At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
Verse 1. - At that time [or about (כְּ) that time. The king is now settled at Tirzah (ver. 17). In 1 Kings 12:25 we left him residing at Shechem. The time referred to is that somewhat indefinite period mentioned in 1 Kings 13:33, 34. These opening words clearly connect the sickness with Jeroboam's impenitence. What led the king to move his Court to Tirzah, Shechem being, as we have already seen, not only the capital of Ephraim, but "the natural capital of Palestine," "its central situation, its accessibility, and its wonderfully fine water supply" giving it "advantages not enjoyed by any other city in the land" (Conder), we are not told; but it is interesting and instructive to find that it has one conspicuous disadvantage as a capital, viz., that it is "commanded by a hill on either side so close to the town, that the old geographer, Marino Sanuto, in the fourteenth century, considers the place to be untenable by any military force, because stones might be rolled clown upon the houses, from either Ebal or Gerizim" (Conder, p. 16. Cf. Judges 9:36). It is very probable that this consideration suggested the transfer, of which Ewald despaired of discovering the cause ("Hist. Israel," 4:23)] Abijah [Rawlinson sees in the name, which 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 (1 Kings 11:28). But the name was not uncommon - it was borne by a son of Rehoboam (ver. 31; compare Ahijah, below), and inferences from names must necessarily be precarious] the son of Jeroboam fell sick. [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].
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.
Verse 2. - And Jeroboam said to his wife [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" (Bp. Hall). Jeroboam evidently suspected that this sickness was punitive, and he would not have others think so too], Arise, I pray thee, and disguise [lit., change. The word suggests that the disguise was to be effected by a change of garments. "She must put off her robes and put on a russet coat" (ib.) Possibly the queen was not unknown to the prophet (ver. 4)] thyself, that thou [Observe the archaic form אַתִּי for אַתְּ, which latter the Keri would substitute, quite needlessly, here] be not known [Heb. and they (i.e., those whom she met, not the prophet only) shall not know that thou art, etc.] to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh [the modern Seilun. "There is no site in the country fixed with greater certainty than that of Shiloh" (Conder, p. 44. See Judges 21:19). The identification, however, was only effected in 1838. Conder gives some interesting particulars which lead him to believe that we can identify the very site of the tabernacle. For its history, see Joshua 16:5; Joshua 18:1-10; Judges 18:31; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 4:3; Jeremiah 41:5. Presuming that Tirzah is to be identified with Teiasir (see on ver. 17) 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 [see on 1 Kings 11:29. Shiloh was probably the birthplace, as well as the residence, of Ahijah. It was in the territory of Ephraim (Joshua 16:6), and at no great distance from Bethel. 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 [Heb. he spake of me for king] over this people. [So that he had already proved himself a true prophet, and so far a prophet of good.]
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.
Verse 3. - And take with thee [Heb. in thine hand] ten loaves [Ten would seem to have been a usual number (1 Samuel 17:18). On the subject of gifts or fees to prophets, judges, etc., see on ch. 13:7], and cracknels [or cakes, as marg. The original word נִקֻּדִּים (תךגעפעפ נָקַד) means "pricked," or "spotted." It is the word translated "mouldy" in Joshua 9:5, 12, where Gesenius would render "crumbs." Mouldy bread would hardly be taken as a present. These cakes, according to the LXX., Cod. Alex., were for the prophet's children] and a cruse [i.e., leather bottle, בַּקְבֻּק Bakbuk, is clearly an onomatopoetic word, suggested by the bubbling noise of liquids in emptying] of honey [Spices and other delicacies were often given as presents, and honey was a special product of the country (Exodus 3:8; Deuteronomy 8:8; 2 Samuel 17:29. The honey sent by Jacob to Joseph was probably "honey of grapes"). The present was purposely a poor one, for the sake of maintaining the deception; i.e., it was a part of the disguise], and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of [Heb. be to] the child. [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 1 Kings 13:6, for a cure. But we find the same peculiarity, which some would explain by the fatalism of the East, in 2 Kings 1:2, and ch. 8:9, In the present instance, however, no such explanation is needed. For
(1) Jeroboam could hardly ask a favour of a prophet of Jehovah, or hope that it would be granted if he did, and
(2) 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, who nevertheless was believed to be able to divine the issue of the sickness, is very characteristic, and has had many parallels since.
