Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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3 KINGS - Chapter 11

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3 Kings xi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Strange women, who had been brought up in the service of idols, and were not sincerely converted. (Haydock) --- Riches engaged Solomon in the love of pleasure, and this brought on his ruin. (Calmet) --- He began with the spirit, but ended in the flesh, Galatians iii. 3., and Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 21. He was aware of the dangerous conversation of women, Ecclesiasticus xix. 2. Yet he has left us in his own person an example of that dreadful truth, that it is difficult to love with discretion. (Haydock) --- Amare et sapere vix cuiquam conceditur. Nothing could be more beautiful than the commencement of his reign, nor more terrible than the latter part of it. Thou hast stained thy glory, &c., Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 22. Hence we may apply to him, How are thou fallen from heaven? (Isaias xiv. 12.) (Calmet) --- Pharao. This marriage seems to be blamed, as the source of Solomon's misfortunes; though it is probable, that she had pretended to embrace his religion. (Menochius) (Salien) --- He ought to have repudiated her as soon as she relapsed. (Tirinus)

Ver. 2. Gods. See Exodus xxxiv. 16., and Deuteronomy vii. 4. The law only forbids expressly the marrying of the women of Chanaan. But it was easy to discern, that the spirit of the law equally prohibited connexions with others who were addicted to idol-worship. See 1 Esdras x. 3. Such alliances are always dangerous, and generally prove fatal; (Calmet) unless there be good reason to believe that the parties are sincerely converted: in which case the prohibition ceases. (Haydock) --- Love. Thus, nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata; and, stolen waters are sweeter, says impure love; but her guests are in the depths of hell, Proverbs ix. 17, 18.

Ver. 3. Concubines, or secondary wives. (Haydock) --- Those who have any sense of modesty, can hardly read this without blushing. (Salien) --- Solomon was guilty not only of intemperance, but also of a transgression of the precept. (Menochius) (Deuteronomy xvii. 17.) --- He shall not have many wives: though as that command is indefinite, and David had eighteen, without blame, (2 Kings iii. 3.) it is difficult to say how many a person might have, at that time, without exceeding the bounds of moderation. (Haydock) --- But a thousand wives for one man, is certainly too great a number. When Solomon wrote the Canticles, he had only sixty queens and eighty concubines, Canticle of Canticles vi. 8. The Rabbins allow the king eighteen wives. But it is probable that most of the kings indulged themselves in a greater latitude. Darius, of Persia, took along with him to the wars 350 concubines, when he was overcome by Alexander. (Atheneus xiii. 1.) Priam had also many wives, besides Hecuba, the queen. The inferior wives looked upon those who had this title with a degree of respect, bordering on adoration. (Calmet)

Ver. 4. Old; about fifty. (Salien) (Calmet) --- This is an aggravation of his guilt. (Haydock) --- Solomon spent the first thirty years of his reign in virtue: but towards the termination of it, he gave into idolatry, and into such excesses, that he deserves to be ranked with Henry VIII, who began well, but ended with dishonour. (Haydock) --- Heart, and mind also, ver. 9. He sacrificed to idols, not only externally, but gave them internal worship; (Salien) so much was his understanding darkened, unless (Haydock) he acted against his better knowledge, Ecclesiastes ii. 9. (Tirinus) --- Father who did not continue long in sin. (Du Hamel) --- "The wisdom, which had been given to him, entirely abandoned his heart, which the discipline even of the smallest tribulation had not guarded." (St. Gregory, Pastoral. p. 3.) --- "He had commenced his reign with an ardent desire of wisdom, and when he had obtained it by spiritual love, he lost it by carnal affections." (St. Augustine, Doct. iii. 21.) --- "Prosperity, which is a severe trial for the wise, was more disadvantageous to him than wisdom herself had been profitable." (St. Augustine, City of God xvii. 20.) --- The Fathers do not attempt to palliate the guilt of Solomon; and those aggravate his crime, who endeavour to excuse him by saying, that his mind was still convinced that there could be but one God, and that his adoration of idols was merely external, and out of complaisance to his wives. See Santius,&c. (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Astarthe. Hebrew Hashtoreth, "ewes," is in the plural form, as if to denote many idols. But the moon, or the queen of heaven, (Jeremias vii. 18.) is particularly designated, Judges ii. 12. (Haydock) --- Some explain it of Venus, (Sanctius) or Juno. (Tirinus) --- Moloch. Hebrew Molciom, (their king) "the abomination;" (Haydock) supposed to be the sun, (Sanctius) or saturn. (Tirinus) See 4 Kings xxiii. 10.

