Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh - This was no doubt a political measure in order to strengthen his kingdom, and on the same ground he continued his alliance with the king of Tyre; and these were among the most powerful of his neighbors. But should political considerations prevail over express laws of God? God had strictly forbidden his people to form alliances with heathenish women, lest they should lead their hearts away from him into idolatry. Let us hear the law: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son; for they will turn away thy son from following me, etc. Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3, Deuteronomy 7:4. Now Solomon acted in direct opposition to these laws; and perhaps in this alliance were sown those seeds of apostacy from God and goodness in which he so long lived, and in which he so awfully died.
Those who are, at all hazards, his determinate apologists, assume,
Now to all this I answer,
Should I even be singular, I cannot help thinking that the reign of Solomon began rather inauspiciously: even a brother's blood must be shed to cause him to sit securely on his throne, and a most reprehensible alliance, the forerunner of many others of a similar nature, was formed for the same purpose. But we must ever be careful to distinguish between what God has commanded to be done, and what was done through the vile passions and foolish jealousies of men. Solomon had many advantages, and no man ever made a worse use of them.
What Pharaoh is meant is uncertain. It must have been a predecessor of Shishak (or Sheshonk), who invaded Judaea more than 40 years later 1 Kings 14:25; and probabilities are in favor, not of Psusennes II, the last king of Manetho‘s 21st dynasty, but of Psinaces, the predecessor of Psusennes. This, the Tanite dynasty, had become very weak, especially toward its close, from where we may conceive how gladly it would ally itself with the powerful house of David. The Jews were not forbidden to marry foreign wives, if they became proselytes. As Solomon is not blamed for this marriage either here or in 1 Kings 11:5-7 were in no case dedicated to Egyptian deities, it is to be presumed that his Egyptian wife adopted her husband‘s religion.
Those who are placed in charge of the Lord's institutions are in need of much of the strength and grace and keeping power of God, that they shall not walk contrary to the sacred principles of the truth. Many, many are very dull of comprehension in regard to their obligation to preserve the truth in its purity, uncontaminated by one vestige of error. Their danger is in holding the truth in light esteem, thus leaving upon minds the impression that it is of little consequence what we believe, if, by carrying out plans or human devising, we can exalt ourselves before the world as holding a superior position, as occupying the highest seat. CH 290.1Read in context »
Placed at the head of a nation that had been set as a light to the surrounding nations, Solomon might have brought great glory to the Lord of the universe by a life of obedience. He might have encouraged God's people to shun the evils that were practiced in the surrounding nations. He might have used his God-given wisdom and power of influence in organizing and directing a great missionary movement for the enlightenment of those who were ignorant of God and of His truth. Thus multitudes might have been won to an allegiance to the King of kings. FE 498.1Read in context »
In seeking to strengthen his relations with the powerful kingdom lying to the southward of Israel, Solomon ventured upon forbidden ground. Satan knew the results that would attend obedience; and during the earlier years of Solomon's reign—years glorious because of the wisdom, the beneficence, and the uprightness of the king—he sought to bring in influences that would insidiously undermine Solomon's loyalty to principle and cause him to separate from God. That the enemy was successful in this effort, we know from the record: “Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the City of David.” 1 Kings 3:1. PK 53.1
From a human point of view, this marriage, though contrary to the teachings of God's law, seemed to prove a blessing; for Solomon's heathen wife was converted and united with him in the worship of the true God. Furthermore, Pharaoh rendered signal service to Israel by taking Gezer, slaying “the Canaanites that dwelt in the city,” and giving it “for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.” 1 Kings 9:16. This city Solomon rebuilt and thus apparently greatly strengthened his kingdom along the Mediterranean seacoast. But in forming an alliance with a heathen nation, and sealing the compact by marriage with an idolatrous princess, Solomon rashly disregarded the wise provision that God had made for maintaining the purity of His people. The hope that his Egyptian wife might be converted was but a feeble excuse for the sin. PK 53.2
For a time God in His compassionate mercy overruled this terrible mistake; and the king, by a wise course, could have checked at least in a large measure the evil forces that his imprudence had set in operation. But Solomon had begun to lose sight of the Source of his power and glory. As inclination gained the ascendancy over reason, self-confidence increased, and he sought to carry out the Lord's purpose in his own way. He reasoned that political and commercial alliances with the surrounding nations would bring these nations to a knowledge of the true God; and he entered into unholy alliance with nation after nation. Often these alliances were sealed by marriages with heathen princesses. The commands of Jehovah were set aside for the customs of surrounding peoples. PK 53.3Read in context »