Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:29

He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Beth-El;   Calf;   Church and State;   Dan;   Ephraim;   Jeroboam;   Religion;   Rulers;   Statecraft;   Thompson Chain Reference - Beth-El;   Dan;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Calves of Jeroboam;   Ephraim, Tribe of;   Offence;   Rebellion against God;   Sins, National;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Calf;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Dan;   Israel;   Jeroboam;   Jerusalem;   Palestine;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ethics;   King, Kingship;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Aholah;   Benjamin;   Calf Worship;   Dan (1);   Israel;   Old Testament;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Dan;   Golden Calf;   High Place;   Idol;   Jeroboam;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Aaron;   Calf, Golden;   Dan;   Israel;   Priests and Levites;   Rehoboam,;   Solomon;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bethel ;   Calf, Golden;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Beth-aven;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Bethel;   Calf;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Idolatry,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Dan;   Jeroboam;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Altar;   Apostasy;   Bethel;   Calf, Golden;   Judah, Territory of;   Temple;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bethel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Dan;   Micah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

One in Beth-el, and the other - in Dan - One at the southern and the other at the northern extremity of the land. Solomon's idolatry had prepared the people for Jeroboam's abominations!

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In the first place, Jeroboam consulted the convenience of his subjects, who would thus in no case have very far to go in order to reach one or the other sanctuary. Further, he avoided the danger of reminding them continually that they had no ark - a danger which would have been imminent, had the two cherubs been placed together in one shrine.

He selected Bethel (in the south) for one of his seats of worship, on account of its pre-eminent sanctity. (See the marginal reference; Judges 20:26-28; 1 Samuel 7:16.)

The north of Palestine did not furnish a spot possessing an equally sacred character, but still Dan had to some extent the character of a “holy city” (marginal reference).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-12.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he set the one in Bethel,.... In the southern part of the land, on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin; and the rather he chose this place, because its name signifies the house of God, and had been a sacred place, where Jacob more than once enjoyed the divine Presence:

and the other put he in Dan: in the northern part of the land, for the convenience of the inhabitants of those parts; and the rather, since it had been a place resorted to in former times, because of the teraphim of Micah there.

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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 12:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-12.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

Beth-el, … — Which two places he chose for his peoples conveniency; Beth-el being in the southern, and Dan in the northern parts of his kingdom.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-12.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE GOLDEN CALVES

‘He set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.’

1 Kings 12:29

Jeroboam had the courage and capabilities of the ruler, but he lacked confidence in the Providence of God. He gave himself up to finessing in religious matters that wrought his own undoing and his people’s shame. He knew that he owed his position, not only to the suffrages of the people, but to the election of God, and yet he fell into the very sin which had resulted in part of Rehoboam’s kingdom being wrested from him.

I. Jeroboam’s sin.—This blunder is repeated, or rather aggravated, by Jeroboam, for he initiated a new religious cultus, which was the more mischievous because it was a specious representation of the Jehovah worship, while utterly alien to its central principle. Jeroboam could not himself trust to the wisdom of God to devise means whereby the hearts of the people should be kept loyal to their own chosen king. To obviate the necessity of the people going up to Jerusalem as often as occasion required, Jeroboam set up the calves, one in Beth-el, and the other in Dan, saying, ‘Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt!’ We see that Jeroboam takes counsel with himself and forgets what he owes to God, and what God could do for him; that in fostering the people’s loyalty to God he would be strengthening their loyalty to his own throne. He suffered the penalty of his folly, as all must who seek to circumvent right by the practices of expediency. He suffered in the direction of his fears, though not as he anticipated. The people never recovered from the evil effects of his example and influence. The idolatry he established laid hold upon their habits of mind and heart, so that its spell could only be broken by the nation becoming utterly disorganised, and carried into captivity. Going up to Dan and Beth-el was the beginning of a march that ended in disruption and bondage. Jeroboam’s expedient branded his name with infamy.

II. As an expedient.—This act of Jeroboam’s was wholly false and impolitic. Our acts have issues of which we little dream. The attainment of our purpose forms but a very small part of the consequences of our conduct. What may seem to us at any given time as an act of simple expediency, may in the long run prove to have been the beginning of irreparable mischief. We have to regard tendency, as well as consider the wants of any special occasion. Acts that we may think (as Jeroboam evidently did) will consolidate our power, may prove but the cause of its decadence and overthrow. We cannot step outside the bounds within which God would have us move without being involved in shame and loss. Whatever we substitute for God will bring about our ruin.

III. As a policy.—This act of Jeroboam’s overreached itself, it went too far. There must be no competition set up between God and expediency. The contest is unequal, and there should be no rivalry. What can the calves at Dan and Beth-el do? If they divert attention from the claims of the true God, they leave the real necessity of life unmet; if they turn the thoughts from the main issues of obligation to God, they render less stable all authority and power; if they satisfy the craving for the simple observances of worship, they cannot release the soul from sin. Business, culture, pleasure, success, these as expedients may serve a healthy purpose, provided they are not brought into competition with God; as a policy entered upon in order to supersede or ignore His claims, they are fatal to well-being. Jeroboam is not the only one who has set up idols.

