1 Kings 11:29
During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met Jeroboam on the road as he was going out of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself in a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the open field.
Sermons
The Call to JeroboamJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 11:26-43
The Judgments of God on Judah and IsraelE. De Pressense 1 Kings 11:29-36
The Message of AhijahJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 11:29-39
As Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem with his commission from Solomon to rule as his lieutenant over the house of Joseph, meditating how he might use his fortune to construct a throne, he was met by Ahijah the Shilonite, who accosted him in a manner agreeable to his ambition. In the message of Ahijah we have -

I. A PROPHECY.

1. This was expressed in sign.

(1) The Shilonite provided himself with a new garment. This was intended to symbolize the kingdom. The same sign had been similarly used before (see 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 24:5). Note: His people are the honourable clothing of a prince (see Proverbs 14:28).

(2) The garment was new. The kingdom of Israel was as yet young. Solomon was but the third monarch in succession. The garment was whole. So was the kingdom, as yet, unbroken. Note: The robe of Christ was seamless and woven throughout, which suggests the perfect unity which will appear in the subjects of His heavenly kingdom. Note further: That in His transfiguration, which symbolized His kingdom (see Matthew 16:28; Matthew 17:1), His raiment shined "as no fuller on earth could white it," suggesting the purity and glory in which the subjects of that kingdom are to shine (Matthew 13:43).

(3) But the robe in the hands of the prophet, the messenger and representative of God, is now rent into twelve pieces, according to the number of tribes composing the kingdom, ten of which were given into the hand of Jeroboam. Note: God disposes. In its militant state the kingdom of Christ is subject to revolutions, but not so in its triumphant and heavenly state.

2. The prophecy also is expressed in words (vers. 31-39).

(1) Thus the testimony is twofold. It appeals to the eye, also to the ear.

(2) History verified the predictions to the letter. What a testimony to the truth of God is the harmony and correspondence of prophecy and history!

II. ITS REASONS. These are expressed and implied.

1. The sin of Solomon is specified (vers. 31, 33).

(1) Solomon forsook the Lord. God never forsakes us unless we first forsake Him. Let us be admonished.

(2) He worshipped idols. Ashtoreth, the impure Venus of the Zidonians; Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites; and Milcom, or Molech, the devil of the Ammonites,are put into competition with the God of Israel! Whoever is so foolish as to forsake God will surely become the dupe of devils.

(3) We notice the plural pronoun, "they have forsaken Me," etc. Not Solomon and his wives, for these heathen women had never known God;but Solomon and the Israelites drawn away by his influence and example. Men seldom sin alone. Accomplices are involved with their leaders in a common retribution.

(4) He forgat the good example of his father David. This is mentioned to his discredit. We are accountable to God for our advantages. For godly parents, godly ministers, opportunities.

2. The piety of David is remembered.

(1) It is remembered in the mind of God. Let sincere Christians who are apt to be discouraged at their failures take comfort from the fact that God is more willing to remember our good endeavours than our failures. David in glory would know the blessedness of this.

(2) It is remembered to the advantage of his offspring on the earth. The temporal judgments upon Solomon's sins were mitigated in consequence of David's piety. Would not David, in glory, have satisfaction in this?

3. The Scriptures must be fulfilled.

(1) David was to have a light always before God in Jerusalem (Psalm 132:16, 17). The family of David mast be preserved until Messiah comes to be the Light of the Gentiles.

(2) As David was a type of Christ, so was Jerusalem, with its temple and shekinah, a type of His Church. Of this Church, Christ is the everlasting Light (see Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 60:19, 20; Revelation 21:23).

4. No mention is made of any goodness in Jeroboam.

(1) This omission is significant. It suggests that the Ephrathite was used only as the instrument of Providence for the punishment of sinners; and for this service had the reward of his ambition. Therefore the success of our desires in this world is no certain proof either of our goodness or of God's favour.

(2) But in respect to his service God gave Jeroboam a glorious opportunity by goodness to make himself great like David (see ver. 38). What opportunities does God graciously vouchsafe to us! Let us utilize them to the best possible account. - M.







When Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers.
Let me use this text like a kaleidoscope, giving it three or four turns, and try to describe what I see. Dealing with the incident as it stands here, there is a lesson for kings and all that are in authority. And it is something like this: Do not abuse your power. "In wrath, remember mercy." When you have your enemy at the point of the sword, remember mercy even while you remember justice, and pay off old scores. The national lesson we might learn is, that if we will be over severe, if we will harass the Jews, for example, as all nations have more or less combined to do, God will spread the lap of His skirt over the Jews. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." God likes to see justice done; but God will not have vindictive and sinful revenge, and He will spread the lap of His cloak over the Jews as He did over Hadad. God may find His executors of vengeance in the descendants of those with whom we deal too harshly, or our fathers before us, long, long ago. Ay, they will spread through your English cities and towns, and play the very mischief with you at voting times, and make the balance "kick the beam " in most undesirable and provoking fashion. We forget that God hates inhumanity, and God's heart repents Him for those who seem to be utterly trampled under foot, and denied the right to live. He has strange ways with Him, and He is worth watching. Therefore let mercy season justice. Then there is the same lesson, not now from a national, but from a private and personal point of view. Do not be vindictive. You may have power to-day, but use it mildly; let mercy season justice, for you do not know what may happen to yourself; and long after you are gone. The roots of this business are very deep, and go very far back. In your hour of power be patient even to the evil, lest you be betrayed into sinful abuse of power. As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. I know a man just now, and this is what has come to him. Years ago he was in a certain business, and he was strong and flourishing. But he dealt in a very high-handed and dictatorial manner with one under him. He cast him out, or forced him to flee. And now — it has taken some thirty years to do it, but thirty years have done it — now that man who was cast out — Hadad over again — Hadad to-day has destroyed his former master's business. He started a rival establishment, has got on and prospered, and things have so come about that he who was up is down, and he who was down is up. Therefore take care; and just because you have the ball at your foot, and you have only to kick it, kick it with discretion. Be magnanimous; the day may come when you may need all your friends. But there is a spiritual lesson. Hadad comes back to do mischief to Solomon, for he has beard things and drawn inferences. It has spread among the surrounding nations that the strength of Israel now is not so strong as it seems to be. It is far more pasteboard and stucco, than granite and marble. They come and afflict him whom erewhile they feared. So with individual men. Are there not men and women here to-day, and Solomon's history and danger is theirs? You are not what you seem to be. With all your credit and reputation, you are backslidden in heart. And these old sins, like vultures, are sharpening their beaks, and they are coming round upon you. For God's sake and thine own, take care: hie thee back to God, return to faith, and prayer, and penitence. But I want to use this text in an entirely different way. One cannot read this without wishing to apply it to a certain class of Gospel hearers in this land of ours, and very likely in this very church, to whom it may be useful. This is the time that a soul comes to when, known only to itself and to God, there comes across it yearning and discontent. You can hardly explain it to yourself, and do not like to speak about it to other people. This longing comes to you, not when you are young and struggling, but, mayhap, when you are in mid-manhood, or growing age. Ask your own heart, and it will teach you. Does it not ring responsive to my poor words this morning? It is Hadad before Pharaoh over again. The genuineness of that feeling, may be tested by this: the sacrifice it will involve. See what Hadad had to give up; see the risks he had to run. To become truly regenerate, sons of God will make a wrench. If you had become a true Christian years ago, it would have been, humanly speaking, kind of natural and easy. But now, for all these years, you have been away in exile. And you have got on, I don't deny it. But what, I repeat, is that yearning in your heart? Why are you not contented? Why can't you be at rest? Will it cost you something to put yourself right now, to go to Jesus, to become a Christian, to give up your world like Hadad, with its positions, and its honours, and its ambitions? Then all the more make the wrench. Ah yes! Thank God for times like these. All through your boyhood, or girlhood, your open youth, your busy, bustling middle life, the world sufficed. Thank God for that dissatisfaction; it is a spur in your lazy sides to send you home. What is happening to you is what happened to Noah's dove. The raven could sit pecking at any corpse on the water, and find its satisfaction there. But doves are doves, and not carnivorous. The dove found no rest for the sole of its foot, and it winged its way back across the black hills of water, back to that great ship that came drifting slowly along. Back to yon window, which is a kind of frame for the face of weather-beaten old Noah, standing there with his hand stretched out so that the weary thing may light. So Christ Jesus comes to weary hearts in London to-day. And He holds out His hand and asks for weary worldlings to light upon it. He will take you into warmth, and light, and love, and peace, and an ark of safety that will ride all storms. Gleaming lightnings may flash past, the last judgment may thunder upon the world, all things be overwhelmed in the wrath that is coming, but your soul has reached its rest, its refuge, its abiding home.

