First Kings 11 chronicles at some length the tragic final years of Solomon’s life. The chapter ends with three verses that relate his death, but the Holy Spirit did not choose to inspire any mention in the chapter about his repenting before he died.
Interpreters dispute whether the book of Ecclesiastes is an OT record of the repentance of Solomon prior to his death. In support of taking Ecclesiastes as a record of his repentance, the ending of 1 Kings 11 as well as several NT references imply that Solomon did repent before he died.
A Written Record of All That Solomon Did
The Spirit concluded First Kings 11 by providing an intriguing statement about further information concerning the ending of Solomon’s life:
1 Kings 11:41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?
This verse tells us that the writer of First Kings knew of a written document that recorded all the rest of what Solomon did in his life prior to his death. That document would have been available to others who lived after Solomon had died.
If Solomon had died as an unrepentant apostate, evidence that he did so would undoubtedly have been recorded in this book. For the writer of Second Chronicles to not say anything negative about Solomon, especially about the horrific ending of his life would be unintelligible if there were such a written record of Solomon’s complete and final apostasy.
Because the writer of Second Chronicles does not relate any such information, we are justified in holding that First Kings 11:41 provides us with implicit indication that Solomon did repent before he died.
Jesus as a Greater than Solomon
In the NT, Matthew and Luke record that Jesus Himself compared Himself with Solomon:
Mat 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Luk 11:31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Had Solomon died as a wicked apostate who never repented, Jesus would not have compared Himself to Solomon because Solomon would in that case have ultimately proved to be the greatest fool in the history of Israel.
Furthermore, had Jesus likened Himself to such a defective man, he would have left Himself open to a profound rebuke from his enemies (Matt. 12:38) whom He rebuked with this statement (Matt. 12:39). Had these scribes and Pharisees believed that Solomon had died as an apostate, they would immediately have reproached Jesus for comparing Himself to such an apostate.
Because neither Matthew nor Luke records that they turned this statement by Jesus against Him as a compelling reason to reject His wisdom, we can be confident that both they and Jesus believed that Solomon did not die as the greatest fool in their history. Jesus’ positive use of this statement in response to His enemies implicitly communicates to us that Solomon did repent before he died.
Solomon’s Porch in the Temple
Three verses in the NT speak of Solomon’s porch in the temple:
Joh 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
Act 3:11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.
Act 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.
Had Solomon died as an apostate, he would have been the worst example of apostasy in the history of God’s people. It is unthinkable that the Jews in the times of Jesus would designate any part of the temple or allow any part of the temple to be called by the name of such a heinously wicked man who failed to repent before he died.
By recording that this part of the temple was called Solomon’s porch, the Spirit has again implicitly related to us that Solomon did repent before he died.
Both the OT and the NT provide information that implies that Solomon did repent before he died. We will see Solomon in heaven one day.