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8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense, and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,

10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.

11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it 'to thy servant.

12 Notwithstanding, in thy "days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

29. Judg. 11.24. g Ps. 78. 58. h c. 3. 5. 9. 2. 1 with thee. i Is. 29. 13, 14. k ver. 31. c. 12. 16, 20. m c. 21. 29. 2 Kings 20. 17, 19. 22. 19, 20.

2. He was drawn by them to the worship of strange gods; as Israel to Baal-peor, by the daughters of Moab. This was the bad consequence of his multiplying wives. We have reason to think it impaired his health, and hastened upon him the decays of age; it exhausted his treasure, which, though vast indeed, would be found little enough to maintain the pride and vanity of all these women; perhaps it occasioned him, in his latter end, to neglect his business, by which he lost his supplies from abroad, and was forced, for the keeping up of his grandeur, to burden his subjects with those taxes which they complained of, ch. 12. 4. But none of these consequences were so bad as this, His wives turned away his heart after other gods, v. 3, 4.

among them, thought every thing well they said and did, and it. God foresaw it, when he said concerning him that should despised Pharaoh's daughter, his rightful wife, who had been build the temple, If he commit iniquity, &c. 2 Sam. 7. 14. dear to him, and all the ladies of Israel, in comparison of them. (2.) But it concerns us to inquire what good use we may make Solomon was master of a great deal of knowledge, but to of it. [1.] Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he what purpose, when he had no better a government of his ap-fall; we see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace petites? of God; let us therefore live in a constant dependence on that grace. [2.] See the danger of a prosperous condition, and how hard it is to overcome the temptations of it; Solomon, like Jeshurun, waxed fat, and then kicked; the food convenient, which Agur prayed for, is safer and better than the food abundant, which Solomon was even surfeited with. [3.] See what need those have to stand upon their guard, who have made a great profession of religion, and showed themselves forward and zealous in devotion, because the devil will set upon them most violently, and if they misbehave, the reproach is the greater: it is the evening that commends the day; let us therefore fear, lest, having run well, we seem to come short. V. 9-13. Here is,

(1.) He grew cool and indifferent in his own religion, and remiss in the service of the God of Israel. His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, (v. 4,) nor did he follow him fully, (v. 6,) like David. We cannot suppose that he quite cast off the worship of God, much less that he restrained or hindered it; (the temple service went on as usual;) but he grew less frequent, and less serious, in his ascent to the house of the Lord, and his attendance on his altar; he left his first love, lost his zeal for God, and did not persevere to the end as he had begun; therefore it is said, he was not perfect, because he was not constant; and he followed not God fully, because he turned from following him, and did not continue to the end. His father David had many faults, but he never neglected the ship of God, nor grew remiss in that, as Solomon did, his wives using all their arts to divert him from it, and there began his apostacy.

I. God's anger against Solomon for his sin: the thing he did, displeased the Lord: time was, when the Lord loved Solomon, (2 Sam. 12. 24,) and delighted in him, (ch. 10. 9;) but now the Lord was angry with Solomon, (v. 9,) for there was in his sin, 1. The most base ingratitude that could be; he turned from the Lord which had appeared unto him twice, once, before he began to build the temple, (ch. 3. 5,) and once, after he had dedicated it, ch. 9. 2. God keeps account of the gracious visits he makes us, whether we do or no; knows how often he has appeared to us, and for us, and will remember it against us, if we turn from him. God's appearing to Solomon, was such a sensible confirmation of his faith, as should have for ever prevented his wor-worshipping of any other God; it was also such a distinguishing favour, and put such an honour upon him, as he ought never to have forgotten, especially considering what God said to him in both these appearances. 2. The most wilful disobedience: this was the very thing concerning which God had commanded him-that he should not go after other gods, yet he was not kept right by such an express admonition, v. 10. Those who have dominion over men, are apt to forget God's dominion over them, and while they demand obedience from their inferiors, to deny it to him who is the Supreme.

(2.) He tolerated and maintained his wives in their idolatry, and made no scruple of joining with them in it. Pharaoh's | daughter was proselyted (as is supposed) to the Jews' religion, but when he began to grow careless in the worship of God himself, he used no means to convert his other wives to it; in complaisance to them, he built chapels for their gods, (v. 7, 8,) maintained their priests, and occasionally did himself attend their altars; making a jest of it, as if there were no harm in it, but all religions were alike; which (says Bishop Patrick) has been the disease of some great wits; when he humoured one thus, the rest would take it ill, if he did not, in like manner, gratify them, so that he did it for all his wives, (v. 8,) and, at last, came to that degree of impiety, that he set up a high place for Chemosh in the hill that is before Jerusalem, the mount of Olives, as if to confront the temple which he himself had built; these high places continued here, not utterly demolished, till Josiah did it, 2 Kings 23. 13. This is the account here given of Solomon's apostacy.

