Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:24

‘Thus says the Lord , "You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me."'" So they listened to the word of the Lord , and returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord .
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Government;   Rehoboam;   Revolt;   Shemaiah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Judea, Modern;   Kings;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Shemaiah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem;   Rehoboam;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Shemaiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - King;   Rehoboam;   Zeruah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Kings, 1 and 2;   Manaen;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Kings, Books of;   Rehoboam,;   Shemaiah;   Solomon;   Zeruah;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Rehoboam ;   Shemaiah ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Rehoboam;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;   Jeroboam;   Prophets;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Revolt;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ahijah;   Calf, Golden;   Jeroboam;   Naamah (1);   Rehoboam;   Shemaiah;   Zeruah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For this thing is from me - That is, the separation of the ten tribes from the house of David.

They - returned to depart - This was great deference, both in Rehoboam and his officers, to relinquish, at the demand of the prophet, a war which they thought they had good grounds to undertake. The remnant of the people heard the Divine command gratefully, for the mass of mankind are averse from war. No nations would ever rise up against each other, were they not instigated to it or compelled by the rulers.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Kings 12:24

This thing is from me.

This thing is from me

I. Some events are specially from God. God is in events which are produced by the sin and the stupidity of men. This breaking up of the kingdom of Solomon into two parts was the result of Solomon’s sin and Rehoboam’s folly; yet God was in it. God had nothing to do with the sin or the folly, but in some way, which we can never explain, God was in it alL The most notable instance of this truth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ; that was the greatest of human crimes, yet it was foreordained and predetermined of the Most High, to whom there can be no such thing as crime, nor any sort of compact with sire How, then, was “this thing” from God?

1. First, it was so as a matter of prophecy.

2. And, secondly, “this thing” was from God as a matter of punishment. God setteth evil against evil that He may destroy evil, and He uses that which cometh of human folly that He may manifest His own wisdom.

II. When events are seen to be from the Lord, they are not to be fought against. Rehoboam had summoned his soldiers to go to war against the house of Israel; but, inasmuch as it was from God that the ten tribes had revolted from him, he must not march into the territories of Israel, nor even shoot an arrow against them.

1. The thing that is happening to you is of the Lord, therefore resist it not, for it would be wicked to do so. If it be the Lord’s will, so may it be.

2. But, next, it is also vain, for what can we do against the will of God?

3. Next, it would be mischievous, and would be sure to bring a greater evil upon us if we did resist.

III. This general principle has many special applications. I believe it often happens that events are most distinctly from the Lord, and when it is so, our right and proper way is to yield to them.

1. A case in which this principle applies is when severe afflictions arise.

2. Sometimes, also, we are troubled by certain disquieting plans proposed by our friends or our children.

3. A very pleasant phase of this same truth is when some singular mercy comes. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Tracing events back to the final cause

The scribe is more properly said to write than the pen, and he that maketh and keepeth the clock is more properly said to make it go and strike than the wheels and poises that hang upon it, and every workman to effect his works rather than the tools which he useth as his instruments. So the Lord, who is the chief agent and mover in all actions, may more fitly be said to bring to pass all things which are done in the earth than any subordinate causes, as meat to nourish, clothes to keep us warm, the sun to lighten us, friends to provide for us, etc., seeing that they are but His instruments. (T. Downame.)

God’s overrule of national events

Those who care to watch the hand of God in history may soon discern this truth in this incident. The attempts of France to acquire the sovereignty of the British Isles, and the corresponding efforts of the earlier English kings to become what their coins so long styled them, “King of France,” have all been marvellously foiled by the Almighty Ruler of nations to the true welfare of both. Sir A. Alison has described the scene on the French coast in 1804, when the first Napoleon surveyed the flotilla which was to carry an invading army across the Channel, and saw them broken and dispersed by Him who rules the waves. God will not suffer the might or the cunning of man to wrest the sceptre from His hands.

