|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:25-33 Jeroboam distrusted the providence of God; he would contrive ways and means, and sinful ones too, for his own safety. A practical disbelief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom of all our departures from him. Though it is probable he meant his worship for Jehovah the God of Israel, it was contrary to the Divine law, and dishonourable to the Divine majesty to be thus represented. The people might be less shocked at worshipping the God of Israel under an image, than if they had at once been asked to worship Baal; but it made way for that idolatry. Blessed Lord, give us grace to reverence thy temple, thine ordinances, thine house of prayer, thy sabbaths, and never more, like Jeroboam, to set up in our hearts any idol of abomination. Be thou to us every thing precious; do thou reign and rule in our hearts, the hope of glory.
Verse 26. - And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David [It needed much less prescience than Jeroboam seems to have possessed to perceive that fortresses and armies would be of no avail for the defence of his realm, so long as Jerusalem remained the one sanctuary of the land. He clearly foresaw that if the people went up thither, as in time past, three times a year, to keep the feasts, the religious sentiment would in time reassert itself and sweep him and his new dynasty away. With one religion, one sanctuary, one priesthood, there could not long be two kingdoms. People who had so much in common would, sooner or later, complete the unity of their national life under a common sovereign. And we find, indeed, that so powerful were the attractions of the temple, and the religious system of which it was the centre, that "the priests and Levites that were in all Israel," together with the more devout laity, fell away to Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:13, 16), while the speech of Abijah on Mount Zemaraim (2 Chronicles 13:11), proves that others as well as Jeroboam were well aware that the old religion and the new kingdom could hardly coexist.]
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jeroboam said in his heart, As he was musing about the state of his kingdom and the affairs of it:
now shall the kingdom return to the house of David; such were his fears, unless some method could be taken to prevent it, particularly with respect to religion, which was what his thoughts were employed about.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26-32. Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David—Having received the kingdom from God, he should have relied on the divine protection. But he did not. With a view to withdraw the people from the temple and destroy the sacred associations connected with Jerusalem, he made serious and unwarranted innovations on the religious observances of the country, on pretext of saving the people the trouble and expense of a distant journey. First, he erected two golden calves—the young bulls, Apis and Mnevis, as symbols (in the Egyptian fashion) of the true God, and the nearest, according to his fancy, to the figures of the cherubim. The one was placed at Dan, in the northern part of his kingdom; the other at Beth-el, the southern extremity, in sight of Jerusalem, and in which place he probably thought God was as likely to manifest Himself as at Jerusalem (Ge 32:1-32; 2Ki 2:2). The latter place was the most frequented—for the words (1Ki 12:30) should be rendered, "the people even to Dan went to worship before the one" (Jer 48:13; Am 4:4, 5; 5:5; Ho 5:8; 10:8). The innovation was a sin because it was setting up the worship of God by symbols and images and departing from the place where He had chosen to put His name. Secondly, he changed the feast of tabernacles from the fifteenth of the seventh to the fifteenth of the eighth month. The ostensible reason might be, that the ingathering or harvest was later in the northern parts of the kingdom; but the real reason was to eradicate the old association with this, the most welcome and joyous festival of the year.
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