This is Episode #107 and today we’ll read 1 Kings chapters 12-14 together. Rehoboam takes the wrong advice, the kingdom is divided, and disaster comes on the house of Jeroboam.
Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #107 and today we’ll read 1 Kings chapters 12-14 together. Rehoboam takes the wrong advice, the kingdom is divided, and disaster comes on the house of Jeroboam.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me – from the beginning – simply reading God’s word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
1 Kings Chapter 12
The Kingdom Divided
Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard about it, he stayed in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon’s presence. Jeroboam stayed in Egypt. But they summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam: “Your father made our yoke harsh. You, therefore, lighten your father’s harsh service and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”
Rehoboam replied, “Go away for three days and then return to me.” So the people left. Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive, asking, “How do you advise me to respond to this people?”
They replied, “Today if you will be a servant to this people and serve them, and if you respond to them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.”
But he rejected the advice of the elders who had advised him and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and attended him. He asked them, “What message do you advise that we send back to this people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”
The young men who had grown up with him told him, “This is what you should say to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, make it lighter on us! ’ This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Although my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with barbed whips.’”
The King Answered the People Harshly
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had ordered: “Return to me on the third day.” Then the king answered the people harshly. He rejected the advice the elders had given him and spoke to them according to the young men’s advice: “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 barbed whips.”
The king did not listen to the people, because this turn of events came from the Lord to carry out his word, which the Lord had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. When all Israel saw that the king had not listened to them, the people answered him:
What portion do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Israel, return to your tents;
David, now look after your own house!
So Israel went to their tents, but Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites living in the cities of Judah.
Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam managed to get into the chariot and flee to Jerusalem. Israel is still in rebellion against the house of David today.
Rehoboam in Jerusalem
When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No one followed the house of David except the tribe of Judah alone. When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mobilized one hundred eighty thousand fit young soldiers from the entire house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. But the word of God came to Shemaiah, the man of God:
“Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not to march up and fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you return home, for this situation is from me.’”
So they listened to the word of the Lord and went back according to the word of the Lord.
Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built Penuel. Jeroboam said to himself, “The kingdom might now return to the house of David. If these people regularly go to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will return to their lord, King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and go back to the king of Judah.” So the king sought advice.
Then he made two golden calves, and he said to the people, “Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He set up one in Bethel, and put the other in Dan. This led to sin; the people walked in procession before one of the calves all the way to Dan.
Jeroboam also made shrines on the high places and made priests from the ranks of the people who were not Levites. Jeroboam made a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival in Judah. He offered sacrifices on the altar; he made this offering in Bethel to sacrifice to the calves he had made. He also stationed the priests in Bethel for the high places he had made. He offered sacrifices on the altar he had set up in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. He chose this month on his own. He made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense.
1 Kings Chapter 13
Judgment on Jeroboam
A man of God came, however, from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense. The man of God cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: “Altar, altar, this is what the Lord says, ‘A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’” He gave a sign that day. He said, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘The altar will now be ripped apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.’”
Pray for Me
When the king heard the message that the man of God had cried out against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Arrest him!” But the hand he stretched out against him withered, and he could not pull it back to himself. The altar was ripped apart, and the ashes poured from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.
Then the king responded to the man of God, “Plead for the favor of the Lord your God and pray for me so that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God pleaded for the favor of the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it had been at first.
Then the king declared to the man of God, “Come home with me, refresh yourself, and I’ll give you a reward.”
But the man of God replied, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat food or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat food or drink water or go back the way you came.’” So he went another way; he did not go back by the way he had come to Bethel.
The Old Prophet and the Man of God
Now a certain old prophet was living in Bethel. His son came and told him all the deeds that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. His sons also told their father the words that he had spoken to the king. Then their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” His sons had seen the way taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him, and he got on it. He followed the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
“I am,” he said.
Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat some food.”
But he answered, “I cannot go back with you or accompany you; I will not eat food or drink water with you in this place. For a message came to me by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat food or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’”
He said to him, “I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat food and drink water.’” The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate food in his house, and drank water.
Curse on the Man of God
While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back, and the prophet cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because you rebelled against the Lord’s command and did not keep the command that the Lord your God commanded you — but you went back and ate food and drank water in the place that he said to you, “Do not eat food and do not drink water” — your corpse will never reach the grave of your ancestors.’”
So after he had eaten food and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. When he left, a lion attacked him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too.
