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Joseph Rawson Lumby.

The first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes online

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made use of every effort,' ' exerted himself much,' seeing that there
was danger threatening him as well as his messenger. Little time
had elapsed between the answer of Rehoboam and the sending of
Adoram to appease the irritated leaders. All this was done and
Adoram killed before Rehoboam left Sheehem. 19. unto

this day] This phrase marks the original composition, from which
the compiler of the Kings drew his material. 20. when all

Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again] R.V. was returned.
At first Jeroboam had been summoned by the leading men that he
might be their adviser and perhaps spokesman. Now when their
request has been rejected the whole people agree that he shall be
made their king. but the tribe of Judah only] So Rehoboam

was left in the position of David at his accession, king of Judah
only.

21. all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin] Called in
2 Chron. ' the house of Judah and Benjamin.' Tims Benjamin is
shewn to bave been, as it were, reckoned with Judah rather tban
as a separate tribe. an hundred and fourscore thousand]

Though apparently enormous, the number is not excessive when
we recall Joab's numbering (2 Sam. xxiv. 9), at which time tbo



I. KINGS, XII. 22—27. 83

to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came 22
unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Reho- 23
boam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the
house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the
people, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor 24
fight against your brethren the children of Israel : return every
man to his house ; for this thing is from me. They hearkened
therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart,
according to the word of the Lord.

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and 25
dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return 20
to the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in 27
the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart
of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam
king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Reho-

men of Judah were found to be 500,000. 22. the word of God]

How Shemaiah and other prophets received their commission is
not always explained. Shemaiah] Beside the present notice of

him, Shemaiah is also mentioned in the Chronicles at the time
when Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Judaea and besieged Jeru-
salem. 23. and to the remnant of the people] (R.V. the rest).
We see from verse 17 above that there were some people belonging
to the ten tribes who were dwelling in the cities of Judah. These
would have their ties in the place where they had long lived, and
so would cast in their lot with the southern kingdom. 24. for
this thing is from me] See above on verse 15. and returned to
depart] This is the literal rendering of the original. In R.V. the
sense is given by ' and returned and went their way.'

25. built Shechem] i.e. Strengthened it by walls and made it
thus fit to be the royal residence, ' the political centre of a confede-
ration whose military leader bore the title of king.' For 'mount
Ephraim,' we should rather read with R.V., 'the hill country of
Ephraim.' Penuel] This place was in the country of Gilead,

on the east of the Jordan. 26. And Jeroboam said in his

heart] Josephus {Ant. vm. 8, 4) says the idea was forced on the
king's mind by the approach of the Feast of Tabernacles.

27. if this people go up to do sacrifice] There appears to have
been no thought in the popular mind that the choice of a different
ruler for the ten tribes would break their connexion with the
worship at the Temple. So that we must judge the Temple to
have now become the one recognised place for worship. The R.V.
represents the Hebrew more closely by rendering to offer sacri-
fices, then shall the heart of this people turn] After the first
excitement of the revolt the attraction of the Temple, and the
prestige of the older family would begin to reassert their power.
Jeroboam expresses this feeling when he still calls Rehoboam ' then-
lord.' they shall kill me] When they have begun to repent of
the step which they have taken at my leading. and go again

6—2



84 I. KINGS, XII. 28—32.

28 boam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and
made two calves of gold, and said unto thein, It is too much
for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, Israel,

29 which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set

30 the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. And this
thing became a sin: for the people went to icorship before the

31 one, even unto Dan. And he made a house of high places,
and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of

32 the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the
eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto
the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar (so



to Eehoboam king of Judah] The title 'king of Judah ' is first used
in this chapter, here and above in verse 23. 28. two calves of

gold] The Israelites in Egypt had been familiarized with the ox as
an object of worship, and it would therefore not be unknown among
their descendants. It is too much for you to go iLp] The sense

intended is probably given in the margin of B.V. 'Ye have gone
up long enough.' To the mind of the Jew there might be a reason
for ceasing altogether to go to Jerusalem, now that the kingdoms
were divided, but no excuse from the fatigue of the journey.

behold thy gods] Words very like those of the people in the
wilderness (Exod. xxxii. 4) over their golden calf. 29. in

