Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:32

Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Altar;   Beth-El;   Bul;   Calf;   Church and State;   Idolatry;   Jeroboam;   Month;   Religion;   Rulers;   Statecraft;   Tabernacles, Feast of;   Thompson Chain Reference - False;   Idolatry;   Jeroboam;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Calves of Jeroboam;   High Places;   Rebellion against God;   Sins, National;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - High Places;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Israel;   Jeroboam;   Jerusalem;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ethics;   King, Kingship;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Aholah;   Old Testament;   Pentateuch;   Tabernacles, Feast of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Bethel;   Golden Calf;   High Place;   Idol;   Jeroboam;   King, Kingship;   Transportation and Travel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Bethel;   Calf, Golden;   Israel;   King;   Rehoboam,;   Solomon;   Tabernacles, Feast of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Dates (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Bethel ;   Calf, Golden;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Beth-aven;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - High places;   Israel kingdom of;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Idolatry,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jeroboam;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Altar;   Apostasy;   Bethel;   Calf, Golden;   High Place;   Ordain;   Temple;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bethel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ab, Fifteenth Day of;   High Place;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ordained a feast - The Jews held their feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month; Jeroboam, who would meet the prejudices of the people as far as he could, appointed a similar feast on the fifteenth of the eighth month; thus appearing to hold the thing while he subverted the ordinance.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A feast - Intended as a substitute for the Feast of tabernacles (marginal reference “c”). It may also have assumed the character of a feast of dedication, held at the same time, after the example of Solomon 1 Kings 8:2. His object in changing the month from the seventh to the eighth, and yet keeping the day of the month, is not clear. Perhaps it was on account of the later vintage of the more northern regions. It is remarkable that Josephus places the scene in the “seventh” month. He therefore, was not aware that the people of Israel kept the feast of tabernacles a month later than their brethren of Judah. The expression “he offered upon the altar” (see the margin and Exodus 20:26) shows that Jeroboam himself officiated as priest, and offered this sacrifice - at Bethel, not at Dan; where it is possible that the priests descended from Jonathan, the son of Gershom and grandson of Moses, undertook the services (Judges 18:30 note).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "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 Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah,.... The feast of tabernacles, which was on the fifteenth day of the seventh month; this was done chiefly for the sake of an alteration; though Abarbinel thinks, because the fruits of the land were not so soon ripe nor so soon gathered, in the northern parts of the land, as nearer Jerusalem, he judged this month the fittest for the feast of ingathering the fruits; and he might hope to get more people to come to his feast, when all were gathered in:

and he offered upon the altar (so he did in Bethel), sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: this he did by his priests, or rather he himself did it, see 1 Kings 13:4, this shows that Jeroboam made these calves for worship, and did sacrifice to them, at least as representations of God. Abarbinel, to make this agree with his hypothesis, gives this sense of the clause, that he did not sacrifice to the calves, but to God, because of them, that his kingdom, which they were a sign of, might be continued; and there being but one calf in a place, he could not be said to sacrifice to them both, but to God, because of both; or else he thinks this must be done after the people had turned aside to them, and not when Jeroboam made them. The clause in the parenthesis, "so he did in Bethel", intimates that he did the same in Bethel as in Dan, of which what is said before is spoken; that is, that he made an house of high places in Bethel also, made priests out of all the people, such as were not of the tribe of Levi, appointed the feast of the fifteenth day of the eighth month to be observed there also, and he himself offered on the altar there:

and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made: to officiate 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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the o fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that [is] in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

(o) Because he would bind the people's devotion to his idolatry even more, he made a new holy day, besides those that the Lord had appointed in the law.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-12.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

A feast — The feast of tabernacles. So he would keep God's feast, not in God's time, which was the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and so onward, Leviticus 23:34, but on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. And this alteration he made, either, 1. to keep up the difference between his subjects, and those of Judah as by the differing manners, so by the distinct times of their worship. Or, 2. lest he should seem directly to oppose the God of Israel, (who had in a special manner obliged all the people to go up to Jerusalem at that time,) by requiring their attendance to celebrate the feast elsewhere, at the same time. Or, 3. to engage as many persons as possibly he could, to come to his feast; which they would more willingly do when the feast at Jerusalem was past and all the fruits of the earth were perfectly gathered in.

Fifteenth day — And so onward till the seven days ended.

Like that in Judah — He took his pattern thence, to shew, that he worshipped the same God, and professed the same religion for substance, which they did: howsoever he differed in circumstances.

