1 Kings 11–16

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 133


King Solomon, like Saul and David before him, began his reign with the promise of greatness (see the introduction to 1 Kings 1–11 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi p. 1). However, also like Saul and David, Solomon turned from the Lord in his later years. Solomon’s apostasy led all Israel to sin and to lose the Lord’s protection.

After Solomon’s death, the united kingdom of Israel was divided and never again reached the level of prominence and power enjoyed under David and Solomon. As you study chapters 11–16 look for the choices Solomon made that led him away from the Lord. Notice also how the sins of the king affected the people and the nation.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

weekly icon 1 Kings 11. Saul, David, and Solomon began their reigns with humility, with great talent and potential, but each turned from the Lord and failed to reach his potential. (25–35 minutes)

Discuss an event your students would know about when everything seemed to be going well in the beginning but turned out all wrong in the end. For example, you could discuss an athlete who was winning but for some reason lost. Ask:

  • How did you feel about that incident?

  • Do all of the events in our lives end up badly?

  • Read 2 Nephi 2:27. What does it teach about our control over the outcome of events in our lives?

Invite students to think about the changes that took place in the lives of Saul and David. Ask:

Tell students that David’s son Solomon had a similar story. Read Deuteronomy 17:14–20 with students and have them list the warnings Moses gave the future king of Israel. Have them read 1 Kings 10:14, 26–27; 11:3, looking for how Solomon ignored Moses’ warnings. Discuss how Solomon could have avoided his sins.

Read 1 Kings 11:1–10 and discuss why Solomon married foreign wives outside the covenant and what serious sin resulted from those marriages. Ask: What were the tragic consequences of Solomon’s apostasy? (see 1 Kings 11:14–43).

Ask students to recall what the Lord said to the Israelites when they first asked for a king (see 1 Samuel 8). Having learned of three unrighteous kings, invite students to imagine they are the writer of 1 Kings and write an “and thus we see” statement summarizing what the experience of Israel’s kings teaches. Ask students to share what they wrote, and discuss what they learned from the mistakes of Saul, David, and Solomon.

1 Kings 12. Simple decisions can have serious consequences, even on future generations. (20–30 minutes)

Write the following statement on the board: Our lives often turn on tiny hinges, as does the history of nations. If possible, show students a hinge and explain how when it moves a little it causes a door to open a lot. Have them explain how the statement on the board is true and invite them to give examples of how a little decision can significantly affect the future. Ask:

  • What decisions have changed your life or the lives of others?

  • How have those decisions affected others?

Invite students to discover some “hinges” that changed the course of Israel’s history by studying Rehoboam’s and Jeroboam’s decisions:

Help students understand the long-term effects of Rehoboam’s and Jeroboam’s decisions by doing the following:

  • Look at Bible map 3, “The Division of the 12 Tribes,” and identify the boundary that divided Judah and Israel.

  • Read 1 Kings 15:25–26; 16:2, 25–26, 30–31; 22:51–52; 2 Kings 3:1–3; 10:29–31; 13:6, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28 and look for a common concept. Ask: What does the concept of “walking in the way of Jeroboam” teach about the long-term effects of a person’s decisions?

  • Explain how the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities of Israel and Judah were a result of their wickedness (see enrichment sections D and G in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, pp. 113–16, 231–33).

Encourage students to consider the consequences of Rehoboam’s and Jeroboam’s decisions and to ponder the consequences of their own seemingly small choices.