Beth- el] The well-known city in the extreme south of the tribe
of Ephraim. in Dan] The town, formerly called Laish, in the

very north of Palestine, and always mentioned as a limit of the
land in the phrase 'from Dan to Beersheba.' 30. And this

thing became a sin] Being in contradiction of the second command-
ment, for the people went to worship before the one, even unto
Dan] It appears as though by these words it was intended to shew
how fully the people were led astray. To far-off Dan even did
they go. There was no need to point out that they went to Bethel.
That had been a place of worship before, and in consequence had
sacred associations. Of course they were not hard to persuade to
go there. 31. a house of high places] The graven image
must have its temple. So in Beth-el and in Dan buildings were
raised, and an eminence chosen for the site of each. Hence it is
better to render, as K.V., houses of high places. and made
priests of the lowest of the people] Better, as B.V. 'and made
priests from among all the people.' Here the idea is that
Jeroboam's priests were taken from anywhere. 32. And
Jeroboam ordained a feast] This was intended to be a set-off for
the Feast of Tabernacles, of the celebration of which, in Jeru-
salem, Jeroboam had been so much in fear. in the eighth
month, on the fifteenth day] The Feast of Tabernacles was on the
fifteenth day of the seventh month (Lev. xxiii. 34). Jeroboam came
as near as he could but chose a later month, perhaps because the
harvest-celebration kept at the Feast of Tabernacles could be very
well placed later in the northern part of the land. and he
offered upon the altar] The verb sometimes means 'to go up unto,'
and this is represented on the margin of A.V. Bead, he went up



I. KINGS, XII. 33— XIII. 2. 85

did he in Beth-el,) sacrificing unto the calves that he had
made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places
which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he 33
had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the eighth month,
even in the month which he had devised of his own heart ;
and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he
offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.

And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the 13
word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the
altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the 2
word of the Lord, and said, altar, altar, thus saith the
Lord ; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David,
Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of

unto, and so twice over in verse 33. so did he in Beth-el] The
king himself took part in the dedication of the southern high place.
Thus Jeroboam in some degree imitated Solomon's dedication of the
Temple. 33. and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense]

The marginal note of the A.V. points out that the last verb is in
the infinitive. By translating with R.V. this is made apparent in
the text and went up unto the altar to burn incense.

XIII. 1. A man of God] Josephus (Ant. viii. 8, 5) says this
prophet whom the narrative does not name was called Jadon.

out of Judah] Out of Judah to speak the word of the Lord in
Israel. Later on Israel had her own prophets. by the word

of the Lord] Those who would not follow with Jeroboam in his
worship of the calves had most likely all departed from the northern
kingdom. and Jeroboam stood by the altar] Better with R.V.

was standing. The appearance of the prophet of Judah took
place at the moment when the king was about to engage hi the act
of worship. 2. he cried against the altar in the word of

the Lord] The Hebrew is the same as in the preceding verse.
Render (with R.V.) 'by the word.' The meaning is that both the
journey from Judah and the prophecy were in consequence of
divine instruction. Josiah by name] The history of the fulfil-

ment of this prophecy is in 2 Kings xxiii. 15, 16. Between the
accession of Jeroboam and the accession of Josiah was an interval
of about 330 years. Hence as the name of the king avIio should
execute the threatened vengeance is mentioned, this prophecy is
remarkable among the predictions of tbe Old Testament. There is
nothing with which it can be compared except the prophecy con-
cerning Cyrus in Isaiah xliv. 28 and xlv. 1, nor is it according
to the manner of scriptural prophecies to be precise about details
such as this. Hence some have thought that this verse and also
other parts of the story of this chapter were brought into then*
present fonn at a later date than Jeroboam. The story of the
appearance of the prophet and of his prediction were known from
the first, but the details here given were inserted when the predic-
tion was accomplished. There is certainly in verse 32 a notice of the
'cities of Samaria ' which confirms this opinion. Jeroboam's capital
was Shechem, and Samaria was not built, nor any district so called,



86 I. KINGS, XIII. 3—6.

the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones

3 shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day,
saying, This is the sign which the Lord hath spoken; Behofd,
the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be

4 poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard
the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the
altar in Beth-el, that he put forth his hand from the altar,
saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth
against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to

