Why did Shlomo Hamelech marry many wives? Being that women naturally want to be the "only one"--from the fact that co-wives would fight each other for the love of their husband as the Mishna (Avot 2:7) says, "מרבה נשים מרבה כשפים (more wives=more witchcraft)" (thanks Fred for the source) and as the Talmud relates (co-wives are called tzarot, which relates to pain), as Song of Songs 6.9 hints to, as evidenced by polygamy being illegal in most of the world under grounds of women's rights violations, as intuition and the spirit of the time shows, and as claimed by many women today through various forms of media--what reasoning would cause the "wisest of all men" to marry/love more than one wife?

(This question can apply to other righteous people like King David, but it is strongest in this case, because King Solomon may have known things that people in his and other generations did not. [Though the simple explanation is that every Jew knew about the Mishna in Avot and the negative outcome of such a marriage, so the question can be why anyone who would risk such a relationship]. Also, I am assuming that there were enough potential husbands available in Israel, because the Jews were wealthy during his era as stated in Book of Kings 1).

  • 4
    Many women would want to be queen, even if there were others.
    – Ypnypn
    Feb 1 '15 at 22:37
  • 1
    Maybe because he wanted multiple wives? None of your reasons related to his wishes
    – Double AA
    Feb 1 '15 at 22:38
  • 2
    Consider that he may have had political motivations.
    – Fred
    Feb 1 '15 at 22:45
  • 1
    I don't quite see what the illegality of polygamy has to do with anything -- say it's illegal for another reason. Immorality, perhaps, was more of a driving factor than "what men and women want."
    – MTL
    Feb 2 '15 at 6:18
  • 1
    @Emetv'Shalom For more Torah sources, see Pirkei Avos 2:7 (מרבה נשים מרבה כשפים, which Rabbeinu Yonah ad loc. explains - borrowing some phrasing from P'nina's treatment of Chana - is due to the acrimonious competition that could result from polygamy), the ban of Rabbeinu Gershom on polygamy, and the Torah's admonition that a king limit the number of his wives (D'varim 17:17).
    – Fred
    Feb 2 '15 at 22:29

As Fred pointed out, marrying a princess of Nation X was a form of diplomacy with Nation X. (And when all those princesses had their own houses with their own modes of worship, well, think embassies.) As he established peace and trade with lots and lots of other nations, well it may not have been good for personal happiness, but it served the national good.

If I recall correctly, Rabbi Menachem Leibtag discusses this in a lecture called: "The Bible's Villains who Thought they were Heroes."

  • Did the princesses have a say in the matter, or were they forced into the marriages by their parents? Feb 2 '15 at 1:21
  • Also, did Shlomo have many wives or were they just concubines? Does the prohibition of >18 wives apply to concubines? Feb 2 '15 at 1:23
  • I guess even if they were forced, they would be forced to marry someone else anyway, so Shlomo decided it would be best that they marry him (which didn't seem to be the best decision as we see they continued in their idolatrous ways) Feb 2 '15 at 1:33
  • 1
    Source......... Feb 2 '15 at 2:05
  • 1
    @Emetv'Shalom I'd assume it's much like how the British royal family does military service and charitable work -- you grow up with the understanding that it's one of your responsibilities.
    – Shalom
    Feb 2 '15 at 13:10

It writes in Batei Midrashos 2:451 that Shlomo took 1000 wives so that he would have a thousand sons a year, thereby making twenty thousand in twenty years. In so doing, no one would be able to overpower him.

  • 1
    If that was his plan, then it completely backfired... From Koheles 6:3 (אם יוליד איש מאה) it seems that he didn't have even a hundred children!
    – Meir
    Aug 19 '20 at 22:40
  • 1
    Interesting - good shout!
    – Dov
    Aug 19 '20 at 22:45

Solomon had 1000 women. 700 wives, and 300 concubines. As we know from Megillat Esther (and other sources), there are 70 nations of the world. Solomon would marry 10 women from each of the 70 nations. The 300 concubines are the women who Solomon took from his own nation. By doing this, he hoped to ally himself with all the nations of the world.

  • 2
    Do you have any sources for these statements? If yes please edit them in. If not you might see your answers downvoted which would be a pity as you seem there is quite a bit you could contribute here. See my comment on your previous post for some links to help you understand MY
    – mbloch
    Feb 16 '16 at 6:15
  • @Cosman. Your answer is purely speculative, even wildly so. Jun 1 '18 at 2:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .