1 Kings 12:20 MEANING

1 Kings 12:20
(20) Jeroboam was come again.--The assembly at Shechem probably broke up in disorder, carrying everywhere the news of the rebellion. It would be quite in harmony with Jeroboam's astuteness, if, after setting the revolution on foot, he himself stood aloof from leadership, and waited till "the congregation," the duly summoned assembly, sent for him and offered him the crown. The title "king over all Israel" certainly indicates a claim on the part of the ten tribes to be the true Israel, relying perhaps on the prophetic choice and blessing of Jeroboam, and professing to have risen in the name of the Lord against the idolatry of Solomon and his house. Perhaps it also indicated a desire for the subjugation of Judah, which Jeroboam, with the aid of Shishak, certainly seems to have subsequently attempted.

(20, 21) In these two verses we have again the same curious juxtaposition of "the tribe of Judah only" and "the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin." The army gathered would be, no doubt, drawn from Solomon's established and disciplined forces, as well as from the levy of Judah and Benjamin generally--perhaps including (as in 2 Samuel 17:27) contingents from the tributary races--who would be attached with a strong personal allegiance to the house of Solomon, and prepared to stamp out the rebellion, before it could thoroughly organise itself for disciplined resistance.

Verse 20. - And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again [These words are hardly consistent with the idea that Jeroboam had been from the first the spokesman of "all Israel" in their interviews with Rehoboam. If, however, the received text of vers. 8, 12 is retained (see on ver. 3), then we must understand the "all Israel" in ver. 1 of the representatives of the different tribes, and here, of the entire nation who had heard from its representatives, on their return to their homes (ver. 16), of the presence of Jeroboam in the country], that they sent and called him unto the congregation [Where and when this gathering was held we are not informed. Probably it was at Shechem, and soon after Rehoboam's flight. After the open and irreparable breach which they had made (ver. 18), the leaders of the tribes would naturally assemble at once to concert measures for their defence and future government], and made him king [by anointing. Note on ver. 1] over all Israel [This public and formal consecration of Jeroboam completed the secession of the northern tribes. Was this secession sinful? Bahr, Keil, and others, who start from the assumption that secession was determined upon even before Rehoboam came to Shechem, and that the complaints of the people respecting the grievous service to which they had been subjected by Solomon were groundless, naturally conclude that it was altogether treasonable and unjustifiable. But is this conclusion borne out by the facts? We may readily admit that the schism was not accomplished without sin: we cannot but allow that Israel acted with undue precipitation, and that Rehoboam, who was "young and tenderhearted," was entitled, for David's and Solomon's sake, as well as his own, to greater forbearance and consideration, and it is almost certain that both the "envy of Ephraim" and the ambition of Jeroboam largely influenced the result. At the same time, it is to be remembered that the division of the kingdom was ordained of God, and that the people had just cause of complaint, if not, indeed, sufficient warrant for resistance, in the arbitrary and insolent rejection of their petition by the young king. No law of God requires men to yield themselves up without a struggle to such cruel and abject slavery as Rehoboam threatened these men with. They judged - and who shall say unreasonably? - from his words that they had only tyranny and cruelty to expect at his hands, and what wonder if they stood on their defence? They are only to be blamed because they did more. But lawful resistance not uncommonly ripens into unlawful rebellion]: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. [This general statement is qualified immediately afterwards (ver. 21). The tribe of Benjamin, "the smallest of the tribes of Israel" (1 Samuel 9:21), "little Benjamin" (Psalm 68:27), is here omitted as of comparatively small account. Exact precision has never characterized Oriental writers. There is no suspicion of untruth: it is the genius of the people to

"disdain the lore,
Of nicely calculated less and more."
It may be added here that Edom remained under the sway of Judah until the reign of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20), just as Moab and other portions of Solomon's empire for a considerable period formed part of the new kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 3:4, 5).]

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.And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again,.... Out of Egypt; the chief men knew of it before, for he had headed them in their approach and address to Rehoboam; but the people in common had not, and especially those of the various tribes besides that of Ephraim:

that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel; they sent for him from his tent or house, which probably was in Shechem, and gave him an invitation to come to their assembly, met together to deliberate about a king; when they unanimously chose him to be king over Israel, that is, over the ten tribes, and inaugurated him into his office:

there was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Judah only; in which Benjamin was included, as appears from the following verse; that being joined to it, and mixed with it, and both having a part in Jerusalem, and so ever after the kingdom was denominated the kingdom of Judah.

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