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.
Verse 4. - And Jeroboam's wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came [probably on the second day] to the house of Ahijah. But [rather Now] Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set [Heb. stood. Same word as in 1 Samuel 4:15. Cf. Genesis 27:1. In amaurosis the pupil is set, and does not contract with the light. A partial paralysis of the optic nerve is common in extreme old age] by reason of his age. [Heb. for hoariness, i.e. old 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.
Verse 5. - And the Lord said unto Ahijah [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" (Hall)]. Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son [or concerning אֶל, properly "to," ad, has the meaning of de, after verbs of speaking. Cf. Genesis 20:2; 1 Samuel 4:19, etc.; Jeremiah 40:16. Gesenius remarks on the similar use of εἰς in the New Testament: Acts 2:25; Ephesians 5:32]; for he is sick: thus and thus [cf. Judges 18:4; 2 Samuel 11:25. זֹה is a form of זלֺאת] shalt thou say unto her, for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman [Heb. make herself strange].
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.
Verse 6. - And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound [Heb. voice] of her feet as she came in [בָּאָה should strictly be plural, in agreement with רַגְלֶיהָ feet. It is in the singular, probably because the writer is thinking of the woman. But see Ewald, 317 a, and cf. 1 Samuel 4:15] at [Heb. in] the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? [Heb. makest thyself strange, as in ver. 5] for [the Heb. "and" brings out the meaning much better, which is, "Thou art cleverly playing a part, and I all the while have a message," etc.] I am sent to thee with heavy [same word as in 1 Kings 12:13; there translated rough] tidings. [Heb. omits. For the construction see Ewald, 284 c.]
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,
Verse 7. - Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord Cod of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people [compare 2 Samuel 12:8; Psalm 78:70; 1 Kings 16:2], 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],
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;
Verse 8. - And rent [same word as in the former prophecy of Ahijah, 1 Kings 11:30, 31] the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David [who had been proposed to Jeroboam as his example, 1 Kings 11:38. This name, as that of a prince of the rival house, would now be almost hateful to Jeroboam], who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart [cf. 1 Kings 11:33, 38; 1 Kings 15:5], 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:
Verse 9. - But hast done evil above all that were before thee [perhaps preceding kings are not meant, so much as judges - judices et duces Israelis (Le Clerc). Kings, however, are not excluded. Both Saul and Solomon had sinned (1 Samuel passim; 1 Kings 11:5, 6), though neither had set up an organized idolism and "made Israel to sin"]: 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, viz., the calves of Bethel and Dan], to provoke me to anger [This was the result, not, of course, the object of Jeroboam's idolatrous worship], and hast cast me [The order of the Hebrew stamps the "me" as emphatic, "and ME hast thou cast, etc.] 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]:
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.
