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z Gen. 2. 19.
21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jeru 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall salem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the kingdom return to the house of David: the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore 27 If this people go up wto do sacrifice in the thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill 22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. man of God, saying,
28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made 23 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, two calves -of gold, and said unto them, It is too king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and much for you to go up to Jerusalem : behold thy Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the
24 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up nor land of Egypt. fight against your brethren the children of Israel : 29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other return every man to his house; for this thing put he in Dan.” is from me.' They hearkened therefore to the word 30 And this thing became da sin : for the people of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. the word of the Lord.
31 And he made an house of high places, and 25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem“ in mount made priests of the lowest of the people, which Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from were not of the sons of Levi. thence, and built Penuel."
32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth . 2 Chr. 11. 1. &c. ver. 15. u Judg. 9, 45. Judg. 8. 17. 2 Deut. 12. 5, 14.
a Judg. 18. 29. Am. 3. 14. b Deut. 24. 15. e. 13. 24. 2 Kings 10. 29. 17. 16. y Ex. 32. 4, 8.
3. 10. 2 Kings 17, 32. Ez. 44.6–8. title of a prince; and yet he would not contend for ii, in oppo- have freed yourselves from other burdens, free yourselves from sition to God, for then he had been unworthy the title of an Is- this; why should we now be tied to one place any more than raelite. To proceed in this war, would be not only to fight in Samuel's time?" against their brethren, (v. 24,) whom they ought to love, but to 3. He provided for the assistance of their devotion at home. fiyht against their God, whom they ought to submit to: This Upon consultation had with some of his politicians, he came thing is from me. These two considerations should reconcile to this resolve, To set up two golden calves, as tokens or signs us to our losses and troubles, that God is the Author of them, of the divine presence; and persuade the people they might as and our brethren are the instruments of them; let us not there well stay at home, and offer sacrifice to those, as go to Jerusalem fore meditate revenge. Rehoboam, and his people, hearkened to worship before the ark; and some are so charitable as to to the word of the Lord, disbanded the army, and acquiesced. I think they were made to represent the mercy-seat, and the Though, in human probability, they had a fair prospect of suc- cherubims over the ark But, more probably, he learned it of cess; for their army was numerous and resolute, Jeroboam's the Egyptians, in whose land he had sojourned for some time, party weak and unsettled: though it would turn to their reproach and who worshipped their god Apis, under the similitude of a among their neighbours, to lose so much of their strengih, and bull or calf. (1.) He would not be at the charge of building a never have one push for it, to make a flourish, and do nothing; golden temple, as Solomon had done; two golden calves are yet, [1.] They regarded the command of God, though sent by a the most that he can afford. (2.) He intended, no doubt, by poor prophet. When we know God's mind, we must submit to these to represent, or rather make present, not any false god, it, how much soever it crosses our own mind. (2.) They con as Moloch or Chemosh, but the true God only, the God of sulted their own interest; concluding that though they had all Israel, the God that brought them up out of the land of Egypt, as the advantages, even that of right, on their side, yet they could he declares, v. 28. So that it was no violation of the first comnot prosper, if they fought in disobedience to God: it was better mandment but the second. And he chose thus to engage the peoto sit still, than to rise up and fall. In the next reign, God ple's devotion, because he knew there were many among them, so allowed them to fight, and gave them victory, (2 Chr. 13.) but in love with images, that, for the sake of the calves, they would not now.
willingly quit God's temple, where all images were forbidden. V. 25–33. We have here the beginning of the reign of (3.) He set up two, by degrees to break people off from the Jeroboam. He built Shechem first, and then Penuel-beau- belief of the unity of the godhead, which would pave the way tified and fortified them, and, probably, had a palace in each to the polytheism of the pagans. He set up these two at Dan of them for himself, (v. 25;) the former in Ephraim, the latter and Beih-el, one the utmosi border of his country northward, in Gad, on the other side Jordan. This might be proper; but the other southward, as if they were the guardians and prohe formed another project for the establishing of his kingdom, tectors of the kingdom. Beth-el lay close to Judah: he set up which was fatal to the interests of religion in it.
one there, to tempt those of Rehoboam's subjects over to him, I. That which he designed, was, by some effectual means who were inclined to image worship, in lieu of those of his subto secure those to himself, who had now chosen him their king, jects, that would continue to go to Jerusalem. He set up the and to prevent their return to the house of David, v. 26, 27. It other at Dan, for the convenience of those that lay most remote, seems, 1. He was jealous of the people, afraid that, some and because Micah's images had been set up there, and great time or other, they would kill him, and go again to Rehoboam, veneration paid 10 them for many ages, Judg. 18. 30. Beth-el Many that have been advanced in one tumult, have been hurled signifies the house of God, which gave some colour to the down in another. Jeroboam could not put any confidence in superstition ; but the prophet called it Beth-aven, the house of the affections of his people, though now they seemed extremely vanity, or iniquity. fond of him; for what is got by wrong and usurpation, cannot 4. The people complied with him herein, and were fond be enjoyed or kept with any security or satisfaction. 2. He enough of the novelty ; they went to worship before the one, even was distrustful of the promise of God; could not take his word, unto Dan, (v. 30,) to that of Dan first, because it was first set that if he would keep close to his duty, God would build him a up ; or even to that at Dan, though it lay such a great way off. sure house, (ch. 11.38,) but he would contrive ways and means, They that thought it much to go to Jerusalem, to worship God and sinful ones too, for his own safety. A practical disbelief according to his institution, made no difficulty of going twice as of God's all-sufficiency, is at the bottom of all our treacherous far, to Dan, to worship him according to their own inventions. departures from him.
