The Book of Proverbs is a book in which the author, Solomon, chronicled his musings of life from his perspective as the wisest ruler on earth. But even great wisdom does not make one infallible. We all have wisdom to do or not do what is right for ourselves and others, and what is pleasing to God. But at times, our sinful nature takes a hold and convinces us that our human nature is more wise than we are, or than God is.
As Solomon’s wealth increased, worldly splendor became more important to him than the things of God. Although Solomon spared no expense in constructing a temple for God (per God’s specifications), 1 Kings, Chapters 9 and 10, speaks of how Solomon also spared no expense on himself. Solomon had the biggest and best of everything. While this is not necessarily bad in and of itself, we see how Solomon fell into the very trap he tried to avoid. In Proverbs 30:7-9, Solomon had asked for neither poverty nor riches. “Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’”
Yes, Solomon fell away by the lure of worldly pleasures. In fact, not only wealth, but even more so the lure of 1,000 women led him astray to worship false gods.
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women…The Lord had clearly instructed his people not to intermarry with those nations, because the women they married would lead them to worship their gods. Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. And sure enough, they led his heart away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:1-3).
Though the following Proverb is attributed to Lemuel, Solomon should have taken to heart the instructions of Proverbs 31 when choosing a wife. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30).
It is likely Solomon’s great wisdom, wealth and power, not to mention his love for loving women made him prideful and unteachable.
These same things that trapped Solomon can trap anyone. Toward the end of his life, Solomon’s favor with the Lord had vanished. But his wisdom did not decrease, for in the book of Ecclesiastes, it seemed that some of his wisdom later in life was gained by experience. We often learn best from our mistakes.