Matthew Poole's Commentary
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.Jeroboam sendeth his wife disguised, and with presents, to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh, to inquire concerning his son, who was sick, 1 Kings 14:1-4. He, forewarned by God, denounceth his ruin because of idolatry; and the death of his child; and the destruction of Israel, 1 Kings 14:5-16. His son dieth, and is buried; and he likewise: Nadab his son succeedeth, 1 Kings 14:17-20. Rehoboam and Judah sin against the Lord, 1 Kings 4:21-24. Shishak king of Egypt spoileth Jerusalem, 1 Kings 14:25-28. He dieth, and Abijam his son suceeedeth, 1 Kings 14:29-31.
Either, first, Presently after the things described in the former chapter; which though related in the beginning of his reign, yet might be done a good while after it, and so Ahijah the prophet might be very old, as he is described to be, 1 Kings 14:4. Or, secondly, Many years after it, i.e. whilst Jeroboam persisted in his former course; for this phrase is oft used indefinitely, and without respect to the time last mentioned before it, as Daniel 12:1 Matthew 4:1. Abijah fell sick, by the stroke of God, to punish Jeroboam’s rebellion against God.
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.Jeroboam said to his wife; partly, because he would trust none else with this secret; partly, because she might, without suspicion, inquire concerning her own child; and partly, because she would inquire most exactly and diligently, and faithfully acquaint him with the whole truth.
Disguise thyself; change thy habit and voice, and go like a private and obscure person.
That thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: this caution proceeded, first, From the pride of his heart, which made him loth to confess his folly in worshipping such ignorant and helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken. Secondly, From jealousy and suspicion, lest the prophet knowing this, should either give her no answer, or make it worse than indeed it was. Thirdly, From policy, lest his people should by his example be drawn to forsake the senseless calves, and to return to the God of Judah, whom they had rashly forsaken.
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.A cruse of honey; a present, after the manner, Judges 13:17 1 Samuel 9:7,8 2 Kings 5:15 8:8; but mean, as became an ordinary country woman, which she personated.
And go to him, to inquire the event of this sickness, as the following words imply.
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.Or, stood still, or were grown stiff; the nerves, by which the eyes and eye-lids are moved, being contracted and withered.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.By this discovery he both reproves their folly, who thought to conceal themselves or their designs from that God from whom they expected and desired the discovery of the most secret things; and withal gives her assurance of the truth and certainty of that message which he was to deliver.
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,They were God’s people when Jeroboam was first set over them.
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;As my servant David; who though he fell into some sins, yet, first, he constantly persevered in the true worship of God, from which thou art revolted; secondly, he heartily repented of and turned from all his sins, whereas thou art obstinate and incorrigible.
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; above all the former kings of my people, as Saul, and Solomon, and Rehoboam.
Other gods, and molten images, or other gods, to wit, (for so and oft signifies among the Hebrews, as hath been formerly noted,)
molten images, namely, the golden calves; which he calls others gods, not as if the Israelites esteemed the calves made of their own gold to be gods indeed, which it is incredible should find belief with any man in his wits, especially with the whole body of the Israelites, who knew that the ark and cherubims, though made by God’s special direction, were not gods, but only pledges of God’s presence, &c.; nor as if they thought them to be
other gods in a strict and proper sense; for it is apparent that they still pretended to worship the God of their fathers, as the Jews at Jerusalem did, though in a differing manner: but only because God rejected their whole worship; and howsoever they called or accounted it, he reckoned it a manifest defection from him, and a betaking of themselves to other gods, or devils, as they are called, 2 Chronicles 11:15, by whose instigation they were led to such idolatrous practices, and whom alone they served and worshipped therein, whatsoever pretences they had to the contrary.
To provoke me to anger, i.e. whereby thou didst provoke me; for otherwise this was not Jeroboam’s design in it, but only to establish himself in the throne.
Cast me behind thy back; despised, and disregarded, and forsaken me, and my commands, and my worship, as we do things which we cast behind our backs.
