Integrity doesn’t just slip…
Integrity is more than just avoiding the various pitfalls of obvious sin, though it is difficult to overstate the need for a holy life. Some of us are good at avoiding the more flagrant kinds of sin, but still allow room for seemingly minor (and yet often no less problematic) lapses of conduct, conscience and composure to occur. In Solomon’s case, the slide into flagrant disobedience began immediately after he used deception to take revenge on Shimei in 1 Kings 2. David had promised not to kill Shimei for cursing him years ago, and he instructed Solomon:
And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. (1 Kings 2:8-9)
It was immediately after the events of this chapter that Solomon marries Pharaoh’s daughter in direct disobedience to God’s command to never marry ANY foreign woman. He then goes on to take many foreign wives and concubines, and later we are told that this was the cause of his downfall (1 Samuel 11:1-13).