1 Kings 14
Barnes' Notes
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
At that time - The phrase here connects the narrative which follows with Jeroboam's persistence in his evil courses. The event related is the first judgment upon him for his obduracy, the beginning of the cutting off of his house from the face of the earth.

Abijah - We see by this name that Jeroboam did not intend to desert the worship of Yahweh, since its signification is "Yahweh is my father," or "Yahweh is my desire" Job 34:36.

And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, 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.
Disguise thyself - Jeroboam fears that even Ahijah the Shilonite, who in some sort made him king, will scarcely give his queen a favorable answer. The king's conscience tells him that he has not performed the conditions on which he was promised "a sure house" 1 Kings 11:38.

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.
See the marginal reference The presents here were selected for the purpose of deception, being such as a poor country person would have been likely to bring. Jeroboam counted also on Ahijah's blindness 1 Kings 14:4 as favoring his plan of deception (compare Genesis 27:1, Genesis 27:22).

Cracknels - See the margin. The Hebrew word is thought to mean a kind of cake which crumbled easily.

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.
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.
Feign herself to be another woman - literally, "she shall make herself strange," i. e., "she shall come in disguised." So 1 Kings 14:6.

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.
For I am sent to thee - Rather, "I also am sent to thee." As thou hast a message to me from thy husband, so have I a message to thee from the Lord.

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,
As Jeroboam's appointment to the kingdom had been formally announced to him by the prophet Ahijah, so the same prophet is commissioned to acquaint him with his forfeiture of it. Compare 1 Samuel 15:26-28.

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;
But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:
Above all that were before thee - i. e., above all previous rulers of the people, whether Judges or kings. Hereto none of the rulers of Israel had set up the idolatrous worship of ephod, teraphim, and the like Judges 18:17, as a substitute for the true religion, or sought to impose an idolatrous system on the nation. Gideon's ephod "became a snare" contrary to his intention Judges 8:27. Solomon's high places were private - built for the use of his wives, and not designed to attract the people. Jeroboam was the first ruler who set himself to turn the Israelites away from the true worship, and established a poor counterfeit of it, which he strove to make, and succeeded in making, the religion of the great mass of his subjects.

And hast cast me behind thy back - A very strong and very rare expression, occurring again only in Ezekiel 23:35; where it is said of the Jews generally, shortly before the captivity. The expressions in the marginal references are similar but less fearful.

Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
All the males of the family of Jeroboam were put to death by Baasha 1 Kings 15:28-29. The phrase "will cut off," etc., appears to have been a common expression among the Jews from the time of David 1 Samuel 25:22 to that of Jehu 2 Kings 9:8, but scarcely either before or after. We may suspect that, where the author of Kings uses it, he found it in the documents which he consulted.

Him that is shut up and left in Israel - See the marginal reference note.

And will take away the remnant ... - The idea is, that the whole family is to be cleared away at once, as men clear away ordure or any vile refuse.

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: for the LORD hath spoken it.
The dogs are the chief scavengers of Oriental cities (compare Psalm 59:6, Psalm 59:14). And the vulture is the chief scavenger in the country districts, assisted sometimes by kites and crows (see Job 39:27-30, where the vulture, not the eagle, is intended). Vultures are very abundant in Palestine.

Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
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.
The child was evidently a prince of some promise. It is probable that he was heir to the throne.

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.
The Hebrew text of this verse appears to be defective in this place. No satisfactory sense can be obtained from it. The true meaning of the original passage is possibly: "Yahweh shall raise up a king who will destroy the house of Jeroboam on the day that he is raised up. What do I say? He will destroy it even now."

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
The general prophecy of Moses Deuteronomy 29:28, that the disobedient Israelites would be rooted up out of their land, and cast into another land, is here for the first time repeated, and is definitively applied to the ten tribes, which are to be removed "beyond the river" (the Euphrates, 1 Kings 4:21, 1 Kings 4:24), and "scattered." On the fulfillment of this prophecy, and especially on the "scattering" of the ten tribes, see 2 Kings 17:6 note.

Groves - See Exodus 34:13 note. The grove or, "asherah"-) worship, adopted from the Canaanite nations, appears to have died away after the fierce onslaught which Gideon made upon it Judges 6:25-31. It now revived, and became one of the most popular of the idolatries both in Israel and Judah (1 Kings 14:23, and compare the marginal references).

And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
Jeroboam had by this time removed from Shechem, and established a new capital in Tirzah, one of the old Canaanite towns Joshua 12:24 - a town of great reputation for beauty, counted in that respect on a par with Jerusalem Sol 6:4. Tirzah is perhaps to be identified with "Telluzah," a place in the mountains about 9 miles distant from Shechem (Nablous) (or with Teiasir - Conder). It may have been the palatial residence of the kings rather than the actual capital of the country. It remained the capital until Omri built Samaria 1 Kings 16:23-24. Toward the close of the kingdom it appears again as the city of Menahem, who murdered Shallum and succeeded him 2 Kings 15:14.

