And whenever the king entered the house of the LORD, the guards would bear the shields, and later they would return them to the guardroom.
1. There was continual war between the kingdoms.
(1) While they remained faithful to God they had peace. God interposed to preserve peace by the hand of Shemaiah (1 Kings 12:21-24).
(2) But when they forsook the Lord, they soon got to strife, which continued as long as the kings lived (ver. 80). This strife was also handed down to their successors,
(3) Thus sinners become God's instruments to punish one another. So it is seen to this day in the contentions and litigations of individuals. Men are slow to see the hand of God.
2. Shishak aggravated the mischief.
(1) The influences which brought him upon the scene may be discerned. Hadad, who occasioned so much trouble to Solomon, was Shishak's brother-in-law. Shishak was thus disposed to give asylum to Jeroboam when he fled for his life from Solomon. Shishak now conspires with Jeroboam to ruin Rehoboam.
(2) The array brought against Judah by Shishak was formidable (see 2 Chronicles 12:3). It would have been crushing had not Rehoboam and his people, in their extremity, humbled themselves before God (2 Chronicles 12:7).
(3) But they still had to feel the smart of their sins.
1. In war there is always loss.
(1) Necessarily there is the forfeiture of peace. Who can estimate the value of peace? Perfect peace is the resultant of perfect harmony as the white light is composed of all the colours in the iris.
(2) There is the loss of property. Labour is the source of wealth: the labour withdrawn from industry to wage war is so much loss of wealth. The soldier also is a consumer. When he does not provide for his own sustenance, the labour of others must be taxed to feed him.
(3) There is the loss of life. War is seldom bloodless. Often the slaughter is fearful. Wellington is reported to have said that the calamity next in severity to a defeat is a victory.
2. Shishak despoiled the temple of its treasure.
(1) The booty here was enormous. The spoils of David's victories were there; also the accumulations of Solomon's peaceful commerce.
(2) The shields of gold that Solomon had made are particularly mentioned. It is added that Rehoboam had brazen shields made to replace them. How sin reduces the fine gold to brass!
3. Shishak also rifled the palace.
(1) The treasures here also were immense. Perhaps there never was such plunder as this in human annals.
(2) Rehoboam handed down a diminished inheritance to his son. By his folly he alienated ten tribes of his nation from his kingdom. Abijam likewise succeeded to a kingdom greatly impoverished. He became heir also to embroilments. The entailments of sin pursue the spirit into the invisible world. Forfeiture. Trouble: - J.A.M.
King Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields.
1. The kingdom of Israel was a figure of that real kingdom which every man possesses — himself, with some good or evil principle regnant over its thoughts and desires, its life and aims. And this kingdom may be like the kingdom of Solomon, a realm regulated by a noble and wise power, and rich in the resources of a good and capable nature. Its protecting and inspiring principles may be as pure and as beautiful as shields of gold; justice and innocence, mercy and truth set up like shining shields within its inmost sanctuary. But if human life has any lesson more sad than another it is that which teaches that men often depart from their purest and best principles, and permit lower and less noble motives to guide them. Many men begin life with a real desire to become useful and a blessing to the world, who afterwards become mere seekers after wealth or pleasure. The bright, generous youth grows into the hard and selfish man; the frank, sympathetic, and lovable spirit shrivels up into the narrow, suspicious, grasping, and unloving seeker after self. A process of transmutation goes on, but not of baser metal into gold, but of gold into copper or bronze. This incident is a picture of this decline from high principle to something less noble and unselfish; it is the emblem of that change too common with us, from gold to brass.
