Later in his life, Solomon sinned grievously against God. Does Solomon’s sinfulness late in his life and the lack of mention of his repentance mean that he died as an apostate and perished eternally?
Based on my study of Scripture, I believe that there are at least nine solid reasons to hold that he did not perish eternally.
Solomon Did Not Completely Turn Away from God
Scripture records the horrific sinfulness of Solomon later in his life in several passages. First Kings 11 is the primary passage.
Solomon disobeyed God’s commands not to marry women from certain nations who would surely cause him to turn after their gods (1 Kin. 11:1-3; 10, 11). Just as God warned, his foreign wives turned his heart away after other gods (1 Kin. 11:3, 4). As a result, he did much evil in God’s sight, building high places “for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods” (1 Kin. 11:5-8).
Solomon’s horrific sinfulness so angered the Lord that He decreed that He would certainly tear the kingdom from him and give it to his servant (1 Kin. 11:9-11). The Lord stirred up adversaries against Solomon who plagued him for the rest of his life (1 Kin. 11:14-25), and Jereboam rebelled against him (1 Kin. 11:26-40).
Three verses inform us about the rest of his acts, his death, and his burial in Jerusalem, the city of David his father (1 Kin. 11:41-43a-b). His son Rehoboam then reigned in his place (1 Kin. 11:43c).
Two other passages corroborate the dark record of Solomon’s later life (2 Kin. 23:13; Neh. 13:25, 26).
In spite of the darkness that these passages about Solomon record, First Kings 11 makes clear, however, that Solomon did not completely turn away from God:
1 Kings 11:4 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.
1 Kings 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
The statement that Solomon’s “heart was not perfect with the LORD his God” (1 Kin. 11:4) implies that it was still imperfectly “with the LORD his God.” The statement that he “went not fully after the LORD” (1 Kin. 11:6) also implies that he yet had a continuing relationship with Him.
Solomon did not perish eternally because he never did completely turn away from God. Many other Scriptural considerations confirm this interpretation.
God’s Promises to David about Solomon
Long before Solomon had been born, God made some special promises to David about a special son named Solomon (1 Chron. 22:9) that he would have:
2Sa 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
God promised that He would have a Father-son relationship with Solomon, David’s son, who would build for Him a house for His name (2 Sam. 7:13; cf. 1 Chron. 28:6). His special relationship with that seed would include His chastening him if he would commit iniquity (2 Sam. 7:14).
Furthermore, God promised David that although He would chasten that son when he would commit iniquity, He would not take away from His lovingkindness, as He did with Saul (2 Sam. 7:15; 1 Chron. 17:13). These promises make it impossible for Solomon to have perished eternally.
God’s Loving Solomon at His Birth
Beyond God’s special promises about Solomon, God had a special regard for Solomon when he was born:
2Sa 12:24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.
25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
Solomon is the only person of whom the Scripture explicitly specifies that the Lord loved him when he was born. Moreover, God’s sending a prophet to give him a special name Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord,” highly emphasizes God’s special love for Solomon.
God’s special promises to David about Solomon and His special love for Solomon as a baby make it certain that we will see Solomon in heaven one day.
Solomon Loved God
The inspired writer of First Kings says that Solomon loved God:
1 Ki 3:3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.
In his natural state, no man loves God (Rom. 5:10; Rom. 8:7); Solomon’s loving God shows that he was a believer. Although his love for God was incomplete, it was genuine because God first loved him (2 Sam. 12:24-25; cf. 1 John 4:19).
As a believer who loved God, Solomon did not perish eternally when he died.
God’s Chastening Solomon
Solomon was David’s son who built the Temple (1 Kin. 5-6) and later committed iniquity. As He had promised to do, God chastened Solomon “with the rod of men and with the stripe of the children of men” (2 Sam. 7:14) through Hadad and Razon (1 Kin. 11:14-25).
God’s chastening Solomon in His mercy to him (cf. 2 Sam. 7:15) shows that Solomon was a true believer whose Heavenly Father chastened him because He loved him (Prov. 3:11-12; written by Solomon). Solomon was a true son of the Heavenly Father who chastens every child of His (Heb. 12:4-11, which quotes Prov. 3:11-12).
Furthermore, First Corinthians 11 teaches plainly that those whom God chastens, He chastens so that they will not be condemned with the world:
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Even those whom God chastens with death because they do not repent (“many sleep” [1 Cor. 11:30]) will not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32).
Scripture does not give any clear indication that Solomon repented of his sinfulness before he died. Even if he did not repent before he died, we would be right in inferring that God chastened him with death for his being an unrepentant believer so that he would not be condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:30-32).
Because of God’s faithfulness to chasten those whom He loves, Solomon, and all other true believers will be together in heaven one day!
The Record of Solomon’s Life in Second Chronicles
Amazingly, the lengthy record of Solomon’s life in Second Chronicles (2 Chron. 1-9) does not explicitly mention anything about Solomon’s great sinfulness. Because 2 Chronicles records at length the sinfulness of other kings of Israel and Judah (for example, 2 Chron. 33:1-9), the lack of mention of Solomon’s sinfulness suggests that God regarded Solomon in a special way so that He inspired the writing of this book of Scripture that does not say explicitly that he sinned against God.
Furthermore, Ecclesiastes also does not explicitly say that Solomon sinned against God. In fact, except for 1 Kings 11 and a few other verses in later Scripture, the vast majority of narrative Scripture passages (excludes Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) present Solomon in a profoundly positive and spiritual light that does not support holding that he perished eternally when he died.
