But as for the children of Israel which dwelled in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah.—The expression is doubly significant. (a) Historically the tribe of Judah had its semi-dependent tribes—Simeon, already absorbed into Judah; Dan, in great part transferred to the extreme north; and Benjamin, closely united to Judah by the position of Jerusalem. All these, it would seem, are here included—so that the territory of the southern kingdom would be really the Judœa of later times. In addition to these, we find from 2Chronicles 11:13-16, that, at any rate after the idolatry of Jeroboam, priests and Levites and other Israelites made their way into the cities of Judah. (b) But, besides this, there may be a significance in the phrase “children of Israel.” Although the northern kingdom henceforth inherited the proud title of the kingdom of Israel, the phrase, as here used, is perhaps intended to remind the reader that in Judah also dwelt “children of Israel”—true descendants of the “Prince of God,” and inheritors of the promise.Which dwelt in the cities of Judah; by which phrase he principally understands the tribe of Judah; but withal, those parts and parcels of the tribes of Levi, and Simeon, and Benjamin, whose dwellings were within the confines of Judah, or intermixed with them. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah] We see from expressions like this that we must not necessarily make ‘Israel’ include only the northern tribes. See above on 1 Kings 12:1.
The LXX. omits this verse entirely.Verse 17. - But as for the children of Israel which dwelt In the cities of Judah [i.e., "the Israelites proper or members of other tribes, who happened to be settled within the limits of the land of Judah" (cf. ver. 23). A number of Simeonites were (Rawlinson) certainly among them (Joshua 19:1-9). The term "children of Israel" is henceforward to be understood in its restricted sense (see on ver. 1). It cannot include the men of Judah], Rehoboam reigned over them.
(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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