1 Kings 14:2
And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray you, and disguise yourself, that you be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get you to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.
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(2) Shiloh, the regular habitation of Ahijah, is hardly mentioned in Scripture after the time of Eli, and the destruction which then seems to have fallen upon it, probably after the great defeat by the Philistines (Jeremiah 7:12). It is evident that the old blind prophet still remained there, and exercised his prophetic office for the benefit of Israel, though he stood aloof from, and denounced, the new idolatry of Bethel. This idolatry is always described as pre-eminently the “sin of Jeroboam,” who by it “made Israel to sin.” Hence, while in consequence of it the royal house is condemned, the people are still regarded as God’s chosen people, to whom, even more than to the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah, the prophets ministered, and to whom—having no longer the Temple and the consecrated royalty of David, as perpetual witnesses for God—the prophetic ministrations were of pre-eminent importance. Accordingly, the wife of Jeroboam is bidden to approach the prophet disguised as a daughter of the people.

1 Kings 14:2. Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, &c. — “He most probably sent his wife to consult the prophet at Shiloh, because this was a secret not to be intrusted with any body else; a secret which, had it been divulged, might have endangered his whole government; because, if once his subjects came to understand that he himself had no confidence in the calves which he had set up, but in any matter of importance had recourse to true worshippers of God, it can hardly be conceived what an inducement this would have been for them to forsake these senseless idols, and to return to the worship of the God of Israel, whom they had imprudently forsaken. The queen then was the only person in whom he could have confidence. As a mother he knew she would be diligent in her inquiry; and as a wife faithful in her report.” — Dodd. Disguise thyself — Change thy habit and voice, and go like a private and obscure person. This caution proceeded, first, from the pride of his heart, which made him unwilling to confess his folly in worshipping such helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken: secondly, from jealousy and suspicion, lest the Prophet Ahijah, (who he knew was greatly offended at him for the idolatry he had introduced,) if he knew her to be his wife, should either give her no answer, or make things worse than indeed they were.14:1-6 At that time, when Jeroboam did evil, his child sickened. When sickness comes into our families, we should inquire whether there may not be some particular sin harboured in our houses, which the affliction is sent to convince us of, and reclaim us from. It had been more pious if he had desired to know wherefore God contended with him; had begged the prophet's prayers, and cast away his idols from him; but most people would rather be told their fortune, than their faults or their duty. He sent to Ahijah, because he had told him he should be king. Those who by sin disqualify themselves for comfort, yet expect that their ministers, because they are good men, should speak peace and comfort to them, greatly wrong themselves and their ministers. He sent his wife in disguise, that the prophet might only answer her question concerning her son. Thus some people would limit their ministers to smooth things, and care not for having the whole counsel of God declared to them, lest it should prophesy no good concerning them, but evil. But she shall know, at the first word, what she has to trust to. Tidings of a portion with hypocrites will be heavy tidings. God will judge men according to what they are, not by what they seem to be.Disguise thyself - Jeroboam fears that even Ahijah the Shilonite, who in some sort made him king, will scarcely give his queen a favorable answer. The king's conscience tells him that he has not performed the conditions on which he was promised "a sure house" 1 Kings 11:38. 2. Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself—His natural and intense anxiety as a parent is here seen, blended with the deep and artful policy of an apostate king. The reason of this extreme caution was an unwillingness to acknowledge that he looked for information as to the future, not to his idols, but to the true God; and a fear that this step, if publicly known, might endanger the stability of his whole political system; and a strong impression that Ahijah, who was greatly offended with him, would, if consulted openly by his queen, either insult or refuse to receive her. For these reasons he selected his wife, as, in every view, the most proper for such a secret and confidential errand, but recommended her to assume the garb and manner of a peasant woman. Strange infatuation, to suppose that the God who could reveal futurity could not penetrate a flimsy disguise! Jeroboam said to his wife; partly, because he would trust none else with this secret; partly, because she might, without suspicion, inquire concerning her own child; and partly, because she would inquire most exactly and diligently, and faithfully acquaint him with the whole truth.

Disguise thyself; change thy habit and voice, and go like a private and obscure person.

That thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: this caution proceeded, first, From the pride of his heart, which made him loth to confess his folly in worshipping such ignorant and helpless idols, and to give glory to the God whom he had forsaken. Secondly, From jealousy and suspicion, lest the prophet knowing this, should either give her no answer, or make it worse than indeed it was. Thirdly, From policy, lest his people should by his example be drawn to forsake the senseless calves, and to return to the God of Judah, whom they had rashly forsaken. And Jeroboam said to his wife,.... Who she was is not known:

arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself; put off her royal apparel, and clothe herself like a common person, mimic the dress and language of a country woman:

that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam: by any that should see her on the road, or at the city she was to go to, or by the prophet to whom she would be sent:

and get thee to Shiloh; which, according to Bunting (g), was twenty four miles, from Tirzah, where Jeroboam now lived, see 1 Kings 14:17.

behold, there is Ahijah the prophet: called from thence the Shilonite, 1 Kings 11:29,

which told me that I should be king over this people: and this coming to pass, proved him to be a true prophet, and to be credited in what he should say concerning their child. Jeroboam desired his wife to go on this errand, because he did not care it should be known that he applied to any of the prophets of the Lord; nor did he choose it should be known whose child was inquired about, which another must have told, whereas his wife could speak of it as her own; and she was the fittest person to give an account of the child's illness, and would ask the most proper and pertinent questions, and bring him back a faithful report; and he would have her be disguised, lest the prophet, who bore no good will to him because of his apostasy, should refuse to give any answer at all, or else give a very rough and disagreeable one.

(g) Travels, &c. p. 161.

And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, {a} and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people.

(a) His own conscience bore witness to him that the prophet of God would not satisfy his desires, who was a wicked man.

2. and disguise thyself] She was to put on such a dress that no one would recognise her for the queen. Jeroboam no doubt felt that the prophets generally were against him, and that if it were known that he was the applicant, he would receive an unfavourable answer. Josephus describes the queen as putting aside her royal robe, and assuming the dress of a private person. Otherwise she could scarcely have gone abroad on her errand. Of course she was also to conceal her identity from Ahijah, but as he was not able to see, the dress would have mattered little on his account. In the LXX. (Alex.) it is said ‘they shall not know thee’, i.e. people generally.

Ahijah] On Ahijah and Shiloh see above on 1 Kings 11:29.

which told me that I should be king] R.V. ‘Which spake concerning me that I should be king’. This is somewhat nearer to the Hebrew, but the difficulty is in the word rendered ‘that I should be king’ which is a noun with a preposition לְמֶלֶךְ = ‘for a king’, where we should have expected rather the verbal form לִמְלךְ.Verse 2. - And Jeroboam said to his wife [Conscious that his proceedings would merit Ahijah's reproof, he is afraid to go in person. And his wife - if in this particular we may trust the LXX., an Egyptian princess - could be more readily disguised. The commission was too delicate to be entrusted to a stranger. "None might know it but his own bosom, and she that lay in it" (Bp. Hall). Jeroboam evidently suspected that this sickness was punitive, and he would not have others think so too], Arise, I pray thee, and disguise [lit., change. The word suggests that the disguise was to be effected by a change of garments. "She must put off her robes and put on a russet coat" (ib.) Possibly the queen was not unknown to the prophet (ver. 4)] thyself, that thou [Observe the archaic form אַתִּי for אַתְּ, which latter the Keri would substitute, quite needlessly, here] be not known [Heb. and they (i.e., those whom she met, not the prophet only) shall not know that thou art, etc.] to be the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh [the modern Seilun. "There is no site in the country fixed with greater certainty than that of Shiloh" (Conder, p. 44. See Judges 21:19). The identification, however, was only effected in 1838. Conder gives some interesting particulars which lead him to believe that we can identify the very site of the tabernacle. For its history, see Joshua 16:5; Joshua 18:1-10; Judges 18:31; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 4:3; Jeremiah 41:5. Presuming that Tirzah is to be identified with Teiasir (see on ver. 17) Shiloh would be over thirty miles' distant - more than a day's journey to the queen, as the road involves some toilsome climbing]: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet [see on 1 Kings 11:29. Shiloh was probably the birthplace, as well as the residence, of Ahijah. It was in the territory of Ephraim (Joshua 16:6), and at no great distance from Bethel. We can only explain Ahijah's continued residence there, after the migration of the God-fearing Israelites to the southern kingdom, not by his great age, but by the supposition that, having been concerned in the transfer of the kingdom to Jeroboam, he felt it a duty to stay and watch his career. And the time has now come when he can be useful. His relations with Jeroboam had apparently so far been good. He had not protested, so far as we know, against the calf worship, but then God had sent another prophet to do that], which told me that I should be king [Heb. he spake of me for king] over this people. [So that he had already proved himself a true prophet, and so far a prophet of good.] He thereupon had his ass saddled, and went and found the corpse and the ass standing by it, without the lion having eaten the corpse or torn the ass in pieces; and he lifted the corpse upon his ass, and brought it into his own city, and laid the corpse in his grave with the customary lamentation: אחו הוי, alas, my brother! (cf., Jeremiah 22:18), and then gave this command to his sons: "When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried, let my bones rest beside his bones; for the word which he proclaimed in the word of Jehovah upon the altar at Bethel and upon all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria will take place" (i.e., will be fulfilled). The expression "cities of Samaria" belongs to the author of these books, and is used proleptically of the kingdom of the ten tribes, which did not receive this name till after the building of the city of Samaria as the capital of the kingdom and the residence of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 16:24). There is a prophetic element in the words "upon all the houses of the high places," etc., inasmuch as the only other erection at that time beside the one at Bethel was a temple of the high places at Dan. But after such a beginning the multiplication of them might be foreseen with certainty, even without any higher illumination.

