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                                    I Kings 14

 

 

                        The Death of Jeroboam’s Son (vs. 1-20)

 

 

The protest of the prophet of Judah, the signs which supported it, and above all

the solemn visitation, with its strange portents, which straightway followed it,

having alike failed to arrest Jeroboam (ch.13:33) in his high-handed and

shameless depravation of the true religion, we now read of the retribution which

came upon his family, and which began with the sickness and death of his

firstborn. We can hardly regard this as a part of the discipline designed to

reform the king, and so avert the schism, for the narrative distinctly conveys

the impression that Jeroboam’s day of grace was past, and that

judgment was already begun. Moreover these events would seem to belong

to a much later period than that of which the preceding chapter treats — a

period, indeed, not far distant from the close of Jeroboam’s reign. He then

heard, as was fitting, from the venerable prophet who had been God’s

messenger to announce to him his future reign over the ten tribes, that the

death of the youth whom he had destined to succeed him was but the

beginning of sorrows, and foreshadowed the speedy and shameful

extinction of his family (v. 14). He too, like Solomon, has sown to the

wind and now reaps to the whirlwind.  (Hosea 8:7)

 

 

1  At that time” - or about (K]) that time -  The king is now settled at

Tirzah (v. 17).  In ch. 12:25 we left him residing at Shechem. The time referred

to is that somewhat indefinite period mentioned in 13:33-34. These opening

words clearly connect the sickness with Jeroboam’s impenitence and his

persistence in sin. What led the king to move his Court to Tirzah, we are not told –

Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.”  Abijah means “Jehovah is his father,”

an indication that Jeroboam “did not intend to desert the worship of Jehovah.” But

the name was probably bestowed long before the schism possibly in Egypt. It is

more likely that it connects itself, if with anything, with the message of Jehovah to

him (ch. 11:29-38). But the name was not uncommon — it was borne by a son

of Rehoboam (v. 31; compare Ahijah, below), and inferences from names must

necessarily be precarious.  The historian undoubtedly means us to see the finger

of God in this sickness. This was one of the penalties of disobedience (Deuteronomy

28:22,58-61; Exodus 23:25).

 

2  ‘And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise

thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam;” - Conscious

that his proceedings would merit Ahijah’s reproof, he is afraid to go in person.

And his wife — if in this particular we may trust the LXX., an Egyptian princess

— could be more readily disguised. The commission was too delicate to be

entrusted to a stranger. None might know it but his own bosom, and she

that lay in it. Jeroboam evidently suspected that this sickness was punitive, and

he would not have others think so too - “and get thee to Shiloh:” - Shiloh would

be over thirty miles’ distant — more than a day’s journey to the queen, as the road

involves some toilsome climbing - “behold, there is Ahijah the prophet,” - We

can only explain Ahijah’s continued residence there, after the migration of the

God-fearing Israelites to the southern kingdom, not by his great age, but by the

supposition that, having been concerned in the transfer of the kingdom to Jeroboam,

he felt it a duty to stay and watch his career. And the time has now come when he

can be useful. His relations with Jeroboam had apparently so far been good. He

had not protested, so far as we know, against the calf worship, but then God had

sent another prophet to do that - “which told me that I should be king over

this people.”  To Jeroboam, Ahijah had already proved himself a true prophet,

and so far a prophet of good.

 

3  And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey,

and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.”  This is a

strange object for a journey.  It is not “what to do for the child;  still less, “what

to do for the sin;” but simply what should be the outcome of his sickness. At first it

strikes us as strange that Jeroboam merely asks what the result will be. He does

not petition, that is to say, as in ch.13:6, for a cure. But we find the same peculiarity,

which some would explain by the fatalism of the East, in ch. 8:9 and II Kings 1:2. 

Probably Jeroboam despaired of obtaining more. There are petitions “which for our

unworthiness we dare not ask.”  Despair is not uncommonly the end of presumption.

Sin makes such a strangeness between God and man, that the guilty heart either thinks

not of suing to God, or fears it.   Or was it fatalism prompted this inquiry? It has often

been remarked that unbelief and superstition are very near of kin. Man cannot divest

himself of all belief. Head and heart alike “abhor a vacuum.” Those who will not

believe in one God shall be the victims of strong delusions, and shall believe a lie

(as the modern world is finding out – CY – 2010 – see II Thessalonians 2:11).

