(Verses 1 through 4) Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he gat no heat. Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in his bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunamite, and brought her to the king. And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
It seems that David was, perhaps, in his seventies, so far as his age was concerned, but he had led a very strenuous life, as the record of the battles in which he had been gives testimony. There may be something somewhere else that adds more to his age that I am at the present aware of; but according to II Samuel 5:4-5, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.” Nevertheless, whatever might have been his actual age, the strenuous lifestyle he had followed had about worn him out. And, as many do, when he reached this point, he could not get warm, no matter how much clothing they covered him with. So his servants made use of what we might consider a somewhat strange method of raising his body temperature. They found a very beautiful young virgin, and gave to her the job of taking care of him. She used her body heat to warm him up. But we are told that although this did give him the necessary warmth, they did not have intercourse, although she did sleep in the same bed with him that he might get the benefit of her body heat.
(Verses 5 through 10) Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom. And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah helped him. But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah. And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel, and called all his brethren the king’s sons, and all the men of Judah the king’s servants: but Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and Solomon his brother, he called not.
Adonijah was David’s son, and he was brother to Absalom who had caused David much trouble. Now he tried to take over the kingdom for himself. Without saying anything to David about it, Adonijah secretly gathered some followers together, and served them with a great feast. He called all the sons of David except Solomon. Also he omitted to call any of David’s faithful followers. He did call Joab the captain of David’s army, and Abiathar, a priest who had, at one time, helped David. But Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Shimei and Rei, two of David’s mighty men were not called to the feast.
(Verses 11 through 14) Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? Now therefore come, let me. I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign? Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.
Nathan was the prophet who was advisor to David. And when he became aware of what Adonijah had done, he went to Bath-sheba, who was David’s wife, and the mother of his son Solomon. He advised her to go in, and remind David that he had sworn that Solomon would be king after him, and tell him of what Adonijah was doing. Then while she was telling David about these things, he, Nathan, would come in, and confirm her testimony.
(Verses 15 through 21) And Bath-sheba went in unto the king into the chamber: and the king was very old; and Abishag the Shunamite ministered unto the king. And Bath-sheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the king. And the king said, What wouldest thou? And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and now, my lord the king, thou knowest it not: and he hath slain oxen and fat cattle, and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called. And thou, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.
Thus Bath-sheba went in, and made her plea to king David, and reminded him that he had sworn by the LORD that Solomon would be the one to reign after him, and that he would sit upon David’s throne. If he failed to make this clear to Israel before his death, then she and her son Solomon would be accounted as offenders when they presented their claim before the people.
(Verses 22 through 27) And, lo, while she yet talked to the king, Nathan the prophet also came in. And they told the king, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the king, he bowed himself before the king with his face to the ground. And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah. But me, even thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast not shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?
While Bath-sheba was still talking with David, Nathan the prophet came into the chamber. And when he had been announced, Nathan approached David, and questioned him about whether Adonijah’s activities were being carried on with his approbation without having told him beforehand.
(Verses 28 through 31) Then David answered and said, Call me Bath-sheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress, even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day. Then Bath-sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever.
After being assured of the truth of Bath-sheba’s report, David called her to come before him, and He took an oath that on that very day he would do what he had earlier sworn would be done. He would establish Solomon upon the throne of Israel.
(Verses 32 through 40) And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the king say so too. As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be He with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.
Thus David’s advisors and servants and followers did according to the instructions he had given them. Then they all accompanied Solomon back up to Jerusalem, with music and great rejoicing. The noise of their celebration was so great that it even disturbed Adonijah and all his guests at his great feast.
(Verses 41 through 49) And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar? And while he yet spake, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said unto him, Come in, for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tidings. And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily, our lord king David hath made Solomon king. And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule: and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise ye have heard. And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom. And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed. And also thus said the king, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, Which hath given one to sit on my throne this day, mine eyes even seeing it. And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.
Just as Adonijah and his guests were finishing their feast, they heard the great commotion caused by the rejoicing of those who had anointed Solomon king over all Israel. They began to inquire what was causing such an uproar. Then Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came in with a report of the anointing of Solomon as king of all Israel. He gave a full report of the matter. And as soon as all had heard his report, they were so afraid that all forsook Adonijah, and went to their own places.
(Verses 50 through 53) And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword. And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness be found in him, he shall die. So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house.
Since the altar was always considered a place of refuge for one who considered himself persecuted, Adonijah thought he could make use of it for his own protection. So he went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar, and said, “Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.” However Solomon would make no such oath. Instead, he said that if Adonijah proved to be a worthy man he would come to no harm. But if he was found to be wicked, he would die. And he had Adonijah brought before him, and, at that time, only told him to go to his own house. Nothing was said about any further examination.