There were men passing by who saw the corpse thrown on the road and the lion standing beside it, and they went and spoke about it in the city where the old prophet lived. When the prophet who had brought him back from his way heard about it, he said, “He is the man of God who disobeyed the Lord’s command. The Lord has given him to the lion, and it has mauled and killed him, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke to him.”
Oh, My Brother!
Then the old prophet instructed his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” They saddled it, and he went and found the corpse thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse or mauled the donkey.
So the prophet lifted the corpse of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back. The old prophet came into the city to mourn and to bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own grave, and they mourned over him, “Oh, my brother!”
After he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones, for the message that he cried out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines of the high places in the cities of Samaria is certain to happen.”
Even after this, Jeroboam did not repent of his evil way but again made priests for the high places from the ranks of the people. He ordained whoever so desired it, and they became priests of the high places. This was the sin that caused the house of Jeroboam to be cut off and obliterated from the face of the earth.
1 Kings Chapter 14
Abijah Became Sick
At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became sick. Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go disguise yourself, so they won’t know that you’re Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh. The prophet Ahijah is there; it was he who told about me becoming king over this people. Take with you ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.”
Jeroboam’s wife did that: she went to Shiloh and arrived at Ahijah’s house. Ahijah could not see; he was blind due to his age. But the Lord had said to Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming soon to ask you about her son, for he is sick. You are to say such and such to her. When she arrives, she will be disguised.”
Disaster on the House of Jeroboam
When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet entering the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam! Why are you disguised? I have bad news for you. Go tell Jeroboam, ‘This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I raised you up from among the people, appointed you ruler over my people Israel, tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you. But you were not like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what is right in my sight. You behaved more wickedly than all who were before you. In order to anger me, you have proceeded to make for yourself other gods and cast images, but you have flung me behind your back. Because of all this, I am about to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam:
I will wipe out all of Jeroboam’s males,
both slave and free, in Israel;
I will sweep away the house of Jeroboam
as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone!
Anyone who belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city,
the dogs will eat,
and anyone who dies in the field,
the birds will eat,
for the Lord has spoken!’
The Lord is Angered
“As for you, get up and go to your house. When your feet enter the city, the boy will die. All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He alone out of Jeroboam’s house will be given a proper burial because out of the house of Jeroboam something favorable to the Lord God of Israel was found in him. The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel, who will wipe out the house of Jeroboam. This is the day, yes, even today! For the Lord will strike Israel so that they will shake as a reed shakes in water. He will uproot Israel from this good soil that he gave to their ancestors. He will scatter them beyond the Euphrates because they made their Asherah poles, angering the Lord. He will give up Israel because of Jeroboam’s sins that he committed and caused Israel to commit.”
Then Jeroboam’s wife got up and left and went to Tirzah. As she was crossing the threshold of the house, the boy died. He was buried, and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servant the prophet Ahijah.
As for the rest of the events of Jeroboam’s reign, how he waged war and how he reigned, note that they are written in the Historical Record of Israel’s Kings. The length of Jeroboam’s reign was twenty-two years. He rested with his ancestors, and his son Nadab became king in his place.
Judah’s King Rehoboam
Now Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king; he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city where the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put his name. Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite.
Judah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They provoked him to jealous anger more than all that their ancestors had done with the sins they committed. They also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were even male cult prostitutes in the land. They imitated all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.
In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt went to war against Jerusalem. He seized the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the treasuries of the royal palace. He took everything. He took all the gold shields that Solomon had made. King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and committed them into the care of the captains of the guards who protected the entrance to the king’s palace. Whenever the king entered the Lord’s temple, the guards would carry the shields, then they would take them back to the armory.
The rest of the events of Rehoboam’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam throughout their reigns. Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. His son Abijam became king in his place.
And so begins the long slow descent of Israel into captivity. Did Jeroboam somehow miss the reading of the Torah several times a year? Did he not know of God’s disdain for the golden calf that Aaron allowed to have made? Apparently not, because Jeroboam thought two calves would be better than one. In chapter 13, things start getting Judges-weird. The altar splitting apart, Jeroboam’s withered hand…it’s all just weird. But stay tuned. What God spoke against the house of Jeroboam all came true.
Okay, sometimes I just have to keep looking things up…I don’t retain the meaning. And the story of the two old prophets is one of them. I mean, I get that when we’ve been instructed by the Lord, we are to obey immediately and without distraction. What I don’t understand is why was the prophet from Bethel motivated to lie to the man of God? Most of the scholars I checked in with didn’t know either, so you should feel emboldened to take a stab at it yourself. What are your thoughts on this old prophet from Bethel? Let me know at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
See You Tomorrow!
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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