1 Kings 14

1 KINGS CHAPTER 14

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

      • At that time Jeroboam’s son Abijah became sick. Jeroboam told his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will know you are my wife, and go to Shiloh where the prophet Ahijah is. He is the prophet who said that I would be king over this people. Take with you 10 loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” Jeroboam’s wife did as she was told. She went Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Jeroboam apparently recognized that his sin had separated him from any right to approach God’s prophet. He knew that the man who had predicted his accession to Israel’s throne could predict the child’s fate and perhaps intercede with the Lord on his behalf…It was customary to take a gift to a prophet when seeking his counsel (2 Kgs 5:5; 8:8). Jeroboam’s wife took everyday commodities to supplement her disguise.”

      • Now Ahijah’s eyesight was gone due to his old age, so he couldn’t see. But Yahweh told Ahijah, “Look, Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son because he is sick. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else. You are to say such and such to her.” When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why are you pretending to be someone else? I have been commissioned with bad news for you. Go tell Jeroboam: “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over My people Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you. But you have not been like My servant David who kept My commandments and followed Me with all of his heart, doing only what was right in My eyes. You have done more evil than all who came before you. You have angered Me by making other gods for yourself and metal idols, and you have cast Me behind your back. Therefore, I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off every last male belonging to the house of Jeroboam in Israel, including even the weak and incapacitated. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam just like one burns up manure until it is all gone. Dogs will eat the members of your family who die in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat the ones who die in the open country. For Yahweh has spoken it.’ As for you, get up and go home. As soon as you set foot in the city the boy will die. All of Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one in the house of Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom Yahweh, the God of Israel, has found something good. Yahweh will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Jeroboam. Even now it is beginning to happen. Yahweh will attack Israel like a reed shaking in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that He gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have provoked Yahweh to anger by making Asherah poles. He will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “God had blessed Jeroboam and established him as ruler in Israel…However, Jeroboam abused God’s appointment with his false religion. Unlike David, who genuinely repented of his sins (2 Sam 12:13; Ps 51:2-4), Jeroboam exceeded his predecessors in doing evil. Despite clear evidence of God’s displeasure and coming judgment (1 Kgs 13:33), he failed to turn from his ways. His sin would bring grave consequences to his family and descendants…and, ultimately, to the whole northern kingdom…”

        • On God’s statement that Jeroboam had “cast Him behind his back,” Guzik comments, “This was a powerful description of intense contempt towards God, as in Ezekiel 23:35Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.” He then cites Dilday, “The last reason implies a neglect, a scorning of God. It is the same figure of speech used to describe God’s forgiveness of our sins. He puts them behind His back, or in other words, He forgets them. That is good news when it describes God’s treatment of our sins [Isaiah 38:17], but it is tragically bad news when it describes a person’s treatment of God.”

        • Many translations render the description of Jeroboam’s male descendants in verse 10, “both slave and free.” I have opted with NET Bible’s rendering. Their explanation is as follows, “The precise meaning of the idiomatic phrase…(ʿatsur vʿazuv) is uncertain. For various options see HALOT 871 s.v…and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 107. The two terms are usually taken as polar opposites (‘slaves and freemen’ or ‘minors and adults’), but Cogan and Tadmor, on the basis of contextual considerations (note the usage with [ʾefes], ‘nothing but’) in Deut 32:36 and 2 Kgs 14:26, argue convincingly that the terms are synonyms, meaning ‘restrained and abandoned,’ and refer to incapable or incapacitated individuals.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “Jeroboam’s dynasty will come to a dishonorable end, since the bodies will not be buried but will be eaten by dogs and birds… Only Jeroboam’s son Abijah will escape this fate…Ahijah turns from the immediate situation to what will happen in the distant future. In the absence of a strong dynasty to rule Israel, this nation is destined to know the instability of a reed…shaken (or ‘swaying’) in the water. Eventually the Israelites will suffer exile from the good land that he gave to their fathers to a land beyond the Euphrates River. The political instability of which Ahijah speaks is well described in the following account of the northern kindom; the land beyond the Euphrates, it will turn out, is Assyria (2 Kgs 17:1-6, 21-23). The idolatrous worship that lies at the root of Israel’s problem is here summed up in terms of the making of Asherim, or Asherah poles…”

        • On the death of Abijah, Guzik comments, “Jeroboam sent his wife to discover the fate of his son. The bad news was that the child would die. Yet his death would be a demonstration of mercy, because at least he would be buried in honor and properly mourned. Such great judgment was coming upon the house of Jeroboam that all would see that by comparison, this son was blessed in his death.”

        • Verse 13 really intrigues me- particularly the portion that mentions that God found something “good” or “pleasing” to Him in Abijah. I have searched and searched and have been unable to find any helpful discussion of this verse at all. There is abundant meaningless conjecture and attempts to shoehorn what the statement “must mean” according to a particular theological system, but nothing that I have found to be of any value. So, for now, this remains a mysterious passage to me.

      • So Jeroboam’s wife got up and left, going back to Tirzah. As soon as she crossed the threshold of the house the boy died. He was buried and all of Israel mourned for him, as Yahweh had said through His servant, the prophet Ahijah.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Tirzah was situated on the road from Shechem to Beth-shan. Noted for its great beauty (Song 6:4), the city was a royal retreat that apparently had become the capital of the northern kingdom (1 Kgs 16:6, 8).”