II. The message he sent him hereupon; (v. 11,) The Lord said unto Solomon, (it is likely by a prophet,) that he must expect to smart for his apostacy. And here, 1. The sentence is just, that since he had revolted from God, part of his kingdom should revolt from his family; he had given God's glory to the creature, and therefore God would give his crown to his servant, "I will rend the kingdom from thee, in thy posterity, and will give it to thy servant, who shall bear rule over much of that for which thou hast laboured." This was a great mortification to Solomon, who pleased himself, no doubt, with the prospect of the entail of his rich kingdom upon his heirs for ever; sin brings ruin upon families, cuts off entails, alienates estates, and lays II. Let us now pause a while, and lament Solomon's fall; men's honour in the dust. 2. Yet the mitigations of it are very and we may justly stand and wonder at it. How is the gold kind, for David's sake, (v. 12, 13;) that is, for the sake of the become dim! How is the most fine gold changed! Be asto- promise made to David; thus, all the favour God shows to man, nished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, as the prophet is for Christ's sake, and for the sake of the covenant made with exclaims in a like case, Jer. 2. 12. Strange! 1. That Solo- him; the kingdom shall be rent from Solomon's house, but, mon, in his old age, should be insnared with fleshly lusts, (1.) Not immediately; Solomon shall not live to see it done, but youthful lusts; as we must never presume upon the strength of it shall be rent out of the hand of his son, a son that was born to our resolutions, so neither upon the weakness of our corrup-him by one of his strange wives, for his mother was an Amtions, so as to be secure and off our guard. 2. That so wise a monitess, (ch. 14. 31,) and, probably, had been a promoter of man as Solomon was, so famed for a quick understanding and idolatry. What comfort can a man take in leaving children sound judgment, should suffer himself to be made such a fool and an estate behind him, if he do not leave a blessing behind of by these foolish women. 3. That one who had so often and him; Yet if judgments be coming, it is a favour to us, if they so plainly warned others of the danger of the love of women, come not in our days, as 2 Kings 20. 19. (2.) Not wholly; one should himself be so wretchedly bewitched with it; it is easier tribe, that of Judah, the strongest and most numerous, shall to see a mischief, and to show it others, than to shun it our- remain to the house of David, (v. 13,) for Jerusalem's sake, selves. 4. That so good a man, so zealous for the worship of which David built, and for the sake of the temple there, which God, who had been conversant with divine things, and who Solomon built, these shall not go into other hands; Solomon did prayed that excellent prayer at the dedication of the temple, not quickly nor wholly turn away from God, therefore God did should do these sinful things-Is this Solomon? Are all his wis- not quickly nor wholly take the kingdom from him, dom and devotion come to this, at last? Never was gallant ship so wrecked; never was crown so profaned.

What shall we say to this? (1.) Why God permitted it, it is not for us to inquire; his way is in the sea, and his path in the great waters; he knew how to bring glory to himself out of

Upon this message which God graciously sent to Solomon, to awaken his conscience and bring him to repentance, we have reason to hope that he humbled himself before God, confessed his sin, begged pardon, and returned to his duty; that he then published his repentance in the book of Ecclesiastes, where he

will not rend away all the king-house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh's household, dom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David among the sons of Pharaoh. my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have chosen.

13 Howbeit

14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.

21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab, the captain of the host, was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

23 And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah.

24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus.

25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, (whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman,) even he lifted up his hand against the king.

27 And this was the cause that he lifted up his

15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab, the captain of the host, was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom,

16 (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom,) 17 That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child.

18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land.

