1 Kings 15
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
to the throne of Judah appears to have had one limiting principle, viz., that the successor should be of the house and lineage of David (see 2 Chronicles 13:8). Within this limit it seems -


1. The principle of primogeniture was not considered.

(1) Else Abijam could not have ascended the throne: for he had elder brothers, sons of Mahalath and Abihail, and we know not how many besides (see 2 Chronicles 11:18-21).

(2) These were deliberately set aside by the choice of the king. The reason given for that choice is arbitrary. Rehoboam "loved Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, above all his wives," and therefore he "made Abijah, the son of Maachah, the chief ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king" (2 Chronicles 11:22, 23).

(3) For this he had precedent. We have no proof that Rehoboam was not the only son of Solomon; but Solomon was a younger son of David (see 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 2 Samuel 13:13, 14), and was preferred before his elder brethren upon the designation of his father (see 2 Chronicles 1:13, 32-35).

2. Abijam represented Rehoboam by walking in his sins.

(1) He recognized the God of Israel. This he did formally in his address to Jeroboam before engaging him in battle (see 2 Chronicles 13:4-12). So did Rehoboam recognize the God of Israel (see 2 Chronicles 12:10-12.

(2) "But his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father." David never followed idols; but Rehoboam forsook not the sins of Solomon, and Abijam forsook not the sins of Rehoboam.

(3) Their mixed worship was like that of the Samaritans of later times, who "feared the Lord and served their own gods" (2 Kings 17:32). If this was not worshipping other gods "before the Lord," it was worshipping them "beside Him" (see 2 Corinthians 6:16). Yet -


1. Primogeniture, therefore, cannot plead Divine right.

(1) Else would not God have set aside the choice of Rehoboam in favour of his elder son, or rather, of the representative of the elder son of David?

(2) David himself was a younger son in the family of Jesse. And if we go back to earlier times, Judah, a younger son, was preferred before Reuben, in the family of Jacob. Jacob himself was chosen to the prejudice of Esau, and Isaac before him to the prejudice of Ishmael.

(3) God had His own reasons for confirming the election of Rehoboam, which, however, were different from those which moved the king.

3. God had respect to His servant David.

(1) "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord." He had no complicity with idolatry, but worshipped the one true God with pure delight. When away from the courts of the Lord he longed for them with vehement desire. What a worthy example! How it rebukes the half day worshippers of modern times!

(2) He failed only "in the matter of Uriah." That was a foul blot. How sad so grand a life should have been so darkly blurred!

(3) Yet "his heart was perfect with the Lord his God." For he heartily repented of that sin, and was forgiven (see 2 Samuel 12:18; Psalm 32:1-5; Psalm 51.) God giveth liberally and upbraideth not.

3. Therefore for David's sake Abijam reigned.

(1) "That he might always have a lamp" - a man of his line. Abijam was a son of David by an unbroken male descent, and also by a female descent. "His mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom." Abishalom is written "Absalom" in 2 Chronicles 11:21. Maachah was the daughter of Absalom as Abijam was the son of David, viz., as being descended from him. Her father's name was "Uriel of Gibeah," who appeared to have married a daughter of Absalom, who left no son (2 Chronicles 13:2). She bore the name of her grandmother, who was" Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur" (2 Samuel 3:3).

(2) Christ is the true lamp of David (see Psalm 132:17). For His sake the line of David must be preserved.

(3) The lamp, too, must shine in Jerusalem. "God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up a son after him, and to establish Jerusalem." The Redeemer must come to Zion, there to turn away iniquity from Jacob. So before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and the family of David had lost their genealogies, Jesus came and became an expiatory sacrifice for sin. - J.A.M.

I. THE STORY OF A MISUSED OPPORTUNITY. Even in a three years' reign much might have been done. Israel had its troubles, the past its lessons of wisdom; but there was no ear to hear the one, and no heart to attempt redress of the other.

1. The secret of failure.

(1) He was content with things as he found them. It is not said that he introduced any new idolatries: "He walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him." The sin and responsibility of those who continue to walk in the paths of sinful, though general and time-honoured, customs, and who do not forsake the idolatries and iniquities of their fathers.

(2) His love was not set upon God. The worship of Jehovah was still continued. Abijah had experienced the signal mercy of God (2 Chronicles 13.) His heart might have been won, but it "was not perfect with the Lord his God as the heart of David his father." There was no thirsting after God, no delight in the sense of the favour which is life, and the loving-kindness which is better than life. The love of God the only source of work for God.

