1 Kings 11-12
1 Kings 11-12
1 Kings 11-12
By the time we get to verse 41 Solomon had reigned as king over Israel for 40 years. The beginning years though good, had plenty of clues about the direction that Solomon was heading spiritually, and that had a direct impact on his children and as we will see upon the nation of Israel.
Ashtoreth - a goddess of fertility, love, increase, warfare
Milcom - king
Remember that God had promised multiple times that David would have one to sit on the throne over all of Israel IF his descendents would remain faithful to God and His commands.
Sadly not even one generation remained faithful.
If you recall from Joshua Benjamin’s allotment of land is within Judah, so both Judah and Benjamin are included in the southern kingdom.
Now I want you to consider that the LORD raised up an adversary.
If Solomon would have remained faithful to God, this would not have happened.
Solomon had the best possible conditions as a king thanks to his father David. There was peace on every side, the kingdom had a fantastic army, much wealth and prestige, and Solomon had unmatched wisdom from God that he could have tapped into. But, he blew it all on women and their idols. Remember how he started
4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune.
Now as to the event that is mentioned in verses 15-17
13 And David made a name for himself when he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 14 Then he put garrisons in Edom; throughout all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became David’s servants. And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went.
It is also interesting to me that Hadad had Pharaoh’s permission to come and bring trouble to Solomon since Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. Maybe it is a different Pharaoh, but there would have still been a political alliance setup through that marriage that benefitted both Israel and Egypt.
We now have the first mention of the divided kingdom. It is true that Israel would be a larger nation than Judah, but as the storyline continues we will see that Judah though not at all perfect was far more obedient to God throughout the years than Israel. Judah of course would eventually be taken into captivity for their sin against God, so again they were far from perfect.
Notice now that God makes an incredible offer to Jeroboam that was similar to what He offered to David’s descendants. But, as we will find out in a few verses…Jeroboam out of fear and a lack of trust in God’s promise will only go to lead God’s people Israel away from proper worship and toward idolatry.
The sad thing here is that we remember that Solomon became king either in his teens or 20s and so he only lived into his early 60s. Most scholars believe that Solomon was probably 20 when he became king. This tells us that he did not receive the promise that God made available to him the first time that God appeared to him because of his sinful life.
14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
So Rehoboam goes to meet the 10 tribes at Shechem which is in their territory. They have the home field advantage here.
Notice that the 10 tribes want a lower tax plan. Interesting that no matter how old or new the political headlines are the wants of the people is the same.
They wanted less taxes, less forced labor for government projects, and more freedom to pursue their own dreams.
Sadly Rehoboam did what many people do. He kept asking for advice till he got the answer he wanted.
There advice - raise taxes and punish the people harshly for asking for freedom.
Rehoboam just set the stage for 400 years of division and warfare between Israel and Judah with his foolish arrogance.
He should have humbled himself before God and the people.
Solomon must have seen this coming because he wrote towards the end of his life...
18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
From this point on we will see the constant distinction between the kingdom of Israel (the northern kingdom) and (the southern Kingdom) of Judah.
How sad to see God’s plan of a unified God honoring people who were to live out an example for the nations around them of God’s goodness, grace, mercy, love, provision, protection, and salvation to all come crumbling down because of the sin of foolish and stubborn men.
How seriously the church needs to pay attention to this story even today.
Shechem becomes the capital of the northern kingdom.
This was an important thing for Jeroboam to consider, although his motives were all wrong.
The kingdom being divided did not exclude the Israelites from proper worship to God in the place that He set aside to put His name in Jerusalem.
Look, even when things don’t go the way we planned God is still deserving of appropriate worship.
Also don’t forget that God already made to Jeroboam
38 And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.
The king took council - it would seem from the Hebrew that this could also be translated “the king took council of himself”
The only way a leader can lead and be blessed is if they follow God’s lead. Jeroboam is already as bad off as Solomon or Saul.
So what does Jeroboam do? He sells the idea of idolatry as being more convenient for the people. He makes it seem like he’s doing them a favor, but leading people away from God is not doing them any favors. It is leading them into sin and punishment.
Here are your gods… sound familiar? It should because Aaron said the same thing 500 years earlier...
4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
This really shows one of the bigger issues with the hearts of people. People are ritualistic, all they need is a new routine and they will be satisfied to worship whatever the thing is in front of them. It was what I did for many years before I met Jesus Christ. Once I met Jesus I was free from routine and rituals, and free to worship God just as Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well...
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
If you go to Tell Dan today you will see the altar that Jeroboam setup and I can tell you from personal experience it will make you sick to your stomach and sad in your heart.
Besides Bethel and Dan Jeroboam setup convenient worship centers all over Israel just to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to properly worship God in the place that He setup for that purpose.
Not only did he establish a false religion with false worship centers all over, he also setup false priests to make sacrifices to false idols.
The results of this are found in
13 And the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all places where they lived. 14 For the Levites left their common lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the Lord, 15 and he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat idols and for the calves that he had made. 16 And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.
That left the northern kingdom in an even worse place spiritually and all of this was because Jeroboam did not simply trust God.