1Kings 12-14

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 16, 2002


Solomon’s reign over Israel has ended. It is now time for his son, Rehoboam to be crowned king.

1Kings 12

:1-5 Rehoboam faced with a challenge

:1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

Rehoboam[email protected]‘am – “a people has enlarged”

Shechem – about 30 miles north of Jerusalem. see map

It was one of the “Cities of Refuge” (Josh. 20:7). It had been the city from which Gideon’s son, Abimelech, tried to become king (Judg. 9). It was the place where the Samaritans worshipped God in their twisted form of Judaism, with their own temple in Shechem, on Mount Gerizim.

It was also called “Sychar” in the New Testament (John 4:5), where Jesus met the woman at the well.

This is the modern city of Nablus, a place you hear about a lot on the news in Israel. This was one of the Palestinian towns that Israel moved into for a while.

:2 when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it

JeroboamYarob‘am – “the people will contend”

Jeroboam was the industrious young man that Solomon had raised up as a leader. When Solomon turned away from the Lord and began to worship other gods, the prophet Ahijah came to Jeroboam and hold him that God was going to divide the kingdom of Israel and put him in charge of ten of the twelve tribes. When Solomon got news of this, he tried to kill Jeroboam, and Jeroboam fled to Egypt until the death of Solomon (1Ki. 11).

:4 make thou the grievous service of thy father…lighter, and we will serve thee.

Jeroboam is asked to be a spokesman for the people and they request that Rehoboam lighten up a bit.

:5 Depart yet for three days, then come again to me

Rehoboam isn’t sure what to make of this request, so he asks for the people to give him some time to think about it and ask for advice.

This is probably the biggest decision he’s had to make so far in his life.

:6-8 Old men’s advice

:7 If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day,


Servant leadership

It’s ironic that the elders are encouraging Rehoboam to be a servant.
This was Jesus’ method of leadership.
(Mark 10:42-45 KJV) {42} But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. {43} But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: {44} And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. {45} For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

:8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men

Rehoboam is going to get himself into big trouble because he is going to ignore the best advice being given to him.


Sometimes older is wiser.

I think at times we need to pay a bit more attention to the gray heads.
Growing Opinions of Dad

4 years: My daddy can do anything.

7 years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot.

8 years: My father doesn’t know quite everything.

12 years: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn’t know that, either.

14 years: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned.

21 years: Oh, that man is out-of-date. What did you expect?

25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.

30 years: Maybe we ought to find out what Dad thinks.

35 years: A little patience. Let’s get Dad’s assessment before we do anything.

50 years: I wonder what Dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart.

60 years: My Dad knew absolutely everything!

65 years: I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.

It’s too bad that we have to go through those years where we don’t value the opinions of older people.

:9-11 Young men’s advice

:10 the young men that were grown up with him

Keep in mind, Rehoboam is 41 years old at the time. Don’t think of teenagers.

:11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke

Josephus records,

The king was pleased with this advice and thought it agreeable to the dignity of his government to give them such an answer. [1]

This answer appeals to Rehoboam’s flesh. He likes the idea of getting to play the “tough guy”. He doesn’t like the idea of appearing too “soft”.


Be careful what you listen to

I think we need to be careful that we don’t simply surround ourselves with people who always tell us what we want to hear.
Sometimes, it’s the people who love us the most that will be willing to risk telling us something we don’t want to hear.

:12-15 Rehoboam’s response

:15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD

This does not mean that Rehoboam has no responsibility for making a stupid decision.

But it means that God took Rehoboam’s stupid decision and decided to use it as the means to bring about the division of the kingdom.

This was a judgment by God because of Solomon’s sin.

:16-19 The Rebellion starts

:18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram

Adoram is probably the worst person Rehoboam could have sent. He was the one in charge of lining up the slave labor. He’s probably the part of the government the people resent the most. But Rehoboam doesn’t have a clue, so he sends the wrong guy.

:18 Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.

Things were beginning to look real ugly so Rehoboam flees to Jerusalem.

:19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.

From this point on, the northern kingdom is going to be known as “Israel” and the southern kingdom will be known as “Judah”.

