Meanwhile, Rehoboam son of Solomon reigned in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen from all the tribes of Israel in which to put His Name. His mother's name was Naamah the Ammonite.
I. JUDAH HAD FALLEN INTO THE GROSSEST IDOLATRY.
1. He had multiplied high places.
(1) High places were not necessarily for idolatry. They were proper to the worship of the true God in patriarchal times.
(2) Even after God had chosen Jerusalem to put His name there, the patriarchal use of high places was upon special occasions sanctioned by Him (see 1 Kings 18:38).
(3) In Judah there was little need for these, since the extremity of the kingdom was not very remote from Jerusalem. The distance to Beersheba would be about forty British statute miles.
(4) But the high places of Judah were mainly designed for idolatry. Hence their association in the text with" images-and groves" and rites of Sodomites and other Canaanitish abominations.
2. He had built many temples.
(1) The term (מצבות) here translated "images" is elsewhere commonly rendered pillars (see Genesis 28:18; Genesis 31:51; Genesis 35:20; Exodus 24:4; Isaiah 19:19). It is far from evident that this word is ever used for any image or figured thing. In places where it is construed "images," pillars would give as good sense (see Exodus 23:24; 2 Kings 10:26, 27). Marginal readings bear this out (see Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 16:22).
(2) It is probable these pillars were distributed in ranks, as those of the Druids at Stonehenge and Abiry, to serve as temples in which the powers of the material heavens were worshipped.
3. He had enshrined idols in these.
(1) The Asherim (אשׁרים) are here evidently misrendered "groves;" for how could groves be planted under every green tree? (See Homily on vers. 15, 16, supra.)
(2) They were idols apparently in figure like goats. For Jeroboam "ordained him priests for the high places and for the devils (שעדים goats), and for the calves which he had made" (2 Chronicles 11:15). Here we have no mention of Ashorim; of goats, however, we have mention. But when Josiah destroyed these things, there is mention of the Ashorah, but no mention of the goat (compare 2 Kings 23:15). The Asherah destroyed by Josiah appears, then, to be the goat which Jeroboam had set up.
(3) These Asherim, or Asheroth - for they appear to have been male and female idols - were supposed to convey blessings to their worshippers, and hence their name (from אשר to proceed, to bless).
4. His idolatry was attended with shocking cites.
(1) They were the very abominations for which the land had spewed out the Canaanites as with abhorrence (see Leviticus 18:28; Leviticus 20:22, and contexts).
(2) Conspicuous amongst these were the Sodomites, whose orgies were intimately connected with the Asherim, and to encourage which the women wove hangings (see 2 Kings 23:7). How fruitful in inventions is the wickedness of the heart! (Ecclesiastes 7:29.)
II. FOR HIS DEGENERACY HE WAS WITHOUT EXCUSE.
1. He had Jerusalem for his capital.
(1) This was the city chosen of God out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. The temple of Jehovah was there, and the Shekinah of Jehovah was in it.
(2) Every appliance for acceptable worship was there at hand. The altars were there; the priesthood was there; the appointed assemblies, festival and ferial, were there.
(3) They sinned, therefore, "before the face of the Lord," as in His very presence. Even more so than Israel, who could not now claim Jerusalem for his capital, though he was still bound to go there to worship. Let us remember that God is ever near us; this thought will restrain our truancy.
2. He had a son of David for his king.
(1) The mother of Rehoboam, indeed, was an Ammonitess. This is emphatically (twice) mentioned. She was one of those strange women who had turned the heart of Solomon from the right way. The abomination of her country was Milcom or Molech, whose rites were most ferocious and demoralizing.
(2) But against these influences were noble traditions on the other side. His father, in the beginning of his reign, was illustrious in wisdom and zeal for the God of Israel. The memories of his grandfather were glorious. To this must be added the most material circumstance that the Covenant was with his house; for Messiah Himself was to be the Son of David.
(3) These things were not without their influence. For three years after the revolution under Jeroboam, Rehoboam governed Judah in the fear of God, and so established his throne (see 2 Chronicles 11:17).
