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Jeroboam is made king of Israel. Setteth up golden calves. 16 So when all Israel saw that 24 Thus saith the LORD, Ye the king hearkened not unto shall not go up, nor fight against them, the people answered the your brethren the children of king, saying, What portion have Ísrael: return every man to his we in David ? neither have we house; for this thing is from me. inheritance in the son of Jesse: They hearkened therefore to the to your tents, O Israel: now see word of the LORD, and returned to thine own house, David. So to depart, according to the word Israel departed unto their tents. of the LORD. 17 But as for the children of 25 Then Jeroboam built SheIsrael which dwelt in the cities chem in mount Ephraim, and of Judah, Rehoboam reigned dwelt therein; and wentout from over them.
thence, and built Penuel. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent 26 And Jeroboam said in his Adoram, who was over the tri- heart, Now shall the kingdom bute; and all Israel stoned him return to the house of David: with stones, that he died. There- 27 If this people go up to do fore king Rehoboam made speed sacrifice in the house of the Lord to get him up to his chariot, to at Jerusalem, then shall the heart flee to Jerusalem.
of this people turn again unto 19 So Israel rebelled against the their lord, even unto Rehoboam house of David unto this day. king of Judah, and they shall 20 And it came to pass, when kill
me, and go again to Rehoall Israel heard that Jeroboam boam king of Judah. was come again, that they sent 28 Whereupon the king took and called him unto the congre- counsel, and made two calves of gation, and made him king over gold, and said unto them, It is all Israel: there was none that too much for you to go up to followed the house of David, but Jerusalem: behold thy gods, o the tribe of Judah only. Israel, which brought thee up 21 And when Rehoboam was out of the land of Egypt
. come to Jerusalem, he assembled 29 And he set the one in Bethall the house of Judah, with the el, and the other put he in Dan. tribe of Benjamin, an hundred 30 And this thing became a sin: and fourscore thousand chosen for the people went to worship men, which were warriors, to before the one, even unto Dan. fight against the house of Israel, 31 And he made an house of to bring the kingdom again to high places, and made priests of Rehoboam the son of Solomon. the lowest of the people, which
22 But the word of God came were not of the sons of Levi. unto Shemaiah the man of God, 32 And Jeroboam ordained a saying,
feast in the eighth month, on the 23 Speak unto Rehoboam, the fifteenth day of the month, like son of Solomon, king of Judah, unto the feast that is in Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and he offered upon the altar. and Benjamin, and to the rem- So did he in Beth-el, sacrificing nant of the people, saying,
unto the calves that he had made:
and he placed in Beth-el the month, even in the month which priests of the high places which he had devised of his own heart; he had made.
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. 36. 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 bis commandments. The altar at Bethel is denounced. 1 And, behold, there came a will give thee a reward. man of God out of Judah by the 8 And the man of God said unto word of the Lord unto Beth-el: the king, If thou wilt give me and Jeroboam stood by the altar half thine house, I will not go in to burn incense.
with thee, neither will I eat bread 2 And he cried against the altar nor drink water in this place: in the word of the Lord, and 9 For so was it charged me by said, O altar, altar, thus saith the the word of the LORD, saying, LORD; Behold, a child shall be Eat no bread, nor drink water, born unto the house of David, nor turn again by the same way Josiah by name; and upon thee that thou camest. shall he offer the priests of the 10 So he went another way, and high places that burn incense returned not by the way that he upon thee, and men's bones shall came to Beth-el. be burnt upon thee.
11 Now there dwelt an old 3 And he gave a sign the same prophet in Beth-el; and his sons day, saying, This is the sign came and told him all the works which the Lord hath spoken; that the man of God had done Behold, the altar shall be rent, that day in Beth-el : the words and the ashes that are upon it which he had spoken unto the shall be poured out.
king, them they told also to their 4 And it came to pass, when father. king Jeroboam heard the saying 12 And their father said unto of the man of God, which had cried them, What way went he? For against the altar in Beth-el, that his sons had seen what way the he put forth his hand from the man of God went, which came altar, saying, Lay hold on him. from Judah. And his hand, which he put forth 13 And he said unto his sons, Sadagainst him, dried up, so that he dle me the ass. So they saddled could not pull it in again to him. him the ass: and he rode thereon,
5 The altar also was rent, and 14 And went after the man of the ashes poured out from the God, and found him sitting unaltar, according to the sign which der an oak: and he said unto him, the man of God had given by the Art thou the man of God that word of the LORD.
camest from Judah? And he 6 And the king answered and said, I am. said unto the man of God, Intreat 15 Then he said unto him, Come now the face of the Lord thy home with me, and eat bread. God, and pray for me, that my 16 And he said, I may not return hand may be restored me again. with thee, nor go in with thee: And the man of God besought neither will I eat bread nor drink the Lord, and the king's hand water with thee in this place: was restored him again, and be- 17 For it was said to me by the came as it was before.
word of the Lord, Thou shalt 7 And the king said unto the eat no bread nor drink water man of God, Come home with there, nor turn again to go by me, and refresh thyself, and I the way that thou camest.
