Kings I 12

1 And Samuel said to all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened to your voice in all things that ye have said to me, and I have set a king over you.
2 And now, behold, the king goes before you; and I am grown old and shall rest; and, behold, my sons among you; and, behold, I have gone about before you from my youth to this day.
3 Behold, I, answer against me before the Lord and before his anointed: whose calf have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom of you have I oppressed? or from whose hand have I taken a bribe, even a sandal? bear witness against me, and I will make restitution to you.
4 And they said to Samuel, Thou hast not injured us, and thou hast not oppressed us; and thou hast not afflicted us, and thou hast not taken anything from any one's hand.
5 And Samuel said to the people, The Lord witness among you, and his anointed witness this day, that ye have not found anything in my hand: and they said, witness.
6 And Samuel spoke to the people, saying, The Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron witness, who brought our fathers up out of Egypt.
7 And now stand still, and I will judge you before the Lord; and I will relate to you all the righteousness of the Lord, the things which he has wrought among you and your fathers.
8 When Jacob and his sons went into Egypt, and Egypt humbled them, then our fathers cried to the Lord, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron; and they brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he made them to dwell in this place.
9 And they forgot the Lord their God, and he sold them into the hands of Sisara captain of the host of Jabis king of Asor, and into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the king of Moab; and he fought with them.
10 And they cried to the Lord, and said, We have sinned, for we have forsaken the Lord, and have served Baalim and the groves: and now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.
11 And he sent Jerobaal, and Barac, and Jephthae, and Samuel, and rescued us out of the hand of our enemies round about, and ye dwelt in security.
12 And ye saw that Naas king of the children of Ammon came against you, and ye said, Nay, none but a king shall reign over us; whereas the Lord our God our king.
13 And now behold the king whom ye have chosen; and behold, the Lord has set a king over you.
14 If ye should fear the Lord, and serve him, and hearken to his voice, and not resist the mouth of the Lord, and ye and your king that reigns over you should follow the Lord, .
15 But if ye should not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and ye should resist the mouth of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be upon you and upon your king.
16 And now stand still, and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.
17 not wheat-harvest to-day? I will call upon the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; and know ye and see, that your wickedness great which ye have wrought before the Lord, having asked for yourselves a king.
18 And Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunders and rain in that day; and all the people feared greatly the Lord and Samuel.
19 And all the people said to Samuel, Pray for thy servants to the Lord thy God, and let us not die; for we have added to all our sins this iniquity, in asking for us a king.
20 And Samuel said to the people, Fear not: ye have wrought all this iniquity; only turn not from following the Lord, and serve the Lord with all your heart.
21 And turn not aside after the that are nothing, who will do nothing, and will not deliver , because they are nothing.
22 For the Lord will not cast off his people for his great name's sake, because the Lord graciously took you to himself for a people.
23 And far be it from me to sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will serve the Lord, and shew you the good and the right way.
24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth and with all your heart, for ye see what great things he has wrought with you.
25 But if ye continue to do evil, then shall ye and your king be consumed.

Kings I 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Rehoboam's accession, The people's petition, His rough answer. (1-15) Ten tribes revolt. (16-24) Jeroboam's idolatry. (25-33)

Verses 1-15 The tribes complained not to Rehoboam of his father's idolatry, and revolt from God. That which was the greatest grievance, was none to them; so careless were they in matters of religion, if they might live at case, and pay no taxes. Factious spirits will never want something to complain of. And when we see the Scripture account of Solomon's reign; the peace, wealth, and prosperity Israel then enjoyed; we cannot doubt but that their charges were false, or far beyond the truth. Rehoboam answered the people according to the counsel of the young men. Never was man more blinded by pride, and desire of arbitrary power, than which nothing is more fatal. God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be rent from him. God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by the imprudences and sins of men. Those that lose the kingdom of heaven, throw it away, as Rehoboam, by wilfulness and folly.

Verses 16-24 The people speak unbecomingly of David. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public, forgotten ! These considerations should reconcile us to our losses and troubles, that God is the Author of them, and our brethren the instruments: let us not meditate revenge. Rehoboam and his people hearkened to the word of the Lord. When we know God's mind, we must submit, how much soever it crosses our own mind. If we secure the favour of God, not all the universe can hurt us.

Verses 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.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. propitiation.
  • [b]. 'whom ye asked for,' nearer the
  • [c]. added; a reading occasioned by the different readings of ??? and ???.

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates Rehoboam's going to Shechem to be made king, and Jeroboam's return from Egypt, 1Ki 12:1,2, the people's request to Rehoboam to be eased of their taxes, as the condition of making him king, 1Ki 12:3,4, his answer to them, after three days, having had the advice both of the old and young men, which latter he followed, and gave in a rough answer, 1Ki 12:5-15, upon which ten tribes revolted from him, and two abode by him, 1Ki 12:16-20, wherefore he meditated a war against the ten tribes, but was forbid by the Lord to engage in it, 1Ki 12:21-24 and Jeroboam, in order to establish his kingdom, and preserve the people from a revolt to the house of David, because of the temple worship at Jerusalem, devised a scheme of idolatrous worship in his own territories, 1Ki 12:25-33.

Kings I 12 Commentaries

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.