Or, they are said to go to one of the calves at Dan, because II. The way he took to do this, was, by keeping the people Abijah, king of Judah, within twenty years, recovered Beth-el, from going up to Jerusalem to worship. That was the place (2 Chr. 13. 19,) and, it is likely, removed the golden call, or God had chosen, to put his name there ; Solomon's temple was forbade the use of it, and then they had only that at Dan to go there, which God had, in the sight of all Israel, and in the to. This became a sin; and a great sin it was, against the memory of many now living, taken solemn possession of, in a express letter of the second commandment. God had somecloud of glory. At the altar there, the priests of the Lord times dispensed with the law concerning worshipping in one attended, there all Israel were to keep the feasts, and thither place, but never allowed the worship of him by images. Hereby they were to bring their sacrifices.
they justified their fathers in making the calf at Horeb, though Now, 1. Jeroboam apprehended that if the people continued God had so fully shown his displeasure against them for it, and to do this, they would, in time, return to the house of David, threatened to visit for it in the day of visitation, Ex. 32.24. So allured by the magnificence both of the court and of the temple that it was as great a contempt of God's wrath as it was of his If they cleavê fo their old religion, they will go back to their law; and thus they added sin to sin. Bishop Patrick quotes a old king. We may suppose, if he had treated with Rehoboam saying of the Jews, That till Jeroboam's time the Israelites for the safe conduct of himself and his people to and from Jeru- sucked but one calf, but from that time they sucked two. salem, at the times appointed for their solemn feasts, it would 5. Having set up the gods, he fitted up accommodations for not have been denied him; therefore he fears not their being them: wherein he varied from the divine appointment, we are driven back by force, but their going back to Reboboam. here told; which intimates that, in other things, he imitated
2. He therefore dissuaded them from going up to Jerusalem, what was done in Judah, (v. 32,) as well as he could. See pretending to consult their ease; “It is too much for you to go how one error multiplied into many. so far to worship God, (v. 28,) it is a heavy yoke, and it is (1.) He made a house of high places, or of altars; one temtime to shake it off; you have gone long enough to Jerusalem." ple at Dan, we may suppose, and another at Beth-el, (v. 31,) So some read it ; "The temple, now that you are used to it, and in each many altars, probably, complaining of it as an does not appear so glorious and sacred as it did at first," (sen- inconvenience, that in the temple of Jerusalem there was but siblo glories wither, by degrees, in men's estimation :) you The multiplying of altars passed with some for a piece
or, went up to the altar.
e Am. 7. 13.
1 or, toent 410,
24. Jam. 5. 16.
month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto 2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the feast that is in Judah, and he *offered upon the the Lord, and said, o altar, altar! thus saith the altar. So did he in Beth-el, 'sacrificing unto the Lord, Behold, a child shall be born unto the house calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall be "the priests of the high places which he had made. offer the priests of the high places that burn incense
33' So he toffered upon the altar which he had upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon made in Beth-el, the fifteenth day of the eighth thee. month, even in the month which he had devised 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This sof his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the is the sign which the Lord bath spoken; Behold, children of Israel : and he offered upon the altar, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon and i burnt kincense.
it shall be poured out.
4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam CHAPTER XIII.
heard the saying of the man of God, which had In the close of the foregning chapter, we left Jeroboam attending his alternate Bethren his hand from the altar, saying, "Lay hold on him.
cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put forth God against his intolatry and apostacy. This was sent him by a prophetaman And his hand, which he put forth against him, ter, where we are told, 1. What passed between him and the new king. 1. The dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to prophet threatened Jeroboam' allar, ?) and gave him a sien, 3.) which him. Immediately came to pass, v. 5. 2. The king threatened the prophel, and was himself made another sign, by the wíthering of his hand, (v. 4,) and the restoring 5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured of it, upou his submission, and the prophet's intercession, v. 6. 3. The prophet refused the kinduess offered him thereupon, v. 7-10. 11. What passed between out from the altar, according to the sign which the him and the old prophet. 1. The oldt prophet fetched him back by a lie, and gave
man of God had given by the word of the LORD. him entertainment, v. Il-19. 2. He, for accepting it, in disobedience to the divine command, la threatened with death, v. 20-22. And, 3. The threatening 6 And the king answered and said unto the man a executet, for he is slaiu hy a lion. (v. 23, 24,) and buried at Bethel 250-32 of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD thy God, 4. Jeroboam is hardened ia his idolatry, v. 33, 34. Thy judgments, Lord, are a great deep
and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me Judah by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el: and the king's hand was restored him again, and and "Jeroboam stood by the altar to *burn incense. became as it was before. d Lev. 23. 33, 34.
or, to sacrifice.
d 2 Chr. 16. 10. 18. 25, &c. 25. 15, 16. Ps. 105. 15. Jer. 20. 24. Am. 7. 10–17. Num. 15. 39. to burn. c. 13. 1. ac. 12. 32, 33..or, Matt. 25. 40. John 13. 20. Acts 6. 12, ver. 3. Ex. 8. 8. Num. 21. 7. Acu 8. offer. 6 2 Kings 23. 15-17.cls. 7. 14. 38.7, 22. John 2. 18. I Cor. 1. 22.
t the face of the LORD. of devotion, but God, by the prophet, puts another construction but cried with a loud voice, denoting both the prophet's courage, upon it; (Hos. 8. 11,) Ephraim has made many altars to sin. that he was neither afraid nor ashamed to own it, and his ear
(2.) He made priests of the lowest of the people; and the nestness, that he desired to be heard and heeded by all that were lowest of the people were good enough to be priests to his present, who were not a few, on this great occasion. It is calves, and too good. He made priests from the extremest parts directed, not to Jeroboam, or to the people, but to the altar, the of the people, that is, some out of every corner of the country, stones of which will sooner hear and yield, than they who were whom he ordered to reside among their neighbours, to instruct mad upon their idols, and deaf to divine calls. Yei, in threalthem in his appointments, and reconcile them to them. Thus ening the altar, he threatens the founder and worshippers, to were they dispersed as the Levites, but were not of the sons of whom it is as dear as their own souls, and who might conclude, Levi. But the priests of the high places, or aliars, he ordered “ If God's wrath fasten upon the lifeless guiltless altar, how to reside in Beth-el, as the priests at Jerusalem, (v. 32,) 10 shall we escape ?” That which is foretold concerning the attend the public service.
altar, (v. 2,) is, that in process of time, a prince of the house of (3.) The feast of tabernacles, which God had appointed on David, Josiah by name, should pollute this allar by sacrificing the fisieenth day of the seventh month, he adjourned to the the idolatrous priests themselves upon it, and burning the bones fifteenth day of the eighth month, (v. 32,) the month which he of dead men. Let Jeroboam know, and be sure, 1. That the devised of his own heart, to show his power in ecclesiastical altar he now consecrated, should be desecrated. Idolatrous matters, v. 33. The passover and pentecost he observed in worship will not continue, but the word of the Lord will endure their proper season, or did not observe them at all, or with little for ever. 2. That the priests of the high places he now made solemnity in comparison with this.
should themselves be made sacrinces to the justice of God, and (4.) He himself assuming a power to make priests, no mar the first and only sacrifices upon this altar, that would be pleasvel if he undertook to do the priests' work with
his own hands : ing to him. If the offering be such as is an abomination to He offered upon the altar twice; it is mentioned, (v. 32, 33,) as God, it would follow, of course, that the offerers must themalso that he burned incense. This was connived at in him, selves fall under his wrath, which will abide upon them, since because it was of a piece with the rest of his irregularities; it is not otherwise transmitted. 3. That this should be done but in king Uzziah it was immediately punished with the by a branch of the house of David. That family which he and plague of leprosy. He did it himself, to make him look great his kingdom had despised, and treacherously deserted, should among the people, and to get the reputation of a devout man; recover so much power as to demolish that altar which he also to grace the solemnity of his new festival, with which it is thought to establish; so that right and truth should, at length, likely, at this time, he joined the feast of the dedication of his prevail both in civil and sacred matters, notwithstanding the altar.
present triumphs of those that were given to change the fear And thus, [1.] Jeroboam sinned himself; yet perhaps excused both of God and the king. It was about 356 years, ere this himself to the world and his own conscience, with this, that prediction was fulfilled, yet it was spoken of as sure and nigh at he did not do so ill as Solomon did, who worshipped other gods. hand, for a thousand years with God are but as one day. No(2.) He made 'Israel to sin, drew them off from the worship thing more contingent and arbitrary than the giving of names to of God, and entailed idolatry upon their seed. And hereby persons, yet Josiah is here named above 300 years before he they were punished for deserting the thrones of the house of was born. Nothing future is hidden from God. There are David.
names in the book of the divine prescience, (Phil. 4. 3,) names The learned Mr. Whiston, in his chronology for the adjust- written in heaven. ing of the annals of the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, sup III. A sign is given for the confirming of the truth of this preposes that Jeroboam changed the calculation of the year, and diction, that the altar should be shaken to pieces by an invi. made it to contain but eleven months, and that by those years sible power, and the ashes of the sacrifice scattered, (v. 3,) the reigns of the kings of Israel are measured, till Jehu's revo which came to pass immediately, v. 5. This was, 1. A proof lution, and no longer; in which interval, eleven years of the that the prophei was sent of God, who confirmed the word uith annals of Judah answer to twelve in those of Israel.
this sign following, Mark 16. 20. 2. A present indication of
God's displeasure against these idolatrous sacrifices. How NOTES TO CHAPTER XIII.
could the gin be acceptable, when the altar that should sanctify V.1–10. Here is,
it, was an abomination? 3. It was a reproach to the people, I. A messenger seni to Jeroboam, to signify to him God's dis- whose hearts were harder than these stones, and rent pot under pleasure against his idolatry, v, 1. The army of Judah, that the word of the Lord. 4. It was a specimen of what should be aimed to ruin him, was countermanded, and might not draw a done to it in the accomplishment of this prophecy by Josiah ; it sword against him, (ch. 12. 24;) but a prophet of Judah is, was now rent, in token of its being then ruined. instead thereof, sent to reclaim him from his evil way, and is IV. Jeroboam's hand withered, which he stretched out to sent in time, while he is but dedicating his altar, before his heart seize or smite the man of God, v. 4. Instead of trembling at is hardened by the deceitfulness of his sin; for God delights not the message, as he might well have done, he assaulted him that in the death of sinners, but would rather they would turn, and brought it, in defiance of the wrath of which he was warned, live. How bold was the messenger, that durst attack the king and contempt of that grace which sent him the warning. Rein his prido, and interrupt the solemnity he was proud of! buke a sinner, and he will hate thee, and do thee a mischief if he They that go on God's errand, must not fear the face of man; can; yel God's prophets must rather expose themselves than they know who will bear them out. How kind was He that betray their trust: he that employs them, will protect them, seni him to warn Jeroboam of the wrath of God revealed from and restra in the wrath of man, as he did Jeroboam's here, by hemen against his ungodliness and unrighteousness!
withering his hand, so that he could neither hurt the prophei, 11. The message delivered in God's name, not whispered, nor draw it in to help himself. When his hand was stretched
7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come, him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? hee a reward.
and he said, I am. 8 And the man of God said unto the king, If 15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go and eat bread. in with thee : neither will I eat bread nor drink 16 And he said, I may knot return with thee, water in this place :
nor go in with thee; neither will I eat bread nor 9 For so was it charged me by the word of the drink water with thee in this place : LORD, saying, Eat 'no bread, nor drink water, nor 17 For tit was said to me by 'the word of the turn again by the same way that thou camest. Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water
10 So he went another way, and returned not there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou by the way that he came to Beth-el.
11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el : 18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou and his 'sons came and told him all the works that art ; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the man of God had done that day in Beth-el : the the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into words which he had spoken unto the king, them thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. they told also to their father.
But he lied munto him. 12 And their father said unto them, What way 19 So "he went back with him, and did eat bread went he? for his sons had seen what way the man in his house, and drank water. of God went which came from Judah.
20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, 13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. that the word of the Lord came unto the prophet So they saddled him the ass, and he rode thereon, that brought him back:
14 And went after the man of God, and found 21 And he cried unto the man of God that came 1 Sam. 9. 7. 2 Kings 5. 15. A Num. 22. 18. 24. 13.
il Cor. 5. 11.
t a toond 10. I c. 20. 35. I Thes. 4. 15.
m ls. 9. 15. Jer. 23. 32.
* Deut. 13.
k ver. 8, 9.
out to burn incense to his calves, it was not withered; but when himself wiser than God, but, like a faithful careful inessenger, it was stretched out against a prophet, he shall have no use of hastens home when he has done his errand. They have little it, till he humble himself. Of all the wickedness of the wicked, learned the lesson of self-denial, that cannot forbear one forthere is none more provoking to God than their malicious bidden meal. attempts against his prophets, of whom he has said, Touch them V. 11--22. The man of God had honestly and bravely renot, do them no harm. As this was a punishment of Jeroboam, fused the king's invitation, though he promised him a reward; and answering to the sin, so it was the deliverance of the pro- yet was over persuaded by an old prophet, to come back with phet. God has many ways of disabling the enemies of his him, and dine in Beth-el, contrary to the command given him. church to execute their mischievous purposes. Jeroboam's Here we find how dear his dinner cost him. Observe with inability to pull in his hand, made him a spectacle to all about wonder, him, that they might see and fear. If God, in justice, harden I. The old prophet's wickedness. I cannot but call him a the hearts of sinners, so that the hand they have stretched out false prophet, and a bad man; it being much easier to believe in sin, they cannot pull in again by repentance, that is a spirit- that from one of such a bad character, should be extorted a conual judgment, represented by this, and much more dreadful. firmation of what the man of God said, (as we find, v. 32,) than
V. The sudden healing of the hand that was suddenly dried that a true prophet, and a good man, should tell such a delibeup, upon his submission, v. 6. That word of God which should rate lie as he did, and father it upon God. A good tree could have touched his conscience, humbled him not, but this which never bring forth such corrupt fruit. Perhaps, he was trained touched his bone and his flesh, brings down his proud spirit. He up, among the sons of the prophets, in one of Samuel's colleges looks for help now, 1. Not from his calves, but from God only, not far off, whence he retained the name of a prophet, but, growfrom his power and his favour. He wounded, and no hand but ing worldly and profane, the spirit of prophecy was departed his can make whole. 2. Not by his own sacrifice or incense, from him. If he had been a good prophet, he would have rebut by the prayer and intercession of the prophet, whom he had proved Jeroboam's idolatry, and not have suffered his sons to just now threatened, and aimed to destroy. The time may attend bis altars, as, it should seem, they did. come, when those that hate the preaching, would be glad of the Now, 1. Whether he had any good design in fetching back prayers, of faithful ministers. • Pray to the Lord thy God," the man of God, is not certain. One may hope that he did it, says Jeroboam ; "thou hast an interest in him, improve it for in compassion to him, concluding he wanted refreshment, and
But observe, He does not desire him to pray that his sin out of a desire to be better acquainted with him, and more fully might be pardoned, and his heart changed, only that his hand to understand bis errand than he could from the report of his might be restored ; thus Pharaoh would have Moses to pray that sons; yet his sons having told him all that passed, and particGod would take away this death only, (Ex.10. 17,) not this sin, ularly that the prophet was forbidden to eat or drink there, The prophet,
as became a man of God, renders good for evil, which he had openly told Jeroboam, it is supposed to have been upbraids not Jeroboam with his impotent malice, nor triumphs done with a bad design, to draw him into a snare, and so to in his submission, but immediately addresses himself to God for expose him; for false prophets have ever been the worst enehim. Those only are entitled to the blessing Christ pronounced mies to the true prophets, usually aiming to destroy them, on the persecuted, that learn of him to pray for their persecu- but sometimes, as here, to debauch them, and draw them from tors, Matt. 5. 10, 44. When the prophet thus honoured God, their duty. Thus they gave the Nazarites wine to drink, by showing himself of a forgiving spirit, God put this further (Am. 2. 12,) that they might glory in their fall. honour upon him, that, at his word, he recalled the judgment, But, 2. It is certain that he took a very bad method to bring and by another miracle healed the withered hand; that by the him back. When the man of God had told him, " | may not, goodness of God Jeroboam might be led to repentance, and if and therefore I will not, return to eat bread with thee;" (his rehe were not broken by the judgment, yet might be melted by the solutions concurring with the divine command, v. 16, 17,) he mercy. With both he seemed affected for the present, but the wickedly pretended that he had an order from heaven to fetch impressions wore off.
him back; he imposed upon him his former character as a proVI. The prophet's refusal of Jeroboam's kind invitation: in phet, I am a prophet also as thou art; he pretended he had a which observe, 1. That God forbade his messenger to eat or vision of an angel that sent him on this errand; but it was all a drink in Beth-el, (v. 9,) to show his detestation of their exe- lie, it was a banter upon prophecy, and profane in the highest crable idolatry and apostacy from God, and to teach us not to degree. When this old prophet is spoken of, (2 Kings 23. 18,) have fellowship with the works of darkness, lest we have infec- he is called the prophet that came out of Samaria, whereas there tion from them, or give encouragement to them. He must not was no such place as Samaria, till long after, (ch. 16. 24;) turn back the same way, but deliver his message, as it were, in therefore I take it he is so called there, though he was of Beth-el, transitu-as he passes along. He shall not seem to be sent on because he was like those who were afterward the prophets of purpose, (they were unworthy such a favour,) but as if he only Samaria, who caused God's people Israel to err, Jer. 23. 13. called by the way, his spirit being stirred, like Paul's at Athens, II. The good prophet's weakness, in suffering himself to be as he passed, and saw their devotions. God would, by this com- thus imposed upon; He went back with him, v. 19. He that had mand, try his prophet, as he did Ezekiel, whether he would not resolution enough to refuse the invitation of the king, who probe rebellious, like that rebellious house, Ez. 2. 8. 2. That Jero- mised him a reward, could not resist the insinuations of one boam was so affected with the cure of his hand, that though we that pretended to be a prophet; good people are more in danger read not of his thanksgivings to God for the mercy, or of his of being drawn from their duty by the plausible pretences of sending an offering to the altar at Jerusalem, in acknowledg- divinity and sanctity than by external inducements; we have ment of it, yet he was willing to express his gratitude to the therefore need to beware of false prophets, and not believe every prophel, and pay him for his prayers, v. 7. Favours to the body spirit. will make even graceless men seem grateful to good ministers. III. The proceedings of divine justice, hereupon; and here 3. That the prophet, though hungry and weary, and, perhaps, we may well wonder that the wicked prophet, who told the lie, poor, in obedience to the divine command, refused both the and did the mischief, went unpunished, while the holy man of entertainment, and the reward, proffered him. He might have God, that was drawn by him into sin, was suddenly and severely supposed his acceptance of it would give him an opportunity of punished for it. What shall we make of this? The judgments discoursing further with the king, in order to his effectual re- of God are unfathomable:
the deceived and the deceiver ure his, formation, now that he was convinced; yet he will not think I and he giveth not account of any of his matters: certainly there
from Judah, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Foras- | LORD; therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto much 'as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, the lion, which hath torn "him, and slain him, acand hast not kept the commandment which the cording to the word of the LORD, which he 'spake LORD thy God commanded thee,
unto him. 22 But canest back, and hast eaten Pbread and 27 And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me drunk water in the place of the which the LORD the ass. And they saddled him. did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; 28 And he went, and found his carcass cast in thy carcassr shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the fathers.
carcass: the lion had not eaten the carcass, nor tornt 23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten the ass. bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for 29 And the prophet took up the carcass of the him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought brought back.
it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to 24 And when he was gone, a lion ‘met him by the mourn and to bury him. way, and slew him; and his carcass was cast in the 30 And be laid his carcass in his own grave, and way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by they mourned over him, saying, Alas, “my brother! the carcass.
31 And it came to pass, after he had buried him, 25 And, behold, men passed by, and saw the car that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, cass cast in the way, and the lion standing by the then bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of carcass: and they came and told it in the city God is buried : lay #my bones beside his bones ; where the old prophet dwelt.
