Lesson 94: 1 Kings 11–16

“Lesson 94: 1 Kings 11–16,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 94,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 94

1 Kings 11–16


In Solomon’s later years, he disobeyed the Lord’s commandments by marrying many wives outside the covenant. Some of Solomon’s wives encouraged him to worship idols and turn his heart away from the Lord. After the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam decided to increase the people’s burdens. The people revolted and were divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam, king of the Northern Kingdom, introduced idolatry and other wicked practices among his people. Subsequent kings in Israel and Judah drifted further into wickedness.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Kings 11

Solomon marries many wives outside the covenant, and they turn his heart away from God

Invite a student to read aloud the following scenario:

For some time, a woman has been seriously dating a man who is not a member of the Church. She deeply cares for him. The woman becomes upset when a Church leader expresses loving concern for her because the man she is dating is not a member of the Church.

Ask students to ponder what they would say to this woman. Invite students to look for truths as they study 1 Kings 11–16 that can help them decide whom they will date and marry.

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 11:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Solomon’s situation was similar to the previously read scenario. Invite students to report what they find. Explain that the phrase “strange women” refers to women who were not of the house of Israel. Remind students that the Israelites had covenanted to serve the Lord and thereby receive His protection. Marrying within the covenant meant marrying a faithful member of the house of Israel. The many “strange women” Solomon married were not part of the gospel covenant and came from nations that did not worship the Lord or keep His commandments. (You may want to explain that many of these marriages reflected political alliances Solomon had made with other nations.)

  • According to verse 2, what warning had the Lord previously given about what would happen to Israelites who married outside of the covenant? (Those whom they married would turn their hearts away from the Lord and toward false gods.)

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Kings 11:3–8. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the result of Solomon’s decision to marry women who were not part of the covenant. (You may want to point out that verse 4, footnote b, indicates that David’s heart had not been perfect with the Lord.)

  • How did Solomon’s choice to marry outside of the covenant affect him? (Solomon began to worship his wives’ false gods, and his heart turned away from the Lord.)

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about why marriage in the covenant is important? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: If we marry in the covenant, our hearts are more likely to turn toward God and we can receive the full blessings of the gospel.)

To help students understand this principle, ask them the following questions:

  • How do we marry in the covenant today? (We go to the temple with a worthy member of the Church to receive the marriage sealing ordinance.)

  • In what ways can marrying in the covenant help us keep our hearts turned toward the Lord?

To help students feel the truth and importance of this principle, invite them to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals their responses to the following question:

  • Why do you want to marry someone who will help you stay faithful to the Lord?

Inform students that as they study the remainder of 1 Kings 11–16, they will see how Solomon’s decision to marry outside of the covenant not only turned his heart away from God but also influenced others to turn their hearts away from God.

Ask a student to read 1 Kings 11:9–11 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened as a result of Solomon’s disobedience.

  • What happened as a result of Solomon’s disobedience?

Summarize 1 Kings 11:14–25 by explaining that after Solomon turned his heart away from the Lord, He allowed the Israelites’ enemies to afflict them.

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 11:26–28 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for who else began to oppose Solomon. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What kind of a person was Jeroboam?

Bring a piece of fabric or paper to class. Tear or cut the fabric or paper into 12 pieces. Give 10 pieces to one student. Explain that something similar happened to Jeroboam. Ask students to read 1 Kings 11:29–31 silently and look for why Jeroboam was given 10 pieces of fabric.

  • Why did the prophet Ahijah give 10 pieces of fabric to Jeroboam?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 11:37–38 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord promised Jeroboam if he would keep the commandments as king. Invite students to report what they find. Summarize 1 Kings 11:39–43 by explaining that when Solomon learned Jeroboam was a threat to his kingdom, he sought to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled to Egypt.

1 Kings 12:1–24

After Rehoboam vows to continue to make his people’s burdens heavy, ten of the tribes revolt against him

Summarize 1 Kings 12:1–24 by explaining that after Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king over all of Israel. Jeroboam returned to Israel from Egypt and, along with others, pleaded with Rehoboam to lessen the burdens Solomon had placed on the people to support his many building projects. Rehoboam chose instead to increase the people’s burdens. The ten tribes living in the north rebelled against Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king, which fulfilled the words of the prophet Ahijah. This revolt divided the kingdom in two: the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Ask students to turn to Bible Maps, no. 3, “The Division of the 12 Tribes,” in the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible. Ask them to find the border between Judah and northern Israel.

1 Kings 12:25–14:31

Jeroboam and Rehoboam practice idolatry in their kingdoms

Divide the class into two groups. Assign one group to study the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the other group to study the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Provide students with copies of the information below for their assigned kingdom. Ask students to read the information and the assigned verses and then discuss the accompanying question with their group.

Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:25–14:20)


Because the temple was located in Judah, Jeroboam feared that his subjects would travel south to worship the Lord and eventually become sympathetic to the Southern Kingdom. To prevent this, Jeroboam established new places of worship, idols, and feasts in the Northern Kingdom and appointed his own priests. Jeroboam thus led his people toward apostasy by turning them away from worshipping the Lord at His temple.

