As to the wisdom of Solomon, there can be no doubt.  Scripture brings out the proofs of this very clearly.  The problem, I believe, actually arose not so much from the number of Solomon’s wives, but from his lack of obedience to the LORD’s commandments—he allowed his heart to be drawn away from God by these women.  Thus, the kingdom was ultimately divided.

Now, Solomon was indeed wise, and early on, his heart was solidly devoted to obedience to God, so he received wisdom from God to rule his people very well. In 1 Kings 3:5, The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him, “…Ask what I shall give thee.” Realizing the fact that Solomon was young and inexperienced, and that he realized that ruling God’s people was a great responsibility, Solomon asked for wisdom so that he might rule the people wisely.  To this, God responded in verses 12-14, “Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days”.

So, the wisdom and magnificent wealth of Solomon which God had given him was demonstrated many times in Scripture.  For one example, we read in 1 Kings 10:1, “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.” Then, in verse 3 we read, “And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not”. Finally, we read in verses 6 and 7, “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” Indeed, under Solomon’s rule, the kingdom of Israel flourished, such that during his reign, the nation was so extremely wealthy that we read, “And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 10:21). Now, as another proof of Solomon’s wisdom, we have the book of Proverbs, which is full of practical teaching for the children of God in this earthly scene. In Proverbs 1:7, we read, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” For the child of God of any generation, wisdom comes from the Lord, and obedience to His Word and to His commandments is key for the prosperous and healthy Christian walk.

Sadly, Solomon did allow himself to become distracted by those many women you spoke of.  He took his eyes off the commandments of the LORD, and took to himself many foreign women, which turned his heart away from obedience to God.  We read in 1 Kings 11:3, “And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” 

So, while Solomon had much knowledge and discernment, and that from God, he did allow himself to be led astray, which ultimately resulted in a shortening of his reign, and the kingdom being divided.

Now, in conclusion, we read Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Wise words, wouldn’t you agree?  (375.1)  (SF)