19 And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife "the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's

л 2 Sam. 7. 15. ver. 39. o Deut. 12. 11. p 1 Chr. 5. 26. q 2 Sam. 8. 14. 1 Chr. 18. 12, 13. r Num. 24. 19. Deut. 20. 13. ■ Geo. 25. 2, 4. Ex. 2. 15.

bitterly laments his own folly and madness, (ch. 7. 25, 26,) and warns others to take heed of the like evil courses, and to fear God and keep his commandments, in consideration of the judgment to come, which, it is likely, had made him tremble, as it did Felix; that penitential sermon was as true an indication of a heart broken for sin, and turned from it, as David's penitential psalms, though of another nature; God's grace in his people works variously; thus, though Solomon fell, he was not utterly cast down; what God had said to David concerning him, was fulfilled, I will chasten him with the rod of men, but my mercy shall not depart from him, 2 Sam. 7. 14, 15. Though God may suffer those whom he loves to fall into sin, he will not suffer them to lie still in it. Solomon's defection, though it was much his reproach, and a great blemish to his personal character, yet did not so far break in upon the character of his reign, but that it was afterward made the pattern of a good reign, 2 Chr. 11. 17, where they are said to do well, while they walked in the way of David and Solomon. But though we have all this reason to hope he repented, and found mercy, yet the Holy Ghost did not think fit expressly to record it, but left it doubtful, for warning to others, not to sin upon presumption of repenting, for it is but a peradventure whether God will give them repentance, or if he do, whether he will give the evidence of it to themselves or others; great sinners may recover themselves, and have the benefit of their repentance, and yet be denied both the comfort and credit of it; the guilt may be taken away, and yet not the reproach.

V. 14-25. While Solomon kept close to God and to his duty, there was no adversary nor evil occurrent, (ch. 5. 4,) nothing to create him any disturbance or uneasiness in the least, but here we have an account of two adversaries that appeared against him, inconsiderable, and that could not have done any thing worth taking notice of, if Solomon had not first made God his Enemy. What hurt could Hadad or Rezon have done to so great and powerful a king as Solomon was, if he had not, by sin, made himself mean and weak? And then, those little people menace and insult him. If God be on our side, we need not fear the greatest adversary; but if he be against us, he can make us fear the least, and the very grasshopper shall be a burden.

Both these adversaries God stirred up, v. 14, 23. Though they themselves were moved by principles of ambition or revenge, God made use of them to serve his design of correcting Solomon. The principal judgment threatened, was deferred, namely, the rending of the kingdom from him, but he himself was made to feel the smart of the rod, for his greater humiliation. Note, Whoever are, any way, adversaries to us, we must take notice of the hand of God stirring them up to be so, as he bade Shimei curse David; we must look through the instruments of our trouble to the author of it, and hear the Lord's controversy in it. Both these adversaries had the original of their enmity to Solomon and Israel laid in David's time, and in his conquests of their respective countries, v. 15, 24. Solomon had the benefit and advantage of his father's successes, both in the enlargement of his dominion, and the increase of his treasure, and would never have known any thing but the benefit of them, if he had kept close to God; but now he finds evils to balance the advantages, and that David had made himself enemies, which were thorns in his sides; they that are too free in giving provocation, ought to consider that perhaps it may be remembered in time to come, and returned with interest to theirs after them; having so few friends in this world, it is our wisdom not to make ourselves more enemies than we needs must.

1. Hadad, an Edomite, was an adversary to Solomon; we are VOL. I.-105

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not told what he did against him, nor which way he gave him disturbance; only, in general, that he was an adversary to him: but we are told, (1.) What induced him to bear Solomon a grudge. David had conquered Edom, (2 Sam. 8. 14;) Joab put all the males to the sword, (v. 15, 16;) a terrible execution he made, avenging on Edom their old enmity to Israel, yet perhaps with too great a severity. While Joab was burying the slain, (for he left not any alive of their own people to bury them, and buried they must be, or they would be an annoyance to the country, Ez. 39. 12,) Hadad, a branch of the royal family, then a little child, was taken and preserved by some of the king's servants, and brought to Egypt, v. 17. They halted by the way, in Midian first, and then in Parau, where they furnished themselves with men, not to fight for them, or force their passage, but to attend them, that their young master might come into Egypt with an equipage agreeable to his quality; there he was kindly sheltered and entertained by Pharaoh, as a distressed prince, was well provided for, and so recommended himself, that, in process of time, he married the queen's sister, (v. 19,) and, by her, had a child, which the queen herself conceived such a kindness for, that she brought him up in Pharaoh's house, among the king's children. (2.) What enabled him to do Solomon a mischief. He returned to his own country again, upon the death of David and Joab, in which, it should seem, he settled, and remained quiet, while Solomon continued wise and watchful for the public good, but from which he had opportunity of making inroads upon Israel, when Solomon, having sinned away his wisdom, as Samson did his strength, (and in the same way,) grew careless of public affairs, was off his guard himself, and had forfeited the divine protection. What vexation he gave to Solomon, we are not here told, but only how loath Pharaoh was to part with him, and how earnestly he solicited his stay; (v. 22,) What hast thou lacked with me? “Nothing," says Hadad; "but, however, let me go to my own country, my native air, my native soil.” Peter Martyr has a pious reflection upon this; "That heaven is our home, and we ought to keep up a holy affection to that, and desire toward it, even then when the world, the place of our banishment, smiles most upon us." Does it ask, What have you lacked, that you are so willing to be gone? We may answer, "Nothing that the world can do for us; but however, let us go thither, where our hope, and honour, and treasure are."