Ver. 7. Chamos. Bacchus or Priapus, called Komos, by the Greeks, as he presided over "feasting." His worship was most shameful, and therefore performed in the night. The temples erected by Solomon, were not entirely demolished till the reign of Josias. (Tirinus) --- Hill. Hebrew, "Then Solomon erected a high place (temple, altar, or grove) to Chamos, the abomination of Moab, on the, &c., hill;" it is supposed of olives, (Haydock) to the east of Jerusalem, which was hence called, the mount of offence, 4 Kings xxiii. 13. (Calmet) --- Yet no place was consecrated to idols within the city. (Menochius) --- The idols of Egypt are not specified, though the daughter of Pharao would, probably, interest herself in their favour. The Jews were more prone to those of Chanaan. We find, however, that they were addicted to the worship of Adonis, who was highly revered in Egypt; (Ezechiel viii. 14.; Calmet) and the golden calves were an imitation of Apis. (Haydock) --- Six temples were probably built, as wives of so many different nations are specified, ver. 1. (Abulensis) (Salien)

Ver. 9. Twice, or repeatedly. See chap. ix. 2. (Haydock) --- He had appeared to him at Gabaon, and after the consecration of the temple, (Menochius) besides sending a prophet to him while he was building, chap. vi. 12. (Abulensis) --- God was not content with giving him the general commandments: he had condescended to caution him in a most particular and earnest manner: (Haydock) so that his transgression is more horrible and ungrateful. (Calmet) --- No doubt the priests and prophets had often besought him to alter his conduct; but the sinner is deaf, till God speak to his heart. (Salien, the year of the world 3054.)

Ver. 11. This. Literally and Hebrew, "Because thou hast this with thee." (Haydock) --- Since this is thy conduct, and fixed determination, to abandon my service, I will also reject thee. The Lord spoke to him in a third vision, (Calmet) or by the mouth of Ahias, (Abulensis) who was likewise appointed to inform Jeroboam of his election to a part of the kingdom. (Salien, the year of the world 3059.)

Ver. 12. Sake. As David placed this son upon the throne, the disgrace would seem to revert on him. (Menochius) --- Here we behold the reward of piety, and how desirable a thing it is to have saints for our parents. (Haydock)

Ver. 13. One tribe. Besides that of Juda, his own native tribe. (Challoner) --- That of Benjamin had been so reduced, that it scarcely deserved the name of a tribe. It was also invariably connected with the adjoining tribe of Juda; as many of the other tribes, after the captivities of Assyria and Babylon, went by the common title of Jews. (Tirinus) --- The Levites, and many of the Israelites, came to inhabit in the land of Juda, for the sake of the true religion, chap. xii. 17., and 2 Paralipomenon xi. 13, 16. Jeroboam banished the tribe of Levi from his dominions, that he might more easily introduce a change of religion among his subjects. The two kingdoms were thus almost equal in strength. (Calmet) --- Chosen for the abode of holiness, and the seat of government. (Salien) --- One tribe....and Jerusalem; which latter may denote the tribe of Benjamin. (Worthington)

Ver. 14. Adversary. Hebrew Satan. Nothing of this kind could molest him, while he continued faithful, chap. v. 4. But now he sees the arm of God stretched out, pressing him to repent. --- Adad. Septuagint Ader. Josephus says that this prince solicited Pharao to let him return into his own country, after the death of Joab: but was prevailed upon to desist from the attempt, till the affairs of Solomon began to decline. He then endeavoured to get possession of the country; but, being repelled by the strong garrisons of the Hebrews, he went and joined Razar, (Hebrew Razon) who had revolted against Aderezer; and made inroads into the dominions of Solomon consented, at the entreaty of Pharao, that Adad should reign over Idumea, on his paying tribute; and that the latter attempted to throw off the yoke. (Salien) --- But these particulars are uncertain, and Idumea was subject to the kings of Juda till the days of Joram, 2 Paralipomenon xxi. 8. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. In Edom, in the 15th year of his reign. (Salien) --- Abisai was the general in this expedition, 2 Kings viii., and 1 Paralipomenon xviii. 12.

