1 Kings 14:22
And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
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(22) Forty and one years old when he began to reign.—It has been noticed that the age of forty-one assigned to Rehoboam at his accession, here and in the Chronicles (both in the Hebrew text and the ancient versions) and in the history of Josephus, presents some difficulty in relation to the youth ascribed to him and his companions at the time of his accession; and, moreover, if only forty years are given to Solomon’s reign, must throw back his birth to a time when his father must have been very young. It has been accordingly proposed to read “twenty-one” (by a slight change of the Hebrew numerals); but the combined authority supporting the present reading is strong, and the difficulties above noted, though real, are not insurmountable.

The city which the Lord did choose.—This emphatic notice is, no doubt, intended to place Jerusalem and its worship in marked contrast with the new capitals and unauthorised sanctuaries which had sprung up. The possession of Jerusalem, with all that was associated with it, was the very life of the little kingdom of Judah, threatened by its more powerful rival and by the neighbouring nations. In Israel one capital succeeded another; Shechem, Tirzah, Samaria, Jezreel, became rival cities. In Judah no city could be for a moment placed on the level of the hallowed city of Jerusalem.

Naamah an Ammonitess.—The reference to the queen-mother is almost invariable in the annals of the kings, marking the importance always attaching to it in Eastern monarchies; but the mention (here and in 1Kings 14:31) of Naamah as an Ammonitess is perhaps significant in relation to the description of the manifold idolatries of Rehoboam. It is curious that the succession should pass without question to the son of another and an earlier wife than Solomon’s chief queen, the daughter of Pharaoh.

(22) Judah did evil.—From the Chronicles (2Chronicles 11:17) we gather that, as might have been expected, the judgment which had fallen upon the house of David for idolatry, the rallying of the national feeling round the sacredness of the Temple, and the influx from Israel of the priests and Levites, produced a temporary reaction: “for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.” With, however, the excitement, and perhaps the sense of danger (2Chronicles 12:1), this wholesome reaction passed by, and gave way to an extraordinarily reckless plunge into abominations of the worst kind. These are ascribed not, as in the case of Solomon and most other kings, to the action of Rehoboam, but to that of the people at large; for the king himself seems to have been weak, unfit for taking the initiative either in good or evil. The apostasy of Judah was evidently the harvest of the deadly seed sown by the commanding influence of Solomon, under whose idolatry the young men had grown up. It is said to have gone beyond “all that their fathers had done,” even in the darkest periods of the age of the Judges: perhaps on the ground that the sins of a more advanced state of knowledge and civilisation are, both in their guilt and in their subtlety, worse than the sins of a semi-barbarous age.

1 Kings 14:22-23. Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord — In contempt and in defiance of him, and the tokens of his special presence. They provoked him to jealousy — By joining other gods together with him, as the adulterous wife provokes her husband by breaking the marriage covenant. They also built them high places — Followed the example of the Israelites, although they were better instructed, had the temple in their kingdom, and liberty of access to it, and the privilege of worshipping God in his own way; together with the counsels, sermons, and examples, of the priests and Levites, and the dreadful example of Israel’s horrid apostacy, to caution and terrify them. High places — Which were unlawful, and now especially when the temple was built, and ready to receive them, and unnecessary, and therefore in building them they expressed a greater contempt of God and his express command. Groves — Not only after the manner of the heathen and Israelites, but against a direct and particular prohibition. Under every green tree — The people were universally corrupted, which is prodigious, all things considered, and is a clear evidence of the greatness and depth of the original corruption of man’s nature.

14:21-31 Here is no good said of Rehoboam, and much said to the disadvantage of his subjects. The abounding of the worst crimes, of the worst of the heathen, in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen for his temple and his worship, shows that nothing can mend the hearts of fallen men but the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. On this alone may we depend; for this let us daily pray, in behalf of ourselves and all around us. The splendour of their temple, the pomp of their priesthood, and all the advantages with which their religion was attended, could not prevail to keep them close to it; nothing less than the pouring out the Spirit will keep God's Israel in their allegiance to him. Sin exposes, makes poor, and weakens any people. Shishak, king of Egypt, came and took away the treasures. Sin makes the gold become dim, changes the most fine gold, and turns it into brass.This defection of Judah did not take place until Rehoboam's fourth year (marginal reference).

They provoked him to jealousy - Compare Exodus 20:5; and on the force of the metaphor involved in the word, see Exodus 34:15 note.

1Ki 14:21-24. Rehoboam's Wicked Reign.

