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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 14

 

 

Verse 1

1. At that time — While Jeroboam was engaged in his impious sacrilege and idolatry.

Abijah — Probably the king’s oldest son, and heir-apparent to the crown.


Verses 1-18

AHIJAH’S SECOND PROPHECY, 1 Kings 14:1-18.

The mysterious prophet of Judah has just pronounced against the altar of Bethel the coming judgments of Jehovah, and now, behold, another prophet at Shiloh proclaims the miserable end of the house of Jeroboam.

Mark how prominent becomes the antagonism between the prophet and the king.


Verse 2

2. Disguise thyself — He would not have it known in Israel that his queen went on such an errand. It would show that neither his calves nor his self-made priests could help him in the time of trouble. His heart had become so infatuated and clouded by his false worship as to imagine that Jehovah’s prophet might not detect his guile. He dared not meet the old prophet, but sent his wife, for a sense of his own sins admonished him that he deserved condemnation, and would receive it if he went in person to Ahijah.

The prophet which told me that I should be king — He now remembered, when his son seemed about to die, that the prophet had spoken of his having a sure house like David, (compare 1 Kings 11:38,) and he fondly clung to that hope, though he had failed in meeting its conditions.


Verse 3

3. Cracknels נקדים, seems to denote a small sprinkled or punctured cake, baked hard for the purpose of keeping well during a long journey. Such small hard-baked biscuit are still used by the common people in the East. Compare Joshua 9:5, where the word is erroneously rendered mouldy. The bread, the cracknels, and the honey were to be used as honorary presents for the prophet, according to the customs of the times. See note on 1 Samuel 9:7 .

What shall become of the child — Henry well calls attention to the “notion of fatality” evinced in this inquiry of Jeroboam, and also in that of Ahaziah, (2 Kings 1:2,) and that of Ben-hadad. 2 Kings 8:8. They inquire simply what the end will be, not what means they should use for recovery.


Verse 4

4. Ahijah could not see — “Upon the outer world, made foul by man’s abominations, he has closed his eyes, and sees and lives by the light that shines within.” — Kitto. And vainly will Jeroboam or his wife attempt, in the presence of such a divinely-illumined seer, to practice guile.


Verse 9

9. Cast me behind thy back — An expression the exact opposite of having God before one’s eyes, and denoting in the strongest manner the utter rejection of the counsels of Jehovah. Compare Ezekiel xxiii, 35.


Verse 10

10. Him that pisseth against the wall — The vilest and most insignificant domestic in his household. See note on 1 Samuel 25:22.

Him that is shut up and left in Israel — According to some these words designate the bond and the free in Israel; according to others, the marred and the single. The words עצור ועזוב, mean literally, shut up and loosed, and may refer to such cases of confinement and freedom as are indicated by the translations above given. The slave is shut up to service, the husband to the cares of a household; and loosed may be the opposite of either of these thoughts. But it is better, both here and elsewhere, where the phrase occurs, (Deuteronomy 32:36 ; 1 Kings 21:21; 2 Kings 14:26,) to take shut up and left in the wider sense of the prisoner and the one not yet taken, the fettered and the free. The idea is that of a people besieged by a conquering force; some are captured and shut up in prison, others are not yet taken, but one destiny awaits both — to be cut off. The expression is hyperbolical, but in keeping with Oriental forms of speech.

The remnant — If after the fierce destructions just named there should yet be a remnant of this wicked house that had escaped thus far, even that remnant shall be most vilely taken off. Observe how the prophet associates no dignity with any portion of Jeroboam’s doomed house. He sees in it only the vile slave or the slaughtered victim of Divine judgment, whether already a prisoner or still fighting to keep free from the hands of the foe, or, lastly, the lone few that may have escaped death during the siege.