(Verses 1 through 11) Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; and keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: that the LORD may continue His word which He spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said He) a man on the throne of Israel. Moreover thou knowest also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet. Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. But shew kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at thy table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom thy brother. And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword. Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
This is the charge that David gave to Solomon concerning what he should do as king over Israel. He first instructed him to follow the laws, statutes, and commandments of the LORD, that the LORD might bless him according to His promise. Then he reminds him of several men who had wronged him, David, but he had not punished them at the time, because they had made slight amends for their wickedness, and he had let them go free, because of his promise to them. Now he wanted Solomon to put them to death, as he felt he should have done. Also there were some that he called upon Solomon to take care of because of help they had given him in his times of danger. After he had finished this charge to Solomon, David died, and was buried in Jerusalem.
(Verses 12 through 18) Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly. And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably. He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on. And he said, Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother’s: for it was his from the LORD. And now I have one petition to ask of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on. And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunamite to wife. And Bath-sheba said, Well, I will speak for thee unto the king.
As soon as Solomon was settled in his kingdom after the death of David, Adonijah came to Solomon’s mother, made to her a speech about how the kingdom was his, but had been turned from him to Solomon because it was Solomon’s from the LORD, and he wanted her to make a request to Solomon for him. That request was that Abishag, the young Shunamite virgin, who had been brought to David to keep him warm with her body heat, be given him as his wife. And Bath-sheba agreed to ask Solomon about the matter.
(Verses 19 through 25) Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king arose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand. Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay. And she said, Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife. And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunamite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother: even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, Which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and Who hath made me an house, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day. And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him that he died.
Adonijah’s request so angered king Solomon that he had him executed that very day.
(Verses 26 and 27) And unto Abiathar the priest said the king, Get thee to Anathoth, unto thine own fields; for thou art worthy of death: but I will not at this time put thee to death, because thou barest the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because thou hast been afflicted in all wherein he was afflicted. So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that He might fulfill the word of the LORD, which He spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
Bath-sheba went to king Solomon, and presented Adonijah’s request. But Solomon was not at all favorably impressed by it. He declared that this request was, of itself, evidence that Adonijah was still filled with ambition to take the kingdom also. Therefore he sent Benaiah to execute Adonijah, which he did immediately. Then because Abiathar the priest had joined Adonijah in his conspiracy, the king sent for him, turned him out of the office of priest, and sent him home, He would not have him killed, because he had remained faithful during Absalom’s revolt, but he could no longer serve as priest. Thus was the word of the LORD concerning the downfall of the house of Eli brought to pass.
(Verses 28 through 35) Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him. And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada came to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus saith the king, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me. And the king said unto him, Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father. And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah. Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon his seed for ever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD. So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. And the king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room over the host; and Zadok the priest did the king put in the room of Abiathar.
Possibly, Joab may have thought that he could claim sanctuary by going to the tabernacle, and laying hold of the horns of the altar. Bit it was of no avail to him. David, before his death, had charged Solomon to make sure that Joab was executed for the murders of Abner and Amasa. And the fact that Solomon knew that Joab had sided with Adonijah in his rebellion, did not help Joab’s cause. The king sent Benaiah to slay Joab, and Joab would not come away from the altar, no doubt, thinking he was under its protection as long as he remained there. But when Benaiah reported this to Solomon, the king ordered him to kill Joab at the altar just as Joab had said. And this he did, and Joab was buried in his own house in the wilderness. Then king Solomon made Benaiah captain of the host in Joab’s place. He also put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar whom he had removed.
(Verses 36 through 38) And the king sent and called Shemei, and said to him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head. And Shemei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shemei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
Here king Solomon gave Shemei the opportunity to avoid being slain for the cursing and stone throwing he had done against David when he fled from before Absalom. It seemed a very reasonable choice, and one to which Shemei agreed. He built himself a house in Jerusalem, and dwelled there for a while, actually, about three years.
(Verses 39 through 46) And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shemei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shemei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath. And Shemei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shemei went and brought his servants from Gath. And it was told Solomon that Shemei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again. And the king sent and called for Shemei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee swear by the LORD, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day that thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst to me, The word that I have heard is good. Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with? The king said moreover to Shemei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thy heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head; and king Solomon shall be blessed and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever. So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
For about three years Shemei kept the commandment of king Solomon, and lived in his house in Jerusalem, without going across the brook Kidron at all. But two of his servants ran away about this time, and he was so intent upon getting them back, that he forgot his oath. So he went across Kidron, and even to Gath to get back his servants. But a report of this was brought to king Solomon, who sent for him to appear before him. Whereupon the king reminded him of his oath, and all the evil he had done to David, and ordered him put to death. That sentence was carried out immediately. Thus was justice brought to all those whom David had charged Solomon to bring to justice. And thus was his kingdom established to him.
(Verses 1 through 4) And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days. And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer on that altar.
It was not at all unusual for the king of one country to either marry the daughter of another king, or take her for the wife of his son. This was mostly done for political reasons. And, in this case, that may have been the purpose of it. At any rate Solomon married the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt, and brought her to the city of David, that is, Jerusalem. Meanwhile he was building his own house, the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem. Although the LORD had commanded the Israelites to not offer their sacrifices and offerings in the high places, but bring them to the tabernacle of the congregation, and there make their offerings, they still made their offerings in the high places, because, as yet, there had not been a house built unto the name of the LORD. Although Solomon loved the LORD, he still made his offerings in the high places. And since Gibeon was the great high place, Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings upon the altar that was at Gibeon.
