1 Kings 12:1-24 — Rehoboam’s Folly, The Kingdom Divided
1 Kings 12:25-33 — Jeroboam’s Golden Calves
1 Kings 13:1-10 — A Man of God Confronts Jeroboam
1 Kings 13:11-34 — The Prophet’s Disobedience
1 Kings 14:1-20 — Prophecy Against Jeroboam, Jeroboam’s Death
1 Kings 14:21-31 — Rehoboam Reigns in Judah
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One Reply to “Apr 25 — 1 Kings 12-14”
The first time I read about Rehohoam’s “young men who had grown up with him” I pictured a bunch of middle school-aged, spoiled brats, but toward the end of chapter 14, we find he was “41 years old when he became king” (14:21). Hmmm, these “young men” were in their forties! Their advice to reject the elders’ words could have laid the groundwork for a united kingdom (Israel and Judah), instead they supplied timely rationale to split the kingdom. “So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord” (12:14). As the Lord spoke in 11:11-13, the Kingdom was torn from Solomon’s son. “To your tents, Israel!…So the Israelites went home” (12:16).
Rehoboam’s response was to muster his relatively small band of men (tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and go to war with the other 10 tribes (Israel), “but this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God” (12:22) and “they obeyed the word of the Lord and when home again as the Lord had ordered” (12:24) avoiding much bloodshed.
Meanwhile, Jeroboam is concerned that “his people” will want to go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, so he has two golden calves made and tells the people, “here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” (12:28). Jeroboam created a new religion for Israel to follow. Such great sin.
Chapter 13 recounts the story of a Man of God sent to warn Jeroboam. His stern words result in the altar being split when Jeroboam tries to have him seized, but ultimately, “Jeroboam did not change his evil ways” (13:33). Sadly, the Man of God was tricked by one of Jeroboam’s old prophets, falls for his please to stay with him and is killed as a result.
Not only is the kingdom of God’s chosen people divided, each are falling into sin, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. We do see in the parallel story in 2 Chronicles 11 & 12 that “because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah” (2 Chron 12:12), so there is a light at the end of Rehoboam’s story…however dim.
Each to his own devices, few thoughts are recorded here where God is sought. Surely Proverbs were their for their learning, for our learning as well, but apparently they choose their own ways. How I pray we listen to the words of God, his instructions, his wisdom and keep on the path of true righteousness. May these lessons provide a vivid reminder to keep God as the center of all our plans.