32 For the saying which he cried by the word of 26 And when the prophet that brought him back the Lord against the altar in Beth-el, and against from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man all the houses of the high places which are in the of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
rver. 30. c. 14.
o Num. 20.12. 1 Sam. 13. 13, 14. 15. 23. p ver. 19. & ver. 9. 13. 2 Chr. 21.20. Is. 11. 18-20. Jer. 2. 18, 19.
& c. 20. 36. Prov. 22. 13. 26. 13. • broken.
2 Kings 23. 16-19. c. 16. 24.
I ver. 9. broker. Jer. 2. 18.
must be a judgment to come, when these things shall be called reformed by the withering of his hand: for he would be apt to over again, and when those that sinned most, and suffered make a bad use of it, and to say that the prophet was well least, in this world, will receive according to their works. enough served for meddling with his altar, he had better have 1. The message delivered to the man of God was strange; stayed at home; nay, he would say that Providence had puhis crime is reciled; (v. 21, 22,) it was, in one word, disobe- nished him for his insolence, and the lion had done that which dience to an express command"; judgment is given upon it, his withered hand might not do; however, by this he intended Thy carcass shall not come to the sepulchre of thy fathers; that to warn all those whom he employs, strictly to observe their is, * Thou shalt never reach thy own house, but shalt be a car- orders, at their peril. cass quickly, nor shall thy dead body be brought to the place of II. The wonderful preservation of his dead body, which was thy fathers' sepulchres, to be interred.” 2. Yet it was more a token of God's mercy remembered in the midst of wrath ; strange that the old prophet himself should be the messenger: the lion that gently strangled him, or tore him, did not devour of this we can give no account, but that God would have it so, his dead body, nor so much as lear the ass, v. 24, 25, 28. Nay, as he spake to Balaam by his ans, and read Saul his doom by what was more, he did not set upon the travellers that passed the devil in Samuel's likeness; we may think God designed by, and saw it, nor upon the old prophet, (who had reason hereby, (1.) To startle the lying prophet, and make him sen- enough to fear it,) when he came to take up the corpse ; his sible of his sin; the message could not but affect him the more, commission was, to kill the prophet, hitherto be should go, but when he himself had the delivering of it, and had so strong an no further : thus God showed ibat though he was angry with impression made upon his spirit by it, that he cried out, as one him, his anger was turned away, and the punishment went no in an agony, v. 21. He had reason to think, if he must die for further than death. his disobedience in a small matter, who sinned by surprise, of III. The care which the old prophet took of his burial; when how much sorer punishment he should be thought worthy, who he heard of the unusual accident, he concluded it was the man had belied an angel of God, and cheated a man of God, by a of God, who was disobedient to his Master, (and whose fault deliberate forgery. If this were done to the green tree, what shall was that?) therefore the Lord has delivered him to the lion, be done to the dry? Perhaps, it had a good effect upon him; v. 26. It had well become him to have asked why the lion those who preach God's wrath to others, have hard hearts in was not sent against him and his house, rather than against the deed, if they fear it not themselves. (2.) To put the greater good man whom be had cheated. He took up the carcass, v. 29. mortification upon the prophet that was deceived, and to show If there were any truth in the vulgar opinion, surely the corpse what they must expect, who hearken to the great deceiver; bled afresh, when he touched it, for he was, in effect, the murthey that yield to him as a tempter, will be terrified by him as derer, and it was but a poor reparation for the injury, to inter a tormentor ; whom he now fawns upon, he will afterward fy the dead body : perhaps, when he cheated bim into his ruin, upon, and whom he draws into sin, he will do what he can 10 he intended to laugh at him; yet now his conscience so far drive to despair.
relents, that he weeps over him, and, like Joab at Abner's V. 23-34. Here is,
funeral, is compelled to be a mourner for him whom he had I. The death of the deceived disobedient prophet. The old been the death of; they said, Alas, my brother ! v. 30. The prophet that had deluded him, as if he would make him some case was indeed very lamentable, that so good a man, a prophet amends for the wrong he had done him, or help to prevent the so faithful, and so bold in God's cause, should, for one offence, mischief threatened him, furnished him with an ass to ride home die as a criminal, while an old lying prophet lives at ease, and on; but, by the way, a lion set upon him, and killed him, v. 23, an idolatrous prince in pomp and power. Thy way, O God, 24. He did but turn back to refresh himself when he was hun is in the sea, and thy path in the great valers. We cannot gry, and behold, he must die for it; see 1 Sam. 14. 43. But judge of men by their sufferings, nor of sins by their present we must consider, 1. That his offence was great, and it would, punishments; with some, the flesh is destroyed, that the spirit by no means, justify him, that he was drawn into it by a lie; may be saved, while, with others, the flesh is pampered, that he could not be so certain of the countermand sent by another, the soul may ripen for hell. as he was of the command given to himself; nor had he any IV. The charge which the old prophet gave his sons conground to think that the command would be recalled, when the cerning his own burial, that they should be sure to bury him in reason of it remained in force, which was, that he might tes. the same grave where the man of God was buried; (v. 31,). tify his detestation of the wickedness of that place. He had "Lay my bones beside his bones, close by them, as near as may great reason to suspect the honesty of this old prophet, who did be, so that my dust may mingle with his;" though he was a not himself bear his testimony, nor did God think fit to make lying prophet, yet he desired to die the death of a true prophet; use of him, as a witness against the idolatry of the city he lived “Gather not my soul with the signers of Beth-el, but with the in; however, he should have taken time to beg direction from
