Scripture reading – 1 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 10

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2 Chronicles 10

2 Chronicles 10 is a parallel record of events in 1 Kings 12. Following the death of King Solomon, Rehoboam, his son, was crowned king of Israel (1 Kings 11:43; 12:1; 2 Chronicles 10:1). Then the ten tribes to the north petitioned Rehoboam to lighten the burdens imposed on them by Solomon, his father. The young king, however, refused his elders’ counsel and followed his peers’ advice, provoking an insurrection in Israel (1 Kings 12:2-15; 2 Chronicles 10:2-15).

Fulfilling Ahijah’s prophecy, the ten northern tribes renounced King Rehoboam, made Jeroboam king (1 Kings 11:29-31), and became known as Israel (1 Kings 12:16-19; 2 Chronicles 10:16-19). The two tribes in the south, Judah and Benjamin, became the nation of Judah. 

The prophet Ahijah entreated Jeroboam for the LORD. He prophesied, “If thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee” (1 Kings 11:38). Jeroboam, however, failed to honor the LORD’s commandments and led Israel into idolatry and great wickedness. The consequence of Jeroboam’s sin is recorded in 1 Kings 14.

1 Kings 14

Though warned by a prophet that his idolatry and wicked ways would not go unpunished (1 Kings 13:1-5), Jeroboam continued in his sin until his son, Abijah, became deathly ill (1 Kings 14:1). Fearing his son would die, Jeroboam commanded his wife to disguise herself and go to Shiloh in Judah. There, she was instructed to ask the prophet Ahijah to reveal “what shall become of the child” (1 Kings 14:2-3). Jeroboam’s wife obeyed, and coming to Shiloh, she entered the prophet Ahijah’s house (1 Kings 14:3-4).

Ahijah Condemned Jeroboam’s Sin and Foretold His Son’s Death (1 Kings 14:5-20)

By now, Ahijah was old and blind (1 Kings 14:5), but the LORD had revealed to him that the wife of King Jeroboam was coming disguised as another woman (1 Kings 14:5). When she arrived at the prophet’s house, he bid her enter, and questioned, “why feigned thou thyself to be another?” (1 Kings 14:6)

Ahijah then condemned Jeroboam’s wickedness and directed his wife to remind her husband that the LORD had made him king in Israel (1 Kings 14:7-8). God would have blessed Jeroboam had he kept His commandments (1 Kings 14:8); however, the king rejected the LORD, made himself an idol, and provoked God’s wrath.

The looming consequence of Jeroboam’s wickedness was that his son would die (1 Kings 14:13). God would raise another family dynasty to be king in Israel (1 Kings 14:14). Ahijah also revealed that Israel would be conquered and taken into captivity “because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 14:15-16).

Ahijah’s prophecy was fulfilled, and as Jeroboam’s wife entered the city and came to the palace, “the child [the son of Jeroboam] died” (1 Kings 14:17-18). Jeroboam died after reigning for 22 years, and his son Nadab was assassinated after he ruled for two years, thus ending Jeroboam’s lineage (1 Kings 15:25-31).

The Sin, Depravity, Humiliation, and Death of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21-31)

Our historical narrative in 1 Kings 14 concludes with a focus on life in Judah (the southern kingdom) during the reign of King Rehoboam, son of Solomon (1 Kings 14:21).

While his father reigned for forty years, Rehoboam reigned for only 17 years, and it was a tumultuous and tragic time in Israel. Rehoboam failed to unite the nation and fulfilled the prophecy that the kingdom would be divided after Solomon’s death. When the northern ten tribes seceded under Jeroboam, the son of Solomon was left ruling two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. While the northern tribes (Israel) worshipped the golden calves made by Jeroboam, the tribes under Rehoboam were no better, for “Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done” (1 Kings 14:22).

Although the Temple was in Jerusalem, and an outward form of worship continued there, the nation committed all manner of wickedness. Prostitution, under the pretense of religion, was present throughout the land (1 Kings 14:23). The depth of depravity to which Judah sank is summed up in this:

“There were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 14:24).

Closing thoughts –

Freedom from moral restraints and traditional conventions is being touted today as a new liberation. Yet, history students understand that what is happening in our society is not new but is the precursor for judgment and societal collapse.

Judah was guilty of the very sins for which the heathen nations before them had been condemned. Sodomy (i.e., homosexuality) is the pinnacle of gross wickedness, and Judah embraced that sin to their demise as a nation. No longer a powerful country shielded by God’s blessings, Israel and Judah rejected the LORD, disobeyed His laws and commandments, and became in servitude to “Shishak king of Egypt” (1 Kings 14:25).

Like every nation that rebels against God and rejects His Law and Commandments, Israel and Judah became impoverished as Shishak “took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made” (1 Kings 14:26).

Defeated and humiliated, King Rehoboam masked Judah’s poverty and replaced the gold shields of Solomon with brass shields he used in public ceremonies (1 Kings 14:27-28). Finally, and as a tragic sign of what the future held for God’s people, “there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days” (1 Kings 14:30), and Rehoboam died.

What moral, economic, and failed leadership parallels do you see in ancient Israel and Judah that remind you of your nation and world?

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Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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