|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:13-23 When the priests and Levites came to Jerusalem, the devout, pious Israelites followed them. Such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, left the inheritance of their fathers, and went to Jerusalem, that they might have free access to the altar of God, and be out of the temptation to worship the calves. That is best for us, which is best for our souls; in all our choices, religious advantages must be sought before all outward conveniences. Where God's faithful priests are, his faithful people should be. And when it has been proved that we are willing to renounce our worldly interests, so far as we are called to do so for the sake of Christ and his gospel, we have good evidence that we are truly his disciples. And it is the interest of a nation to protect religion and religious people.
Verse 23. - The wise dealing of Rehoboam, fourfold (weakening his children by division, giving them each employment, giving them also abundance of victual, and - as is probably the meaning, though not said so either here or in the Septuagint - finding for them many wives), will not, though it were forty-fold, avail to cover his "despising" of the "Law." Rather his wise dealing is an indication that his conscience was not quite at ease, and that he knew he was wrong. Nothing is so liable to blind judgment as personal affection.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he dealt wisely,.... Acted a prudent part, in order to execute his scheme, and particularly by disposing of his other sons in different parts of his kingdom, as follows: or "he made him his son Abijah to understand" (e); he taught and instructed him in the art of government, took a particular care of his education, that he might be fitted for it; and he might instruct him how to behave towards his brethren, for the present and hereafter, as well as towards all the people in general: or "he (Abijah) understood" (f); had more understanding and wisdom than all the children of Rehoboam; though it seems best to interpret it of Rehoboam himself, since it follows:
and disposed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city; to be governors thereof, in whose hands he could better trust them than in any other; or else, by thus separating them, they would not be able to enter into combination against Abijah; but then he must at the same time appoint some persons to watch and observe them; or otherwise, having such, strong places in their possession, they might rebel against him; the Targum is,"he built and repaired the cities, and appointed of all his children throughout all the countries of the house of Judah, to all the fortified cities;''that is, to have the command of them:
and he gave them victual in abundance; that they might have no reason to complain, and might be able to hold out a siege against an enemy, should they be attacked:
and he desired many wives; either for himself, or rather for his son, since he himself had many; or "Abijah desired, or asked (g) many wives" of their parents, or of those who had the dispose of them, in imitation of his father.
(e) "erudire faciebat", Pagninus, Grotius; "docuit", Vatablus. (f) "lntellexit", Piscator. (g) "petivit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "postulavit", Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. he dealt wisely—that is, with deep and calculating policy (Ex 1:10).
and dispersed of all his children … unto every fenced city—The circumstance of twenty-eight sons of the king being made governors of fortresses would, in our quarter of the world, produce jealousy and dissatisfaction. But Eastern monarchs ensure peace and tranquillity to their kingdom by bestowing government offices on their sons and grandsons. They obtain an independent provision, and being kept apart, are not likely to cabal in their father's lifetime. Rehoboam acted thus, and his sagacity will appear still greater if the wives he desired for them belonged to the cities where each son was located. These connections would bind them more closely to their respective places. In the modern countries of the East, particularly Persia and Turkey, younger princes were, till very lately, shut up in the harem during their father's lifetime; and, to prevent competition, they were blinded or killed when their brother ascended the throne. In the former country the old practice of dispersing them through the country as Rehoboam did, has been again revived.
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