Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:1

Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Government;   Jeroboam;   Petition;   Rehoboam;   Revolt;   Shechem;   Thompson Chain Reference - Coronations;   Nation, the;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Sychar, or Shechem;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jeroboam;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeroboam;   Jerusalem;   Judah, tribe and kingdom;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Wages;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Israel, Kingdom of;   Shechem;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Kings, the Books of;   Shechem (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Israel;   Israel, History of;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Taxes;   Transportation and Travel;   Tribes of Israel, the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jacob;   Jeroboam;   Rehoboam,;   Shechem;   Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gerizim;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Rehoboam ;   Shechem ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Solomon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Scorpion;   She'chem;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;   Jeroboam;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Revolt;   Kingdom of Israel;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Kings, Books of;   Shechem;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Kings, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Rehoboam went to Shechem - Rehoboam was probably the only son of Solomon; for although he had a thousand wives, he had not the blessing of a numerous offspring; and although he was the wisest of men himself, his son was a poor, unprincipled fool. Had Solomon kept himself within reasonable bounds in matrimonial affairs, he would probably have had more children; and such as would have had common sense enough to discern the delicacy of their situation, and rule according to reason and religion.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The first step taken by the new king was a most judicious one. If anything could have removed the disaffection of the Ephraimites, and caused them to submit to the ascendancy of Judah, it would have been the honor done to their capital by its selection as the scene of the coronation. Shechem (now Nablous) lay on the flank of Mount Gerizim, directly opposite to Mount Ebal, in a position second to none in all Palestine. Though Abimelech had destroyed the place Judges 9:45, it had probably soon risen again, and was once more a chief city, or perhaps “the” chief city, of Ephraim. Its central position made it a convenient place for the general assembly of the tribes, as it had been in the days of Joshua Joshua 8:30-35; 24:1-28; and this would furnish an additional reason for its selection.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-12.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL DIVIDED

"The history of the divided kingdom has three phases:

(1) From Jeroboam to Omri in the north and from Rehoboam to Asa in the south - a time of mutual hostility.

(2) Under Ahab, Ahaziah, and Joram in Israel, and Jehoshaphat, Joram, and Ahaziah in the south - a time of friendship due to marital alliances.

(3) From Jehu of Israel and Joash of Judah to the fall of Samaria (722 B.C.) - another period of hostility."[1]SIZE>

The mutual jealousy and mistrust between Israel and Judah had always existed, from the times of Jacob's polygamous union with Leah and Rachel. Ephraim, the strongest of the northern tribes was descended from Rachel, whereas Judah the strongest of the southern tribes came from Leah. This mutual hatred and distrust surfaced in the times both of Gideon and of Jephthah as related in Judges. Saul, Israel's first king, was from a small tribe located between Ephraim and Judah, and was thus enabled to rule over all Israel. David reigned only in Judah for the first seven and one half years; and, after being king over all Israel, he suffered two rebellions, one under Absalom, and the other by Sheba of Northern Israel.

Furthermore, when David finally became king over all Israel, it was by a covenant arrangement with Northern Israel. Solomon had indeed reigned over all Israel, but as the result of a Davidic decree, and not by reason of any covenant with the whole people. The ten tribes of the north were not willing to submit to Solomon's successor on the basis of Rehoboam's being a son of Solomon. They had in mind an initial period of negotiations before they submitted. Rehoboam wisely submitted to their invitation and went to Shethem.

Shethem was a place of great historical interest to Israel. "The names of Abraham (Genesis 12:6), Jacob (Genesis 32:18), Joshua (Joshua 24:1), Gideon and Abimelech (Israel's first experience with a king) (Judges 9:6), and Joseph who was buried there (Joshua 24:32) are all associated with Shechem. It was here that the reading of the Law of Moses was staged at the twin mountains during the conquest (Joshua 8:33)."[2]

REHOBOAM SUCCEEDED SOLOMON AS KING OF ISRAEL

"And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. And it came to pass when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt whither he had fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt, and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the children of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Depart ye for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed."