Verse 11

11. Dogs eat… fowls of the air eat — The horrible punishment threatened in the law to the impious transgressor, (Deuteronomy 28:26,) and the foulest indignity that a conquered and slaughtered foe could be exposed to. Compare marginal reference and 1 Samuel 17:46. “Dogs are the chief scavengers of Oriental cities. Troops of dogs, more than half wild, scour the streets by night, clearing away all the offal and carrion that they can find. The vulture in the country districts, assisted sometimes by kites and crows, does the work of the dog in towns.” — Rawlinson.


Verse 12

12. When thy feet enter — “Her first impulse must have been to fly home to receive his dying kiss; but her second to linger, as if to protract that dear life which must close the moment she entered the city.” — Kitto.


Verse 13

13. Some good thing — His young heart had not yet become corrupted by his father’s crimes.


Verse 14

14. The Lord shall raise him up a king — This king was Baasha, and we read the fulfilment of this prophecy in 1 Kings 15:27-30. That day:

but what? even now — Why speak of that day when Baasha shall cut off the house of Jeroboam? Even now, in the death of this innocent and pious son, the cutting off of all his hopes begins.


Verse 15

15. Smite Israel… root up Israel… scatter them beyond the river — Here is the first positive announcement of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles as a punishment of Israel’s sins. Already, in earlier times, had a rooting up and scattering of the people been threatened in case of disobedience, (Deuteronomy 28:63; Deuteronomy 29:27; Joshua 23:16,) but Ahijah is the first of that long line of prophets that hold up exile beyond the river Euphrates as a certainly coming woe.

Groves — Thus our version, after the Septuagint and Vulgate, renders אשׁרה . Other versions render it, a wooden pillar or a tree. The word, however, is the proper name of a heathen goddess, Asherah. Compare Judges 3:7; and 1 Kings 18:19. It is another form for Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians. Asherah was their female, as Baal was their male divinity. In the plural, as here, and often elsewhere, it seems to be used in the more general sense of idols, or images of false gods, and may well be rendered simply idols; that is, the image-pillars of Asherah.


Verse 17

17. Tirzah — This was the royal residence of the kings of Israel until Omri built Samaria and made it the capital of the northern kingdom. Possibly it was Jeroboam’s birthplace, and identical with Zereda of 1 Kings 11:26. It was the residence of a Canaanitish king who was conquered by Joshua. See Joshua 12:24. It is identified by Dr. Robinson with the modern Tulluzah, about five miles north of Shechem. The modern town “is of some size, and tolerably well built. We saw no remains of antiquity, except a few sepulchral excavations and some cisterns. The place lies in a sightly and commanding position; though the change of royal residence to the still more beautiful and not distant Samaria would be very natural.” — Robinson.


Verse 19

CLOSE OF JEROBOAM’S REIGN, 1 Kings 14:19-20.

19. How he warred — With Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:30, and 1 Kings 15:6) and Abijam, (1 Kings 15:7,) and perhaps with others.

Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel — Literally, book of the words of the kings of Israel. This book was doubtless the public official state papers containing all the annals of the kings as prepared and kept by the scribe and recorder. See notes on 2 Samuel 8:16-17, and Introduction. 20.

Nadab — See at 1 Kings 15:25.


Verse 21

REHOBOAM’S EVIL REIGN, AND SHISHAK’S INVASION, 1 Kings 14:21-31.

21. Rehoboam — On the beginning of his reign, his unwise policy, and his loss of most of his father’s kingdom, see 1 Kings 12:1-24. The various acts and incidents of this king’s reign are given more fully in 2 Chronicles 11, 12.

Forty and one years old — This number, confirmed by 2 Chronicles 12:13, should be followed, rather than conjectures formed from the fact that Rehoboam’s companions are called young men, ( ילדים,) 1 Kings 12:8, and from the statements of the Septuagint in its addition to 1 Kings 12:24. Since Solomon reigned forty years, (1 Kings 11:42,) Rehoboam was born one year before his father’s accession.

