XIV Jeroboam sends to the prophet, to inquire concerning his sick son, ver. 1-6. The destruction of Jeroboam's household told, ver. 7-16. The death of his child, ver. 17, 18. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 19, 20. The declension of Rehoboam's house and kingdom, ver. 21-28. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 28-31.
Verse 1. At that time - Presently after the things described in the former chapter; which, though related in the beginning of his reign, yet might be done a good while after it, and so Ahijah the prophet might be very old, as he is described to be ver. 4. It is probable he was his eldest son.
Verse 2. His wife - Because she might without suspicion inquire concerning her own child; and because she would inquire exactly, and diligently, and faithfully acquaint him with the truth. Disguise - Change thy habit, and voice, and go like a private and obscure person. This caution proceeded: first, from the pride of his heart, which made him loth to confess his folly in worshipping such helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken. Secondly, from jealousy and suspicion, lest the prophet knowing this, should either give her no answer, or make it worse than indeed it was. Thirdly, from policy, lest his people should by his example be drawn to forsake the calves, and to return to the God of Judah.
Verse 3. And take - A present, after the manner, but mean, as became an ordinary country woman, which she personated. It had been more pious to inquire, why God contended with him.
Verse 6. Thou wife - By which discovery he both reproves their folly, who thought to conceal themselves from God, and withal gives her assurance of the truth, and certainty of that message which he was to deliver. 8. David - Who though he fell into some sins, yet, first, he constantly persevered in the true worship of God; from which thou art revolted. Secondly, he heartily repented of, and turned from all his sins whereas thou art obstinate and incorrigible.
Verse 9. Above all - Above all the former kings of my people, as Saul, and Solomon, and Rehoboam. Images - Namely the golden calves: not as if they thought them to be other gods in a proper sense; for it is apparent they still pretended to worship the God of their fathers, but because Godrejected their whole worship, and, howsoever they accounted it, he reckoned it a manifest defection from him, and a betaking themselves to other gods, or devils, as they are called, 2 Chron. xi, 15, whom alone they served and worshipped therein, whatsoever pretenses they had to the contrary. To provoke - Whereby thou didst provoke me. For otherwise this was not Jeroboam's design in it, but only to establish himself in the throne. Hast cast - Despised and forsaken me, and my commands, and my worship, as we do things which we cast behind our backs.
Verse 10. Shut up - Those who had escaped the fury of their enemies invading them, either because they were shut up in caves, or castles, or strong towns, or, because they were left, over-looked or neglected by them, or spared as poor, impotent, helpless creatures. But now, saith he, they shall be all searched out, and brought to destruction. Dung - Which they remove, as a loathsome thing, out of their houses, and that throughly and universally.
Verse 11. Eat - So both sorts shall die unburied.
Verse 12. When, &c. - Presently upon thy entrance into the city; when thou art gone but a little way in it, even as far as to the threshold of the king's door, ver. 17, which possibly was near the gates of the city. And by this judge of the truth of the rest of my prophecy.
Verse 13. Shall mourn - For the loss of so worthy and hopeful a person, and for the sad calamities which will follow his death, which possibly his moderation, and wisdom, and virtue, might have prevented. So they should mourn, not simply for him, but for their own loss in him. Grave - Shall have the honour of burial. Some good - Pious intentions of taking away the calves, and of permitting or obliging his people to go up to Jerusalem to worship, if God gave him life and authority to do it, and of trusting God with his kingdom. In the house - Which is added for his greater commendation; he was good in the midst of so many temptations and wicked examples; a good branch of a bad flock.
Verse 14. A king - Baasha, chap. xv, 28. That day - When he is so raised; in the very beginning of his reign, chap. xv, 29. But what? - But what do I say, he shall raise, as it were a thing to be done at a great distance of time: the man is now in being if not in power, who shall do this: this judgment shall be shortly executed. Sometimes God makes quickwork with sinners. He did so with the house of Jeroboam. It was not twenty four years from his first elevation, to the final extirpation of his family.
Verse 15. Is shaken - Hither and thither, with every wind. So shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars; by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people. The river - Euphrates, so called by way of eminency, this was accomplished in part 2 Kings xv, 29, and more fully, 2 Kings xvii, 6. Groves - For the worship of their idols, God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is in the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves.