He offered — Either, 1. by his priests. Or, rather, 2. by his own hands; as appears from chap13:1,4, which he did, to give the more countenance to his new-devised solemnity. Nor is this strange; for he might plausibly think, that he who by his own authority had made others priests might much more exercise a part of that office; at least, upon an extraordinary occasion; in which case, he knew David himself had done some things, which otherwise he might not do.

So he did — He himself did offer there in like manner, as he now had done at Dan.

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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 12:32". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-12.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

eighth month i.e. November. 1 Kings 12:33.

altar See 1 Kings 12:25-33; Deuteronomy 12:4-14. (See Scofield "Amos 4:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 1 Kings 12:32". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/1-kings-12.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that [is] in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

Ver. 32. Like unto the feast,] viz., The feast of tabernacles, but not in the same month. Satan Dei simia:

Simia quam similis turpissima bestia nobis! ” - Ennius.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". 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 12:32. Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, &c.— As the Jews had their feast of tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, so Jeroboam had a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, which he instituted of his own accord. Some suppose, that as this feast was appointed by God to be observed after the gathering in of the fruits, which might be sooner ripe in Jerusalem than in the northern parts of the country, so Jeroboam might pretend that the eighth month would be a better time for it than the seventh, because then they would every where be gathered. Others imagine, that he might have this farther deign in the alteration of the month, namely, that the people of Judah, when their own feast was over a month before at Jerusalem, might have an opportunity to come to his if their curiosity led them: but the plain case is, that he did every thing that he could in opposition to the established religion, and his chief intent was to alienate the people from Jerusalem. See Vatablus, and Bedford's Scripture Chron. book 6: ch. 2.

Note; 1. Image worship, however vindicated or palliated by the papists, is abominable idolatry. 2. They who think to secure their safety by sin, only hasten the ruin they would avoid. 3. All pretences to religious zeal, contrary to God's revealed will, are but the devices of Satan more fatally to delude men's souls.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". 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

Either,

1. A feast of dedication, like that which was in Judah, at the dedication of the temple. Or rather,

2. The feast of tabernacles, as may be thought, 1. Because that began on the fifteenth day of the month, Leviticus 23:34.

2. Because he is not blamed for devising the feast, (which thereby seems to have been of God’s appointment,) but only for devising the month, 1 Kings 12:33; for keeping God’s feast, not in God’s time, which was the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and so onward, Leviticus 23:34; but on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. And this alteration he made, either,

1. To keep up the difference between his subjects and those of Judah, as by the differing manners, so by the distinct times of their worship. Or,

2. Lest he should seem directly to oppose the God of Israel, (who had in a special manner obliged all the people to go up to Jerusalem at that time, Deuteronomy 16:16) by requiring their attendance to celebrate the feast elsewhere at the same time. Or,

3. To engage as many persons as possibly he could to come to his feast; which they would more willingly do, when the feast at Jerusalem was past, and all the fruits of the earth were most perfectly gathered in.

On the fifteenth day of the month; and so onward till the seven days ended. He took his pattern thence, to show that he worshipped the same God, and professed the same religion for substance, which they did; howsoever he differed in circumstances, as here he did in the time.

He offered; either,

1. By his priests. Or rather,

2. By his own hands; as appears from 1 Kings 13:1,4; which he did, to give the more countenance to his new-devised solemnity. Nor is this strange; for he might plausibly think, that he who by his own authority had made others priests, might much more exercise a part of that office; at least, upon an extraordinary occasion; in which case he knew David himself had done some things, which otherwise he might not do.

So did he in Beth-el, i.e. he himself did offer there in like manner, as he now had done at Dan.

Unto the calves; for they were two, 1 Kings 12:29.

He placed in Beth-el the priests; as he had done at Dan, 1 Kings 12:31.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". 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

32.A feast in the eighth month — Solomon fixed upon the feast of tabernacles in the seventh mouth (1 Kings 8:2) for the dedication of the temple, and Jeroboam selects the same feast for the dedication of his house at the high place in Beth-el, but he ordains that it be held a month later there than it was in Judah. “A plausible occasion for this arbitrary deviation from the law, which repeatedly names the seventh month as the time appointed of the Lord, (Leviticus 23:34; Leviticus 23:39; Leviticus 23:41,) might be found in the circumstance that in the northern districts of his kingdom the grain ripened at least a month later than in the southern Judah, and this festival was to be kept at the ingathering of the fruit of the land.” — Keil.

The fifteenth day — “He adhered to the day of the month,” says the same writer, “on account of the weak, who might take offence at the innovations.”

The feast that is in Judah — The feast of tabernacles, that continued to be celebrated in Judah according to the law.

