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Howbeit, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand : but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes ; but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. .
And unto his son will I give one tribe; that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.
And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to that all thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.
And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did ; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for
David, and will give Israel unto thee. · And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.
Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboamr: and Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon...
And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem, over all Israel, was forty years.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The sacred historian refers us to the books of Nathan: the prophet, and others, for the records of the last acts of Solomon's reign; but these writings are lost to the world, therefore we can come to no certainty in respect to the events of many years ; we may however infer, from the book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon him.. self, that many years did not pass after he ascended the throne before he became elated with prosperity, and grew unmindful from whence it was derived, and for
what purpose it was bestowed. He found himself raised to the very summit of greatness, and thinking that he had judgment sufficient to guide himself, he threw off his confidence in God, and began to form schemes for perpetuuting his enjoyments ; with this view, as appears from his writings, he occupied his mind in vain researches after permanent happiness, independent of the SUPREME BEING; but when he no longer employed his wisdom in
the service of God, and the good of mankind, it was only · productive of fatigue and disappointment. ; ;
Solomon then as he says despised WiSDOM, and resolving to try what PLEASURE would prodụce, he gave him self up to mirth and festivity, thinking to drive away reflection, by a constant round of dissipation ; but these, pursuits ended also in discontent; and he soon said of laughter it is mad, and of mirth what doeth it?
Solomon supposed that the means of happiness were still however in his power; and recollecting (it is likely) the delight he had formerly experienced in inspecting the progress of arts, he resolved. to employ his wealth in building and planting ; he therefore spared no expence, but even taxed his subjects to adorn his kingdom with magnificent edifices, and beautiful gardens; but here again he missed his aim. When these works were completed, he endeavoured to procure content by increasing his Riches: this was also vanity and vexation of Spirit ; for the thoughts that he must die and leave all his possessions behind him to a son •very unfit to rule, embittered his hours, and abated the relish of every enjoyment,
The idolatrous nations were the professed votaries of sensuality ; Solomon therefore formed connections with them, by marrying wives from amongst them, in hopes (we may suppose) of learning refinements of luxury unknown in Israel : in this scheme he was unhappily too successful ;
· · but
but it was attended with unhappy consequences, instead of procuring satisfaction.
If we had not been able to collect from Solomon's own writings the cause of his apostasy, we should be at a loss to account for it; but when we read that he turned his back upon religion, and depended merely on human reason, our wonder ceases, for he became like a ship without a pilot in a dangerous ocean, full of rocks and quicksands.
It is needless to use arguments to prove the justice of God's dealings with this ungrateful prince; it will be sufficient to look back to the promises repeatedly made to him and his father, which were all conditional, so that Solomon was sufficiently warned beforehand, that the kingdom would not be continued to his posterity if he departed from his duty.
It was impossible that Solomon could be ignorant of the sinfulness of erecting temples to idols, in that very land especially wherein he had been employed to build a House to the name of the LORD Jehovah; and as his reputation for wisdom was universally known; his example was very contagious, because every one might think himself justified in his imitation of the wise KING SoLOMON.
The unhappy effects of this king's permitting idolatry and luxury to be introduced into Israel, were soon felt by his people : domestic joys, which had, till this period, made every one happy under his vine and under his fig-tree, were exchanged for riot and dissipation ; and consequently the education of youth must have been neglected, and the service of Gov esteemed a burden ; the prosperity of Israel deciined, and foreign powers were encouraged to attack them.
Hadad was the young prince who had fled from Edom into Egypt, from Joab's victorious arms. He had found favour in the sight of the king, and was married to the
queen's sister. Rezon, with whom Hadad entered into a league against Solomon, was the man who deserted from Hadadezar, king of Zobah, and was made king of Da. mascus; but] David dispossessed him; however he had lately recovered his kingdom.
The necessity of defending his dominions against these adversaries, and the various services the Israelites were obliged to render to Solomon, on account of his numerous alliances, made the latter end of his reign grievous to them, and his glory was tarnished in the eyes of all the world.
Jeroboam had distinguished himself by his valour and industry, which induced Solomon to fix upon him as a proper person for the post 'he had assigned him. This man seems to have been of a very aspiring temper, and to have entertained a secret wish to reign over Israel. This wish would have been fruitless, if Solomon had not forfeited
the Divine protection. That Jeroboam might not, how· ever, suppose he had gained dominion over the LORD's.
people by his own courage or abilities, a PROPHET was sent to declare the Lord's intention of rending the kingdom, and giving the government of ten tribes to him ; and at the same time to inform him why Solomon's memory was. to be disgraced, and to promise Jeroboam the establishment of the kingdom of Israel in his family, if he would imitate David in his piety and obedience to the commands of GOD.
Ahijah, it is supposed, clad himself in a new garment, in order to give Jeroboam a sign ; for it was customary for prophets to make use of such methods, that their predictions might be niore striking : in the present instance, the ten pieces given in the LORD's name to Jeroboamı were a token of conveyance of the tribes to him.
· Whilst Solomon continued religious, he undoubtedly was a hapny monarch ; there was neither discontent nor: faction under his goverament; he knew not the sorrow
is feriments he had him then to bring of his
of losing thousands of his subjects by war, nor had he cause to fear, whilst he was under the peculiar direetion of God, that any of his plans for the good of the nation would fail of success.
Solomon's life, in all probability, was shortened by his excesses, for he was no more than 58 years old when he died. There is great reason to suppose, after he had made his fruitless experiments he had a proper sense of his crimes: but it was too late for him then to bring about a reformation in his kingdom; for the affection of his people was alienated from him, and his wives, whom he had increased to the number of one thousand, had gain. ed such an ascendancy, that po efforts of his own would have prevailed against their different parties : and neither he nor his subjects could hope that the LORD, whose ho. nour was so greatly affronted by them, would work a miracle to change their minds. They had slighted the true God, and preferred idols to him; on which account . they were justly left to the consequences which they had been repeatedly warned to expect.
From Solomon's history we may learn, that' WISDOM, Power, and Riches, are blessings only to those who use them properly ; when received with thankfulness, enjoya, ed with moderation, and employed in relieving the distresses of the indigent, or encouraging honest industry, they are productive of great satisfaction ; but when they are made subservient to vice, they render their possessors despicable and unhappy. · Whatsoever SOLOMON's eyes desired, he kept not from them ; neither withheld he his heart from any joy* : but experience taught him, that there was no profit in any worldly enjoyment; and his search after Happiness concluded with a thorough conviction, that it was only to be obtained by fearing God, and keeping His commandments. * Ecclesiastes.