man of God." The reason he gives, is, because what he cried God, and not have complied so soon. Did he think this old against the altar of Beth-el, that men's bones should be burned prophet's house safer to eat in than other houses at Bethel, upon it, shall surely come lo pass, v. 32. Thus, 1. He ratifies when God had forbidden him to eat in any? That was to refine the prediction, that out of the mouth of two witnesse®, (and one upon the command, and make himself wiser than God. Did of them such a one as St. Paul quotes, Tit. 1. 12, one of themhe think to excuse himself, that he was hungry? Had he never selver, even a prophet of their own,) the word might be established, read, that man lives not by bread alone? 2. That his death if possible, to convince and reclaim Jeroboam. 2. He does was for the glory of God; for by this it appeared, (1.) That honour to the deceased prophet, as one whose word would not nothing is more provoking to him than disobedience to an fall to the ground, though he did; ministers die, die prematurely express command, though in a small matter, which makes his it may be ; but the word of the Lord endures for ever, and does proceedings against our first parents, for eating forbidden fruit, not die with them. 3. He consulis his own interest; it was the easier to be accounted for. (2.) That God is displeased foretold that men's bones should be burned upon Jeroboam's at the sins of his own people, and no man shall be protected in altar ; "Lay mine” (says he) close to his, and then they disobedience by the sanctity of his profession, the dignity of will not be disturbed;" and it was, accordingly, their secuhis office, his nearness to God, or any good services he has done rity, as we find, 2 Kings 23. 18. Sleeping and waking, living for him. Perhaps God, by this, intended, in a way of righ- and dying, it is safe being in good company. No mention is teous judgment, to harden Jeroboam's heart, since he was not made hero of the inscription on the prophet's tomb; but it is
33 After this thing Jeroboam returned not from thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known his evil way, but *made again Yof the lowest of the to be the wite of Jeroboam, and get thee to Shiloh: people priests of the high places : whosoever would, behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which “told me he consecrated him, and he became one of the that I should be king over this people. priests of the high places.
3 And take *with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, 34 And this thing became sin unto the house of and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell Jeroboam, even to "cut it off, and to destroy it from thee what shall become of the child. off the face of the earth.
4 And Jeroboam's wise did so, and arose, and
went to Shiloh; and came to the house of Ahijah. CHAPTER XIV.
But Ahijah could not see, for his eyes Swere set by reason of his age.d
5 And the Lord said unto Ahijah, Behold, the succession of their kings, and the affaire of their kingdoms, accounted for dis wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for boam's house. v. 2016. The sickness of his child was the occasion of it (v.ro | her son, for he is sick: thus and thus shalt ihou say
unto her; for it shall be, when she cometh in, that Clusion of his reign, v. 19,2.. !!. The history of the declension and dimmer in she shall leign herself to be another woman. reign, v. 29–31. Tu both which, we may read the mischievous consequences of 6 And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound
of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, T that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou sick.
thyself to be another? For I am sent to thee with 2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray heavy tidings.
The kingdon being divided into that of Judah and that of Israel, we must, hence
forward, in these books of Kings, expect and attend their separate history, the
sin, and the calarities it brings on kingdoms and families.
c. 12. 31, 32. 2 Chr. 11. 15. 13. 9. • returned and made. y 2 Tim. 3. 13. 1 Alled his hand. Judg. 17. 12. * c. 14. 10. Prov. 13. 6. a c. 11. 31.
bi Sam. 9. 7, 8. • in thine hand. tor, cakes, 1 or, borile.
stood for his hoariness. d Ee. 12. 3. e Ps. 139. 1-4. hard.
cc. 11. 29.
spoken of 2 Kings 23. 17, where Josiah asks, What title is that? tended with him, had begged the prophet's prayers, and cast And is lold, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, that came from away his idols from him; then the child might have been reJudah, who proclrimed these things which thou hast done ; so stored to him, as his hand was; but most people would rather that the epitaph upon the prophet's grave preserved the remem be told their fortune, than their faults or their duty. brance of his prophecy, and was a standing testimony against 2. That he might know the child's doom, he sent to Ahijah the idolatries of Beth-el, which it would not have been, so the prophet, who lived obsure and neglected in Shiloh, blind remarkably, if he had died, and been buried elsewhere. The through age, yet still blessed with the visions of the Almighty, cities of Israel are here called cities of Samaria, though that which need not bodily eyes, but are rather favoured by the want name was not yet known; for, however the old prophet spake, of them, the eyes of the mind being then most intent, and least the inspired historian wrote in the language of his own time. diverted. Jeroboam sent not to him for advice about the set
V. The obstinacy of Jeroboam in his idolatry ; (v. 33,) He ting up of his calves, or the consecrating of his priests, but has returned not from his evil way; some hand was found, that durst recourse to him in his distress, when the gods he served could repair the altar God had rent, and then Jeroboam offered sacri- give him no relief: Lord, in trouble have they visited thee, who fice on it again, and the more boldly, because the prophet who before slighted thee; some have by sickness been reminded of disturbed hiin before, was in his grave, (Rev. 11. 10,) and be their forgotten ministers, and praying friends: he sends to cause the prophecy was for a great while to come. Various Ahijah, because he had told him he should be king, v. 2. Ho methods had been used to reclaim him, but neither threats nor was once the messenger of good tidings, surely he will be so signs, neither judgments nor mercies, wrought upon him, so again; those that by sin disqualify themselves for comfort, and strangely was he wedded to his calves; he did not reform, no yet expect their ministers, because they are good men, should not his priesthood, but whoever would, he filled his hand, and speak peace and comfort to them, greatly wrong both themmade him priest, though ever so illiterate or immoral, and of what selves and their ministers. tribe soever; and this became sin, that is, a snare first, and 3. He sent his wife to inquire of the prophet, because she then a ruin, to Jeroboam's house, to cut it off, v. 34. Note, could best put the question without naming names, or making The diminution, disquiet, and desolation, of families, are the any other description than this, “Sir, I have a son ill ; will he fruit of sin; he promised himself that the calves would secure recover, or not?” The heart of her husband safely trusted in the crown to his family, but it proved they lost it, and sunk his her, that she would be faithful both in delivering the message, family. Those betray themselves, that think by any sin to and bringing him the answer; and it seems there were none of support themselves.
