The Davidic covenant promised great things for David’s son. The ascent of Solomon to Israel’s throne appeared to be the fulfillment of many covenant promises. In Solomon’s day the people of Israel had become as numerous as the sand of the sea (1 Kgs. 4:20; Gen. 22:17). The boundaries of Solomon’s rule matched those promised to Abraham (1 Kgs. 4:21; Gen. 15:18). Solomon was also a blessing to the nations; people from all the nations came to hear Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kgs 4:34; Gen. 22:18). Solomon embodied the goal that Israel would become a priest to the nations (1 Kgs 10:6-9; Deut. 4:6-8). First Kings 5 begins the account of the Temple construction. This immediately brings to mind the promises of the Davidic Covenant: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). The benefits of his reign are even described in language that is used later to describe the Millennium (1 Kgs. 4:25; Mic. 4:4; Zech. 3:10).
A cursory look at Solomon might lead one to think that he was the promised king, but a careful examination reveals numerous unsettling failures. Though Solomon loved the Lord, he worshipped him at high places contrary to the Law (1 Kgs. 3:3; Deut. 12:5-6; cf. Provan, 45). He married Pharaoh’s daughter (1.3:1) contrary to Exodus 34:16 and Deuteronomy 7:3. He apparently placed more emphasis on building his own palace than on building God’s temple (1.7:1-12; cf. Provan, 70). He broke all three of the regulations for kings in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. He imported horses from Egypt (1 Kgs. 10:26; Deut. 17:16). He married many foreign women (1 Kgs. 11:1-3; Deut. 17:17; cf. Deut. 7:3-4). He acquired a great amount of gold (1 Kgs. 9:14; 10:11, 14-22). [Some tension exists between God’s promise to bless Solomon with riches (1 Kings 3:13) and Deuteronomy 17:17’s prohibition of gathering up wealth. This tension can be resolved by comparing 1 Kings 4:21-25 in which Solomon uses his great wealth to benefit his people (note the Millennial language in 4:25) and 1 Kings 10:14-22 in which he made himself a golden throne and filled his house with golden goblets and shields.] In the end, Solomon turned his heart from Yahweh to other gods. Instead of being the promised king, Solomon’s sin brought Israel under the covenant curses. The hope for the promised Davidic king was not extinguished, but the expectation was delayed (1.11:12, 32, 34-36, 39).
Provan, Iain W. 1 and 2 Kings. New International Biblical Commentary. Edited by Robert L. Hubbard Jr. and Robert K. Johnston. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.