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God's Promises

I. KINGS, XI.

to Jeroboam.

4 ch. 12. 15.

thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel,

tribes.

(36) And unto his son will I give Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of

one tribe, that David my servant may the hand of Solomon, and will give ten

have a light alway before me in Jerutribes to thee: (32) (but he shall have

salem, the city which I have chosen me one tribe for my servant David's sake,

to put my name there. (37) And I will and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which

take thee, and thou shalt reign accordI have chosen out of all the tribes of

ing to all that thy soul desireth, and Israel :) (33) because that they have for

shalt be king over Israel. (38) And it saken me, and have worshipped Ash

shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all toreth the goddess of the Zidonians,

that I command thee, and wilt walk in Chemosh the god of the Moabites,

my ways, and do that is right in my and Milcom the god of the children of 1 1«D.. lamp, or, sight, to keep my statutes and my comAmmon, and have not walked in my

mandments, as David my servant did; ways, to do that which is right in mine

that I will be with thee, and build thee eyes, and to keep my statutes and my

a sure house, as I built for David, and judgments, as did David his father.

will give Israel unto thee. (39) And I (34) Howbeit I will not take the whole

will for this afflict the seed of David, kingdom out of his hand: but I will

but not for ever. (+0) Solomon sought make him prince all the days of his life in gcords, or, therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jerofor David my servant's sake, whom I

boam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto chose, because he kept my command

Shishak king of Egypt, and was in ments and my statutes: (35) but « I will

Egypt until the death of Solomon. take the kingdom out of his son's hand,

(41) And the rest of the acts of Soloand will give it unto thee, even ten

mon, and all that he did, and his wisdom,

candle.

ܪ

two reserved pieces of the garment, the duality of the Semitic origin, arguing foreign extraction ; and in one * one tribe” reserved for the house of David ; next, genealogical table his ancestors appear not to have it conveys to Jeroboam a promise like that given to been of royal rank. It seems that he united (perhaps David (so far as it was a temporal promise), “ to build by marriage) the lines of the two dynasties which prethee a sure house, as I built for David,” on condition of viously ruled feebly in Upper and Lower Egypt, and the obedience which David, with all his weakness and so inaugurated a new era of prosperity and conquest. sin, had shown, and from which Solomon, in spite of all His invasion of Judah in the fifth year of Rehoboam his wisdom, had fallen away; and lastly, declares, in (see chap. xiv. 25) is chronicled in the monuments accordance with the famous declaration of 2 Sam. vii. as belonging to the twentieth year of his own reign. 14-16, that sin in the house of David should bring He was, therefore, king for the last fifteen years of with it severe chastisement, but not final rejection. In Solomon's reign; and his favourable reception of the estimating the “ sin of Jeroboam,” the existence of this rebel Jeroboam indicates a natural change of attitude promise of security and blessing to his kingdom must towards the Israelite power. The LXX. addition be always taken into consideration.

describes Jeroboam (in a passage clearly suggested by (10) Solomon sought therefore to kill Jero- what is recorded in verses 19, 20 about Hadad) as boam.-- The knowledge of the promise in itself would receiving from Shishak Ano, the elder sister of be sufficient to excite the jealousy of the old king, and Thekemina (Tahpenes), his queen,” which involves an incite him to endeavour to falsify it by the death of anachronism, for Tahpenes belonged to an earlier Jeroboam. But from verse 26 it may be inferred that Pharaoh. But the whole history implies a close political Jeroboam, characteristically enough, had not patience alliance of Shishak with Jeroboam, both as an exile and to wait for its fulfilment, and that he sought in some as a king. way by overt act to clutch, or prepare to clutch, at (41) The book of the acts of Solomon.-In royalty. The addition to the LXX. describes him, 2 Chron. ix. 29 the acts of Solomon are said to be before his flight into Egypt, as collecting three hun- “written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in dred chariots, and assuming royal pretensions, taking the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions advantage of his presidency over the house of of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” Joseph.