 

                        “Hear the just law, the judgment of the skies,

                        He that hates truth shall be the dupe of lies;

                        And he that will be cheated to the last,

                        Delusions strong as hell shall bind him fast.”

 

In the present instance, however, no such explanation is needed for:

 

  • Jeroboam could hardly ask a favor of a prophet of Jehovah, or hope

            that it would be granted if he did, and

 

  • If, as he feared, the sickness was judicial, it would be useless to ask for

            healing.

 

The infatuation which insisted on a disguise for the purpose of deceiving the prophet,

(There sure is a lot of deceiving going on in these chapters and unfortunately, a lot

of deceiving going on in this world as we prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus

Christ, “Even so come Lord Jesus  [Revelation 22:20] – CY – 2010) who

nevertheless was believed to be able to divine the issue of the sickness, is very

characteristic, and has had many parallels since.

 

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; for his eyes

were set by reason of his age.  5 And the LORD said unto Ahijah,

Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son;

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.”  The

attempted deceit was frustrated by a direct revelation, the same which disclosed

the fate of the child. God laughs in heaven at the frivolous fetches of crafty politicians

and takes  the wise men “in their own craftiness” (I Corinthians 3:19) -

 

6  And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound 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? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.  Heavy tidings

for heavy transgression.  7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of

Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee

prince over my people Israel,”God still claims dominion over Israel, despite the

schism. They are still His people, and He is still their God. 

 

8 “And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it

thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my

commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only

which was right in mine eyes;” - Note the contrast between this language

and the discourse which Ahijah held with Jeroboam once before. (ch. 11:29-38)

That meeting was full of promises; this message is full of upbraidings. Then

God declared that He would rend the kingdom; here He complains that He

has done so, and done so in vain. Then He proposed David as Jeroboam’s

pattern — David’s name is mentioned six times in the above passage — here

He accuses the king of contemning that example. There He speaks

of a “sure house;” here, of “taking away the remnant of the house,” “as a

man taketh away dung.” Yet “the gifts and calling of God are without

repentance.” (Romans 11:29)  It is Jeroboam’s sin that has made this difference.

 

 9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone

and made thee other gods,” - in defiance of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:4).

Jeroboam, no doubt, insisted that his calves were not idols, but cherubic symbols.

But God does not recognize this distinction.  Practically they were “other gods,”

and so they are here called derisively, “and molten images” - the word is used

of the golden calf, Exodus 32:4, 8.  See also Exodus 34:17; Deuteronomy 9:12;

Judges 17:3-4.  The “other gods” and the “molten images” are but two names

for the same thing, the calves of Bethel and Dan, “to provoke me to anger and

hast cast me” - The order of the Hebrew stamps the “me” as emphatic, and

ME hast thou cast -  behind thy back” -  This strong expression only

occurs here and in Ezekiel 23:35.  It forcibly expresses Jeroboam’s,

contemptuous disregard of God’s revealed will.  In Psalm 50:17,

Nehemiah 9:26, we have somewhat similar phrases.

 

10  Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam,”

Compare ch.12:27. “And they shall kill me.” So the very means which

Jeroboam took to secure his throne procured its overthrow.  If he could but

have trusted God his kingdom would have lasted. But he must needs prop

 it up himself, with rotten supports, and leaning on these he brought it speedily

to the ground - “and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the

wall,” - This phrase is confined to the period from David to Jehu, and generally,

understood to mean “every male.” (It is found in I Samuel 25:22; chps. 16:11;

21:21; and II Kings 9:8.) But it is noteworthy, as Gesenius has remarked, that this is

not a habit of Eastern men. Every traveler in Egypt will confirm the remark of

Herodotus (ch. 2:35) on this subject, and the same applies to Palestine; i.e., the men

sit down for this purpose, covered with their garments (Judges 3:24; I Samuel 24:3).

Gesenius is probably right when he interprets it of boys. Thus understood, it lends

additional meaning to the passages where it occurs. It expresses extermination,

root and branch, man and boy - “and him that is shut up and left in Israel,”

A proverbial expression (Deuteronomy 32:36;  ch. 21:21; II Kings 9:8), and

involving some play upon words. It evidently means “men of all kinds,” but as

to the precise signification of the terms “shut up” and “left,” there has been

much difference of opinion, some interpreting them to mean:

 

  • married and single
  • bond and free
  • precious and vile; and
  • minors and those of age.