(Verses 5 through 15) In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit upon his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings. And made a feast to all his servants.
This is a rather long text, and a very important one; but, at the same time it needs very little commentary, inasmuch as it so clearly written, that it can hardly be misunderstood. The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream one night. And in that dream He told Solomon to ask for whatever gift he desired the LORD to give him. Then Solomon, realizing his inexperience and the great office the LORD had conferred upon him, asked that God give him wisdom that he might be able to understand judgment, and rule rightly over the LORD’S people. The LORD promised to give him greater wisdom than any man before him had ever had, or any after him would ever have. And in addition to this He would give him greater riches and honor than any other king in his days. Then He gave him a provisional promise, “And if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.” So when Solomon awoke, he understood that it was a dream. Then he returned to Jerusalem, “stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.”
In verses 16 through 27 we have the story of two women who lived in the same house. They each had a baby born to them three days apart. One of the babies died during the night, and both tried to claim the living baby, and say that the dead belonged to the other. So they came to king Solomon for judgment. In those days the technology of DNA was not known as it is today. So this seemed to be a difficult case to judge. Solomon ordered a sword to be brought. Then he ordered that the baby be divided, and half given to each woman. When he did this, the real mother of the living baby quickly spoke up, and said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. “ But the other woman was agreeable for the baby to be divided. By this Solomon knew who was the real mother of the child, and ordered that the child be given to her. By his wisdom, he knew that the real mother would not want to see the child put to death. He had no intention of killing the child to begin with. He only wanted to determine to which of the women the child belonged.
(Verse 28) And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
Verses 1 through 28 give us, primarily, a listing of the various officers Solomon had to take care of the various matters that are necessary to a kingdom. Also in them we are told of the extent of his kingdom, which was at the highest point of greatness it has ever achieved. His entire reign was a time of great peace to all his subjects. One of his officers was married to his daughter Taphath, and another to his daughter Basmath. Most of this chapter is of interest only to those who want to know all the details of his organization, and who want to know about the wealth of his kingdom. His daily requirement of provisions was: “thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.” He also had “forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.” No doubt, His was the greatest kingdom of the day.
(Verses 29 through 34) And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth, which had heard his wisdom.
This should stand upon its own without comment, except that we might say that when Solomon was said to speak of such a wide variety of trees, and of beasts, and of fowl, and of fishes, etc., it is not to be thought that he only mentioned them, but that he could set forth detailed information about them. The wisdom of what he said concerning them was remarkable. Some of the ancients of the east, and of Egypt were considered extremely wise; but Solomon was wiser that all of them. And kings and wise men from all over the known world , as they heard about his wisdom came to hear him for themselves.
(Verses 1 through 6) And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name. Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.
As we have before seen, David and Hiram of Tyre were great friends. And now Hiram sent a delegation of his servants to Solomon to congratulate him upon ascending the throne after his father David. Then Solomon sent a message to Hiram that he was about to start building the House that David had wanted to build unto the name of the LORD his God, and requesting that Hiram have his servants, who were much better skilled in hewing timber than anyone in Israel, to hew him cedar trees of Lebanon with which to build it. He promised to send his servants to help them in the work, with the understanding that he would pay Hiram whatever he thought proper for their hire.
(Verses 7 through 12) And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants will bring them from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year. And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He had promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.
In this text we see that Hiram was indeed a close friend of David, and that he was greatly pleased when he perceived that the LORD had raised up such a wise son to reign on the throne of David. He and Solomon contracted together concerning his furnishing all the cedar and fir trees that Solomon required, and by what means Solomon would reimburse him for them. The two of them made a league together.
(Verses 13 through 18) And king Solomon raised a levy out of Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent men to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy. And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work. And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.
Including his workers and the officers he had over them, Solomon had one hundred and eighty-three thousand men involved in the preparation of the materials for the house, in addition to the number (not here given) of the workers Hiram set to work on the matter. They included workers in timber, and workers in stone. So they all worked together in the preparation of the materials for the house.
(Verses 1 through 4) And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, (90 ft.,) and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, (30 ft.,) and the height thereof thirty cubits, (45 ft.) And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits (30 ft,) was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits (15 ft.) was the breadth thereof before the house. And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.
This is the beginning of the description of the house, or temple, which Solomon built for the name of the LORD God. and he began to build it in the month Zif, in the fourth year of his reign, which was also in the four hundred and eightieth year after the coming out of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt. So, for those who like to establish the chronology of various things, this is a good benchmark We shall not attempt to tell the significance of the various dimensions and descriptions of things concerning the temple, unless some statement thereof is made in the text.
