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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 14

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Jeroboam sendeth his wife disguised, and with presents, to the prophet Ahijah at Shiloh, to inquire concerning his son, who was sick, 1 Kings 14:1-4.

He, forewarned by God, denounceth his ruin because of idolatry; and the death of his child; and the destruction of Israel, 1 Kings 14:5-16.

His son dieth, and is buried; and he likewise: Nadab his son succeedeth, 1 Kings 14:17-20.

Rehoboam and Judah sin against the Lord, 1 Kings 4:21-24.

Shishak king of Egypt spoileth Jerusalem, 1 Kings 14:25-28.

He dieth, and Abijam his son suceeedeth, 1 Kings 14:29-31.

Verse 1

Either, first, Presently after the things described in the former chapter; which though related in the beginning of his reign, yet might be done a good while after it, and so Ahijah the prophet might be very old, as he is described to be, 1 Kings 14:4. Or, secondly, Many years after it, i.e. whilst Jeroboam persisted in his former course; for this phrase is oft used indefinitely, and without respect to the time last mentioned before it, as Daniel 12:1; Matthew 4:1. Abijah fell sick, by the stroke of God, to punish Jeroboam’s rebellion against God.

Verse 2

Jeroboam said to his wife; partly, because he would trust none else with this secret; partly, because she might, without suspicion, inquire concerning her own child; and partly, because she would inquire most exactly and diligently, and faithfully acquaint him with the whole truth.

Disguise thyself; change thy habit and voice, and go like a private and obscure person.

That thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: this caution proceeded, first, From the pride of his heart, which made him loth to confess his folly in worshipping such ignorant and helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken. Secondly, From jealousy and suspicion, lest the prophet knowing this, should either give her no answer, or make it worse than indeed it was. Thirdly, From policy, lest his people should by his example be drawn to forsake the senseless calves, and to return to the God of Judah, whom they had rashly forsaken.

Verse 3

A cruse of honey; a present, after the manner, Judges 13:17; 1 Samuel 9:7,1 Samuel 9:8; 2 Kings 5:15; 2 Kings 8:8; but mean, as became an ordinary country woman, which she personated.

And go to him, to inquire the event of this sickness, as the following words imply.

Verse 4

Or, stood still, or were grown stiff; the nerves, by which the eyes and eye-lids are moved, being contracted and withered.

Verse 6

By this discovery he both reproves their folly, who thought to conceal themselves or their designs from that God from whom they expected and desired the discovery of the most secret things; and withal gives her assurance of the truth and certainty of that message which he was to deliver.

Verse 7

They were God’s people when Jeroboam was first set over them.

Verse 8

As my servant David; who though he fell into some sins, yet, first, he constantly persevered in the true worship of God, from which thou art revolted; secondly, he heartily repented of and turned from all his sins, whereas thou art obstinate and incorrigible.

Verse 9

Above all that were before thee; above all the former kings of my people, as Saul, and Solomon, and Rehoboam.

Other gods, and molten images, or other gods, to wit, (for so and oft signifies among the Hebrews, as hath been formerly noted,)

molten images, namely, the golden calves; which he calls others gods, not as if the Israelites esteemed the calves made of their own gold to be gods indeed, which it is incredible should find belief with any man in his wits, especially with the whole body of the Israelites, who knew that the ark and cherubims, though made by God’s special direction, were not gods, but only pledges of God’s presence, &c.; nor as if they thought them to be

other gods in a strict and proper sense; for it is apparent that they still pretended to worship the God of their fathers, as the Jews at Jerusalem did, though in a differing manner: but only because God rejected their whole worship; and howsoever they called or accounted it, he reckoned it a manifest defection from him, and a betaking of themselves to other gods, or devils, as they are called, 2 Chronicles 11:15, by whose instigation they were led to such idolatrous practices, and whom alone they served and worshipped therein, whatsoever pretences they had to the contrary.

To provoke me to anger, i.e. whereby thou didst provoke me; for otherwise this was not Jeroboam’s design in it, but only to establish himself in the throne.

Cast me behind thy back; despised, and disregarded, and forsaken me, and my commands, and my worship, as we do things which we cast behind our backs.

Verse 10

See Poole "1 Samuel 25:22".

