Scriptures

1 Kings 14

Introduction

‘At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’ So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh. Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the LORD had told Ahijah, ‘Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.’ So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretence? I have been sent to you with bad news. Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, 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 commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me. ‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The LORD has spoken!’ ‘As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the LORD, the God of Israel, has found anything good. ‘The LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. And the LORD will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying 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 aroused the LORD’s anger by making Asherah poles. And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.’ Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of the house, the boy died. They buried him, and all Israel mourned for him, as the LORD had said through his servant the prophet Ahijah. The other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel. He reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors. And Nadab his son succeeded him as king.’ 1 Kings 14:1-20

Ahijah’s Prophecy Against Jeroboam

When Jeroboam’s son, Abijah became ill, he told his wife to go to and see the prophet Ahijah who lived in Shiloh where possibly all the prophets lived at this time, 2 Kings 2:1-25.

His wife was to disguise herself and take ten loaves of bread, cakes and honey, this was customary when visiting a prophet, to provide some food for him. By doing so, you showed him respect and acknowledged he was dedicating his life to the work of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 9:1-14.

Because Jeroboam himself didn’t know, tells us just how far from God he is and his undercover plan failed, because God had informed Ahijah who was coming to visit him and what was about to happen.

There’s no doubt that Ahijah was a real prophet because he couldn’t see, but as soon as he heard the footsteps, he immediately knew it was Jeroboam’s wife.

No doubt Jeroboam’s wife concluded that Ahijah was a real prophet, but the news good she got from him wasn’t good. He told her that as soon as she returns home and steps foot into the city, her child would die.

For some reason, she returns to the city, maybe she didn’t really believe what Ahijah had told her, if she did believe every he told her, then surely, as a mother you would stay away from the city altogether. It’s possible that her love for her son was simply too great, her love for her son outweighed the words of the prophet.

Jeroboam had completely turned his back on God, he took over as Israel’s leader, 1 Kings 12:1-17, he built altars in Bethel and Dan, 1 Kings 12:25-33, He appointed anyone who wanted to be a priest, even though they weren’t from the tribe of Levi, 1 Kings 13:33. All of this was done so that he could maintain his political power.

Jeroboam’s son, Abijah was going to die, but God would allow him to be buried, because He found some good in him. but because Abijah was to die, this would bring an end to the kinship linage of Jeroboam.

God Himself was going to raise up someone who would cut off Jeroboam’s household, and even though Abijah was permitted to be buried, no one else from Jeroboam’s household would die with dignity, because when they die, they would be eaten by animals and birds.

God was going to ‘uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River.’ This was a prophecy speaking about Israel’s Assyrian captivity which took place around 722 B.C. The Assyrians came and conquered the northern kingdom and took the ten tribes into captivity beyond the Euphrates River.

Not only will they be taken into captivity, but God is going to give Israel up, which basically means God abandoned them to reap the rewards of their own evil actions, Romans 1:24 / Romans 1:26 / Romans 1:28.

Not only did Jeroboam sin, he caused Israel to sin. He did this by doing the following.

1. He made paganism the official religion of Israel.

2. He consecrated priests of tribes other than that of Levi.

3. He erected pagan idols in Dan, Bethel, and Samaria.

4. He arrogantly intruded himself into the sacrifices.

5. He organised and promoted a corrupt Feast of Tabernacles, contrary to God’s law.

6. He persuaded the people to disobey God by not going to Jerusalem to worship.

7. He established and organised high places all over northern Israel.

Notice that ‘other events of Jeroboam’s reign, his wars and how he ruled, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel’. The book of annals of the kings of Israel or the book of annals of the kings of Judah, are mentioned several times through the Books of Kings and Chronicles. Although these books aren’t inspired, the writer obviously had access to these books.

The Books of 1 and 2 Kings were written with focus on the history of Israel, whilst 1 and 2 Chronicles were written with the focus on the southern kingdom.

Rehoboam King Of Judah

‘Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done. They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.’ 1 Kings 14:21-24

Solomon’s son, Rehoboam reigned in Judah from 931 to 913 B.C. We get a more detailed account of his reign in 2 Chronicles 11:5-12:16. In the Chronicles account we’re told that many priests fled to the south away from the apostasy which was happening in the north. They obviously didn’t agree with what was happening with Jeroboam’s religious reforms.

Chronicles also tells us that there was a war between Israel and Judah whilst Jeroboam and Rehoboam reigned. This almost led to the destruction of Jerusalem but the leaders in the south repented and so Jerusalem was spared.

Here we are told that ‘Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord’. Just as Jeroboam built altars to other gods in the north, 1 Kings 12:25-33, Rehoboam built altars to other gods in the south. Their sin was worse than those who were before them, which indicates that their apostasy was progressive, they were progressively getting more and more involved in idolatry.

Notice that the people were involved in ‘detestable practices’, this again tells us they were spiralling out of control. Ezekiel rebuked the children of Israel and told them they had become worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, Ezekiel 16:47-52.

‘In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to the LORD’s temple, the guards bore the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom. As for the other events of Rehoboam’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. And Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.’ 1 Kings 14:25-31

Shishak, the king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, for obvious reasons, he wanted to plunder the place and take all the valuables away. He was probably told about all the wealth in Jerusalem and all the gold in the temple by Jeroboam, when he was a fugitive in Egypt, 1 Kings 12:2.

At this point in time, Judah was very vulnerable to attack because they were busy fighting those in the northern kingdom of Israel, 2 Chronicles 12:7-8. Shishak took away the treasures of the temple, 1 Kings 10:16-17.

Think about this, all the gold and other riches which Solomon had collected over the years was taken away within one generation by an Egyptian. It’s interesting that after Israel was freed from Egypt when they were enslaved, they came out of Egypt wealthier than they had ever been, Exodus 12:35-36 / Exodus 38:24, but now it appears that God is sending the gold back to Egypt again.

All the wealth and riches which Solomon had accumulated was gone within five years of his death, no wonder Solomon, before he died declared that ‘everything is meaningless’, Ecclesiastes 1:2.

The other events of Rehoboam’s reign, and all he did, are ‘written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah’. War between Jeroboam and Rehoboam was common place at this point in time but Rehoboam dies and was buried in Jerusalem. Abijah now becomes king of Judah.

Go To 1 Kings 15

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