The southern kingdom of Judah is going to be ruled by the descendants of David right up to the end, and will consist of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The northern kingdom of Israel will contain the other ten tribes, and will be ruled by many different dynasties.

:20-24 Rehoboam lets go

:20 made him king over all Israel

Jeroboam is made king over the northern tribes. The only tribes to stay with Rehoboam will be Judah and Benjamin.

:21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah

Rehoboam gathers an army of 180,000 to deal with the rebellion.

:24 Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me.

God was behind the dividing of the nation. It had come about as a result of Solomon’s turning away from the Lord and worshipping other gods.

(1 Kings 11:11-13 KJV) {11} Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. {12} Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. {13} Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.


A time to stop fighting

There are times when it is appropriate to fight against division.
It was appropriate for David to fight against Absalom and later against the man named Sheba.
But God says that in this instance, Rehoboam is to let it go.

:25 Jeroboam’s building projects

:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

built – Jeroboam had been in charge of the labor projects. He knows how to build.

Shechem – the city where Rehoboam had gone to be crowned king. This becomes Jeroboam’s capital city. see map

Penuel[email protected]’el – “facing God” see map

:26-33 Jeroboam’s big sin

:27 and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

Jeroboam gets to thinking about what is going to happen at the next great Feast Day, then all the men of Israel were to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord.

He’s afraid that if the people all go to Jerusalem to worship, they might get to thinking that they’re doing the wrong thing in following Jeroboam.

He’s afraid that the “religion thing” is going to be his downfall.


Trust in the Lord’s promises

What’s so sad about what is going to happen, is that Jeroboam has been given his position by the Lord. It was a prophet that delivered the message. In addition, God made a promise to Jeroboam:
(1 Kings 11:38 KJV) {38} And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.
When you follow God’s ways, you are in the safest of places.

:28 two calves of gold … which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt

Does this ring a bell?

This is the same kind of thing that the Israelites did when Moses was gone too long on the mountain.

 (Exodus 32:1 KJV) {1} And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Aaron took their gold and made a golden calf.

(Exodus 32:4 KJV) {4} And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

It appears that Jeroboam’s counselors have looked for a solution and found something that someone else had done a long time ago. The only problem is, they didn’t seem to look to see if it was the right thing. They didn’t see what happened when Aaron made the golden calf.

They apparently didn’t mention to Jeroboam that God was highly displeased with the golden calf. They didn’t mention that three thousand people died that day as a result of the idolatry.

:28 It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem


Easy worship

I am a little concerned when people’s ideas about church focus on making things “comfortable”.
I do believe we need to be relevant to our culture. I do believe we ought to have music and ministries that people can relate to.
But I think we need to be careful that we don’t end up compromising the message in order to not “offend” people.

Some people don’t like to hear the word “sin”. Others don’t like the word “hell”.

:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

BethelBeyth-’El – “house of God” see map

This would certainly be a good place, especially since it already has a “religious” name, the “house of God”.

It also is about the last stop on the road to Jerusalem, about ten miles north. For the people traveling to Jerusalem, why bother? Why not stop at Bethel?

DanDan – “a judge”

Dan doesn’t have the religious name, but it has the people who would be willing to follow something that’s off a little.

When the tribe of Dan decided it needed more room to grow, they sent an army to the north to take this city. On their way north, they stopped by the house of a man named Micah (Judges 17-18) who had set up his own little worship center, complete with idols and a priest. They took the idol and the priest and settled up north in the area of Dan.

:31 made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

For the Jewish priesthood, God made it clear that He only wanted certain people, people He picked, to be priests.

One of the rebellions in Moses’ day was led by a man named Korah. He complained that he wasn’t allowed to be a priest like Aaron and his sons.

(Num 16:3 KJV) And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
They thought that Moses and Aaron were just pushing their weight around and that they ought to be able to be priests.
God said “no”. God made it very clear that He wanted the people that He picks to be in ministry.

Jeroboam seems to change the qualifications for ministry. It seems he takes just about anyone who will apply for the job.