God in history

The Old Testament “philosophy of history” regards all events as at once the results of human forces and of God’s purposes, and finds no contradiction in the double aspect. Rehoboam was no less a criminal fool, Jeroboam no less a crafty traitor, because they were both working out God’s purpose. The possible co-existence of freedom of action, necessarily involving responsibility, and God’s sovereignty, is inexplicable, and as certain as it is inexplicable. Metaphysicians and metaphysical theologians may fumble at, or cut, the knot till doomsday, but it will not be untied or denied. Rehoboam ran the ship on the rocks, but God willed that it should be wrecked. But another mystery emerges, for the Divine resolve to shatter the kingdom was due to the thwarting of the Divine purpose in establishing it. Sovereign as that Divine will is, man has power to oppose it and to block its course, and lead to changes of its direction, as we sometimes hear of an army of caterpillars stopping a train. God’s methods vary, but His purposes remain the same. The ship tacks as the wind shifts, but it’s always steering for the one port. The unifying of the tribes into a kingdom, and the disruption of the kingdom, were equally in the Divine plan, and were both, in a real sense, also the direct results of men’s sin and opposition to God. Hence it follows that “the history of the world is the judgment of the world.” The “natural” consequences of national acts are the punishments or rewards of these acts. Solomon’s tyranny, Rehoboam’s folly, the rebels’ indifference to the unity of the nation worked out the catastrophe, which was both a political effect, produced by political causes, and a Divine judgment, and was the latter just because it was the former. For nations, and for individuals, God “makes whips to scourge” them of their “vices,” and in the mighty maze of human acts, has so ordered the issues of things that “every transgression and disobedience receives its just recompense of reward.” So the “undevout” historian “is mad.” (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 12:24". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thus saith the Lord,.... A common preface the prophets used when they spoke in the name of the Lord:

ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel; and that because they were their brethren; though that is not the only reason, another follows:

return every man to his house, for this thing is from me; it was according to the will of God, as Josephus rightly saysF15Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 8. sect. 3.) ; it was by his ordination and appointment, though Jeroboam and the people sinned in the way and manner in which they brought it about; and therefore to fight against Israel, in order to regain the kingdom, would be fighting against God, and so to no purpose:

they hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart according to the word of the Lord; they knew Shemaiah was a prophet of the Lord, and they believed the message he brought came from him, and therefore hearkened and were obedient to it; and with the consent of Rehoboam were disbanded, and returned to their habitations, being satisfied with, and submissive to, the will of God, both king and people.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thus saith the k LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.

(k) Who of his just judgment will punish the trespasser, and of his mercy spare the innocent people.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.

From me — This event is from my counsel and providence, to punish Solomon's apostasy.

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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 12:24". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 12:24 Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.

Ver. 24. They hearkened therefore.] This was much; but yet no more than hath been done here in Albion at the command of one of their Bardi, which were a kind of poets or priests among our heathen ancestors

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



1 Kings 12:24. This thing is from me.

IN histories written by men, events are always traced to human efforts and sagacity; but in the inspired history every thing is traced to God. We always find, even in things apparently most contingent, a secret over-ruling Agent, accomplishing his own purposes of mercy or of judgment, and operating with unerring wisdom to the production of his own ends. As “every good and perfect gift” is represented as “coming from above,” so the prophet asks respecting things most calamitous, “Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it [Note: Amos 3:6.]?” In the account given us of the revolt of the ten tribes, and their establishment as a separate kingdom under Jeroboam, the proceedings of all the different parties appeared to spring wholly from themselves: but God says of the whole together, “This thing is from me.” We will,

I. Confirm this assertion—

We will begin with stating what was “the thing” here referred to—

[After the death of Solomon, the different tribes assembled at Shechem, to acknowledge Rehoboam as his successor to the throne. But previous to their investing him with regal authority, they sought from him a promise that he would lighten their burthens, and redress their grievances. That they had been aggrieved and burthened in some degree, we may easily conceive; because the keeping of seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, together with the building of temples for them all, and maintaining of worship for so many idols, in addition to all the expenses of his own government, must have necessitated Solomon to lay heavy taxes upon his subjects. But still the taxes were not such an intolerable grievance, when it is considered how much wealth Solomon had brought into the kingdom, and what peace and prosperity they had enjoyed during the whole of his reign. Had they complained of the licentiousness and idolatry which Solomon had introduced, and sought the removal of those great abuses, they would have acted well: but it was not about God’s honour that they were concerned; they regarded nothing but their own interests: and, like the generality of discontented patriots, they overlooked all the blessings they had enjoyed under his government, and were unreasonably clamorous about the taxes levied for its support.

Rehoboam took three days to consider of the proposal; and by this delay he at once discovered his unwillingness to comply with their wishes, and gave them time to form and mature a conspiracy against him. He first consulted the old men, who had been his father’s counsellors; but, not relishing their sage advice, he consulted his own young companions; who recommended rather a system of intimidation: this was more congenial with his own pride; but it exasperated to the utmost those whom by conciliatory measures he might easily have won [Note: ver. 5–14.].

