At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
1 Kings 14:12
I. Whose child shall die? King Jeroboam's child, the beloved son of a king, most likely the heir to the throne. There was another king—the one who has been called the king of terrors. All the crowned heads in the world bow before him. And the prince was to become the subject of King Death. He was the child of a very bad man. Jeroboam was a teacher of sin, yet he had a very good child.
II. Why was the child to die? To punish his ungodly father. God had given Jeroboam the chance of being a very great man, but he made Israel to sin, and for that God determined to punish him. It is likely that this wicked man was very fond of his children, for when God means to punish, He can strike us on the most tender place.
III. When did the child die? The prophet told the poor mother that the boy would die just as she reached home. She returned to the palace with her heart heavy and sad, for she felt, "I am killing him in my haste to see him. He will die before I reach home."
IV. Life may be a worse thing than death. All Israel mourned for Abijah. It was not to be so with the other children of Jeroboam. They were to be so hated and despised on account of their great wickedness, that men would rejoice when they were dead and out of the way. Abijah was the best off, for though he died so early, it was better to die and be buried quietly than to live to be hated in life and loathed in death.
Serve the Lord God of Abijah; then, whether we live to be old or die in the springtime of life, all shall be well.
T. Champness, Little Foxes that Spoil the Vines, p. 95.
Reference: 1 Kings 14:12-27.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 352.
1 Kings 14:13I. Look first at the description of Abijah's piety. The "good thing" in him was not any material endowment, neither was it any moral excellence. The good thing was a "good thing toward the Lord God of Israel," a gracious, a spiritual, a Divine, a holy thing. There are two things which, when found in a man, are good and acceptable to God. (1) The first is true repentance, or what the Bible calls the "broken and contrite heart." (2) The second is "faith in that one sacrifice which doth for sin atone." Amongst all the princes of the royal house, Abijah alone refused to worship the golden calves which his father had made. In the Mosaic ritual he doubtless saw, though it might be with dim and imperfect vision, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who should one day die for the sins of the world.
II. There are one or two special lessons to be drawn from the case of Abijah. (1) Do we not learn how real piety may exist under most adverse and unfavourable circumstances? The brightest diamonds have been found in the darkest mines, and the richest pearls in the deepest seas. (2) Even a young and brief life may be fruitful in blessing. Young as Abijah was, the whole nation mourned for him. The length of life is not to be judged by the number of its years. That life is the longest in which God has been best served and the world most benefited. (3) Piety in life is the only guarantee of peace in death. An early departure from this world is not a thing to be dreaded provided our heart is right with God. If you would come to your grave in peace, be it sooner or be it later, there must be found in you "some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel."
J. Thain Davidson, Forewarned—Forearmed, p. 135.
References: 1 Kings 14:13.—J. H. Evans, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 169; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. i., p. 88; HomileticMagazine, vol. vii., p. 217; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix., No. 1745. 1 Kings 15:22.—Parker, Fountain, Oct. 30th, 1879.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
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.
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
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.
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.
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.