1 Kings 12:33
So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
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(33) So he offered upon the altar.—The repetition of this verse is accounted for by its belonging properly in sense to the next chapter, opening the story of the mission of the “man of God from Judah.” The idea of the verse would be best conveyed by rendering the verbs of this verse in the imperfect tense: “So Jeroboam was offering,” &c.

1 Kings 12:33. Which he had devised of his own heart — Out of his own will and pleasure, against the express ordinance of God. And ordained a feast — To be observed, it is likely, every year in Beth-el, as well as in Dan, as the feast of tabernacles was at Jerusalem, like which it also lasted many days. And he offered upon the altar, and burned incense — Thus performing the highest part of the priest’s office.

12:25-33 Jeroboam distrusted the providence of God; he would contrive ways and means, and sinful ones too, for his own safety. A practical disbelief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom of all our departures from him. Though it is probable he meant his worship for Jehovah the God of Israel, it was contrary to the Divine law, and dishonourable to the Divine majesty to be thus represented. The people might be less shocked at worshipping the God of Israel under an image, than if they had at once been asked to worship Baal; but it made way for that idolatry. Blessed Lord, give us grace to reverence thy temple, thine ordinances, thine house of prayer, thy sabbaths, and never more, like Jeroboam, to set up in our hearts any idol of abomination. Be thou to us every thing precious; do thou reign and rule in our hearts, the hope of glory.This verse belongs to 1 Kings 13 rather than to 1 Kings 12, being intended as an introduction to what follows.

Which he had devised of his own heart - The entire system of Jeroboam receives its condemnation in these words. His main fault was that he left a ritual and a worship where all was divinely authorized, for ceremonies and services which were wholly of his own devising. Not being a prophet, he had no authority to introduce religious innovations. Not having received any commission to establish new forms, he had no right to expect that any religious benefit would accrue from them. (See 1 Kings 12:26 note.)

31. made priests of the lowest of the people—literally, "out of all the people," the Levites refusing to act. He himself assumed to himself the functions of the high priest, at least, at the great festival, probably from seeing the king of Egypt conjoin the royal and sacred offices, and deeming the office of the high priest too great to be vested in a subject. Which he had devised of his own heart; which he appointed without any warrant from God, which was superstition. Compare Jeremiah 7:31.

So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month,.... As he had done in Dan:

even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; the feast of tabernacles was of God's appointing, but the time of keeping he had devised himself, changing it from the seventh month, or Tisri, which answers to our September and October, to the eighth month, or Marchesvan, which answers to part of October and part of November:

and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel; to be observed by them as the feast of tabernacles was by the priests of Judah and Benjamin:

and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense; which none but the priests should do; perhaps the reason why the same resentment was not shown as to Uzziah was, because this was not at the altar of the Lord: whether he burnt incense after the manner of the Jewish priests, or as the priests of Egypt did to the sun, where he had been for some time, is not certain; the former burnt incense only twice a day, morning and evening, the latter three times; at sunrising they burnt rosin, about noon myrrh, and about sun setting "kuphi", which was a compound of sixteen sorts (w).

(w) Plutarch de lside & Osiride.

So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
33. which he had devised of his own heart] This is a translation of the Keri, i.e. the marginal reading of the Hebrew. The Kethib (i.e. the written text) would be rendered ‘apart,’ and if it be correct must be understood, as intimating that the king consulted nobody, which comes much to the same as what we now translate. The difference to the eye between מלבד = ‘apart,’ and מלבו = ‘from his heart’ is very slight.

and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense] The marginal note of the A. V. points out that the last verb is in the infinitive. By translating with R.V. this is made apparent in the text and went up unto the altar to burn incense.