The Lord sent a prophet from Judah to warn Jeroboam about his wickedness and idolatry. Despite seeing miraculous signs of the Lord’s power, Jeroboam did not repent and continued to promote idol worship.

Read 1 Kings 14:7–9, 14–16, and look for the consequences that would come upon Jeroboam and the 10 tribes of Israel because of their idol worship.

  • How did worshipping false gods affect the people in the Northern Kingdom of Israel?

Southern Kingdom (1 Kings 14:21–31)


After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam ruled in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Read 1 Kings 14:21–24, and look for the spiritual state of the people in Judah.

An especially evil practice of idol worship involving immorality often took place around the groves built to false gods. The word sodomites in verse 24 refers to male prostitutes (see footnote a).

  • How did worshipping false gods affect the people in the Southern Kingdom of Judah?

After students complete their assignments, invite a student from each group to summarize what occurred in the kingdom they studied and how those events relate to Solomon’s choice to marry outside the covenant and worship false gods. After the students report, ask the class:

  • How could choosing to marry outside the covenant affect those who come after us? How could choosing to marry within the covenant affect those who come after us?

  • How could worshipping anything or anyone other than our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, lead us astray?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball, who taught how our marriage decision will affect our families (you may want to provide students with copies of the statement):

Kimball, Spencer W.

“Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations” (“Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3).

Refer to the scenario presented at the beginning of class. Ask students to share how the truths taught in this lesson can help them explain why Church leaders counsel us to be sealed in the temple.

  • How can understanding the importance of marrying in the covenant influence the choices you make today?

Remind students of the Lord’s promise to Jeroboam concerning what would happen if Jeroboam kept the commandments as king (see 1 Kings 11:38).

  • What principle can we learn from the accounts of Solomon, Jeroboam, and Rehoboam about what happens when we choose to turn away from the Lord? (As students share the principles they have identified, emphasize the following: If we turn away from the Lord, then we will lose His promised blessings.)

  • What can we do to ensure our hearts stay turned toward the Lord?

1 Kings 15–16

A series of wicked and righteous kings rule over Judah and Israel for many years

Summarize 1 Kings 15–16 by explaining that after the death of Jeroboam, a series of wicked kings reigned in Israel. Each of the kings in Israel continued in the ways of Jeroboam by worshipping false gods. However, Asa, a king of Judah, was righteous and followed the Lord.

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths students identified in class today. Invite students to faithfully live the gospel and prepare to be sealed in the temple one day.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Kings 11:1–10. Marriage in the covenant and dating

Church leaders have counseled youth to be discerning regarding those they date:

“Choose to date only those who have high moral standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards. Remember that a young man and a young woman on a date are responsible to protect each other’s honor and virtue. …

“As you enter your adult years, make dating and marriage a high priority. Seek a companion who is worthy to go to the temple to be sealed to you for time and all eternity. Marrying in the temple and creating an eternal family are essential in God’s plan of happiness” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 4, 5).

1 Kings 11:1–3. Marriage in the covenant strengthens our faith in the Lord

Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained why marrying in the temple is so vital:

“To create unhappiness is the aim of the adversary of righteousness. Here appears one of the foremost blessings of the temple marriage. Those who have been sealed in the temple have their eyes fixed upon eternity. They dare not forfeit the promised blessings. The family is to them an everlasting possession. They remember the covenants which make possible this eternal association. The temple marriage, with all that it means, becomes a restraining force in the presence of temptation” (Evidences and Reconciliations, arr. G. Homer Durham, 3 vols. in 1 [1960], 299–300).

1 Kings 11:1–3. What can we conclude regarding Solomon’s many marriages?

“Solomon married ‘strange women,’ that is, foreign women, or those not of the covenant. Solomon’s marriages were for political expediency … and perhaps for personal reasons as well. But these women brought to Israel their idols and heathen worship, which corrupted not only Solomon but the people also.

“According to the Doctrine and Covenants, however, some of Solomon’s wives were given to him of the Lord: ‘David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me’ (D&C 132:38).

“President Joseph Fielding Smith further explained that the Lord ‘did not condemn Solomon and David for having wives which the Lord gave them.

“‘Now turn to [2 Samuel] 12:7–8, and you will find that the Lord gave David wives. In your reading of the Old Testament you will also find that Solomon was blessed and the Lord appeared to him and gave him visions and great blessings when he had plural wives, but later in his life, he took wives that the Lord did not give him’ [Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. (1957–66), 4:214].

Jacob 2:24–31 clearly teaches that plural wives may be taken only when doing so is authorized by the Lord” (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 9). David’s marriages to plural wives were authorized by the Lord, because David’s wives “were given unto him of me [the Lord], by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife [Bathsheba]” (D&C 132:39). Latter-day Saints practiced plural marriage for a time in obedience to the Lord’s command, but that practice ended long ago, also according to the Lord’s command (see D&C 132; Official Declaration 1). In 1904, President Joseph F. Smith announced “that all [plural] marriages are prohibited, and if any officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such marriage he will be … excommunicated” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1904, 75). This practice continues today.