Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 14:23

For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Groves;   High Places;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Mountain;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Groves;   High Places;   Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gardens;   Rehoboam;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Asherah, asherim;   Baal;   Prostitution;   Rehoboam;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ethics;   Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Gods, false;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Amos;   Baal (1);   Grove;   Idol;   Jerusalem;   Rehoboam;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Asherah;   Fertility Cult;   Gods, Pagan;   Rehoboam;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abijah;   Asherah;   Pillar;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Grove;   Rehoboam ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Abi'jah;   Idolatry,;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Babylonish Captivity, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Apostasy;   Color;   High Place;   Hill;   Idolatry;   Obelisk;   Pillar;   Rehoboam;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ashtoreth;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ammon, Ammonites;   Groves and Sacred Trees;   Pillar;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The words “they also” are emphatic. Not only did the Israelites make themselves high places 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:32, but the people of Judah also. The “high places,” which are said to have been “built,” were probably small shrines or tabernacles hung with bright-colored tapestry Ezekiel 16:16, like the “sacred tent” of the Carthaginians.

The “images” were rather “pillars” (Genesis 28:18 note).

Groves - See 1 Kings 14:15, note. The “groves,” it will be observed, were “built” on high hills and “under green trees.”

Under every green tree - i. e., under all those remarkable trees which, standing singly about the land, were landmarks to their respective neighborhoods, and places of resort to travelers, who gladly rested under their shade Deuteronomy 12:2.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-14.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For they also built them high places,.... Which, though allowed of, or at least connived at, before the temple was built, and when the tabernacle was unfixed, yet afterwards unlawful; and the tribe of Judah could have no excuse for them, who had the temple in their tribe:

and images; contrary to the express command of God, Exodus 20:4,

and groves on every high hill, and under every green tree; that is, set up idols, and temples for idols, amidst groves of trees, and under all green trees; as was the custom of the Heathens, who sacrificed on the heights of hills and tops of mountains, as was particularly the custom of the Persians, as both HerodotusF13Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 131. and XenophonF14Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 45. relate; and with the Getae, a people in Thrace, was a mountain they reckoned sacredF15Strabo Geograph. l. 7. p. 206. .

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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 14:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-14.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

They also — Followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites, and the dreadful example of Israel's horrid apostacy, to caution and terrify them.

High places — Which was unlawful, and, now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command.

Groves — Not only after the manner of the Heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition.

Under every green tree — The people were universally corrupted: which is prodigious, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man's nature.

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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 14:23". "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 14:23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

Ver. 23. For they also built them high places.] They fell to foul idolatry and sodomy, which are called evil by a specialty, [1 Kings 14:22] like as war is called evil, that is, misery, antonomastice [Isaiah 45:7]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-14.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They also built them high places; they followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, and had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, which was denied to the Israelites; and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way, and the counsels, and sermons, and examples of the priests and Levites to and stablish them, and the dreadful example of Israel’s horrid apostacy to caution and terrify them. The building of high places was unlawful, and now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them; unnecessary, and therefore expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command to the contrary.

Images and groves; not only after the manner of the heathens and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition.

Under every green tree: the people were universally corrupted; which is a prodigious sin, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man’s nature, which without God’s grace is ready to break forth into all sorts of wickedness.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". 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

23.High places — Altars on hilltops. See note on 1 Kings 3:2.

Images — Monumental pillars or statues erected to the honor of false gods.

Groves — Rather, wooden idols, erected to the honour of Ashtoreth. See note on 1 Kings 14:15. A prominent height and a shady grove were the places desired by idolaters.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-14.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

High hill. Such places of devotion had been tolerated, before the temple was built: but now they were deemed profane. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

groves. See note on Exodus 34:13, and App-42.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.

Groves, [ 'Asheeriym (Hebrew #842)] - Asherah, wooden or stone images of a symbolical tree, representing the host of heaven (cf. 2 Kings 21:7; 2 Kings 23:6; 2 Kings 23:15 : see 'The Palaces of Nineveh and Persia,' p. 301); according to Gesenius, relievo figures of Astarte, and impure rites, that with unchecked license were observed in them. The description is suited to the character of the Canaanite worship.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(23) High places, and images, and groves.—On the “high places,” see 1 Kings 3:2, and Note there. The “images” of this passage seem undoubtedly to have been stone pillars, as the “groves” (i.e., the asherahs) were wooden stumps of trees (possibly in both cases surmounted by some rude representation of the deity worshipped). The first mention of such a pillar is in Genesis 28:18; Genesis 31:13; Genesis 35:14, there applied to the stone which Jacob raises and anoints, in order to mark the scene of the vision at Bethel; next, we find repeated commands to destroy them (with the asherahs also) as erected by the Canaanites (Exodus 23:24; Exodus 34:13; Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 12:3), and to suffer neither near the altar of the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:21). Like the high places, it seems plain that both might be either unauthorised emblems of God’s presence or images of false gods; and, indeed, the stone pillar appears in some cases to be associated with the worship of Baal, as the Asherah with that of Ashtoreth. In this passage, from the strength of the language used, and from the notice in 1 Kings 14:24, it seems that the grosser idolatry is referred to. It was practised “on every high hill, and every shady tree”—such trees as were notable for size and shade in the bareness of the hills of Palestine.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
built
3:2; Deuteronomy 12:2; Isaiah 57:5; Ezekiel 16:24,25; 20:28,29
images
or, standing images, or statues.
Leviticus 26:1
groves
Micah 5:14; Deuteronomy 12:2; 2 Kings 17:9,10; 21:3-7; 2 Chronicles 28:4; Jeremiah 17:2
under every
Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 3:13
Reciprocal: Leviticus 17:5 - in the open;  1 Kings 14:15 - provoking;  1 Kings 15:12 - all the idols;  1 Kings 20:23 - Their gods;  1 Kings 22:43 - the high;  2 Kings 10:26 - images;  2 Kings 16:4 - on the hills;  2 Kings 17:16 - a grove;  2 Kings 17:19 - Also Judah;  2 Kings 23:6 - the grove;  2 Chronicles 24:18 - And they left;  2 Chronicles 33:3 - made groves;  Jeremiah 3:6 - she is;  Ezekiel 6:13 - upon;  Hosea 4:14 - and they;  Hosea 10:1 - images

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 14:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-14.html.