For they have forsaken Me to worship Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in My ways, nor done what is right in My eyes, nor kept My statutes and judgments, as Solomon's father David did.
I. A PROPHECY.
1. This was expressed in sign.
(1) The Shilonite provided himself with a new garment. This was intended to symbolize the kingdom. The same sign had been similarly used before (see 1 Samuel 15:27; 1 Samuel 24:5). Note: His people are the honourable clothing of a prince (see Proverbs 14:28).
(2) The garment was new. The kingdom of Israel was as yet young. Solomon was but the third monarch in succession. The garment was whole. So was the kingdom, as yet, unbroken. Note: The robe of Christ was seamless and woven throughout, which suggests the perfect unity which will appear in the subjects of His heavenly kingdom. Note further: That in His transfiguration, which symbolized His kingdom (see Matthew 16:28; Matthew 17:1), His raiment shined "as no fuller on earth could white it," suggesting the purity and glory in which the subjects of that kingdom are to shine (Matthew 13:43).
(3) But the robe in the hands of the prophet, the messenger and representative of God, is now rent into twelve pieces, according to the number of tribes composing the kingdom, ten of which were given into the hand of Jeroboam. Note: God disposes. In its militant state the kingdom of Christ is subject to revolutions, but not so in its triumphant and heavenly state.
2. The prophecy also is expressed in words (vers. 31-39).
(1) Thus the testimony is twofold. It appeals to the eye, also to the ear.
(2) History verified the predictions to the letter. What a testimony to the truth of God is the harmony and correspondence of prophecy and history!
II. ITS REASONS. These are expressed and implied.
1. The sin of Solomon is specified (vers. 31, 33).
(1) Solomon forsook the Lord. God never forsakes us unless we first forsake Him. Let us be admonished.
(2) He worshipped idols. Ashtoreth, the impure Venus of the Zidonians; Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites; and Milcom, or Molech, the devil of the Ammonites,are put into competition with the God of Israel! Whoever is so foolish as to forsake God will surely become the dupe of devils.
(3) We notice the plural pronoun, "they have forsaken Me," etc. Not Solomon and his wives, for these heathen women had never known God;but Solomon and the Israelites drawn away by his influence and example. Men seldom sin alone. Accomplices are involved with their leaders in a common retribution.
(4) He forgat the good example of his father David. This is mentioned to his discredit. We are accountable to God for our advantages. For godly parents, godly ministers, opportunities.
2. The piety of David is remembered.
(1) It is remembered in the mind of God. Let sincere Christians who are apt to be discouraged at their failures take comfort from the fact that God is more willing to remember our good endeavours than our failures. David in glory would know the blessedness of this.
(2) It is remembered to the advantage of his offspring on the earth. The temporal judgments upon Solomon's sins were mitigated in consequence of David's piety. Would not David, in glory, have satisfaction in this?
3. The Scriptures must be fulfilled.
(1) David was to have a light always before God in Jerusalem (Psalm 132:16, 17). The family of David mast be preserved until Messiah comes to be the Light of the Gentiles.
(2) As David was a type of Christ, so was Jerusalem, with its temple and shekinah, a type of His Church. Of this Church, Christ is the everlasting Light (see Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 60:19, 20; Revelation 21:23).
4. No mention is made of any goodness in Jeroboam.
(1) This omission is significant. It suggests that the Ephrathite was used only as the instrument of Providence for the punishment of sinners; and for this service had the reward of his ambition. Therefore the success of our desires in this world is no certain proof either of our goodness or of God's favour.
(2) But in respect to his service God gave Jeroboam a glorious opportunity by goodness to make himself great like David (see ver. 38). What opportunities does God graciously vouchsafe to us! Let us utilize them to the best possible account. - M.
Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon.
I. THE PLAN OF GOD, REGARDED FROM THE SIDE OF HIS WISE OMNIPOTENCE. Is this world a failure? Does it whirl unchecked and uncontrolled along an aimless path, where luck and fortune and chance are the apparent and only guide to its caprice? Is life a game of chess with an unknown adversary, whom we neither see nor hear — where a mistake on our part is followed by a blow, and that a blow without a word? Have vice and violence and cunning, on the whole, the upper hand in the control of the world? Have all the improvements, the luxuries, the refinements of life, only crushed off in their path a wider and a more sordid fringe of poverty, a moraine of misery, and secured the greatest happiness of the few at the expense of the happiness of the greater number? No! Just remember that God is dealing with a fallen world, a world not as He made it, but as man marred it. A child no doubt, as he lies on his bed, powerless, faint, and ill, crippled by an accident, thinks the doctor cruel as he handles his aching limb, and probes the dangerous wound, and prescribes the bitter medicine; he wishes to be free, to be active, to be playing with his fellows, to feel life in his limbs and health in his frame, to eat what is pleasant, to taste what is sweet, and to fill his life with joy. But the father or the mother, and those who have at heart his welfare, marvel the rather at the skill, the nerve, the resource of the careful physician who is bringing health out of sickness, and a wholesome life out of deformity and mishap. An orchard of trees pruned and cut back is a sorry sight to one, who does not understand the secrets of fruit-bearing, and will not be there to see the golden clusters in the rich autumn. God is dealing with a fallen world, where the measures must be largely remedial, and tending towards a future, rather than self-sufficient in the present. The world is better than it was, it has advanced, and is advancing. Although here and there men sigh over the barren sand, as the wave sighs off with a gasp and a groan, and a sound of falling and disaster. Look out over the world and you will see progress — you cannot deny it — a tending towards a renewal of that time, when in the beginning God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good; while by the side of progress we see the unerring punishment which overtakes sin and evil; retribution we call it; a sign that God has given us a law, which cannot be broken.
