1 Kings 11:4—In light of David’s sin with Bathsheba, how could this passage say his heart was loyal to the Lord?

Problem: When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:4). This verse contrasts Solomon and David by asserting that Solomon’s heart was not loyal to the Lord his God as David’s heart was. However, in light of David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba, and his killing of her husband Uriah, how can this text say that David’s heart was loyal?

Solution: It must always be remembered that a person’s acceptance with God is not based on his or her own works, but upon God’s grace. David was not a man after God’s own heart because of any acts of righteousness which he had done. Rather, David’s heart was loyal to the Lord his God because of his faith in God. The verse literally says, “and his [Solomon’s] heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God as the heart of David his father.” The contrast between Solomon and David is found in the fact that, while Solomon was enticed by his wives to worship other gods, David worshiped only the God of Israel. Although David had committed some very grievous sins, he never worshiped or served other gods. His heart was completely loyal to the Lord, and his faith was reckoned unto him as righteousness.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.