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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
1 Kings 11

 

 

Verse 1

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;

But king Solomon loved many strange women , [ naakriyowt (Hebrew #5237), foreign women; Septuagint, Vatican, een filogunees; Alexandrine, philogunaios een]. Solomon's extraordinary gift of wisdom was not sufficient to preserve him from falling grievous and fatal errors. A fairer promise of true greatness, a more beautiful picture of juvenile piety, never was seen, than that which he exhibited at the commencement of his reign. No sadder, more humiliating, or awful spectacle can be imagined than the besotted apostasy of his old age; and to him may be applied the words of Paul (Galatians 3:3), of John (Revelation 3:17), and of Isaiah (Isaiah 14:21). A love of the world, a ceaseless round of pleasure, had insensibly corrupted his heart, and produced, for a while at least, a state of mental darkness. The grace of God deserted him; and the son of the pious David-the religiously-trained child of Bath-sheba (Proverbs 31:1-3) and pupil of Nathan-instead of showing the stability of sound principle and mature experience, became at last an old and foolish king (Ecclesiastes 4:13). His fall is traced to his love of "many strange women."

Polygamy was tolerated among the ancient Hebrews; and although most countries of the East the generality of men, from convenience and economy, confine themselves to one woman, yet a number of wives is reckoned an indication of wealth and importance, just as a numerous stud of horses and a grand equipage are among us. The sovereign of course wishes to have a more numerous harem than any of his subjects; and the female establishments of many Oriental princes have, both in ancient and modern times, equaled or exceeded that of Solomon's. It is probable, therefore, that in conformity with Oriental notions, he resorted to it as a piece of state magnificence. But in him it was unpardonable, as it was a direct and outrageous violation of the divine law (Deuteronomy 17:17), and the very result which that statute was ordained to prevent was realized in him. His marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh is not censured either here or elsewhere (see the notes at 1 Kings 3:1). It was only his love for many strange women of that collective body of Canaanites with whom the Israelites of all classes had been interdicted from intermarrying (Exodus 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-3; Ezra 9:1-2; Ezra 10:3; Nehemiah 13:23); because women, though in the East considered inferiors, exert often a silent but powerfully seductive influence over their husbands in the harems, as elsewhere; and so it was exemplified in Solomon.


Verse 2

Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

Solomon clave unto these in love - [ daabaq (Hebrew #1692)] - was attached to them, devoted to them, hung upon them in love, as a husband to a wife (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 34:3), subjects to their king (2 Samuel 20:2), and people to their God (Deuteronomy 10:20; Deuteronomy 11:22; Psalms 63:9) [Septuagint, eis autous ekolleethee Saloomoon tou agapeesai, Solomon was glued (fastened) to them (the idols) in love].


Verse 3

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

Wives, princesses. They were probably, according to an existing custom, the daughters of tributary chiefs, given as hostages for the good conduct of their fathers.

Concubines - were legitimate, but lower or secondary wives. These the chief or first wife regards without the smallest jealousy or regret, as they look up to her with feelings of respectful submission. Solomon's wives became so numerous, not all at once, but gradually, since even at an early period his taste for Oriental show seems to have led to the establishment of a considerable harem (Song of Solomon 6:8).


Verse 4

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

When Solomon was old. He could not have been more than 50. But his love of splendour was intense; and a long course of voluptuous indulgence had so far weakened the energy of his will, that, in opposition, it must be supposed, to his better judgment, he succumbed to the domination of the senses.

His wives turned away his heart after other gods. Some, considering the lapse of Solomon into idolatry as a thing incredible, regard him as merely humouring his wives in the practice of their superstition, and, in countenancing their respective rites by his presence, as giving only an outward homage, a sensible worship, in which neither his understanding nor his heart were engaged, but from his fondness for a sensuous ritual, dazzled and took strong hold of his imagination. The apology only makes matters worse, as it implies an adding of hypocrisy and contempt of God to an open breach of His law. There seems no possibility of explaining the language of the sacred historian, but as intimating that Solomon became an actual and open idolater - [to go "after other gods" (1 Kings 11:5) is the usual formula for lapsing into idolatry (Deuteronomy 8:19; Deuteronomy 11:28; Deuteronomy 13:3; Judges 2:12; Jeremiah 35:15)] - worshipping images of wood or stone in sight of the very temple which in early life he had erected to the true God. Hence, that part of Olivet was called the high place of Tophet (Jeremiah 7:30-34); and the hill is still known as the Mount of Offence, or the Mount of Corruption (2 Kings 23:13).


