1 Kings 14

The Conclusion of Jeroboam and Rehoboam

Jeroboam's Sick Son (1-3)

The twenty-two years of Jeroboam's reign (22) is covered in three basic points. He moved the capital from Shechem west of the Jordan to Penuel east of the Jordan and then to Tirzah back west of the Jordan (1 Kings 12:25; 14:17). He devised an idolatrous system of worship, and when his son Abijah fell sick, Jeroboam sensed it was punitive (1). Realizing he had fallen into disfavor with Yahweh for developing another worship system, he could not outright go to the prophet who he knew spoke for God, Ahijah. Ahijah was the same prophet who, for Yahweh, gave ten pieces of garment to Jeroboam as a sign that ten tribes would be taken from Solomon and given to him (2; 1 Kings 11). Jeroboam sent his wife to go in disguise with a poor man's offering and try to deceive a favorable prophecy from Ahijah, obviously treating prophecy like a power on its own (3).  

Jeroboam's Wife Goes to the Prophet (4-13)

The old prophet was blind and could have easily been deceived by the queen except God interrupted the pretense with revelation and told Ahijah what Jeroboam and the queen were up to, giving him the news of Jeroboam's sick son (4-5). As soon as Ahijah heard the feet of the queen coming up the path toward his door, he greeted her as the queen and then gave her the unwelcome news (6). Not only would their son die as soon as the queen entered the city (12), but Jeroboam's dynasty would never have a chance to get started. First, all he had amassed would be burned to the ground, and second, his family would have no one who cared for them enough to bury them—they would be thrown away like worthless dung (10-11). The only descendant from Jeroboam's family to be honored as pleasing to the Lord would be the son who would die when the queen entered the city (13).

Yahweh's Judgment of Jeroboam (8-9)

Yahweh's judgment against Jeroboam was based on five realities:

a) Yahweh had given Jeroboam a portion of the house of David as an act of mercy and grace (8).
b) Jeroboam, having been given David's house, had not kept spiritual faithfulness with the ways and the heart of David (8).
c) Jeroboam had done what was right and expedient in his own eyes (8).
d) Jeroboam had led the nation into idolatry (9).
e) Jeroboam had done more evil than even any judge who had been before him, even more evil than Saul (9).  

Prophesied National Disgrace (14-16)

Because of the sins of Jeroboam, the nation of Israel would suffer:

a) a king who would destroy Jeroboam's dynasty
b) the wounds which arise from the oppressions of war
c) being driven from their homes and their lands
d) being scattered beyond the Euphrates
e) being given up to the consequences of idolatry (14-16)

As the prophet had said, when Jeroboam's wife entered the capital at Tirzah, the child died, was buried, and all Israel mourned (17-18).  

The Death of Jeroboam (19-20)

Jeroboam did die and his son Nadab reigned in his place. Nadab only reigned two years and strengthened Israel's idolatrous ways. In the end, Baasha, with some troops from Issachar, conspired to kill Nadab when Nadab was busy laying siege to  Gibbethon, seeking to take back the Levitical city in Dan which had fallen under Philistine control (15:25-27).

Eventually, Baasha fulfilled Ahijah's prophecies by massacring Jeroboam's descendants but obviously murdering them all so there would be no rivals left in Israel to his lust of power and the throne (15:28-31).  

Judah's National Sin and Disgrace (21-24)

Within a few short years after Rehoboam began to reign, his mother's influence began to affect Rehoboam and the Israel's fidelity toward Yahweh (21). As Israel had, so Judah committed greater acts of sin than their fathers had ever thought of. They erected pillars to Baal and poles to Asherim anywhere that seemed good for a park-like area. There on those dedicated sites they welcomed pagan celebrations which involved not only female but male prostitutes who were all paid for religious sexual activities. What is being hinted cannot be mistaken—both heterosexual and homosexual religious rites were commonplace in Judah. It is likely Judah was acting worse than Israel, but certainly they were acting like the nations their fathers had defeated in war (22-24).  

Judah's Defeat and Humiliation (25-28)

Eventually, with Israel and Judah divided, Egypt realized its goal of invading and controlling Palestine. History accounts for his invasion as being widespread and expensive.

"Shishak’s Karnak inscription claims the Egyptians fought in about 150 places both in Israel and Judah from north of the Plain of Esdraelon to the extreme south of the settled land in the Negeb.” Cities great and small were affected by this operation. Rehoboam is forced to relinquish the temple treasures just to get rid of Shishak.” [House, P. R. (1995). 1, 2 Kings (Vol. 8, p. 195). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.] (25-26)

In order to appease the Egyptians and stop them from further oppression, Rehoboam, with Judah, humbled themselves before the Lord and admitted their wrong (2 Chronicles 12:2-9). Sadly, Judah was left, after all David and Solomon had done, a vassal state of Egypt, pillaged of its gold, especially their prized gold shields.

As a side note, the author tells us that Rehoboam replaced the shields of gold with bronze to conceal from the nation just how humiliating the losses had been. The gold shields were kept under watch in the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 10:15); by comparison, the bronze shields were so worthless that after every ceremonial use, they left in the guardroom (27-28).

The Death of Rehoboam (30-31)

The account of Rehoboam ends making a notation of the constant war between Israel and Judah, the honorable burial afforded Rehoboam, and the influence Rehoboam's mother had on him and the nation. Abijam then reigned in Rehoboam's place.