So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? (1 Ki 3:9)
God actually gave him that and more:
So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (1 Ki 3:11-13)
That was God's promise and that is exactly what occurred:
King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. (1 Ki 10:23,24)
His outstanding characteristic was his wisdom. It was Godly wisdom too because God put it in his heart. He didn't go to school to get it. He didn't learn it in some book or sitting under a wise teacher. He got it directly from God. Again, it was godly wisdom as opposed to the unspiritual wisdom of the devil, which James mentions:
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:14-17)
There can be no doubt that Solomon once had a powerful and Godly influence on multitudes for many years, since people from around the world sought an audience with him to hear Godly wisdom. His impact must have been staggering. Multitudes heard the truth from him. God also uniquely had him build the Temple, which was one of the greatest structures ever built by man. The craftsmanship and expense for it were astounding.
Beyond all of that, and often overlooked, is he also wrote part of the Bible, but all of his good and Godly achievements didn't cancel out what he did at the end of his life—his sin of idolatry! Solomon promoted both true worship to the true God and false worship to pagan gods. He built the Temple, but also pagan places of sacrifice and worship. All of that happened after he also saw the true God twice!
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. (1 Ki 11:1,2)
The consequences were most serious and lethal. They led to Solomon's apostasy:
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. (1 Ki 11:4)
Question: Did you know the devil can and will promote a type of love that will kill you spiritually, if possible! He does and Solomon is proof. Though it is not clear, some of those women were probably very beautiful, just like the kind the devil often uses in our day. Folks, know this: anything or anyone which would get between you and a close walk with God is of the devil. Such is not good, but bad and not a blessing but potentially ruinous. In Solomon's case it was his own family—his wives, who were used of the devil. His own family was his worst enemy! His own family brought him down to hell. The Bible says Solomon held fast to his wives in love. He should have stood his ground against their wickedness. He should have said something like:
As much as I love you, I love the true God more. If I have to offend or anger someone, I'd rather upset you. I am not and will never help you commit idolatry. I am going to remain faithful to my God regardless what happens.
Unfortunately, he held fast to sin, even after God expressed his anger and disapproval. Solomon's apostasy occurred after decades of faithful service. Solomon's idolatry is shocking! Among other things we learn that a servant can not rely upon and rest in his past achievements for God. If that was the case, then Solomon was set even if he would turn to wickedness, but that is not God's way. Where are you PRESENTLY? Just as the wicked can repent and get spiritually clean, the spiritually clean can turn away from God and die spiritually:
If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so. (Ezek 33:18,19)
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. (1 Ki 11:3)
Solomon's apostasy led to him following both female and male pagan gods:
He [Solomon] followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. (1 Ki 11:5)
Solomon's idolatry and compromise were probably first committed to protect his relationship with his pagan wives, but it caused the opposite with God:
So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. (1 Ki 11:6-8)
An undetermined number of high places for pagan sacrifices was made by Solomon at that dark time in his life. His heart turned away from God:
The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord's command. (1 Ki 11:9,10)
Besides his spiritual death (Ezek 33:18), God's personal judgment on him, because of Solomon's apostasy, was going to affect the kingdom after his death:
So the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” (1 Ki 11:11-13)
There is NO Scripture which says Solomon returned to God and salvation. NONE! The puny pitiful attempt made by the Calvinists from Ecclesiastes is laughable and doesn't come close to proving what they try to make it say. Solomon could have written that book years before he became an idolater at heart. Also, Jeroboam (who Solomon tried to kill) never returned, until Solomon's death. The disturbing truth is: Solomon turned away from God, died spiritually and never returned to salvation. Along with his pagan idolatrous wives, he, therefore, went to fiery torment after his death (Rev. 21:8). He held fast to them in love as they all traveled down the road to hell as idolaters! Once saved always saved is wrong.
Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. (Neh 13:26)
Wow! What a horrible thing their love did to the heart of Solomon! Question: Did Solomon have 700 wives and 300 concubines? NO, he had 700 wives of royal birth plus 300 concubines. He could have had hundreds of other wives too!
The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the LORD has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. (Deu 17:16-20)
Solomon violated several of those commands, but the big one was taking many wives which led to idolatry. Note what the Biblical record says:
Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans. (1 Ki 10:25-29)
It was not his exceptional wisdom, popularity, fame or riches that brought Solomon down to an idolater! It was pagan influences from his family—Solomon's wives! The ones closest to him were his worst enemies. Remember this about Solomon: There was both true and false worship going forth from Solomon, which angered God. The false worshiped negated the good coming from his sacrifices and true worship from the Temple.
Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. (1 Cor 10:19-21)
Only Jesus was wiser than Solomon, but Solomon's wisdom couldn't stop the devastating effect of idolatry on his heart. Dear reader, guard your heart above all else. Be a doer of the word and not a hearer only. Love God first and above all others. Remain true to God. Learn from Solomon's apostasy and stay guarded! Solomon's idolatry brought him to his spiritual death. The above evidence is irrefutable, but there will always be ministries like gotquestions.org that will deny and ignore the obvious to try to protect once saved always saved. They will try, but it will be in vain! Solomon's apostasy and spiritual death should be noted to learn from, not denied and glossed over!