21. he reigned … in Jerusalem—Its particular designation as "the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there," seems given here, both as a reflection on the apostasy of the ten tribes, and as a proof of the aggravated wickedness of introducing idolatry and its attendant vices there.

his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess—Her heathen extraction and her influence as queen mother are stated to account for Rehoboam's tendency to depart from the true religion. Led by the warning of the prophet (1Ki 12:23), as well as by the large immigration of Israelites into his kingdom (1Ki 12:17; 2Ch 11:16), he continued for the first three years of his reign a faithful patron of true religion (2Ch 11:17). But afterwards he began and encouraged a general apostasy; idolatry became the prevailing form of worship, and the religious state of the kingdom in his reign is described by the high places, the idolatrous statues, the groves and impure rites that with unchecked license were observed in them. The description is suited to the character of the Canaanitish worship.

Judah did evil, after a little time, 2 Chronicles 11:17.

And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord,.... At the end of three years, from the beginning of the reign of Rehoboam:

and they provoked him to jealousy, with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done; that is, with their idolatries; for they were the sins which moved the Lord to jealousy, and provoked the eyes of his glory; in which they had outdone not the ten tribes, but their fathers, in the times of Moses, Joshua, and the judges, and of their kings before their separation, Saul, David, and Solomon.

And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
22. did evil] R.V. did that which was evil. The Hebrew text is better represented by this fuller translation.

provoked him to jealousy] Jehovah had called himself a jealous God, when the Law was given on Sinai (Exodus 20:5).

which they had committed] The word ‘had’ is better omitted. The Hebrew has no power of marking such a pluperfect tense in verbal inflexions, and the context must be our guide to such a shade of meaning. Here it is not appropriate for the sins were still continuing. In the previous verse the English pluperfect appears preferable as a translation of the same Hebrew tense for the choice of God had been made long before the days of Rehoboam.

Verse 22. - And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord [not, however, before the fourth year of Rehoboam's reign. For the first three Fears the nation remained steadfast in the faith, and the kingdom was greatly strengthened and consolidated. The defection commenced when Rehoboam began to feel himself secure (2 Chronicles 12:1). It is to be observed, however, that the historian says "Judah" (not Rehoboam) "did evil," etc. It is probable that a considerable section of the people approved of the idolatrous practices introduced in the preceding reign, and that Rehoboam was unable to repress them. It was his misfortune to have to reap the bitter fruits of Solomon's unfaithfulness], and they provoked him to jealousy [Heb. made him jealous. Same word, Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:14; Numbers 5:14. The words of the covenant proclaimed the Lord a,' jealous God." This is of course anthropomorphic language. The nation was regarded as the bride of Jehovah, and God is said to be made jealous, because idolatry was unfaithfulness to Him. The worship of Baal and Ashtoreth, it must be remembered, involved unutterable immoralities, hence the special fitness of the word, which is only used of idolatry of one kind or other] with their sins which they had committed [Heb. sinned] above all that their fathers had done. 1 Kings 14:22The general characteristics of Rehoboam's reign are supplied and more minutely defined in the account in the Chronicles. According to 2 Chronicles 11:5-12:1, he appears to have been brought to reflection by the announcement of the prophet, that the falling away of the ten tribes had come from the Lord as a punishment for Solomon's idolatry (1 Kings 12:23-24; 2 Chronicles 11:2-4); and in the first years of his reign to have followed the law of God with earnestness, and to have been occupied in the establishment of his government partly by the fortification of different cities (2 Chronicles 11:5-12), and partly by setting in order his domestic affairs, placing his numerous sons, who were born of his many wives and concubines, in the fortified cities of the land, and thus providing for them, and naming Abijam as his successor (2 Chronicles 11:18-22); while his kingdom was still further strengthened by the priests, Levites, and pious Israelites who emigrated to Judah and Jerusalem from the ten tribes (2 Chronicles 11:13-17). But this good beginning only lasted three years (2 Chronicles 11:17). When he thought that he had sufficiently fortified his kingdom, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel (i.e., all the covenant nation) with him (2 Chronicles 12:1). "Judah did that which was displeasing in the sight of the Lord; they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers (sc., under the Judges) had done with their sins." קנּא, to provoke to jealousy (Numbers 5:14), is to be explained, when it refers to God, from the fact that the relation in which God stood to His people was regarded under the figure of a marriage, in which Jehovah appears as the husband of the nation, who is angry at the unfaithfulness of his wife, i.e., at the idolatry of the nation. Compare the remarks on קנּא אל in the Comm. on Exodus 20:5.
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