2. The sinful was also a troubled reign: "there was war," etc., and it was war with brethren.

3. The opportunity was soon ended: "he reigned three years." Opportunities abused may be soon removed. The life which sin has marred death may swiftly seal.

II. A RIGHTEOUS LIFE AN UNDYING POWER WITH GOD. "For David's sake did the Lord his God give him," etc. Our good does not die with us or with our generation. The memory of it dwells, and prevails, with God.

1. The sinful king has a son to succeed him, and one whom God directs and blesses.

2. The city is preserved and the flood of evil driven back - "to establish Jerusalem." God's promises, our prayers, and our purposes are alike remembered. They bloom amid our dust. Our love and loyalty to God will fall in blessing upon ages yet to come.

III. SIN LEAVES ITS STAIN ON THE FAIR RECORD OF A RIGHTEOUS LIFE. "Save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite." God will not wink at or cloak our iniquity. Is there any matter of which thou and all will hear when the books are opened? If there be, is it not a call for humiliation and for prayer? - J.U.

The moral condition of Judah was fearful when Asa came to the throne. The apostasy of Solomon had inaugurated a retrogression which was aggravated in the reigns following, so that for three generations the abominations of the heathens were increasing. The condition of Israel was even worse, under the system introduced by Jeroboam, to which the successors of that monarch tenaciously held. When the Holy Land was in such a state of degeneracy, what was the condition of the world at large! There was, therefore, the greatest need for reformation.

I. OF THIS ASA BECAME THE SUBJECT AND SPECIMEN. Reformations have ever been inaugurated by individuals who have embodied and exemplified their principles. Witness Luther in Germany, Knox in Scotland, etc. Such also was Asa.

1. He "did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord."

(1) To do right in the eyes of the world is praiseworthy. For wicked men "know better;" and they have keen vision to discover inconsistencies in professors of religion (see Philippians 2:15: 1 Peter 2:11-15).

(2) To do right in the eyes of good men is a higher commendation. They have a purer light, and consequently a finer appreciation of moral qualities. Things which the world will allow they. cannot approve.

(3) But to do right in the "eyes of the Lord" is the highest praise. He reads the heart - surveys the motives - requires "truth in the inward parts." What a searching vision shall we pass under in the day of judgment I If that vision approve us now we shall then have nothing to fear.

2. In this he is compared with David.

(1) David never followed idols. The one blur of his life was the matter of Uriah, of which he heartily repented. Who amongst us has nothing to repent of?

(2) David's loyalty to God was sincere and fervent. What a warm spirit of piety breathes in the Psalms I are they not, even in our gospel age, a fine vehicle for spiritual worship?

(3) David was a prophet. This Asa was not. He had the grace, not the gifts, of the founder of his house. Gifts are not equally within the reach of all; graces are.

3. Such commendation was eminently creditable to Asa.

(1) He stands out in remarkable contrast to his father. Abijam was wicked; Asa was good. The influence of the father was vicious; the son resisted it and was virtuous.

(2) Asa's mother seems to have died early, for Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, who was his grandmother, is here mentioned as his mother. Under the influence of Maachah, Abijah developed badly; notwithstanding that evil influence Asa developed well.

(3) We must not ignore, but fully recognize, individual moral responsibility. The will cannot be compared to a pair of scales which is mechanically moved by weights.

II. OF THIS ALSO HE BECAME THE INSTRUMENT. This is God's order (1 John 1:3). What he felt he tried to promote.

1. Beginning with his own house.

(1) He removed the idols which his father had made. He felt especially bound to do this in order to cut off the entail of sin from his house.

(2) He frowned also upon the idolatry of his grandmother. "She made an idol in a grove" (מפלצת לאשרה) a glory for an Ashere. The word is used for terribleness or majestic glory Jeremiah 49:16. Setting an image in the cloud of glory was setting it on an ark or chariot of cherubim to be worshipped. (See Psalm 50:3, where נשערה is used for the cloud of glory about Jehovah.) Asa demolished this nimbus, or glory, together with the Ashere, or idol, and probably threw the ashes into the Kedron in contempt (compare Deuteronomy 9:21; 2 Kings 23:12; 2 Chronicles 15:16).

(3) Furthermore, he removed Maachah from being queen (dowager). He thus merited the commendation of Levi (see Deuteronomy 33:9; see also Matthew 10:37).