Ver. 17. Boy. About five (Salien) or 12 years of age. (Pineda)

Ver. 18. Land, to maintain him (Josephus) out of the royal domains, (Calmet) of which the kings were possessed. (Didor. i. p. 46.) --- He appointed him governor of some part of the country. (Vatable)

Ver. 19. Full. Septuagint, "elder sister of his wife Thekemina." (Haydock)

Ver. 23. Razon. He must have been now about 94 years old; unless this was the son of Aderezer's general. (Salien) (Menochius)

Ver. 24. Robbers, or (Hebrew and Septuagint) "a band" with whom he made depredations. (Haydock) --- Damascus, with David's consent, on their admitting a garrison, (2 Kings viii. 6,) and consenting to pay tribute; (Menochius) or Razon might make himself master of this place, only after the apostacy of Solomon. His successors became very formidable to the Jews, particularly Razin, (4 Kings xv., and xvi.) who was slain by Theglathphalassar, 4 Kings v. 9. (Calmet)

Ver. 25. Solomon, after he once began. (Haydock) --- Adad. Hebrew, "and with the evil of Adad, and he detested Israel." (Menochius) --- Razon and Adad conspired to attack Solomon. (Haydock) --- Adad may be the common name of the kings of Damascus. Some copies of the Septuagint do not speak of Razon, but continue the history of Adad, ver. 14. They also read Edom here instead of Aram, or Syria, which would remove the confusion. (Calmet) --- Adad, Razon, and Jeroboam always oppugn Solomon after his fall; and signify the flesh, the world, and the devil. (Worthington)

Ver. 26. King, attempting to draw the people into rebellion, as he perceived that they were discontent with the buildings at Mello. He had a command over them; and though he was, for the present, obliged to save himself by flight, he had sown the seeds of rebellion by his discourses, in such a manner, that the imprudent answer of Roboam (Calmet) easily brought them to maturity. (Haydock)

Ver. 28. Joseph, Ephraim and Manasses. (Menochius) --- He was of the former tribe. (Salien) --- At first Solomon employed none of the Israelites to work, chap. ix. 22. But he afterwards oppressed them grievously. The king's right was to make his subjects cultivate his lands, &c., 1 Kings viii. 11. They did not pay money, (Matthew xvii. 24,) but wrought for the king. Hebrew, "he made him ruler over all the charge," (or levy.) (Haydock) --- The Vulgate often uses the word tribute (Calmet) for sebel. Josephus believes that Jeroboam had the command over the forces of the house of Joseph: but he had rather the superintendency over the workmen. (Haydock)

Ver. 29. Garment. Salma occurs 16 times in this sense, and simlee 27. The latter, we may presume, is the true reading, as it is in the Samaritan Pentateuch invariably; Exodus xxii. 26, 27, both words are printed in the Hebrew Bible. But it is not probable that Moses should have written them so; no more than a Latin author would use both vestinentum and vestimentum. Shamal, in Arabic, signifies "he clothed himself all over." (Kennicott) --- Way leading to Ephraim, (Menochius) his department. (Calmet) --- Field. Septuagint, "he drew him aside out of the road: and Ahias had on a new cloak, and both were in the field." (Haydock) --- Jeroboam would not probably go unattended; (Menochius) and it seems this transaction soon transpired, and came to the ears of Solomon. (Haydock)

Ver. 30. Parts. He speaks by his actions, (Menochius) thus foretelling what should happen, as was customary with the prophets, Osee i. 2., Jeremias xxvii. 2., Ezechiel xii. 7., and Acts xxi. 11. (Calmet) --- This tended to make a deeper impression on the mind, (Haydock) and convince all, that what was spoken, was not in jest. (Worthington)

Ver. 34. Make, or permit him to reign. (Menochius)

Ver. 36. A lamp. Posterity, (2 Kings xxi. 17.) power, and glory, 4 Kings viii. 19.

Ver. 37. Desireth. It seems he was already disposed to revolt. (Calmet)

Ver. 38. Faithful house, which shall not be destroyed, nor lose the kingdom, for a long time. Jeroboam never complied with the condition. (Calmet)

Ver. 39. For this infidelity of Solomon, (Haydock) afflict, by raising up a rival. (Menochius) --- For ever. Notwithstanding the wickedness of many of its princes, this family was to subsist, in a distinguished rank, till the coming of the Messias; that the completion of the promises might be more observable. (Calmet) --- After 250 years, the throne of Israel was subverted. (Menochius)

