1 Kings
1-3 The Son of Jeroboam Becomes Sick 4-6 Jeroboam’s Wife Meets Ahijah 7-16 The Word from the LORD 17-18 The Son of Jeroboam Dies 19-20 Death of Jeroboam 21-31 Rehoboam King over Judah
The Son of Jeroboam Becomes Sick

1At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick. 2Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise now, and disguise yourself so that they will not know that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh; behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who spoke concerning me [that I would be] king over this people. 3Take ten loaves with you, [some] cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.”

Jeroboam persists in his sin. In the previous chapter we read that the main sin has to do with the service to God (1Kgs 13:3333After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but again he made priests of the high places from among all the people; any who would, he ordained, to be priests of the high places.). He appoints whoever wants to be a priest. He completely disregards the law of God; He puts God aside.

God cannot tolerate this. He disciplines Jeroboam by making his son sick. He will be his favorite son, because Jeroboam is very concerned about the outcome of the sickness. It may be the heir to the throne. God knows how to address people once again (Job 33:29-3029“Behold, God does all these oftentimes with men,
30To bring back his soul from the pit,
That he may be enlightened with the light of life.
). “For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men” (Lam 3:3333For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.
), but “You have seen [it], for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand” (Psa 10:1414You have seen [it], for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand.
The unfortunate commits [himself] to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan.
).

Jeroboam, however, does not put it in God’s hand, but expects it from a man, Ahijah. He does, however, resort to a true prophet of the LORD and not to one of his idols. He knows that they can’t help him. However, he does not address the prophet in faith, but in superstition. This prophet had such a great message for him by telling him that he would become king. Wouldn’t the prophet have a good message for him now?

Jeroboam sends his wife not to ask the prophet for intercession, but to consult him as a medium, to know what will happen to the boy. But she has to disguise herself. This also shows that Jeroboam does not really seek and know God. Who thinks he can fool God by disguise, by pretending differently than he really is? As if God does not look further than the outside. God’s concern is the inside! Not that the outside, the appearance, is unimportant. God wants the appearance to be an honest representation of the inner being and not a farce. It is worth checking the Bible to see what dress-up parties or disguises are there and what they mean.

Jeroboam’s wife takes a gift with her (cf. 1Sam 9:7-87Then Saul said to his servant, “But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”8The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give [it] to the man of God and he will tell us our way.”). It is the gift that a simple citizen woman could bring. It seems that with this Jeroboam wants to elicit a favorable prophecy from the prophet. She goes to Silo, which also lies in the ten tribes realm. So Ahijah also lives in that kingdom, but not as the old prophet in Bethel, but far away from it. Silo is also the place where the LORD used to live, where the tabernacle stood. God wants and can use this prophet again.


Jeroboam’s Wife Meets Ahijah

4Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. 5Now the LORD had said to Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. You shall say thus and thus to her, for it will be when she arrives that she will pretend to be another woman.” 6When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet coming in the doorway, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam, why do you pretend to be another woman? For I am sent to you [with] a harsh [message].

The prophet Ahijah is blind. Humanly there is a double disadvantage: a blind prophet and a disguised woman. But the blind prophet is in communication with the God of Whom is true: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:1313And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.). He receives from God the words he must speak. He immediately addresses the woman with her true name. That must have been a shock to her. She has been discovered!


The Word from the LORD

7Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, 8and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you—yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight; 9you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back— 10therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. 11Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs will eat. And he who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat; for the LORD has spoken [it].”‘ 12Now you, arise, go to your house. When your feet enter the city the child will die. 13All Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s [family] will come to the grave, because in him something good was found toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. 14Moreover, the LORD will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Jeroboam this day and from now on. 15“For the LORD will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the [Euphrates] River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. 16He will give up Israel on account of the sins of Jeroboam, which he committed and with which he made Israel to sin.”

Then comes the harsh word from God. She must go back to Jeroboam and announce to him God’s judgment on his sins. A very heavy message for your own husband! Jeroboam receives this answer because he made other gods and rejected God (Eze 14:33“Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?; 23:3535Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the [punishment] of your lewdness and your harlotries.’”). The testimony that God gives of David concerns the overall picture of his life.

God does not say a word about the mistakes in his life. He knows that David’s heart was on Him. This is evident from his repentance and confession. On this basis God has forgiven his sins, covered them, and no imputes them (Psa 32:1-51[A Psalm] of David. A Maskil.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3When I kept silent [about my sin], my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away [as] with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
5I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
). On the other hand, there is the behavior of Jeroboam who serves God in his own way, with homemade gods. He is an idolater, and has introduced Israel into idolatry and led away from God.

The woman also hears what she has actually come for, how her son will end up: when she enters the city, he will die. She soon must travel a very difficult way back, a way where every step brings her closer to the death of her son. She is a mother with care for her child. Perhaps she was also a woman who told her son about the LORD, by which “in him something good was found toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam”. Perhaps she also gave him his name, Abiah. Abiah means ‘my father is the LORD’.

