From: Heaven on Earth
Solomon, (962–922 BC), follows his father, David, to the throne and rules brilliantly and wisely at first, (1 Kings 1-11). The pledge that God made to the patriarchs and to Moses, Joshua, and David seems to be coming to pass, (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:21-34; 8:56). Israel is the envy of the surrounding nations, and Solomon completes his father’s visionary project of building a temple – a permanent house for the ark of the covenant. God’s abiding presence between the wings of the cherubim and among his people is a sure sign of his covenant blessings.
Unfortunately, Solomon’s Godly traits begin to wane. In the course of time, according to the Biblical narrative, Solomon becomes the most powerful leader in the Mediterranean. He enters into political alliances with foreign kings by marrying their daughters. He may have been a genius of political strategy, but he willfully violates God’s instructions for kings, (Deuteronomy 17:14-17). His greed and his many wives turn him away from exclusive Yahweh worship and to idol worship.
Solomon’s failure to submit to God’s rule marks the beginning of the end for Israel as a united kingdom. Solomon forms a centralized government, accumulates wealth, and expands Israel’s borders. In doing so, Israel slowly becomes more like other nations. It adopts a governmental system that dominates and oppresses the masses – the exact opposite of what God intended for Israel.
After Solomon’s death, moral conditions in Israel deteriorate even further, resulting in a divided kingdom, (1 Kings 11:31-35).