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39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.

43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in

41 And the rest of the acts of
Solomon, and all that he did, and his stead.
LECTURE 571.

The vanity of worldly ambition.

The rending of a new garment by Ahijah would be to Jeroboam a striking token of God's purpose to divide the kingdom of Israel, as newly settled in the family of David. It has been thought probable that Jeroboam had a design upon the throne, before the prophet gave him this announcement. And it seems to be so implied in these words of the Lord: "I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth." But this may signify no more than the general ambition of Jeroboam's character, the desire of wealth, rank, and power, which he cherished in his heart; without perhaps any one special end in view. In this sense the same words might be justly spoken of many men besides Jeroboam. And if God were to send us a message of almost any height of worldly promotion, which of us could say that no such wish or thought had ever crossed the mind; to which of us might it not with truth be said by the messenger, "according to all that thy soul desireth?"

In no one instance of all history, is the vanity of earthly greatness more clear, than in the case of Solomon. As for his acts after he became an idolater, we are referred to books which are no longer extant. See 2 Chron. 9. 29. And here we are told no more than that he reigned forty years in all, and died, and was buried, and was succeeded by his son. The end of all his glory is obscurity. The most diligent research can yield us no certain information as to the way in which he spent his latter days. This chapter, which tells us of his death, is chiefly occupied with an account of the enemies, whom God raised up on purpose to chastise him. And we neither know what particular reverses he sustained at their hands, nor can we be sure as to the most important point of all, whether he ever heartily repented. If then our hearts desire greatness upon earth, let us learn from Solomon how vain a thing we long for. For this life let us adopt the prayer of Agur, "Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me." Prov. 30. 8. And let us direct all our ambition towards the life which is to come, to the only riches which will never make us covetous, to the only crown which can never tempt us to be proud.

Rehoboam answereth the people roughly.

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 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 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 were 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, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.

11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.

13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;

14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. LECTURE 572.

The due effect of God's purposes on our actions.

Man accomplishes events; but the cause is from the Lord. And whether man follow his own devices, or do that which he be

lieves to be the will of God, in either case God's will is sure to be fulfilled; in either case God's word is sure to come to How strikingly is this truth exemplified in the division of David's kingdom between Rehoboam the son of Solomon and Jeroboam the son of Nebat! The will of God in this matter, as declared by the prophet Ahijah, was no secret; for we are expressly told, that "Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam." Ch. 11. 40. Such was Solomon's perverse opposition to God's declared will. No less foolishly did Rehoboam set himself to work, to frustrate the purpose of the Lord. Had he humbled himself in dust and ashes, had he appealed to God's mercy for himself and for his people, this would have been consistent with acquiescence in God's will; this might have prevailed with God to suspend or to remit the execution of his judgments. For so it was in the case of Ahab, when being sentenced for the guilt of Naboth's blood he turned to God with true humiliation. See 1 Kings 21. 29. And in like manner in the case of Nineveh, it was consistent with God's threatenings, that He spared it, when the Ninevites repented. See Jonah 3. 10.

Things like these lead us to believe, that the threatenings and the promises of God, as declared to us, are in some measure made dependent, according to his will, on the conduct of those to whom they are addressed; being in truth only particular expressions of the one great purpose of God, in his moral government of the world, to recompense evil unto them that do evil, and good to them that do good. And this view of his purpose, and of his promises and threats, ought in every case to make us anxious to enquire, not how we may best compass our own will, but how we may most truly fulfil his. Rehoboam consulting first with old and then with young, how to keep all the kingdom to himself, represents to us the common case of wilful sinners, leaving no stone unturned to get the gain, or enjoy the pleasure, which God forbids. And Jeroboam, not waiting for God's manifest direction, but being forward in leading the people to revolt, sets before us an instance of another disposition, no less opposite to true reliance upon God, namely, haste in securing ends that are allowable, by means which are unlawful. Our right course is to promote God's purposes by obeying God's commandments. Whatever be his declared will in any instance, however painful the prospect to ourselves, though we may lawfully pray, "Remove this cup from me," we must not fail to add, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Luke 22. 42. And in like manner if the prospect to ourselves be full of joy, we are bound to wait till the end can be accomplished, consistently with our doing only that which is right. It never can be God's will that any man should knowingly in any thing do wrong. And though our doing so should be overruled to the fulfilment of God's purposes; whilst his glory is unblemished, our souls may be lost.

PART IV. 0. T.

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Jeroboam is made king of Israel. Setteth up golden calves.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So, Israel departed unto their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.

18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.

19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: 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 brethren 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: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made:

and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.

month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the 33 So he offered upon the altar children of Israel: and he offered which he had made in Beth-el upon the altar, and burnt inthe fifteenth day of the eighth cense.

LECTURE 573.

Against being tempted by expediency to do wrong.

The rough answer of Rehoboam has lost him the allegiance of his people. The ten tribes revolt, and stone Adoram whom he sent unto them, and make Jeroboam "king over all Israel." And henceforth we must remember, that in this history, the kings of Israel mean the kings of the ten revolted tribes, successors of Jeroboam, and the kings of Judah mean the successors of Rehoboam, with whom there remained the tribe of Judah, and that of Benjamin. And we may observe, that whilst this separation of the kingdoms was denounced as a judgment from God, they who compassed it were not thereby justified before Him. For the ten tribes are charged with this very thing, as a sin, by the prophet Hosea, "They have set up kings, but not by me." Hos. 8. 4.

In this offence Jeroboam was considerably implicated. But if it was wrong in him to assume the throne, without a manifest authority from the Lord for what he did, how much more grievously sinful was the plan which he devised, for securing the continuance of the kingdom! The condition, on which God had promised to build him a sure house, was this, "if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight." Ch. 11. 38. The plan by which he purposed to establish himself safely was a gross violation of one of the ten commandments of the Law. He did not indeed break the first commandment, he did not worship other gods. But he set up images as helps to devotion. And he did this on purpose to divert his subjects from frequenting the temple service at Jerusalem. He reasoned within himself, that if they went up at each great feast to the city of David, their hearts would soon turn to their former king. And he could see no other way of preventing this consequence, than to set up a new place and object of worship, at each extremity of his kingdom. This was the gross transgression so often afterwards denounced, as the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin. Though we may be in no danger of imitating his image worship, let us beware lest like him we be tempted to do wrong by any seeming expediency or necessity. Perhaps we cannot discern, in some duty of our own, how at once to do that which God requires, and to attain unto the success which God promises. Let us in such case be content to leave the way to Him. It is enough for us to know, that the kingdom is ours if we do his will. We may be sure we never shall secure it by transgressing his commandments.

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