5 him. The altar also xoas rent, and the ashes poured out from
the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had

ti given by the word of the Lord. And the king answered and
said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lord
thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me
again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the
king's hand was restored him again, and became as it icas



till the reign of Ornri the father of Ahab (1 Kings xvi. 24). Again, it is
unlike the rest of the narrative of the Books of Kings that no name
should be given to either of the prophets who play such a part in
the story. It seems therefore probable that the chapter is taken
from some other source than that which supplied what has gone
before and what follows it. If this be so, we need not be surprised
that Jeroboam's action in approaching the altar seems noted as
impious while Solomon's sacrifices are accepted. The compiler of
the Books of Kings gathered his material from various sources,
and did his work after Josiah was dead. There is no difficulty in
understanding how by that time the story as he has given it had
been put on record, and as he wished to place Jeroboam's sin in a
strong light all through his history, the events here recorded were
exceedingly appropriate for incorporation in his narrative.

upon thee shall he offer the priests'] The verb is that which is
usually rendered sacrifice, and it is better (with R.V.) so to
translate it. men's hones shall be burnt] R.Y. shall they

burn. 3. And he gave a sif/n the same day] The sign was

necessary because the event foretold was to be at so remote a date
that none who were living in Jeroboam's day would be alive to
see it. and the ashes that are uj>on it] The Hebrew word,

which is the same as that so often rendered ' fatness ', applies only
to the ashes of an altar, which would be mixed up with the fat of
sacrifices burnt upon it. 4. he put forth his hand from the

altar] He was busy in the operations connected with the sacrifice,
but the words of the prophet roused his anger and the raised hand,
is the sign of his wrath, as well as a signal to those who were near
him, pointing out that the speaker was to be seized. dried uj>]

The effect described is that of a limb becoming rigid, not so much
shrivelling, as stiffening. 6. Intreat now the face of the Lord

thy God] Here the ll.V. has adopted the rendering of the phrase by
A.V. in Ps. cxix. 58 ; Prov. xix. 6 ' Intreat now the favour, &c.'

besought the Lord] B.V. has 'intreated the Lord'. 7. Come



I. KINGS, XIII. 7—17. 87

before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home 7
with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me 8
half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat
bread nor drink water in this place : for so was it charged me 9
by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink
water, nor turn again by the same way that thou earnest. So 10
he went another way, and returned not by the way that he
came to Beth-el.

Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his son li
came and told him all the works that the man of God had
done that day in Beth-el: the words which he had spoken unto
the king, them they told also to their father. And their father u
said unto them, What way went he ? For his sons had seen
what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they 13
saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, and went after the 14
man of God, and found him sitting under an oak : and he said
unto him, Art thou the man of God that earnest from Judah?
And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with la
me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, 16
nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water
with thee in this place: for it was said to me by the word of 17



home tcith me] The subsequent narrative shews that there was no
alteration in Jeroboam's feelings or intentions in consequence of
what had occurred. But he would fain have the man of God con-
tinue in his company a while, that his people might not be terrified
by what had happened and decide to break off from the calf-wor-
ship and go up to Jerusalem to the Temple again. 8. neither
will I eat bread nor drink water] There was to be no communion
between the idolaters and the worshippers of Jehovah. 9. nor
turn again by the same toay] There is nothing in the original for
'same'. Therefore R.V. gives neither return by the way as in
the following verse in A.V.

11. Noio there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el] The man can
hardly have been a true prophet of Jehovah, or he would not have
countenanced, even by the presence of his sons, the calf-worship
which God had forbidden. and his son came] R.V. and one
of his sons came. The noun and the two verbs ' came ' and ' told '
are singular, but before the close of the verse there comes in a
plural verb and pronoun l they told also to their father'. The
language is very natural. One son was the principal reporter, but
when the story was dwelt upon the rest filled out the narrative till
the father had a complete knowledge of the whole occurrence.

12. For (R.V. Now) his sons had seen] All the Versions trans-
late 'and his sons shewed him'. 14. under an oak] The noun
has the article, and refers perhaps to some well-known tree, a land-
mark in the neighbourhood. 16. in this place] The prophet
had not gone far from Beth-el before he sat down to rest.



88 I. KINGS, XIII. 18—24.

the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor

]8 turn again to go by the way that thou earnest. He said unto

him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake

unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back

with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink

if) water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him,

2


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Online LibraryJoseph Rawson LumbyThe first book of the Kings : with map, introduction and notes → online text (page 11 of 18)