By Elizabeth Prata
Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, because the places where the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.” (2 Chronicles 8:11).
Ohhh, Solomon /smh/. But aren’t we all like Solomon? Dancing with a bit of sin over here, rationalizing that because we’re doing such and such correctly over there, this little bit over here will be OK. Petting a bit of sin, forgetting that it is a lion that will bite us in the end. Let’s go back a bit for context:
Now Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem. (1 Kings 3:1).
The Israelites knew, as did Solomon, not to marry outside the People. Marriage with pagans was verboten. God had said that pagans will lead them astray. Solomon as King had by this time risen in stature among the nations all around. His marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter was a kudos for him, cementing his political position as equal to Pharaoh. But it did nothing for his spiritual state.
So, Solomon rationalized, saying that since she was not holy, she should not go into where the ark had been, because the ark was holy. Overlooking the fact that his marriage itself was disobedience, Solomon thought that by keeping her out of the holy places he was doing God a favor.
Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary says: “[H]e did not allow her to occupy it, because he felt that she being a heathen proselyte, and having brought from her own country an establishment of heathen maid-servants, there would have been an impropriety in her being domiciled in a mansion which was or had been hallowed by the reception of the ark.”
Solomon’s religious zeal was well chronicled at the dedication of the temple, yet he allowed the high places of pagan worship to remain. He married an unholy pagan, but didn’t allow her where the holy ark had been. A rationalizing mind leads to a divided heart. And we know what the scriptures says about a double minded man, he is unstable. (James 1:8)
Such slyness doesn’t fool God. When Jesus came to earth he vilified the Pharisees with woes for such tricky wordplay shenanigans. He said in Matthew 23:
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the [n]temple that sanctified the gold? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the offering that is on it is obligated.’ You blind men, which is [p]more important, the offering or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, the one who swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And the one who swears by the temple, swears both by [u]the temple and by Him who dwells in it. And the one who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it“. (Matthew 23:16-22).
Pharisees rationalized but it was, “Psych!” ‘I swore by the temple, but to really have teeth, the oath should be sworn by the gold IN the temple. Ha!’ It’s sophistry.
Matthew Henry: Yet it is no new thing for the show and form of godliness to be made a cloak to the greatest enormities. But dissembled piety will be reckoned double iniquity.
And that is what Solomon was showing, dissembled piety. I’ll marry a pagan but I’ll keep the palace pure by putting her somewhere else.
We should be careful not to be doing that. It’s why we have to kill every sin, not just some sins. John Owen famously said ‘be killing sin or it be killing you.’
Isn’t that what happened to Solomon eventually? Sin is incremental, it creeps in inch by inch, and before you realize, its tentacles have wound deep around, gaining a treacherous foothold. In he end, Solomon lamented and wrote Ecclesiastes, a book of warning not to do as he had done.
Playing with sin fools no one, certainly it doesn’t fool God. You can’t pet it in the corner of your heart and then go to the other corner of your heart and pretend to be completely holy, righteous, and Godly. If sin is tolerated and petted it makes your actions into a form of Godliness, and that’s hypocrisy. Pretending sin is not so bad because you’ve overlooked it and covering it with words of holiness is being double-minded and sly.
Here is Joel Beeke with a 2 minute clip from Ligonier of how to deal with sin, based on John Owen.
Work at killing all the sin in your life, not just some of it.