Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy where the ark of the Lord has entered,” (8:11).
I am not sure I will ever understand how Solomon married so many women (not to mention 300 concubines), and foreign women at that. And it’s not merely the fact that they were foreign, but it was the fact of who they worshipped and their destructive effect on Solomon’s heart towards his God.
He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away, (1 Kings 11:3).
It seems as though it all began with a marriage alliance with the daughter of Pharaoh.
Then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem, (1 Kings 3:1).
Marriage alliances were common practices between kingdoms; alliances based on political expediency. The fact that the dowry given to Pharaoh’s daughter was the city of Gezer, would be considered a strategic win, politically.
But they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites live in the midst of Ephraim to this day, and they became forced laborers, (Joshua 16:10).
Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them, (Judges 1:29).
For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer and burned it with fire, and killed the Canaanites who lived in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 So Solomon rebuilt Gezer and the lower Beth-horon… (1 Kings 9:16-17).
But what may be a winning strategy in politics, in war or in this life, is not what matters. What is of most importance is not the win, but our worship. And God was beyond faithful to repeatedly warn His children of this reality. In the very beginning, as they wandered in the wilderness, He was adamantly faithful.
“…and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. 3 Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you,” (Deuteronomy 7:2-4).
And then as they were being readied to enter and take possession of the Promise Land, He reminded them yet again.
“So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. 12 For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, 13 know with certainty that the Lord your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you,” (Joshua 23:11-13).
And goodness gracious! After Solomon saw His Glory and fell on his face in worship, from out of the smoke of His Glory, the Lord appears to Solomon a second time; and again reiterates the parameters regarding His Holy Place.
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice… 19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples,” (2 Chronicles:12, 19-20).
His Holy Place was to be a Place that evoked a heart of worship; a heart consumed with love and adoration. But it appears as though somehow Solomon missed the heart component so critical in the honoring of His Holy Place. And because Solomon kept his wife out of the buildings, he assumed he was doing right. In other words, “I’ll just make sure she doesn’t physically enter where the ark of the Lord has been.” But what she did enter, was Solomon’s heart.
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods, (1 Kings 11:1-2).
And the Lord was angry.
Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart 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 go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded, (1 Kings 11:9-10).
And who can blame Him? After all the Lord had said, after all He had done, after all His warnings, after all the ways He had revealed Himself… well, it’s really almost inconceivable.
It’s also interesting to note that Solomon considered the house of King David holy as well, because of the ark which represented the Presence of the Lord. And wherever His Presence had entered, Solomon acknowledged as a Holy Place.
“My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy where the ark of the Lord has entered,” (8:11).
But was this what God intended, an outward adherence to the physical restrictions regarding His Holy Place?
Consider His Holy Places
When Solomon refers to the Holy Places, his reference point was the very Word of Holy God.
“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel,’” (2 Chronicles 7:16-18).
- The Place of His Choosing“For now I have chosen…”
- The Place of His Consecration“…and consecrated this house…”
- The Place that Bears His Name“…that My name may be there…”
- The Place of His Eternal Dwelling“…that My name may be there forever…”
- The Place of Perpetual Communion“…and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
- The Place of Surrendered Obedience“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances…”
- The Place of His Established Covenant“then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.”
And through Jesus Christ, we have been granted the glorious privilege to behold the grace and truth of His Holy Place.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth… 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him, (John 1:14, 18).
- The Place of His Choosing“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you,” (John 15:16).
- The Place of ConsecrationTherefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, (2 Corinthians 7:1).
- The Place that will Bear His NameSuch were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God, (1 Corinthians 6:11).
- The Place of His Eternal DwellingDo you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are, (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
- The Place of Perpetual Communion“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing… 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full,” (John 15:4-5, 9-11).
- The Place of Surrendered Obedience“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” …23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him,” (John 14:15, 23).
- The Place of His Established CovenantWhile they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” (Mark 14:22-24).
How do we respond to His Holy Places?
The Bible teaches that when we place our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for our sins, He literally comes to dwell within us. And in a very real sense then, each one of us becomes one of His Holy Places. This privilege is beyond description. But it His gift, not our right. Let us treat His gift with the respect He deserves. He is not about building external structures. He is building His Holy Places within our hearts.
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; (2 Corinthians 4:6-7).
that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… (Ephesians 3:16-17).
After God addressed Solomon, declaring His intention for His temple, there was a huge BUT; and it went straight to the heart.
“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you…” (2 Chronicles 7:19-20).
Through faith in Christ, we are eternally secure; and our eternity is sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance… (Ephesians 1:13-14).
BUT, sin has consequences; we reap what we sow. Or as the saying goes, we will “get our just desserts.”
“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them,” (Proverbs 1:31-32).
And sin is always a heart matter, well actually it’s a love matter.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (John 14:15).
As the dwelling of Holy God, as one of His Holy Places, we must heed His warnings to guard our hearts.
“You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin, (Nehemiah 13:25-26).
None of us are beyond temptation. But God is beyond faithful, and He will always provide what we need, to either stand strong or flee from the enticements of idolatry.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry, (1 Corinthians 10:15).
Eight times, 2 Chronicles 8 refers to what Solomon had built. Perhaps if Solomon had been more concerned with a desire to build his relationship with Holy God, a desire for God to build his character by His Holy Truth rather than building his own kingdom, the end of Solomon’s story would read quite differently.
Oh, that we would learn from Solomon; that we would stop seeking after building our own dreams, or looking for the expedient route, for what might appear as practical or convenient. Let us ask God to build us up in Him, that we would live firmly established in faith as His Holy Place of worship, praise and gratitude.
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude, (Colossians 2:6-7).