My Thoughts. . .
“He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines” (1 Kings 11:3).
Solomon had seven hundred wives! I want to focus on wife number seven hundred. She was beautiful. She was sixteen when her dad, the king of his country, had that fatherly talk with her. He told her that she would seal an alliance between her country and the Israelite nation through her marriage to their king. That king was noted for his wisdom and wealth. She thought she was the luckiest girl in the world to be married to Israel’s king. She had never met him. She did not have a choice. She did not love him. None of that mattered. Daddy decided her future and she would be marrying a king! How lucky could a young lady be?
The marriage went as expected. Royal clothing, Royal servants, Royal meals, Royal gifts, a Royal palace, and royal respect were part of her new experiences. A wealthy king would be her husband. None of her friends had received such honors. Yes, the King was older than she, but that was true of marriages in that time.
Then she found out she was not his only wife. Her mouth dropped open when she was introduced to the other six hundred and ninety-nine. It dropped even further when she also met the three hundred concubines. She had competition. How does a new wife compete with nine hundred and ninety-nine other women vying for the King’s attention, affection, and bed? She was a newcomer, without experience, and lined up against nine hundred and ninety-nine other cutthroats!
Being a new wife did gain the King’s attention for a short period. Then she announced that she was pregnant. When the girl was born there was not a lot of joy. Boys were better. Yet, being the last wife, even if she had several boys, being a latecomer would not guarantee that one of them would ever be king. The oldest was usually selected. Then that new king often killed off all the competition. Her baby girl was safe. Future boy babies? Maybe not.
Out of one thousand women to choose from, favorites developed. She was not one of them. She and a number of other wives were political pawns sealing peace between Solomon’s kingdom and the kingdom of that girl’s father. Oh, they were all beautiful women and a lot of them were young, but marriage was not usually based upon love. He was capable of loving all of them, wives, and concubines, but he did have his favorites.
Out of the seven hundred wives, few were Jewish. Each was allowed to have her own god and style of worship. Those who were favored had more influence over Solomon than the others. Scripture states, “and his wives led him astray” (1 Kings 11:3). Scripture does not detail it, but would seven hundred women not be in competition with one another over who would have more influence with the king? Would that household be a peaceful one overflowing with love? Competitiveness does not usually breed harmony.
Solomon refers to this situation several times in Proverbs 14:1; 15:17; 17:1; 21:9, 19; 25:24! The opposite is given in Proverbs 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-31. Politics does not a good marriage make! When God made man, He designed marriage for one man to be bound to one woman! Political alliances and pagan influence caused Solomon to forget his earlier allegiance. Such things still affect nations and individuals today.