In Bad love, bad end - and the Cross, we looked at Solomon's apostasy, through the grim narrative of 1 Kings 11. Recall the first two verses, which will spark two further observations:
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love.First, love is not self-justifying. We're told twice that Solomon had love for these women. The same Hebrew word is used in both verses. Isn't love a good thing? In this case, clearly not.
Why not? Because Yahweh had forbidden these unions. Things are not moral nor immoral in themselves, as if by some inherent quality — like one action has lots of "midi-chloreans," the other doesn't. No, acts and choices are moral or immoral as judged by God. After all, there are no such things as brute nor neutral facts. There are only created facts, facts created, defined, and categorized by God the Creator.
So I can imagine Solomon "reasoning" exactly as I've heard sinning, apostatizing "Christians" "reason." Solomon could have said,
"Is not love a good thing? Has not Yahweh Himself commanded that we love our neighbor? Are these not lost women who need the light and word of Yahweh? Is it not to the greater glory of Yahweh that we expand our reach, that we reach out in love to these benighted souls? Think of the new opportunities I will have to bear witness! And who better than I, the servant of Yahweh, who has seen visions of Yahweh and heard His voice? Surely it pleases God for me to hold my arms out wide, to love broadly in His name! Hallelujah! Isn't Yahweh wonderful?"Plausible, isn't it? And isn't this precisely the sort of "reasoning" we hear in rationalizing various sins — heresies, homosexuality, women pastors, rebellion against authority, refusal to involve oneself in a local assembly, and perversions of the Gospel?
Just one problem: all is dashed to shards by the command of Yahweh.
This love was not beautiful and glorious. It was ugly and destructive. Under no circumstances could it have been otherwise for Solomon. It stood condemned a-borning.
I think you can see many modern applications.
And so, I pass to you this principle, not for the last time:
Never try to use a concept
to cancel a commandment.
to cancel a commandment.
Second, leave Greek to people who know Greek. How many times have you heard people — even preachers! — say, "Now, agapē means God's sacrificial, self-giving, unselfish love of commitment to the good of others." Whenever I hear that statement... well, I wince. I cringe.
Now, it may be true that the love to which God calls us is just that: selfless commitment to others' good. That's fine. But don't say that that is what agapē means, as if this were a special word, as if all those ideas were inherently wrapped up in that term. Because they aren't!
For instance, in the Greek translation of this passage, verse two says εἰς αὐτοὺς ἐκολλήθη Σαλωμων τοῦ ἀγαπῆσαι. That is, "Solomon was joined to them to love them." The translator(s) used the verb agapaō. Can you plug in the notion, "joined to them in God's kind of sacrificial, selfless, self-giving commitment to their good"?
No. His love for them was sinful, and therefore selfish.
So the meaning we find in agapē is not inherent in the word itself. It comes from the ways the Lord and the apostles use, demonstrate, and describe it.
Best not to comment on Greek, unless you know Greek. And knowing Greek involves much more than using concordances to do "word-studies."