II. EQUALLY SHALLOW IS THE CRITICISM WHICH WOULD BELIEVE THE PURPOSE OF GOD TO HAVE FAILED IN HIS CHURCH. The Church is God's Kingdom set up for the better management of the world. And most emphatically the Church has not been a failure. We have the strange spectacle of lands, once covered with its beneficent richness, now barren and dry, and in the hands of the infidel. We see large fields of the Church, once covered with ripe grain, and rippled with the breath of Heaven, now lying fallow, untilled, apparently uncared for, and yet all waiting on the good purpose of God. If we refuse to despair of the world, much more do we refuse to despair of the Church. The purpose of God in spite of drawbacks is being worked out here. Who can deny it?
III. BUT THERE IS ANOTHER REGION WHERE WE ARE APT TO CHARGE GOD WITH FAILURE. I MEAN THE REGION OF OUR OWN SOUL. God has called us through the Red Sea, and, we say, would God we had stayed in Egypt. God has led us into the promised land, and we say it is no land of milk and honey. Men turn round on the old Bible and say it has failed; on the simple life of prayer and devotion; and say that it has proved powerless to effect its purpose. It is a bitter thing, dear brethren, to look back on life and say that it has fared. To look back on a pure home and careful training only to deride it, and get away from it. To have that bitter severance in life, which owes no piety to the past, which has lost all sense of vocation, or duty, or mission, and simply lives on from day to day a life which would be bearable were it not for its pleasures, and hopeful were it not for its ambitions. It is a terrible verdict which the world records of a man when it says, "He has thrown himself away." It is a terrible sense of failure, when a man owns to himself, "I am not what I used to be." It is sad for the returning prodigal to think of a large portion of his life, of which the most hopeful wish would be, that it might remain a blank. It is a more awful thing for a man to feel that his early hopes and aspirations have failed, and that a brilliant morning is likely to be obliterated in a stormy sunset. What can be more sad than the complete breakdown of the moral sense in the heart once alive unto God? Wise Solomon sunk in sensuality; David, whose heart was responsive to every ripple of the Divine breath, dull and insensate; the altar of God spurned, Sunday desecrated; evil eagerly followed; the shame of vice causing no blush, the meanness of it no compunction? And yet God's purpose survives in another way. Magdalen stands before the world to cheer it with the sight of penitent love, more deep, more utter, because like a precious flower, it has been snatched out of the abyss of sin. An stands before the world, stored with an experience written in letters of blood, and burned in with horror into his soul, invites those who have made shipwreck of youth, to hope to revive and seek Him ten times the more. Ah! my brethren, believe in the inherent vitality of all God's good gifts to you. If ever you have been religious, when you now are cold and dead, cherish that seed of life. God means yet again to revive it if you will let Him. If ever your heart was open and responsive before sin blinded your eyes, and the ways of the world made you hard, put yourself back before the first wilful sin, and know and believe that God wishes to revive in you the promise of a better past.
(W. C. E. Newbolt, M. A.).
PeopleAhijah, Ammonites, Aram, Ashtoreth, Chemosh, David, Edomites, Eliada, Eliadah, Genubath, Hadad, Hadadezer, Hittites, Israelites, Jeroboam, Joab, Joseph, Milcom, Moabites, Molech, Nebat, Pharaoh, Rehoboam, Rezon, Shishak, Sidonians, Solomon, Tahpenes, Zeruah, Zidon, Zidonians
PlacesDamascus, Edom, Egypt, Jerusalem, Midian, Millo, Moab, Paran, Syria, Zeredah, Zobah
TopicsAmmon, Ammonites, Ashtoreth, Ash'toreth, Bow, Chemosh, David, Decisions, Forsaken, Goddess, God'dess, Judgments, Keeping, Kept, Laws, Milcom, Moab, Moabites, Molech, Observing, Ordinances, Sidonians, Sido'nians, Sight, Solomon's, Sons, Statutes, Themselves, Walked, Walking, Worship, Worshiped, Worshipped, Zidonians
Outline1. Solomon's wives and concubines
4. In his old age they draw him to idolatry
9. God threatens him,
14. Solomon's adversaries were Hadad, who was entertained in Egypt
23. Rezon, who reigned in Damascus
26. And Jeroboam, to whom Ahijah prophesied
41. Solomon's acts, reign, and death. Rehoboam succeeds him
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 11:33
8747 false gods
LibraryThe New Garment Bent
'And Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. 27. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. 28. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. 29. And …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Fall of Solomon
What Happened to Solomon
"When Solomon was Old. "
The Situation of the Jews During this Period.
How to Split a Kingdom
"This Thing is from Me"
Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint.
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