Verse 5

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

Ashtoreth - plural, Ashtaroth (Astarte), a female divinity worshipped by the Sidonians (1 Kings 11:33; 2 Kings 23:13) [Septuagint, tee Astratee (cf. Genesis 14:5), the moon].

Milcom (1 Kings 11:33; 2 Kings 23:13) - Molech, (see Mover's 'Die Religion und die Gottheiten der Phonizier,' p. 12, etc.) But though Milcom is commonly considered synonymous with Molech, and both were idolized by the Ammonites, there was a difference between them, not only in name, but in their place of worship (the former in a temple built on a mountain east of Jerusalem, the latter in the valley Hinnom), and in their rites, Molech being infamous for the immolation of children; but the rites of Milcom are unknown. Milcom, or Malcom, their king (Jeremiah 49:1; Jeremiah 49:3; Zephaniah 1:3; Amos 1:15), comes from the same root as Molech.


Verse 6

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 7

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh [Septuagint, Chamoos]. He was the tutelary divinity, the national idol of the Moabites (Numbers 21:29; Jeremiah 48:7; Jeremiah 48:13; Jeremiah 48:46); and though he is once called the god of the Ammonites (Judges 11:24), that designation arose entirely from a community of feeling between two nations having the same origin, because Chemosh was an idol distinct from Milcom. He built altars for these three; but although he is described, 1 Kings 11:8, as doing likewise "for all his strange wives," there is no evidence that they had idols differing from these. The daughter of Pharaoh must be considered an exception; for neither here nor elsewhere is mention made of a temple to Ammon or Osiris. Among the very numerous notices of the Edomites and the Hittites which are contained in the historical books of the Old Testament, there is no allusion or hint as to the religion or worship of either (2 Kings 23:13; 2 Chronicles 25:20); and the probability is, that they adopted the ritual of one of these three great idols, whose worship, particularly the Zidonian, was, through the civilization and commercial contact of the people of Zidon with other nations, extensively prevalent. Corbaux has suggested ('Journal of Sacred Literature,' October, 1852) that the two names in this verse refer to the same idol, Chemosh (vanquisher, subduer) being the proper appellative, end Molech an epithet, signifying the royal god, and identical with Baal (Jeremiah 19:5; Jeremiah 32:35; Ezekiel 20:23; Ezekiel 20:31 : cf. Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:1-8).

In the hill that is before Jerusalem. This hill appears, from Zechariah 14:4, to be the mount of Olives. 'This position is not thus indicated in relation to the Jerusalem that now is, or afterward was, but as it then existed, confined mainly to mount Zion. Bearing this in mind, there is no difficulty in correctly locating the scene of these abominable transactions on the summit immediately east of Siloam and the lower part of Zion; but travelers, unmindful of the local mutations of the city, and locating it on the east, or before the present city, have greatly misplaced it. The portion of mount Olivet thus designated is nearly isolated, being merely connected to the remainder by the isthmus over which the road to Bethany passes. It rises very precipitously, and to a considerable height above the Kedron and the valley on the east, which nearly enclose it. The picturesque sepulchral village of Siloam, where, "it is said," Solomon kept his strange wives, occupies a portion of its northwestern face, opposite the "Virgin's Fount;" and many other sepulchres are found in its cliffs around.

It is the southernmost or right hand, portion of mount Olivet (see the notes at 2 Kings 23:13)' (Barclay's 'City of the Great King,' p,. 65; Rosenmuller's 'Geography,' 1:, p. 7; Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 100). This rock has in modern times been designated, from Solomon's idolatrous worship, 'the mount of Offence.' Robinson ('Biblical Researches,' 1:, p. 405) says this name, mons Offensionis, seems to have arisen in 1283 AD It was an aggravation of the idolatrous conduct of Solomon that the temples of these idols were erected in sight of the temple of Yahweh, and that as the pool of Siloam was situated at the mouth of the Tyropoeon-opposite to, and just a few yards from, the mount of Offence-the priests officiating in both temples would draw the water necessary for their respective lustrations from the same source (see Porter and Rawlinson as above, and Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 157).


