1 Kings 12:16 MEANING

1 Kings 12:16
(16) To your tents.--This war-cry was not new. It had been heard once before, during the conflict between Judah and Israel after the rebellion of Absalom, when it was silenced instantly by the relentless promptitude of Joab (2 Samuel 20:1). Only the last ironical line is added, "See to thine own house, David" (which the LXX. explains as "Feed, as a shepherd, thine own house, David"). There is perhaps a sarcastic allusion to God's promise to establish the house of David: "Be a king, but only in thine own house!"

Verse 16. - So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered [Heb. brought back word to; probably after some consultation amongst themselves] the king, saying, What portion have we in David? [Same expression as 2 Samuel 20:1. The words, interpreted by this passage and 2 Samuel 19:43, mean, "Since we have no kindness or fairness from David's seed, what is his house to us? Why render homage to his son? We receive nought from him, why yield aught to him?"] neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse [i.e., "his tribe is not ours; his interests are not ours." Bahr sees in the expression "son of Jesse" "an allusion to David's humbler descent," but surely without reason. It is simply a periphrasis for the sake of the parallelism. The rhythm almost elevates the words to the rank of poetry]: to your tents, O Israel [lit., thy tents, Or dwellings; i.e., "Disperse to your homes (see 1 Kings 8:66; and cf. 2 Samuel 18:17; 2 Samuel 19:8; 2 Samuel 20:1), and prepare for war." לֺאהֶל, which means primarily a "tent," has for its secondary meaning, "habitation," "home." This cry - the Marseillaise of Israel - probably had its origin at a time when the people dwelt in tents, viz., in the march through the desert (see Joshua 22:4; Numbers 1:52; Numbers 9:18; Numbers 16:26) ]. Now see to thine own house, David [i.e., let the seed of David henceforth reign over the tribe of Judah, if it can. It shall govern the other tribes no longer. "It is not a threat of war, but a warning against interference" (Rawlinson). רָאָה has the meaning of "look after," "care for." "David, the tribe father, is mentioned in place of his family" (Keil) ]. So Israel departed unto their [lit., his] tents [see note on ch. 8:66].

12:16-24 The people speak unbecomingly of David. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public, forgotten ! These considerations should reconcile us to our losses and troubles, that God is the Author of them, and our brethren the instruments: let us not meditate revenge. Rehoboam and his people hearkened to the word of the Lord. When we know God's mind, we must submit, how much soever it crosses our own mind. If we secure the favour of God, not all the universe can hurt us.So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them,.... To grant their requests:

the people answered the king, saying, what portion have we in David? or in his posterity, which are not of our tribes, nor are we obliged to have a king of that family; nor can we expect any benefit or advantage from thence, as may be easily concluded from the rough answer of Rehoboam:

neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; so they called David by way of contempt; which was great ingratitude, when he had done such great things for them, and he and his son Solomon had raised them to the pitch of wealth and glory they now enjoyed; these were seditious expressions, and seem to be borrowed from a seditious person in the times of David, 2 Samuel 20:1.

to your tents, O Israel; signifying it was high time to depart from Rehoboam, and to have nothing to say to him, or do with him, but retire to their habitations, to consider whom to set as king over them:

now see to thine own house, David; thou son or grandson of David; not his own house and family, and mind his domestic affairs, nor the house of the sanctuary in his tribe, as many of the Jewish writers interpret it; but rather the tribe of Judah, of which he was, and would have him consider to what a narrow compass his kingdom would be brought, who was just now blustering and boasting of his grandeur as a king:

so Israel departed unto their tents; to their cities, as the Targum, and their habitations there, without recognizing Rehoboam as their king, or swearing allegiance, or giving homage to him as such.

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