Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded.
So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:9-13)
Solomon was an idolater. He had built temples to the gods of his wives and offered sacrifices to them. And yet Solomon had known God, had worshiped God, had been given the gift of wisdom by God. He is noted as the wisest man who ever lived.
But despite his relationship with God, despite his wisdom, he still went far astray. Solomon illustrates what Paul said: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:21-23)
But God’s judgment on Solomon was not as harsh as we might imagine it should have been. God did not strike Solomon with illness or strip him of his position. Instead, he stripped Solomon’s future from him. After his death, his son would oversee the loss of Solomon’s wealthy kingdom. Ten of the twelve tribes would break away to form a new nation, with a king not descended from Solomon to rule over them.