The prophets appear bere in the character of annalists. Shishak king of Egypt.-The Shishak of the The book of Nathan presumably contained only the Old Testament is certainly to be identified with the history of the early years; that of Alijah may have Sheshenk of the Egyptian monuments, the Sesonchis or well covered most of the later reign; and the “ visions Sesonchosis of the Greek historians; and the identifi. of Iddo” could but have dealt incidentally with the cation is an important point in the Biblical chro- closing acts of Solomon. The narrative as given in the nology, for the accession of Sheshenk is fixed by the Book of Kings is evidently a compilation drawn from Egyptian traditions at about B.c. 980. It is a curious various sources, differing in various parts, both in proof of historical accuracy, that the generic name style and in degree of detail. Thus the account of the Pharaoh is not given to Shishak here. For it appears Temple building and dedication evidently comes from that he was not of the old royal line, but the founder some temple record ; and the references to Solomon's of a new dynasty (the 23rd), called the Bubastite territory, and the arrangements of his kingdom, look dynasty, in which several names are believed to have a like notes drawn from official archives.

Death of Solomon.

I. KINGS, XII.

Rehoboam Reigns.

B.C. cir. 975.

are they not written in the book of the 1 Heb., days. and "Rehoboam his son reigned in his acts of Solomon ? (42) And the i time

stead. that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was «forty years.

(13) And a 2 Chron. 9. 30.

CHAPTER XII.-(1) And Rehoboam Solomon slept with his fathers, and was

o Matt. 1. 7, called went to Shechem: for all Israel were buried in the city of David his father:

come to Shechem to make him king.

Robocim,

c Chron. 10. 1.

(42) Forty years. The reign of Solomon was thus Hebrew text. The incidents fit less naturally into of the same length as that of his father. (See chap. ii. 11.) each other; the warning of Ahijah as to the destruction The coincidence is curious; but the accurate historical of the house of Jeroboam is obviously out of place; character of the whole narrative forbids the idea that and by the ascription to Shemaiah of the prophecy of the numbers given are merely round numbers, signify- Jeroboam's royalty, the striking coincidence of the ing long duration. Josephus gives eighty years- authorship of the two predictions of prosperity and either by error in his Hebrew text, or perhaps by con- disaster is lost. The record of Shishak's intercourse fusing together the duration of the two reigns.

with Jeroboam is apparently imitated from the history

of Hadad at the court of the earlier Pharaoh ; and the NOTE.—The insertion in the LXX. version, found in circumstances of Jeroboam's assumption of royal prethe Vatican MS. after chap. xii. 24, runs as follows :- tensions are improbable. Josephus, moreover, ignores

" And there was a man of Mount Ephraim, a servant this version of the story altogether; nor is it found of Solomon, and his name was Jeroboam ; and his in any other version. Its origin is unknown, and its mother's name was Sarira, a woman who was a harlot. growth curious enough. But it does not seem to throw And Solomon made him taskmaster (literally, “master much fresh light on the history. of the staff,” or “scourge "] over the burdens [forced

XII. labours] of the house of Joseph ; and he built for Solomon Sarira, which is in Mount Ephraim ; and he The comparatively detailed style of the narrative of had three hundred chariots. He it was who built the the reign of Solomon is continued through chaps. xii., citadel (the “Millo"], by the labours of the house of xiii., xiv. In the section chap. xii. 1-25 the record Ephraim, and completed the fortification of the city of of the Book of Chronicles (2 Chron. x. 1-xi. 4), after David. And he was exalting himself to seek the king- omitting the whole description of Solomon's idolatry, dom. And Solomon sought to put him to death; so he and the risings of rebellion against his empire, returns feared, and stole away to Sousakim [Shishak], king to an almost exact verbal coincidence with the Book of of Egypt, and was with him till the death of Kings. Solomon. And Jeroboam heard in Egypt that Solomon The narrative of the great revolution which led to the was dead, and he spake in the ears of Sousakim, king disruption of the kingdom, illustrates very strikingly of Egypt, saying, Send me away, and I will go back the essential characteristic of the Scriptural history, to my own land. And Sonsakim said to him, Ask of which is to be found, not principally in the miraculous me a request, and I will give it thee. And he gave to events recorded from time to time as an integral part Jeroboam Ano, the elder sister of his own wife The. of the history, but rather in the point of view from kemina [Tahpenes] to be his wife. She was great which all events alike are regarded. (a) Thus it is clear among the daughters of the king, and bare to Jero- that the revolution had, in the first place, personal boam Abias [Ăbijah] his son. And Jeroboam said causes—in the stolid rashness of Rehoboam, mistaking to Sousakim, Send me really away, and I will go obstinacy for vigour, and not knowing how and when back. And Jeroboam went forth from Egypt, and came rightly to yield; and in the character of Jeroboam, bold to the land of Sarira, in Mount Ephraim, and there and active, astute and unscrupulous, the very type of a gathered together to him the whole strength of Ephraim. chief of revolution. (b) Behind these, again, lay social and And Jeroboam built there a fortress.”