Verse 33. - So he offered [Heb. went up, as before. This verse is really the introduction to the history of the next chapter] upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised [Josephus (Ant. 7:08. 5) seems unaware that this new feast was kept at a different date from the true Feast of Tabernacles. But these words are decisive] of his own heart [The Cethib has מִלְּבֹּד by which Maurer and Keil understand מִלְּבַד ("seoreum." But qu.) But the Keri מִלּבּו is every way to be preferred, So LXX., ἀπὸ καρδίας αὑτοῦ. Similarly, Nehemiah 6:8]; and ordered [rather, kept, celebrated] a feast unto [Heb. for] the children of Israel: and he offered [went up] upon the altar, and burnt incense [Heb. to burn, etc. The context seems to imply that it was not incense, or not incense only, but the sacrifice, or sacrificial parts of the victim, that the king burned. See on 1 Kings 13:3 (דֶּשֶׁן). And this meaning is justified by Leviticus 1:9, 17; 1 Samuel 2:16; Amos 4:5, where the same word is used. It cannot be denied, however, that the word is generally used of incense, and it is very probable that both this and sacrifices were offered by Jeroboam on the same altar (cf. 1 Kings 11:8). We may perhaps see in Jeroboam's ministering in person, not only the design to invest the new ordinance with exceptional interest and splendour, but also the idea of encouraging his new priests to enter on their unauthorized functions with. out fear. The history, or even the traditions, of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10.) and of Korah and his company (Numbers 16:40), and the threatenings of the law (Numbers 18:7, 22, cf. 2 Chronicles 26:20), may well have made them hesitate. To allay their fears the king undertakes to offer the first of the sacrifices. And that their fears of a Divine interposition were not groundless the sequel shows.]

1 Kings 12:33Jeroboam also transferred to the eighth month the feast which ought to have been kept in the seventh month (the feast of tabernacles, Leviticus 23:34.). The pretext for this arbitrary alteration of the law, which repeatedly describes the seventh month as the month appointed by the Lord (Leviticus 23:34, Leviticus 23:39, Leviticus 23:41), he may have found in the fact that in the northern portion of the kingdom the corn ripened a month later than in the more southern Judah (see my Bibl. Archol. ii. 118, Anm. 3, and 119, Anm. 2), since this feast of the ingathering of the produce of the threshing-floor and wine-press (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:39; Deuteronomy 16:13) was a feast of thanksgiving for the gathering in of all the fruits of the ground. But the true reason was to be found in his intention to make the separation in a religious point of view as complete as possible, although Jeroboam retained the day of the month, the fifteenth, for the sake of the weak who took offence at his innovations. For we may see very clearly that many beside the Levites were very discontented with these illegal institutions, from the notice in 2 Chronicles 11:16, that out of all the tribes those who were devoted to the Lord from the heart went to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the God of the fathers there. "And he sacrificed upon the altar." This clause is connected with the preceding one, in the sense of: he instituted the feast and offered sacrifices thereat. In 1 Kings 12:32 (from עשׂה כּן onwards) and 1 Kings 12:33, what has already been related concerning Jeroboam's religious institutions is brought to a close by a comprehensive repetition of the leading points. "Thus did he in Bethel, (namely) to offer sacrifice to the calves; and there he appointed the priests of the high places which he had made, and offered sacrifice upon the altar which he had made at Bethel, on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, which he himself had devised, and so made a feast for the children of Israel and sacrificed upon the altar to turn." מלּבד signifies seorsum, by himself alone, i.e., in this connection, i.q. "from his own heart." The Keri מלּבּו is therefore a correct explanation as to the fact; but it is a needless correction from Nehemiah 6:8. The last clause, להקטיר...ויּעל, leads on to what follows, and it would be more correct to take it in connection with 1 Kings 13:1 and render it thus: and when he was offering sacrifice upon the altar to burn, behold there came a man of God, etc. Thenius has rendered ויּעל incorrectly, and he stood at the altar. This thought would have been expressed by הם על ויּעמוד, as in 1 Kings 13:1. By הקטיר we are not to understand the burning or offering of incense, but the burning of the sacrificial portions of the flesh upon the altar, as in Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, Leviticus 1:17, etc.
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