      • All of the rest of the events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Jeroboam reigned for 22 years, then he rested with his ancestors. His son Nadab succeeded him as king.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The authors of Kings specifically claim to have had access to written sources of information about the monarchic period, both for Israel and for Judah…The reference here is to the Israelite royal annals, preserved in palace archives and temple libraries or archives along with foreign annals and inscriptions of various kinds. No copy of any of these chronicles remains today; they are not found in the Bible, and they are different from the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles…”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds that the Annals of the Kings of Israel, “is mentioned seventeen times in 1 Kgs 14:19-2 Kgs 15:31…”

Rehoboam’s Reign in Judah (14:21-31)

        • ESV Study Bible explains, “The story of Rehoboam’s reign, begun in ch 12, has been delayed as the authors have followed Jeroboam through rebellion to idolatry and judgment, and on to death. They now return to what has been happening in Judah in the meantime.”

    • Now Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, reigned in Judah. He was 41 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 17 years in Jerusalem, which is the city that Yahweh chose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name. His mother was an Ammonite named Naamah.

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible notes, “Although several Israelite queen mothers are mentioned by name in 1-2 Kings, it is unclear whether they held official positions or their power derived from their temperaments and ambitions. No specific functions nor duties are mentioned in explicitly in Kings, but the office is attested in Hittite texts and the royal records of Ugarit, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia…However, the fact that Maacah was involved in Asherah worship has led some scholars to conclude that Israelite queen mothers had a prominent role in the religious matters of the state, specifically in promoting the worship of Asherah. This may have been the case with Maacah and in the northern kingdom with Jezebel and her daugher Athaliah, but it would have been sanctioned only by idolatrous kings…Whether or not they held formal religious or political office…queen mothers did exert tremendous influence over matters o royal succession, as demonstrated by Bathsheba (1 Kgs 1:11-31) and especially Athaliah, who seized the Israelite throne in a bloody coup after her son’s death (2 Kgs 11)…”

    • Judah did what was evil in Yahweh’s eyes, and they provoked His jealous anger with their sins more than all of their ancestors had done. They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land. The people engaged in all the abominations of the nations that Yahweh had driven out before the Israelites.

      • It is a marked feature of 1-2 Kings that each king is evaluated in terms of his commitment to the Lord, or lack of it, as evidenced by his religious policies…Here, however, the emphasis falls on the nation as a whole rather than simply on the king himself; the whole nation has become involved in idolatrous worship. The text thus looks ahead to the end of Judah, just as was the case with Israel (14:15). God with drive Judah out of the Promised Land just as he ‘drove out’ the various peoples that lived there before because of their abominations…High places and Asherim…as aspects of the idolatrous worship of Judah are mentioned alongside pillars (Hb matstsebot), which Deut 12:3 lists among the Canaanite cult objects that the people must destroy upon entry to the land. These pillars were upright standing stones of various sizes, dedicated to particular deities and sometimes bearing the image and inscription of a deity…One aspect of the syncretistic worship of Judah under Rehoboam was religiously legitimized prostitution within the sanctuary. It is possible that the sexual intercourse envisaged had a specific ritual character, designed to persuade the gods and goddesses to act in a similar way and deliver, through their intercourse, fertility to the land and to the community (cf Hos 4:1-19).” (ESV Study Bible)

    • In King Rehoboam’s 5th year, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He took away all the treasure of Yahweh’s house and the royal house. He took everything including all the gold shields that Solomon had made. King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned them to the officers of the royal escorts who guarded the entrance to the king’s house. Whenever the king went to Yahweh’s house, the royal escort would carry the shields, then afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

      • ESV Study Bible notes, “Shishak king of Egypt has often been identified with the pharaoh Sheshonq I (945-924 BC), the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty in Egypt, whose army apparently passed through Judah on its way to fight in northern Israel. If Shishak is Sheshonq, one must imagine that he did not attack Jerusalem on his way north precisely because Rehoboam bought him off with treasures of the house of the Lord and treasures of the king’s house. This is the first of a series of notices in 1-2 Kings about the loss of treasure from the temple and the palace (1 Kgs 15:18; 2 Kgs 14:14; 16:8; 18:15-16; 24:13), the culmination of which will come in 2 Kings 25. A monumental relief on the Bubastite Portal of the main temple of Amon at Karnak (near Luxor, in Egypt) catalogs, town by town, Shishak’s military incursion into Israel and Judah. The Karnak relief provides striking verification of the biblical account.”

Shishak’s city list in the Bubastite Portal pictured above. The interested reader may refer to this article on Rehoboam, King of Judah, at bible.ca for additional discussion of archaeological evidence.

      • Guzik adds, “Both 2 Chronicles and archeology confirm this account. The record in 2 Chronicles 12 gives many details that the writer of 1 Kings summarized…as the enemy army approached Jerusalem, the Prophet Shemaiah led the leaders of Judah in genuine repentance (2 Chronicles 12:6). In response to their repentance, God allowed Jerusalem to remain – but as servants of Shishak, king of Egypt (2 Chronicles 12:7-8).”

    • The rest of the events of Rehoboam’s reign, along with all of his accomplishments are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Rehoboam and Jeroboam were continually at war with each other throughout their reigns. Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His mother was an Ammonite named Naamah. His son Abijam succeeded him as king.

      • HCSB says, “Since outright war is not recorded between the two kings, we assume this refers to a ‘cold war’ with skirmishes and other incidents.”

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