1 Kings
Introduction 1 Rehoboam goes to Shechem 2-5 The Demand to Lighten the Heavy Yoke 6-7 The Counsel of the Elders 8-11 The Counsel of the Young Men 12-14 The Hard Answer 15 The Turn Is from the LORD 16-20 The Tear Is a Fact 21-24 The LORD Confirms the Tear 25-33 A Self-Devised Religion
Introduction

In this chapter we have come to an important point in the history of Israel: the sad separation of the kingdom into two kingdoms. This tear has two causes. The first is the sin of Solomon. The previous chapter tells about this. The second is the folly of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. We will read about this in this chapter.

The history of the two kingdoms that were created by the tear, runs roughly in three periods:

1. In the first period, which for Israel is the time from Jeroboam to Omri and for Judah from Rehoboam to Asa (1 Kings 12-16), the two kingdoms are hostile to each other.

2. This enmity ends in the second period, for Israel it is under Ahab and his sons Ahaziah and Jehoram and for Judah under Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah. In that period, both royal families connect with each other by establishing marital bonds. They also connect with each other in a common fight against foreign enemies. This union ends when Jehu kills both kings of the kingdoms, Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah, at the same time (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 10:27).

3. This time of unification is followed by a third period that begins for Israel with Jehu and for Judah with Joash, in which alienation and conflict between the two kingdoms again occurs, until finally the kingdom of Israel is taken away by the Assyrians.

After the division of the kingdom, the northern realm remains called ‘Israel’. The history of that kingdom, that of the ten tribes, is a picture of the history of Christianity, or the kingdom of heaven. In that history we see the history of the people of God in the New Testament era from the point of view of man’s responsibility.

The history of Israel shows what has become of that kingdom, just as we also know how Christianity will be. The history of Christianity can be found in Revelation 2-3. There is a clear parallel between that history and that of the ten tribes realm of Israel (see the explanation of 1 Kings 11:1-8).

The great mass, both of the ten tribes realm and of Christianity, apostates further and further from God. Opposite to Israel is the two-tribal of Judah, where kings of the David family reign. Opposite the apostate mass in Christianity is a remnant that remains faithful to the Lord. Both Judah and the faithful remnant in Christianity is weak, but God connects Himself with them. In the midst of them He makes His Name dwell.


Rehoboam goes to Shechem

1Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.

Solomon, the wisest man on earth, has died. He leaves all his wealth to a foolish son. Rehoboam is a man without an own conviction. He lets himself be guided by others. This is evident right from the start. Rehoboam goes to Shechem to be made king there. Shechem is a kind of compromise place, a place – indeed in Ephraim, but also between the kingdoms. It is the place of the old public assembly (Jos 24:11Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel and for their heads and their judges and their officers; and they presented themselves before God.), where Abimelech, the son of Gideon, made himself king in the time of the judges (Jdg 9:11And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives, and spoke to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother’s father, saying,).

Rehoboam goes there because the people have gone there. He is guided by the will of the people instead of by the will of God, who has designated Jerusalem as the place of His throne. By going there he wants to preserve the unity of the people.


The Demand to Lighten the Heavy Yoke

2Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard [of it], he was living in Egypt (for he was yet in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon). 3Then they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4“Your father made our yoke hard; now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” 5Then he said to them, “Depart for three days, then return to me.” So the people departed.

The people, led by Jeroboam, are not doing well either. When they earlier wanted a king, God already warned them what their king would do with them (1Sam 8:11-1811He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place [them] for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.12He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and [some] to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.13He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.14He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give [them] to his servants.15He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants.16He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use [them] for his work.17He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.18Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”). Now they want to shed this yoke. Jeroboam is called. Under his leadership, the people go to Shechem and proposes to Rehoboam to relieve them of the heavy yoke imposed on them by Solomon.

We already see here that the people are grumbling. They set their conditions: if Rehoboam does what they propose, they will serve him. Such an attitude does not suit the people. Solomon undoubtedly asked a lot of the people for his court and many buildings. However, he has also given the people the blessing of peace throughout his reign and made them prosperous. They have eaten and drunk and have been happy and have all lived in safety (1Kgs 4:20,2520Judah and Israel [were] as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; [they] were eating and drinking and rejoicing.25So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.). They have no reason to complain.

If a person forgets the benefits and blessings God gives him and thinks only of his duties, he becomes dissatisfied. Then it seems as if a heavy burden is being imposed on him. So it is in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Whoever sets conditions for Him because He is considered too hard, does not know Him and has no eye for the many blessings He gives.