The event was such as might have been foreseen: the ten tribes would no longer acknowledge any allegiance to the house of David, but appointed a king of their own, even Jeroboam, whom they had sent for out of Egypt, to be an head, or centre of union to them, on the present emergency [Note: ver. 2, 3.]. The contemptuous way in which they spake of David was most ungrateful, seeing that his whole life had been spent in their service [Note: ver. 16.]: but past obligations weigh but little with men irritated by a sense of present injuries.

The mode adopted to appease their minds, was no less absurd than the measure by which they had been incensed. Rehpboam sent Adoram, his tax-gatherer, the most obnoxious of all persons, to confer with them: but him they immediately stoned to death [Note: ver. 18.].

Rehoboam then fled to Jerusalem, and raised a large army of a hundred and eighty thousand men from among the two remaining tribes, to reduce the rebels by force: but God sent a prophet to him, and to the whole army, forbidding them to proceed, and declaring that the whole matter had been ordered by God himself: “Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up nor fight against your brethren, the children of Israel: return every man to his own house; for this thing it from me.”]

That this thins was from God, we now proceed to shew—

[Hitherto nothing had appeared to be from God, except the sending of a prophet to declare his will respecting the prosecution of the war: but the whole was really of God, in its rise, its progress, and its termination.

From God it took its rise. On account of Solomon’s transgressions, God declared to Solomon himself that he would rend the ten tribes out of the hand of his son, and give them to his servant [Note: 1 Kings 11:11-13.]. He sent also a prophet to Jeroboam, to announce to him, by a very expressive emblem, that ten of the tribes should be taken from Solomon on account of his iniquities, and be given to him [Note: 1 Kings 11:26-35.]. These matters were well known to all Israel; for Solomon had on this account sought to kill Jeroboam [Note: 1 Kings 11:40.]; and constrained him to flee to Egypt for protection: and from thence had the ten tribes sent for him as soon as Solomon was dead. Jeroboam was indeed of an ambitious turn of mind, particularly after he had been raised by Solomon from a low station to a place of great honour and authority [Note: 1 Kings 11:37.]; but it was the declaration of God’s purpose that called it forth into activity, and directed all the ten tribes to look to him as their future head.

Every step of its progress must also be traced to the same source. The complaints of the tribes, and the infatuation of the young monarch, might be supposed to originate wholly with themselves, and to spring entirely from the discontent of the one, and from the other’s pride: and it is true, that God did not infuse these evil dispositions into their minds: but it is also true that he suffered these dispositions to rage, and the collision to arise, on purpose that he might accomplish his own purposes by them. This is expressly asserted in the history before us: “The king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform hit saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat [Note: ver. 15.]”

That its termination was from him is plainly declared in the words of our text; “This thing (from first to last) is from me:” and, that it was from him, he shewed, by constraining Rehoboam, and the whole army that he had raised, to acquiesce immediately in the loss they had sustained, and to rest satisfied with having all the other tribes for rivals and enemies, whom hitherto they had had for friends and brethren.

Now this kind of statement is by no means uncommon in the Holy Scriptures. God is often represented as overruling both men and devils for the accomplishment of his own purposes. God had determined to deliver the Amorites into the hand of Israel, though he would not deliver into their hand either Moab or Edom. Hence he influenced the minds of both the Moabites and Edomites to supply his people with food for money, that they might be spared; and equally influenced the minds of the Amorites to refuse that succour, that they might be destroyed [Note: Deuteronomy 2:28-30.]. In like manner he left king Amaziah to disregard the warnings of the prophet, whom he had sent to remonstrate with him about his idolatries; “because God had determined to destroy him [Note: 2 Chronicles 25:14-16.].” The agency of evil spirits is also sometimes called in for the same end. In the case of Ahab, a whole host of them were permitted of God to stimulate the false prophets to give such counsel to Ahab as should infallibly terminate in his ruin [Note: 1 Kings 22:22-23.]. In a word, the whole conspiracy of Jews and Gentiles against our blessed Lord, under the same infallible direction, accomplished in every particular, “what God’s hand and his counsel had determined before to be done [Note: Acts 4:27-28.].” The doctrine of our text therefore, though strange at first sight, is no other than what the Scriptures plainly and universally assert.]

Let us then proceed to,

II. Make some reflections upon it—

In contemplating Jehovah as he is represented in this place, we must of necessity observe,

1. How sovereign his power!

[God gave the kingdom to Saul; then rent it from him, and gave it to David and Solomon; then reduced it to two tribes only, in the hands of Rehoboam, giving the other ten to Jeroboam. In all this he acted sovereignly, disposing of it according to the counsel of his own will. And thus he does in all the kingdoms upon earth [Note: Daniel 2:21.]: “He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou [Note: Daniel 4:17; Daniel 4:35.]?” Nor is this true in reference to kingdoms only: he disposes equally of families and individuals; “He is the judge; he putteth down one, and setteth up another [Note: Psalms 75:7.].”