"Rehoboam" (1 Kings 12:1). The last verse of the preceding chapter recorded the fact of his having been made king in the place of Solomon, but northern Israel called a general assembly of the ten northern tribes at Shechem, to which they invited Rehoboam, with a view to negotiating with him for a reduction in the heavy burdens of taxation and forced labor so long imposed upon them during the reign of Solomon.

"Solomon had a thousand wives and concubines; and yet we read of only one son he had to bear his name, and he was a fool."[3]

The age of this prince at the time he became king is disputed. He is said to be "forty-one" (1 Kings 14:21); but that translation is questionable. "The Vatican manuscript and the Septuagint (LXX) in 1 Kings 14:24a state that he was only sixteen."[4] However, Snaith warns us that, "The Septuagint (LXX) is not nearly as satisfactory as the Masoretic text."[5] Of course, some scholars do their usual magic on O.T. numbers and read it as "twenty-one" instead of "forty-one." If indeed Rehoboam was forty-one years of age when he came to the throne, Solomon must have married Rehoboam's Ammonite mother at quite an early age and before his father David died.

"Therefore make thou the grievous service of our father ... lighter" (1 Kings 12:4). It is amazing to this writer that respected and honored scholars complain that these objections were not justified. "The complaint was groundless and unjust. Never did the people live more at ease than did Israel, nor in greater plenty."[6] Even Keil called these complaints, "a pretext."[7] Much as we respect the opinions of such learned men, we nevertheless find that the advice of the old counselors who had spoken with Solomon, and who advised Rehoboam to ease the peoples' burdens indicates that there must have been some basis for the dissatisfaction of the people, who soon demonstrated their hatred of forced labor by stoning Adoram to death.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-kings-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Rehoboam went to Shechem,.... After the death and internment of his father:

for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king: as was pretended, though in reality it was to seek occasion against him, and make Jeroboam king; it is very probable they knew of the prophecy of Ahijah, and therefore would not go to Jerusalem, but to Shechem, a city in the tribe of Ephraim, of which Jeroboam was, and where he had sowed the seeds of sedition when ruler there; and this place they chose, partly because they could more freely speak what they had in their minds, and partly for the safety of Jeroboam they had sent for on this occasion; so that Rehoboam went thither not of choice, but of necessity. The JewsF3T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 102. 1. observe that this place was very ominous; here Dinah was ravished, Joseph was sold, Abimelech exercised tyranny, and here now the kingdom was divided.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-12.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 12:1-5. Refusing the old men‘s counsel.

Rehoboam went to Shechem — He was the oldest, and perhaps the only son of Solomon, and had been, doubtless, designated by his father heir to the throne, as Solomon had been by David. The incident here related took place after the funeral obsequies of the late king and the period for public mourning had past. When all Israel came to make him king, it was not to exercise their old right of election (1 Samuel 10:19-21), for, after God‘s promise of the perpetual sovereignty to David‘s posterity, their duty was submission to the authority of the rightful heir; but their object was, when making him king, to renew the conditions and stipulations to which their constitutional kings were subject (1 Samuel 10:25). To the omission of such rehearsing which, under the peculiar circumstances in which Solomon was made king, they were disposed to ascribe the absolutism of his government.

Shechem — This ancient, venerable, and central town was the place of convocation; and it is evident, if not from the appointment of that place, at least from the tenor of their language, and the concerted presence of Jeroboam [1 Kings 12:3 ], that the people were determined on revolt.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, succeeds to the kingdom. He begins his reign in refusing the old men's counsel, and follows that of young men. Ten tribes of Israel revolt. The chapter concludes with an account of Jeroboam's idolatry.