2. Then influencing the nation.

(1) He removed the Sodomites out of the land. What prosperity can there be in any state where public immorality is tolerated by the magistrates?

(2) He destroyed the high places of idolatry with their altars and idols, in the country and in the cities (see 2 Chronicles 14:3, 5).

(3) The high places used in the worship of Jehovah after the fashion of the patriarchs, he spared. For this he is but lightly censured; to have limited the ordinances of public worship to the temple would have been the more excellent way.

(4) He encouraged the worship of Jehovah (see 2 Chronicles 14:4). Not by precept only, but by example also. He dedicated to the Lord the things which his father had vowed, but either neglected to pay or died before he could carry his purpose into effect. Also the spoil which he himself had taken from the Ethiopians (see 2 Chronicles 15:11, 12). Where the heart of God's people is loyal the treasuries of His house will be full. - J.A.M.

AN OPPORTUNITY RECOGNIZED AND USED. The need of the time was manfully met. Brought up in an idolatrous home, he nevertheless saw that this sin was sapping the foundation of the nation's stability and strength, and he set himself to root it out.

1. The land was cleansed from .filthy abomination, from legalized, and even sanctified, sin ("And he took away the Sodomites," etc.) The nation that legalizes sin will reap corruption and shame: that which suppresses it by righteous enactment will pass up into purity and strength and truest glory.

2. He put down idolatry with unflinching faithfulness. He "removed ALL the idols which his father had made.', "And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen," etc. Neither reverence for the dead not tear of the living was suffered to stand in the way of his obedience to God. It is easy to condemn sin in the abstract. It is hard to stand face to fete with him who is its servant and say, "Thou art the man." Is our faithfulness afar the pattern of Asa's?

3. His failure was one of ability, not of will (ver. 14). We may not be able to accomplish all we desire, or that is needful, but if our heart be "perfect with the Lord" all is well.

4. He did not keep back the Lord's portion. The "silver and gold and vessels," which his father and he himself had vowed, were brought into the Lord's house. His faithfulness was shown in what he gave as well as in what he condemned.

II. THERE MAY BE ZEAL FOR GOD WITHOUT PERFECT TRUST IN GOD. The man of action is not always a man of prayer.

1. Baasha's attempt (see 2 Chronicles 16:7, etc.) The danger was great, but to the politician there seemed a way out of it. He was not shut up to God's help, as in the invasion by the Ethiopian king, and therefore God was not sought.

(1) Forsaking the path of trust, he entered the crooked ways of worldly policy. He bribed Ben-hadad to break faith with Baasha. How often is self help stained with meanness and unrighteousness!

(2) God does not always forsake His people when they forsake Him. Asa's plan succeeded. The fortress that was being built against him became two for him. If unbelief was so blessed, what mercies might have crowned faith!

2. The disease which embittered his latter days. "Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet." Here, again, his faith was tried and found wanting. "In his disease he sought not to the Lord but to the physicians" (2 Chronicles 16:12); and he found no relief. There is a limit to God's forbearance even with His people. How much is there of our weakness and trouble and distress over which the words are written, "Ye have not, because ye ask not"! - J.U.

A beautiful flower often springs from the midst of corruption. The more we realize the moral condition of Asa's surroundings the more we wonder at the grace which made him what he was. His father was Abijam (or Abijah), the second king of Judah, of whom it is said, "He walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him." His education appears to have been entrusted to Maachah, his grandmother, a daughter of Absalom the rebel, and herself a gross idolatress. The remembrance of these facts makes the statement respecting this young prince the more surprising - "Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father." An independent spirit and a resolute will must have been coupled with his piety. [Show from this the possibility of triumphing over the most adverse circumstances by those who sincerely seek to serve God.] It is not, however, to his manly resolution, to his vigour, or to his political wisdom that our attention is specially called by the text, but to his RELIGIOUS SINCERITY.

I. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY ASSERTS ITSELF IN REFORMING ZEAL (vers. 12, 13). It was only twenty years since the death of Solomon, yet irreligion and vice had corrupted the nation. Evil spreads more rapidly than good in a fallen world. The deadly fungus springs up in a night, the fruit tree grows slowly to perfection. A half-hearted or timid man would have been content to worship Jehovah himself, and thus silently rebuke the idolatry of his people; but Asa, being an earnest man, could not content himself with any laissez faire principle. With a strong hand he would put down evil wherever he could reach it. Often in God's sight to leave evil alone, unrebuked, and uncombated is to share the guilt of those who commit it. It is the spirit of Cain, and not of Christ, that asks, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Asa's reforming zeal contains lessons to rulers, to employers, to parents, indeed to all who can mould the circumstances of others. See, therefore, how it made itself felt.