He offered upon the altar — This need not be pressed to mean that Jeroboam himself offered the sacrifices at Beth-el, any more than 1 Kings 8:63-64, to show that Solomon did the same. The ministry of the priests is to be supposed in either case. But with Jeroboam, who had already gone so far as to ordain priests contrary to the law, it were no strange thing to even sacrilegiously perform with his own hand the sacred duties of the priesthood, and 1 Kings 13:1; 1 Kings 13:4, seem quite clearly to indicate that he did at least burn the incense himself.

So he did in Beth-el — The frequent mention of Beth-el in this passage shows that it was regarded as the more important of the two high places.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "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 12:32. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the eighth month, &c. — The feast of tabernacles; which by the law was to be celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. His chief intention in this change, no doubt, was to alienate the people from the rites observed at Jerusalem. “Some suppose, with Mr. Locke, that as this feast was appointed by God to be observed after the gathering in of the fruits, which might be sooner ripe about Jerusalem than in the northern parts of the country; so Jeroboam might pretend that the eighth month would be a better time for it than the seventh, because then they would everywhere be gathered.” Add to this, he might possibly have two other reasons for making this alteration: 1st, Lest he should seem directly to oppose the God of Israel, who had in a special manner commanded all the people to go up to Jerusalem on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, if he should require their attendance to celebrate the feast elsewhere at the same time: and, 2d, That by appointing his feast to be kept a month after that at Jerusalem was past, he might give those of the people of Judah an opportunity of attending it, whose curiosity might lead them so to do; and thereby might ensure the presence of a greater concourse of people to honour his institution. On the fifteenth day — And so forward till the seven days were ended. Like that in Judah — From whence he took his pattern, to show that he worshipped the same God, and professed the same religion, for substance, which they did, however he differed in circumstances. He offered upon the altar — With his own hands, as appears from 1 Kings 13:1-4, which he did to give the more countenance to his newly-devised solemnity. And it is no marvel, that he, who assumed a power to make priests, should undertake to do the priests’ work with his own hands. So he (Jeroboam) did in Beth-el — Sacrificing there also, as well as in Dan, to the calves that he had made — Or, to Jehovah, as he pretended, under the image of these calves. And he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places — Having built a house or temple there also, as well as in Dan, and set up many altars in it where these priests officiated, as was done in other high places.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Day. God had prescribed the seventh month, (Calmet) and this wicked prince purposely made choice of another, that the observance of the days appointed might be obliterated. Thus the Jacobins, in France, decreed that the tenth day should be the day of rest, instead of Sunday. (Haydock) --- Religious assemblies tend greatly to promote the spirit of concord and peace.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

offered = offered up. App-43.

So did he, &c. Note the Figure of speech Parenthesis. App-6.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "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

(32) In the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month . . .—The “feast that was in Judah,” to which this is said to be like, is clearly the Feast of Tabernacles, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The fixing of Jeroboam’s festival of dedication for the Temple at Bethel to this special day is characteristic. It at once challenged likeness to the Feast of Tabernacles, which was (see 1 Kings 8:2) the occasion of Solomon’s dedication at Jerusalem, and yet took liberty to alter the date, and fix it in the month “which he had devised of his own heart,” thus assuming the right to set aside the letter of the old law, while professing still to observe the worship of Jehovah.

Offered—or (see margin) went up—upon the altar.—The expression seems to imply that he ventured on a still greater innovation by taking on himself both functions of the priestly office—to offer sacrifice and (see 1 Kings 12:33) to burn incense. This is not, indeed, necessarily implied; for (see 1 Kings 8:63) the sacrificer is often said to offer, when he evidently does so only through the priests. But Jeroboam had set aside the peculiar sanctity of the Levitical priesthood already; and so was very naturally prepared to crown this process by acting as head of the unauthorised priesthood which he had created. Perhaps he had witnessed the exclusive prominence of Solomon at the great dedication festival, and desired to imitate and outdo it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
like unto
8:2,5; Leviticus 23:33,34-44; Numbers 29:12-40; Ezekiel 43:8; Matthew 15:8,9
offered upon the altar
or, went up to the altar. sacrificing. or, to sacrifice. he placed.
Amos 7:10-13
Reciprocal: Exodus 32:4 - calf;  Exodus 32:5 - a feast;  1 Kings 12:33 - offered upon the altar;  1 Kings 13:1 - Jeroboam;  Psalm 94:20 - frameth;  Jeremiah 2:20 - when upon;  Daniel 3:2 - sent;  Hosea 2:11 - her feast;  Amos 7:13 - for;  Amos 8:14 - sin

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:32". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-12.html.