1 Kings 12:1

(1) ¶ And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

It should seem that Solomon though he had so many wives, had but this one son. There was no dispute therefore about his succession to the kingdom.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-12.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

Were come — Rehoboam did not call them thither, but went thither, because the Israelites prevented him, and had pitched upon that place, rather than upon Jerusalem, because it was most convenient for all, being in the center of the kingdom; and because that being in the potent tribe of Ephraim, they supposed there they might use that freedom of speech, which they resolved to use, to get there grievances redressed. So out of a thousand wives and concubines, he had but one son to bear his name, and he a fool! Is not sin an ill way of building up a family?

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-12.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

Rehoboam

called Roboam. Matthew 1:7.

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 1 Kings 12:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/1-kings-12.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 12:1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

Ver. 1. And Rehoboam went to Shechem.] It was an oversight in Solomon, that he had not before his death made his son king - as David had done him, for preventing of troubles; as also in Rehoboam, that he being the undoubted heir of the kingdom - settled by God upon Solomon and his heirs [2 Samuel 7:12-13] - expected the consent of the people, whom he knew to be seditiously inclined, and yielded to meet them at Shechem, a city of Ephraim, that turbulent tribe, where Jeroboam was so powerful. But God, who infatuateth those he meaneth to punish, had a holy hand in all.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 12:1. Rehoboam went to Shechem Shechem stood not only in the centre of the kingdom of Israel, but in the middle of the tribe of Ephraim, wherein was the greater number of mal-contents. It was, therefore, very probably, by the management of Jeroboam, or some of his friends who durst not, perhaps, venture themselves at Jerusalem, that this city was made choice of as a place of general convention; because they might more securely propose their grievances, which they were resolved to do, and use a greater freedom of speech than they could at Jerusalem, where the family of David was more powerful, more numerous, and better supported. See Calmet and Poole.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

1 KINGS CHAPTER 12

The Israelites seek to Rehoboam for relaxation, 1 Kings 12:1-5. He refusing the old men’s counsel, by the advice of the young men answereth them roughly, 1 Kings 12:6-15; for which ten tribes revolt; kill Adoram; and make Rehoboam to flee, 1 Kings 12:16-20. He raising an army is forbidden by Shemaiah, 1 Kings 12:21-24. Jeroboam, king of Israel, strengtheneth himself by cities, and by the idolatry of the two calves, 1 Kings 12:25-33.

Rehoboam did not call them thither, but went thither, because the Israelites prevented him, and had generally pitched upon that place rather than upon Jerusalem; partly, because it was most convenient for all, as being in the centre of the whole kingdom; partly, because that being in the potent tribe of Ephraim, they supposed there they might use that freedom of speech which they resolved to use to get their grievances redressed; and partly, by the secret direction of Jeroboam, or his friends, who would not trust themselves in Jerusalem, and thought Shechem a fitter place to execute their design. To make him king; to confirm him in the kingdom, which they generally-intended to do; he being the undoubted heir of the crown, and the only son which Solomon had from so vast a number of wives.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1.To Shechem — A central place for the northern tribes to meet, and consecrated by many hallowed associations. Compare Genesis 12:6; Genesis 33:18; Genesis 37:12; Deuteronomy 11:29; Deuteronomy 27:12-13; Joshua 8:33; Joshua 20:7; Joshua 24:1-25.