(Verses 5 through 10) And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and the oracle: and he made chambers round about: the nethermost chamber was five cubits (71/2 ft.) broad, and the middle was six cubits (9 ft.) broad, and the third was seven cubits (101/2 ft.) broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up by winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third. So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits (71/2 ft.) high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
Thus we are given the description of the house, that is, the structural data concerning it. As we continue we shall find further description of the ornamentation of the building. Sometimes we hear preachers trying to set forth what they think certain items should signify. But nothing is even suggested in the text concerning such, we shall leave that to those who are so disposed to view it.
(Verses 11 through 18) And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it. And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place. And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits (60 ft.) long. And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
Verses 11 through 13 tell us of a message the LORD gave to Solomon. Solomon’s purpose in building this temple to the LORD, was earlier approved of the LORD Who had even told David that although He would not permit David to build it, He would let David’s son who should succeed him on the throne of Israel build this house. Now He gave to Solomon a provisional promise concerning this temple. That promise is: “If thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute My judgments, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I perform My word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” At this point, nothing is said about what the LORD will do if the conditions of this promise are not kept by Solomon and his people. But later this will be brought forth. Following this the writer continues on with the description of the temple. Though it was built of stone, no stone was seen on the inside of the building, for all was covered with cedar or fir. And there was much carved work on the cedar.
(Verses 19 through 22) And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty in breadth, and twenty cubits in height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.
This is the description of the Holy of holies, as Solomon had it built and decorated. Notice that everything therein was overlaid with gold, even the walls and the ceilings. This was, no doubt, the most ornate building ever built, even from the beginning until that time.
(Verses 23 through 30) And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits (15 ft) high. And five cubits (71/2 ft.) was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. And the other cherub was ten cubits: both cherubims were of one measure and one size. The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall: and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without. And he overlaid the floor of the house with gold, within and without.
Not only did he cover the walls and the ceiling of the oracle with gold, but he also made two cherubim, each with a wingspread of ten cubits, and a height of the same, and set them up so that one wing of each touched the wall, while the other wing tip of each touched in the center of the room. Then he overlaid the cherubim with gold. He had all the walls of the house carved with figures of cherubim and palm trees. And he overlaid even the floor with gold.
(Verses 31 through 36) And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree; the lintel and the side posts were a fifth part of the wall. The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. So he made for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall. And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work. And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
Thus we finish the description of the temple, the oracle, and the beautiful entrance of the oracle. All things, even the carvings, were covered with gold. As we have mentioned before it was a most magnificent and ornate building.
(Verses 37 and 38) In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif: and in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.
Thus, in seven years and six months, more or less, Solomon built his temple unto the LORD. And it was a most magnificent building. It was said that Herod, when he re-built the temple in his day, was forty three years in building it. It may have been larger, but it hardly seems possible that it was any more ornate.
(Verses 1 through 7) But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house. He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, (150 ft.,) and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, (75 ft.,) and the height thereof thirty cubits, (45 ft.,) upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars. And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row. And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks. And all the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks. And he made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the porch was before them: and the other pillars and the thick beam were before them. Then he made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.
Verse 1 seems to be only the announcement that Solomon built himself a house which took him thirteen years to build. Then the remainder of this seems to apply to “the house of the forest of Lebanon” which he also built. This house was larger than the temple which he had built in seven years. There is less said about the house itself than about the pillars and porches which he built to it. Apparently most of the wood he used in this building was also cedar. But there is no indication that he used gold overlay in this building as he did in the temple. So although somewhat larger than the temple, it is not so ornate as that.
(Verses 8 through 12) And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch. All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court. And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits. And above were costly stones, after the measures of hewed stones, and cedars. And the great court round about was with three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams, both for the inner court of the house of the LORD, and for the porch of the house.
In this text it seems quite uncertain as to which building the writer is considering. We are first introduced to Solomon’s “house where he dwelt,” but immediately is brought in the house he built for Pharaoh’s daughter whom he married, which seems to be the subject until we come to verse 12. And at first one might think it still to be the center of our focus, until the latter part of that verse, where we find, “both for the inner court of the house of the LORD, and for the porch of the house.” This causes one to wonder if all these houses were built into one complex, with a porch connecting all of them together.
From this point through verse 50, we have a detailed description of all the special work made by Hiram of Tyre. (This Hiram was, evidently, not the king Hiram who has furnished all the cedar and fir trees, because this Hiram was the son of a widow woman of the tribe of Naphtali, who had married a man of Tyre. Solomon either already knew of him, or was told of him, so he sent for him to come to Jerusalem, and do all the work that was to be done in brass for the temple. This is quite a long description, and very detailed, but in no need of commentary to make it any clearer
(Verse 51) So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD.
(Verses 1 through 11) Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and Levites bring up. And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be numbered for multitude. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims. For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day. There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there in Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
I Kings 6:38 says, “And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it,” and verse 2 of the present text says, “And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.” This makes it a little unclear whether the first statement means that the shell of the building was finished in seven years, and it took another eleven months for Hiram to do all his work, or if, after finishing the house, Solomon waited another eleven months before moving the ark of the covenant of the LORD into the new building. Another possibility might be that the assembly was called at the time of the feast in the seventh month, in preparation for moving the ark when the building was completely finished. At any rate, they did move the ark from where it had resided, and placed it in its place in the new building. And when the priests came out of the holy place after setting the ark in its place, the glory of the LORD so filled the house that the priests could not even go in and minister until it removed.
