfortunately, we cannot trust everyone, even those who proclaim to be Christians. Always research what you have been told and inquire of the Lord for His truth.
World History: The splitting of the 12 tribes into two kingdoms had significant impact outside of Israel. Respect gained by David and Solomon from other leaders was reduced and, in some cases, vanished. Egypt, which was again growing in power, favored Jeroboam for king, ending the previous trade treaty with Judah, which eventually led to an invasion. Trading with Tyre, which Solomon did extensively, ground to a near halt. Smaller nations, such as Syria, also began to rebel, which meant loss of revenue.