Ver. 40. Therefore, being apprized of what had passed, as well as to prevent the farther attempts of Jeroboam. (Haydock) --- Sesac. He is the first, whose proper name is given in Scripture. Whether he was of the same family, as the Pharao, whose daughter Solomon had married, cannot be ascertained. Marsham makes Sesac the same with the renowned Sesostris, the Sethosis of Manetho. But Usher thinks that Sesostris reigned immediately after the Israelites left Egypt; while Pezron, &c., suppose that Amenoplis, who was drowned, was even his grandson. (Calmet)

Ver. 41. Words, or transactions. (Haydock) --- Book. This book is lost, with divers others mentioned in holy writ. (Challoner) --- Nathan, Ahias, and Addo, composed these journals, 2 Paralipomenon ix. 29. (Haydock) --- Similar works were kept at the courts of Persia and of Babylon, Esther vi. 1., and 1 Esdras vi. 2. Plutarch quotes the journal of Alexander; and Tacitus (An. iii.) informs us, that the smallest occurrences were specified in journals, at Rome, while things of greater importance were recorded in the annals. The books of days, are cited in the Paralipomenon, so that we cannot suppose that these journals are the same with that work. (Calmet) --- God was pleased that those writings should not come down to us; so that we can only speak from conjecture of the repentance of Solomon. (Salien, the year of the world 3058.)

Ver. 42. Forty. Josephus says eighty; and some suppose, that the Scripture only specifies the years during which Solomon reigned virtuously. Pezron is of the same opinion as Josephus. (Haydock) --- Others contend that it is a manifest mistake. Immoderate pleasures hastened his old age and death, when he was about fifty-eight years old. All in him was great, whether we consider the virtues of his early days, or the vices of his old age. He falls from heaven into the abyss. His repentance is a problem. (Calmet)

Ver. 43. Solomon slept, &c. That is, died. He was then about fifty-eight years of age, having reigned forty years. (Challoner) --- St. Chrysostom, at different times, seems to have entertained opposite opinions on this head, (Haydock) which has been a matter of controversy among the Fathers, as it is at present with us. We ought to adore and imitate, with trembling, the silence of Scripture. (Calmet) --- Septuagint seem favourable to Solomon: (Proverbs xxiv. 32.) "At last I did penance, and looked forward, to embrace discipline." (Haydock) --- But the Hebrew, Chaldean, and Vulgate have nothing similar. (Calmet) --- Some think that the Book of Proverbs, as well as that of Ecclesiastes, was composed by him after his repentance; and that he expresses his sentiments of affliction and self-condemnation, (Proverbs xxx. 2.) and his opinion of all earthly gratifications, Ecclesiastes i. 2., &c. (Haydock) --- Yet this dreadful uncertainty may serve to keep us all in humble fear, and teach us to work out our salvation with trembling. (Calmet) --- If Solomon really repented, (Haydock) he might not have time or power to remove all the vestiges, and the very foundations of the idolatrous temples, which Ezechias also neglected in ruins, as no longer dangerous, and as so many monuments of the folly of Solomon. But Josias caused them to be entirely removed, 4 Kings xxiii. 13. (Salien, the year of the world 3059.) The daughter of Pharao would probably imitate her beloved husband. (Pineda) --- Sadoc seems to have departed this life about the same time with Solomon; as his son Achimaas, who had married Basemath, the king's daughter, succeeded him in the pontificate, at the commencement of Roboam's reign. (Chron. Min. Heb. Salien)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Solomon, by means of his wives, falleth into idolatry: God raiseth him adversaries, Adad, Razon, and Jeroboam: Solomon dieth.

1 And king Solomon *loved many strange women, besides the daughter of Pharao, and women of Moab, and of Ammon, and of Edom, and of Sidon, and of the Hethites:

2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said to the children of Israel: *You shall not go in unto them, neither shall any of them come into yours: for they will most certainly turn away your hearts to follow their gods. And to these was Solomon joined with a most ardent love.

3 And he had seven hundred wives as queens, and three hundred concubines: and the women turned away his heart.

4 And when he was now old, *his heart was turned away by women to follow strange gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David, his father.

5 But Solomon worshipped Astarthe, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Moloch, the idol of the Ammonites.

6 And Solomon did that which was not pleasing before the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as David, his father.

7 Then Solomon built a temple for Chamos, the idol of Moab, on the hill that is over-against Jerusalem, and for Moloch, the idol of the children of Ammon.

