1 Kings 10-11

1 Kings 10:23 King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom

Franklin D. Richards

“One of the great challenges facing us today is to develop sufficient wisdom, understanding, and inner strength so that we can live happily and successfully in our complex and difficult world and not be caught up in the mad scramble for the material things and pleasures.

“It might be interesting to note that frequently, even when we seek after wisdom rather than riches, the Lord blesses us with wisdom and riches as he did King Solomon. When this occurs, we have the great opportunity and responsibility to use our material wealth in the building up of the kingdom of God. (Elder Franklin D. Richards, “Seek Not for Riches But for Wisdom”, Ensign, May 1976, 35)

1 Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women

Neal A. Maxwell

“These revealed truths carry behavioral as well as intellectual responsibilities. When informed, we are accountable. Solomon, for instance, was widely celebrated for his wisdom. (See 1 Kgs. 10:1, 6–7.) Impressively wise as Solomon doubtless was in many respects, he was not wise enough to keep God’s seventh commandment fully. (See D&C 132:38; 1 Kgs. 11:1–6.) In gospel wisdom, knowing and behaving are irrevocably linked. (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “The Inexhaustible Gospel,” Ensign, Apr 1993, 68)

1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord

Spencer J. Condie

Armed with the Spirit of the Lord, Solomon became God’s instrument in building the holy temple for which Israel had hoped and prayed for many generations. But with the passage of time Solomon took him wives outside of Israel “and his wives turned away his heart” and he “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” (1 Kgs. 11:3, 6.) From Solomon we can learn that knowledge and wisdom alone do not qualify people to lead. Perhaps Jacob said it best: “To be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Ne. 9:29.) (“Some Scriptural Lessons on Leadership, Ensign, May 1990, 27)

1 Kings 11:7 Then Solomon did build a high place for Chemosh…and for Molech

“Chemosh—meaning 'subduer,' was a god in the tradition of the Roman god Mars. Chemosh is mentioned as a lower god of the Moabites, the Amorites, and the Edomites. (See Judg. 11:24; 1 Kgs. 11:33.) Solomon built a temple of worship to Chemosh in Jerusalem. (See 1 Kgs. 11:7.)

“Molech—meaning 'king,' the term comes from the same Hebrew root as Melchizedek, 'king of Salem' and 'king of righteousness,' and Mulek, 'son of King Zedekiah.' Molech was the fire god of the Ammonites. The Baal of Elijah’s contest may have been Molech; we know that he was the same as the Moabite god Chemish, and that his priests were called chemarims. (See Zeph. 1:4b.) The worship of Molech was particularly heinous; it required human sacrifice—usually of a small child, often the firstborn son. The brass statue of Molech was hollow, and it was used to burn victims alive. (See Peloubet, Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary, p. 416.) References to giving one’s seed to Molech (see Lev. 20:2–5) or to passing a child through fire (see 2 Kgs. 16:3; 2 Kgs. 21:6; 2 Kgs. 23:10) refer to human sacrifice by fire. (David H. Madsen, “No Other Gods before Me”, Ensign, Jan 1990, 48)

1 Kings 11:10 He kept not that which the Lord commanded

Joseph B. Wirthlin

“The natural consequence that comes to those who depart from the way of the Lord is that they are left to their own strength. While in the heat of our success we might assume that our own strength is sufficient, those who rely upon the arm of the flesh soon discover how weak and unreliable it truly is.

“For example, Solomon, at first, obeyed the Lord and honored His law. Because of this, he prospered and was blessed not only with wisdom but with wealth and honor. If he continued in righteousness, the Lord promised to “establish the throne of [his] kingdom upon Israel forever.”

“But even after heavenly visitations, even after receiving blessings above all men, Solomon turned away from the Lord. Because of this, the Lord decreed that the kingdom would be torn from him and given to his servant. (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Journey to Higher Ground”, Liahona, Nov 2005, 16)

(Commentary prepared by Val Rollins)