2. Rezon, a Syrian, was another adversary to Solomon; when David conquered the Syrians, he headed the remains, lived at large by spoil and rapine, till Solomon grew careless, and then he got possession of Damascus, reigned there, (v. 24,) and over the country about, (v. 25 :) and he created troubles to Israel, probably, in conjunction with Hadad, all the days of Solomon, namely, after his apostacy; or he was an enemy to Israel, during all Solomon's reign, and upon all occasions vented his then impotent malice against them; but till Solomon's revolt, when his defence was departed from him, he could not do them any mischief; it is said of him, that he abhorred Israel; other princes loved and admired Israel and Solomon, and courted their friendship, but here was one that abhorred them. The greatest and best of princes and people, that are ever so much respected by the most, yet perhaps will be hated and abhorred by some.

V. 26-40. We have, here, the first mention of that infamous name, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, that made Israel to sin; he is here brought upon the stage as an adversary to Solomon, whom God had expressly told, (v. 11,) that he would give the greatest part of his kingdom to his servant, and Jeroboam was the man. We have here an account,

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hand against the king: Solomon built Millo," and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.

28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the Icharge of the house of Joseph.

29 And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment and they two were alone in the field:

30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces.

31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee;

32 But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:

33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

a c. 9. 24. ⚫ closed. t did work. burden. b c. 14. 2. è 1 Sam. 15. 27. d ver. 11-13. e ver. 5-7. Jer. 2. 13. Hos. 4. 17. Ps. 103. 10. g is. 55. 3. Ex. 20. 5, 6.

I. Of his extraction; (v. 26,) he was of the tribe of Ephraim, the next in honour to Judah; his mother was a widow, to whom Providence had made up the loss of a husband in a son that was active and ingenious, and (we may suppose) a great support and comfort to her.

34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes;

III. Of his designation to the government of the ten tribes, after the death of Solomon. Some think he was himself plotting against Solomon, and contriving to rise to the throne, that he was turbulent and aspiring. The Jews say that when he was employed by Solomon in building Millo, he took opportunities of reflecting upon Solomon as oppressive to his people, and suggesting that which would alienate them from his government; it is not indeed probable that he should say much to that purport, for Solomon would have got notice of it, and it would have hindered his preferment; but it is plainly intimated that he had it in his thoughts, for the prophet tells him, (v. 37,) Thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth: but this was the cause, or, rather, this was the story, of his lifting up his hand against the king; he made him ruler over the tribes of Joseph, and as he was going to take possession of his government, he was told by a prophet, in God's name, that he should be king, which imboldened him to aim high, and, in some instances, to oppose the king, and give him vexation.

1. The prophet, by whom this message was sent, was, Ahijah of Shiloh; we shall read of him again, ch. 14. 2. It seems, Shiloh was not so perfectly forsaken and forgotten of God, but that, in remembrance of the former days, it was blessed with a prophet; he delivered himself to Jeroboam in the way, his servants being, probably, ordered to retire, as in a like case, (1 Sam. 9. 27,) when Samuel delivered his message to Saul; God's word was not the less sacred and sure, for being delivered to him thus obscurely, under a hedge, it may be.

2. The sign by which it was represented to him, was, the rending of a garment into twelve pieces, and giving him ten, v. 30. It is not certain whether the garment was Jeroboam's, as it is commonly taken for granted, or Ahijah's, which is more probable; he (that is, the prophet) clad himself with a new garment, on purpose that he might with it give him a sign. The rending of the kingdom from Saul was signified by the rending of Samuel's mantle, not Saul's, 1 Sam. 15. 27, 28. And it was more significant, to give him ten pieces of that which was not

35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

36 And unto his son will I give 'one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

38 And it shall be, if 'thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that "I will be with thee, and "build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

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.

i c. 12. 17. kc. 15. 4. 2 Kings 8. 19. Ps. 132. 17. lamp, or, candle. 1 c. 9. 4, 5. m Josh. 1.5. n 2 Sam. 7. 11, 27. o Ps. 89. 30-34. Lam. 3. 31, 32. p Prov. 19. 21.

his own before, than of that which was; the prophets, both true and false, used such signs, even in the New Testament, as Agabus, Acts 21. 11.

