Here we are today in 1 Kings 11 & 12 and I think it’s quite an interesting read. For Solomon to have gone from being who he WAS to who he IS NOW in these readings, it’s amazing to have seen take place. But such are the stories of the Bible!
In Case You Missed It!
My last blog post for 1 Kings 5 & 6 can be found HERE.
Angela picked up where I left off by including her latest Blogging Through the Bible piece HERE.
Tammy followed suit with 1 Kings 9 & 10 HERE.
1 Kings Chapter 11, Solomon, His Wives & Their Strange Gods
With more than 700 wives and princesses, and 300 concubines, any man’s mind is going to be pulled away from what once used to be important to him!
Solomon had married Egyptians, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites. All of these were nations were ones that God had commanded the Israelites not to marry into these countries because their hearts would be turned away.
And would you believe what happened? Solomon did turn away.
Solomon no longer went fully after God, which was considered evil in the sight of the Lord. He built temples for Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites, for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
Even though God had appeared to Solomon not once, but TWICE, he still turned away from God. And God was angry.
God Rends Away the Kingdom from Solomon
God told Solomon, now that he had refused to keep the covenant and the statutes, he would rend the kingdom out of his hand and give it to a servant.
However, God remembered David and decided not to do so in his lifetime. He decided, instead, to take the kingdom from the hand of Solomon’s son. And He tells him how He will do it.
One tribe will be left for David’s sake, and Jerusalem’s.
So, God began to stir up enemies of Israel, getting ready for the transfer. He even stirred up the heart of the son of one of Solomon’s servants. Later, a prophet rends a the garment of a servant in the field into 12 pieces. He gives Jeroboam ten pieces, saying that God intended to take the Kingdom from Solomon. One piece, though, would be left for David’s sake, and one for Jerusalem.
The Greatness of David in Light of Solomon
Even though Solomon is about to lose his Kingdom, God continues to leave a remembrance for David in the city He chose to put His own Name on: Jerusalem. The city of David.
He tells Jeroboam, however, that he will give him ten tribes of Israel. Then he tells him the same thing that he told Solomon. If you will hearken to my voice, walk in my ways, do right, and keep my commandments, as David did, I will give Israel to you.
At some point, Solomon found out about this. He decided to take matters into his own hands by attempting to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled into Egypt for refuge, until Solomon died.
When Solomon died, he had reigned for 40 years, just as David had. And after his passing, Rehoboam became king.
1 Kings Chapter 12, Rehoboam
Rehoboam was anointed king in Shechem. When Jeroboam heard it, he and all the congregation of Israel came to talk to Rehoboam. They told him how hard Solomon had made it for them, and that if he would make the work easier, they would be happy to serve him.
Rehoboam asked for three days to consider the matter, and he went right away to ask advice from the old men that had advised Solomon. They told him that if treat them well, and speak to them well, they would be his servants forever.
And it would have been great if he had taken that advice and gone on.
Instead, he decided to talk to all the young men he’d grown up with. They weren’t nearly so calm and told him to make their work harder, telling them that his little finger was thicker than his father’s loins.
Obviously, not the greatest advice! But they weren’t finished!
They told him to also tell them that he would add more work on top of the work Solomon had made them do. And instead of chastening them with whips, as Solomon had done, he would use scorpions.
Jeroboam & the People Return
Rehoboam completely tossed the advice the old men had given him and said exactly what his peers had told him to say. The people of Israel were not happy about this at all, and they returned to their own tents saying they no longer had a portion with David. So the only Israelites that Rehoboam reigned over were those that lived in the cities of Judah.
Even then, when he sent his servant Adoram to collect the tribute, the Israelites stoned him to death there. Rehoboam gathered his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem while Jeroboam was called up and made the king. Only the tribe of Judah followed the house of David.
Rehoboam Reassembles His People
Once in Jerusalem, Rehoboam gathered all those of the house of Judah. Then he gathered 180,000 warriors from the tribe of Benjamin. All these would come against the house of Israel to make Rehoboam king again.
Before that could happen though, God sent Shemaiah to Rehoboam and the house of Judah and Benjamin, telling them not to fight their brothers. He said this was orchestrated by Him and they should not go up. So they left and went back home, as God had said.
After building up Shechem and Penuel, Jeroboam began to worry that when the people of the kingdom began to give their hearts back to God, that they would also give their hearts back to Rehoboam as king. He figured if that happened, they would just kill him.
We’re not told who the counsel was, but verse 28 tells us that the king took counsel. And after he did, he made two golden calves, telling the people it would just be too hard on them to go all the way to Jerusalem.
And then he said what made have been the most foolish thing that ever came out of his mouth: Behold thy god, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
If Jeroboam had stopped there, I don’t suppose it would have mattered, but he went on to do even worse. He took the very lowest people in the kingdom and made them priests. This was a position for the sons of Levi only.
From there he built high places and altars and began to ordain feasts and offer burnt offerings.
Who can guess what might happen in our next couple of chapters?
Jeroboam had seen what happened to Solomon when he turned away from God. Even if he wasn’t there in person, he still knew about it. How could he possibly have justified doing the same, and in reality, even worse?
Does this remind you of any times in your life when you made the wrong decision while knowing what was right… what God really expected?
Lord Jesus, help us to ever be mindful of the past so that we do not repeat the mistakes of those gone before us. Help us, as well, to not repeat the same mistakes we, ourselves, have made in the past as well. We know your Word, and if we don’t, we are still at least blessed enough to live where we can freely read and learn. Help us to hide your Word in our heart that we might not sin against you!