The conduct of the old prophet at Bethel appears so strange, that Josephus and the Chald., and most of the Rabbins and of the earlier commentators both Catholic and Protestant, have regarded him as a false prophet, who tried to lay a trap for the prophet from Judah, in order to counteract the effect of his prophecy upon the king and the people. But this assumption cannot be reconciled with either the divine revelation which came to him at the table, announcing to the Judaean prophet the punishment of his transgression of the commandment of God, and was so speedily fulfilled (1 Kings 13:20-24); or with the honour which he paid to the dead man after this punishment had fallen upon him, by burying him in his own grave; and still less with his confirmation of his declaration concerning the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:29-32). We must therefore follow Ephr. Syr., Theodor., Hengstenberg, and others, and regard the old prophet as a true prophet, who with good intentions, and not "under the influence of human envy" (Thenius), but impelled by the desire to enter into a closer relation to the man of God from Judah and to strengthen himself through his prophetic gifts, urged him to enter his house. The fact that he made use of sinful means in order to make more sure of securing the end desired, namely, of the false pretence that he had been directed by an angel to do this, may be explained, as Hengstenberg suggests (Dissert. vol. ii. p. 149), on the ground that when Jeroboam introduced his innovations, he had sinned by keeping silence, and that the appearance of the Judaean prophet had brought him to a consciousness of this sin, so that he had been seized with shame on account of his fall, and was anxious to restore himself to honour in his own eyes and those of others by intercourse with this witness to the truth. But however little the lie itself can be excused or justified, we must not attribute to him alone the consequences by which the lie was followed in the case of the Judaean prophet. For whilst he chose reprehensible means of accomplishing what appeared to be a good end, namely, to raise himself again by intercourse with a true prophet, and had no wish to injure the other in any way, the Judaean prophet allowed himself to be seduced to a transgression of the clear and definite prohibition of God simply by the sensual desire for bodily invigoration by meat and drink, and had failed to consider that the divine revelation which he had received could not be repealed by a pretended revelation from an angel, because the word of God does not contradict itself. He was therefore obliged to listen to a true revelation from God from the moth of the man whose pretended revelation from an angel he had too carelessly believed, namely, to the announcement of punishment for his disobedience towards the commandment of God, which punishment he immediately afterwards endured, "for the destruction of the flesh, but for the preservation of the spirit: 1 Corinthians 15:5" (Berleb. Bible). That the punishment fell upon him alone and not upon the old prophet of Bethel also, and that for apparently a smaller crime, may be accounted for "not so much from the fact that the old prophet had lied with a good intention (this might hold good of the other also), as from the fact that it was needful to deal strictly with the man who had just received a great and holy commission from the Lord" (O. v. Gerlach). It is true that no bodily punishment fell upon the old prophet, but this punishment he received instead, that with his lie he was put to shame, and that his conscience must have accused him of having occasioned the death of the man of God from Judah. He was thereby to be cured of his weakness, that he might give honour to the truth of the testimony of God. "Thus did the wondrous providence of God know how to direct all things most gloriously, so that the bodily destruction of the one contributed to the spiritual and eternal preservation of the soul of the other" (Berleb. Bible). - Concerning the design of these marvellous events, H. Witsius has the following remarks in his Miscell. ss. i. p. 118 (ed. nov. 1736): "So many wondrous events all occurring in one result caused the prophecy against the altar at Bethel to be preserved in the mouths and memories of all, and the mission of this prophet to become far more illustrious. Thus, although the falsehood of the old man of Bethel brought disgrace upon himself, it injured no one but the man of God whose credulity was too great; and, under the overruling providence of God, it contributed in the most signal manner to the confirmation and publication of the truth."

(Note: Compare with this the remark of Theodoret in his quaest. 43 in 3 libr. Reb.: "In my opinion this punishment served to confirm the declaration concerning the altar. For it was not possible for the statement of such a man to be concealed: and this was sufficient to fill with terror those who heard it; for if partaking of food contrary to the command of God, and that not of his own accord, but under a deception, brought such retribution upon a righteous man, to what punishments would they be exposed who had forsaken the God who made them, and worshipped the likenesses of irrational creatures?")

The heaping up of the marvellous corresponded to the great object of the mission of the man of God out of Judah, through which the Lord would enter an energetic protest against the idolatrous worship of Jeroboam at its first introduction, to guard those who feared God in Israel, of whom there were not a few (2 Chronicles 11:16; 2 Kings 18:3; 2 Kings 19:18), from falling away from Him by joining in the worship of the calves, and to take away every excuse from the ungodly who participated therein.

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