Him that is shut up and left; those who had escaped the fury of their enemies invading them, either because they were shut up in caves, or castles, or strong towns; or because they were left, overlooked or neglected by them, or spared as poor, impotent, helpless creatures. But now, saith he, they shall be all searched out, and brought to destruction. See Poole "Deuteronomy 32:26".

As a man taketh away dung; which they remove as a loathsome thing out of their houses, and that thoroughly and universally.

Verse 11

So both sorts shall die unburied.

Verse 12

Presently upon thy entrance into the city; when thou art gone but a little way in it, even as far as to the threshold of the king’s door, 1 Kings 14:17, which possibly was near the gates of the city. And by the event of this branch judge of the truth of the rest of my prophecy.

Verse 13

All Israel shall mourn for him; either, first, for the loss of so worthy and hopeful a person; or, secondly, for the sad calamities which should follow his death, which possibly his moderation, and wisdom, and virtue might have prevented, whereof his death was a certain presage and evidence. So they should mourn, not simply for him, but for their own loss in him.

Shall come to the grave; shall have the honour of burial, denied to the rest, 1 Kings 14:11.

Some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel; some pious inclinations and intentions of taking away the calves, or of permitting or obliging his people to go up to Jerusalem to worship, if God gave him life and authority to do it, and of trusting God with his kingdom in that case.

In the house of Jeroboam; which is added for his greater commendation; he was good in the midst of so many temptations and wicked examples; a good branch of a bad stock.

Verse 14

Baasha, 1 Kings 15:28.

Who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day; when he is so raised; in the very beginning of his reign, 1 Kings 15:29.

But what? but what do I say, he shall raise, as it were a thing to be done at a great distance of time? he hath already raised him in some sort; the man is now in being, if not in power, who shall do this; this judgment shall be shortly executed.

Verse 15

The Lord shall smite Israel, because they obeyed Jeroboam’s wicked command of worshipping the calves, and that willingly, Hosea 5:11.

As a reed is shaken in the water; easily and variously, hither and thither, with every wind; so shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars, by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people. See 2 Kings 17:18.

Beyond the river, to wit, Euphrates, oft so called by way of eminency, as Genesis 15:18; Genesis 31:21; 1 Kings 4:21,1 Kings 4:24. This was accomplished in part, 2 Kings 15:29, and more fully 2 Kings 17:6.

Because they have made their groves, for the worship of their idols, Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 16:21. God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they designed or pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into another and a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves. See Poole "1 Kings 18:19".

Verse 16

To wit, by his invention, and making of the occasion of their sin, the calves; by his example, by encouraging those, and only those, that worshipped the calves; and by his authority, requiring and compelling them to do it. This is mentioned as a monstrous aggravation of his wickedness, that he was not content with his own sin, but was the great author and chief cause of drawing others into sin, and of corrupting and undoing the whole kingdom; which therefore God would never forgive him, nor forget him, but upon all occasions mentions him with this eternal brand of infamy upon him.

Verse 17

Tirzah; an ancient and royal city, Joshua 12:24, in a pleasant place, Song of Solomon 6:4, where the kings of Israel had a palace, 1 Kings 15:33; 1 Kings 16:6,1 Kings 16:8,1 Kings 16:15,1 Kings 16:23; whither Jeroboam was removed from Shechem, either for his pleasure, or for his son’s recovery, by the healthfulness of the place.

To the threshold of the door, to wit, of the king’s house, which probably was upon or by the wall of the city, and near the gate, which was the place of judicature. See 1 Kings 14:12.

Verse 19

Heb. in the book of the words or things of the days, & c. By which you are not to understand that canonical book of the Chronicles, for that was written long after this book; but a book of civil records, the annals, wherein all remarkable passages were recorded by the king’s command from day to day; out of which the sacred penman, by the direction of God’s Spirit, took those passages which were most considerable and useful for God’s honour, and men’s edification.

Verse 20

So he lived till Asa’s second year, 1 Kings 15:25.

He slept with his fathers; either, first, He was buried with his ancestors. But their sepulchre seems to be too mean and improper for a great king; and kings used to be buried in peculiar sepulchres. Or, secondly, He died, as his fathers did.