Verse 10. - Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house [The punishment fell on the house (1 Kings 15:29), not, however, to the exclusion of the prime offender (2 Chronicles 13:20; cf. 1 Kings 21:29). The reader will observe that the judgments denounced against Jeroboam's sin, like all those of the Old Testament, are temporal. The recompense to come is completely ignored. These severe retributions are calculated and proportioned precisely as if there were no hereafter] of Jeroboam, and win cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall [This phrase, which Rawlinson observes is confined to the period from David to Jehu, is by him, and generally, understood to mean "every male." (It is found in 1 Samuel 25:22; 1 Kings 16:11; 1 Kings 21:21; and 2 Kings 9:8.) But it is noteworthy, as Gesenius has remarked, that this is not a habit of Eastern men. Every traveller 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; 1 Samuel 24:3). Some, consequently, have been led to suppose that the reference is to the dog, but animals would hardly share in the destruction of the royal house. 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; 1 Kings 21:21; 2 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
(1) interpreting them to mean respectively married and single also Keil, al.); others
(2) bond and free Gesen, al.); others
(3) precious and vile; and others again
(4) minors and those of age. (so Bahr, "All the male descendants, even the minors, were threatened with destruction.") On the whole perhaps (2) is preferable], and will take away the remnant [Heb. "exterminate after" (Gesen.) or "sweep after" (Keil). The first rendering is the more literal. The "after" is explained, not as Bahr ("as often as a new scion arises I will take it away"), but by the fact that one who expels another follows after him (Gesen.)] of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung [cf. 2 Kings 9:37; Job 20:7; Jeremiah 8:2; Jeremiah 9:22; Jeremiah 16:4. This word expresses the loathing and contempt with which they would be treated], till it be an gone.
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.
Verse 11. - Him that dieth of Jeroboam [Heb. to Jeroboam, i.e., belonging to, of the house cf. "Of Jeroboam," conveys the idea of his seed. It is possible that his wife shared in the general doom], in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air [Heb. heavens, as in Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:19; Genesis 7:23, etc.] 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; Jeremiah 16:4; Jeremiah 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 dishonour that could be offered to the dust and to the memory. Hence the threat of David (1 Samuel 17:46; cf. ver. 44); hence the devotion of Rizpah (2 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 carcases 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.
Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
Verse 12. - Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child [Heb. then the child. This is the force of the ו] shall die. [This was "the sign that the Lord hath spoken" (ch. 13:3). The death of the child at the precise moment of the return should serve as an earnest and foretaste of the doom just denounced.]
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.
Verse 13. - And an Israel shall mourn for him [no doubt he was heir to the throne] and bury him [mentioned to heighten the contrast. He should be the one exception to the rule of ver. 11]: for he [Heb. this] only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found [Heb, was found] some [Heb. a] good thing [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 travelling to Jerusalem to keep the feasts, and that he even removed obstructions in the road" (Bahr)] toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.
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.
Verse 14. - Moreover [Heb. and] the Lord shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam [for the fulfilment, see 1 Kings 15:29] that day: but what? even now. [Rawlinson only expresses a general feeling when he says that "no satisfactory sense can be obtained from the Hebrew text," and suggests that it is corrupt or defective. The passage, no doubt, is one of extreme difficulty, and inasmuch as the MSS. and Versions lend us no aid to its interpretation, affords scope for conjecture. The explanation I venture to submit may, I hope, contribute - it can hardly do more - to the elucidation of the text. I observe that in ver. 13 זֶה is used of Abijah, "this one alone," etc. I assume that it has the same import here, viz., "this one today," i.e., "this one dies or is cut off today," הַיּום being understood as constantly, adverbially, - hodie (see, e.g., Genesis 4:14; Genesis 22:14; 1 Kings 2:24). It would be a natural reflection to the prophet who had just been speaking of the excision of the house of Jeroboam, "one perishes today, judgment is already begun," i.e. As to the rest, for עָתָּה I would read אָתָּה, which has practically the same sound, and for which, consequently, עַתָּה is sometimes substituted by the transcriber, as in 1 Kings 1:18, 20, and understand "And what wilt thou also do?" i.e., what will become of thee also? It is quite possible (ver. 11) that Jeroboam's wife perished in the wholesale destruction of his house, as it is clear from the severe punishment assigned to her (ver. 12) that she must have shared in his sin. The readiness with which she lent herself to this deceit (ver. 4) also favours the supposition that she had approved his policy. She would then have survived her husband only two years. Keil's explanation, "cut off the house of Jeroboam this day," appears contrary to actual fact, while to interpret "that day" (with the A.V.) is contrary to Hebrew grammar.]
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.
