Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. (NLT)
We know a couple of things about Solomon. He was very wise. And he had lots of wives. We might wonder at the wisdom of having many wives! But it seems Solomon didn’t do things in half measures. He was enormously wealthy, ruled a powerful nation, built a glorious temple. And even in this polygamous culture, he went to excess in the marriage department.
Apart from scratching our heads at how he managed all those marriages (most of us have our hands full managing just one!), the sad thing to note is the influence these women had on him. He married women of other faiths. Some or most may have been delightful and loving individuals, but they clung to their own gods and their own faith.
It is easy enough for one other individual whom we otherwise love to draw us away from our God. Imagine the challenge Solomon faced with hundreds of such temptations. Perhaps he naively thought he could attract them to Jehovah, his God. He was mistaken. The influence went the other way.
None of us will ever be in Solomon’s marital position. But it is still true that the company we keep can either deepen our relationship to God or weaken it. This in no way means we avoid those who don’t share our faith. Rather we take care not to let those people whom we love to turn our hearts away from God. Rather we decide to also keep company with those who help us keep our hearts stay true to God.