A light reading of the opening chapters of Kings might lead us to marvel at the greatness of Solomon. But there are small dark moments that appear and we must not miss them. Solomon made an alliance with Egypt, marrying Pharaoh’s daughter – the first of many foreign women who contributed to Solomon’s downfall. He worships at a “high place,” rather than the place where God caused his name to dwell. He gives his famous decision about the child of the two prostitutes, but as the text subtly points out, prostitution was present in Israel (all this in chapter 3). In 1 Kings 4 Solomon accumulates the trappings of wealth – specifically forbidden to him by the law (Deuteronomy 17:16) and fulfills the warning of God in 2 Samuel 8: he taxes the people to pay for his lavish lifestyle. Note that Solomon divided his kingdom into twelve districts in order to pay for these extravagances, but note also that Judah is not among them.
In 1 Kings 5, the writer brings the dangers of a king full circle: Solomon enslaves his own people – at least 30,000 of them.
Solomon will not be the greatest king of Israel. He will not be the standard by which all other kings are judged. That honor will belong to his father David . Unfortunately, Solomon fell prey to the things that often befall the children of successful parents – unearned success. The peace David secured through faith in God left Solomon with less to trust God for, and that freedom led to excess and a lack of trust. Passing on faith to your children is tough. That’s why it should be a focused priority of every Christian parent.