 

All the male descendants, even the minors, were threatened with destruction.

On the whole perhaps bond and free is preferable – “and will take away the

remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung,” –

II Kings 9:37; Job 20:7; Jeremiah 8:2; 9:22; 16:4. This word expresses the

loathing and contempt with which they would be treated -  “till it be all gone.”

 

11 “Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him

that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat:” -  This was a terrible

threat to a Jew — that the dead body should fall a prey to dogs and wild

beasts. Cf. Psalm 79:2; Jeremiah 7:33; 16:4; 34:20; Ezekiel 29:5, etc. For him

it had a factitious horror, because of the threatening of Deuteronomy 28:26;

cf. Revelation 19:17-18. It was, therefore, the climax of disgrace and

misfortune; the greatest dishonor that could be offered to the dust and to

the memory. Hence the threat of David (I Samuel 17:46; cf. v. 44); hence

the devotion of Rizpah (II Samuel 21:10), and the complaint of the Psalmist

(Psalm 79:2). Cf. Homer, Iliad 1:4, 5.

 

            “Whose limbs, unburied on the naked shore,

            Devouring dogs and hungry vultures tore.”

 

Dogs, it is well known, are the scavengers of Eastern cities. They exist

there in great numbers, and in a semi-savage state, and the carcasses of

animals and carrion of all sorts are left for them to consume, which they do

most effectually, roaming the streets all night (Psalm 59:6, 14) in search

of garbage. Vultures and other birds of prey perform a similar office in the

open country (Job 39:29-30; Matthew 24:28)):  “for the LORD hath

spoken it.”

 

12  Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy

feet enter into the city, the child shall die.” The death of the child at the

precise moment of the return should serve as an earnest and foretaste of

the doom just denounced.

 

13 “And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of

Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found

some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of

Jeroboam.”  This son should be the one exception to the rule of v.11.

The idea is not merely that he was an amiable youth, but the words imply

some degree of piety, and almost suggest that he dissented from his father’s

ecclesiastical policy. The Rabbins have a fable that he disobeyed his father’s

command to hinder people traveling to Jerusalem to keep the feasts, and

that he even removed obstructions in the road.  And all Israel shall mourn

for him”. The most, and the most genuine, tears are shed over the graves of

children. Yet of this child it might justly have been said, “Weep ye not

for the dead, neither bemoan him” (Jeremiah 22:10). For:

 

  • He was taken away from the evil to come, he escaped the butchery

      of Baasha (ch. 15)

  • And he escaped, too, the danger of contamination and moral ruin. His

      life was not unduly shortened. Life is to be measured not by the beats of

            the pulse, but by the life work we have accomplished.

 

14  Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who

shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now.”

This is a difficult text.  “And what wilt thou also do?” i.e., what will become

of thee also? It is quite possible (v. 11) that Jeroboam’s wife perished in the

wholesale destruction of his house, as it is clear from the severe punishment

assigned to her (v. 12) that she must have shared in his sin.  The readiness

with which she lent herself to this deceit (v. 4) also favors the supposition that

she had approved his policy. She would then have survived her husband only

two years.

 

15  For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water,”

The prophet now proceeds to state the share of the people in the punishment.

They had acquiesced in the wicked innovations of Jeroboam and had

joined in the worship of the calves - For if Jeroboam had “made Israel to sin,”

Israel had loved to have it so (ch.12:30; Jeremiah 5:31). He could not have had

his calves and sanctuaries without priests; and calves, sanctuaries, and priests

would have been useless without worshippers. But as the king, so the people.

Jeroboam was but a sample of many thousands of his subjects. As the chief

offender, he was the first to suffer, and suffered most. But the nation that had

shared his sin must suffer in its measure and turn -  “and He shall root

up Israel out of this good land, which He gave to their fathers, and shall

scatter them beyond the river,” - the Euphrates; This is the first clear prophecy

of the captivity foreshadowed by Moses (Deuteronomy 4:27; 28:25, 36, 63-64),

and by Solomon (ch. 8:46-50).  For its fulfillment, see II Kings 17:6; 18:11 –

because they  have made their groves,” - [Hebrew - their Asherahs, i.e.,

 images of Astarte. The translation“grove after the LXX. a]lsov, Vulg. lucus, is

now abandoned. It is clear some sort of idol is intended by the term. This is evident

from v. 23, where it is said the Asherahs (A.V. groves) were built “under every

green tree” (cf. II Kings 17:10); from ch. 15:13; from II Kings 23:6, which tells how