all his counsellors, in whom he could repose such a confidence ;
otherwise, the sick child could very ill have spared her, for NOTES TO CHAPTER XIV.
mothers are the best nurses, and it had been much fitter for V.1–6. How Jeroboam persisted in his contempt of God her to have stayed at home to tend him, than to go to Shiloh to and religion, we read in ille close of the foregoing chapter: here inquire what would become of him. If she go, she must go we are told how God proceeded in his controversy with him ; incognito-must disguise herself, change her dress, cover her for when God judges, he will overcome, and sinners shall either face, and go by another name; not only to conceal herself from bend, or break, before him.
her own court, and the country through which she passed, (as if I. His child fell sick, v. 1. It is probable that he was his it were below her quality to go upon such an errand, and what eldest son, and heir-apparent to the crown ; for, at his death, all she had reason to be ashamed of, as Nicodemus that i ame to the kingdom went into mourning for him, v. 13. Neither his Jesus by night, whereas it is no disparagement to the greatest dignity as a prince, nor his age as a young prince, nor his in- to attend God's prophets,) but also to conceal herself from the terest in heaven as a pious prince, could exempt him from sick- prophet himself, that he might only answer her question conness, dangerous sickness; let none be secure of the continuance cerning her son, and not enter upon the unpleasing subject of of their health, but improve it, while it continues, for the best her husband's defection; thus some people love to prescribe to purposes; Lord, behold he, whom thou lovest, thy favourite, he their ministers, limit them to smooth things, and care not for whom Israel loves, their darling, is sick. At that time, when having the whole counsel of God declared to them, lest it prove Jeroboam prostitutes and profaned the priesthood, (ch. 13. 33,) to prophesy no good concerning them, but evil. But what a his child sickened; when sickness comes into our families, we strange notion had Jeroboam of God's prophét, that he believed should inquire whether there be not some particular sin har- he could and would certainly tell what would become of the boured in our houses, which the affliction is sent to convince child, and yet either could not, or would not, discover who was us of, and reclaim us from.
the mother; could be see into the thick darkness of futurity, II. He sent his wife in disguise, to inquire of Ahijah the pro- and yet not see through the thin vail of this disguise? Did ho phet, what should become of the child, v.2, 3. The sickness of think the God of Israel like his calves, just what he pleased ? his child touched him in a tender part; the withering of this Be not deceived, God is not mocked. branch of the family, would, perhaps, be as sore an affliction to III. God gave Ahijab notice of the approach of Jeroboam's him as the withering of that branch of his body, ch. 13. 4, such wise, and that she came in disgnise, and full instructions what is the force of natural affection; our children are ourselves but to say to her, (0.5,) which enabled him, as she came in at the once removed.
door, to call her by her name, to her great surprise, and so to Now, 1. Jeroboam's great desire, under this affliction, is, to discover to all about him who she was; (v. 6,) Come in, thou know what shall become of the child, whether he will live or die. wife of Jerobonm: why feignest thou thyself to be another? (1.) It had been more prudent, if he had desired to know what He had no regard either, 1. To her rank; she was a queen, means they should use for the recovery of the child, what they but what was that to him, who had a message to deliver her should give him, and what they should do to him; but, by this immediately from God, before whom all the children of men instance, and that of Ahaziah, 2 Kings 1. 2, and Benhadad, stand upon the same level ? Nor, 2. To her present; it was 2 Kings 8. 8, it should seem, they had then such a foolish notion usual for those who consulted prophets, to bring them tokens of fatality, as took them off from all use of means; for if they of respect, which they accepted, and yet were no hirelings; were sure the patient would live, they thought means needless; she brought him a handsome country present, (v. 3,) but he did if he would die, they thought them useless ; not considering not think himself obliged by that to give her any finer language that duty is ours, events are God's, and that he that ordained than the nature of her message required. Nor, 3. To her the end, ordained the means. Why should a prophet be de- | industrious concealment of herself; it is a piece of civility not sired to show that which a little time will show? (2.) It had to take notice of those who desire not to be taken notice of; been more pious, if he had desired to know wherefore God con- but the prophet was no courtier, nor gave flattering titles; plain Vol. 1. -106
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