2 Kings 17:21
For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drove Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) For he rent . . .—The verse assigns the fons et origo mali; it makes the secession of the Ten Tribes from the house of David the ultimate cause of their ruin. The “for,” therefore, refers to what has just been said in 2Kings 17:18-20.

He rent Israel.—The Hebrew as it stands can only mean Israel rent. The want of an object after the transitive verb favours the suggestion of Thenius that the niphal should be restored: Israel rent himself away (comp. the Vulg., “scissus est”). (If Israel were the object, ‘eth should be expressed.)

Drave.—Hebrew text, put far away (Amos 2:3). Hebrew margin, misled (2Chronicles 21:11); the Targum and Syriac “caused to stray.” The argument obviously is this—separation from Judah led to the calf-worship, and that to idolatry pure and simple.

2 Kings 17:21. They made Jeroboam king — Which action is here ascribed to the people, because they would not tarry till God, by his providence, had invested Jeroboam with the kingdom which he had promised him, but rashly and rebelliously rose up against the house of David, to which they were under such great obligations, and set him upon the throne without God’s leave or advice. Jeroboam drave, &c. — He not only dissuaded, but kept them by force from God’s worship at Jerusalem, the only place appointed for it. And made them sin a great sin — So the worship of the calves is called, in opposition to that idle conceit of the Israelites, who esteemed it a small sin, especially when they were forced to it by severe penalties; which yet he shows did not excuse it from being a sin, and a great sin too.17:7-23 Though the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes was but briefly related, it is in these verses largely commented upon, and the reasons of it given. It was destruction from the Almighty: the Assyrian was but the rod of his anger, Isa 10:5. Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows. And vast as the outward wickedness of the world is, the secret sins, evil thoughts, desires, and purposes of mankind are much greater. There are outward sins which are marked by infamy; but ingratitude, neglect, and enmity to God, and the idolatry and impiety which proceed therefrom, are far more malignant. Without turning from every evil way, and keeping God's statutes, there can be no true godliness; but this must spring from belief of his testimony, as to wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and his mercy in Christ Jesus.The strong expression "drave Israel" is an allusion to the violent measures whereto Jeroboam had recourse in order to stop the efflux into Judea of the more religious portion of his subjects 2 Chronicles 11:13-16, the calling in of Shishak, and the permanent assumption of a hostile attitude toward the southern kingdom. 2Ki 17:7-41. Samaria Taken, and Israel for Their Sins Carried Captive.

7. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned—There is here given a very full and impressive vindication of the divine procedure in punishing His highly privileged, but rebellious and apostate, people. No wonder that amid so gross a perversion of the worship of the true God, and the national propensity to do reverence to idols, the divine patience was exhausted; and that the God whom they had forsaken permitted them to go into captivity, that they might learn the difference between His service and that of their despotic conquerors.

They made Jeroboam king; which action is here ascribed to the people, because they would not tarry till God, by his providence, had invested Jeroboam with the kingdom which he had promised him; but rashly, and unthankfully, and rebelliously rose up against the house of David, to which they had such great obligations, and set him upon the throne without God’s leave or advice.

Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord; he not only dissuaded, but kept them by force from God’s worship at Jerusalem, the only place appointed for it.

A great sin; so the worship of the calves is called, to meet with that idle conceit of the Israelites, who esteemed it a small sin, especially when they were forced to it by severe penalties; which yet he shows did not excuse it from being a sin, and a great sin too. For he rent Israel from the house of David,.... In the times of Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when ten tribes revolted from him, signified by the rending of a garment in twelve pieces, ten of which were given to Jeroboam; and it is here ascribed to the Lord, being according to his purpose and decree, and which was brought about by his providence, agreeably to a prophecy of his, see 1 Kings 11:30.

and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king; of themselves, without consulting the Lord and his prophets; and which was resented by him, though it was his will, and he had foretold it, that Jeroboam should be king, see Hosea 8:4.

and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord; forbidding them to go up to Jerusalem to worship; the Targum is,

"made them to err:"

and made them sin a great sin; obliging them to worship the calves he set up.

{m} For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.

(m) That is, God cut off the ten tribes, 1Ki 12:16,20.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. and Jeroboam drave] The verb is found only here, but its sense is well established from a cognate verb with slightly different orthography. The commencement of the calf-worship was through Jeroboam, and no doubt he used every means in his power to constrain his subjects to follow in his ways. The frequently recurring phrase ‘the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin’ is justification for even such a strong verb as ‘to drive’.Verse 21. - For he rent; rather, for he had rent. The nexus of the verse is with ver. 18. The difference between the fates of Israel and Judah - the survival of Judah for a hundred and thirty-four years - is traced back to the separation under Rehoboam, and to the wicked policy which Jeroboam then pursued, and left as a legacy to his successors. Israel could suffer alone, while Judah was spared, because the kingdom of David and Solomon had been rent in twain, and the two states had thenceforth continued separate. Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord. The separation alone might not have had any ill result; but it was followed by the appointment of Jeroboam as king, and Jeroboam introduced the fatal taint of idolatry, from which all the other evils flowed, including the earlier destruction of the northern kingdom. Jeroboam not only introduced the worship of the calves, but he "drave Israel from following the Lord " - i.e. compelled the people to discontinue the practice of going up to worship at Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 11:13-16), and required them to take part in the calf-worship. And [thus] made them sin a great sin. "They followed vanity and became vain:" verbatim as in Jeremiah 2:5.

A description of the worthlessness of their whole life and aim with regard to the most important thing, namely, their relation to God. Whatever man sets before him as the object of his life apart from God is הבל (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21) and idolatry, and leads to worthlessness, to spiritual and moral corruption (Romans 1:21). "And (walked) after the nations who surrounded them," i.e., the heathen living near them. The concluding words of the verse have the ring of Leviticus 18:3.

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