Verse 15. - For [Heb. And. 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] the Lord shall smite Israel, as a reed [קָנֶה κάννα, canna, cane] is shaken [The construction is pregnant, viz., "shall smite Israel so that it shall be shaken as a reed," etc. (cf. Luke 7:24). "The image is very striking, for Israel was brought so low that every political influence bore it along" (Thenius)] in the water, and he shall root up [same word as in Deuteronomy 29:28; Jeremiah 24:6] Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river [i.e., the Euphrates; see on 1 Kings 4:24. This is the first clear prophecy of the captivity foreshadowed by Moses (Deuteronomy 4:27; Deuteronomy 28:25, 36, 63, 64), and by Solomon (1 Kings 8:46-50). For its fulfilment, see 2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11, etc.], because they have made their groves [Heb. their Asherahs, i.e., images of Astarte. The translation "grove" after the LXX. ἄλσος, Vulg. lucus, is now abandoned. It is clear some sort of idol is intended by the term. This is evident from ver. 23, where it is said the Asherahs (A.V. groves) were built "under every green tree" (cf. 2 Kings 17:10); from 1 Kings 15:13 (where see note); from 2 Kings 23:6, which tells how Josiah "brought out the Asherahs out of the house of the Lord," and from the connexion in which the word is found with "molten images, carved images," etc. (ver. 23; 2 Chronicles 33:19; 2 Chronicles 34:3, 4; cf. also Judges 3:7; 1 Kings 18:19). They were doubtless effigies of Ashtoreth, made of wood (Deuteronomy 7:5; cf. 2 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. [1 Kings 14:22; 1 Kings 15:30; 1 Kings 21:22; 2 Kings 17:11, 17; 2 Kings 22:17; Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 32:16, 21; Judges 2:12; Psalm 78:58.
And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
Verse 16. - And he shall [or, that he should] give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin. [These words became almost a formula (1 Kings 15:33, 34; 1 Kings 16:2, 19, etc.)]
And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
Verse 17. - And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came [possibly she lingered for some time on the road, dreading to return] to Tirzah [Identified by Robinson and Van de Velds (Narrative, 2:334, 335), with Telluzah, or Taluse, a place in the mountains, six miles north of Shechem. See Joshua 12:24. Both these writers admit, however, that if this is indeed Tirzah, "all traces of royalty have disappeared." "With the exception of a few sepulchral caves, subterranean granaries, wells, and old hewn stones, nothing of ancient Tirzah remains in Taluse." Condor recognizes the name in the modern Teiasir - a village near Jezreel, in the Great Plain which "contains the exact letters of the Hebrew word, though the two last radicals are interchanged in position." "The beauty of the position... the ancient remains, and the old main road from the place to Shechem seem to agree well with the idea of its having once been a capital" ("Tentwork," p. 57). Some of its "numerous rock-cut sepulchres," he thinks, may be the tombs of the early kings of Israel. It was famed for its beauty (Song of Solomon 6:4), and for this reason, perhaps, among others (see on ver. 1) 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 [Heb. house], the child died. [This statement seems at first sight to contradict that of ver. 12, which says the child should die as she entered the city. But the palace may have been on the edge of the city (Rawl.), or the "city" may have been little more than the palace.]
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.
Verse 18. - And they buried him [see on ver. 13]; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand [see on 1 Kings 2:25] 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.]
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.
Verse 19. - And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred [see ver. 30; 2 Chronicles 13:2], and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. [As to this work, see Introduction, Section VI. The exact title is "the book of the words (or matters) of the days," i.e., the record of daily occurrences.]
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.
Verse 20. - And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years [Bahr remarks that 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," which may either mean that he died by a lingering disease (2 Chronicles 21:18, 19) or more suddenly (2 Samuel 12:15), 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 tragical and such a bitter foretaste of judgment to come. He may have "warred and reigned" (ver. 19) after this event. He may also have steadily drooped to his grave], and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.
CHAPTER 14:21-31. THE REIGN OF REHOBOAM. -
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.
