1 Kings 11:30
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
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(30) Rent it in twelve pieces.—The use of symbolical acts is frequent in subsequent prophecy (especially see Jeremiah 13:1; Jeremiah 19:1; Jeremiah 27:2; Ezekiel 4, 5, Ezekiel 12:1-7; Ezekiel 24:3; Ezekiel 24:15), often alternating with symbolical visions and symbolical parables or allegories. The object is, of course, to arrest attention, and call out the inquiry (Ezekiel 24:19): “Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us?” Ahijah’s rending of his own new garment is used, like Saul’s rending of Samuel’s mantle (1Samuel 15:27-28), to symbolise the rending away of the kingdom. (See 1Kings 11:11-13.)

1 Kings 11:30-32. And rent it in twelve pieces — An emblem of what he was to acquaint him with; or rather a prediction of it. For there were two ways, in those ancient times, of foretelling future events; one in express words, the other by signs and resemblances, many instances of which we have often after this of Ahijah. And will give ten tribes to thee — Hence it is generally called, the kingdom of the ten tribes. But he shall have one tribe — Besides his own. Or Benjamin and Judah may, be looked upon as but one tribe, both of them having a share in the city of Jerusalem, and lying near one another.11:26-40 In telling the reason why God rent the kingdom from the house of Solomon, Ahijah warned Jeroboam to take heed of sinning away his preferment. Yet the house of David must be supported; out of it the Messiah would arise. Solomon sought to kill his successor. Had not he taught others, that whatever devices are in men's hearts, the counsel of the Lord shall stand? Yet he himself thinks to defeat that counsel. Jeroboam withdrew into Egypt, and was content to live in exile and obscurity for awhile, being sure of a kingdom at last. Shall not we be content, who have a better kingdom in reserve?The first instance of the "acted parable." Generally this mode was adopted upon express divine command (see Jeremiah 13:1-11; Ezekiel 3:1-3). A connection may be traced between the type selected and the words of the announcement to Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-13. Compare 1 Samuel 15:26-28). 29. clad—rather, "wrapped up." The meaning is, "Ahijah, the Shilonite, the prophet, went and took a fit station in the way; and, in order that he might not be known, he wrapped himself up, so as closely to conceal himself, in a new garment, a surtout, which he afterwards tore in twelve pieces." Notwithstanding this privacy, the story, and the prediction connected with it [1Ki 11:30-39], probably reached the king's ears; and Jeroboam became a marked man [1Ki 11:40]. His aspiring ambition, impatient for the death of Solomon, led him to form plots and conspiracies, in consequence of which he was compelled to flee to Egypt. Though chosen of God, he would not wait the course of God's providence, and therefore incurred the penalty of death by his criminal rebellion. The heavy exactions and compulsory labor (1Ki 11:28) which Solomon latterly imposed upon his subjects, when his foreign resources began to fail, had prepared the greater part of the kingdom for a revolt under so popular a demagogue as Jeroboam. No text from Poole on this verse. And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him,.... This looks as if it was Jeroboam's garment, having got a new one to appear before the king in; though the sense may be this, that the prophet took hold of his own garment that was upon himself:

and rent it in twelve pieces; as symbolical of the twelve tribes of Israel.

And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and {p} rent it in twelve pieces:

(p) By these visible signs the prophets would more deeply print their message into the hearts of those to whom they were sent.

30. and Ahijah caught] R.V. laid hold of. The word is frequently used of the taking prisoners captive.Verse 30. - And Ahijah caught [This English word almost implies that it was Jeroboam's garment (cf. Genesis 39:12); but the original simply means "laid hold of."] the new garment that was on him, and rent [same word as in vers. 11, 12, 13] it in twelve pieces. [The first instance of an "acted parable" (Rawlinson).] A second adversary of Solomon was Rezon, the son of Eliadah (for the name see at 1 Kings 15:18), who had fled from his lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah, and who became the captain of a warlike troop (גּדוּד), when David smote them (אתם), i.e., the troops of his lord (2 Samuel 8:3-4). Rezon probably fled from his lord for some reason which is not assigned, when the latter was engaged in war with David, before his complete overthrow, and collected together a company from the fugitives, with which he afterwards marched to Damascus, and having taken possession of that city, made himself king over it. This probably did not take place till towards the close of David's reign, or even after his death, though it was at the very beginning of Solomon's reign; for "he became an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon (i.e., during the whole of his reign), and that with (beside) the mischief which Hadad did, and he abhorred Israel (i.e., became disgusted with the Israelitish rule), and became king over Aram." הדד אשׁר is an abbreviated expression, to which עשׂה may easily be supplied, as it has been by the lxx (vid., Ewald, 292, b., Anm.). It is impossible to gather from these few words in what the mischief done by Hadad to Solomon consisted.

(Note: What Josephus (Ant. viii. 7, 6) relates concerning an alliance between Hadad and Rezon for the purpose of making hostile attacks upon Israel, is merely an inference drawn from the text of the lxx, and utterly worthless.)

Rezon, on the other hand, really obtained possession of the rule over Damascus. Whether at the beginning or not till the end of Solomon's reign cannot be determined, since all that is clearly stated is that he was Solomon's adversary during the whole of his reign, and attempted to revolt from him from the very beginning. If, however, he made himself king of Damascus in the earliest years of his reign, he cannot have maintained his sway very long, since Solomon afterwards built or fortified Tadmor in the desert, which he could not have done if he had not been lord over Damascus, as the caravan road from Gilead to Tadmor (Palmyra) went past Damascus.

(Note: Compare Ewald, Gesch. iii. p. 276. It is true that more could be inferred from 2 Chronicles 8:3, if the conquest of the city of Hamath by Solomon were really recorded in that passage, as Bertheau supposes. But although על הזק is used to signify the conquest of tribes or countries, we cannot infer the conquest of the city of Hamath from the words, "Solomon went to Hamath Zobah עליה ויּחזק and built Tadmor," etc., since all that עליה יחזק distinctly expresses is the establishment of his power over the land of Hamath Zobah. And this Solomon could have done by placing fortifications in that province, because he was afraid of rebellion, even if Hamath Zobah had not actually fallen away from his power.)

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