An Article from Pastor Paul Boutan
“I discovered that a seductive woman is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.”
(ECC 7:26 NLT)
We know the Bible calls Solomon the wisest man who ever lived (1Kngs 4:30-34). However, someone recently sent me an email, asking a great question, they asked; “If Solomon was so wise, why didn’t he follow his own advice about women?” In the verse above, Solomon warns men to watch out for “seductive women.” Likewise, in Proverbs chapters 6 and 7 he counsels “his son” to watch out for the “immoral woman” (PR 7:5NLT) and he says, “her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death” (PR 7:27NKJV). Yet, Solomon appears to be a “walking contradiction,” if not a flat-out hypocrite. When you study his life, it becomes clear that Solomon’s drug of choice was women. The Bible tells us that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Furthermore, most of these women were from pagan nations who worshipped all sorts of idols and were involved in various occult activities. In fact, God warned Solomon his lust would affect his heart. In 1 Kings 11:2 God said, “Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away from Me, to their gods” (HCSB). Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Solomon. He knew what was right. He knew God’s Word. So, why didn’t he follow his own advice?
I think there are a few things to consider when it comes to understanding Solomon and his contradictory lifestyle. First, it should be pointed out that Solomon’s father King David had the same struggles with lust himself. Passages like 2 Samuel 5:13 illustrate that David also had many wives and concubines. However, Solomon took David’s sin and multiplied to the tenth power. By the way, dads this reminds us that there are little eyes watching us. James Baldwin once said, “Children may not always listen to their parents, but they never fail to imitate them.” Unfortunately, as David gave into his lusts and passions, little did he know his son Solomon would one day be imitating him.
Secondly, it should be mentioned that Solomon at best was a “back-slider.” The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were compiled in Solomon’s later years. It’s as if he’s looking back to a rebellious time in life and reflecting on the lessons he’s learned. In other words, this is a man who learned from his many mistakes. I’ve always said that if it’s true that you can learn from your mistakes, then I should have a double doctorate degree by now. So, as we read his advice in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, we should remember it’s from the perspective of someone who’s learned from the past. It is as if Solomon looking back at his past mistakes is saying, “Listen to me, I can tell you from my own firsthand failures that if there is one thing that can trap you and entice you away from God and lead you into an immoral lifestyle it is a seductive woman.” He’s saying, “Watch out for the devil with the blue dress on!”
A Third factor that was a major contributor to Solomon’s problem with lust, is that he had a “heart problem.” In 1 Kings 11:4b it says, “…his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God” (NASB). The truth is that long before these pagan women lured Solomon away from God, his heart had already drifted from the Lord. Someone once said, “Where the heart goes, the feet will follow.” But Solomon’s failures remind us that while it is true that we learn from experience, that doesn’t mean that it always has to be our own experience. If possible, it’s always better to learn from someone else’s mistakes. In this case there is plenty to learn from the failings of Solomon.
Ultimately, Solomon was a man who demonstrates that it’s one thing to know God’s Word, but it’s another thing to apply it to our lives. Solomon knew God’s commands but didn’t do them. Remember however, that Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). Overall, the lesson we take away from the moral failures of Solomon is that it is better to have a heart wholly devoted to God, than to simply have a head full of knowledge about God.