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.See Poole "1 Samuel 25:22".
Him that is shut up and left; those who had escaped the fury of their enemies invading them, either because they were shut up in caves, or castles, or strong towns; or because they were left, overlooked or neglected by them, or spared as poor, impotent, helpless creatures. But now, saith he, they shall be all searched out, and brought to destruction. See Poole "Deu 32:26".
As a man taketh away dung; which they remove as a loathsome thing out of their houses, and that thoroughly and universally.
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.So both sorts shall die unburied.
Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.Presently upon thy entrance into the city; when thou art gone but a little way in it, even as far as to the threshold of the king’s door, 1 Kings 14:17, which possibly was near the gates of the city. And by the event of this branch judge of the truth of the rest of my prophecy.
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.All Israel shall mourn for him; either, first, for the loss of so worthy and hopeful a person; or, secondly, for the sad calamities which should follow his death, which possibly his moderation, and wisdom, and virtue might have prevented, whereof his death was a certain presage and evidence. So they should mourn, not simply for him, but for their own loss in him.
Shall come to the grave; shall have the honour of burial, denied to the rest, 1 Kings 14:11.
Some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel; some pious inclinations and intentions of taking away the calves, or of permitting or obliging his people to go up to Jerusalem to worship, if God gave him life and authority to do it, and of trusting God with his kingdom in that case.
In the house of Jeroboam; which is added for his greater commendation; he was good in the midst of so many temptations and wicked examples; a good branch of a bad stock.
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.Baasha, 1 Kings 15:28.
Who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day; when he is so raised; in the very beginning of his reign, 1 Kings 15:29.
But what? but what do I say, he shall raise, as it were a thing to be done at a great distance of time? he hath already raised him in some sort; the man is now in being, if not in power, who shall do this; this judgment shall be shortly executed.
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 Lord shall smite Israel, because they obeyed Jeroboam’s wicked command of worshipping the calves, and that willingly, Hosea 5:11.
As a reed is shaken in the water; easily and variously, hither and thither, with every wind; so shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars, by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people. See 2 Kings 17:18.
Beyond the river, to wit, Euphrates, oft so called by way of eminency, as Genesis 15:18 31:21 1 Kings 4:21,24. This was accomplished in part, 2 Kings 15:29, and more fully 2 Kings 17:6.
Because they have made their groves, for the worship of their idols, Exodus 34:13 Deu 16:21. God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they designed or pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into another and a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves. See Poole "1 Kings 18:19".
And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.To wit, by his invention, and making of the occasion of their sin, the calves; by his example, by encouraging those, and only those, that worshipped the calves; and by his authority, requiring and compelling them to do it. This is mentioned as a monstrous aggravation of his wickedness, that he was not content with his own sin, but was the great author and chief cause of drawing others into sin, and of corrupting and undoing the whole kingdom; which therefore God would never forgive him, nor forget him, but upon all occasions mentions him with this eternal brand of infamy upon him.
And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;Tirzah; an ancient and royal city, Joshua 12:24, in a pleasant place, Song of Solomon 6:4, where the kings of Israel had a palace, 1 Kings 15:33 16:6,8,15,23; whither Jeroboam was removed from Shechem, either for his pleasure, or for his son’s recovery, by the healthfulness of the place.
To the threshold of the door, to wit, of the king’s house, which probably was upon or by the wall of the city, and near the gate, which was the place of judicature. See 1 Kings 14:12.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Heb. in the book of the words or things of the days, & c. By which you are not to understand that canonical book of the Chronicles, for that was written long after this book; but a book of civil records, the annals, wherein all remarkable passages were recorded by the king’s command from day to day; out of which the sacred penman, by the direction of God’s Spirit, took those passages which were most considerable and useful for God’s honour, and men’s edification.
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.So he lived till Asa’s second year, 1 Kings 15:25.
He slept with his fathers; either, first, He was buried with his ancestors. But their sepulchre seems to be too mean and improper for a great king; and kings used to be buried in peculiar sepulchres. Or, secondly, He died, as his fathers did.
