Melachim Alef 12

1 2 And Rechav‘am went to Shechem; for kol Yisroel were come to Shechem to make him Melech.
2 And it came to pass, when Yarov‘am Ben Nevat, who was yet in Mitzrayim, heard of it, (for he had fled from the presence of HaMelech Sh’lomo, and Yarov‘am dwelt in Mitzrayim);
3 That they sent and called him. And Yarov‘am and kol Kehal Yisroel came, and spoke unto Rechav‘am, saying,
4 Avicha made our ol (yoke) difficult; now therefore make thou the grievous avodat Avicha, and his heavy ol (yoke) which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for shloshah yamim, then come back to me. And HaAm departed.
6 And HaMelech Rechav‘am consulted with the Zekenim, that stood before Sh’lomo Aviv while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may return answer to HaAm Hazeh?
7 And they spoke unto him, saying, If thou wilt be an eved unto this people today, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak devarim tovim to them, then they will be thy avadim kol hayamim.
8 But he forsook the atzat HaZekenim (counsel of the Elders), which they had given him, and consulted with the yeladim (young people) that were grown up with him, and which stood before him (i.e., were in his court);
9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may return answer to HaAm Hazeh, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the ol (yoke) which Avicha did put upon us lighter?
10 And the yeladim that were grown up with him spoke unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto HaAm hazeh that spoke unto thee, saying, Avicha made our ol (yoke) heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than the loins of Avi!
11 And now whereas Avi did lay on you an ol kaved (heavy yoke), I will add to your ol (yoke); Avi hath scourged you with shotim (whips), but I will scourge you with akrabim (scorpions).
12 So Yarov‘am and kol HaAm came to Rechav‘am the Yom HaShelishi, just as HaMelech had appointed, saying, Come to me again the Yom HaShelishi.
13 And HaMelech answered HaAm roughly, and forsook the atzat HaZekenim (counsel of the Elders) that they gave him;
14 And spoke to them according to atzat HaYeladim, saying, Avi made your ol (yoke) heavy, and I will add to your ol (yoke); Avi also scourged you with shotim (whips), but I will scourge you with akrabim.
15 So HaMelech paid heed not unto HaAm; for the sibbah (turn of events) was from Hashem, in order that He might perform His davar, which Hashem spoke by Achiyah the Shiloni unto Yarov‘am Ben Nevat [See 1Kgs 11:29-39].
16 So when kol Yisroel saw that HaMelech paid heed not unto them, HaAm answered HaMelech, saying, What chelek have we in Dovid? Neither have we nachalah in Ben Yishai; to your ohalim, O Yisroel; now see to thine own Bais, Dovid. So Yisroel departed unto their ohalim.
17 But as for the Bnei Yisroel which dwelt in the towns of Yehudah, Rechav‘am reigned over them.
18 Then HaMelech Rechav‘am sent Adoram, who was over the mas (forced labor); and kol Yisroel stoned him, that he died. Therefore HaMelech Rechav‘am made speed to get himself up to his merkavah, to flee to Yerushalayim.
19 So Yisroel has been in rebellion against the Bais Dovid unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when kol Yisroel heard that Yarov‘am was come again, that they sent and called him unto the Edah, and made him melech over kol Yisroel; there was none that followed the Bais Dovid, but the Shevet Yehudah only.
21 And when Rechav‘am was come to Yerushalayim he assembled kol Bais Yehudah, with the Shevet Binyamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand bachur oseh milchamah (chosen fighting men), to fight against Bais Yisroel, to regain the Kingdom for Rechav‘am Ben Sh’lomo.
22 But the Devar HaElohim came unto Shemayah the Ish HaElohim, saying,
23 Speak unto Rechav‘am Ben Sh’lomo Melech Yehudah, and unto kol Bais Yehudah and Binyamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying,
24 Thus saith Hashem, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the Bnei Yisroel; Shuvu (go back! return!) every ish to his bais; for this thing is from Me. They paid heed therefore to the Devar Hashem, and turned around to depart, according to the Devar Hashem.
25 Then Yarov‘am built Shechem in har Ephrayim, and dwelt therein; and went out from there, and built Penuel.
26 And Yarov‘am said in his lev, Now shall the mamlachah return to the Bais Dovid:
27 If HaAm Hazeh go up to offer zevakhim (sacrifices) at the Beis Hashem at Yerushalayim, then shall lev HaAm Hazeh turn back unto adoneihem, even unto Rechav`am Melech Yehudah, and they shall kill me, and return to Rechav`am Melech Yehudah.
28 Whereupon HaMelech took counsel, and made two eglei zahav (calves of gold), and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Yerushalayim; hinei, eloheicha, O Yisroel, which brought thee up out of Eretz Mitzrayim.
29 He set the one in Beit-El, the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became chattat (sin); for the people went to worship before the one, even as far as Dan.
31 And he made a bais for the [idolatrous] high places, and made kohanim of the lowest of the people, which were not of the Bnei Levi.
32 And Yarov`am ordained a chag in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the chag that is in Yehudah, and he offered upon the mizbe’ach. So did he in Beit-El, sacrificing unto the agalim (calves) that he had made; and he installed in Beit-El the kohanim of the [idolatrous] high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the mizbe’ach which he had made in Beit-El the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own lev; and ordained a chag unto the Bnei Yisroel; and he offered upon the mizbe’ach, and burned ketoret.

Melachim Alef 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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 KINGS 12

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.

Melachim Alef 12 Commentaries