A Striking Passage That Includes an Emphatic Statement about God’s Love for Solomon
Nehemiah reiterated God’s special love for Solomon as part of his challenge to people who were sinning through mixed marriages:
Neh 13:26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
Strikingly, this restatement of God’s love for Solomon that emphasizes the uniqueness of God’s love for him (“among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God”) occurs in a statement that has as its main point how his association with evil women made even him to sin. This passage thus explicitly reminds us of God’s special love for Solomon, which again points to his not perishing eternally when he died.
Solomon Was Not an Apostate Writer of Multiple Books of Scripture
Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, most of Proverbs, and he probably also wrote Psalms 72 and 127. Peter specifies that those whom God inspired to write Scripture were special men:
2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
According to these statements, Solomon was a holy man of God whom the Holy Spirit moved to write the Scripture that he wrote. It is untenable to hold that Solomon was such a man of God when he wrote the Scriptures that he wrote but then he apostatized to perish eternally.
No Mention of Solomon in the NT as an Example of One Who Apostatized
The NT briefly refers to Solomon in seven verses (Matt. 1:6, 7; 6:29; 12:42; Luke 11:31; 12:27; Acts 7:47). Had Solomon apostatized from the faith to perish eternally, he would surely have been mentioned in one or more warning passages in the NT because he would have been a profound example of one who did so.
The lack of mention of his apostatizing in the NT makes it certain that he did not do so. We should not read into the OT record of his life what the Bible never says directly, that is, he apostatized, died unrepentant of his sins, and perished eternally.
Based on the reasons given above, I believe that Solomon did not perish eternally when he died. We will see Solomon in heaven one day because of God’s faithfulness to those whom He loves, even when they as believers sin profoundly against Him.
In His love, God chastened Solomon intensely because of what he did. Let us fear to sin as Solomon did through his ungodly associations with ungodly people.
See also Did Solomon Repent Before He Died?
Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.
Well, i think your right…
King solomon will never be wise if he couldn’t save his soul…
Hi Dr. Rajesh Gandhi,
Thanks for your sharing. But I don’t agree with your conclusion.
1) Genuine repentance must have actions. Did Solomon smash all the altars and idols?
2) Can a man worship God and idols(Satan) at the same time? Can a man serve two master?
3)thus says the Lord, the God of Israel said: …they (Solomon) have forsaken Me,…” Is it very clear? 1 Kings 11
4) As the prophet Ahijah prophesised Jeroboam to be the King over ten tribes, what action Solomon take? He therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. His action was liken the king Saul. Is he forgot Thou shalt not kill? Look at the example of true repentance in King David. You can tell the difference.
In short, actions reveal inner thought, motives and minds.
Again, thanks for your sharing.
You are welcome. Before I respond further to your points, please reread my article carefully to see if it already addresses your concerns.
Solomon repented on his death bed
Maybe so, but I am not aware of any Scriptural data to support that view directly.
Not sure I believe it either. Not sure it really matters. Most of the characters in the OT and the NT were severely flawed individuals. Just like modern man.
The greater untold story is still there waiting to be told.
Here is a man with all the wisdom in the world and then some. And yet he still falters. His ego and lusts take control of the man and diminish his mission.
If we look at the modern day scientist we see a similar mindset. Most are highly intelligent, albeit the wisdom part is in question, and yet they refuse to see past their own pride and agendas.
Back to the original conversation.
Satan, whom we are led to believe was a fallen angel. He is unleashed upon mankind for what 7500 years? Even gets to tempt and lure those that are already imperfect. On top of that he is able to manipulate the world, enter our thoughts, and turn our own flesh against us. If Soloman couldn’t do it then what chance do I have? I have neither the wealth nor the wisdom nor the heritage of a King Soloman. On top of the human race degnerates with each new generation the toll of sin continues to separate us from our originally intended design.
Instead of writing a novel let me sum this up quickly. If Satan the enemy of man and more so of God with super powers is given 7500 years of freedom and a flawed human with no super powers is given a life of 100 years to combat and resist him? Doesn’t seem fair nor does it sound like something that the Father of Love would submit mankind nor His children to. There are 20 passages in the bible that layout to us where “the bad guys” go after this life. I find myself questioning why we even go to hell at all the odds stacked so far against. Maybe we don’t. and maybe this Soloman discussion is the key to determining just what salvation is and just want the punishment for failure is.
Where Solomon failed, Jesus Christ, the One greater than Solomon, triumphed. Through the power of the risen Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loved us. Satan is a immensely powerful enemy compared to any of us humans, but he is no match for the power of God. As we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us.
I always felt that Solomon did get forgiven
because his wisdom was used from God for all generations to come.
Does the Bible state who went to heaven after death? I think not. I agree that God loved Solomon and Samson and others who failed because they were weak no matter how smart they were.
Today God is the same he knows who loves him but fails from weakness. I am
glad God has a loving heart of forgiveness
toward his creation. It is true that we dont
understand the thoughts or ways of God.
We know he has mercy and forgiveness for us. Only he knows the heart of man.
He judges the good and the bad in man and knows all thoughts we have inside. God allows us to make mistakes and we sometimes learn from them. Born into sin we have evil and good in us . Thank God
that he knows our heart for him which we receive mercy and forgiveness even for
I do praise God for His mercy and for the forgiveness of our sins!
Actually, the Bible does tell us about many people who went to heaven. Enoch and Elijah both went to heaven, as did Jesus. Hebrews 11-12 teaches us that everybody spoken of in Hebrews 11 went to heaven. We can be certain that Paul and the eleven apostles went to heaven, etc.