Called to ministry

The qualifications for a person being in ministry are a little different now. God’s qualifications are no longer based on whether or not you are a descendant of Aaron.
But God still wants to be the one who picks who is in ministry.
I think one of the most dangerous things that can happen in the church is when the wrong person gets into ministry. The work of God is harmed, not helped.
The work of God should only be done by people through whom God is working. When you see exciting things happening at church, don’t get confused and think it’s the people doing it, it’s the Lord. Being “effective” in ministry is not about learning to tell funny jokes or being super smart. It’s about learning to get out of the way and let God work.
How can a person know if God has called them to the ministry?
One of the evidences of God’s call is fruit.

After the rebellion of Korah, God asked each of the tribes to put a rod of wood next to the Ark of the Covenant. The tribe of Levi submitted Aaron’s rod. The next morning, all the rods were collected and something was different about Aaron’s rod.

(Num 17:8 KJV) And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

It had been a simple staff of wood, but after being in the presence of the Ark overnight, it was alive.

I think an evidence of God’s call on your life is fruit (or, nuts if you like!).

:33 So he offered upon the altar …in the month which he had devised of his own heart

God had said that the people were to gather three times a year:

(Exo 23:14 KJV) Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

It would seem that Jeroboam is setting up an alternative to the Feast of Tabernacles, which was celebrated one month earlier.

(Lev 23:34-35 KJV) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. {35} On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.


Fake religion

Close, but no cigar.
What’s so hard is that many of the cults sound so religious. They say many of the right things. They have a religiousness about them that seems like they are doing the right thing.
There is something inside of man that knows that he needs something spiritual in his life. And when he comes up against the fake religions, it makes man think he’s doing what he’s supposed to.
But it’s a counterfeit.

1Kings 13

:1-3 Jeroboam is warned

:1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah

a man of God – we are never told his name. Josephus records he was “a prophet, whose name was Jadon” (8:8:5)

:1 Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.

Jeroboam is acting as a priest.

:2 Josiah by name …

JosiahYo’shiyah – “whom Jehovah heals”

This would take place three hundred years later, as a young king named Josiah became excited about following the Lord.

(2 Kings 23:15-16 KJV) {15} Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. {16} And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

To Jeroboam, it’s possible that the only thing he’s hearing is that a king of Judah will one day tear down his precious altars. He might even be concerned that it sounds as if the southern kingdom will one day conquer the northern kingdom.

In reality, there would be nothing political about Josiah’s actions. By the time that Josiah acts, the northern kingdom has been wiped out and carried off to Assyria. Josiah’s actions are solely based on what is pleasing to God.

:3 This is the sign …the altar shall be rent

The altar breaking and the ashes pouring out would happen in a minute, and would be a sign for Jeroboam that this was going to happen.

:4-6 The signs

:4 he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him.

 (1 Kings 13:4 NLT) {4} King Jeroboam was very angry with the man of God for speaking against the altar. So he pointed at the man and shouted, “Seize that man!” But instantly the king’s hand became paralyzed in that position, and he couldn’t pull it back.

:5 The altar also was rent …according to the sign

This prophet isn’t just some guy who is trying to spoil Jeroboam’s party. He’s actually been sent by God and the things he’s warning Jeroboam about are real.

:6 the king's hand was restored him again

What a picture of God’s mercy. If I was this prophet, I might have wanted to ask Jeroboam for a written promise that he wouldn’t be hurt. But instead the prophet simply prays for Jeroboam and Jeroboam is healed.

:7-10 The prophet’s instructions

:9 For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water…

God had clearly spoken to the prophet earlier and given him specific instructions, including the direction of not sticking around any longer than is necessary.

Why did God want the prophet to go straight home?

Perhaps God was concerned that the prophet might become corrupted by Jeroboam. Perhaps he might be talked into taking back the things that God wanted him to say.

Perhaps God wanted the prophet to be an illustration that God doesn’t want anything to do with Jeroboam’s idolatry.

:11-19 The old prophet

:18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also ..an angel spake unto me …But he lied unto him.

Some have suggested that the old prophet knew exactly what he was doing, and was trying to get the young prophet off track and heading to his doom in order to get on the good side of Jeroboam.