Josiah “brought out the Asherahs out of the house of the Lord,” and from the

connection in which the word is found with “molten images, carved images,”

(v. 23; II Chronicles 33:19; 34:3-4; also Judges 3:7; ch. 18:19). They were doubtless

effigies of Ashtoreth, made of wood (Deuteronomy 7:5; cf. II Kings 23:6), planted

erect in the ground (Deuteronomy 16:21), and were consecrated to her impure and

revolting worship. It is clear from this passage that the frightful impurities of the

Canaanitish races had subsisted in the new kingdom by the side of the new sacra.

They had probably revived under Jeroboam’s rule, having apparently been in

abeyance since the time of Gideon - “provoking the LORD to anger.”

(v. 22; chps.15:30; 21:22; II Kings 17:11,17; 22:17; Deuteronomy 4:25; 32:16, 21;

Judges 2:12; Psalm 78:58).

 

16 “And He shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who

did sin, and who made Israel to sin.”  These words became almost a formula

(ch. 15:33-34; 16:2,19 etc.)

 

17 “And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed” - it is probable that she had

aided and abetted her husband in his irreligious and schismatic policy. And now

she must drink of his cup: she must be the first to taste its bitterness; she must

bring death to one child and tell of disgrace worse than death to the rest - “and

came to Tirzah:” One would think she would be in no hurry – Tirzah was famed

for its beauty (Song of Solomon 6:4), and for this reason, perhaps, among others

was selected by Jeroboam for his residence. It is not certain that it had taken the

place of  Shechem as the political  capital -  and when she came [the Hebrew is

much more graphic. “She came to… and the child died” - to the threshold of

the door [Hebrew - house], the child died.” - This statement seems at first sight to

contradict that of v.12, which says the child should die as she entered the city.

But the palace may have been on the edge of the city or the “city” may have

been little more than the palace.  The impenitent father lives and the worthless

son lived (Nadabch. 15:25-31).  Sickness is no invariable proof of God’s

displeasure.  “Behold, he who thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3; Hebrews 12:6).

Matthew Henry says “Neither his dignity as a prince, nor his age as a young prince,

nor his interest with heaven as a pious prince could exempt him from sickness”.

Perhaps this child, in whom was some good thing, only needed the discipline of

sickness to make him fruitful in every good work. “After ye have suffered awhile,

 make you perfect,” (I Peter 5:10).  The sickness of his son, while it was a

judgment on Jeroboam, was a warning to Israel. “A cloud and darkness” to

the one; it gave light to the other (Exodus 14:20).

 

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.”  It was a token of the righteous judgment of God that

the same prophet who announced Jeroboam’s exaltation predicted his fall.

 

19  And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he

reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings

of Israel.  20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty

years:” -  The exploits of this long reign find no mention in Scripture; the

historian dwells exclusively on the sin, the consequences of which were of so

 much greater moment! -  and he slept with his fathers,” - Jeroboam’s end

would appear to have been untimely.  After his defeat by Abijah, we are told,

the Lord struck him, and he died,” (II Chronicles 13:20)  which may either

mean that he died by a lingering disease or more suddenly, but which certainly

implies that he died “by the visitation of God.” I have suggested elsewhere

(Homil. Quart. IV., p. 257) that the “stroke” was not improbably his son’s

death, which was at once so tragic and such a bitter foretaste of judgment

to come. He may have “warred and reigned” (v. 19) after this event. He

may also have steadily drooped to his grave - “and Nadab his  son reigned

in his stead.”

 

 

                        The Reign of Rehoboam (vs. 21-31)

 

21 “And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah.  Rehoboam

was forty and one years old when he began to reign, 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.”  The historian reminds

us that Jerusalem was by God’s appointment the religious center of the land; that

Bethel and Dan were no sanctuaries of His choosing; and that, however much the

realm of Rehoboam was restricted, he still reigned in the capital of God’s choice.

It is possible the words have some reference to the next verse, and imply that,

though it was the holy city, yet even there they fell away from God - “And his

mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.”  The name of the mother is

given with every king of Judah, principally because of the position of influence

she occupied in the kingdom.  (Of all things, she was one of the foreign women

King Solomon took into his establishment – one can see the influence of foreign

ideas in American culture today, which will not doubt lead us to experience

those things these wicked people experienced – You too, will know when

you are hiding yourself in the “inner chamber” [ch. 22:25} - CY – 2010)

 

22  And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD,” - not, however,

before the fourth year of Rehoboam’s reign. For the first three Fears the

nation remained steadfast in the faith, and the kingdom was greatly strengthened

and consolidated. The defection commenced when Rehoboam began to feel

himself secure (II Chronicles 12:1). It is to be observed, however, that the historian

says “Judah” (not Rehoboam) “did evil,”  -  It is probable that a considerable

section of the people approved of the idolatrous practices introduced in the

preceding reign, (polls taken to circumvent absolute commands of God?????

does this sound familiar? – CY  - 2010) and that Rehoboam was unable to

repress them. It was his misfortune to have to reap the bitter fruits of Solomon’s

unfaithfulness - “and they provoked Him to jealousy” -  Hebrew - made

Him jealous. Same word, Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Numbers 5:14. The words of

the covenant proclaimed the Lord a, “jealous God.” This is of course

anthropomorphic language. The nation was regarded as the bride of Jehovah,

and God is said to be made jealous, because idolatry was unfaithfulness to Him.

The worship of Baal and Ashtoreth, it must be remembered, involved unutterable

 immoralities, hence the special fitness of the word, which is only used of idolatry

of one kind or other - “with their sins which they had committed, above

all that their fathers had done.”

 

23 “For they also built them high places, and images,” – Hebrew -  pillars or

statues (twObXem"; LXX., sth>lav). These were, no doubt, originally memorial

pillars or stones, erected to commemorate some Divine manifestation, and with no

thought of idolatry (see Genesis 28:18; 31:13; 35:14, 20). But the Canaanites

erected pillars, which were also statues or images, to their god, Baal. Hence we

read of the “image” (hb;Xem") of Baal (II Kings 3:2; 10:26-27; 18:4; 23:14);

and hence also we find such images frequently mentioned side by

side with the so-called “groves,” i.e., the Asherahs” (v. 15; Exodus 34:13;

Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3; 16:21) - Both the Mazzebah and the

Asherah, consequently, was an upright pillar or post, but the former was of

stone, the latter of wood; the former dedicated to Baal, the god of nature,

of generation; the latter to Ashtoreth, the goddess of nature and productive

power. The gradual transition of the memorial pillar into the Baal statue is

hinted at in Leviticus 26:1. It is observable that these idolatrous and immoral rites

seem to have found a home in Judah before they were introduced into Israel.

 and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.”  Probably

the evil example of Maachah, his favorite wife (II Chronicles 11:20-22), whose

idolatrous tastes were displayed under Asa (Ibid.15:16), was not without a

pernicious effect on Rehoboam.

 

24  And there were also sodomites in the land:” - vdeq;, a collective noun =

μyvideQ]h" (ch. 15:12) = consecrated persons or devotees, because they were

set apart to the service of Astarte, the Dea Syria. It is clear from Deuteronomy

23:18 (Hebrew) that male prostitutes are here spoken of, the name of the female

being hv;deq]. The former is described as a dog, the latter as a whore

and they did according to all the abominations of the nations” – (see

Leviticus chps. 18 and 20; Deuteronomy 18:9-12) - “which the LORD cast

out before the children of Israel.”  Here we see a reason for God’s

command, requiring the extirpation of the Canaanites.  (WAKE UP

AMERICA – CY – 2010)

 

25  And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam,” - that is,

two years after king and people forsook the law of the Lord (II Chronicles 12:1).

Retribution seems to have overtaken Judah sooner than Israel. They had the less

excuse, and they seem to have plunged deeper into idolatry and immorality -

that Shishak king of Egypt” – to whom Jeroboam had fled (ch. 11:40)

came up against Jerusalem:”  This expedition is related with somewhat more

detail in II Chronicles 12:2-4.  It was in the twentieth year of his reign that

Shishak, once Jeroboam’s protector and friend, invaded Palestine. It has been

conjectured that he was incited so to do by Jeroboam, and that the two kings

waged war against Judah in concert (see on v. 30). But as to this Scripture is

silent; and moreover if Jeroboam summoned Shishak to his assistance, it is

certain that his own kingdom did not altogether escape invasion; and it is

perhaps more probable that the divided and weakened state of the country

seemed to promise the Egyptian king an easy capture of Jerusalem, of the

treasures of which he had doubtless heard. It is well known that a record

of this expedition exists in the sculptures and inscriptions of the great temple

at Karnak. The bassi relievi of the temple wall contain over 130 figures,

representatives, as the names on the shields show, of so many conquered cities.

Amongst these are found three of the “cities for defense” which Rehoboam had

built, viz., Shoco, Adoraim, and Aijalon (II Chronicles 11:7-10), while many

other towns of Palestine, such as Gibeon, Taanach, Shunem, Megiddo, etc.,

are identified with more or less of probability. One feature in the list is remarkable,

viz., the number of Levitical and Canaanite ciies — cities of Israel — which

Shishak is said to have conquered. The usual inference is that such cities, although

in Jeroboam’s dominions, had nevertheless held out against his rule — the

former for religious reasons; the latter, perhaps, in the effort to recover their

independence.  The silence alike of our historian and of the chronicler as to

the invasion of Israel is easily accounted for by the fact that Judah bore the

brunt of the war.

 

26  And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD,” –

 The historian omits to mention the interposition of Shemaiah (II Chronicles

12:5-8). The account of the Chronicles is altogether much fuller – in v. 8

God makes a very plain statement that all should know either now or

eventually“that ye might know my service, and the service of the

kingdoms of the countries” – (from this I gather that truly “the way of

the transgressors is hard” – [Proverbs 13:15] – CY – 2010)  Contrast

this with the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28:30 – “Come unto me

all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take

my yoke upon you and learn of me;  for I am meek and lowly in

heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy

and my burden is light” -   “and the treasures of the king's house;

he even took away all:” – the spoil must have been enormous -  “and

he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.”

 

27  And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields,” –

 shields of brass or copper; a striking token to the decadence of his

kingdom - “and committed them unto the hands of the chief of

the guard, which kept the door of the king's house.

 

28  And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD,

that the guard bare them,” - Whatever idolatries Rehoboam tolerated or

encouraged, it is clear that he maintained the temple worship with great pomp

and circumstance (very hypocritically). The state visits of the Sultan to the

Mosque may perhaps be best compared with these processions. Here is a

proof of Rehoboam’s vanity. The brazen shields were borne before him in

solemn procession, as if everything were the same as before(Sound

familiar???  - CY – 2010) -  and brought them back into the guard

chamber.”  Solomon’s golden shields were kept “in the house of the

forest of Lebanon (ch. 10:17). These shields of brass were of so little

value that the guard chamber sufficed for their custody.

 

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?

30  And there was war” - But hm;j;l]mi surely implies more than hostility,

enmity or angry feelings or a hostile attitude; and it is highly probable that, even if

there were no organized campaigns, a desultory warfare was constantly carried

on on the borders of the two kingdoms - “between Rehoboam and Jeroboam

all their days.”

 

31  And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his

fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah

an Ammonitess.”  As she is twice called “the Ammonitess it can hardly

be doubted that she was one of the Ammonitesses (ch. 11:1) who turned

away Solomon’s heart; and it is also certain that Rehoboam did not inherit his

folly from his father. “And Abijam (Abijah) his son reigned in his stead.”

 

 

                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES

 

                             The Invasion of Shishak (v. 25)

 

Three years after the death of David, the foundations of the temple, the

glory of that age — some have called it orbis miraculum, the marvel of

every age — were laid. Four years after the death of Solomon his son —

some forty years, that is to say, after its foundation, three and thirty years

after its completion, according to some only twenty years after its dedication –

the treasures of that temple, its gold and gems, were carried

off by an invader. A short time after his accession, again, Solomon made

alliance with the strongest and proudest of the empires of that age, with

Egypt, and a Hebrew, one whose forefathers were Pharaoh’s bondmen,

was gladly recognized as great Pharaoh’s son-in-law. A short time after his

death, this same Egyptian kingdom is become an assailant of Solomon’s

son, and Pharaoh is turned to be the oppressor and plunderer of his

realm.  For a great part of Solomon’s reign it was the boast of the people that an

Egyptian princess occupied one of his splendid palaces in Jerusalem, but he

has not been long dead before those same palaces are rifled by Egyptian

princes, and Jerusalem is environed by the legions of Shishak.