How effectually does this consideration cut off all occasion for pride in those who are elevated, and for complaint in those that are debased! for as, on the one hand, “they who have received a gift can never reasonably boast as if they had not received it,” so, on the other hand, every sufferer must say, “I was still and opened not my mouth, because them didst it.” Seeing then of what practical use this reflection is, let us recur to it on all occasions, for the humbling of our minds in prosperity, and the quieting of them in adversity.]

2. How mysterious his influence!

[In all the circumstances before mentioned, the different persons acted freely; and yet, as we have seen, were overruled by God in every step they took. How incomprehensible is this to our finite understandings! We know not how spirit acts upon matter; how then can we expect to know in what manner the Spirit of God acts upon our spirits! Yet if we know from experience that our own spirit does assuredly act upon our material body, we may be equally assured, upon the testimony of God, that there is a spiritual influence exercised by him upon the mind of his people. There is indeed a considerable difference between the mode in which that is exercised towards the godly, and the ungodly: in influencing the ungodly, he merely gives scope for the exercise of dispositions which already exist in their own minds; but, in influencing the godly, he first infuses holy dispositions into their minds, and then calls forth those dispositions into exercise by the operation of his own grace, exciting and strengthening the soul for the duties to which it is called.

Do we not then see, that God only is to be feared? that, if we secure his favour, not all the universe can hurt us? Let a Laban, or an Esau, come forth against us, God can restrain his rage [Note: Genesis 31:29; Genesis 33:1; Genesis 33:4.], and make “the wrath of man to praise him:” or let an enraged army determine to destroy us, he can by a single word assuage their malice, and avert the storm. “The hearts of kings are in his hand as the rivers of water, and he turneth them whithersoever he will [Note: Proverbs 21:1. If this were a subject for the Fifth of November, it might here be shewn in what a mysterious way God preserved our nation from the plot that had been formed for its destruction.].” “If therefore God be for us, we may be sure that none can be against us.”]

3. How sure his word!

[In the instance before us it was fulfilled, notwithstanding all the parties strove to counteract it. The ten tribes would have submitted to Rehoboam’s yoke, if only he had spoken kindly to them at first: they had no design in the first instance to separate from him. The advice of the young men was given with a view to keep the people in subjection by fear: and the determination of the army was to reduce them by force. Thus all endeavoured to preserve the kingdom entire; yet all were accessory to the division of it. Thus shall every word of God be fulfilled in its season. If that did not fail which depended, so to speak, on the voluntary actions of men, much less shall that which shall be executed by God alone. He has told us that “the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven;” but that “the wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the people that forget God:” and shall either of those declarations fall to the ground? No; not a jot or tittle of them shall ever fail. O that we may be wise, and learn to “tremble at the word of God,” whilst yet we may escape his threatenings, and secure the possession of his promised inheritance!]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This thing is from me; this event is from my counsel and providence, to punish Solomon’s apostacy, though they procured it by sinful means; and therefore, if you proceed, you must fight with me as well as them.

They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord; either from conscience of their duty, or because they durst not oppose so potent an adversary.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

24.Returned to depart — They turned from their attempt to go and fight Jeroboam, and went or returned to their homes. The reading in 2 Chronicles 11:4, is, They returned from going against Jeroboam.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Them. This shews the great authority of Semeias. He wrote the history of Roboam, 2 Paralipomenon xii. 15. He also foretold the irruption of Sesac, to punish the house of Israel; but not to destroy it. (Calmet) --- The obedience of Roboam deserves applause; though it would have been a vain attempt to resist God, who was resolved to punish his family. (Menochius) --- God must have touched the hearts of the leaders, to convince them that he spoke by the mouth of Semeias. (Salien) --- The Vatican Septuagint here subjoins almost the whole history of Jeroboam, improperly. (Haydock) See chap. xiv.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

this thing: i.e. the division of the kingdom. Not the rebellion of Jeroboam. Compare 2 Chronicles 13:4-12.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
Ye shall not go up
Numbers 14:42; 2 Chronicles 11:4; 25:7,8; 28:9-13
for this thing
15; 11:29-38; Hosea 8:4
They hearkened
2 Chronicles 25:10; 28:13-15
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 14:7 - Forasmuch;  1 Kings 14:30 - General1 Kings 22:36 - Every man;  2 Chronicles 10:15 - the cause;  Acts 5:39 - if

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:24". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".