Verse 21. - And Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty [or twenty. See on 1 Kings 12:1] and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned [this reign is related at greater length in 2 Chronicles 11, 12.] seventeen years [cf. 1 Kings 15:1] in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose [cf. 1 Kings 11:36; Psalm 78:68; Nehemiah 1:9] out of all the tribes of Israel [cf. 2 Chronicles 6:6; 2 Kings 21:7] to put his name there. The historian reminds us that Jerusalem was by God's appointment the religious centre 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 (Bahr). And his mother's name was Naamah [or, according to the LXX., Naanan. See on 1 Kings 12:24], an [Heb. the, i.e., the well-known] 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. See on 1 Kings 2:13, and ver. 31 below.]
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.
Verse 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 (2 Chronicles 12:1). It is to be observed, however, that the historian says "Judah" (not Rehoboam) "did evil," etc. It is probable that a considerable section of the people approved of the idolatrous practices introduced in the preceding reign, 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 [Heb. made him jealous. Same word, Exodus 20:5; Exodus 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 [Heb. sinned] above all that their fathers had done.
For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
Verse 23. - For they also [i.e., they as well as the ten tribes] built them high places [i.e., houses of high places. See on 1 Kings 3:2 and 1 Kings 13:32] and images [Heb. pillars or statues (מַצֵּבות; LXX., στήλας). These were, no doubt, originally memorial pillars or stones, erected to commemorate some Divine manifestation, and with no thought of idolatry (see Genesis 31:13; Genesis 35:14, 20; Genesis 28:18). But the Canaanites erected pillars, which were also statues or images, to their god, Baal. Hence we read of the "image" (מַצֵּבָה) of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 10:26, 27; cf. 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" (ver. 15; Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3; Deuteronomy 16:21, etc.) 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 [Asherahs, idols; see on ver. 15. This verse proves conclusively that the translation "grove" is a mistaken one] on every high hill, and under every green tree. [The phrase is from the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy 12:2; cf. Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:6; Hosea 4:13. "Probably the evil example of Maachah, his favourite wife (2 Chronicles 11:20-22), whose idolatrous tastes were displayed under Asa (2 Chronicles 15:16), was not without a pernicious effect on Rehoboam" (Wordsworth).]
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.
Verse 24. - And there were also Sodomites [קָדֵשׁ, a collective noun = הַקְּדֵשִׁים (1 Kings 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 (Heb.) that male prostitutes are here spoken of, the name of the female being קְדֵשָׁה. The former is described in ver. 19 50.c. as a dog, the latter as a whore] in the land [cf. 1 Kings 15:12. It is highly probable that these infamous persons were of Canaanite or Phoenician origin (this being a Phoenician superstition, Movers, "Phoniz." 1:671), but it is somewhat precarious to found an assertion to that effect on these last words (as Bahr)], and [Heb. omits and] they did according to all the abominations of the nations [see Leviticus 18:20; 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" (Wordsworth).]
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
Verse 25. - And it came to pass in the fifth year [that is, two years after king and people forsook the law of the Lord (2 Chronicles 12:11). 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 (see Homiletics, p. 335)] of King Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt [to whom Jeroboam had fled (1 Kings 11:26, 40)] came up against Jerusalem. [This expedition is related with somewhat more of detail in 2 Chronicles 12:2-4. For Shishak, see 1 Kings 11:40. It was in the twentieth year of his reign that Shishak, once Jeroboam's protector and friend, invaded Palestine. It has been conjectured (Ewald, al.) that he was incited so to do by Jeroboam, and that the two kings waged war against Judah in concert (see on ver. 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 defence" which Rehoboam had built, viz., Shoco, Adoraim, and Aijalon (2 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 cities - 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. Mr. Peele, however (Dict. Bib., art. "Egypt" ), accounts for the names on the supposition that Shishak directed, his forces against the northern as well as the southern kingdom, and certainly this seems to agree better with the facts. It is hardly likely that Jeroboam, with the army at his command, would tolerate so many centres of disaffection in his midst. Besides, the Levites, we are told, had migrated in a body to Judah; and the Canaanites at this period can hardly have been in a position to defy any Hebrew monarch. 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.]
