New Defender's Study Bible Notes
11:1 strange women. The term “strange women” refers to “foreign women,” women who practiced their pagan religions and worshiped their respective nature gods. As with his marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh, the others may also have been—at least in part—political marriages, contracted to help extend the influence and wealth of his kingdom. He may even have felt this was an effective way to spread the knowledge of the true God to these other nations, just as modern evangelicals who dialogue with worldly philosophies hope thereby to win their adherents to Christ. Such compromises, however, almost inevitably lead to apostasy, and this happened in Solomon’s case as well (see I Kings 11:4-8).
11:8 likewise did he. Jerusalem must have become a true center of religions syncretism in these later years of Solomon, as he built a great variety of worship centers on high places all around the region, with each undoubtedly served by a cadre of priests and teachers. These were often very attractive intellectually and sensually, and it is not surprising that so many Israelites—even Solomon himself—began to rationalize the concept of worshipping God through any and all religions—just as multitudes are doing today. But God is a jealous God and He could not tolerate this indefinitely.
11:11 the LORD said. This revelation was probably given through a prophet instead of another theophany. Ahijah (I Kings 11:29) could have been that prophet.
11:16 every male in Edom. This attempt of David and Joab to “cut off every male in Edom” probably refers only to the men of war. Many others were taken into captivity (II Samuel 8:14). Also many Edomites escaped to Egypt, including Hadad.
11:24 slew them of Zobah. A slaughter of the Syrians by David’s armies long before (II Samuel 10:18) had given Rezon the opportunity to take over the nation of Syria.
11:25 beside the mischief. Both Hadad and Rezon kept “vexing” Solomon throughout the rest of his days. God may have allowed this as a reminder to Solomon that God’s promises to him had been conditional (I Kings 6:11-13), and that he was in serious danger of having his kingdom taken away. In any case, Solomon continued in his compromising ways.
11:28 mighty man of valour. Jeroboam was an Ephraimite, and shared the long resentment of Ephraim against Judah. Ephraimite leaders had included Joshua and Samuel, and the first site of the tabernacle Shiloh, had been in Ephraim’s territory. Ephraimites undoubtedly also took pride in their heritage as Jacob’s (i.e., Israel’s chosen grandson, born of his own favorite son Joseph, who had been largely responsible for the development of the children of Israel as a viable nation. Solomon’s rigorous policies of taxation and forced labor had fueled their envy and resentment to the point that they were soon ready to follow Jeroboam when he returned from exile in Egypt after Solomon’s death.
11:32 one tribe. This reference indicates one tribe in addition to David’s own tribe of Judah. That one tribe historically turned out to be the tribe of Benjamin. The other southern tribe, Simeon, had apparently migrated to the north along with Dan, although many of the Simeonites had no doubt been incorporated into Judah.