1 Kings 12:3
That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
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1 Kings 12:3. They sent and called him — When the people sent Jeroboam word of Solomon’s death, they also sent a message to him to desire he would attend their general meeting at Shechem, and assist them to get their grievances redressed. For they judged that the presence and countenance of a man of such great interest and reputation might lay the greater obligation upon Rehoboam to grant them ease and relief. Some suppose that they had heard of what had passed between the Prophet Ahijah and him, and had an inclination to fulfil what the prophet had foretold to him; which is not unlikely. And all the congregation came — That is, all their elders, and the heads of their tribes. These, it appears, chose Jeroboam to be their speaker.

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.

They sent and called him: when the people sent him word of Solomon’s death, they also sent a summons for him to come to Shechem. Or as soon as he had heard the tidings of Solomon’s death from others, or from common fame; presently there came a solemn message to him from the people, who desired his presence and assistance, as it seems probable, from divers motives; some, that they might translate the kingdom from Rehoboam to him; and others only for this reason, that the presence and countenance of a man of so great interest and reputation, and one that had some claim or pretence upon the kingdom, might lay the greater obligation upon Rehoboam to grant their desires of ease and relief.

That they sent and called him,.... That is, the people of Israel, some of the principal of them, especially of the tribe of Ephraim, sent messengers to him, and gave him an invitation to come to them at Shechem; or, they had sent (e), as Kimchi interprets it, which was the reason of his returning from Egypt, at least one of them:

and Jeroboam, and all the congregation of Israel, came; the chief men of them, the heads of the people; these, with Jeroboam at the head of them, who was come out of Egypt, came to Shechem, where Rehoboam was, and they had appointed to meet him:

and spake unto Rehoboam; one in the name of them all, perhaps Jeroboam:

saying; as follows.

(e) So Pagninus, Montanus.

That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
3. that they sent] Better, And they sent: see the previous note. Josephus (Ant. viii. 8, i) calls this party οἱ τῶν ὄχλων ἄρχοντες, and represents them as sending to Jeroboam immediately after Solomon was dead. Clearly there was a feeling that some change was at hand, and the knowledge of Ahijah’s prophecies had not been confined to Jeroboam and Solomon. Hence men were prepared for what was coming.

and called him] Knowing that he would be ready to come, and that his ability and industry (described 1 Kings 11:28 above) qualified him for a leader of their enterprise.

Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel] The LXX. (Vat.) omits Jeroboam. But the object of sending for him was clearly that he might be the prime mover in the agitation, and by taking part in the popular petition he would prepare the way for the invitation sent to him as mentioned below in 1 Kings 12:20.

Verse 3. - That [Heb. and] they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came [It has been held that this verse is largely an interpolation. The LXX. Cod. Vat. has simply, "And the people spake unto king Rehoboam, saying." Of more importance, however, is the fact that it is at direct variance with ver. 20, which places the appearance of Jeroboam on the scene after the revolt of the tribes. Indeed, these two verses can only be brought into agreement by the questionable device of understanding the "all Israel" of ver. 20 very differently from the same expression in ver. 1. If, however, we follow in this instance the LXX., which omits the name of Jeroboam both here and in ver. 12 (and which thereby implies that he was not one of the deputation to Rehoboam, but, as ver. 2 states, was at that time still in Egypt), the difficulty vanishes. Ver. 20 then becomes the natural and logical continuation of vers. 2, 3. "And Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt. And they sent and called him [to the country.]... And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again [at their summons] they sent and called him unto the congregation," etc. And in favour of the omission of Jeroboam's name is the fact that the Hebrew text, both in ver. 3 and in ver. 12, betrays some little confusion. In ver. 3, the Cethib has וַיָּבֹאוּ and וַיָּבֹוּ in ver. 12, whereas the Keri has וַיָּבֹא in both cases. The words look, that is to say, as if a singular nominative had been subsequently introduced], and spake unto Rehoboam, saying. 1 Kings 12:3The construction of 1 Kings 12:2, 1 Kings 12:3 is a complicated one, since it is only in ויּבאוּ in 1 Kings 12:3 that the apodosis occurs to the protasis וגו כּשׁמע ויהי, and several circumstantial clauses intervene. "And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard, sc., that Solomon was dead and Rehoboam had been made king ... he was still in Egypt, however, whither he had fled from king Solomon; and as Jeroboam was living in Egypt, they had sent and called him ... that Jeroboam came and the whole congregation of Israel," etc. On the other hand, in 2 Chronicles 10:2 the construction is very much simplified, and is rendered clearer by the alteration of בּמצרים יר ויּשׁב, "and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt," into ממּצרים יר ויּשׁב, "that Jeroboam returned from Egypt."

(Note: At the same time, neither this explanation in the Chronicles, nor the fact that the Vulgate has the same in our text also, warrants our making alterations in the text, for the simple reason that the deviation in the Chronicles and Vulgate is so obviously nothing but an elucidation of our account, which is more obscurely expressed. There is still less ground for the interpolation, which Thenius has proposed, from the clauses contained in the Septuagint partly after 1 Kings 11:43, partly in 1 Kings 12 between 1 Kings 12:24 and 1 Kings 12:25, and in an abbreviated form once more after 1 Kings 13:34, so as to obtain the following more precise account of the course of the rebellion which Jeroboam instigated, and of which we have not a very minute description in 1 Kings 11:26 : "Solomon having appointed Jeroboam superintendent of the tributary labour in Ephraim, for the purpose of keeping in check the Sichemites, who were probably pre-eminently inclined to rebel, directed him to make a fortress, which already existed upon Mount Gerizim under the name of Millo, into a strong prison (צרירה( ), from which the whole district of Gerizim, the table-land, received the name of the land of Zerirah, and probably made him governor of it and invested him with great power. When holding this post, Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, but was obliged to flee. Having now returned from Egypt, he assembled the members of his own tribe, and with them he first of all besieged this prison, for the purpose of making himself lord of the surrounding district. Now this castle was the citadel of the city in which Jeroboam was born, to which he had just returned, and from which they fetched him to take part in the negotiations with Rehoboam. Its ruins are still in existence, according to Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 99), and from all that has been said it was not called Zeredah (1 Kings 11:26), but (after the castle) Zerira." This is what Thenius says. But if we read the two longer additions of the lxx quite through, we shall easily see that the words ᾠκοδόμησε τῷ Σαλωμὼν τὴν ἐν ὄρει Ἐφραΐ́μ do not give any more precise historical information concerning the building of the Millo mentioned in 1 Kings 11:27, since this verse is repeated immediately afterwards in the following form: οὖτος ᾠκοδόμησε τὴν ἄκραν ἐν ταῖς ἄρσεσιν οἴκου Ἐφραΐ́μ οὖτος συνέκλεισε τὴν πόλιν Δαβίδ, - but are nothing more than a legendary supplement made by an Alexandrian, which has no more value than the statement that Jeroboam's mother was named Sarira and was γυνὴ πόρνη. The name of the city Σαριρά is simply the Greek form of the Hebrew צררה, which the lxx have erroneously adopted in the place of צרדה, as the reading in 1 Kings 11:26. But in the additional clauses in question in the Alexandrian version, Σαριρά is made into the residence of king Jeroboam and confounded with Thirza; what took place at Thirza according to 1 Kings 14:17 (of the Hebrew text) being transferred to Sarira, and the following account being introduced, viz., that Jeroboam's wife went ἐκ Σαριρά to the prophet Ahijah to consult him concerning her sick son, and on returning heard of the child's death as she was entering the city of Sarira. - These remarks will be quite sufficient to prove that the Alexandrian additions have not the least historical worth.)

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