Solomon’s wealth was staggering. He received 666 talents of gold every year in tribute from surrounding nations, plus more from merchants and more remote kings. A talent was worth approximately 6000 days’ wages which, in moderate terms, would be worth about $480,000 today. Therefore, the tribute he received annually was in the neighborhood of 320 million dollars. He made two hundred large shields of gold, three hundred regular shields of gold, and he put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. He made a throne of ivory, and overlaid it with gold. All of his drinking vessels were gold, and silver was considered nearly worthless. He sent merchant ships out to buy things, and once every three years they came with gold, silver, ivory, apes, monkeys. King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
All the earth sought Solomon’s wisdom and brought presents in appreciation. Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen, and made silver common, and cedars as plentiful as sycamores. He had horses imported from Egypt, and chariots as well. But King Solomon loved many foreign women, from the nations about which God warned Israel not to intermarry. He had seven hundred wives, three hundred concubines, and they turned his heart away from the Lord. He worshiped Ashtoreth and Milcom, built a high place for Chemosh, and for Molech. He did these type of things for all his foreign wives.
The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel. God told Solomon that He would tear away the kingdom from him and give it to his servant. However, He would wait until after Solomon’s death, for David’s sake. He promised to leave one tribe with Solomon’s son for the sake of David and of Jerusalem.
Although riches may not have been the downfall of Solomon, the interaction of Solomon with the other nations surrounding Israel did contribute to Solomon’s downfall. Solomon took many wives, but instead of cleansing them of their foreign gods, he began to experiment with their gods, and allowed them to entice him to worship those same gods. The lesson to be learned here is that neither riches nor relationships should be allowed to take your gaze from the eyes of the Lord. Be sure that if God says that it is dangerous, He surely knows the truth. Shun that which God abhors, and embrace that which He honors. Cling to what is good, flee from the very appearance of evil. Love God, hate sin! This will ensure that you live in the favor of the Lord Most High.