And yet that temple, the magnificence of which has been so short-lived,

which was hardly completed ere it was despoiled, was built to the name of

the Lord, and as a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. And as such it

was accepted by Him. That house had had a greater glory and consecration

than of gold and precious stones, for “the glory of the Lord had filled the

house of the Lord” (ch. 8:11). Why, then, is it, we may well ask,

as the men of that age would ask, that it is so soon left comparatively

desolate? Cannot the Deity to whom it was dedicated protect it against

spoliation. Or have His worshippers provoked Him to anger, so that He

has “abhorred His sanctuary,” and “delivered His glory into the

 enemies’ hand”?

 

For we may be quite sure that there was a profound reason for this

profound dishonor and disgrace. We cannot account for the fact that the

temple of the Lord, the “house of the great God” (Ezra 5:8), was

stripped bare and left a wreck within a few years of its erection, on the

supposition that a chance happened to it, and that it only suffered as other

shrines have done from the vicissitudes of fortune and the impartial,

inevitable havoc of war. But if we feel at liberty to interpret other histories by

a theory of chance, that idea must be excluded in thinking of God’s people.

If their history was fortuitous, then the Old Testament is a delusion. No;

we may not be able always to trace the finger of God in profane history,

but it will be passing strange if we cannot recognize it here.

Now the immediate cause of the invasion was, no doubt, the divided and

therefore weakened state of the kingdom. We might have been tempted to

think that Jeroboam had summoned his patron Shishak to his aid, had we

not proof that Israel as well as Judah suffered from this campaign. And of

course it is possible that Jeroboam instigated a war which ultimately

extended to his own kingdom. But it is obvious that Shishak would need

no invitation to attack Jerusalem. The fame of its immense treasure is quite

sufficient of itself to account for his advance. So long as it was guarded by

the armies of Solomon it was secure. But Rehoboam, whose troops would

not number a third of his father’s, and who was paralyzed by the hostility

of Israel crouching like a wild beast on his northern border, offered an easy

prey to a general with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen, and “people

without number” under his command.  (Of what import is this to us when we

think of those who would neuter the United States military? – CY – 2010)

 

We see, then, that it was the treasures of the Holy City — the vast

accumulation of the precious metals — which excited the cupidity of the

Egyptians, while their defenseless state suggested the idea of seizing them.

Observe here:

 

  • THE RETRIBUTION OF SOLOMON’S SIN.

 

ü      Of his greed and pride. He has “multiplied silver and gold to

      himselfin violation of a command of God (Deuteronomy 17:17)

                        only to provoke an invasion of his territory and the humiliation of his

                        people. If he had obeyed the law; if he had been content to embellish

                        the house of the Lord and leave the palaces alone; if his overweening

                        pride and his insatiable thirst for fame had not prompted him to amass

                        treasures which excited universal attention, it is probable that Judah

                        would have escaped invasion. In this case “pride has gone before

                        destruction  (Proverbs 16:18).  The very magnitude of his treasures

                        led to their dispersion.

 

ü      Of his idolatry. We have already seen how this sin (ch. 11:5-8)

                        was punished by the partition of his realm. In the plunder of his

                        palaces, provoked and made possible by that division, we see a

                        further recompense of his outrage and defiance of the Almighty.

                        The hills on which his idol altars were erected now swarmed with

                        idolaters, assembled not to sacrifice, but to slay. We are

                        reminded here of the retribution which befell the Jerusalem of a

                        later day. On one of the hills before Jerusalem the Jews raised a

                        crossthey crucified the Prince of Life. On all the hills that are

                        round about Jerusalem, the Romans raised crosses, the crosses of

                        His murderers (Josephus, Bell. Jud. 5:11.1).

 

ü      Of his multiplication of horses. For it is to be remembered from

      what quarter the retribution came. There is an exquisite judicial

      propriety in an invasion from Egypt, and an invasion of chariots

      and horses. This was retaliation in the proper sense of the word;

       it was like for like. Why, there was almost a beaten track made

      for those same chariots by the horses and chariots which Solomon

      had imported in such prodigious numbers (once again in violation

      of a command of God – Deuteronomy 17:16).   Literally the trade

      of horses paved the way for the horses of war. This illegal

                        traffic had long since familiarized Egyptian charioteers with the

                        shortest way to the Holy City.