1. Opportunities for sin were diminished. Ver. 12 implies that there were those in Judah who made a traffic of vice. Corrupt themselves, they corrupted others. There are places in Christian cities which should be swept away by the strong hand of law.

2. Incentives to sin were destroyed. The idol referred to (in ver. 15) is literally "the horror." The obscene rites connected with its cultus will not bear investigation. Suffice it to say that this so-called worship provoked to vice of the most hideous kinds. Against provocations and incentives to sin how earnestly should parents guard their children, and masters and mistresses their servants. Impure literature is in the forefront of these; not only that which offends by its grossness, but that which secretly stains by its suggestions.

3. Influences for sin were removed. Sometimes vice is made popular by leaders of fashion or of policy. The unrighteousness of a clever man, the impurity of a leader in society are woefully far-reaching in their effects. Maachah, the queen-mother, was one of the most potent in Asa's court, was his near relation, his early instructress; yet, with as much wisdom as courage, "he removed her from being queen," and destroyed her idol publicly and shamefully. It might be said that he was indebted to her, that she was aged and should be respected, or that she could not live long, and might therefore be tolerated. Such pleas would not avail with man whose "heart was perfect with the Lord." (Apply this.)

II. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY PROCLAIMS ITSELF BY CONFIDENCE IN GOD. This confidence was at tile heart of Asa's courage. Read our text in the light of the fuller history of the king (given in 2 Chronicles), and see how his confidence displayed itself.

1. He found rest in God in peril. Many adversaries would be raised by a reformation which was ruthless in its rigour. Idolatrous priests, the party led by Maachah, etc., would rebel; but Asa was not perturbed. God was his refuge and strength.

2. He offered prayer to God in his difficulty. As an example read 2 Chronicles 14. Describe the incursion of the Ethiopian host, and this prayer of the king, "Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude." A victory followed which was unique in the history of God's people. Conquest waits on prayer in every struggle with evil

3. He consecrated himself and his people to God after their deliverance (see ver. 15, and compare with it 2 Chronicles 15.) He renewed the covenant, and afresh dedicated all he possessed to the Lord. So he deserved the high commendation, "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." It remains yet to be observed that -

III. RELIGIOUS SINCERITY MAY BE ASSOCIATED WITH IMPERFECT SERVICE. He failed to remove the high places. This Hezekiah and Josiah did. To leave them was to provide a way of return to the idolatrous practices he had put down. Beware of leaving lesser sins unconquered, after victory has been attained over grosset crimes. - A.R.

Forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem (ver. 10). The evil kings of Judah were about as numerous as the good, but their reigns were shorter. "The wicked do not live out half their days." But though the reign of Asa was long and glorious, his war policy with Baasha was not creditable.


1. The war was provoked by the enemy.

(1) Baasha was the aggressor (ver. 17). War is such a fearful evil that whoever provokes it is greatly culpable.

(2) Therefore on Asa's part it was defensive. If human war is ever defensible it is when defensive.

2. It was provoked by impious intention.

(1) Asa had set his heart upon the reformation of true religion, in which he was blessed by God with peace and prosperity (2 Chronicles 14:1-7).

(2) The more pious Ephrathites were attracted in great numbers to Jerusalem to join in the pure worship of the temple; and the reformation was influencing the northern kingdom (2 Chronicles 15:9).

(3) Baasha now feared, as Jeroboam did when he set up his calves (1 Kings 12:26-28), that his people would return to the house of David. To prevent this he proceeded to fortify the frontier town of Ramah (2 Chronicles 16:1).

(4) This was to coerce the Ephrathites to transgress the law of God (see Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 14:28-26; 16:2). To resist this persecution was as pious in Asa as the persecution was impious in Baasha.


1. They were human.

(1) Asa did not rely upon the Lord. This was the less excusable since God had wrought such signal deliverance for him from the vast multitude of the Ethiopians (see 2 Chronicles 14:9-15). What was the host of Baasha compared with that army?

(2) He did not even inquire of the Lord. Had God sanctioned his recourse to Ben-hadad then had he been blameless.

(3) Though in other particulars he had listened to the advice of Azariah, the son of Oded, with blessed advantage, yet in this he had disregarded that advice (see 2 Chronicles 15:1, 2).