Verse 8

And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

Burnt incense, and sacrificed unto their gods. The first was considered a higher act of homage, and is often used as synonymous with worship (2 Kings 22:17; 2 Kings 23:5). Thus the wisdom of the uxorious monarch fell before the irresistible power of love. There is a difference between the religion of the heart and that of the head; and while David his father, amid his many great sins, never let his faith be extinguished, but, on repentance, returned with all the ardour of a first love to God as the chosen portion of his soul, Solomon cast off all homage to Yahweh as the covenanted God of Israel. It is impossible to believe that so acute and reflecting a mind as his could settle down into atheism. But into infidelity he did certainly fall; and whether, having indulged in philosophizing views of religion, he became a votary of nature-worship-a Pantheist-conceiving it was a matter of indifference in what mode or by what rites the Deity was worshipped, because under whatever name-`Jehovah, Jove, or Lord'-the same object of faith was present to the minds of the intelligent; or whether, as has been already observed, he was deluded, through the vitiating influence of sensuality, into absolute idolatry, it is certain that he renounced the faith of his fathers; or if he still adhered to it in external observance, he set before his subjects an attempt at the impossible union of the worship of idols with that of Him whose first command to Israel was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Solomon's religious perversion, and the cause that produced it, are graphically described by Millon in these beautiful lines:

`Ashtoreth, whom the Phoenicians called Astarte, Queen of Heaven, with crescent horns; To whose bright image nightly by the moon, Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;

In Zion not unsung, where stood at length Her temple on th' offensive mountain, built By that uxorious king, whose heart, though large, Reguiled by fair idolatresses, fell To idols foul.' (-`PARADISE LOST,' b. 1:)


Verse 9

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

The Lord was angry with Solomon. The divine appearance, first at Gibeon, and then at Jerusalem, after the dedication of the temple, with the warnings given him on both occasions, had left Solomon inexcusable; and it was proper and necessary that on one who had been so signally favoured with the gifts of heaven, but who had grossly abused them, a terrible judgment should fall. The divine sentence was announced to him probably by Ahijah; but there was mercy mingled with judgment, in the circumstance that it should not be inflicted on Solomon personally, and that a remnant of the kingdom should be spared-`for David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, which had been chosen' to put God's name there; not from a partial bias in favor of either, but that the divine promise might stand, (2 Samuel 7:1-29.)


Verses 10-12

And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 13

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen.

I will give one tribe to thy son - i:e., the large and populous tribe of Judah, including the small tribe of Benjamin, which was contiguous, and, in fact, divided with it the possession of Jerusalem. Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 7:, ch. 7:, sec. 5) expressly mentions 'two tribes.' There were left to Rehoboam the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (2 Chronicles 11:12-13), and multitudes of Israelites, who, after the schism of the kingdom, established their residence within the territory of Judah, to enjoy the privileges of the true religion (1 Kings 12:17). These are all reckoned as one tribe. Respecting Solomon's multiplication of wives, it may be observed that the sin was his own. 'His heart was turned away after other gods;' but the apostasy was personal, not national. The people at large were not involved in its guilt, and therefore did not forfeit the tenure of the land of Canaan. But Solomon was punished; as the kingdom was taken from his family-not wholly, indeed (a small remnant being reserved, from regard to David and to Jerusalem, the place which Yahweh had chosen), nor in his lifetime, although the latter period of his reign was disturbed by foreign adversaries in the remote parts of his kingdom-empire.


Verse 14

And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.

The Lord stirred up an adversary ... Hadad the Edomite [ H


Verse 15

For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom;

When David was in Edom , [Septuagint, en too exolothreusai Dauid, ton Edoom] - when David had laid waste Edom.

And Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain. It appears from the record (2 Samuel 8:13) that David in person gained a signal victory over the Edomites in the valley of Salt (cf. Psalms 60:6-12; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 118:7-13). Beyond the bare announcement of the fact, however, no information is given; and we should have been left in complete ignorance of every circumstance connected with that campaign, but for a few incidental details introduced into this passage. Whatever was the cause of provocation given by the Edomites-whether, as appears probable from the relation in 2 Samuel 8:1-18, that people had taken advantage of David's absence in northern Syria, to invade his kingdom, or from some other cause of offence-he marched against them with a great army (cf. 1 Chronicles 18:12), and, having overtaken them "in the valley of Salt" (the north of the Arabah) he took summary vengeance upon them: the slaughter was immense. It was assigned to Joab, after David's return to his capital, to carry out the victory. Accordingly he proceeded to Edom, and remained for six months in that country, pursuing a war of extermination against the adult male population. There is an obscurity about the statement of Joab's going up to bury the slain-whether as Hengstenberg, Keil ... think, it refers to the Israelites who fell in the valley of Salt, and whose bodies had lain without the rites of burial until his arrival; or, as Stanley suggests, it applies to the Edomite males, whom he interred in the rocky caverns of Petra. But the revenge was dreadful; and so great was the terror inspired by the energetic and sanguinary proceedings in Edom, that no attempt to disturb the Hebrew conquerors of their acquisitions in that country was made for a long course of time.


Verse 16-17

(For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 18

And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.

They arose out of Midian. [Thenius, in his 'Commentary,' suggests that instead of Midyaan (Hebrew #4080) there should be substituted Maa`own, in the Negeb of Palestine, which he supposes might he the temporary residence of the Edomite royal family; and the Septuagint has: ek tees poleoos Madiam.] But there is no reason to suspect the genuineness of the Hebrew text, which gives an intelligible account of the young prince's flight, first among some of the nomadic tribes of that Midian which lay east of Edom (Numbers 22:4; Numbers 22:7; Numbers 25:15-18 ), its capital, Midian, being situated on the Arnon, or more probably of the Sinaitic Midian (see the notes at Exodus 2:15), whence, finding a safe opportunity, he was conveyed, under the care of a friendly escort, westward to the town of Pharan, in the wilderness of that name (et-Tih), and sought a permanent asylum in Egypt. The reigning monarch belonged to the dynasty of the military pontiffs, and was predecessor of Solomon's father-in-law (Uhelmann 'AEgypt. Alt.,' b. 3:, ch. 2:, sec. 9; Lepsius, 'Kritik der Quellen,' p. 499; Browne's 'Ordo Saeclorum,' sec. 513; Nolan's 'Egyptian Chronology Analyzed'). In later years the thought of his native land and of his lost kingdom taking a strong hold of his mind, Hadad, on learning the death of David and Joab, renounced the ease, possessions, and glory of his Egyptian residence, to return to Edom, and attempt the recovery of his ancestral throne.


Verses 19-21

And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 22

Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me ... ? The king of Egypt endeavoured in vain to dissuade him, but at length yielded to Hadad's importunities. But whether he assisted him with troops to prosecute his claims as Pretender, we are not informed; nor is any account given in the sacred history of the result of his enterprise. But the Septuagint inserts a clause to the effect that he succeeded in his attempt [hautee hee kakia een epoieesen Ader: kai ebaruthumeesen Israeel, kai ebasileusen en gee Edoom-This was the evil (mischief) which Hadar (Hadad) produced. His movements caused much annoyance to the Hebrew government, and he reigned in (established himself on the throne of) Edom]. This statement however, is not only unwarranted by the Hebrew text in the passage under review, but it is contrary to historical fact, Edom remaining tributary to Judah even in the time of Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:47).


Verse 23

And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah:

God stirred ... up another adverse, Rezon the son of Eliadah, ... This man, who had probably been general of Hadadezer, and on the defeat of that great king (2 Samuel 8:3-8) had successfully withdrawn a large force, went into the wilderness, led a predatory life, like Jephthah, David, and others, on the borders of the Syrian and Arabian deserts, and having acquired great power though the aid of the marauding party that followed him, at length became king in Damascus, threw off the yoke, and was 'the adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon.' According to the tenor of the context, the concluding clause of 1 Kings 11:25 must refer to this chief, and be considered as describing the full extent of the kingdom which he had acquired.