Verse 21

Rehoboam was forty and one years old; therefore he was born a year before Solomon was king, as appears from 1 Kings 11:42. This is noted as an aggravation of Rehoboam’s folly, that he was old enough to have been wiser.

An Ammonitess; a people cursed by God, and shut out of the congregation of his people for ever, Deuteronomy 23:3; Nehemiah 13:1. This is observed as one cause both of God’s displeasure in punishing Solomon with such a son, and of Rehoboam’s apostacy after his three first years, 2 Chronicles 11:17.

Verse 22

Judah did evil, after a little time, 2 Chronicles 11:17.

Verse 23

They also built them high places; they followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, which was denied to the Israelites; and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites to and stablish them, and the dreadful example of Israel’s horrid apostacy to caution and terrify them. The building of high places was unlawful, and now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command to the contrary.

Images and groves; not only after the manner of the heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition.

Under every green tree: the people were universally corrupted; which is a prodigious sin, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man’s nature, which without God’s grace is ready to break forth into all sorts of wickedness.

Verse 24

Sodomites, i.e. males, who prostituted their bodies to the filthy lusts of others; of whom See Poole "Deuteronomy 23:17"; who also did this in the worship and to the honour of their idols as also the women did, Numbers 25:1,Numbers 25:2. And this might be one occasion of so great a spreading of idolatry among the lustful Israelites. And, on the other side, God doth frequently punish idolatry with corporeal uncleanness, Romans 1:21,Romans 1:28. See 1 Kings 15:12; 1 Kings 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7.

Verse 25

In the fifth year of king Rehoboam; presently after his and his people’s apostacy, which was not till his fourth year; when the apostical Israelites enjoyed peace and some kind of prosperity, at first, for many years together; of which difference two reasons may be given: first, That Judah’s sins were committed against clearer light, and more powerful means and remedies of all sorts, and therefore deserved more severe and speed judgments. Secondly, that God discovered more love to Judah in chastising them speedily, that so they might be humbled, and reformed, and so graciously preserved, as it happened; and more anger against Israel, that he spared them, and by their impunity hardened and ripened them to that total destruction which he intend ed to bring upon them.

Shishak king of Egypt; of whom see 1 Kings 11:40; 2 Chronicles 12:2, &c., where this history is more fully described. He is thought by many to be Solomon’s brother-in-law. But how little such relations signify among princes, when their interest is concerned, all histories witness. Besides, Rehoboam was not Solomon’s son by Pharaoh’s daughter, and so the relation was in a manner extinct.

Came up against Jerusalem; either from ambition, and a desire to enlarge his empire; or from jealousy of Rehoboam’s growing greatness; of which see 2 Chronicles 11:0; or by Jeroboam’s instigation; or from a covetous desire of possessing these great treasures which David and Solomon had left; and, above all, by God’s providence, disposing his heart to this expedition for Rehoboam’s punishment.

Verse 26

He took away the treasures; it is implied, that first he took the city; which may seem strange considering the great strength of that city, and how much time it took Nebuchadnezzar and Titus to take it. But, first, It might cost Shishak also some time and a long siege ere he took it, though that be not here related. Secondly, It is probable that David and Solomon, in their building and altering of this city, had more respect to state and magnificence than to its defence, as having no great cause to fear the invasion of any enemies, and being too secure in reference to their posterity, because of God’s promise of the kingdom to be continued to them and to their seed for ever. And it is probable and certain, that after the division between Judah and Israel, the kings of Judah did add very much to the fortifications of this city.

Verse 27

Whereas the golden shields, as being more precious, were kept in a certain place.

Verse 28

When the king went into the house of the Lord; by which it seems the affliction had done him some good, and brought him back to the worship of God, which he had forsaken.

Verse 29

Such a book of chronicles as that mentioned above, 1 Kings 14:19.

Verse 30

Not an invasive war with potent armies, which was forbidden, 1 Kings 12:24, and not revived until Abijam’s reign, 2 Chronicles 13:0; but a defensive war from those hostilities which by small parties and skirmishes they did to one another.

Verse 31

His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess; this is repeated as a thing very observable. See Poole "1 Kings 14:21".

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 14". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/1-kings-14.html. 1685.
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