3. The message itself, which is very particular.

(1.) He assures him that he should be king over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel, v. 31. The meanness of his extraction and employment should be no hinderance to his advancement, when the God of Israel says, (by whom kings reign,) I will give ten tribes unto thee.

II. Of his elevation. It was Solomon's wisdom, when he had work to do, to employ proper persons in it; he observed Jeroboam to be a very industrious young man, one that minded his business, took a pleasure in it, and did it with all his might, and therefore he gradually advanced him, till, at length, he made (2.) He tells them the reason; not for his good character or him receiver-general for the two tribes of Ephraim and Manas- deserts, but for the chastising of Solomon's apostacy, because seh, or perhaps put him into an office equivalent to that of lord-he, and his family, and many of his people with him, have forlieutenant of those two counties, for he was ruler of the burden, saken me, and worshipped other gods, v. 33. It was because or tribute, that is, either of the taxes, or of the militia, of the they had done ill, not because he was likely to do much better; house of Joseph. Note, Industry is the way to preferment; thus Israel must know, that it is not for their righteousness that Seest thou a man diligent in his business, that will take care they are made masters of Canaan, but for the wickedness of and pains, to go through with it? He shall stand before kings, the Canaanites, Deut. 9. 4. Jeroboam did not deserve so good and not always be on the level with mean men. Observe a a post, but Israel deserved so bad a prince. In telling him that difference between David and both his predecessor and his the reason why he rent the kingdom from the house of Solomon, successor; when Saul saw a valiant man, he took him to him- was, because they had forsaken God, he warns him to take self, (1 Sam. 14. 52;) when Solomon saw an industrious man, heed of sinning away his preferment, in like manner. he preferred him; but David's eyes were upon the faithful in the land, that they might dwell with him: if he saw a godly man, he preferred him, for he was a man after God's own heart, whose countenance beholds the upright.

(3.) He limits his expectations to the ten tribes only, and to them, in reversion, after the death of Solomon; lest he should aim at the whole, and give immediate disturbance to Solomon's government. He is here told, [.] That two tribes (called here one tribe, because little Benjamin was, in a manner, lost in the thousands of Judah) should remain sure to the house of David, and he must never make any attempt upon them; He shall have one tribe, (v. 32, and again, v. 36,) that David may have a lamp, that is, a shining name and memory, (Ps. 132. 17,) and his family, as a royal family, may not be extinct. He must not think that David was rejected, as Saul was; no, God would not take his loving kindness from him, as he did from Saul. The house of David must be supported and kept in reputation for all this, because out of it the Messiah must arise. Destroy it not, for that Blessing is in it. [2.] That Solomon must keep possession during his life, v. 34, 35. Jeroboam therefore must not offer to dethrone him, but wait with patience till his day shall come to fall. Solomon shall be prince, all the days of his life, not for his own sake, (he had forfeited his crown to the justice of God,) but for David my servant's sake, because he kept my commandments. Children that do not tread in their parents' steps, yet often fare the better in this world for their good parents' piety.

(4.) He is given to understand that he will be upon his good behaviour. The grant of the crown must run quam diu se bene gesserit-during good behaviour. If thou wilt do what is right in my sight, I will build thee a sure house, and not otherwise, (v. 38,) intimating, that if he forsook God, even his advancement to the throne would, in time, lay his family in the dust; whereas the seed of David, though afflicted, should not be afflicted for ever, (v. 39,) but should flourish again, as it did in many of the illustrious kings of Judah, who reigned in glory, when Jeroboam's family was extirpated.

IV. Jeroboam's flight into Egypt, hereupon, v. 40. Some way or other, Solomon came to know of all this; probably, from Jeroboam's own talk of it; he could not conceal it, as Saul did, nor keep his own counsel; if he had, he might have stayed in his own country, and been preparing there for his future advancement; but letting it be known, 1. Solomon foolishly sought to kill his successor. Had not he taught others, that

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

AND Rehoboam went to Shechem ; for all Israel young men that were grown up with him, and

which stood before him.

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

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

CHAPTER XII.