The Counsel of the Elders

6King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel [me] to answer this people?” 7Then they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Even more clearly than in verse 11Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. it appears that Rehoboam has no opinion of his own and joins the counsel of others when the people come to him with a request. The request is to lighten the heavy service that Solomon has imposed on the people. In order to know how to respond to this request, he asks for a reflection period. He wants to seek  first. Seeking advice is not wrong in itself, but later it turns out that he listens to the counsel of his peers. With them he grew up, with them he will also have to do all his life. Those old people will soon not be there anymore.

The ancients give good advice. The behavior they recommend to Rehoboam is the best. They tell him that if he is the servant of this people, the people will serve him. By serving and serving as a master, you are only a good master. That is the mind of the Lord Jesus. He has served His own as the Lord and Master (Jn 13:14-1514If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.). So He was in their midst. With this He has left an example. As He has done, His own must also behave toward others (Lk 22:26-2726But [it is] not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.27For who is greater, the one who reclines [at the table] or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines [at the table]? But I am among you as the one who serves.).


The Counsel of the Young Men

8But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. 9So he said to them, “What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” 10The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!’ But you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’”

Rehoboam doesn’t feel to submit to the elders’ counsel and acting as a servant. He rejects their counsel. Instead of consulting the LORD, he turns to his contemporaries and consults with them. These young men are in his service. Like him, they do not seek the good of the people. They only think about their own position, while they realize that Rehoboam is only interested in that too. The young men give him the counsel to be hard. He must make his power feel well, so that everyone knows who is in charge.

They advise him to do to add to the yoke that Solomon has laid on the people and about which they complain. By the saying “my little finger is thicker than my father’s loins”, the young men mean that Rehoboam must tell the people that his power is much greater than that of his father.

Their counsel is typically that of youth. They give him the counsel to act even harder than Solomon. That’s part of youth. They wants to prove themselves. It does not fit to the Christian; he must learn to lose himself and is called to flee the lusts of youth (2Tim 2:2222Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love [and] peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.).


The Hard Answer

12Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” 13The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him, 14and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”

Rehoboam listens to the advice of the young men and informs the people. He justifies the people in their false assertion that his father had imposed a heavy yoke on them. He does not honor his father. Nor does he concern about what his father said in his wisdom and behaves like a fool (Pro 15:11A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
; 16:1818Pride [goes] before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
). Solomon spoke about the possibility that he might have to leave the results of all his toil to a foolish son (Ecc 2:18-1918Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.). That is what is happening here.

Rehoboam does not show any respect for his father. What his father did, he portrays as insignificant. In contrast, he sets his own greatness. His whole attitude also shows how much he despises the people.


The Turn Is from the LORD

15So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn [of events] from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

That he gives the hard answer, “was … from the LORD”. Couldn’t Rehoboam therefore have been different? He could. This is the mystery that is so often found in Scripture. Look for example at Pharaoh, or at Judas, or at Israel. Take Israel. Had this people to hand over the Lord Jesus? No! Yet they did it because they didn’t want Him. Yet it also says that the people have delivered Him over “by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:2323this [Man], delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put [Him] to death.).

Doesn’t God incite sin? No, He never does, He is never the instigator of sin. What then? He knows perfectly who man is. He knows how to fit the actions of man, for which he himself is fully responsible, into His plans. Thus, in his own way of acting, man becomes a collaborator in the execution of God’s plans. Here we see the interweaving of God’s counsel and the responsibility of man, an interweaving that we cannot understand. We also see it in the conversion of man and the election of God.

Rehoboam, for example, is guilty of a foolish reaction here, resulting in the uprising of the people. On the other hand this turn from the LORD happens, because He said this because of the behavior of Solomon.


The Tear Is a Fact

16When all Israel [saw] that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying,
“What portion do we have in David?
[We have] no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel!
Now look after your own house, David!”
So Israel departed to their tents. 17But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20It came about when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David.

The muscular language of Rehoboam has a devastating effect. The harsh answer gives the dissatisfied the excuse they were looking for to evade Rehoboam’s authority. In verse 1616When all Israel [saw] that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying,
“What portion do we have in David?
[We have] no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel!
Now look after your own house, David!”
So Israel departed to their tents.
the split is pronounced out loud and executed. It is then the year 931 BC. All Israel turns against the house of David, to which no one remains faithful except the tribe of Judah (verse 2020It came about when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David.).

Mentioning the name of “David” shows that hatred is deeper than just against the government of Solomon. It is the expression of deep-rooted jealousy for the tribe Ephraim of Judah, the tribe of David. Ephraim has always felt the most important, but has not been given that place by God. The tribe does not resign themselves to that and now seizes its chance to become the most important one. Jeroboam will become king of all Israel, with the exception of the small part that belongs to the tribe of Judah. Yet Jeroboam also exercises his kingship there, because he is also king of the Israelites who live in Judah.