Josephus records,

Whereupon he was afraid that this stranger and prophet should be in better esteem with the king than himself, and obtain greater honor from him; and he gave order to his sons to saddle his ass presently, and make all ready that he might go out.[2]


Spiritual lies

I’m glad we don’t have to wonder whether or not this old guy was lying, the writer clearly tells us he was.
But what troubles me here is that we have a person called a “prophet”, and yet he is a liar.
We will see that this man is actually able to speak for God because he will later prophesy and his words will come true (vs. 21).
I think the worst kinds of lies are the ones done in God’s name.
We would like to think that everything said and done at church is a good thing.
But there will be people who will abuse the authority of the Lord.
On Wednesday nights, when we spend time praying and waiting on the Lord, we need to be careful that we understand the weight of what it means to speak for the Lord.
I think it’s okay for us to say, “I think the Lord might be saying …” I think there’s a place for learning to hear God speak.
But we need to be careful not to use God’s name as a way of getting people to do what we want them to do.
Don’t abuse the word of the Lord.

:20-25 The prophet’s rebuke

:22 thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.

This old prophet now turns from being a “liar” to a person that God speaks through.

God spoke to Balaam through a donkey.

God spoke through greedy Balaam.

This makes me uncomfortable because I get to thinking sometimes that God only uses perfect people. Not so. This doesn’t justify what the old man did.


Obey what God tells you to do.

I know that sometimes this is a difficult thing.
Sometimes we simply don’t know what God wants us to do.
Sometimes it is good to ask advice from others.
But sometimes God has spoken to us, and we know what we’re supposed to do, and we allow ourselves to get talked out of it.
Do what God has asked you to do.

Be careful about people who want to tell you what God wants you to do when God has said something different.

:24 the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.

This is something highly unusual. The lion kills the prophet, but he doesn’t eat him. The lion doesn’t even kill and eat the donkey. The lion is simply used by God to kill the prophet, and then guard his dead body.

:26-32 The burial

:27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him.

They put the saddle on the donkey, not the prophet. J

:29 And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass

Another amazing thing, the lion lets the old prophet take the body.

:30 And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!

It seems that this old prophet feels some sense of responsibility over what has happened.

:31 When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones:

This is what would happen.

When Josiah would come hundreds of years later, he would spot this grave:

(2 Kings 23:17-18 NLT) {17} “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked. And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!” {18} Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.

:32 in the cities of Samaria,

Samaria – eventually the capital of the northern kingdom. The northern kingdom would also be known as “Samaria” as well as “Israel”.

:32 shall surely come to pass.

The old prophet knows that what this dead man had said will surely come to pass.

:33-34 Jeroboam doesn’t repent

:34 And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.

This sin of Jeroboam’s will last through the entire history of the northern kingdom. Even after Jeroboam and his own dynasty are wiped out, the sin of Jeroboam will continue.

The phrase “the sins of Jeroboam” or “the way of Jeroboam” appears 17 times in the King James Bible (after the time of Jeroboam), referring to this sin, and how the future generations would follow in his footsteps.

Even the “good” kings of the northern kingdom, though they might have gotten rid of Baal worship, they never got rid of Jeroboam’s golden calves.

In the end, when the northern kingdom is being taken away into captivity by the Assyrian empire, we read,

(2 Kings 17:22-23 NLT) {22} And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins of idolatry {23} until the Lord finally swept them away, just as all his prophets had warned would happen. So Israel was carried off to the land of Assyria, where they remain to this day.


Your sin affects others

I kind of get the idea the Jeroboam simply wasn’t a very “religious” person. He didn’t seem to really understand what it meant to follow the Lord.
For Jeroboam, the making of the golden calves was simply a practical thing. He was simply trying to keep his hands on the kingdom that God had given to him.
I would imagine that when Jeroboam came up with the idea, it simply seemed like it was better for the nation to do it than if he turned from this sin.

But in the end, it was devastating to the nation.

People watch us. They see what we do.


To get his good-night kiss he stood

Beside my chair one night

And raised an eager face to me,

A face with love alight.


And as I gathered in my arms

The son God gave to me,

I thanked the lad for being good,

and hoped he’d always be.


