1 Kings 12:31

31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.

Read 1 Kings 12:31 Using Other Translations

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
He also made temples on high places and appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites.
Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people—those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi.

What does 1 Kings 12:31 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Kings 12:31

And he made an house of high places
Or "altars" F19, built a temple at Dan, and set up several altars in it for sacrifice, both for burnt offerings, and for incense, as at Jerusalem:

and made priests of the lowest of the people;
this clause seems not so well rendered; for this would have been very unpopular, and brought his new form of worship into contempt, to make the dregs of the people priests, which was not only a very sacred office, but of great honour; it was usual in some nations for kings to be priests also F20, and Jeroboam himself exercised this office, ( 1 Kings 12:33 ) ( 13:1 ) and therefore would never put the meanest of the people into it, but rather those of higher rank: the words may be literally rendered, "from the extremities" or "ends of the people" F21; meaning not merely from the extremist parts of his country, but rather out of the whole of the people; out of all sorts of them, out of any of them, without any distinction of tribe: for so it follows,

which were not of the sons of Levi;
and as by this means he enriched himself, by taking the cities that belonged to the priests and Levites, which they were obliged to leave, and from whence he drove them, ( 2 Chronicles 11:14 ) so he pleased the people by laying open the priesthood common to them, and freeing them from the payment of tithes, and the like.


FOOTNOTES:

F19 (twmb) "altarium", Vatablus.
F20 Rex Anius Virgil. l. 3. Vid. Servium in ib.
F21 (Meh twuqm) "de extremitatibus populi", Vatablus, Piscator.
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