“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.
Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.” (I Kings 11:9-13)
Solomon had not slipped into sin unexpectedly. He had systematically ignored God’s commands about different things. When he was warned of the danger by God personally, he ignored those warnings. His turning to idolatry was the result of deliberate decisions to disobey God, and it angered God.
Because Solomon had systematically violated his contract or covenant with God, he was not going to receive the reward for fulfilling it. God was not willing to pay for work Solomon refused to do. Because he had Made a contract with David, and David had fulfilled his part, God would keep the contract with David, not taking everything away from Solomon’s family. He would allow Solomon to finish his reign, but would split the kingdom after his reign, leaving only one tribe with Solomon’s family., and even that only because of his promise to David.
It almost sounds as if Solomon was going to get off without any consequences personally, with the judgment coming on his son. In reality, while the first twenty five or thirty years of his reign were a period of constant economic growth and world power, the last ten to fifteen years was a period of decreasing economic and political stability. By the time of his death, Solomon would be barely able to keep the country together. The most troubling aspect of all this is how closely it parallels what is happening in the United States today.
“And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.” (I Kings 11:14-18)
During the first twenty years or so of Solomon’s reign no body had dared attack Israel. Solomon had built up a huge army that no one dared to confront. When he turned his back on God, God caused different ones to lose their fear of fighting Israel. One of those who first came against them was Hadad, a descendant of the rulers of Edom, Esau’s descendants, who had a grudge against Israel.
After David conquered Edom, Joab stayed six months in the land hunting down and killing every man and boy in the land. Some Edomites lived among the Midianites, and were able to escape to Paran. Fearing they would also be killed some of the men of Paran joined with them and the entire group fled to Egypt, asking Pharaoh for asylum. Hadad was just a child at the time, but he learned to hate Israel as a result of their flight.
“And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh.
And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.
Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.” (I Kings 11:19-22)
Hadad grew up in Egypt, developing powerful contacts, even becoming a friend and brother-in -law to Pharaoh. Eventually, knowing David and Joab were dead, he decided to return to his homeland and rebuild the country, although Pharaoh didn’t want him to leave. He stirred up a lot of unrest in Edom and the surrounding areas, forcing Solomon to spend a lot of time and resources keeping the area south and east of the Dead Sea under control .
“And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.” (I Kings 11:23-25)
Many years before, the King of Zobah had tried to destroy a young man named Rezon. He became and outlaw and formed an outlaw band. When David conquered Zobah they fled Damascus, gradually taking over the city. Though they had a treaty with Israel, he was chafing to break free. Later in Solomon’s reign, he had gained enough of a following to start stirring up trouble in Syria and the northern part of the Empire much like Hadad was causing in the southeast, dividing Solomon’s forces and attention, demanding huge military expenditures, and changing the entire economic picture, although they posed little immediate threat to Israel itself.
Solomon had never had to deal with these kinds of problems as long as he served God. He no longer could concentrate on enriching the economy or building his own reputation and wealth, because he had to worry about the trouble Hadad and Rezon were causing.
It is much like the effects of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, in that while they pose little immediate threat to our country they can hardly be ignored, and they siphon off vast amounts of financial and personal resources that would be better used elsewhere.