(4) When, after this, Rehoboam "forsook the law of the Lord," his subjects should have dissuaded him and, if necessary, resisted him. But they went "with him" (2 Chronicles 12:2).
(5) To such excesses,did they go that they "sinned above their fathers in provoking the Lord to jealousy." - J.A.M.
Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.1. Here we see the tendency of sin to produce sin — to go on propagating sin; here is the connection between the first sinner, who sets the thing in motion — a connection, clear to the eye of God — between him and the very lass result. The Bible does not create this — that book is not accountable for it; for if you had not the Bible, or if you put it out of the question altogether, there is still the fact in the nature of things. People nowadays are perpetually wanting us to keep away from the supernatural revelation, and to take our stand on the natural. Very well. Let us now look at it in that way. I mean to say it is just the natural course of things. Whether there is a God or not, does not alter the question. Put that aside for the moment, and just hear the reality as seen amongst us. The thing is an obvious, absolute fact, wherever it came from, that bad men make bad men — the corrupt produces corruption, and the evil thought, word, or act exerts an influence and propagates itself. Take a man that is dead and buried, and who has been in his grave a hundred years, and you can conceive of his mind coming actually into direct contact with the minds of the present generation, and producing a corrupting influence upon them. Well, then, imagine a man — picture to yourselves the writer of a popular book, aiming to overturn the faith of the young, the indiscreet, and unlearned. Supposing such a man to write such a book which continues to be circulated from generation to generation; copies of it are multiplied and sent forth. Young minds come into contact with it; these minds are corrupted by it; they are defiled and led away from the faith, giving up their confidence in God, and perhaps seduced to what is immoral. Do you not see that though he has been dead two or three hundred years, this author has still a living presence in society? His mind is coming into contact with other living minds; and thus, though dead, he yet speaketh — speaketh against God — speaketh with blasphemy — speaketh to corrupt — and men are thereby corrupted, and taught to blaspheme, and he is thus living, speaking, and operating till the present day by the printing and publication of that work.
2. I want you to see, in the next place, that there is no help for this. On purely natural principles it cannot be helped. If you could get all the readers of Tom Paine to give up their bad books, and agree that they should all be burned, would it not be a miracle? I should like you to try to get that done! But you must do more than that — you must not only destroy the books, but you must annihilate all the impressions on their memories and their hearts that this man's books have made, if you are to stop the evil influence he has set in motion by sinning and teaching others to sin.
3. If a bad man — a man that has sinned himself, and that has taught others to sin, seduced the innocent, sapped the foundations of virtue, destroyed the religious faith of men — supposing such a one to come to a better mind; supposing his heart is changed, and he becomes a penitent believer. He could never undo what he had done for the great mass of those on whom he had exerted a bad influence; and when he wanted to undo what he had done, and exert a good influence, they would just receive his words with mockery, and would go in the way he had led them at first. But even this could not be done. You know that it would be impossible for a man who has exerted a bad influence on others to collect them together and thus to reason with them. No! Before he comes to that better mind, some who were his associates, and whom he has influenced for evil, are dead and beyond his reach. Others are gone to the other side of the globe; and they are beyond his reach. He cannot find where these multitudes are; and they, because of what he did, have influenced others, and others have influenced again; and the thing has gone on, and it is not for him to know its ramifications and its consequences. Now this is the "course of nature," and you cannot help it.