The glory of the kingdom of Israel was in its height and perfection, in Solomon; it was long in coming to it, but it soou declined, and began to sink and wither in

the very next reign, as we find in this chapter, where we have the kingdom dívided, and thereby weakened, and made little, in comparison with what it had been. Here is, I. Rehoboam's accession to the throne, and Jeroboam's return out of Egypt, v. 1, 2. II. The people's petition to Rehoboam for the redress of

grievances, and the rough answer he gave, by the advice of his young counsellors, to that petition, v. 3-15. III. The revolt of the ten tribes, thereupon, and their setting up of Jeroboam, v. 16-20. IV. Rehoboam's attempt to reduce them, and the prohibition God gave to that attempt, v. 21-24. V. Jeroboam's esta blishment of his government upon idolatry, v. 25-33. Thus did Judah become weak, being deserted by their brethren; and Israel, by deserting the house of the Lord.

7 2 Chr. 9. 29-31. ⚫ words, or, things. †daye. called Roboam. Matt. 1. 7. a 2 Chr. 10. 1, &c.

whatever devices are in men's hearts, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand? And yet does he himself think to defeat that counsel? 2. Jeroboam prudently withdrew into Egypt; though God's promise would have secured him any where, yet he would use means for his own preservation, and was content to live in exile and obscurity for a while, being sure of a kingdom at last. And shall not we be so, who have a better kingdom in reserve?

V. 41-43. We have here the conclusion of Solomon's story, and in it, 1. Reference is had to another history then extant, but (not being divinely inspired) since lost, the book of the Acts of Solomon, v. 41. Probably, this book was written by a chronologer or historiographer, whom he employed to write his annals, out of which the sacred writer extracted what God saw fit to transmit to the church. 2. A summary of the years of his reign; (v. 42,) He reigned in Jerusalem, (not as his father, part of his time in Hebron, and part in Jerusalem,) over all Israel, (not as his son, and his father in the beginning of his time, over Judah only,) forty years. His reign was as long as his father's, but not his life. Sin shortened his days. 3. His death and burial, and successor, v. 43. (1.) He followed his fathers to the grave; slept with them, and was buried in David's burying-place, with honour, no doubt. (2.) His son followed him in the throne. Thus the graves are filling with the generations that go off, and houses are filling with those that are growing up. As the grave cries, "Give, give," so land is never lost for want of an heir.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XII.

V. 1-15. Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines, yet we read but of one son he had to bear up his name, and he a fool. It is said, (Hos. 4. 10,) They shall commit whoredom and shall not increase. Sin is a bad way of building up a family. Rehoboam was the son of the wisest of men, yet did not inherit his father's wisdom, and then it stood him in little stead to inherit his father's throne. Neither wisdom nor grace runs in the blood. Solomon came to the crown very young, yet he was then a wise man: Rehoboam at forty years old, when men will be wise, if ever they will, yet he was then foolish. Wisdom does not go by age, nor is it the multitude of years, or the advantage of education, that reaches it. Solomon's court was a mart of wisdom, and the rendezvous of learned men, and Rehoboam the darling of the court; and yet all was not sufficient to make him a wise man: the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. No dispute is made of Rehoboam's succession; upon the death of his father, he was immediately proclaimed. But, I. The people desire a treaty with him at Shechem, and he condescends to meet them there. 1. Their pretence was, to make him king, but the design was, to unmake him. They would give him a public inauguration, in another place than the city of David, that he might not seem to be king of Judah only. They have ten parts in him, and will have him among themselves, for once, that they might recognize his title. 2. The place was ominous; at Shechem, where Abimelech set up himself, Judg. 9. Yet it had been famous for the convention of the states there, Josh. 24. 1. Rehoboam, we may suppose, knew of the threatening, that the kingdom should be rent from him, and hoped, by going to Shechem, and treating there with the ten tribes, to prevent it; yet it proves the most impolitic thing he could do, and hastens the rupture.

II. The representatives of the tribes address him, praying to be eased of the taxes they were burdened with. The meeting being appointed, they sent for Jeroboam out of Egypt to come

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

b c. 11. 26, 40. c 1 Sam. 8. 11-18. c. 4. 7. 9. 15. d Job 12. 12. e Mark 10. 43, 44. f Prov. 15. 1.