Naamah — Schultz supposes that his mother’s name is here mentioned because she was the occasion of Rehoboam’s idolatry; and Keil thinks it is because she had, as queen-mother, considerable influence in the government. But the single fact that she was of foreign birth — an Ammonitess — would be a sufficient reason for mentioning her in this connexion, though she may have been dead before Solomon’s marriage with Pharaoh’s daughter. See note on 1 Kings 11:43.


Verse 22

22. Provoked him to jealousy — This expression, of frequent occurrence, (see marginal reference,) is a metaphor which views the relation of God and his people as the marriage covenant, in which the people are represented as a faithless wife.


Verse 23

23. High places — Altars on hilltops. See note on 1 Kings 3:2.

Images — Monumental pillars or statues erected to the honor of false gods.

Groves — Rather, wooden idols, erected to the honour of Ashtoreth. See note on 1 Kings 14:15. A prominent height and a shady grove were the places desired by idolaters.


Verse 24

24. Sodomites — The consecrated ones; that is, persons (male prostitutes) consecrated to the practice of lewdness as a religious rite. The English word implies that this was the abominable crime against nature from which the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah have derived their lasting infamy. This abominable consecration to unnatural lust was practised among many of the ancient nations, and even, as appears from this verse, infected the chosen people.

In the land — Guilty before God must have been those Israelites who would tolerate sodomy among them. It is not said that any of the Israelites themselves practised sodomy, though, perhaps, this was in some instances the case; but the nation that tolerated such abominations, even in the heathen dwelling in their land, was virtually a partaker of their sins.


Verse 25

25. Shishak — See note on 1 Kings 11:40.

Came up against Jerusalem — This notice of Shishak’s invasion is very brief, and records only his going to Jerusalem and taking away the treasures of the temple and the palace. 2 Chronicles 12:2-10 more fully describes the invasion, tells the number and nationality of his forces, informs us that he took certain fortified cities of Judah, and that when he came to Jerusalem the king and princes of Israel, at the word of the prophet Jeremiah, humbled themselves before God, and were thus by the hand of God delivered from utter destruction. Rehoboam seems to have submitted to the Egyptian invader without a struggle, and to have delivered over his treasures and become tributary to Egypt on condition that the besieging forces should retire from before Jerusalem. A record of this expedition, and thus a confirmation of the Scripture history, is found written in hieroglyphics upon the wall of the great temple of Karnak. There, in a long list of captured cities and provinces which Shishak claims to have added to his dominions, occur the names Gibeon, Beth-horon, Aijalon, and Yudeh-malk, which Champollion, Wilkinson, and others read kingdom of Judah, but Brugsch regards it as the name of a town in Palestine.


Verse 26

26. He took away the treasures — The splendour of Solomon’s buildings, and the immense treasures which he had amassed, were doubtless spoken of far and wide, and to obtain these treasures was probably the main object of Shishak’s expedition. He may have been prompted by Jeroboam to this action, for Jeroboam had dwelt at his court, (1 Kings 11:40,) and was on friendly terms with him, and would gladly see him afflict the kingdom of Judah.


Verse 27

27. Brazen shields — “An expressive emblem of the degeneracy of Judah. How soon the mention of the profusion of gold in the age of Solomon is succeeded by this mention of brass in its place! ‘How is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed!’” — Wordsworth.


Verse 29

29. Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah — This was in the kingdom of Judah what the book mentioned in 1 Kings 14:19 was in the kingdom of Israel, namely, the roll of state papers prepared and kept by the king’s recorder, and containing the annals of the kings. 2 Chronicles 12:15, informs us that the acts of Rehoboam were also written by Shemaiah and Iddo. See Introduction.


Verse 30

30. War between Rehoboam and Jeroboam — Not merely a feeling of hostility, but frequent wars. We are not to suppose that the word of the Lord by Shemaiah, forbidding Judah to war with Israel, (1 Kings 12:24,) was any more observed in the later history of Rehoboam than it was by his sons.


Verse 31

31. Abijam — Called Abijah in the Chronicles.

 


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-14.html. 1874-1909.

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