 

ü      Of his multiplication of wives. Solomon’s lawful wife came from

      Egypt.  Had he been true to her, he would probably have been true

      to his Lord God (ch.11:3), and so his realm would have escaped

      invasion. It is a kind of Nemesis for the wrong done to his Egyptian

      consort that his harem was plundered by Egyptians. There are those

      who connect Napoleon’s fall with the repudiation of Josephine. The

      judge of the widow” (Psalm 68:5) is also the avenger of the

      injured and dishonored wife (Hebrews 13:4). Human laws seldom

      take cognizance of these, the deepest of wrongs, but the cry of the

      heart-broken woman goes up into the ears of One who has said,

      “I will repay” (Romans 12:19).

 

  • THE PUNISHMENT OF REHOBOAM’S FOLLY AND SIN.

 

ü      Of his obstinacy. For in the first place, but for his infatuation,

      humanly speaking, the kingdom would have escaped division,

      and the land would have escaped invasion. That infatuation, it is

      true, was the product of his breeding and his training, but that

      consideration does not wholly exonerate him from blame. No man

      can charge his parents or surroundings with his sin. The law does

      not excuse the thief on the ground that from infancy he has been

      taught to steal. Rehoboam was a free agent, and ought to have

                        acted otherwise, and doubtless he knew it when it was too late.

 

ü      Of his pride. It was his pride that rejected all compromise, and

      had prated of scorpions  It had been humbled once in the

      dismemberment of his realm. It must be humbled again in the

      spoliation of his palaces. For observe, it was when he “had

       strengthened himself” (II Chronicles 12:1) that Shishak came

      to prove his weakness. Paul is not the only one who has had to

      learn the lesson, “When I am weak, then am I strong.”

      (II Corinthians 12:10) -  It is extremely probable that this

      vainglorious prince, after losing most of his realm, still piqued

      himself on the abundance of his treasures. His trust was in his

      shields of gold. So he must be reduced to shields of pinchbeck.

 

ü      Of his infidelity. “He forsook the law of the Lord” (IIChronicles

      loc. cit.)  Much as his father had done before him. “What the old

      sing,” says the German proverb, “the young chirp.” That is to say,

      he still worshipped Jehovah (v.28; cf. ch. 9:25), but he sanctioned,

      or did not suppress, idolatry. The son of an Ammonitess, he would

      find it difficult to trample on the gods of his mother (ch. 11:5), and he

      was probably too much afraid of another insurrection to stamp out

      the abominations of vs. 23-24.

 

  • THE RECOMPENSE OF ISRAEL’S IDOLATRIES. Though the

            chronicler informs us that Rehoboam “forsook the law and all Israel

            with him, yet it seems probable from vs. 22, 24, “And Judah did evil,”

            etc., that he rather followed than led his people. He could hardly fail,

            at first, to see that his strength lay in a rigid adherence to the law; that his

            policy was one of piety. The Levites and others who streamed into Judah,

            shocked by the innovations of Jeroboam, cannot fail to have suggested that

            his role was orthodoxy. It is probable, therefore, that it was not until a large

            section of his people, infected with the superstitions and vices they had

            learned in Solomon’s reign, clamored for the tolerance of shameful

            shrines, that he yielded to idolatry. (“Might makes right” and everybody

            is doing it” syndrome – CY – 2010).  Ver. 25 seems to connect the

            invasion directly with the people’s sin. But for the high places and images,

            etc., the land would have been spared this humiliation. It is to be carefully

            noted that, so long as the king and people served the Lord, Shishak was held

            back from attacking them. Hence we understand why Judah receives earlier

            and greater stripes than Israel.   It was Jeroboam who made Israel to sin. It was

            Judah made Rehoboam to sin. The guilty people, accordingly, are punished

            by the invasion of their land and the spoliation of their treasure; the guilty king

            by the destruction of his house. And here again, let us observe, how

            significant that the chastisement should come from Egypt. Time was when

            God had punished the idolatries of Egypt through the instrumentality of the

            Jewish people (Exodus chps. 7-14.) Now the tables are turned, and Egypt

            is employed to avenge the idolatries of Judah. This was the first time

            that an Egyptian army had crossed their border — the first time, indeed,

            that the land had sustained the brunt of any invasion. It was the Sodomites

            and the like had drawn forth those swords from their scabbards. What a

            contrast between Exodus 14 and I Kings 14. Israel, who then “saw the

            Egyptians dead upon the seashore” (Exodus 14:30), now feels the grip

            of Pharaoh at his throat, and the iron of Pharaoh in his soul.

 

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