2. There is one side of Rehoboam's energy in making shields of copper that pathetically resembles our own sometimes — that which displays the haste and eagerness with which men hasten to conceal the loss of their highest feelings; how strenuously they strive to preserve the appearance of principle, of magnanimity, and of honour, when they have lost their essential spirit; how strictly they adhere to the forms of godliness when often its life is entirely gone! Burnished bronze is substituted for pure gold, and it often looks like gold and passes for it, but it lacks the true ring and the unsullied lustre of the genuine metal none the less. Yet it is important for us to learn that the substitution of copper for gold is a right thing when our gold is gone, if we do not deceive ourselves into the belief that our bronze is gold, for the loss of inward innocence and purity of motive can, at least, be partly atoned for by the steady pursuit of outward goodness and righteousness. It is sad, indeed, to depart from the best principles that we possess, but it is far more sorrowful not to repair our loss by the pursuit of some lesser good. Sometimes goodness seems instinctive, and we cannot do wrong, because it fills us with an unconquerable horror; but when such feelings fail, it is wise to resist evil from much lower motives rather than yield ourselves willingly to sin. If we cannot hearken to the voice of love, it is well for us to listen to the word of command; if full desire should fail to move us to do right, then it is wise to use the compulsion of law and obedience.
3. Many of our deepest and purest feelings do not seem able to bear the stress of this hard world. We quickly lose many of the sweetest and holiest feelings that were stored in our hearts in childhood; the teachableness, the peacefulness and humility, the sense of the Divine nearness, and our dependence upon our Heavenly Father; our reverence for truth and goodness, and our instinctive love of the right, are apt to fade away beneath the harsh light of this world of sin; but if our shields of gold should go, there is wisdom in making shields of copper; fitting up our minds with harder and lower principles; determining to obey the law of God; determining, at least, to keep our conduct pure; our hands, if not our hearts, clean; and doing our duty faithfully amongst men. It is Shishak, King of Egypt, the worldly principle, the principle of this life and its comforts, that robs us of our golden shields. We become engrossed with our earthly life, with its physical pleasures and pains, with its present hopes and disappointments, and the higher forces and influences lose their authority over us; what is better then, to use in preserving our religion, than those lower, but most needful, principles that bid us control our earthly and outward lives by a Divine law and force, that make religion a duty we owe to God, to ourselves, to our fellow-men, and unswerving fidelity to right our fixed course, because we must suffer and perish by any other way?
4. Men often make the mistake of giving up altogether their faith, their religion, their early principles and hopes, because they lose their charm, because they seem remote from their worldly daily life; but this is losing their shields altogether; they are depriving themselves entirely of what they might possess under another form; they should seek to make these things at least a check upon their lives, and follow what is right and good from a sense of duty if not from love. It is strange how precious such things become when we cling to them thus; it is easy indeed to lose the habit of prayer, which was once a pleasure to us; or the habit of attendance at the house of prayer, which was once a joy, when some fresh and more worldly influences come upon us; but it is remarkable how soon prayer and worship become a joy again, when we persevere in their use, and persist against our will in their practice. It is easy to lose our golden shields, but if we make for ourselves shields of copper, and guard them steadfastly and carefully, they will at length be transmuted into fine gold, for it is ever he that doeth the works that knows, and finds, and loves the doctrine. The pathway back to purity of heart is by purity of life; to the love of God's commandments by obedience to them; to faith, and joy, and trust in heavenly things by steadfast duty to their laws in all we do below; and the method by which God restores to us our treasures of gold is by making us faithful over our treasures of bronze, for he that is faithful over a few things shall be ruler over many things.
(W. F. Stonestreet.)
PeopleAbijah, Abijam, Ahijah, David, Israelites, Jeroboam, Naamah, Nadab, Rehoboam, Shishak, Sodomites, Solomon, Tirzah
PlacesBethel, Egypt, Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Shiloh, Tirzah
TopicsAfterward, Armed, Bare, Bear, Body-covers, Bore, Bring, Carry, Chamber, Couriers, Entered, Guard, Guard-chamber, Guardroom, Guards, Lord's, Oft, Often, Pass, Returned, Room, Runners, Shields, Taking, Temple, Whenever
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 14:21-31
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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