1 Kings 11:38
If you listen to all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight in order to keep My statutes and commandments as My servant David did, then I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
The Call to JeroboamJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 11:26-43
The Message of AhijahJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 11:29-39

As Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem with his commission from Solomon to rule as his lieutenant over the house of Joseph, meditating how he might use his fortune to construct a throne, he was met by Ahijah the Shilonite, who accosted him in a manner agreeable to his ambition. In the message of Ahijah we have -


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.
"Nothing," we are told, "succeeds like success." It is the sign of a man of transcendent genius and power that he is able to carry through all his projects, and bring his schemes to a successful issue. And yet God seems to fail. What could be a greater failure than this world, if it was made by a beneficent God, says the average observer? Why are evil, misfortune, pain, and failure so obvious in its history, and so marked upon its operations? So with Christianity itself; it is the commonplace of missionary meetings that only a small fraction of the world has as yet become Christian, after centuries of preaching and earnest effort. Even where the Church has spread, and fixed her seat, how many schisms and controversies rend her unity, how imperfect is the faith of professing Christians, how unworthy their lives, how poor the realisation of those promises to which they cling. Before we can criticise anything we must know the facts. Before we can give a worthy judgment we must be in a position to judge, and in pronouncing on the great work of God in the universe, we may well ask ourselves, are we in a position during our short visit, which we call life, when we know so imperfectly what came before, when we know absolutely nothing of what comes after — are we in a position to judge? There we stand with the vast ocean before us. Here the wave has receded and left a bare patch of sand, there it is thundering with overwhelming catastrophe against some crumbling barrier. Is the tide coming in, or is it receding? Is there a progress or a steady shrinking back? Before we can decide we have to move away. Has God failed? Is this world in any sense a mistake? Are the Chronicles of Israel and Judah an uninteresting record of a monotonous disaster, unedifying to the soul, and powerless to amuse any attention, or fire our enthusiasm? Is Christianity to alter its name to Civilisation T and to substitute the worship of the beautiful for the service of the sanctuary, the book of science for the Book of God? Is the Church to be carted away in its crumbling masses to the lumber room, where lie now covered with the dust of ages the mouldering forms of Utopias, Republics, and "Cities of God," in the model room, where repose the unattainable visions of unpractical men?

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.).

Ahijah, 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
Damascus, Edom, Egypt, Jerusalem, Midian, Millo, Moab, Paran, Syria, Zeredah, Zobah
Attention, Build, Building, Built, Command, Commandments, Commands, David, Dynasty, Enduring, Hast, Hearken, Keeping, Lasting, Laws, Listen, Observing, Orders, Safe, Servant, Sight, Statutes, Stedfast, Sure, Walk, Walked, Walking, Whatever, Wilt
1. 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 Themes
1 Kings 11:38

     5240   building
     5366   king
     5370   kingship, human
     8244   ethics, and grace
     8404   commands, in OT

1 Kings 11:29-39

     1429   prophecy, OT fulfilment

The 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
'For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. 7. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

What Happened to Solomon
In his early manhood Solomon was noted for his deep piety and his fervent love of righteousness. When he became king, he found a great work ready for his hand, and he set about the task with a glad heart. To build a temple to Jehovah was his delight, and he threw into it his whole strength. His prayer at the dedication of the temple shows a deeply reverent and submissive spirit. As the years went by he increased in riches and honor. His name became a synonym for wisdom. Many nations paid him tribute.
Charles Wesley Naylor—Heart Talks

"When Solomon was Old. "
"It came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other Gods." 1 KINGS xi. 4. Who could have predicted that this would come to pass? And yet it is often so, for it is still true that NO AMOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE WILL SAVE FROM BACKSLIDING THOSE WHO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO GOD. We learn from verse 10 that God had taken pains to save Solomon from idolatry, (see 1 Kings vi. 12, and xi. 6). But what good is it for even God to try to save a man who will have his own way? And
Thomas Champness—Broken Bread

Scriptural Types.
1. The material world is full of analogies adapted to the illustration of spiritual things. No teacher ever drew from this inexhaustible storehouse such a rich variety of examples as our Saviour. His disciples are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a hill. From the ravens which God feeds and the lilies which God clothes, he teaches the unreasonableness of worldly anxiety. The kingdom of heaven is like seed sown in different soils, like a field of wheat and tares
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Situation of the Jews During this Period.
As we have seen in earlier chapters, the declarations of Holy Writ make it very clear that Israel will yet be restored to God's favor and be rehabilitated in Palestine. But before that glad time arrives, the Jews have to pass through a season of sore trouble and affliction, during which God severely chastises them for their sins and punishes them for the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah. Fearful indeed have been the past experiences of "the nation of the weary feet" but a darker path than
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

How to Split a Kingdom
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt); 3. That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4. Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Political Religion
'Then Jeroboam built Shechera in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"This Thing is from Me"
"Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me."--1 Kings 12:24. IT IS VERY DELIGHTFUL to read a history in which God is made prominent. How sadly deficient we are of such histories of our own English nation! Yet surely there is no story that is more full of God than the record of the doings of our British race. Cowper, in one of his poems, shows the parallel between us and the house of Israel,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 42: 1896

Covenant Duties.
It is here proposed to show, that every incumbent duty ought, in suitable circumstances, to be engaged to in the exercise of Covenanting. The law and covenant of God are co-extensive; and what is enjoined in the one is confirmed in the other. The proposals of that Covenant include its promises and its duties. The former are made and fulfilled by its glorious Originator; the latter are enjoined and obligatory on man. The duties of that Covenant are God's law; and the demands of the law are all made
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Temporal Advantages.
"We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."--1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. Every age has its own special sins and temptations. Impatience with their lot, murmuring, grudging, unthankfulness, discontent, are sins common to men at all times, but I suppose one of those sins which belongs to our age more than to another, is desire of a greater portion of worldly goods than God has given us,--ambition and covetousness
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

Redemption for Man Lost to be Sought in Christ.
1. The knowledge of God the Creator of no avail without faith in Christ the Redeemer. First reason. Second reason strengthened by the testimony of an Apostle. Conclusion. This doctrine entertained by the children of God in all ages from the beginning of the world. Error of throwing open heaven to the heathen, who know nothing of Christ. The pretexts for this refuted by passages of Scripture. 2. God never was propitious to the ancient Israelites without Christ the Mediator. First reason founded on
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint.
1. The carnal mind the source of the objections which are raised against the Providence of God. A primary objection, making a distinction between the permission and the will of God, refuted. Angels and men, good and bad, do nought but what has been decreed by God. This proved by examples. 2. All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God. Examples, with answers to objections. 3. These objections originate in a spirit of pride and blasphemy. Objection, that
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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