Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 14:15

"For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abijah;   Government;   Groves;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Jeroboam;   Judgments;   Prophecy;   Reed;   Thompson Chain Reference - Anger;   Captivity of Israel and Judah;   False;   God;   God's;   Groves;   Idolatry;   Israel;   Israel-The Jews;   Jews;   Judah, Captivity of;   Reeds;   Righteous-Wicked;   Wicked, the;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   Wrath-Anger;   The Topic Concordance - Bearing Fruit;   Idolatry;   Israel/jews;   Sin;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Calves of Jeroboam;   Groves;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abijah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ahijah;   Jeroboam;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Canon (1);   Easton Bible Dictionary - Cane;   Jeroboam;   Reed;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahijah;   Isaiah;   Israel;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abijah;   Ahijah;   Flowers;   Root;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abijah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Amazement;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abijah ;   Ahijah ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ahi'ah;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jeroboam;   Reed;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Provocation;   Reed;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abijah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ahijah (the Prophet);  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For the Lord shall smite Israel - See this prophecy fulfilled, 1 Kings 15:28-30, when Baasha destroyed all the house and posterity of Jeroboam.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The general prophecy of Moses Deuteronomy 29:28, that the disobedient Israelites would be rooted up out of their land, and cast into another land, is here for the first time repeated, and is definitively applied to the ten tribes, which are to be removed “beyond the river” (the Euphrates, 1 Kings 4:21, 1 Kings 4:24), and “scattered.” On the fulfillment of this prophecy, and especially on the “scattering” of the ten tribes, see 2 Kings 17:6 note.

Groves - See Exodus 34:13 note. The grove or, “asherah”-) worship, adopted from the Canaanite nations, appears to have died away after the fierce onslaught which Gideon made upon it Judges 6:25-31. It now revived, and became one of the most popular of the idolatries both in Israel and Judah (1 Kings 14:23, and compare the marginal references).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-14.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

PROPHECIES OF THE REMOVAL OF ISRAEL FROM PALESTINE; THEIR DEPORTION BEYOND THE EUPHRATES; AND OF THEIR EVENTUAL JUDICIAL HARDENING

"For Jehovah will smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and he will root up Israel out of this good land which he gave to their fathers, and scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking Jehovah to anger. And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he hath sinned, and wherewith he hath made Israel to sin."

"He will root up Israel out of this good land ... and scatter them beyond the River" (1 Kings 14:15). Many of the scholars which we have consulted on this chapter are of no help whatever. Here we have one of the great O.T. prophecies, spoken long centuries before its fulfillment, regarding the removal of Israel from Palestine and the scattering of them beyond the Euphrates; but the critical community which have assigned to themselves the task of getting rid of all predictive prophecy in the Bible, reject this prophecy out of hand. How?

They declare that the words of this prophecy are not from God at all, but from a "Deuteronomist editor,"[1] or that they are merely, "A statement of the philosophy of the final editors of Kings."[2]

This writer is unwilling to allow any human being, regardless of his alleged scholarship, to take a passage from the Holy Bible which is there attributed to one of God's prophets, and which is certified unto us under the declaration that, "Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel," and then to write that, "The prophecy is merely the opinion of the historian," and that it was falsely put into the mouth of God's prophet by some mythical editor living centuries afterward. This writer has never seen a single line of proof regarding such false theories, and, if the critics can prove it, why haven't they done it? We feel only pity for those who may be willing to accept the imaginations of critics instead of the Bible.

To this writer, that type of Biblical commentary is nothing but unbelief, and our reaction to it is the same as that of the apostle Paul, "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). If one should allow such false "explanations" of any prophecy, it would be the equivalent of discarding the Holy Bible and allowing the enemies of Christianity to re-write it!

In this passage, we are confronted with the fundamental conflict between our acceptance of this Bible as the true Word of God and the evil insinuations of many writers to the effect that it is no such thing. If they do not believe it is the Word of God, why should they discuss it at all? If, as some affirm, it is merely the philosophy of later editors, it is less than worthless. And to repeat the question, "Why do they write about it"? We believe the true answer for some such writers, at least, is that their purpose is to destroy Christian faith.

"He will give Israel up, because of ... sin" (1 Kings 14:16). This prophecy of God is just as wonderful as the other one in this passage. It is amazing that none of the commentators available to us has even mentioned this, and yet it is one of the great O.T. prophecies regarding Israel, namely, that God would "give them up." The first chapter of Romans explains what it means when God "gives up" a people, or a person (Romans 1:24,26,28). It is the same as judicial hardening, blinding, darkening of the mind, or the sending of a strong delusion. Like all other prophecies of God, this one also was fulfilled. Isaiah stated that it had already happened (Isaiah 6:9-10), and his statement is repeatedly quoted in the N.T. (Matthew 13:13ff and Acts 28:26ff).