The threshold of the door - literally," the threshold of the house." Compare the prophecy 1 Kings 14:12. The child actually died as she crossed the threshold of the palace. Probably the palace, like that of Sargon at Khorsabad, lay at the outer edge of the town.

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.
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.
The wars of Jeroboam may be divided into:

(1) his wars with Rehoboam (see 1 Kings 14:25, 1 Kings 14:30); and

(2) his war with Abijam (see the marginal reference).

The book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel - (of Judah, 1 Kings 14:29). See the Introduction.

And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.
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. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
On the age of Rehoboam at his accession, see 1 Kings 12:8 note. The 17 years of his reign must have been complete, or a little more than complete, if Abijam ascended the throne in the "eighteenth" year of Jeroboam 1 Kings 15:1.

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.
This defection of Judah did not take place until Rehoboam's fourth year (marginal reference).

They provoked him to jealousy - Compare Exodus 20:5; and on the force of the metaphor involved in the word, see Exodus 34:15 note.

For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
The words "they also" are emphatic. Not only did the Israelites make themselves high places 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32, but the people of Judah also. The "high places," which are said to have been "built," were probably small shrines or tabernacles hung with bright-colored tapestry Ezekiel 16:16, like the "sacred tent" of the Carthaginians.

The "images" were rather "pillars" (Genesis 28:18 note).

Groves - See 1 Kings 14:15, note. The "groves," it will be observed, were "built" on high hills and "under green trees."

Under every green tree - i. e., under all those remarkable trees which, standing singly about the land, were landmarks to their respective neighborhoods, and places of resort to travelers, who gladly rested under their shade Deuteronomy 12:2.

And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Sodomites - literally, " (men) consecrated." The men in question were in fact "consecrated" to the mother of the gods, the famous "Dea Syra," whose priests, or rather devotees, they were considered to be. The nature of the ancient idolatries is best understood by recollecting that persons of this degraded class practiced their abominable trade under a religious sanction.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
The examination of the famous inscription of Shishak at Karnak has resulted in the proof that the expedition commemorated was directed against Palestine, and has further thrown a good deal of light on the relations of the two kingdoms at the period. Of the fifteen fenced cities fortified by Rehoboam in the early part of his reign 2 Chronicles 11:5-12, three, Shoco, Adoraim, and Aijalon are distinctly mentioned among Shishak's conquests. Other towns of Judah or Benjamin also occur. Further, a considerable number of the captured cities are in the territory of Jeroboam: these cities "are either Canaanite or Levitical." Hence, we gather, that, during the four years which immediately followed the separation of the kingdoms, Rehoboam retained a powerful hold on the dominions of his rival, many Canaanite and Levitical towns acknowledging his sovereignty, and maintaining themselves against Jeroboam, who probably called in Shishak mainly to assist him in compelling these cities to submission. The campaign was completely successful.

And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
The circumstances of Shishak's invasion, related here with extreme brevity, are given with some fulness by the author of Chronicles (marginal reference). It is still a question whether the submission of the Jewish king is or is not expressly recorded in the Karnak inscription. Midway in the list of cities and tribes occurs the entry "YUDeH-MALK" which it has been proposed to translate "Judah, king." Others regard it as the name of a Palestinian town not otherwise known to us.

And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house.
And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
It appears from this verse that Rehoboam, notwithstanding that he encouraged, and perhaps secretly practiced, idolatry (1 Kings 14:22-24, compare 1 Kings 15:3, 1 Kings 15:12; 2 Chronicles 12:1), maintained a public profession of faith in Yahweh, and attended in state the temple services. Compare the conduct of Solomon, 1 Kings 9:25.

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?
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
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. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
Slept with his fathers and was buried ... - Compare 1 Kings 11:43. The expression is a sort of formula, and is used with respect to all the kings of Judah, except two or three. The writer probably regards the fact, which he records so carefully, as a continuation of God's mercy to David.

His mother's name ... - The mention of the queen-mother so regularly in the account of the kings of Judah is thought to indicate that she had an important position in the state. There are, however, only two instances where such a person seems to have exercised any power 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 11:1-20.

Abijam - Abijah (see the marginal reference) was probably his real name, while Abijam is a form due to the religious feeling of the Jews, who would not allow the word JAH to be retained as an element in the name of so bad a king. Instances of a similar feeling are the change of Bethel" into Beth-aven in Hosea 1 Kings Hosea 4:15, and perhaps of Jehoahaz into Ahaz (2 Kings 15:38 note).

Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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