political causes. The increase of wealth, culture, and Then follows, with variations of detail, the story of civilisation under an enlightened despotism, which the sickness of Abijah, the visit of Jeroboam's wife to by its peaceful character precluded all scope

and Ahijah, and the message of judgment; corresponding distraction of popular energies in war, created, as to chap. xiv. 1-18. The narrative then continues thus:- usual, desire and fitness for the exercise of freedom.

And Jeroboam went his way to Shechem, in Mount The division of feeling and interest between the royal Ephraim, and gathered together there the tribes of tribe of Judah and the rest of the people, headed Israel; and Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, went up by the tribe of Ephraim (for so many generations the there. And the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, strongest and the most leading tribe of Israel)-already the Enlamite, saying, Take to thyself a new garment, manifested from time to time, and fostered perhaps by which has never been in water, and tear it in ten the less absolute allegiance of Israel to the house of pieces ; and thou shalt give them to Jeroboam, and David-now gave occasion to rebellion, when the strong shalt say to him, Take thee ten pieces, to clothe thyself hand of Solomon was removed. Perhaps, moreover, the therewith. And Jeroboam took them; and Shemaiah intrigues of Egyptian jealousy may have already begun said. These things saith the Lord, signifying the ten to divide the Israelite people. (c) But the Scriptural tribes of Israel.”

narrative, although it enables us to discover both these The whole concludes with an account, given with some causes, dwells on neither. It looks exclusively to moral characteristic variations, of the remonstrance with Re- and spiritual causes : “ The thing was from the Lord ” hoboam, the rebellion, and the prohibition by Shemaiah -His righteous judgment on the idolatry, the pride, of the intended attack of Rehoboam, corresponding to and the despotic self-indulgence of the Court, shared, chap. xii. 1—24.

no doubt, by the princes and people of Jerusalem, This half-independent version of the history is in- perhaps exciting a wholesome reaction of feeling elseteresting, but obviously far inferior in authority to the where. What in other history would be, at most, inThe People seek a

I. KINGS, XII.

Relaxation of the Yoke.

ch. Il. 40.

were

(2) And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in

Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt ;) (3) that they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, (4) Thy father made our yoke grievous : now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

(5) And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come lo ch. 4. 7. again to me.

And the people departed. (6) And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people ? (7) And they spake unto

him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

(8) But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the

young men

that grown up with him, and which stood before him : (9) and he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter ? (10) And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them,

ferred by conjecture, as underlying more obvious causes, within their right; and whatever Jeroboam's designs is here placed in the forefront as a matter of course. may have been, there is no sign of any general predeter. For the history of Israel, as a history of God's dealings mination of rebellion. The imposition of the burdens with the chosen people, is the visible and supernatural of heavy taxation and forced labour on the people was type of the dealings of His natural Providence with all against old traditions, and even against the practice of His creatures.