4. Now I want you again to make a supposition for the sake of argument. Supposing that there should be a future life; and supposing that, after death, the souls of men are awakened into a new life, with all the recollections of this — with all the memories of this? The only difference, in all probability, is that they would be delivered from what here darkens the judgment — from what here misleads the mind — and from what here hides a man from himself — and what hides from him the characteristics and properties of his sin. Suppose that he will waken into another life — that he will see things as they are in themselves, and see people as they are; and, perhaps, be able to see and to trace the connection between his sin and the sinning of others? Suppose that he will be able to see and trace the influence on generation after generation, of the evil that he did, and of the influence which he set in motion? Supposing that he should waken up, in this other life, to a moral perception of what he did while alive, and what he continues to do by the influences he then set in motion, and which continued to be a power in the world after he had departed? Well, now; only think of a man waking up to that! Where is it to end, supposing the human spirit does wake up to that? You must take your choice; that, I believe, is the real fact of the case. You must take your choice, looking at nature, at the course of things, at the real, awful, terrible facts of our existence! You must take your choice between two things — either that there is nothing but nature, or that there is a fixed course of things, and we must look forward, both in this world and in the next; and, depend upon it, nature never deceives with respect to those great instincts that she has planted In all her creatures. There is not an instinct, in all animated being, which has not an appropriate good. I only state this. Take your choice. You must believe either that nature is all you have, or you must believe that God in His mercy and grace, and looking down on our condition in its natural state of sin, has done something above nature to reach us — to lead us up — to give us hope!
5. The Gospel comes to destroy the spiritual consequences of your sin, and, through repentance, and faith in God, to give you a hope in mercy, and to save your souls; but as long as you continue unfaithful, you continue subject to the course of nature; and any consequences of sin which you have brought on yourself must be taken to the grave with you, and the Gospel will not help you out of it. If you ruin your health by vice, or your character by crime, you may repent, and God will save you, and the interposition of His grace will sanctify your soul, and you may get to heaven; but it will not give you health, nor will it destroy the consequences which sin has brought on your body — it will not set you in society where you were befog — you will still be remembered as having been a criminal and dishonest man, as long as you live; and though people may rejoice at your conversion, and hope for the best, you will never stand where you once did stand in society. Never! There is another thing I am obliged to submit to. I do not understand it. It is a matter of faith, and I say I do not know how it can be, but I believe that it is, in some way or other. That is to say, I believe this — that a very great sinner, who has led a great many into sin, and been the means of the utter destruction and corruption of many, influentially — well, it is a great mystery, but I believe the Gospel is such, that the grace of God can so operate that that soul may hereafter enjoy repose! It is wonderful to think it; but I believe the Gospel makes a provision for it — I believe that it is within the resources of God's omnipotent mercy, that that soul may be happy in God, notwithstanding the consequences of its sin are going on injuring others! He will go to the grave mourning over that; but then his soul will enter into repose, though these consequences still remain going on.
PeopleAbijah, Abijam, Ahijah, David, Israelites, Jeroboam, Naamah, Nadab, Rehoboam, Shishak, Sodomites, Solomon, Tirzah
PlacesBethel, Egypt, Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Shiloh, Tirzah
TopicsAmmonite, Ammonitess, Choose, Chose, Chosen, Forty, Forty-one, Jerusalem, Judah, Mother's, Naamah, Na'amah, Rehoboam, Rehobo'am, Reign, Reigned, Reigning, Seventeen, Solomon, Town, Tribes
Outline1. Abijah being sick,
2. Jeroboam sends his wife, disguised, with presents to the prophet Ahijah
5. Ahijah forewarned by God, denounces God's judgment
17. Abijah dies, and is buried
19. Nadab succeeds Jeroboam
21. Rehoboam's wicked reign,
25. Shishak raids Jerusalem
29. Abijam succeeds Rehoboam
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Kings 14:21
LibrarySynopsis. --The Gradual Narrowing of the Miraculous Element in the Bible by Recent Discovery and Discussion. --The Alarm Thereby Excited in the Church. --The Fallacy Which
It is barely forty years since that beloved and fearless Christian scholar, Dean Stanley, spoke thus of the miracles recorded of the prophet Elisha: "His works stand alone in the Bible in their likeness to the acts of mediaeval saints. There alone in the Sacred History the gulf between Biblical and Ecclesiastical miracles almost disappears." It required some courage to say as much as this then, while the storm of persecution was raging against Bishop Colenso for his critical work on the Pentateuch. …
James Morris Whiton—Miracles and Supernatural Religion
Whether Contention is a Mortal Sin?
Whether Divination by Drawing Lots is Unlawful?
The Whole Heart
Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
The Prophet Joel.
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