1 Kings 12:2
And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelled in Egypt;)
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(2) For he was fled.—In 2Chronicles 10:2, and in the LXX. version (or, rather versions, for there is variety of reading) of this passage, Jeroboam is made to return from Egypt, on hearing of the death of Solomon, to his own city, and to be “sent for” thence. This is obviously far more probable, and might be read in the Hebrew by a slight alteration of the text.

12:1-15 The tribes complained not to Rehoboam of his father's idolatry, and revolt from God. That which was the greatest grievance, was none to them; so careless were they in matters of religion, if they might live at case, and pay no taxes. Factious spirits will never want something to complain of. And when we see the Scripture account of Solomon's reign; the peace, wealth, and prosperity Israel then enjoyed; we cannot doubt but that their charges were false, or far beyond the truth. Rehoboam answered the people according to the counsel of the young men. Never was man more blinded by pride, and desire of arbitrary power, than which nothing is more fatal. God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be rent from him. God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by the imprudences and sins of men. Those that lose the kingdom of heaven, throw it away, as Rehoboam, by wilfulness and folly.Heard of it - i. e., of the death of Solomon and accession of Rehoboam. This would be more clear without the division into chapters; which division, it must be remembered, is without authority.

Dwelt in Egypt - By a change of the pointing of one word, and of one letter in another, the Hebrew text here will read as in 2 Chronicles 10:2, "returned out of Egypt; and they sent and called him."

In the Septuagint Version the story of Jeroboam is told in two different ways. The general narrative agrees closely with the Hebrew text; but an insertion into the body of 1 Kings 12 - remarkable for its minuteness and circumstantiality - at once deranges the order of the events, and gives to the history in many respects a new aspect and coloring. This section of the Septuagint, though regarded by some as thoroughly authentic, absolutely conflicts with the Hebrew text in many important particulars. In its general outline it is wholly irreconcileable with the other narrative; and, if both stood on the same footing, and we were free to choose between them, there could be no question about preferring the history as given in our Version.


1Ki 12:1-5. Refusing the Old Men's Counsel.

1. Rehoboam went to Shechem—He was the oldest, and perhaps the only son of Solomon, and had been, doubtless, designated by his father heir to the throne, as Solomon had been by David. The incident here related took place after the funeral obsequies of the late king and the period for public mourning had past. When all Israel came to make him king, it was not to exercise their old right of election (1Sa 10:19-21), for, after God's promise of the perpetual sovereignty to David's posterity, their duty was submission to the authority of the rightful heir; but their object was, when making him king, to renew the conditions and stipulations to which their constitutional kings were subject (1Sa 10:25). To the omission of such rehearsing which, under the peculiar circumstances in which Solomon was made king, they were disposed to ascribe the absolutism of his government.

Shechem—This ancient, venerable, and central town was the place of convocation; and it is evident, if not from the appointment of that place, at least from the tenor of their language, and the concerted presence of Jeroboam [1Ki 12:3], that the people were determined on revolt.

Heard of it; in the Hebrew it is only heard, and may relate either to Solomon’s death, or to the meeting which all the tribes had appointed at Shechem. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it,.... Of the death of Solomon, and of the meeting of the Israelites at Shechem:

(for he was fled from the presence of King Solomon; see 1 Kings 11:40.

and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) until the death of Solomon; some render the words, "Jeroboam, returned out of Egypt" (d), which agrees with 2 Chronicles 10:2, this he did on hearing the above news, and on being sent for by some of his friends, as follows.

(d) "reversus est de Aegypto", V. L. Ex Egypto, pro Vatablus.

And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)
2. And it came to pass] The LXX. (Vat.) having given the substance of this verse as an addition to 1 Kings 11:43, omits it here. The R.V. makes the parenthesis commence a little earlier and extend a little farther than is shewn in A.V. The connexion thus becomes: And it came to pass when ‘Jeroboam … heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt whither he had fled … and they sent … him;) that Jeroboam’ &c.

heard of it] There must have been some interval between the death of Solomon and the gathering of the people at Shechem. The character and purpose of this meeting must also have been settled beforehand, so that news of what was intended could be carried to Jeroboam, and he, seeing events to be promising for his enterprise, could come back into Israel, and take the lead, as in the next verse he is said to have done, of those who petitioned the new king for reforms.Verse 2. - And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat [see on 1 Kings 11:26], who was yet in Egypt [The usual, and indeed the necessary, interpretation, if we retain our present Hebrew text, is that these words refer, not as the context would lead us to suppose, to the time indicated in vers. 1, 3, etc., but to the time of Solomon's death. But see below], heard of it [The words "of it," though not in the original, are a fair and legitimate interpretation of its meaning. Whether they are retained or not, the natural and grammatical interpretation is that it was the visit to Shechem, just before mentioned, of which Jeroboam heard. But according to our received text, Jeroboam was one of the deputation which met king Rehoboam at Shechem. It has been found necessary, consequently, to understand the words of the death of Solomon, which has been related in 1 Kings 11:43. So the Vulgate, Audita morte ejus. Similarly the LXX. Cod. Vat. inserts the substance of this verse as part of 1 Kings 11:43. (The Cod. Alex. follows the Hebrew.) But this interpretation is surely strained and unnatural] (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) [The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 10. has here, "And Jeroboam returned from Egypt" (ויַָּשבָ יר ממצ instead of וַיֵּשֶׁב יר במצ). And as some copies of the LXX. have καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν Ἱερο βοὰμ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου and the Vulgate has "Reversus est de Aegypto," Dathe, Bahr, al. would adopt this reading here. It is true it involves but a slight change, and it may simplify the construction. But no change is really required, Bahr's objection, that in the text, as it stands, we have an unmeaning repetition, "He was still in Egypt... and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt," loses all its force if we understand Jeroboam to have continued his residence in Egypt (as the LXX. says he did) after hearing of Solomon's death. until summoned by the tribes to be their leader. In any case the repetition accords with Hebrew usage.] The condition on which the kingdom of Jeroboam was to last was the same as that on which Solomon had also been promised the continuance of his throne in 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 6:12; 1 Kings 9:4, namely, faithful observance of the commandments of God. The expression, "be king over all that thy soul desireth," is explained in what follows by "all Israel." It is evident from this that Jeroboam had aspired after the throne. On the condition named, the Lord would build him a lasting house, as He had done for David (see at 2 Samuel 7:16). In the case of Jeroboam, however, there is no allusion to a lasting duration of the ממלכה (kingdom) such as had been ensured to David; for the division of the kingdom was not to last for ever, but the seed of David was simply to be chastised. זאת למען, for this, i.e., because of the apostasy already mentioned; "only not all the days," i.e., not for ever. ואענּה is explanatory so far as the sense is concerned: "for I will humble." Jeroboam did not fulfil this condition, and therefore his house was extirpated at the death of his son (1 Kings 15:28.).
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