It is therefore impressive how God still has an encouragement in the midst of the judgment He must pronounce. The son of Jeroboam has something that no one else in the family has: he has “something good … toward the LORD God of Israel”. What it is, is not mentioned, but we may assume that it is a boy who wants to listen to the LORD and believes in Him. God wants him to be with Himself and not to leave him on the stage over which His judgment will come (Isa 57:1-21The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
2He enters into peace;
They rest in their beds,
[Each one] who walked in his upright way.
).

First, Ahijah points to the judgment that will be executed by Baasha. “From now on” means that the king who will cut off the house of Jeroboam has already been begotten by God and that more will follow. Ahijah then prophesies about that. He foretells the exile of Israel. This is the first time that this has been prophesied. Already so early in history this is mentioned to underline the seriousness of the deviation of Jeroboam, a deviation from the LORD by having made their Asherim.

The striking by the LORD will often happen, because one power-hungry man eliminates and follows another. It is a situation of complete steerlessness and instability. It is like a reed in the water that is driven back and forth by a storm without any grip to protect itself from the storm. This will continue until God finally allows the people to be scattered beyond the Euphrates. This judgment comes because of their idolatry. Being moved back and forth like a reed shaken in the water is always the result when the Word of God is not the basis of action. Only holding on to the truth in love preserves for that (Eph 4:14-1514As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all [aspects] into Him who is the head, [even] Christ,).


The Son of Jeroboam Dies

17Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to Tirzah. As she was entering the threshold of the house, the child died. 18All Israel buried him and mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through His servant Ahijah the prophet.

Jeroboam’s wife returns home after these harsh words. When she crosses the threshold of the house, the boy dies. When he died, it turns out that he was loved by all the people. He must have been noticed by his behavior. We can compare him to a Jonathan at the court of Saul.


Death of Jeroboam

19Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he made war and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20The time that Jeroboam reigned [was] twenty-two years; and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.

The rest of Jeroboam’s history is written “in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel”. This does not mean the book of the Chronicles that we have in the Bible, but the chronicles that are kept in the national archives of Israel. What is described in these chronicles is related to his warfare and his government. First warfare is called and then government. Maybe this means that he was more concerned with warfare than reigning. A man who lives without God is often more concerned with defending and maintaining his own position than with the welfare of others.


Rehoboam King over Judah

21Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. 22Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed. 23For they also built for themselves high places and [sacred] pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree. 24There were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD dispossessed before the sons of Israel. 25Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. 27So King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place, and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king’s house. 28Then it happened as often as the king entered the house of the LORD, that the guards would carry them and would bring them back into the guards’ room. 29Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. And Abijam his son became king in his place.

Although in this book we mainly have the history of the ten tribes, here and there we also find something about the two tribes. Rehoboam reigns in Jerusalem, the city of God. He is forty-one years old when he becomes king. Solomon has ruled for forty years and has become less than sixty years old. Rehoboam must have been one year old at the accession of Solomon to the throne.

In the two tribes realm of Judah things are not much better under Rehoboam than in the ten tribes realm of Israel. Judah does what is evil in the eyes of the LORD. Then there is no power to keep the enemy at a distance. The name of his mother is mentioned. She is an Ammonitess. Her influence as a queen-mother on him as a king will have been great. Twice it is mentioned that his mother is an Ammonitess (verses 21,3121Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess.31And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess. And Abijam his son became king in his place.). Isn’t that significant?

Shishak the king of Egypt comes and takes away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the king’s house. It is the first attack of a foreign power on Judah after the days of Saul. Rehoboam is not driven out to God by it. He imitates what he has lost. That is also a form of disguise. It is not real. Externally he continues to go faithfully to the temple, but his heart has not changed.

The rest of Rehoboam’s history is written “in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah” (verse 2929Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?). These are chronicles kept in the national archives of Judah (cf. verse 1919Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he made war and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.).

The ordained chronicler also mentions that Rehoboam was at war with Jeroboam during his entire reign (verse 3030There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.). This will not mean that there is a constant warfare to subdue the other, for Rehoboam was forbidden to go to war against Israel, which he did not do (1Kgs 12:2424‘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.). It may mean that there are regular border conflicts. In any case, they have always taken a hostile attitude towards each other.

It is clear that neither kings has accepted the tearing as a judgment of God about their unfaithfulness. Both of them wanted to maintain their position and saw the other as a threat to it. It reflects the sad development of the relationships in God’s people. This also happens now in God’s people when the Lord Jesus is no longer central and the Word of God no longer has authority.

Then the death of Rehoboam and the place of his burial are mentioned (cf. 1Kgs 11:4343And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David, and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place.). His successor is his son Abijam who becomes king in his place.


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