Josephus ('Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 7:, sec. 6), apparently following the version of the Septuagint, gives a different account. According to him, Hadad finding all his attempts to recover his hereditary kingdom defeated by the numerous and powerful garrisons which the Hebrews had planted throughout the Edomite territory, turned his views northward, and joining with Rezon, a leader of banditti, found in the unprotected state of Syria, a country open to the incursions of a bold and powerful invader. He became king of that extensive region, giving a roving commission to Rezon in the outlying district of Syria, and he was the first Hadad, his successors taking the official title of Benhadad from him, the illustrious founder of the powerful kingdom of Damascene Syria. These hostile neighbours, who had been long kept in check by the traditional fame of David's victories, took courage, and breaking out toward the latter end of Solomon's reign, must have not only disturbed his kingdom by their inroads, but greatly crippled his revenue, by stopping his lucrative traffic with Tadmor and the Euphrates.

[The following is the text of the Septuagint, from which Josephus drew his account: Kai eegeire kurios Satan too Saloomoon, ton Ader ton Idoumaion, kai ton Esram huion Eliadae ton en Raema Adadezer basilea Souba kurion autou, kai suneethroistheesan ep' auton andres, kai een archoon sustremmatos, kai prokatelabeto teen Damasek; kai eesan Satan too Israeel pasas tas heemeras Saloomoon, kai Ader ho Idoumaios ek tou spermatos tees basileias en Idoumaia-And the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon, Adar the Idumean, and Esrom, son of Eliadah (who fled from) the Syrian, Hadadezer, king of Zobah, his master. They collected a body of men against him (Solomon), and he (Hadad) was leader of the tumultuary band, and seized upon Damascus, and they were adversaries to Israel all the days of Solomon. And Adar the Idumean was of the royal family of Edom.] This was in various respects a severe blow to Solomon; because 'the revolt of the Damascenes in the north must have been followed not only by the removal of his garrisons from that city, but by the evacuation of those desert fortresses which he had built for the security of his northeastern territories. Nor were these the only results of that revolt. There was an immediate reduction of his revenues from this source, in consequence of the establishment of the new power at Damascus; and now the wealthy graziers of the Gaulan and Bashan plains were no longer protected from invasion. Their estates, their flocks, their encampments, were continually liable to loss and damage' (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 163).


Verse 24-25

And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 26

And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king.

And Jereboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda [ Yaaraab


Verse 27

And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 28

And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.

And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour [ gibowr (Hebrew #1368) chaayil (Hebrew #2428)] - mighty, in power, as of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8), in wealth, as of Boaz, Kish, and other Israelites (Ruth 2:1; 1 Samuel 9:1; 2 Kings 15:20). But in this passage it is used metaphorically of strong mental capability, active, enterprising [Septuagint, aneer ergoon].

And Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious , [ kiy (Hebrew #3588) `oseeh (Hebrew #6213) m


Verse 29

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:

The prophet Ahijah the Shilonite , [ ha-Shiyloniy (Hebrew #7888)] (see the notes at 2 Samuel 15:12) - i:e., a native or inhabitant of Shilo (Seilun) [Septuagint, Seeloo; Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b.5:, ch. 1:, secs. 19, 20, Siloun; but 'Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 7:, sec. 7, Siloo (cf. 1 Kings 14:2; 1 Kings 14:4. The Septuagint has: Achia ho Seeloonitees (see the notes at Joshua 18:1-10; Judges 21:19; Judges 21:21).] He was successor to Nathan and Gad. A building still stands in Seilun which goes by the name of en-Neby Ahijah, the prophet Ahijah (Thrupp, 'Ancient Jerusalem,' p. 404). 'His ministrations were carried on amidst the tribes on the central highlands of Ephraim, among the oldest and most influential families in the country, and in the tribe which was the most important, both in respect of its large interest in the prosperity of the state and of its ancestral recollections.

Moreover, one of the holy places was possessed by them. Shiloh, with a sacred antiquity now gathering around it, continually reminded them of what was forgotten amid the pomp of the southern city. There accordingly an expression of the gathering discontent of better spirit of the community was first made public; and it was very naturally first heard there, since "the burden of Joseph," imposed recording to the fertility and productiveness of the soil, would, in that garden district of the country, be most irksome and oppressive' (Drew's 'Scripture Lands,' p. 162).

And he had clad himself , [ mitkaceh (Hebrew #3680)] - having wrapped himself.