His little arms crept ‘round my neck

And then I heard him say

Five simple words I can’t forget...

Five words that made me pray.


They turned a mirror on my soul,

On secrets no one knew,

They startled me, I hear them yet;

“I wanna be like you”.


Author Unknown

Kind of scary to think that somebody is watching, wishing they were like us, huh?

1Kings 14

:1-4 Jeroboam’s sick child

:1 At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.

Abijah‘Abiyah – “Jehovah is (my) father”

:2 Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh

ShilohShiyloh – “place of rest”. Shiloh had been the place where the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant had been in the days of Samuel’s boyhood. see map

Why does Jeroboam think his wife needs to be disguised?

Perhaps he knows that he is in sin. He must feel some sort of conviction over his sin.

Yet in reality, if he’s trying to hide his sin from God, he’ll never be able to do it.

:3 ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey,

Food as a gift for the prophet.

cracknelsniqqud – crumbled thing, thing easily crumbled, crumbs; apparently a kind of hard biscuit or cake

:3 he shall tell thee what shall become of the child

For some reason, Jeroboam isn’t asking for his son to be healed, he just wants to know what will happen.

It’s interesting that in his own life, he’s seen God’s mercy. When he stretched out his hand toward the prophet, Jeroboam’s hand was withered. But when he asked for mercy, God healed his hand.

I think God wants us to come and ask for His help. He wants to show mercy.

Note: I also find it interesting that Jeroboam doesn’t send his wife to one of the priests of his own false religion. He knows it’s bogus. He sends his wife to the real deal. Hmmm.

:4 Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.

Ahijah is going blind. If the disguise is meant to fool Ahijah, there’s no need, he can’t see.

:5-16 Judgment coming

:5 And the LORD said unto Ahijah

I love how the Lord works. This is similar to what happened with Samuel and Saul …

(1 Samuel 9:15 KJV) {15} Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying …

:6 Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings.

Jeroboam’s wife never has a chance to say anything.


You can’t hide from God.

You can try and put on a disguise in front of people, but God sees right through you. If He wants to, He has the ability to whisper things in someone else’s ear.
Here's some people who were convinced that their sins were hidden:
·        The thief was sure that the church was a safe hideout. Just inside he spied a rope hanging. Up he climbed, only to hear the church bell ring out his location. 
·        In Mexico City a man snatched a woman's purse and dashed into a doorway to hide. It turned out to be the door of a police station.
·        Shoplifting in a department store in Rochester, NY a man picked up an alarm clock and headed for the nearest exit. The clock, hidden under his coat, went off before he could get out to the store.
·        A lineman for a professional football team often stayed out late, despite the club's curfew. He would pile things under his blankets, making it appear he was in bed. At one hotel, however, he couldn't find enough things to stuff the bed with, so he stuck a floor lamp under the covers and left. When a suspicious coach peeked in at 1 a.m. and snapped on the light switch, the bed lit up.
Be sure your sin will find you out!

:7 Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people

God reminds Jeroboam that He was the one who picked Jeroboam out. God was the one who gave Jeroboam his job.

:9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee

God knows exactly what Jeroboam has done. And there is no excuse. Jeroboam has done a horrible thing.

As a leader, his sin is even worse. His sin affects more people.

:10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam

There will not be a Jeroboamic dynasty. The kingdom will not be ruled by descendants of Jeroboam.

:11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat

There will be no royal burials for Jeroboam’s descendants. Their bodies will not receive proper burials.

:12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.

As soon as Jeroboam’s wife gets home, her son will die.

:13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave

Abijah will be the only descendant of Jeroboam who will receive a decent burial.

:15 he shall root up Israel …because they have made their groves

groves – literally, “Asherim”

Ahijah is prophesying of the end of the northern kingdom. It will come in part because of Jeroboam’s sin.

:17-20 The child dies

:17 And Jeroboam's wife …came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;

TirzahTirtsah – “favourable”. Apparently by this time Jeroboam has moved his home from Shechem to Tirzah, about 6 miles northeast of Shechem. see map

:18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD

This all sounds very hard and cruel for Jeroboam and his wife, but keep in mind that he is responsible for the very core sin that will continue in the northern kingdom for the rest of it’s existence. He is responsible for an entire nation sliding away from God.