2. They were unworthy.

(1) What right had he to engage a heathen to fight with his brethren?

(2) What right had he to bribe a heathen to break his covenant (ברית purification) with Baasha, in which the blood of sacrifice had been sprinkled to express his purity of intention, as we now take the sacrament? What opinion could the heathen form of the religion of one who could offer a bribe for such a purpose?

(3) What right had he to take the treasure of the temple for such a purpose?


1. The end was answered.

(1) The Syrians attacked Israel in the north. The news of this drew Baasha away from Ramah (vers. 20, 21).

(2) This gave Asa the opportunity to demolish the fortifications in progress so as to open the road Baasha sought to close. He also removed the material so that the road might be kept open.

(3) The material was useful to him in building Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.

2. But the price was too great.

(1) He missed an opportunity of spoiling the Syrians as he had spoiled the Ethiopians. This fact is revealed, though by what means Providence purposed to have brought it about is not disclosed (2 Chronicles 16:7).

(2) The treasures of the temple and of the palace were therefore needlessly alienated.

(3) His brethren in "Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-beth-Maachah, and all Cinneroth," or Gennesaret, "with all the land of Naphtali," were exposed to the horrors of the Syrian invasion. The heart of Israel would be alienated from Asa in consequence, and the reformation hindered.

(4) Asa's own heart became hardened, else he would not have imprisoned Hanani, and oppressed some of his people (who probably sympathized with the prophet).

(5) And he inherited the judgment of wars to the end of his days. Also a disease in the feet, respecting which he sought to "physicians rather than the Lord" (2 Chronicles 16:10, 12). Note: Asa's blunders followed upon his prosperity. Few abide this test. Loss of spirituality and religious zeal accompanies the growing worldly prosperity of churches! - J.A.M.

The subject before us furnishes illustration of the following propositions, viz.:


1. There is a sense in which this is generally true.

(1) Jeroboam "made Israel to sin." Nadab "did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin whereby he made Israel to sin."

(2) Baasha murdered Nadab and usurped his throne. Then he exterminated the whole house of Jeroboam. In this he fulfilled the words of Ahijah the Shilonite. Yet was it not out of zeal for God, but to serve his own selfish ambition. So under the same evil promptings he continued in the sin of Jeroboam (ver. 34). And his son after him walked in his steps.

(3) Do we not still find that those who loyally serve God are children or grandchildren of godly persons? "The seed of the righteous is blessed."

(4) This is the rule, but not without its exceptions; else missions to the heathen, abroad and at home, would be hopeless, which, thank God, they are not.

2. There is a sense in which this is universally true.

(1) "Seed" is not always reckoned according to the flesh. "The children of the promise are counted for the seed" (Romans 9:8; see also the reasoning, Romans 9:13-18).

(2) Thus God can, out of the very stones, raise up children to Abraham. Gentile believers in Christ are such (see Matthew 3:9; Galatians 3:26, 29).

(3) In this sense all are not Israel who are of Israel. Descendants of Abraham who follow not his true faith and good works are not his seed (see John 8:37, 40; Romans 2:28; Romans 9:7; Galatians 6:15).

(4) As the good, whether sprung from evil or good ancestors, are the seed of God; so are the wicked, whether sprung from evil or good ancestors, the seed of the devil (see Genesis 3:15; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). So are the wicked, without exception, the seed of the wicked.


1. How brief was the reign of these kings!

(1) "The days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years" (1 Kings 14:20). But this was little more than half the term of Asa's reign (ver. 10).

(2) Nadab "reigned over Israel two years." This was really but a portion of two years, for, according to the usage of Scripture, a year entered is reckoned as if completed. He "began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa," and "in the third year of Asa" did Baasha slay him (vers. 25, 28).

(3) Baasha reigned "twenty and four years," still little more than half the time of Asa's reign. This son of David sat upon the throne of Judah long enough to see eight kings upon the throne of Israel, viz., Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, Omri, and Ahab. In these he witnessed no less than five dynasties!

2. How little happiness had they in their rule!

(1) Sin brings the vexation of an evil conscience, with its attendant disquiet, suspicion, and fear.

(2) Also the vexation of an angry Providence. They that take the sword take the blade with the haft. The wars of these ever changing dynasties left little room for repose.

(3) How difficult for men to learn that worldly ambition and vexation are sisters; that abiding happiness is found only in the ways of God!


1. This is written in history.

(1) It is recorded in the history of these kings. Jeroboam in person died upon his bed, but in his family his light was extinguished in blood. Baasha in like manner died on his bed, but in his family he too perished by the sword.

