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qutte anskilled in-state affairs. Rehoboam seems to have been a very imprudent prince, or he would not have preferred the advice of such ignorant persons to the counsel - of those, whom age and experience had taught wisdom; besides, if he had taken a little time for reflection, his OWN reason would have suggested, that such kind of threatenings as he made use of were more likely to aggraFate than to appease the discontent of the people. Of what nature the grievances they complained of were, we cannot exactly tell ; but it is likely, that Solomon had demanded contributions of them, towards his unbounded expences, which they murmured to pay.
Rehoboam did not endeavour to procure the favour of the Lord ; instead of that, he left JERUSALEM, where the Temple was, and repaired to Shechem ; this shews; that he was not a religious prince. The people, it is likely, sent for Jeroboam from Egypt, to intimidate Rehoboain. When his subjects revolted, the king employed a very unpromising method to conciliate them; for Adoram, as collector of the tribute, was the most obnoxious person he could send ; ' because it appeared that he came to de. mand what they had already refused to pay; 60 that it was natural to expect he would fall a victim to their rage.
In mercy to the house of David, and in remembrance of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Loro did not utterly forsake his people, but from this time frequently made known his will by ineans of his own PROPHETS ; and on the present occasion the Lord graciously sent Shemaiah to prevent any further contests between the tribes, as it was in vain for Jutlah to strive against the Divine Will; neither would GoD permit Burael to cut off the branch of David.
- We must not suppose, that JER OBOAM's ambition, or REHOBOAM's impı malonce, were fro the Lord; the original
cause of this unhappy revolution was the introduction of IDOLATRY into the land. While the king of Israel was careful of preserving the worship of God pure and undefiled, he was considered as the LORD's vieegerent ; and, according to the covenant which the LORD had graciously made, he had reason in all important affairs, to expect direction from God, by which he was bound to act. The SUPREME Being certainly knoweth beforehand whatevery person
will do, but he does not incline' any one to evil ; on the contrary, God has taught men the consequences of good and evil. If they are objects of mercy, His Providence interposes for their happiness ; but if, on the contrary, they are impious, and oppressive, and rejeçt the warning He has caused to be given, God leaves them at last to fall into destruction. The son of Solomon was disgraced, not only on account of his father's apostacy, but for neglecting to destroy the idols which had been set up in Israel, and for omitting to solicit for himself the favour“ of God; and Jeroboam's ambition was suffered to succeed, because the ten tribes were unworthy of a better king.
Temporal rewards and punishments are not perhaps so equally dispensed as formerly, either towards kingdoms or particular individuals, for we are now taught to look for retribution in a future state ; but the kingdom of Israel had peculiar promises, that no wickedness should succeed against them whilst they continued to shew forth the glory of God; and they had also threatenings of severe temporal punishments, if they brought dishonour upon His Holy NAME, by putting idols in competition with the LORD God.
Instead of removing the abominations, which provoked, the Lord to withdraw His glorious PRESENCE,Rehoboam was intent only upon strengthening his kingdom by human means, and both he and his people increased in wick
edness; but the LORD was still mindful of. His covenant with David, and for his sake prevented the ruin which threatened Judah, by restraining Shishak from destroying them ;'and, that they might know that it was the power of the Lord that delivered them, the prophet was sent beforehand to bring them to repentance. Happily for Judah they listened to his remonstrances.
Shishak was however permitted to take the golden shields, which had been the pride of Solomon and Rehoboam ; and also to despoil the Temple, which had already lost its greatest GLORY.
Rehoboam seems to have been affected with this deli. verance, and to have frequented the Temple afterwards ; but still his service was deficient, for he prepared not his heart to do the will of the LORD.
As we lately read that Solomon 'was married to Pha. raoh's daughter, it appears strange that Shishak, king of Egypt, should come against his son ; but about this time there happened a revolution in Egypt, when that race of kings, from whom Solomon's father-in-law 'descended, was dispossessed of the throne, and was succeeded by another, of whom Shishak was the first monarch.
How was the glory of Israel eclipsed by the divisions of the kingdom! Yet it was perfectly consistent with Divine justice that it should be so, for both Rehoboam and the people had forfeited God's favour.
After the death of Solomon we read no more of the GLORY of the LORD appearing in the Tabernacle. From the time of this king's apostasy the will of the LORD was. made known by Prophets, to whom, it is said, the Word of the Lord came. The exact meaning of this expression cannot be known, but it is understood to signify, that,' on particular occasions, the WORD OF THE LORD, or the Lord God, was so immediately present with the ProL3
phets, phets, as to speak by them, or employ their organs of speech to declare the Divine Will, instead of their own sentiments, and that the LORD also, by a divine energy, directed the Prophets where to go, and what to do, instead of leaving them to consult their own reason for expedients, it cases relating to their prophetic office.
THE REIGN OF JEROBOAM, KING OF ISRAEL.
From 1 Kings, Chap. xii, xiii, xiv. TAUN Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein, and went out from thences and built Penuel,
And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now sball the kingdom return to the house of David: if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jelusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, event te Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, abd go again to Rehoboan king of Judah.
Whereupon the king took counselçi and made twee calves of gold, and said ubto the people, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem : behold thy gads, O Iská rael, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
And this thing became a sin : for the people went to worship before the one, eten unto Dán.
And he made a house of high places; and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sonte of Levi,
And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eigluth inonths
ca the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in. Judali, and he offered upon the altar, (so did he in Beth-el) sacrificing unto the calves that he had made ; and be placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el, the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he bad devised of his own hearts and ordained a feast onto the children of Israel, and be offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
And behold there came a man of God out of Judah, by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el : and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
And he cried against the aktai in the word of the LØRD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD, Behold, a chiket shall be born unto the house of David; Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the priests of se high-places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee
And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hah spoken: Beholds the altar 1 shall be tents and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
And it came to paós when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth.el, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand which he put forth against him, cried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, decording to the sign which the man of God had given by tke word of the LORD.
And the king answered and said unto the nian of God, Intréat now the face of the Lokd thy God; and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the