The death and burial of the child act as a sign to the nation that the rest of Ahijah’s words will come true as well.

Does this cause Jeroboam to repent?

Apparently not. Apparently he still sees the rationale behind having his own false religion.

:19 they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

We do not have this book.

:20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned …Nadab his son reigned

There is a measure of God’s “longsuffering” here.

Even though there has been a warning of judgment, God is being patient and giving the nation a chance to repent.

But they still will continue in their sin.

:21-24 Rehoboam’s sins

:21 Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years

Rehoboam’s reign is somewhat parallel to that of Jeroboam.

:21 his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess

NaamahNa‘amah – “loveliness”

an Ammonitess – We have a reminder that Solomon married many women that he shouldn’t have.

:23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

Initially, after Rehoboam had the kingdom split, there was a time of renewal. The priests and Levites from all over Israel migrated south to Judah because they did not want to participate in the worship of Jeroboam’s golden calves.

Yet it was after this time of strength, of walking with the Lord, that the writer of Chronicles tells us:

(2 Chronicles 12:1 KJV) {1} And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.


Beware of strength

It seems that the safest place to be is the weakest. It’s when we’re weak that we seek the Lord.

:24 And there were also sodomites in the land

sodomitesqadesh – male temple prostitute

It concerns me when I read in the newspaper that there was a “Gay Pride Parade” in Jerusalem last week.  I am concerned for Israel.

:25-28 Judah’s judgment

:25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:

Shishak was the king that Jeroboam had been with when he was running from Solomon.

(1 Kings 11:40 KJV) {40} Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Shishak is being used by God to wake up Rehoboam. When he shows up in Israel, he has a HUGE army.  And it works.

(2 Chronicles 12:2-9 KJV) {2} And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD, {3} With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians. {4} And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem. {5} Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak. {6} Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous. {7} And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. {8} Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. {9} So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

When Rehoboam heard that Shishak was a judgment from God, he responded with humility and repentance.
In contrast, Jeroboam didn’t repent at all.


Ask God for help

Cry out to God.  He will send help.
The Spider Web
A young soldier found himself in a terrible battle during the Scottish Reformation. The enemy was soundly defeating this young man’s army. He and his comrades found themselves hastily retreating from the battle field in defeat, running away in fear of their very lives. The enemy gave chase. This young man ran hard and fast, full of fear and desperation, soon found himself cut off from his comrades in arms. He eventually came upon a rocky ledge containing a cave. Knowing the enemy was close behind, and that he was exhausted from the chase, chose to hide there. After he crawled in, he fell to his face in the darkness, desperately crying to God to save him and protect him from his enemies. He also made a bargain with God, he promised that if God saved him, he would serve Him for the remainder of his days. When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance to the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought, “I asked God for protection and deliverance, and he sent me a spider instead. How can a spider save me?” His heart was hardened, knowing the enemy would soon discover his hiding place and kill him. Soon he did hear the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave’s entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control. As the enemy cautiously moved forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider’s web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, “There can’t be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider’s web to enter the cave. Let’s move on.” Years later, this young man, who made good his promise by becoming a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. What he observed has stood by me in times of trouble, especially during those times when everything seemed impossible.
He wrote: “Where God is, a spider’s web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider’s web.”

~ Author unknown

:27 king Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields

These shields that were kept in the House of the Forest of Lebanon become a type of gauge to show what’s going on in the kingdom. The golden glory days are gone. Things have gone to bronze.

Bronze shields can be made to look like gold shields. But they take a lot of work, a lot of elbow grease, a lot of polishing.

Things might look the same to most of the people, but they aren’t. Life is cheaper than it used to be.

:29-31 Rehoboam’s reign ends



[1]Josephus, F. (1996, c1987). The works of Josephus : Complete and unabridged. Includes index. (Ant VIII, viii 2). Peabody: Hendrickson.

[2]Josephus, F. (1996, c1987). The works of Josephus : Complete and unabridged. Includes index. (Ant VIII, ix 1). Peabody: Hendrickson.