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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 14:15". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-kings-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the Lord shall smite Israel as a reed is shaken in the water,.... Either by the wind or by the stream; and may signify the fluctuating and uncertain condition Israel should be in future reigns, through civil wars, and the translation of the kingdom into different families; so that there was continually disquietude and uneasiness, and no settled peace and tranquillity:

and he shall root up Israel out this good land he gave to their fathers; which was brought about, first by Tiglathpileser, and then by Shalmaneser, kings of Assyria, that carried them captives from hence:

and shall scatter them beyond the river; the river Euphrates, as the Targum: or, as others, the river Gozan, 2 Kings 17:6.

because they have made their groves, provoking the Lord to anger: in which groves they placed idols, and worshipped them, which was highly provoking to the Lord, and the cause of their dispersion.

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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 14:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-14.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the m river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.

(m) Meaning the Euphrates.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-14.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.

Is shaken — Hither and thither, with every wind. So shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars; by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people.

The river — Euphrates, so called by way of eminency, this was accomplished in part2Kings15:29, and more fully, 2 Kings 17:6.

Groves — For the worship of their idols, God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is in the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves.

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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 14:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.

Ver. 15. As a reed is shaken in the water.] That never resteth, being in continual motion by wind and water, see 1 Samuel 25:29; the soul of a wicked man is "in a sling," violently tossed with infinite turmoils and restless.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-14.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 14:15. The river The river Euphrates.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-14.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Lord shall smite Israel, because they obeyed Jeroboam’s wicked command of worshipping the calves, and that willingly, Hosea 5:11.

As a reed is shaken in the water; easily and variously, hither and thither, with every wind; so shall the kingdom and people of Israel be always in an unquiet and unsettled posture, tossed to and fro by foreign invasions and civil wars, by opposite kings and factions, and by the dissensions of the people. See 2 Kings 17:18.

Beyond the river, to wit, Euphrates, oft so called by way of eminency, as Genesis 15:18 31:21 1 Kings 4:21,24. This was accomplished in part, 2 Kings 15:29, and more fully 2 Kings 17:6.

Because they have made their groves, for the worship of their idols, Exodus 34:13 Deuteronomy 16:21. God having before condemned the making and worshipping of the calves, by which they designed or pretended to worship the true God; he now takes notice that they were not contented with the calves, but (as it is the nature of idolatry, and all sin, to proceed from evil to worse) were many of them fallen into another and a worse kind of idolatry, even their worship of the heathenish Baals, which they commonly exercised in groves. See Poole "1 Kings 18:19".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.Smite Israel’ root up Israel’ scatter them beyond the river — Here is the first positive announcement of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles as a punishment of Israel’s sins. Already, in earlier times, had a rooting up and scattering of the people been threatened in case of disobedience, (Deuteronomy 28:63; Deuteronomy 29:27; Joshua 23:16,) but Ahijah is the first of that long line of prophets that hold up exile beyond the river Euphrates as a certainly coming woe.

Groves — Thus our version, after the Septuagint and Vulgate, renders אשׁרה. Other versions render it, a wooden pillar or a tree. The word, however, is the proper name of a heathen goddess, Asherah. Compare Judges 3:7; and 1 Kings 18:19. It is another form for Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians. Asherah was their female, as Baal was their male divinity. In the plural, as here, and often elsewhere, it seems to be used in the more general sense of idols, or images of false gods, and may well be rendered simply idols; that is, the image-pillars of Asherah.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-14.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

For YHWH will smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he will root up Israel out of this good land which he gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking YHWH to anger.”

What was more, in coming days YHWH would smite Israel in the same way as a reed bends before the wind in the water, and would root them out of their good land and scatter them Beyond The River (in Mesopotamia). And He would do this because they had made their Asherah-images, thus provoking YHWH to anger. To be scattered ‘beyond the River’ was to be cast out of the land which YHWH had given to His people (Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4; etc.). This was the fate which YHWH had constantly warned them about (Leviticus 18:28; Leviticus 20:22; Leviticus 26:33; Leviticus 26:38-39; Deuteronomy 28:64-65; Deuteronomy 29:27). It was simply taking God at His word.

The Asherah may have been images of the fertility goddess, or wooden poles which represented her, which were found in every syncretistic high place. Either way the fact that they were found in the sanctuaries of Israel demonstrated how far worship of the Canaanite gods and goddesses had been introduced (see Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3 where such things were to be destroyed).