For all Israel were come’ to make him king — The verb בא, were come, should here be rendered by the pluperfect had come. It seems that this coming together of the ten tribes was an action preconcerted among themselves. They had their demands all ready, and their plans and purposes fixed for revolt in case the king would not yield to them. The for (כי ) introduces the reason of Rehoboam’s going to Shechem. He went thither to receive the oath of allegiance from the representatives of the northern tribes, who had already assembled there ostensibly for the purpose of acknowledging him king.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-12.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 12:1. Rehoboam went to Shechem — With a view to be there declared Solomon’s successor by the people, and made king. It does not appear that he called the people thither, but went thither because they had prevented him, and pitched upon that place rather than upon Jerusalem, because it was most convenient for all, being in the centre of the kingdom; and because, as it was in the potent tribe of Ephraim, they supposed they might there more securely propose their grievances, which they were resolved to do, and use a greater freedom of speech than they could at Jerusalem, where the family of David was more powerful, more numerous, and better supported. And it is not improbable but Jeroboam had a hand in this, and that it was partly at least by his management, or that of some of his friends, who durst not, perhaps, venture themselves at Jerusalem, that this city was made choice of as a place of general convention. The glory of the kingdom of Israel was in its height and perfection in Solomon’s reign. It was long in coming to it, but it soon declined and began to sink and wither under Rehoboam his successor, as we find in this chapter, in which we see the kingdom divided, and thereby weakened, and made little in comparison of what it had been. Solomon probably supposed that by taking to himself seven hundred wives that were princesses, he should greatly strengthen his power, and enlarge his kingdom; and that from them and his three hundred concubines he should have a numerous progeny to perpetuate that power and dominion, in all its extent, to the latest generations. But if so, he was sadly disappointed: of these thousand women, it appears, he had but one son, and he a fool! and two daughters, mentioned 1 Kings 4:11; 1 Kings 4:15, to bear up his name, and continue his race. “Sin,” says Henry, “is an ill way of building up a family.”

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

King, or to acknowledge his right, provided he would grant their request. The discontented assembled at Sichem, rather than at Jerusalem, as they would be under less restraint. (Calmet) --- They appointed Jeroboam to prefer their petition. (Menochius) --- Roboam was probably the only son whom Solomon had by his wives. (Calmet) --- We read of two daughters, Japheth and Basemath, chap. iv. 11., and 15. (Haydock) --- Naama, the Ammonite, was the mother of Robaom, who, though 40 years old, was devoid of good sense, 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 7., Ecclesiastes ii. 18., and Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 27. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Shechem. A national sanctuary (Joshua 24:1). Now Nablous, corruption of Neapolis, the (New town) of Vespasian. The site of Abraham"s first altar. Jacob"s first home. Here the tribes met. Here Joseph was buried. All this before Jebus became Jerusalem. Hence the envy of Ephraim for Judah (Isaiah 11:13). Degraded by new name, Sychar = drunkenness (Isaiah 28:1-7). Yet here alone in all the world is the Paschal lamb still slain.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.

Rehoboam went to Shechem, [ R

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) All Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.—In the case of David, we find that, when he was made king over Israel, “he made a league” with the elders of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3), apparently implying a less absolute royalty than that to which he had been anointed, without conditions, over the house of Judah (2 Samuel 2:4); and in his restoration after the death of Absalom, there appears to be some recognition of a right of distinct action on the part of the men of Israel in relation to the kingdom (2 Samuel 19:9-10; 2 Samuel 19:41-43; 2 Samuel 20:1-2). Even in the coronation of Solomon, we find distinction made between royalty “over all Israel and over Judah.” (See 1 Kings 1:35; and comp. 1 Kings 4:1.) Accordingly, Rehoboam seems to succeed without question to the throne of Judah, but to need to be “made king” by the rest of Israel, with apparently some right on their part to require conditions before acceptance. It is significant, however, that this ceremonial is fixed, not at Jerusalem, but at Shechem, the chief city of Ephraim, of ancient dignity, even from patriarchal times, as of singular beauty and fertility of position, which became, as a matter of course, the capital of the northern kingdom after the disruption. Perhaps, in this arrangement, which seems to have had no precedent, there was some omen of revolution.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
Rehoboam
11:43; 2 Chronicles 10:1-19
Shechem
Genesis 12:6
Sichem
Genesis 33:18,19; Joshua 20:7; 24:1,32; Judges 9:1; Psalms 60:6; Acts 7:16
Sychem
Reciprocal: Joshua 17:7 - Shechem;  Joshua 21:21 - Shechem;  Judges 9:6 - plain;  1 Kings 12:25 - Shechem;  2 Kings 21:24 - made Josiah;  Proverbs 11:14 - GeneralJeremiah 41:5 - Shechem;  Matthew 1:7 - Roboam;  Matthew 2:20 - for

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-12.html.