and be their speaker: which they needed not to have done, he knew what God had designed him for, and would have come, though he had not been sent for, for now was his time to expect the possession of the promised crown. In their address, 1. They complain of the last reign; Thy father made our yoke grievous, v. 4. They complain not of his father's idolatry, and revolt from God; that which was the greatest grievance of all, was none to them; so careless and indifferent were they in the matters of religion, as if God or Moloch were all one, so they might but live at ease, and pay no taxes. Yet the complaint was groundless and unjust. Never did people live more at ease than they did, or in greater plenty. Did they pay taxes? It was to advance the strength and magnificence of their kingdom. If Solomon's buildings cost them money, they cost them no blood, as war would do. Were many servile hands employed about them? They were not the hands of the Israelites. Were the taxes a burden? How could that be, when Solomon imported bullion in such plenty, that silver was, in a manner, as common as the stones? So that they did but render to Solomon the things that were Solomon's. Nay, suppose there was some hardship put upon them, were they not told before, that this would be the manner of the king, and yet they would have one. The best government cannot secure itself from reproach and censure, no not Solomon's. Factious spirits will never want something to complain of. I know nothing in Solomon's administration, that could make the people's yoke grievous, unless, perhaps, the women, whom in his latter days he doted on, were connived at in oppressing them. 2. They demanded relief from him, and, on that condition, will continue in their allegiance to the house of David. They asked not to be wholly free from paying taxes, but to have the burden made lighter; that was all their care, to save their money, whether their religion was supported, and the government protected, or no. All seek their

own.

III. Rehoboam consulted with those about him, concerning the answer he should give to this address. It was prudent to take advice, especially having so weak a head of his own; yet, upon this occasion, it was impolitic to take time himself to consider, for thereby he gave time to the disaffected people to ripen things for a revolt; and his deliberating, in so plain a case, would be improved as an indication of the little concern he had for the people's ease. They saw what they must expect, and prepared accordingly. Now,

1. The grave experienced men of his council advised him, by all means, to give the petitioners a kind answer, to promise them fair, and, this day, this critical day, to serve them, that is, to tell them that he was their servant, and that he would redress all their grievances, and make it his business to please them, and make them easy. "Deny thyself" (say they) so far as to do this, for this once, and they will be thy servants for ever. When the present heat is allayed with a soft answer, and the assembly dismissed, their cooler thoughts will reconcile and fix them to Solomon's family still." Note, The way to rule, is to serve; to do good, and stoop to do it to become all things to all men, and so win their hearts. Those in power, really sit highest, and easiest, and safest, that do so.

2. The young men of his council were hot and haughty, and they advised him to return a severe and threatening answer to the people's demands. It was an instance of Rehoboam's weakness, (1.) That he did not prefer aged counsellors, but had a better opinion of the young men that had grown up with him, and with whom he was familiar, v. 8. Days should speak. It was a folly for him to think that because they had been his agreeable companions in the sports and pleasures of his youth,

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 ligirer 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, hand 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 Ez. 2. 6. hardly. A Prov. 10. 11, 32. Ec. 10. 12. Jam. 3. 17. i Prov. 13. 20. & 2 Chr. 22. 4, 5. Judg. 14. 4. ver. 24. 2 Chr. 22. 7. 25. 20. Am. 3. 6. they were therefore fit to have the management of the affairs of his kingdom. Great wits have not always the most wisdom; nor are those to be relied on as our best friends, that know how to make us merry, for that will not make us happy. It is of great consequence to young people that are setting out in the world, to have suitable persons to associate with, accommodate themselves to, and depend upon for advice. If they reckon those that feed their pride, gratify their vanity, and further them in their pleasures, their best friends, they are already marked for ruin. (2.) That he did not affect moderate counsels, but was pleased with those that put him upon harsh and rigorous methods, and advised him to double the taxes, whether there was occasion for it or no, and to tell them, in plain terms, that he would do so, v. 10, 11. They thought the old men expressed themselves but dully, v. 7. They affect to be witty in their advice, and value themselves on that. The old men did not undertake to put words into Rehoboam's mouth, only counselled him to speak good words: but the young men will furnish him with very pointed and pert similitudes; My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins, &c. That is not always the best sense that is best worded.

IV. He answered the people according to the counsel of the young men, v. 14, 15. He affected to be haughty and imperious, and fancied he could carry all before him with a high hand, and therefore would rather run the risk of losing them, than deny himself so far as to give them good words. Note, Many ruin themselves by consulting their humour more than their interest. See, 1. How Rehoboam was infatuated in his counsels. He could not have acted more foolishly and impolitically. (1.) He owned their reflections upon his father's government to be true, My father made your yoke heavy: and therein was unjust to his father's memory which he might easily have vindicated from the imputation. (2.) He fancied himself better able to manage them, and impose upon them, than his father was; not considering that he was vastly inferior to him in capacity. Could he think to support the blemishes of his father's reign, who could never pretend to come near the glories of it? (3.) He threatened not only to squeeze them by taxes, but to chastise them by cruel laws, and severe executions of them; which should not be as whips only, but as scorpions, whips with rowels in them, that will fetch blood at every lash. In short, he would use them as brute beasts, load them, and beat them, at his pleasure; not caring whether they loved him or no, he would make them fear him. (4.) He gave this provocation to a people that by long ease and prosperity were made wealthy, and strong, and proud, and would not be trampled upon, as a poor coward dispirited people may; that were now disposed to revolt, and had one ready to head them. Never, surely, was man so blinded by pride, and affectation of arbitrary power, than which nothing is more fatal.

