even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth; so that it become utterly extinct; and the next thing we hear of is the sickness and death of his son.
INTRODUCTION TO 1 Kings 14
This chapter relates the sickness of Jeroboam's son, the application of his wife, at his instance, to the prophet Ahijah, in the child's favour, 1 Kings 14:1, the prophecy of the prophet concerning the ruin of Jeroboam's house, and the death of the child, which came to pass, 1 Kings 14:7, an account of the years of Jeroboam's reign, and also of Rehoboam's, 1 Kings 14:19, and of the evil things done and suffered by the latter in his kingdom, and the calamities that came upon him for it, 1 Kings 14:22 and the conclusion of his reign, 1 Kings 14:29.
arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself; put off her royal apparel, and clothe herself like a common person, mimic the dress and language of a country woman:
that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: by any that should see her on the road, or at the city she was to go to, or by the prophet to whom she would be sent:
and get thee to Shiloh; which, according to Bunting (g), was twenty four miles, from Tirzah, where Jeroboam now lived, see 1 Kings 14:17.
behold, there is Ahijah the prophet: called from thence the Shilonite, 1 Kings 11:29,
which told me that I should be king over this people: and this coming to pass, proved him to be a true prophet, and to be credited in what he should say concerning their child. Jeroboam desired his wife to go on this errand, because he did not care it should be known that he applied to any of the prophets of the Lord; nor did he choose it should be known whose child was inquired about, which another must have told, whereas his wife could speak of it as her own; and she was the fittest person to give an account of the child's illness, and would ask the most proper and pertinent questions, and bring him back a faithful report; and he would have her be disguised, lest the prophet, who bore no good will to him because of his apostasy, should refuse to give any answer at all, or else give a very rough and disagreeable one.
(g) Travels, &c. p. 161.
he shall tell thee what shall become of the child; whether it should live or die, for that was all he wanted to know; he did not desire to know what should be done to the child for its recovery, nor to request the prophet's prayers for it.
(h) Prolog. Poenulo, ver. 43. (i) Adversar. l. 23. c. 10.
for his eyes were set by reason of his age; or "stood" fixed and immovable, as the eyes of blind men are; or the nerves and muscles of his eyes stood within the holes thereof, so that he could not see objects.
behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son, for he is sick; to know whether he will recover or not:
thus and thus shall thou say unto her; as after expressed in some following verses:
for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself another woman; to the people that let her in, and introduce her to the prophet, and to the prophet himself; pretend herself to be a countrywoman come to ask a question of the prophet concerning her son that was ill of a disease.
that he said, come in, thou wife of Jeroboam, why feignest thou thyself to be another? which must greatly surprise and confound her, as well as lay open to her the folly of her and her husband to imagine that she could be secreted from God, and a prophet of his; or that a prophet could tell her what was future, and yet not know her that was present; and this might serve to assure her, and so her husband, that what the prophet after delivered would certainly come to pass:
for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings; or hard things, such as would be very disagreeable to her and her husband.
thus saith the Lord God of Israel; so he continued to be, though they had revolted from him:
forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people; the common people, from a low estate in which he was:
and made thee prince over my people Israel; so they were when he made them king over them; and there were some among them still that loved the Lord, served and feared him, of which the prophet himself, now speaking, was an instance.
and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; who never was guilty of idolatry, but always constantly and cordially attended the pure worship of God, and was careful to do everything in that according to the will of God, whatever else he might be deficient in.
for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger; the two calves of gold; for however he might colour things over, and pretend he did not look upon these as gods, but as representations of God, and that he did not worship them, but God by them, yet the Lord considered it as idolatry, than which nothing is more provoking to him:
and hast cast me behind thy back; as unworthy of his regard; or my worship, as the Targum, which he neglected, and showed no concern for.
and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall; not leave a dog of his, or rather a male, see 1 Samuel 25:22.
and him that is shut up and left in Israel; in garrisons or in prisons, in cities or in fields, or in whatsoever situation or circumstances they may be. Some interpret it of wealth and substance; it signifies an entire destruction it may be of men and goods, see Deuteronomy 32:36.
and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone; signifying that Jeroboam's family was as loathsome and abominable to the Lord as dung is to men; and that he would make as clean a riddance of them as men do of dung when they sweep it out, and will not leave the least scrap behind.
for the Lord hath spoken it; and therefore shall be fulfilled, for what he hath said he will do, Numbers 23:19.
and when thy feet enter the city; the city of Tirzah, very probably the king's palace stood at the entry of it, see 1 Kings 14:17,
the child shall die; this is an answer to the question she was to ask, and at the same time a token of the sure and certain fulfilment of all the prophet had spoken in the name of the Lord.
for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave; or be buried, the rest should be devoured by dogs or fowls:
because in him there is found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam; the principles of grace were implanted, and seeds of piety and religion sown in his heart; and there appeared a disposition of mind, and desires in him to the name of God, and the remembrance of it; or to his pure worship and service; it might be discerned that he had a dislike of idolatry, and a desire to have true religion restored. The Jews say (k) that this good thing in him was, that he was the means of removing the watch or guards that were placed in the way to hinder the Israelites from going up to the feasts of the Lord.