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.
Verse 26. - And he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord [The historian omits to mention the interposition of Shemaiah (2 Chronicles 12:5-8). The account of the Chronicles is altogether much fuller], and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all [rather, "and everything (sc. that he could lay his hands on) he took away." The spoil must have been enormous]: and he took away all the shields of gold [cf. 1 Kings 10:17] which Solomon had made.
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.
Verse 27. - And king Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields [lit., shields of brass or copper; a striking token of the decadence of the kingdom; cf. 1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:22. "He changed his father's religion, as his shields, from gold to brass" (Hall) I, and comttted [Heb. appointed] them unto the hands of the chief of the guard [Heb. commanders of the runners (see on 1 Kings 1:38)], which kept the door of the king's house. [Cf. 2 Kings 11:6. The functions of the bodyguard were very varied. A primary duty was, obviously, to supply sentinels and attendants for the palace.]
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.
Verse 28. And it was so, when the king went unto the house of the Lord, that the guards [runners] bare them [Whatever idolatries Rehoboam tolerated or encouraged, it is clear that he maintained the temple worship with great pomp and circumstance. The state visits of the Sultan to the Mosque may perhaps be best compared with these processions. Ewald sees in this circumstance a proof of Rehoboam's vanity. The brazen shields were "borne before him in solemn procession, as if everything were the same as before"], and brought them back into the guard chamber [Heb." chamber of the runners." Solomon's golden shields were kept "in the house of the forest of Lebanon" (1 Kings 10:17). These shields of Brass were of so little value that the guard chamber sufficed for their custody.
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?
Verse 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? [See on ver. 19.]
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
Verse 30. - And there was war [cf. 2 Chronicles 12:15, "wars." Keil argues from the prohibition of war by Shemaiah (1 Kings 12:23) that this must mean "hostility, enmity." But מִלְחָמָה surely implies more than 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. It is also possible that Jeroboam took a part in the war of Shishak] 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.
Verse 31. - And Rehoboam slept with his fathers [The same formula as in 1 Kings 2:10; 1 Kings 11:43; 1 Kings 15:8, 24, etc. It is used of nearly all the kings of Judah], and was buried with his fathers [These words go to prove, against Gesenius, that the phrase "slept (lit. lay down) with his fathers" is not to be interpreted of Sheol, but of the grave; see on 1 Kings 2:10] in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. [Same words as in ver. 21. The repetition can hardly be, as Bahr, Wordsworth, al., imagine, designed, in order to show that the worship of Moloch was brought by her to Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7), and that she exercised a sinister influence upon her son. As she is twice called "the Ammonitess" it can hardly be doubted that she was one of the "Ammonitesses" (1 Kings 11:1, Hebrews) who turned away Solomon's heart; and it is also certain that Rehoboam did not inherit his folly from his father. At the same time these words are more easily accounted for on the supposition that the historian found them in this position in one or more of the documents from which he compiled his history. It is also to be remembered that some of these chronological statements are manifestly by a later hand, and have been transferred from the margin to the text. See on 1 Kings 6:1.] And Abijam [elsewhere called Abijah (2 Chronicles 12:16; 2 Chronicles 13:1), or Abijahu (2 Chronicles 13:21, Hebrews) Some MSS. have Abijah here. The variation is not easily accounted for except as a clerical error. The supposition of Lightfoot that the name was designedly altered by the historian to avoid the incorporation of the sacred JAH into the name of a bad man is too fanciful, the more so as Abijam was by no means an exceptionally bad king. It is, however, approved by Bahr and Rawlinson. But it is as little probable that Abijam is the original form of the name (Keil). The form Abijahu, the LXX. Ἀβιού, and the analogy of Abiel (1 Samuel 9:1) all make against this idea. On the whole, it is more likely that Abijam results from an error of transcription, ה and the final ם being easily confounded] his son reigned in his stead.