2. How God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. It was from the Lord, v. 15. He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be rent from him. Note, God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by the imprudences and iniquities of men, and snares sinners in the work of their own hands. They that lose the kingdom of heaven, throw it away, as Rehoboam did his, by their own wilfulness and folly.

V. 16-24. We have here the rending of the kingdom of the ten tribes from the house of David; to effect which,

I. The people were bold and resolute in their revolt. They highly resented the provocation that Rehoboam had given them, were incensed at his menaces, concluded that that government would, in the progress of it, be intolerably grievous, which, in the beginning of it, was so very haughty; and therefore immediately came to this resolve, one and all, What portion have we in David? v. 16. They speak here very unbecomingly of David, that great benefactor of their nation, calling him the son

by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

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.

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of Jesse, no greater a man than his neighbours. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public, forgotten! The rashness of their resolution was also much to be blamed; in time, and with prudent management, they might have settled the original contract with Rehoboam, to mutual satisfaction. Had they inquired who gave Rehoboam this advice, and taken a course to remove those evil counsellors from about him, the rupture might have been prevented: otherwise, their jealousy for their liberty and property well became that free people, Israel is not a servant, is not a homeborn slave; why should he be spoiled? Jer. 2. 14. They are willing to be ruled, but not to be ridden; protection draws allegiance, but destruction cannot. No marvel that Israel falls away from the house of David, (v. 19,) if the house of David fall away from the great ends of their advancement, which was to be ministers of God to them for good. But thus to rebel against the seed of David, whom God had advanced to the kingdom, (entailing it on his seed,) and to set up another king, in opposition to that family, was a great sin; see 2 Chr. 13. 5-8. To this God refers, Hos. 8. 4, They have set up kings, but not by me. And it is here mentioned, to the praise of the tribe of Judah, that they followed the house of David, (v. 17, 20,) and, for aught that appears, they found Rehoboam better than his word, nor did he rule with the rigour which, at first, he threatened.

II. Rehoboam was imprudent in the further management of this affair, and more and more infatuated. Having foolishly thrown himself into a quicksand, he sunk the further in, with plunging to get out. 1. He was very unadvised, in sending Adoram, who was over the tribute, to treat with them, v. 18. The tribute was the thing, and, for the sake of that, Adoram was the person, they most complained of; the very sight of him, whose name was odious among them, exasperated them, and made them outrageous. He was one whom they could not so much as give a patient hearing to, but stoned him to death in a popular tumult. Rehoboam was now as unhappy in the choice of his ambassador, as before of his counsellors. 2. Some think he was also unadvised, in quitting his ground, and making so much haste to Jerusalem, for thereby he deserted his friends, and gave advantage to his enemies, who had gone to their tents indeed, (v. 16,) in disgust, but did not offer to make Jeroboam king, till Rehoboam was gone, v. 20. See how soon this foolish prince went from one extreme to the other. He hectored and talked big, when he thought all was his own, but sunk and looked very mean, when he saw himself in danger. It is common for those that are most haughty in their prosperity, to be most abject in adversity.

III. God forbade his attempt to recover what he had lost by the sword. What was done, was of God, who would not suffer, 1. That it should be undone again, as it would be, if Rehoboam got the better, and reduced the ten tribes. Nor, 2. That more should be done to the prejudice of the house of David, as would be, if Jeroboam should get the better, and conquer the two tribes. The thing must rest as it is, and therefore God forbids

the battle.

(1.) It was brave in Rehoboam, to design the reducing of the revolters by force. His courage came to him, when he was come to Jerusalem, v. 21. There he thought himself among his fast friends, who generously adhered to him, and appeared for him. Judah and Benjamin (who feared the Lord and the king, and meddled not with them that were given to change) presently raised an army of 180,000 men, for the recovery of their king's right to the ten tribes, and were resolved to stand by him (as we say) with their lives and fortunes; having either not such cause, or rather not such a disposition, to complain as the rest had.

(2.) It was more brave in Rehoboam, to desist, when God, by a prophet, ordered him to lay down his arms. He would not lose a kingdom tamely, for then he had been unworthy tho

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