(J. M'Neill.)

David, and Joab the captain of the host of Israel, wrought great desolation in Edom; "for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom." Amongst those who escaped was a little child, comparatively speaking, an infant member of the royal house. He was so little that he could not have made his escape alone, but he was taken care of by certain Edomites of his father's servants, and in their company he fled into Egypt. Pharaoh was very kind to his royal exile. "He gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land." With growing years he came into growing favour, and by and by he married the sister of the queen of Egypt. It would seem, then, that he did well to escape from his own ill-treated country, and to put himself under the protection of the mighty and gracious Pharaoh. It came to pass, however, that Hadad (that is the name of the Edomite) said to Pharaoh, "I want to go home; let me depart, that I may go to mine own country." Pharaoh was astounded by the inquiry, and began to wonder whether Hadad had been unkindly treated in Egypt, and in the frankest manner he said, "What hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country?" A very proper question; to which Hadad appears to have returned an ungrateful and insufficient answer — "Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise." You will find the secret in the fourteenth verse of the chapter: — "And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom." It was a Divine stirring! It was a restlessness sent from God! It was a hunger created in the heart!

1. Men cannot always give an account of their impulses. We seem to have every. thing, yet we want something else. What that something else is, we perhaps seldom know, or if we do know, we cannot put the want into words. We have all Egypt, yet we are willing to leave it for Edom.

2. What we mistake, either in ourselves or in others, for mere restlessness may be the pressure of destiny. We blame some men roughly for desiring a change, and when we question the men themselves as to their reason, they tell us that they have been treated well, even handsomely, yet they want to go! Then we condemn them as unreasonable, and we predict many a judgment for them! Alas, how ignorant we are, and how cruel to one another!

3. We may judge of the value of our impulses by the self-denial imposed by their operation. Consider what Hadad had to lose! "Except a man deny himself and take up his cross daily," he cannot be moving in the Divine direction. Remember in the cases quoted David was impelled to war, and Samuel to make revelations which must have cost his heart no small strain. Are our impulses towards self-enjoyment?

4. Is it not by some such impulse that the good man meets death with a brave heart? How else could he leave loved ones, home, manifold enjoyment, and social honour? Yet he pines for heaven. "I have a desire to depart." "Oh that I had wings like a dove"

To thee, O dear, dear country,

Mine eyes their vigils keep.God surely sends this home-sickness into our hearts when He is about to call us up higher.

5. Remember how possible it is to overrule our. best impulses. Pharaoh said stop, Hadad begged to be allowed to go. Peter said, "That be far from Thee, Lord," but Christ called him an offence, and drove him behind. "Grieve not the Spirit." "Quench not the Spirit." Is not the Spirit of Christ urging every man to leave the Egypt of sinful bondage? "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord." "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

This narrative of Hadad comes in as a short episode in the later days of King Solomon, when he was being punished for his defection. The story has an interest of its own. We wish to take this one feature — the love of country — and look at it as implanted in the human heart for a wise and Divine purpose, passing beyond this simple instance, and drawing whatever light we can from God's providence and Word.

1. The first remark we make is, that it is a feeling not only deep in our nature, as we do not need to show, but acknowledged and approved in the Bible. This has been denied, and some have blamed, while others have praised, the Book on this account; but whether it be to its blame or praise, the feeling is there. We cannot surely fail to perceive that the love of country was employed by God to build up the place He gave the Jewish people in preserving His truth in the long period of darkness, before the time came for the Gospel to go out into the world. Their love was drawn to it before they saw it as the land of Promise. But what purposes are served by this? There is one which may seem low enough to begin with, but which has its own importance. It is one of the ways by which God secures that the earth should be inhabited. There is a dispersive force in the world which began long ago, and which has been going on ever since, the spirit of adventure and energy which seeks action and change; so waste places are peopled and tilled. But there is needed not less an adhesive power to maintain what is gained. The world must have an anchor as well as a sail. Rocky Edom is dear as fertile Egypt, and bleak, storm-struck islands more than southern Edens. If it were not for this, wars for sunny spots would be more common than they are, and kindreds and peoples could not be gathered and held together to build up communities. But the building up of communities is a part of God's providential design. Each one in its own place brings out its own character, and, in the end, may be found to bring its own contribution to the interests of humanity. We may come to a higher view of this feeling when we think of its effect on the individual man. This love of the native soil has been one of the great springs of the poetry of the race; and whatever we may think of poetry ourselves, we cannot fail to see its power. God, who gives the bird wings for its safety and delight, has given man imagination. It is certainly His gift, if men would only use it for Him. And it can be said with truth that, apart from the region of the spirit itself, it is never more pure and purifying than when it takes for its subject the things of native land and home.

