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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 14

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-20


Jeroboam’s punishment (13:1-14:20)

God soon showed that this new form of religion was totally unacceptable to him. A prophet from Judah came to Bethel and, by bold words and dramatic actions, condemned both the people and the king (13:1-10).
However, there was another prophet, a much older man, who lived in Bethel and had apparently not spoken out against Jeroboam’s wrongdoing. The old prophet seems to have been jealous of the prophet from Judah, and decided to tempt him to disobey God’s command. By using lies and deceit he was successful (11-19).
As the prophet from Judah was returning home, he was killed by a lion in punishment for his disobedience (20-26). When the people of Bethel saw the lion standing quietly beside the body of the man it had killed, without either eating the body or attacking the man’s donkey, they realized that this was no ordinary death. The old prophet also was shocked, and expressed his admiration for the younger man’s boldness (27-32). But in spite of these warnings of judgment, Jeroboam did not change his ways (33-34).

When his son fell ill, Jeroboam sent to the prophet Ahijah for help (14:1-5). Ahijah was the person who had first told Jeroboam that he would become king. Now he told him that God would remove him and his descendants from Israel’s throne, because he had led the nation into idolatry (6-11). Jeroboam received immediate assurance that this prophecy would come true when his son died, as Ahijah had foretold (12-18). Before the predicted judgment fell on Jeroboam personally, he and the people of the northern kingdom suffered much in a long battle with Judah, which by that time was under the rule of Rehoboam’s son Abijah (19-20; 2 Chronicles 13:2-20).


Verses 21-31


Rehoboam’s reign in the south (14:21-31)

The story returns to the kingdom of Judah. After the division of the kingdom, Rehoboam quickly strengthened the defences on his southern border, for he knew that Egypt was likely to support Jeroboam (cf. 11:40; see 2 Chronicles 11:5-12). For three years Rehoboam carried on the true worship of Yahweh. This was mainly because of the help he received from a large number of priests and Levites from the north who fled to Judah rather than participate in the corrupt religion of Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 11:13-17).

During this time Rehoboam ruled wisely and trained his sons as administrators. The new kingdom of Judah was strong and well organized (2 Chronicles 11:18-23; 2 Chronicles 12:1). Unfortunately, Rehoboam’s pride increased with his power, and he tried to show himself independent of God by adopting practices of the Canaanite religions (21-24). (For details of the Canaanite religions see introductory notes to the book of Judges.)

As a judgment on Judah for this sin, God allowed the Egyptians and their allies to invade the land, capture the defence cities that Rehoboam had built, invade Jerusalem, and carry off much of the gold that Solomon had carefully stored up. Only a last minute confession of sin from Rehoboam and his governors saved Judah from destruction (25-31; 2 Chronicles 12:2-16).


Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/1-kings-14.html. 2005.
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