One of the Isurim taught in Shoftim is that a judge cannot take bribes. The Torah gives the reason (16:19): “Ki HaShochad Ye’aveir Einei Chachamim,” “Bribery will blind the eyes of the Chachamim.” R’ Leibush Charif points out a related Gemara in Sanhedrin (21):
Rav Yitzchak asks: Why were the reasons for the Mitzvot not given? Because the two times that the Torah gave a reason, great people of the world stumbled. The Pasuk says (17:17), “VeLo Yarbeh Lo Nashim, VeLo Yasur Levavo,” “[The king] should not have too many wives, and his heart will not be led astray.” Shlomo said, “I will have many, but I will not do anything wrong.”
However, Sefer Melachim I (11:4) records that Shlomo’s wives changed his heart at the end of his life. Another law of the king is that he cannot buy too many horses, lest he send the Jews back to Mitzrayim. Again Shlomo said, “I will not send the people back to Mitzrayim,” and yet he did end up stationing troops there.
The Torah also presents the reason for the Mitzvah by bribery. Accordingly, why did Shlomo not say, “I will allow people to bribe me, and I will not corrupt judgment?” The reason is that for the wives and the horses, Shlomo assumed that those Mitzvot were for average people, and that since he was Chacham he would not fall through the trap. However, the Torah says that bribery corrupts the eyes of the Chachamim, so it was clear to Shlomo that he was still included in the Mitzvah.
Shlomo HaMelech’s unfortunate mistake is quite evident, and we often do the same. We occasionally say to ourselves, “I can do this Aveirah and nothing wrong will happen, because I am above that.” “This Isur MiDeRabanan is something I do not have to do because I would never violate the Deoraita (Torah law).” We should learn from Shlomo and not make his mistake, never think we are too big for any Mitzvot, because even a small transgression leads to a huge one.