Solomon's earlier years. (See chaps. iv. 20, ix. 20

22.) To demand a removal, or alleviation of these, was (1) All Israel were come to Shechem to perfectly compatible with a loyal willingness to “serve” make him king.-In the case of David, we find that, the new king. The demand might naturally be sugwhen he was made king over Israel, he made a gested by Jeroboam, who, by his official position, knew league” with the elders of Israel (2 Sam. v. 3), ap- well the severity of the burden. parently implying a less absolute royalty than that to (7) If thou wilt be a servant.-Both the policies which he had been anointed, without conditions, over suggested show how corrupt and cynical the govern. the house of Judah (2 Sam. ii. 4); and in his restora- ment of Israel had become. For the advice of the old tion after the death of Absalom, there appears to be counsellors has no largeness of policy or depth of some recognition of a right of distinct action on the wisdom. It is simply the characteristic advice of part of the men of Israel in relation to the kingdom experienced and crafty politicians—who had seen the (2 Sam. xix. 9, 10, 41–43; *xx. 1, 2). Even in the gradual development of despotic power, and had still coronation of Solomon, we find distinction made be- remembrance of the comparative freedom of earlier tween royalty “over all Israel and over Judah.” (See days—understanding at once the dangerous vehemence chap. i. 35; and comp. chap. iv. 1.) Accordingly, Reho- of popular excitement, and the facility with which it boam seems to succeed without question to the throne may be satisfied by temporary concessions, and perhaps of Judah, but to need to be “made king” by the rest desiring to defeat that private ambition, which was of Israel, with apparently some right on their part to making use for its own purposes of the natural sense require conditions before acceptance. It is significant, of grievance. It is to give “ good words,” and to be however, that this ceremonial is fixed, not at Jerusalem, for the moment" a servant to the people," with, perhaps, but at Shechem, the chief city of Ephraim, of ancient the intention of abolishing certain excessive grievances, dignity, even from patriarchal times, as of singular but by no means of yielding up substantial power. beauty and fertility of position, which became, as a Whether it was in itself more than superficially prudent, matter of course, the capital of the northern kingdom would depend on the seriousness of the grievances, and after the disruption. Perhaps, in this arrangement, the social and political condition of the people. which seems to have had no precedent, there was some (10) Thus shalt thou speak.-The advice of the omen of revolution.

young men-the spoilt children of a magnificent and (2) For he was fled.-In 2 Chron. x. 2, and in luxurious despotism, of which alone they had experithe LXX. version (or, rather versions, for there is ence—is the language of the arrogant self-confidence, variety of reading) of this passage, Jeroboam is made which mistakes obstinacy for vigour, and, blind to all to return from Egypt, on hearing of the death of Solo- signs of the times, supposes that what once was possible, mon, to his own city, and to be “sent for” thence. and perhaps good for the national progress, must last for This is obviously far more probable, and might be read It is couched in needlessly and absurdly offenin the Hebrew by a slight alteration of the text. sive language ; but it is, as all history shows-perhaps

(4) We will serve thee.--It seems evident from not least the history of our own Stuart dynasty-a not the tone of the narrative, and especially from the ab- unfrequent policy in revolutionary times; holding that sence of all resentment on the part of the king on the to yield in one point is to endanger the whole fabric presentation of these conditions, that they were acting of sovereign power; relying on the prestige of an

ever.

Jeroboam follows the

I. KINGS, XII.

Counsel of the Young Men.

My little finger shall be thicker than my |1 Hcb., hardly. Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of father's loins. (11) And now whereas my

Nebat. father did lade you with a heavy yoke,

(16) So when all Israel saw that the I will add to your yoke : my father hath

king hearkened not unto them, the chastised you with whips, but I will

people answered the king, saying, What chastise you with scorpions.

portion have we in David ? neither have (12) So Jeroboam and all the people

we inheritance in the son of Jesse : to came to Rehoboam the third day, as the a ch. 11. 11. your tents, O Israel : now see to thine king had appointed, saying, Come to

own house, David.