(Verses 12 through 21) Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. I have surely built Thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for Thee to abide in for ever. And the king turned his face about, and blessed the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;) and he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, Which spake with His mouth unto David my father, and hath with His hand fulfilled it, saying, Since the day that I brought forth My people out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that My name might be therein; but I chose David to be over My people Israel. And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto My name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart. Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto My name. And the LORD hath performed His word that He spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Here Solomon repeats to the assembly what the LORD had said to David, when he wanted to build a house unto the name of the LORD. And he points out to them that this house which is before them was brought about by the hand of the LORD, as He fulfilled His word to David. The LORD had said that it was good that David had wanted to build a house unto the name of the LORD, although he was not permitted to do so. But, just as the LORD had promised, that house is now built.
(Verses 22 through 30) And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: and he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like Thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, Who keepest covenant and mercy with Thy servants that walk before Thee with all their heart: Who hast kept with Thy servant David my father that Thou promisedst him: Thou spakedst also with Thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with Thine hand, as it is this day. Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as thou hast walked before Me. And now, O God of Israel, let Thy word, I pray Thee, be verified, which Thou spakest unto Thy servant David my father. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded? Yet have Thou respect unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which Thy servant prayeth before Thee today: that Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which Thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place: and when Thou hearest, forgive.
Thus Solomon begins his prayer of dedication for this house he has built unto the name of the LORD. First of all, he praises God for His faithfulness to His word, in bringing to pass His promise to David. Then he asks that God will fulfill the second part of that promise as He has the first. Then He confesses that God is so great that even “heaven and the heaven of heavens” is not large enough to contain Him. Therefore it is not reasonable to even think this house to be sufficient for Him. Yet He prays that the LORD will have respect to this place, and to the prayers that shall be offered there, not only his prayer, but even all the prayers that Israel shall also offer. He recognizes that the dwelling place of the LORD is in heaven, and not in such a house as this; but he asks that He, even in heaven, will hearken to the prayers He shall hear from this house.
(Verses 31 and 32) If any man trespass against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before Thine altar in this house: then hear Thou in heaven, and do, and judge Thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justify the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
Solomon continues his prayer to the LORD. Inasmuch as this is not only the place of the worship of the LORD, but also the place where disputes between men are brought for judgment, he prays that the LORD will watch over the administration of justice. May He condemn the guilty, and justify the innocent.
(Verses 33 and 34) When Thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against Thee, and shall turn again to Thee, and confess Thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto Thee in this house: then hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which Thou gavest unto their fathers.
He recognized the weakness of the people, and knew that they would turn from the commandments of the LORD. And when they would do such, the LORD would let them be smitten by their enemies. So he prayed that when such did come to pass, if the people would come to this house, and pray to the LORD, He would hear their prayers, forgive their sins, and raise them up again in the land He had given them.
(Verses 35 and 36) When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against Thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess Thy name, and turn from their sin, when Thou afflictest them: then hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy servants, and of Thy people Israel, that Thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon Thy land, which Thou hast given to Thy people for an inheritance.
The LORD had told Israel that if they turned away from Him, He would shut up the heavens that there would be no rain upon them. Solomon prayed that when such a thing as this might come upon them, if they turned away from their sin, and prayed to the LORD, not necessarily in this house, but even if they turned toward it to pray, He would hear their prayer, forgive their sin, and send rain upon them, and teach them the good way in which they should walk
(Verses 37 through 40) If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpillar, if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all Thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spreadeth forth his hands toward this house: then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest; (for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) that they may fear Thee all the days that they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers.
Notice that Solomon realizes that all these evils are what the LORD has said He will send upon Israel if they forget Him, and turn away from serving Him. Now he prays that when any, or all these come upon Israel for their disobedience, if they will turn toward this house and pray to the LORD, He will hear them, “and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest.” He does not ask for blanket coverage, but the LORD will bless “every man according to his ways, whose heart Thou knowest.” Thus He will teach them to fear the LORD all the days they shall live in the land the LORD has given to their fathers.
(Verses 41 through 43) Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of Thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for Thy name’s sake; (for they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy strong hand, and of Thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for: that all people of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by Thy name.
Heretofore Solomon had been praying for Israel. But in this text he broadens the scope of his prayer, to include any stranger who might hear of the power and glory of the LORD, and come to pray before this house. Solomon asks that the LORD hear such prayers, and grant all that the stranger had called upon Him for. By so doing, the LORD would cause the glory of His name to be known to all the world. And they might also know that this house which he had built was indeed called by the name of the LORD.