(k) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 28. 2.
who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day; immediately, as soon as on the throne, he should destroy his whole family, as he did, 1 Kings 15:29,
but what? even now; shall it be that day? yes; even at that very time, and which will be very quickly from this time; for as it may be supposed this was said at the latter end of Jeroboam's reign, and his son and successor reigned but two years ere this prophecy was accomplished. The Targum is,
"who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam, him that is living today, and shall be from henceforward.''
and he shall root up Israel out this good land he gave to their fathers; which was brought about, first by Tiglathpileser, and then by Shalmaneser, kings of Assyria, that carried them captives from hence:
and shall scatter them beyond the river; the river Euphrates, as the Targum: or, as others, the river Gozan, 2 Kings 17:6.
because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger: in which groves they placed idols, and worshipped them, which was highly provoking to the Lord, and the cause of their dispersion.
because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin; by his devices and stratagems, by his example and edicts, and by the methods he took to prevent Israel from worshipping in the manner and place he directed to.
and came to Tirzah; where Jeroboam now had his court, and where their son now was; it was a royal city in the time of the Canaanites, and is commonly placed in the tribe of Manasseh, and was a very pleasant one, as its name signifies, to which there is an allusion, Sol 6:4; see Gill on Joshua 12:24,
and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died: just as she was about to step over the threshold of the royal palace, which seems to have been at the entering of the city of Tirzah, 1 Kings 14:12.
and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the prophet, 1 Kings 14:13.
and how he reigned; over the people of Israel, whether wisely, and justly, and in clemency, or not:
behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel; not in that canonical book of Scripture, so called, for in that there is very little account of the reign of Jeroboam; but in the annals and diaries of the kings of Israel, written by persons appointed for that purpose, and out of which it is generally thought that inspired writers, by divine direction, took what was thought proper to be transmitted to future times. So with the Romans, from their very beginning to the times of Mutius, all the events of every year were committed to writing by the order of the Pontifex Maximus, and lay open to be read by the people in common; and these, as Tully (l) says, were what are called annals.
(l) De Oratore, l. 2. c. 34.
and he slept with his fathers; or died as they did:
and Nadab his son reigned in his stead; who perhaps was younger than Abijah, whose sickness and death are before related.
Rehoboam was forty one years old when he began to reign; being born one year before his father Solomon began to reign, and so it might have been expected he would have begun his reign more wisely than he did:
and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem; not half so long as his father and grandfather, being neither so wise nor so good a prince as either of them:
the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there; to have a temple built for him, and his worship carried on in it; which was an aggravation of the sin of Rehoboam, that he should reign in such a place, and yet be guilty of the crimes he was; the three first years he reigned well, but afterwards forsook the law of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 11:17.
and his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess; and which is observed again, 1 Kings 14:31, she being the instrument of drawing him into idolatry, which it is very probable she practised in the days of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:5.
and they provoked him to jealousy, with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done; that is, with their idolatries; for they were the sins which moved the Lord to jealousy, and provoked the eyes of his glory; in which they had outdone not the ten tribes, but their fathers, in the times of Moses, Joshua, and the judges, and of their kings before their separation, Saul, David, and Solomon.
and images; contrary to the express command of God, Exodus 20:4,
and groves on every high hill, and under every green tree; that is, set up idols, and temples for idols, amidst groves of trees, and under all green trees; as was the custom of the Heathens, who sacrificed on the heights of hills and tops of mountains, as was particularly the custom of the Persians, as both Herodotus (m) and Xenophon (n) relate; and with the Getae, a people in Thrace, was a mountain they reckoned sacred (o).
(m) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 131. (n) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45. (o) Strabo Geograph. l. 7. p. 206.
and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel; the Canaanites, of whose uncleannesses, incests, and bestialities, see Leviticus 18:1.
that Shishak, king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; of whom see 1 Kings 11:40, this was suffered as a chastisement from the Lord for their abominations.
he even took away all: that he could find and come at; for that there were some left is plain from 1 Kings 15:18,
and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made; and which were put in the house of the forest of Lebanon, 1 Kings 10:16.
and committed them into the hands of the chief of the guard; or "runners" (p), that went before the king, or attended him as his bodyguard when he went abroad:
which kept the door of the king's house; which kept guard night and day in their turns.
(p) "cursorum", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.
that the guard bare them: before him, partly for pomp and grandeur, and partly to keep in awe such as were inclined to mutiny and sedition:
and brought them back into the guard chamber; when the king returned, the place where the guard lodged and slept by turns.
are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? who had annalists or historiographers to write for them, as the kings of Israel had, 1 Kings 14:19, in the writing of which, especially with respect to genealogies, Shemaiah the prophet, and Iddo the seer, were concerned, 2 Chronicles 12:15.