Rehoboam seems to be blind to the situation. As if nothing had happened, he sent the tax collector Adoram to Israel to collect money for him. That is oil on the fire. This Adoram reminds like no other of the heavy yoke of Solomon and they have just recently thrown it from themselves with strength. Adoram is being stoned to death by all Israel. By fleeing desperately, Rehoboam himself narrowly escapes death.


The LORD Confirms the Tear

21Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23“Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, 24‘Thus says the LORD, “You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.”‘“ So they listened to the word of the LORD, and returned and went [their way] according to the word of the LORD.

Rehoboam does not accept the situation. When he realizes his mistake, he wants to repair the damage. He wants to suppress the uprising and to that end he sets up a strong army. With this he wants to go to war against his brothers to subdue them to himself. He must and shall be their king. A terrible plan.

But there still is a faithful witness. That is Shemaiah. He is emphatically called “the man of God”. God can come to him with His word. God can use him to make his thoughts known in a situation of confusion due to own will. Rehoboam is led to return.

The message of God through Shemaiah is: “This thing has come from Me.” The tearing of the realm is not a matter that has gone beyond God’s control. It did not get out of hand. The failure of Rehoboam is the fulfillment of what God has said to Jeroboam. For Rehoboam, this saying is reason to abandon his intention. The consequences of sins cannot always be undone. He would do well to accept the situation that has arisen. Whether the word of the man of God has brought him to real repentance remains a question.

It is also important to see that as the kingship decays, the ministry of prophets comes to the fore. We have already met Ahijah with a message for Jeroboam in the time of the great unfaithfulness of Solomon (1Kgs 11:2929It came about at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had clothed himself with a new cloak; and both of them were alone in the field.). In that time we also hear about the prophets Nathan and Iddo (2Chr 9:2929Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?). Now we hear about Shemaiah. By means of prophets God continues to speak in His grace to His people in times of decay. They are, as it were, the link between Him and His people, a link that was first formed by the priests. For us, especially in times of decay, the Word of God remains the connection between the soul and God. By doing so, He tells us His thoughts about the way we should go in the midst of decay.

It is a great encouragement that we should know of every case that the Lord says: “This thing has come from Me.” This means that nothing in our lives gets out of His control. All our words, deeds and deliberations He knows. Nothing is hidden from Him (Psa 139:1-61For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known [me].
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
3You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6[Such] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is [too] high, I cannot attain to it.
). He also knows the consequences of everything we do. He knows how to fit everything into His plan with our lives, without diminishing our own responsibility. Events from our lives to which we remember with shame (cf. Rom 6:2121Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.), he manages to use for His purpose. It will be for our good if we submit to His plans with our lives and adapt our lives accordingly.


A Self-Devised Religion

25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, [even] to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30Now this thing became a sin, for the people went [to worship] before the one as far as Dan. 31And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. 32Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense.

Jeroboam also has his responsibility. God has told him how to secure his blessing (1Kgs 11:3838Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.). However, he does not take God into account. He settles in Shechem. Rehoboam was made king there and that seems like a good residence to him. To protect himself against enemies from the northeast and east he strengthens Shechem and Penuel.

He also wants to secure his power. For this he consults himself (“in his heart”) and does not consult God. He assesses everything according to his own insight. There is no thought whatsoever of God asking Him what he should do. It seems that he knows the power of religion. The strongest bond that keeps people together is religion. In Daniel 3 we have a clear example of this. The devil doesn’t care what religion it is. As long as it is not the real service to God.

Jeroboam knows that it will soon be over with his kingship if he doesn’t act quickly on this terrain. Therefore he decides to introduce a new form of religion, to protect his kingdom against inner weakening and even the loss of his rule over it. He argues: if Jerusalem remains the religious center of the kingdom over which he has become king, the people will return “to their lord, [even] to Rehoboam king of Judah” and he will be killed.

In his consultation, Jeroboam decides to designate a few special places for the ten tribes realm to serve God. He designates one in the south of his kingdom, Bethel, and one in the north of his kingdom, Dan. Bethel means ‘house of God’. This name was given to it by Jacob after the LORD appeared to him there (Gen 35:77He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother.). Could not the LORD, as Jeroboam may have thought, and explained to others, reveal Himself in this holy place as well to the descendants of Jacob as he did to their ancestor?