Illustrations

(1) ‘It would seem as though the idea of the calf may have been taken from the great cherubims of Solomon’s Temple “in which the ox or calf was probably the principal form” (1 Kings 6:23). But back of this lies the thought of the ox, as being the plougher, the worker, the bread-winner for the family. The huge human-headed bulls in the palaces of Nineveh express the same thought. The strength and goodness of God in the provision for our daily life seem to be embodied in the ox. Nevertheless no good came of the injurious policy of Jeroboam, for this thing became a sin. Nothing that does this can help a nation’s prosperity. Money gained to the exchequer by the cultivation and sale of opium or liquor is not in the long run profitable. The first step was now taken in the down-grade. This royal road to worship ended ill, as all such short cuts are apt to do. The teaching of this well-laid scheme, in the light of what happened afterwards, is the folly of substituting policy for principle.’

(2) ‘The promise to Jeroboam was, “I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house.” The king ought to have carried his difficulty to God, but he did not. He revealed at once a godless heart. When Cobden, pleading in the early stages of his political career for the hungry artisans of his country, dared to say in the House of Commons that he came there supported by an army of prayers, he was received with derisive cheers. We have heard in our own times sneers at what have been called “Sunday-school politics.” Jeroboam belonged to the class which has no faith in religion as a factor in political life. His character was discovered at the first serious difficulty which threatened him as king.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-12.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.

Ver. 29. And he set the one in Bethel.] At both ends of the land.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-12.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Which two places he chose for his people’s conveniency;

Beth-el being in the southern, and

Dan in the northern parts of his kingdom.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". 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

29.Beth-el’ Dan — Since one of the objects he professed to seek was the convenience of the people, two places of worship would of course be better than one — Beth-el in the southern and Dan in the northern part of the kingdom. Perhaps, also, here was a still closer imitation of the Egyptian calf-worship, in that the two calves might resemble, the one Apis, who was worshipped at Memphis, and the other Mne, who was worshipped at On. There was reason, and policy too, in fixing on Beth-el and Dan. The one was consecrated in the traditions of the people as the place where God appeared to Jacob, and that patriarch had himself called it the house of God. Genesis 28:11-22. There, too, the people had formerly been wont to go up to worship God. 1 Samuel 10:3. And at Dan the teraphim of Micah had been set up, and a religious service established in connexion with it in the days of the judges. Judges 18:30.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "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 12:29. He set the one in Beth-el, &c. — Which two places he chose for the people’s convenience, Beth-el being in the southern, and Dan in the northern part of his kingdom. Add to this, that as Bethel was in every body’s opinion a sacred place, having been consecrated by God’s appearing there more than once to Jacob; so Dan had been famous for the teraphim of Micah, unto which there had been great resort for a long time, 18:30. For such reasons as these it is likely he waived his royal city, which was Shechem, and chose these two places for the worship of the Divine Majesty, whom he pretended he did not forsake, but worshipped by these symbols of his presence.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Bethel and Dan. Bethel was a city of the tribe of Ephraim, in the southern parts of the dominions of Jeroboam, about six leagues from Jerusalem: Dan was in the extremity of his dominions, to the north, on the confines of Syria. (Challoner) --- The Israelites did not hesitate to travel so far, ver. 30. (Calmet) --- Those who lived nearer Bethel, went thither along with their king. (Salien) --- The latter city was assigned to Benjamin, Josue xviii. 22. (Menochius) --- But probably many of the subjects of Jeroboam dwelt in it; so that it was the most southern city of his dominions. It had been consecrated by Jacob, (Genesis xxviii. 19.) and was a famous place of devotion, 1 Kings x. 3. Septuagint (Alexandrian) and St. Cyril (in Osee, p. 5.) read Galgal. Dan had been long before infected with idolatry, Judges xviii. 30.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

one in Beth-el: was desecrated by Josiah (2 Kings 23:15).

in Dan. See note on Genesis 49:17. Carried away by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29). The sons of Jonathan, the grandson of Moses (see note on Judges 18:30), were ready to act as priests.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-12.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) Bethel and Dan, chosen as the frontier towns of the kingdom, had, however, associations of their own, which lent themselves naturally to Jeroboam’s design. Bethel—preserving in its name the memory of Jacob’s vision, and of his consecration of the place as a sanctuary (Genesis 28:19; Genesis 35:14-15)—had been (see Judges 20:18; Judges 20:26; Judges 20:31; Judges 21:2; 1 Samuel 7:16) a place of religious assembly, and, possibly, of occasional sojourn of the Ark. At Dan, it is not unlikely that the use of the local sanctuary, set up at the conquest of the city by the Danites, still lingered; and from the notice in Judges 18:30, that the posterity of Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, were priests till “the day of the captivity of the land,” it seems as if these priests of this old worship became naturally the appointed ministers of the new.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
Beth-el
Genesis 12:8; 28:19; 35:1; Hosea 4:15
Dan
Genesis 14:14; Deuteronomy 34:1; Judges 18:29-31; 20:1; 2 Kings 10:29; Jeremiah 8:16; Amos 8:14
Reciprocal: Joshua 18:22 - Bethel;  1 Samuel 30:27 - Bethel;  1 Kings 13:32 - the houses;  1 Kings 15:20 - Dan;  1 Kings 15:34 - walked;  2 Kings 2:2 - Bethel;  2 Kings 17:28 - in Bethel;  2 Kings 23:4 - Bethel;  Jeremiah 48:13 - as the;  Ezekiel 48:1 - Dan;  Hosea 5:8 - Bethaven;  Amos 7:13 - for

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-12.html.