The idea of being scattered in Mesopotamia also presented the horrifying picture of being taken so far away from their land that they would never return. Local prisoners of war, or those taken captives as slaves by neighbouring countries, always had a hope of restoration in one way or another, especially as it was part of YHWH’s future inheritance, but at this stage of history being taken Beyond the River meant going somewhere where there was no hope of release at the hands of an unknown people. They would be away from God’s inheritance. It was seen as the worst fate imaginable. The point behind this was that because they themselves had involved themselves in the Canaanite religion, they would be treated like the Canaanites should have been and driven from the land into a place from which they would not return. No particular foe was necessarily in mind, but no doubt news of the powerful states to the north had reached Israel through traders, and it would bring back to mind the examples from their own history when such a thing had happened. They knew from their history stories of the kings who had invaded from Beyond the River in the time of Abraham, kings who had taken captive slaves with them, and they further knew of the invasion by Cushan-rishathaim in Judges 3:8-11 which had troubled their land for so long. They therefore had something to go on.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-kings-14.html. 2013.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Water. The kingdom of Israel was continually agitated with wars. --- River Euphrates, by degrees. The kings of Assyria verified these predictions; and we know not what is become of these ten tribes. (Calmet) --- To provoke. These people did not perhaps design (Haydock) to make God their enemy, no more than their king did, ver. 9. But their actions had that effect. Such expressions denote not the final cause, but the sequel of other facts, without direct intention. (Worthington) --- Yet these sins might probably be called sins of malice. (Haydock) --- They were all involved in ruin, and because they had been accomplices in wickedness. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

smite Israel, [shaking him] as a reed is shaken, &c. The Figure of speech Ellipsis (App-6) to be thus supplied.

this good land. Occurs only here and Joshua 23:13, Joshua 23:15. the river: i.e. the Euphrates.

groves = "Asherim.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-14.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(15) And he shall root up Israel.—The first prophecy of future captivity, and that “beyond the river” (Euphrates), is here pronounced against the kingdom of Israel, on account of their share in the idolatry of Jeroboam, and in the worse abominations of the “groves.” Of all such utterances we must remember the express declaration of Jeremiah 18:7-8 : “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation . . . to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy; if that nation . . . turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” The prophecy uttered does not foreclose the probation of future ages. This is, after all, only one illustration of the great truth that—however impossible it is for us to comprehend the mystery—the foreknowledge of God does not preclude the freedom and responsibility of man.

The metaphor is of the reed shaken to and fro in the river, till at last it is rooted up, swept down the stream, and cast up on some distant shore.

Their groves.—The word rendered “grove” is properly Asherah, an idol: apparently the straight stem of a tree, surmounted by an emblem of the goddess represented (whence, perhaps, the wrong translation which, from the LXX. and Vulgate, has made its way into our version). (See Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:2; Judges 3:7; Judges 6:25; Judges 6:28, &c.) It is thought to have been an image of some deity like Astarte; and Gesenius infers from the derivation of the name that it was dedicated to her, as the goddess of good fortune. But the worship dates from a far earlier time than the introduction of the worship of the Tyrian Astarte, and the word itself is etymologically distinct from Ashtoreth or Ashtaroth. It is notable that in 2 Kings 23:15 Josiah is said not only to have destroyed the altar and high places at Bethel, but to have “burned the Asherah;” whence it may probably be concluded that (as is perhaps implied in this passage) the old worship of the Asherah, with all its superstitious and profligate accompaniments, grew up under the very shadow of the newer idolatry. From the worship of images as emblems to superstitious veneration of the images themselves, and thence to worship of many gods, the transition is unhappily only too easy.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
the Lord
1 Samuel 12:25; 2 Kings 17:6,7
as a reed
Matthew 11:7; Luke 7:24
root up Israel
Deuteronomy 29:28; Psalms 52:5; Proverbs 2:22; Amos 2:9; Zephaniah 2:4; Matthew 15:13
this good land
Leviticus 26:32-34,43; Deuteronomy 4:26,27; 28:36,63-68; 29:24-28; Joshua 23:15,16
shall scatter
2 Kings 15:29; 17:6,23; 18:11,12; Amos 5:27; Acts 7:43
beyond the river
i.e., Beyond the river Euphrates. because.
Exodus 34:13,14; Deuteronomy 12:3,4; Isaiah 1:28,29
provoking
9,23,24
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 16:21 - General2 Kings 17:16 - a grove;  2 Kings 21:16 - beside his sin;  Hosea 9:17 - because

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-14.html.