The place is also cleverly chosen. There is already an image service there. Remember that the people who live nearby will not have to make that long journey to Jerusalem again and again. The convenience serves man. After all, it is possible to serve God much closer to home. It is a cleverly devised plan to prevent the people from going to Jerusalem for the annual celebrations with the danger that they will stay there.

To make the whole even more attractive, he, contrary to what God has said (Exo 20:44“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.), makes two golden calves after the Egyptian model, one for each place. It is much easier to serve a god you can see. Of these gods he says that these are the gods that Israel redeemed from Egypt (cf. Exo 32:44He took [this] from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”). These are the new objects of worship (cf. Hos 8:5-65He has rejected your calf, O Samaria, [saying],
“My anger burns against them!”
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
6For from Israel is even this!
A craftsman made it, so it is not God;
Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces.
; 13:2-32And now they sin more and more,
And make for themselves molten images,
Idols skillfully made from their silver,
All of them the work of craftsmen.
They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”
3Therefore they will be like the morning cloud
And like dew which soon disappears,
Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor
And like smoke from a chimney.
). He also makes new temples and new priests, who do not come from the Levites. To complete his own invented religion he also introduces a new feast at a different time and in a different place than God has prescribed (Lev 23:34,39,4134“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.39‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the LORD for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.41You shall thus celebrate it [as] a feast to the LORD for seven days in the year. It [shall be] a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.; Deu 12:55But you shall seek [the LORD] at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.).

Everything he makes is an imitation of what God has prescribed to His people how He wants to be served. Jeroboam copies everything, so it seems that it has God’s approval. However, it is pernicious, because it is a self-willed religion. Any replacement of what God has said by human interpretation is an insult to God. Man knows better. The fact that the people simply accept this surrogate divine service is proof of how far away the hearts of the people have been from God.

That is how it went in Christianity and that is how it still goes. With ever new reasoning, more and more of what defies God has crept into Christianity. We see this especially in roman-catholicism. A religion has been made that is easy to lie on and tangible. Pagan idols are covered with a Christian sauce. Even meaner is the bringing in of the Old-Testament rituals, in which it is claimed that this is instituted by God Himself.

Religion must be easy and even enjoyable to do. For this you do not need to consult God’s Word. Nor should you be too laborious about priestly service. Anyone who is honest can be a priest and bring sacrifices. This is certainly not necessary in the place God has chosen. You can do that in a place where you feel good. The way in which you bring those sacrifices is not so important. Let yourself be guided by your feelings, that’s what God has given you. Finally, you don’t have to worry about when you do it. The self-conceived Christian holidays are an ideal opportunity to express your religious emotions and to caress your religious feelings.

As soon as we leave the service of the true God, we fall into idolatry, whatever form it may take. God makes clear how and where He wants to be served. Any deviation from this to make the service more pleasant comes from the realm of darkness and is idolatry. Such a service carries away from God. This can be applied today to church systems where the service to God is performed in a self-willed manner. These systems will finally result in the roman-catholic church, which in the end will be a refuge of demons (Rev 18:22And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.).

It can also be applied to churches where charismatic influences and mystical experience have been introduced, however orthodox some churches may present themselves. Modern forms of religious practice include the Jesus prayer, soaking and contemplative prayer. These are techniques that come directly from pagan religions and are very similar to meditation, with the aim of meeting God.

When the people worship a golden calf soon after the exodus from Egypt, God’s judgment comes upon it. Now that Jeroboam introduces two golden calves into the people of God, no judgment comes, but God will let evil develop to its fullest extent, so that at the end the judgment may be carried out. That is also how it went with the church. In the beginning evil is punished with death (Acts 5:3-103But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back [some] of the price of the land?4While it remained [unsold], did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”5And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.6The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.7Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.8And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.”9Then Peter [said] to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out [as well].”10And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.), but now God allows the many forms of evil that are introduced into the church to develop to their fullest extent, so that at the end the judgment about it can be carried out.

In his boldness Jeroboam climbs the altar. He does so on the occasion of the imitation of the Feast of Booths on the day he himself has determined for it. He leads his people in idolatry and at the same time wants to show them how to do it. After his surrogate temples and his surrogate priests and his surrogate feast he himself climbs the altar, which is also a surrogate altar, as a surrogate priest-king. In the course of time more altars have been added (Hos 8:1111Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin,
They have become altars of sinning for him.
). It is a through and through human religion, which has risen in the heart and mind of Jeroboam. However, it is a religion which did not come into the mind of God (Jer 7:3131They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.; 19:55and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it [ever] enter My mind;; 32:3535They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through [the fire] to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.) and is utterly reprehensible to Him.


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