With a new garment , [ salmaah (Hebrew #8009), by transposition for samlaah (Hebrew #8072), the wide outer mantle, or cloak (Genesis 9:23; Deuteronomy 22:17)]. The meaning is Ahijah the Shilonite, the prophet, went and took a fit station in the way, and in order that he might not be known, he wrapped himself up, so as closely to conceal himself, in a new garment, a surtout, which he afterward tore in twelve pieces.


Verse 30

And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. This is the first symbolical action recorded of a prophet. From the rude and imperfect state of language in early times, men would insensibly acquire the habit of communicating ideas by an intermixture of gestures and words; and this practice, called 'the voice of the sign' (Exodus 4:8) was continued in a more advanced condition of social life, when any new or important intelligence was to be communicated, as well fitted to strike the attention, to engage the imagination, and to impress the memory. Hence, it was resorted to by Ahijah on his interview with Jeroboam, (cf. Jeremiah 27:2, etc.) Notwithstanding this privacy, the story, and the prediction connected with it, probably reached the king's ear, and Jeroboam became a marked man. His aspiring ambition, impatient for the death of Solomon, led him to form plots and conspiracies, in consequence of which he was compelled to flee to Egypt. Though chosen of God, he could not wait the course of Gods providence, and therefore incurred the penalty of death by his criminal rebellion. The heavy exactions and compulsory labour (1 Kings 11:28) which Solomon latterly imposed upon his subjects, when his foreign resources began to fail, had prepared the greater part of the kingdom for a revolt under so popular a demagogue as Jeroboam.

But there were other causes which combined to disturb the close of Solomon's reign, and to unsettle his throne. Everything human and earthly, governments as well as humbler associations, has a destined course to run. The kingdom of Israel reached its culminating point under David and Solomon-of vigour and conquest under the former, and of wealth and splendour under the latter. But the fabric of Solomon's grandeur had not the elements of stability; and being corrupt in its internal state, as well as wholly factitious in its external relations with the world, it was dismembered before long, broken into fragments, and like a splendid vision, passed away. The severity of his despotic rule, rivaling the magnificence of the ancient Oriental autocrats, and oppressing his people by grinding exactions to maintain his numerous harem, as well as outraging the feelings of the better classes by his woeful idolatries, trampling upon the national constitution, and altering the character and destiny of Israel by his commercial and unrestricted contact with other nations; above all, having failed to consolidate his widespread empire by the bond of the true religion his government neither enjoyed the blessing of God, nor secured the attachment of the people, and so it declined. Solomon's great sagacity, enlarged by the experience of a long reign, enabled him to foresee the outburst of impending calamities; and the close of his life was embittered by anxious forebodings. His reign realized the prophetic description by Samuel of what the future king in Israel would be and do.


Verses 31-35

And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 36

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

That David my servant may have a light , [ neeyr (Hebrew #5216)] - a lamp; i:e., posterity (1 Kings 15:4; 2 Samuel 14:7); literally, that there may be a light to David my servant forever; i:e., that his dynasty may be preserved in unbroken continuity. The main idea pervading the context is, that a disruption of the kingdom would take place, in consequence of the misgovernment of so untheocratic a king as Solomon; that he and his successors would be visited with adversity, in a milder or severer form, according to their transgressions; but that although the largest portion of Israel would revolt from the son of Solomon, God would not allow the throne to be wholly and finally taken from the family of David, by giving it to another family.


Verse 37-38

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 39

And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. This affliction refers principally to the Babylonian captivity, from which few Israelites except those of the house of Judah, returned. The house of David was in successive centuries reduced to a low and obscure condition; but the kingdom was restored to them in the person of the Messiah.


Verse 40

Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Shishak - or Shishonk, according to the Egyptian monuments, who harboured and encouraged the rebellious refugee, was of a different dynasty from the father-in-law of Solomon. The dynasty of the military pontiffs had just terminated, and was succeeded by the 22nd dynasty, of which Shishak was the founder.


Verse 41-42

And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 43

And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Yahweh who was the head of the theocracy had (2 Samuel 7:1-29) Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Yahweh, who was the head of the theocracy, had (2 Samuel 7:1-29) guaranteed, by a solemn promise to David, the regal succession to his dynasty; and in virtue of this divine arrangement Rehoboam was the legitimate heir to the throne. His accession accordingly took place in Jerusalem, on the demise of his father.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 11:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-11.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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