(Verses 44 through 53) If Thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which Thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for Thy name: then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. If they sin against Thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and Thou be angry with them, and deliver them to their enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, saying, We have sinned, and done perversely, we have committed wickedness; and so return unto Thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto Thee toward their land, which Thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name; then hear Thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people that have sinned against Thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against Thee, and give them compassion before them that carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: for they be Thy people, and Thine inheritance, which Thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: that Thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of Thy servant, and unto the supplication of Thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto Thee. For Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be Thine inheritance, as Thou spakest by the hand of Moses Thy servant, when Thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.
Solomon again prays that if Israel goes forth against the enemy, and because of some sin they have committed they are delivered into the hand of the enemy, and carried by them away into captivity, if they return in their hearts unto the LORD, and pray toward their land and this house which he has built unto the name of the LORD, He will hear their prayers, forgive their sin, and cause the enemy to have compassion upon them. He does not pray this because of their merit, but because the LORD has chosen them, and made them His people. And since He has done this, may he save them for His own sake, and for the glory of His name.
(Verses 54 through 61) And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the LORD That hath given rest unto His people Israel, according to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised by the hand of Moses His servant. The LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers: let Him not leave us, nor forsake us: that we may incline our hearts unto Him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep His commandments, and His statutes, and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that He maintain the cause of His servant, and the cause of His people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: that all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and keep His commandments, as at this day.
This is the blessing wherewith Solomon blessed all the people after he had finished praying what we might consider the dedicatory prayer for the temple of the LORD. He reminded the people of all the great things the LORD had done for them, even from the days of Moses unto their present situation. He prayed that the LORD would continue to be with them as he had been with their fathers, and would always hear their prayers and supplications, and that He would so bless them that all the earth might be made to know that the LORD is God, and there is no other. Finally he cautions them to “let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes, and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
(Verses 62 through 66) And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD. And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD. The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, unto the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
Except for one or two expressions this seems clear enough without further commentary concerning it. And for those items that might be a little unclear, perhaps, II Chronicles 7:4-11 will clarify them. All the work on the temple and the dedicatory services were all finished, and the people were dismissed. And everyone was of a very joyful heart for all the wonderful blessings of the LORD, in that He had fulfilled His word to David.
(Verses 1 through 9) And it came to pass. When Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, that the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared unto him at Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put My name there for ever; and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, in the integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep My statutes and My judgments: then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following Me, ye or your children, and will not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: then will I cut off Israel from the land which I have given them: and this house, which I have hallowed for My name, will I cast out of My sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people: and this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house? And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, Who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.
After Solomon had finished all the work on all these houses, the LORD appeared to him again, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. As He spoke with Solomon, He told him that He had answered his prayer, in that He had hallowed this house which Solomon had built for His name; and He had put His name there, and His eyes would be upon this house for ever. If Solomon would walk before Him, as did his father David, and would keep all His statutes and laws, as He had commanded him, He would establish the throne of Solomon’s kingdom over Israel for ever. On the other hand, if Solomon and Israel at all turned away from following Him, and would not keep His commandments, but went and served and worshipped other gods, He would cut off Israel from the land He had given them, and cause even the house Solomon had built for Him to become an astonishment to all who passed by it. The passers by would ask “Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?” and the answer would be, “Because they forsook the LORD their God, Who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil.” This seems to be quite a sufficient answer to those who say that the LORD is so kind and loving, that He would never send anything so unpleasant upon anyone.
(Verses 10 through 14) And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, (now Hiram king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not. And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day. And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.
This seems to be a somewhat strange event. According to their original agreement, as set forth in Chapter 5, nothing was said about any cities that Solomon was to give to king Hiram of Tyre. So this must have been a freewill gift from Solomon to Hiram. Yet when Solomon gives these twenty cities to Hiram, Hiram is not pleased with them, and calls them “the land of Cabul,” or “the land of a fetter.” That is, this is just something to put me under bondage to you.” According to one estimate, the gold that Hiram sent to Solomon amounted to about $691,200,000, while another estimate gives it as $23,040,0000. No doubt, someone is incorrect in his calculations.
(Verses 15 through 23) And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer. For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife. And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether, and Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land, and all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and all the land of his dominion. And the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, their children that were left after them in the land, who, the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day. But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen. These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.
Solomon had levied a tax upon Israel to pay for all the construction he had built. And Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon had married, attacked Gezer, a city of the Canaanites, and slew the Canaanites therein, and burned the city. Then He gave it to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. Solomon then re-built Gezer, as well as many other cities which he prepared for storage of munitions, horses, as well as war personnel and supplies. The descendants of the indigenous tribes, that had not been driven out or destroyed, were made bondservants, while the able bodied men of the children of Israel were Solomon’s men of war, his princes, and his overseers of those who were working on the building projects, as well as his officers in various positions.
(Verses 24 and 25) But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo. And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he had built unto the LORD, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the LORD. So he finished the house.
This seems clear enough without further comment. And it brings us up to the point at which Solomon had completed the building of the temple unto the LORD, his own house, and the house of his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter.