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.Rehoboam was forty and one years old; therefore he was born a year before Solomon was king, as appears from 1 Kings 11:42. This is noted as an aggravation of Rehoboam’s folly, that he was old enough to have been wiser.
An Ammonitess; a people cursed by God, and shut out of the congregation of his people for ever, Deu 23:3 Nehemiah 13:1. This is observed as one cause both of God’s displeasure in punishing Solomon with such a son, and of Rehoboam’s apostacy after his three first years, 2 Chronicles 11:17.
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.Judah did evil, after a little time, 2 Chronicles 11:17.
For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.They also built them high places; they followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, which was denied to the Israelites; and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites to and stablish them, and the dreadful example of Israel’s horrid apostacy to caution and terrify them. The building of high places was unlawful, and now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command to the contrary.
Images and groves; not only after the manner of the heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition.
Under every green tree: the people were universally corrupted; which is a prodigious sin, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man’s nature, which without God’s grace is ready to break forth into all sorts of wickedness.
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, i.e. males, who prostituted their bodies to the filthy lusts of others; of whom See Poole "Deu 23:17"; who also did this in the worship and to the honour of their idols as also the women did, Numbers 25:1,2. And this might be one occasion of so great a spreading of idolatry among the lustful Israelites. And, on the other side, God doth frequently punish idolatry with corporeal uncleanness, Romans 1:21,28. See 1 Kings 15:12 22:46 2 Kings 23:7.
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:In the fifth year of king Rehoboam; presently after his and his people’s apostacy, which was not till his fourth year; when the apostical Israelites enjoyed peace and some kind of prosperity, at first, for many years together; of which difference two reasons may be given: first, That Judah’s sins were committed against clearer light, and more powerful means and remedies of all sorts, and therefore deserved more severe and speed judgments. Secondly, that God discovered more love to Judah in chastising them speedily, that so they might be humbled, and reformed, and so graciously preserved, as it happened; and more anger against Israel, that he spared them, and by their impunity hardened and ripened them to that total destruction which he intend ed to bring upon them.
Shishak king of Egypt; of whom see 1 Kings 11:40 2 Chronicles 12:2, &c., where this history is more fully described. He is thought by many to be Solomon’s brother-in-law. But how little such relations signify among princes, when their interest is concerned, all histories witness. Besides, Rehoboam was not Solomon’s son by Pharaoh’s daughter, and so the relation was in a manner extinct.
Came up against Jerusalem; either from ambition, and a desire to enlarge his empire; or from jealousy of Rehoboam’s growing greatness; of which see 2Ch 11; or by Jeroboam’s instigation; or from a covetous desire of possessing these great treasures which David and Solomon had left; and, above all, by God’s providence, disposing his heart to this expedition for Rehoboam’s punishment.
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.He took away the treasures; it is implied, that first he took the city; which may seem strange considering the great strength of that city, and how much time it took Nebuchadnezzar and Titus to take it. But, first, It might cost Shishak also some time and a long siege ere he took it, though that be not here related. Secondly, It is probable that David and Solomon, in their building and altering of this city, had more respect to state and magnificence than to its defence, as having no great cause to fear the invasion of any enemies, and being too secure in reference to their posterity, because of God’s promise of the kingdom to be continued to them and to their seed for ever. And it is probable and certain, that after the division between Judah and Israel, the kings of Judah did add very much to the fortifications of this city.
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.Whereas the golden shields, as being more precious, were kept in a certain place.
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.When the king went into the house of the Lord; by which it seems the affliction had done him some good, and brought him back to the worship of God, which he had forsaken.
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?Such a book of chronicles as that mentioned above, 1 Kings 14:19.
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.Not an invasive war with potent armies, which was forbidden, 1 Kings 12:24, and not revived until Abijam’s reign, 2Ch 13; but a defensive war from those hostilities which by small parties and skirmishes they did to one another.
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.His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess; this is repeated as a thing very observable. See Poole "1 Kings 14:21".