(2) These examples are but samples of history at large - sacred, secular.

2. It is also written in prophecy.

(1) We meet with it in the alternatives to the conditions of salvation.

(2) This destruction follows the spirit into the invisible world, and is a "much sorer punishment" than that which terminates in natural death.

(3) The judgments upon the wicked recorded in history are but figures of the more terrible doom threatened in prophecy. - J.A.M.

I. THE LAST STEP IN A CAREER OF REBELLION AND FOLLY. Nadab might have been warned. His way to the throne was opened up by God's judgment in the removal of Abijah. He must have heard of the Divine threatenings; he might have seen the evil results of his father's sin. But in the face of all these things he adopted the sinful policy of his father.

1. "He did evil in the sight of the Lord." His heart and life were estranged from God and righteousness. This is the explanation of all that follows. Contempt of the claims of revelation, and rebellion against God are but the revelation to men of a heart and life which have already grieved and provoked God.

2. He continued in a path already dark with the frown of God: "and walked in the way of his father." The son who continues in his father's sin may incur thereby a deeper guilt than his. The iniquity of it may not have been at first so fully manifested. It might have been considered and abandoned in the shadow of the father's death. As the ages roll on sins manifest themselves, and the nation which will not turn from them seals itself for destruction. Are there sins with us the evil of which we know today as we did not know before? Then the guilt of their retention is greater than that of their first commission.

3. He resolutely pursued a path which meant destruction, not .for himself only, but for an entire people: "and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." It was nothing less than an attempt to rob God of His chosen people, and them of Him, in order that the house of Jeroboam might reign in safety. The terrible selfishness and the murderous heart of sin!


1. He was smitten in the midst of his army. The host of his warriors could not save him. There is no place where God's hand cannot reach us.

2. He was slain, not by the Philistines, but by one of his own servants. Treachery and rebellion were visited with fitting punishment. The strict justice of the Divine vengeance. His judgments are repayments: "I will repay."

3. The Divine threatening literally fulfilled (ver. 29). God's words against sin are not lightly spoken. The end is hid from us, but His eye is resting, while He speaks, upon the woe. - J.U.

1 Kings 15:33-16:7


1. Baasha's crime. Behind the slaughter of his master and his master's house lay the threatening of God. The Divine decree seemed to legalize the crime. But God's command did not come to him, nor was he moved by righteous indignation against the sins of the house of Jeroboam. He served his own passions, and it was sin to him before God, "because he killed him." The iniquity of those who rush in to smite wrong and hypocritically veil their hatred and spite and greed under the plea of zeal for God and righteousness (Romans 2:1).

2. His evil life. "He did evil in the sight of the Lord." State reforms are impossible for men whose own heart refuses God's yoke. Our work can never rise higher than the level of our life. There is also a spiritual law of gravitation: the streams of our influence can only flow downward.

3. His hurtful reign. He "walked in the way of Jeroboam," etc. He may have condemned Jeroboam's sin in regard to the calves, etc.; but when begirt with the same state exigencies he continued the course he himself had punished with death. It is easy to condemn the sins of others. God has nobler work for us: it is, when surrounded by their temptations to triumph over them, and to serve not by words only but by deeds.

II. GOD'S MESSAGE TO BAASHA (1 Kings 16:1-7).

1. His exaltation was of God. "I exalted thee out of the dust." The throne was not secured by his wickedness. The Lord had stilled opposition and given him success.

2. It was great and unlooked for. His tribe had no claim to the throne, and his own place among his people was a mean one. But God had, step by step, advanced him, and was now enabling him to reign in peace. The Lord's help is not withheld from those who do not know and do not serve Him. "Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Romans 2:4.)

3. The return made to God. He had changed nothing. Israel was still being led down the path of darkness and judgment, "to provoke Me to anger with their sins." Every higher interest was sacrificed to the policy of keeping the ten tribes separated from the other two. Statesmen out of office condemn that which, when in office, they are afraid to change. And how many are there who are neglecting the trusts God has committed to them. Once they said, "If we had only place or wealth, etc., God would be served and men blessed." These have been given and what has been done? Has the vow been performed?

4. Baasha's punishment worse than Jeroboam's. "I will take away the posterity of Baasha and the posterity of his house (see ver. 11, Neither of his kindred nor of his friends"). The Divine justice is shown in the differing penalties of sin. - J.U.

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1 Kings 14
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