(Verses 26 through 28) And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
After Solomon finished his building of houses, he built up a navy of ships. The number of the ships is not given, but the phrase, “a navy of ships,” makes us think that there were many of them. Since the people of Tyre were well experienced in traveling by way of the sea, Hiram king of Tyre, sent his servants with the servants of Solomon on their excursions. One of their ports of call was Ophir. And from thence they brought to king Solomon four hundred and twenty talents of gold. Without trying to compute the price of that much gold according to our money, if the estimate we found concerning that mentioned in verse 14 is correct, what is under consideration here was quite a large sum.
(Verses 1 through 10) And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she came to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat on his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, Which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made He thee king to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
This is, perhaps, the most widely known story about Solomon, so far as the world is concerned, the visit of the queen of Sheba to Jerusalem to test the wisdom of Solomon. There have been novels written concerning it, and movies made about it; but unless there is a much more detailed account given of it in legend and folklore than there is in scripture, Someone has stretched his imagination to a great degree in producing such. She did make a trip all the way from the land of Sheba, which some think to have been at the southwestern extremity of Arabia, and may have also included Ethiopia, which is just across a narrow strait of the Arabian sea. If this is its proper location, Ophir was also located in Sheba. When she visited Solomon, among the other presents she brought were a hundred and twenty talents of gold, as well as spices and precious stones. After she had seen all his wealth, as exhibited in every one and every thing around him, and heard his wisdom set forth, she declared that the report she had heard of these things had been incredible to her, but now she saw that not even the half had been told her.
(Verses 11 through 13) And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day. And king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
This seems clear enough without further comment. After the queen had satisfied her curiosity, she went back to her own country, together with her servants. Of course, in keeping with custom, Solomon gave her many gifts, some of his own bounty, and some that she requested.
(Verses 14 through 17) Now the weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, beside that he had of merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and the governors of the country. And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went into one target. And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
King Solomon had a very lucrative trade going on in many commodities, and especially in gold. Of course, his navy and his merchant ships were going over all the sea. from Tharshish (Spain) to Ophir, and he was also trading with all the kings of Arabia. He had a great market, and was making use of all of it. He made huge ornamental targets and shields of beaten gold, and placed them in his house of the forest of Lebanon, which was, evidently serving as his treasury.
(Verses 18 through 20) Moreover the king made a great throne of Ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.
Here we are given a description of Solomon’s throne which was very ornate, but contains nothing that should require any further comment.
(Verses 21 through 25) And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
There was such a great stream of gold coming in at all times that silver was considered as of little value. Even all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were made of gold, as were all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon. People from all over the world came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and each brought a very expensive present. So there was no lack of any material thing that one might desire.
(Verses 26 through 29) And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance. And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen tarn at a price. And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.
Solomon gathered to himself what chariots, horses, and horsemen, he wanted, and because of the location of Israel, he was able to be the broker for the traffic in horses and chariots between Egypt and the other nations in the Middle East. He had such an income of silver and gold that he caused silver to be as plentiful as stones in Jerusalem. And he had cedars imported until they were as plentiful as the sycamores trees in the vale. The economy of Israel was indeed booming during the reign of Solomon.
(Verses 1 through 8) But Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites, of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
Although the LORD had so richly blessed him with both wisdom and material things, Solomon was too much of a womanizer. Not only did he love many women, but they were women of the nations which the LORD had forbidden the Israelites to marry, or even allow their children to marry. They were to have nothing to do with them at all, lest these women, being worshippers of idols, should turn them away from serving the LORD to serving and worshipping idols with them. Solomon disregarded the commandment of the LORD in this. He had seven hundred wives who were considered princesses, and three hundred concubines. And many, if not all of them were of these forbidden nations. And when he was old, he turned after their idols instead of serving the living God, as he had been commanded. He followed after these heathen gods.
(Verses 9 through 13) And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 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 give it to thy servant. 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. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David My servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.
Solomon’s ways were not pleasing to the LORD because he had not followed His commandments as He had given them to him. Instead, Solomon had turned away from the LORD, and had served and worshipped other gods. So the LORD spoke to Solomon again. This time He rebuked Solomon for his sin, and told him that, because he had done this, He would take the kingdom away from him. But, for the sake of David the father of Solomon, He would not take the kingdom from him during his lifetime, but He would take it away during the days of his son. Even then He would leave one tribe in the hands of his son, and take away the remainder of the kingdom, and give it to another.
(Verses 14 through 22) And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (for six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom;) that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave to him to wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh. 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. Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.
Not only did the LORD tell Solomon that He was going to take the kingdom away from Solomon’s son, but He also raised up an adversary against Solomon. No matter who may deny it, this clearly shows that with God nothing is accidental. Even in the days of David, the LORD had begun the preparation of this adversary. When David had gone into Edom and made war against the Edomites with the purpose of exterminating them, the LORD had let one of the small children of the royal family of Edom escape to Egypt, where he grew up highly favored by the Pharaoh. And after this Edomite, Hadad, had heard of the death of both David and Joab, he got permission from Pharaoh to return to Edom, where, no doubt, he continued his preparations for a revolt against Israel.