8 And he did in this manner for all his wives that were strangers, who burnt incense, and offered sacrifice to their gods.

9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his mind was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, *who had appeared to him twice;

10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not follow strange gods: but he kept not the things which the Lord commanded him.

11 The Lord therefore said to Solomon: Because thou hast done this, and hast not kept my covenant, and my precepts, which I have commanded thee, I will divide and rend thy kingdom, and will give it to thy servant.

12 *Nevertheless, in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

13 Neither will I take away the whole kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son, for the sake of David, my servant, and Jerusalem, which I have chosen.

14 And the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon, Adad, the Edomite, of the king's seed, in Edom.

15 *For when David was in Edom, and Joab, the general of the army, was gone up to bury them that were slain, and had killed every male in Edom,

16 (For Joab remained there six months with all Israel, till he had slain every male in Edom,)

17 Then Adad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants, with him, to go into Egypt: and Adad was then a little boy.

18 And they arose out of Madian, and came into Pharan, and they took men with them from Pharan, and went into Egypt, to Pharao, the king of Egypt: who gave him a house, and appointed him victuals, and assigned him land.

19 And Adad found great favour before Pharao, insomuch that he gave him to wife the own sister of his wife, Taphnes, the queen.

20 And the sister of Taphnes bore him his son, Genubath; and Taphnes brought him up in the house of Pharao: and Genubath dwelt with Pharao among his children.

21 And when Adad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab, the general of the army, was dead, he said to Pharao: Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.

22 And Pharao said to him: Why, what is wanting to thee with me, that thou seekest to go to thy own country? But he answered: Nothing; yet I beseech thee to let me go.

23 God also raised up against him an adversary, Razon, the son of Eliada, *who had fled from his master, Adarezer, the king of Soba.

24 And he gathered men against him, and he became a captain of robbers, when David slew them of Soba: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt there, and they made him king in Damascus.

25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon: and this is the evil of Adad, and his hatred against Israel; and he reigned in Syria.

26 *Jeroboam also, the son of Nabat, an Ephrathite, of Sareda, a servant of Solomon, whose mother was named Sarua, a widow woman, lifted up his hand against the king.

27 And this is the cause of his rebellion against him; for Solomon built Mello, and filled up the breach of the city of David, his father.

28 And Jeroboam was a valiant and mighty man: and Solomon seeing him a young man ingenious and industrious, made him chief over the tributes of all the house of Joseph.

29 *So it came to pass at that time, that Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahias, the Silonite, clad with a new garment, found him in the way: and they two were alone in the field.

30 And Ahias taking his new garment, wherewith he was clad, divided it into twelve parts:

31 31And he said to Jeroboam: Take to thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give thee ten tribes.

32 But one tribe shall remain to him for the sake of my servant, David, and Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:

33 Because he hath forsaken me, and hath adored Astarthe, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Chamos, the god of Moab, and Moloch, the god of the children of Ammon: and hath not walked in my ways, to do justice before me, and to keep my precepts, and judgments, as did David, his father.

34 Yet I will not take away all the 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, who kept my commandments, and my precepts.

35 But I will take away the kingdom out of his son's hand and will give thee ten tribes:

36 And to his son I will give one tribe, that there may remain a lamp for my servant, David, before me always in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen, that my name might be there.

37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign over all that thy soul desireth, and thou shalt be king over Israel.

38 If then thou wilt hearken to all that I shall command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do what is right before me, keeping my commandments, and my precepts, as David, my servant, did: I will be with thee, and will build thee up a faithful house, as I built a house for David, and I will deliver Israel to thee:

39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but yet not for ever.

40 Solomon, therefore, sought to kill Jeroboam: but he arose, and fled into Egypt, to Sesac, the king of Egypt, and was in Egypt till the death of Solomon.

41 And the rest of the words of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom: behold they are all written in the Book of the words of the days of Solomon.

42 And the days that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem, over all Israel, were forty years.

43 And *Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David, his father, and Roboam, his son, reigned in his stead.



1: Deuteronomy xvii. 17.; Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 21.

2: Exodus xxxiv. 16.

4: Year of the World 3023, Year before Christ 981.

9: 3 Kings ix. 2.

12: 3 Kings xii. 15.

15: 2 Kings viii. 14.

23: 2 Kings viii. 6.; 1 Paralipomenon xviii. 6.

26: 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 6.

29: 2 Paralipomenon x. 15.

43: Year of the World 3029, Year before Christ 975.