2. Another thought suggested by this feeling is that it leads to acts of great self-sacrifice and endeavour. Next to religion, there is probably nothing in human nature which has called out such a heroic spirit of martyrdom, or such long, persistent labour, as the love of native land. The grandest part of the history of nations has been the period when they have risen for independence and freedom, against the attempts to crush out their liberty or their separate life, and when they have left names of leaders which make hearts of men throb and thrill wherever they arc heard. It is a poor Christianity, because it is not a true humanity, which affects to disregard this. There is an heirloom of stimulus to a whole race in the heroic acts of those who have bequeathed them a name among the nations of the world. There are men who can be reached by the love of fellow-countrymen, when they cannot be moved by the love of their fellow-men; and it is quite possible for a man to have both. The narrower is sometimes more intense and energetic than the wider. In the annals of the civil wars in England, an officer, who had fought in many battles abroad, tells that in his first fight on English ground he heard a cry of agony in his own tongue, and he looked behind him to see who of his men was killed. He discovered that the cry came from the opposing ranks, and then first he realised what a terrible thing it was to kill his own countrymen. There are many who feel it so in our quieter times, and who can be stirred more strongly to save from destitution and death those who speak their own language, and have a nearer blood beating in their heart.

3. Another thought suggested by this feeling is, that it should enable us to understand the hearts, and work for the rights of all men. There is a rule recommended by some religious communities, that their members should have no special friendships; that they should do nothing for each other as friends. And there are some philosophers who defend this. They say that "friendship is a barrier which hides from view the qualities of many who are more worthy of regard, that it is a kind of theft from the common good for the benefit of a few, and that, in a higher state of society, friendship will disappear; which amounts very much to saying that if we put out our eyes, so as not to see things that are close to us, we shall be more likely to discover those that are far away. These are the theories of men who have either had no hearts to begin with, or have managed to cover them by cobwebs of speculation. has said that we may make a ladder of the dead things within us, to climb to the highest; but there is another ladder of living things by which we can rise as high, and by which our sympathies can be travelling to and fro like the angels in the dream of Bethel. The vision begins in the dreamer's own breast, and then it passes up into the skies. This is the very way in which God Himself has dealt with us. He came from the limits of the universe into this world, and became our friend, that He might lead us step by step into the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

4. The last thought we suggest is, that this feeling may help the conception of another and a higher country. It is quite true that we find the spirit of patriotism filling the hearts of men with the highest enthusiasm, and spreading itself over masses of men and long periods, but bringing little spiritual desire. Yet it is one of the ways, as we have said, by which God keeps the heart above sensualism and utter selfishness — a kind of salt that saves nations from entire corruption. We see in the Bible that the thoughts of native land and home are more than any others the figures which God has used to convey to us conceptions about the future. They are more than figures. They have been woven into His plan of education. He made the old patriarchs exiles, in order that He might create in them the longing which went further than any land, behind or before them, in this world. The last view given us of the heavenly world is that of a land and city which have over them a Father and an Elder Brother, and for friends the nations of the saved.

(J. Ker, D. D.)

An American citizen in a foreign city, seeing the meteor flag of his native land floating at the masthead of a ship, is inwardly moved by the associations it revives to patriotic feelings, to emotions of love, to fond anticipations of his return to the joys and repose of his fireside. But of his secret thoughts the people about him know nothing. To them the flag of his country is but as one flag among many others. They meddle not with the secret joys it kindles within his swelling breast. It is even so with the secret of the Lord in a good man's breast. He walks the street like other men. Yet while their thoughts are of things visible and earthly, his are of God and things unseen. He sees God in everything about him. God is communing with him, feasting him on holy thought, quickening his spiritual aspirations, comforting him with assurances of his sonship, and with visions of his incorruptible inheritance.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

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