Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 14

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-31

1 Kings 14:2 . Ahijah the prophet; an illustrious man of God, now full of days, and full of grace.

1 Kings 14:3 . Ten loaves. A rustic present, that it might not excite suspicion of a royal visit. It is usual in all Asia and Africa to approach illustrious men with a present as a mark of respect, and not as a bribe. 1 Samuel 9:7.

1 Kings 14:6 . I am sent with heavy tidings. The whole speech which follows, assumes the highest character of judicial eloquence, and a majesty becoming the dignity of the oracle.

1 Kings 14:17 . Tirzah, Latin “Thersa,” a most beautiful city, situate on a hill, about three hours northeast of Samaria. Song of Solomon, Song of Solomon 6:4. It was the seat of government till Omri built the latter city.

1 Kings 14:21 . Rehoboam was forty and one years old. This is supposed to be a mistake, and that he was only twenty one, when he began to reign. But we know the particular time of his birth, from the forty years which Solomon reigned; the Hebrew may therefore be correct.

1 Kings 14:25 . Shishak king of Egypt. See 2 Chronicles 12:2, where this invasion is more fully related.


Having in the preseding chapter seen the triumph, the error, the punishment of the man of God, and the impenitence of Jeroboam, notwithstanding all the prodigies which the Lord had granted, we come now to trace his punishment. The first stroke fell on Abijah, his less offending son, and the heir apparent; and it is very mysterious that the Lord should smite the son for the instruction of the father. If this hard stroke failed to bring the king to his right mind, it was a signal happiness for the child, as it delivered him out of the miseries of this sinful world, and concealed him from the total extirpation of his father’s house. We should never murmur at the death of children, because we do not know the evils which might befal them in future life.

Jeroboam, smitten in his son, was embarrassed what to do. He had no faith in Bethel, nor in Dan; and to go and entreat the Lord would expose both his calves and his priests to utter disgrace. He therefore resolved to send his wife to do it in disguise: but how preposterous was the plan. If the prophet, now blind and retired, God often heavily afflicting his most favoured servants, was to receive a revelation concerning the issue of this prince’s sickness, why did it not enter the king’s mind, that God would at the same time discover the disguised inquirer. Oh what straits, what shame and difficulties do the wicked often reduce themselves to by their sins. And how could he expect that God would grant him an answer of peace in his sins? Learn then, oh my soul, never to approach the Lord in disguise, but with the simplicity of a child; and never in thy sins, for the prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.

We learn farther, that the answer which God grants to wicked men, accords with their conscience and moral state. The king in his trouble sought to Ahijah for comfort, because this prophet had foretold his elevation to the throne; and comfort he would have received, had he served the Lord as David, whose throne he shared; but being an apostate, he is reproached with his sin; he is apprized that every male of his house should die an unnatural death, and their carcases be exposed to the dogs and the fowls. That the prince now sick, should alone die in his bed, and even as soon as the mother’s feet entered the city, and that the Lord would raise up another king to execute all his vengeance on Jeroboam. What a mirror for the great, the proud, and all who set themselves above the law of the Lord!

From the imprudent and unsanctified manner in which Jeroboam sent to enquire of God, during the sickness of his son, let us learn, under the like afflictions, not to pry with unhallowed freedom into the secrets of providence. What would our weakness and fond affection say? Our children are dearer to God than to us: if it be his sovereign pleasure to take our Abijahs from the evil to come, let us adore and weep in silence. So did the Psalmist: “I held my tongue and kept silence, for it was thy doing.”

And why wish to know the issue of a mortal sickness before the time? If a man or an angel was commissioned to tell it, he would be an Ahijah with heavy tidings. And is there any consideration more sanctifying than the suspense of providence? A whole family in tears, a whole family purging itself from sin, and renewing its covenant with God, is a sight the most lovely under heaven. But woe to the families who seek the Lord in their sins: other strokes of the ax yet remain, till they are rooted out of the earth. Oh Jeroboam, Jeroboam! wounded and weeping under the arrows of Omnipotence, thou knowest the truth; why wilt thou pervert the worship of the Lord? Why wilt thou, and against miracles, plead the example of Jacob, and call the kneeling to thy calves the worship of JEHOVAH? Jacob had no idols around his altars. Why should thy crown be dearer to thee than salvation? Why shouldest thou forfeit thy covenant, destroy thyself, thy family, and thy people? Oh Jeroboam, Jeroboam, that thou hadst hearkened to Ahijah when he rent thy garment. Oh that thou hadst hearkened also to the man of God when he rent thy altar; then had thy people been happy under the wings of JEHOVAH, and he would have built thee a sure house. But now there is no more remedy.

In Judah we have here a farther subject of lamentation. Corrupted by high example, and by bad neighbours, he also did evil in the sight of the Lord. He continued to profane his country with the worship of many idols. In morals he resembled the Canaanites whom the Lord destroyed. Therefore Shishak king of Egypt was commissioned to humble him in his pride. He stripped the temple of all the golden shields, and all the cups which Solomon had prepared. Thus the Lord from the first to the last, dealt with his people according to his covenant. When obedient he caused them to inherit its blessing; and when disobedient all its curses assuredly pursued them; and thus the Lord will ever deal with his church and people.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-kings-14.html. 1835.
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