Why the king listened not to the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For the cause was from the Lord.—The very idea of the Scriptural history, referring all things to God, necessarily brings us continually face to face with the great mystery of life—the reconcilement of God’s all-foreseeing and all-ordaining Providence with the freedom, and, in consequence, with the folly and sin of man. As a rule, Holy Scripture—on this point confirming natural reason—simply recognises both powers as real, without any attempt, even by suggestion, to harmonise them together. It, of course, refers all to God’s will, fulfilling or avenging itself in many ways, inspiring and guiding the good, and overruling the evil, in man. But it as invariably implies human freedom and responsibility. Rehoboam’s folly and arrogance worked out the ordained judgment of God; but they were folly and arrogance still.The cause was from the Lord; who gave up Rehoboam to so foolish and fatal a mistake, and alienated the people’s affections from him, and ordered all circumstances by his wise providence to that end.
for the cause was from the Lord; it was according to his will and appointment; the defection of the people was willed by the Lord, and various things in Providence turned up to alienate their minds from Rehoboam, and dispose them to a revolt from him in favour of Jeroboam; and the Lord suffered the counsellors of Rehoboam to give him the advice they did, and gave him up to the folly of his own heart to take it:
that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake to Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat; see 1 Kings 11:29.Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. Wherefore the king] Better, as R.V., ‘So the king.’ The original has merely the ordinary copulative ו, and there is no giving of a reason implied, but the summing up of a narrative.
for the cause was from the Lord] R.V. for it was a thing brought about of the Lord. The Hebrew noun signifies ‘the turn of events’ and is represented in the LXX. by μεταστροφή. For a similar idea, compare the case of Pharaoh (Exodus 4:21). Also (Acts 2:23) ‘Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ Josephus says these events happened κατὰ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ βούλησιν. The course of events had been shaped by Solomon’s transgression, and they were left by God to work out their natural results. The sin of the father was here visited on the child.
perform his saying] R.V. establish his word. This is the rendering of the same words in A.V. 1 Samuel 1:23, and ‘to establish’ or ‘confirm’ a word, is a more natural expression than ‘to perform’ it. For the word of Ahijah cf. above 1 Kings 11:31.Verse 15. - Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people, for the cause [or course of events; lit., turn] was from the Lord ["Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat." God did not inspire Rehoboam's proud and despotic reply, but used it for the accomplishment of His purpose, the partition of the kingdom (cf. Exodus 14:4; Matthew 26:24). God makes the wrath of man to praise Him], that [Heb. in order that] he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by [Heb. in the hand of; cf. 1 Kings 14:18; 1 Kings 2:25, note] Ahijah the Shilonite [see on 1 Kings 11:11] unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
(Note: The Rabbins give this explanation: virgae spinis instructae. Isidor. HisPal. Origg. v. c. 27, explains it in a similar manner: virga si est nodosa vel aculeata, scorpio vocatur. The Targ. and Syr., on the other hand, מרגגין, Syr. mārganā', i.e., the Greek μάραγνα, a whip. See the various explanations in Bochart, Hieroz. iii. p. 554f. ed. Ros.)
This advice was not only imprudent, "considering all the circumstances" (Seb. Schmidt), but it was unwise in itself, and could only accelerate the secession of the discontented. It was the language of a tyrant, and not of a ruler whom God had placed over His people. This is shown in 1 Kings 12:13, 1 Kings 12:14 : "The king answered the people harshly, and forsook the counsel of the old men," i.e., the counsellors who were rich in experience, and spoke according to the counsels of the young men, who flattered his ambition. It is very doubtful, indeed, whether the advice of the old men would have been followed by so favourable a result; it might probably have been so for the moment, but not for a permanency. For the king could not become the עגלים of the people, serve the people, without prejudicing the authority entrusted to him by God; though there is no doubt that if he had consented to such condescension, he would have deprived the discontented tribes of all pretext for rebellion, and not have shared in the sin of their secession.
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