So Israel departed me again the third day. (13) And the

unto their tents. (17) But as for the king answered the people 2 roughly, and

children of Israel which dwelt in the forsook the old men's counsel that they

cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over gave him ; (14) and spake to them after

them. the counsel of the young men, saying,

(18) Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, My father made your yoke heavy, and I cHe'nimesterength who was over the tribute ; and all Israel will add to your yoke: my father also

stoned him with stones, that he died. chastised you with whips, but I will

Therefore king Rehoboam ? made speed chastise you with scorpions. (15) Where

to get him up to his chariot, to flee to fore the king hearkened not unto the

Jerusalem. (197 So Israel Prebelled against people ; for the cause was from the

the house of David unto this day. (20) And LORD, that he might perform his saying,

it came to pass, when all Israel heard which the LORD a spake by Ahijah the 3 Or, fell away.

that Jeroboam was come again, that

authority proudly confident in itself; and trusting to Jerusalem. All these, it would seem, are here included cow by threats the classes long subject to despotic op: -so that the territory of the southern kingdom would pression, and despised accordingly by those who wield be really the Judæa of later times. In addition to these, it. It can succeed only when the popular disaffection we find from 2 Chron. xi. 13–16, that, at any rate after is superficial, or when a nation is wearied out with the idolatry of Jeroboam, priests and Levites and other revolutionary fanaticism and failure.

Israelites made their way into the cities of Judah. (11) The scorpion is probably. (like the Roman (6) But, besides this, there may be a significance in the flagellum) a whip, the lash of which is loaded with phrase “ children of Israel.” Although the northern weights and sharp points.

kingdom henceforth inherited the proud title of the (15) For the cause was from the Lord.—The kingdom of Israel, the phrase, as here used, is perhaps very idea of the Scriptural history, referring all things intended to remind the reader that in Judah also dwelt to God, necessarily brings us continually face to face “children of Israel ”-true descendants of the “Prince with the great mystery of life-the reconcilement of of God," and inheritors of the promise. God's all-foreseeing and all-ordaining Providence with (18) Adoram, who was over the tribute (or the freedom, and, in consequence, with the folly and sin levy).-In 2 Sam. xx. 24, 1 Kings iv. 6, v. 14, we find of man.

As a rule, Holy Scripture--on this point con- Adoram (or Adoniram, which is a longer form of the firming natural reason-simply recognises both powers same name) described as holding this office in the later as real, without any attempt, even by suggestion, to days of David and the reign of Solomon. The Adoram harmonise them together. It, of course, refers all to here mentioned must be identical with the officer of God's will, fulfilling or avenging itself in many ways, Solomon; but, though it is possible, it is not likely that inspiring and guiding the good, and overruling the evil, he could have held office in David's time. Probably in man. But it as invariably implies human freedom the name and office were hereditary. The mission of and responsibility. Rehoboam's folly and arrogance Adoram shows that, too late, Rehoboam desired to worked out the ordained judgment of God; but they deal through him with the grievance of forced labour. were folly and arrogance still.

But the sight of the man, who had been the taskmaster (16) To your tents. This war-cry was not new. It of their oppression, naturally stirred the multitude to had been heard once before, during the conflict between a fresh burst of fury, venting itself in his murder, Judah and Israel after the rebellion of Absalom, when and perhaps threatening his master also, had he not it was silenced instantly by the relentless promptitude fled hastily at once to Jerusalem. of Joab (2 Sam. xx. 1). Only the last ironical line (19) Unto this day.-The phrase argues the incoris added, "See to thine own house, David” (which poration into the narrative of an older document. the LXX. explains as “Feed, as a shepherd, thine (20) Jeroboam was come again. The assembly own house, David ”). There is perhaps a sarcastic allu- at Shechem probably broke up in disorder, carrying sion to God's promise to establish the house of David : everywhere the news of the rebellion. It would be “Be a king, but only in thine own house!”

quite in harmony with Jeroboam's astuteness, if, after (17) The children of Israel which dwelt in setting the revolution on foot, he himself stood aloof the cities of Judah.-The expression is doubly sig. from leadership, and waited till the congregation,” the nificant. (a) Historically the tribe of Judah had its semi. duly summoned assembly, sent for him and offered him dependent tribes—Simeon, already absorbed into Judah; the crown. The title “king over all Israel ” certainly Dan, in great part transferred to the extreme north; and indicates a claim on the part of the ten tribes to be the Benjamin, closely united to Judah by the position of true Israel, relying perhaps on the prophetic choice and Rehoboam Raises an Army, but

I. KINGS, XII.

is Forbidden by Shemaiah.

a ch. 11. 13.

they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all İsrael : there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.