Verse 16. Who made, &c. - By his invention, and making the occasion of their sin, the calves; by his example, encouraging those and only those that worshipped the calves; and by his authority requiring and compelling them to do it. This is mentioned as a monstrous aggravation of his wickedness, that he was not content with his own sin, but was the great author of drawing others into sin, and of corrupting and undoing the whole kingdom, which therefore God would never forgive him, but upon all occasions mentions him with this eternal brand of infamy upon him.
Verse 17. Tirzah - An ancient and royal city, in a pleasant place, where the kings of Israel had a palace, whither Jeroboam was now removed from Shechem, either for his pleasure, or for his son's recovery, by the healthfulness of the place. The threshold - Of the king's house, which probably was upon, or by the wall of the city, and near the gate.
Verse 18. Mourned - And justly: not only for the loss of an hopeful prince, but because his death plucked up the floodgates, at which an inundation of judgments broke in.
Verse 19. The chronicles - not that canonical book of chronicles; for that was written long after this book: but a book of civil records, the annals, wherein all remarkable passages were recorded by the king's command from day to day; out of which the sacred penman by the direction of God's spirit, took those passages which were most useful for God's honour, and mens edification.
Verse 21. Forty one years - Therefore he was born a year before Solomon was king, as appears from chap. xi, 42, this is noted as an aggravation of Rehoboam's folly, that he was old enough to have been wiser. An Ammonitess - A people cursed by God, and shut out of the congregation of his people for ever. This is observed as one cause both of God's displeasure in punishing Solomon with such a son, and of Rehoboam's apostacy after his three first years, 2 Chron. xi, 17. None can imagine how fatal and how lasting are the consequence of being unequally yoked with an unbeliever.
Verse 22. In the sight of the Lord - In contempt and defiance of him, and the tokens of his special presence. Jealousy - As the adulterous wife provokes her husband, by breaking the marriage covenant.
Verse 23. They also - Followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites, and the dreadful example of Israel's horrid apostacy, to caution and terrify them. High places - Which was unlawful, and, now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command. Groves - Not only after the manner of the Heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition. Under every greentree - The people were universally corrupted: which is prodigious, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man's nature.
Verse 24. Abomination - They dishonoured God by one sin, and then God left them to dishonour themselves by another.
Verse 25. Fifth year - Presently after his and his people's apostacy, which was not 'till his fourth year: while apostate, Israel enjoyed peace and some kind of prosperity, of which difference, two reasons may be given: first, Judah's sins were committed against clearer light, and more powerful means and remedies of all sorts, and therefore deserved more severe and speedy judgments. Secondly, Goddiscovered more love to Judah in chastizing them speedily, that they might be humbled, reformed, and preserved, as it happened; and more anger against Israel, whom he spared to that total destruction which he intended to bring upon them. Sishak - He is thought to be Solomon's brother-in-law. But how little such relations signify among princes, when their interest is concerned, all histories witness. Besides Rehoboam was not Solomon's son by Pharaoh's daughter and so the relation was in a manner extinct. Came up - Either, from a desire to enlarge his empire: or, by Jeroboam's instigation: or from a covetous desire of possessing those great treasures which David and Solomon had left: and above all, by God's providence, disposing his heart to this expedition for Rehoboam's punishment.
Verse 26. He took - First the city: which may seem strange, considering the great strength of it, and how much time it took Nebuchadnezzar and Titus to take it. But, first, it might cost Shishak also a long siege though that be not here related. Secondly, it is probable David and Solomon in their building and altering the city, had more respect to state and magnificence than to its defense, as having no great cause to fear the invasion of any enemies. And it is certain, that after the division between Judah and Israel, the kings of Judah added very much to the fortifications of it.
Verse 27. Brazen shields - This was an emblem of the diminution of his glory. Sin makes the gold become dim, it changes the most fine gold and turns it into brass.
Verse 28. To the house, &c. - By which it seems the affliction had done him some good, and brought him back to the worship of God, which he had forsaken.
Verse 30. Was war - Not an invasive war with potent armies, which was forbidden, chap. xii, 24, and not revived 'till Abijam's reign, 2 Chron. xiii, 1-3, but a defensive war from those hostilities which by small parties and skirmishes they did to one another.
Verse 31. An Ammonitess - This is repeated as a thing very observable.