18 He said unto him, I am a that he may eat bread and drink prophet also as thou art ; and an water. But he lied unto him. angelspake unto me by the word 19 So he went back with him, of the Lord, saying, Bring him and did eat bread in his house, back with thee into thine house, and drank water.
LECTURE 574. That we must follow God's word implicitly. The idolatries of king Solomon must have prepared the minds of the Israelites for the sin of Jeroboam. And the sojourn of the son of Nebat in Egypt, see Ch. 11. 40, must have rendered him familiar with idol worship. Else we could scarcely believe it possible, that king and people would so readily fall into these abominable sins, of worshipping God by images, and setting up a new priesthood, and ordaining a new feast; the king himself also daring to officiate as a priest at the altar of his own devising. But infatuated as they were in their errors, they must at least hear the words of truth, and be warned of the end of their transgression. A man of God is sent to cry “ against the altar in the word of the Lord." He confronts the wilful Jeroboam, in the midst of his idolatrous worship; and tells him the very name of the servant of the Lord, who hundreds of years afterwards should signally avenge this affront offered to the majesty of Jehovah. But in vain is the altar rent before the eyes of the obdurate king; in vain are the ashes that are upon it poured out. In vain is his presumptuous hand first withered, and then restored. Jeroboam was no further moved, than merely to offer food and a present to the prophet; when he ought to have been reflecting within himself, “ What reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits which he hath done unto me?” Ps. 116. 11. How little can we have learnt from his sad history, if we ever murmur under the chastisements of God! How little do we gain by any we receive from one another, unless they lead us to be devoutly thankful to the Giver of all good gifts !
This was a lesson, which the man of God, after all his faithful admonition towards others, had yet to learn for himself. Had he rightly estimated the kind invitation given him by the old prophet who dwelt at Beth-el, he would have felt indebted to God for the intended kindness, he would have so much the more stedfastly obeyed the Lord. He would have reflected that no message delivered to him by another ought to be set against God's word spoken to himself. And he would have more easily believed, that his brother prophet lied unto him, out of a mistaken kindness, than that God could for any reason contradict Himself. Much as we are bound to honour God’s ministers, yet if ever the teaching of those who bear his message should be found to be at variance with his own revealed word, let us act upon the firm conviction, that whilst man may be mistaken, or may err wilfully, God's word is always true.
The man of God is slain by a lion. 20 And it came to pass, as they ing to the word of the LORD, sat at the table, that the word of which he spake unto him. the Lord came unto the prophet 27 And he spake to his sons, that brought him back : saying, Saddle me the ass. And
21 And he cried unto the man they saddled him. of God that came from Judah, 28 And he went and found bis saying, Thus saith the LORD, carcase cast in the way, and the Forasmuch as thou hast dis- ass and the lion standing by the obeyed the mouth of the Lord, carcase: the lion had not eaten and hast not kept the command- the carcase, nor torn the ass. ment which the LORD thy God 29 And the prophet took up the commanded thee,
carcase of the man of God, and 22 But camest back, and hast laid it upon the ass, and brought eaten bread and drunk water in it back: and the old prophet the place, of the which the LORD came to the city, to mourn and did say to thee, Eat no bread, to bury him. and drink no water; thy carcase 30 And he laid his carcase in his shall not come unto the sepul- own grave; and they mourned chre of thy fathers.
over him, saying, Alas, my 23 And it came to pass, after he brother ! had eaten bread, and after he 31 And it came to pass, after he had drunk, that he saddled for had buried him, that he spake to him the ass, to wit, for the pro- his sons, saying, When I am dead, phet whom he had brought back. then bury me in the sepulchre 24 And when he was gone, a lion wherein the man of God is buried; met him by the way, and slew lay my bones beside his bones : him: and his carcase was cast in 32 For the saying which he the way, and the ass stood by it, cried by the word of the LORD the lion also stood by the carcase. against the altar in Beth-el, and
25 And, behold, men passed by, against all the houses of the high and saw the carcase cast in the places which are in the cities of way, and the lion standing by Samaria,shall surely come to pass. the carcase: and they came and 33 After this thing Jeroboam told it in the city where the old returned not from his evil way, prophet dwelt.
but made again of the lowest of 26 And when the prophet that the people priests of the high brought him back from the way places: whosoever would, he conheard thereof, he said, It is the secrated him, and he became one man of God, who was disobedient of the priests of the high places. unto the word of the LORD: 34 And this thing became sin therefore the Lord hath deliver- unto the house of Jeroboam, even ed him unto the lion, which hath to cut it off, and to destroy it torn him, and slain him, accord- from off the face of the earth.
LECTURE 575. The vengeance due to sin though slow is sure. It was doubtless out of a mistaken kindness, that the old prophet, who dwelt at Beth-el, feigned himself to be commissioned by God