(21) And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. (22) But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, (23) Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, (24) Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your breth

ren the children of Israel : return every man to his house ; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD. (25) Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. (26) And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David : (27) if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. (28) Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem :

6 2 Chron. 11. 2.

blessing of Jeroboam, and professing to have risen in allied itself with the native inhabitants of the region; the name of the Lord against the idolatry of Solomon but rebelling afterwards against him, it was destroyed and his house. Perhaps it also indicated a desire for (Judges ix.). We then hear nothing more of it till this the subjugation of Judah, which Jeroboam, with the chapter, when the tribes assemble at Shechem, under aid of Shishak, certainly seems to have subsequently the shadow of the famous hills of Ebal and Gerizim, attempted.

to meet Rehoboam. Jeroboam is said to have“ built

it ” anew. This may be taken literally, as indicating (20, 21) In these two verses we have again the same that it had never recovered from its destruction by curious juxtaposition of "the tribe of Judah only” and Abimelech, or it may simply mean that he fortified and " the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin.” enlarged it as his capital. Subsequently it gave way to The army gathered would be, no doubt, drawn from Tirzah and Samaria; but its almost unrivalled position Solomon's established and disciplined forces, as well as preserved it in importance among the Samaritans after from the levy of Judah and Benjamin generally, the Captivity, even down to our Lord's time, and under perhaps including (as in 2 Sam. xvii. 27) contingents the name of Nablous (Neapolis) it has lasted to the from the tributary races—who would be attached with present day, while many other cities once famous have a strong personal allegiance to the house of Solomon, passed away. and prepared to stamp out the rebellion, before it could Penuel.-See Gen. xxxii. 30, 31 ; Judges viii. 8, 17. thoroughly organise itself for disciplined resistance. It lay on or near the Jabbok, on the other side of Jordan,

commanding the road from the east by Succoth to the (22) Shemaiah the man of God. — From the fords of Jordan and Shechem. Jeroboam rebuilt itnotices in 2 Chron. xii. 5—8, 15, it would seem that, perhaps out of the ruin in which it had been left by while Ahijah belonged to Shiloh in Ephraim, and con- Gideon-as an outpost to his new capital, and a royal tinued to dwell there, Shemaiah was rather attached to stronghold among the tribes on the east of Jordan. Judah, and hence, that his interference to protect the new kingdom was the more striking and unexpected. (27, 28) In these verses is recorded the adoption of In this interposition, to which probably the very pre- the fatal policy which has caused Jeroboam to be servation of Jeroboam's half-formed kingdom was handed down in the sacred record as “the son of due, there is a fresh indication of the great opportunity Nebat, who made Israel to sin.” Hitherto his new given to that kingdom to maintain itself, under the royalty had been inaugurated under a Divine sanction, blessing of God and in devotion to His service. The both as receiving distinct promise of permanence and phrase “ your brethren, the children of Israel,” marks blessing (chap. xi. 37, 38), and as protected by open this with much emphasis.

prophetic interference, at the critical moment when its (25) Jeroboam built Shechem.-Shechem had ill-consolidated force might have been crushed. Nor passed throngh many vicissitudes of fortune. It was is it unlikely that it may have been supported by a already a city when Abraham entered the Promised wholesome reaction against the idolatry, as well as Land (Gen. xii. 6), and is from time to time mentioned against the despotism, of Solomon. Now, unsatisfied in the patriarchal history (Gen. xxxiii. 18, xxxiv., xxxv. with these securities of his kingdom, and desirous to 4, xxxvii. 12, 13). At the Conquest it became a city of strengthen it by a bold stroke of policy, he takes the refuge (Josh. xx. 7, xxi. 20, 21), and the scene of the step which mars the bright promise of his accession. solemn recital of the blessings and curses of the Law Yet the policy was exceedingly natural. In Israel, (Josh. viii. 33–35). From its proximity to Shiloh, and beyond all other nations, civil and religious allegiance to the inheritance of Joshua, it assumed something of were indissolubly united; it was almost impossible to the character of a capital (Josh. xxiv. 1, 32). Then it see how separate national existence could have been became the seat of the usurpation of Abimelech, which sustained without the creation, or (as it might seem)

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