1 KINGS CHAPTER 14.
The Reign of Jeroboam and Rehoboam.
AHIJAH’S PROPHECY AGAINST JEROBOAM. — V. 1. At that time, after Jeroboam had refused to repent of his evil ways, Abijah, the son of Jeroboam, fell sick. It was evidently the crown prince, the successor to the throne, who became ill. V. 2. And Jeroboam said to his wife, the mother being naturally very vitally interested in the welfare of her son, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, mainly by putting on such garments as would probably deceive the average person, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh; behold, there is Ahijah, the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people. By concealing the identity of his wife, on account of his having ignored the warning to be faithful to Jehovah, chap. 11, 38. 39, Jeroboam intended to obtain a favorable answer from the prophet. V. 3. And take with thee, namely, as presents to the seer, 1 Sam. 9, 8, ten loaves and cracknels, probably a kind of cake, and a cruse, or bottle, of honey, and go to him; he shall tell thee what shall become of the child. The presents were purposely such as any ordinary woman of the people might have brought, and Jeroboam thought he might once more receive a revelation favorable to his family by proceeding in this manner. V. 4. And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see, he was on the point of turning blind; for his eyes were set by reason of his age, through paralysis of the optic nerves. Cp. 1 Sam. 4, 15. V. 5. And the Lord said unto Ahijah, revealing the entire matter to him before the arrival of Jeroboam’s wife, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son, to get information from the representative of the Lord; for he is sick. Thus and thus shalt thou say unto her; for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman. V. 6. And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound, the scraping, of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? The deception deserved a reproof. For I am sent to thee with heavy tidings, as a messenger of hard news, of misfortune. V. 7. Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, the reproof and the prophecy being given in a rhythmical form, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over My people Israel, v. 8. and rent the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it thee, namely, the ten northern tribes, and yet thou hast not been as My servant David, who had been placed before his eyes as a model and example, chap. 11, 38, who kept My commandments, and who followed Me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in Mine eyes, v. 9. but hast done evil above all that were before thee, namely, by making idolatrous worship a national institution; for thou hast gone and made thee other gods and molten images, the two calf figures, to provoke Me to anger, and hast cast Me behind thy back, the strongest expression to denote intentional and blasphemous contempt for God; v. 10. therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, upon his family, upon all his descendants, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, exterminate them down to the very last man, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, literally, “the detained and those set free,” that is, all the male members, both those that were still minors and ‘those who were of age, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as often as a new scion arises, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone, both the shameful and the complete extermination being emphasized. V. 11. Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field, out in the open country, shall the fowls of the air eat, to the disgrace of not being buried was added that of being devoured by unclean animals; for the Lord hath spoken it. V. 12. Arise thou, therefore, get thee to thine own house; and when thy feet enter into the city, namely, Tirzah, the royal residence at that time, the child shall die. V. 13. And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, this being at least one word of comfort; for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, be buried in an honorable fashion, because in him there is found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam, he had inclined to the pure and lawful worship of Jehovah. V. 14. Moreover, the Lord shall raise Him up a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day, during his reign; but what? Even now; the destruction which was to begin now would be completed at the time spoken of by Jehovah; complete annihilation was only a matter of time. V. 15. For the Lord shall smite Israel, by the attacks and inroads of heathen nations, as a reed is shaken in the water, this referring to the events of the next two centuries, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land which He gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, as a result of their captivity beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their groves, tree-trunks dedicated to the heathen goddess Astarte, provoking the Lord to anger. V. 16. And He shall give Israel up, deliver the entire nation, because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin, this expression now becoming the stock phrase to characterize the transgression of Jeroboam. V. 17. And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah, which may have been a summer residence of Jeroboam; and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died. V. 18. And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord which He spake by the hand of His servant Ahijah, the prophet. V. 19. And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, the royal deeds for which he was noted, how he warred, 2 Chron. 2, 13 ff. and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel. V. 20. And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years. And he slept with his fathers, having been struck with a severe and painful illness; and Nadab, his son, reigned in his stead. Jeroboam evidently died in his sins. It is a terrible thing if one who once knew the Lord and received evidences of His rich favor dies the death of a godless fool.
THE RULE OF REHOBOAM. — V. 21. And Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, having thus been born one year before Solomon’s accession to the throne, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name there, a fact which is here noted on account of the idolatry which was practiced afterward on the heights of Judah. And his mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess, the individual queen-mothers having a great influence at that time on account of the harem system, which usually brought the children more closely to the mother. V. 22. And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. Cp. 2 Chron. 11, 5-12, 1. This decay set in just as soon as Rehoboain had established his kingdom and fortified its boundaries. V. 23. For they also built them high places, altars for the purpose of idolatrous worship on prominent hills, and images, memorial stones usually consecrated to the heathen idol Baal, and groves, the wooden monuments of Astarte, the female nature divinity, on every high hill, and under every green tree, thick, shady trees usually being selected for that purpose, Hos. 4, 13. V. 24. And there were also Sodomites in the land, men or boys from the surrounding nations who permitted themselves to be prostituted in honor of the gods; and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel, the original Canaanitish inhabitants of the land. V. 25. And it came to pass in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that Shishak, king of Egypt, probably at the suggestion of Jeroboam, came up against Jerusalem; v. 26. and he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, the great quantities of precious metals stored there; he even took away all; and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made, chap. 10, 17. V. 27. And King Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, the king’s runners, which kept the door of the king’s house, the watch at the palace gate. V. 28. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the Lord, that the guard bare them, accompanying the king in solemn procession, and brought them back into the guard-chamber, evidently a room in the house of the forest of Lebanon, chap. 10, 17. One commentator suggests that the highly polished copper shields, access to which was denied the common people, were intended to deceive them concerning the true state of affairs. V. 29. Now, the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah? V. 30. And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days, a state of war existed as long as they both lived, which resulted in at least one pitched battle under Abijah. V. 31. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, with due honors. And his mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess, the statement being repeated probably on account of the fact that site introduced the idol worship of Moloch in Jerusalem. And Abijam, his son, reigned in his stead. Men who deliberately reject the Lord and His blessings need not be surprised if they find themselves punished by God in various ways.