(Verses 23 through 25) And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: 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. 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.
Here is a second adversary that the LORD stirred up against Solomon. And he troubled Israel all the days of Solomon. He was another who had escaped the hands of David and Joab in another of their excursions against the enemies of Israel. This was one of the men of Zobah, Rezon by name. And he became ruler of Syria.
(Verses 26 through 40) 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. And this is the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon had built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. 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 charge of the house of Joseph. 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: and Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 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: (but he shall have one tribe for my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) because that they have forgotten 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 judgments, as did David his father. 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: but I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David My servant may have a light always before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen Me to put My name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and walk in My ways, and do that is right in My sight, to keep My commandments, as David My servant did; that I will build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. And I will afflict the seed of David, but not forever. 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.
This is a rather lengthy text: but it can be summed up in somewhat fewer words. Jeroboam is the third adversary the LORD raised up against Solomon. He was one of those who served Solomon, and Solomon took notice of his very industrious manner of doing things and set him in charge of all those of the house of Joseph who were carrying on the king’s work. One day Jeroboam had clad himself in a new cloak and had gone out into the field away from Jerusalem, and there Ahijah the prophet met him. Ahijah took the new cloak Jeroboam was wearing, and tore it into twelve pieces, ten of which he gave to Jeroboam. Then he prophesied unto him that the LORD would take from the son of Solomon, when he should become king, ten of the tribes of Israel, and give them to Jeroboam, because of the sins of Solomon in turning away from the LORD, and worshipping and serving the idol gods of the nations around Israel. He promised that if Jeroboam would keep the statutes and commandments of the LORD, the LORD would cause Jeroboam’s descendants to reign upon the throne of Israel, and that He would afflict the seed of David. But, as always, the LORD said that He would not afflict the house of David for ever. Nothing is said about how Solomon found out about the meeting of Jeroboam and Ahijah, but he did, evidently, find out, and tried to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam fled to Egypt unto king Shishak, and remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
(Verses 41 through 43) 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? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
Thus was brought to an end the reign of Solomon. Although the LORD had blessed him with the greatest wisdom of any mortal man, he foolishly departed from the commandments of the LORD. This should be a lesson for us all. No matter how greatly the LORD has blessed us, if we turn away from Him, trouble will surely come upon us, and very likely upon our descendants also.
(Verses 1 through 5) And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 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;) that they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 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. And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.
Here we have the beginning of the split between Rehoboam and the ten tribes of Israel that rebelled against him. Solomon had made Israel a rich and very great nation. But the building programs in which he had been engaged were very expensive, and to fund them, he had levied some heavy taxes upon Israel. Now that he was dead, and his son was to be crowned king, the people, with Jeroboam as their spokesman, were asking that this burden be lightened. But Rehoboam would not answer their request until he had consulted with his advisors. So he asked the people to give him three days in which to answer. And this they did.
(Verses 6 through 12) 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? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto them this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants for ever. 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: 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? 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. 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.
After the people departed, Rehoboam consulted with the old men who had been advisors to his father Solomon. Their advice to him was that he give heed to what the people had asked of him, and make their burden a little lighter. They told him that by giving them a little relief in this matter, he would cause them to be willing to serve him as subjects for ever. Perhaps, they did not, by this, intend to convey the idea that we usually associate with the phrase, “for ever,” but at least for this the people would be willing to bear with him as their king for a long while. But he did not like this advice; so he turned to the young men who had grown up with him. And they told him to give a rough answer to the people, telling them that, instead of making their burden lighter, he would greatly increase it.
(Verses 12 through 15) 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. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him; 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 chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the thing was from the LORD, that He might perform His saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
As is often the case, a young executive will listen more to his young advisors than to the older ones; and, in this case the matter was also purposed of the LORD that He would take the kingdom from Rehoboam and give it to Jeroboam: so Rehoboam gave the people the answer that was recommended by the young men. He gave them no redress from their burdens.
(Verses 16 through 20) 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. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then 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. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, they went and called all Israel 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.
When Rehoboam made his rough answer to the children of Israel, all Israel, except the tribe of Judah rebelled against him, and were never reunited, although the LORD has said that in the time of their being re-gathered they will be re-united, and will be under one King, Who is none other than our Lord Christ Jesus. So all the tribes of Israel, except that of Judah, assembled themselves together, and made Jeroboam their king, as the LORD had said by Ahijah.
(Verses 21 through 23) 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. But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, Speak to 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, 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.
Although verse 20 says, “There was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only,” verse 21 informs us that this was slightly incorrect, in that the tribe of Benjamin also remained with Judah. And Rehoboam assembled both the house of Judah and that of Benjamin in preparation for trying to reclaim his authority as king over all Israel. But the LORD gave them all a message by Shemaiah the man of God that they not even make any effort to fight against the house of Israel. And to this word they were obedient, and returned to their own places.
(Verses 25 through 30) Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 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. 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. And he set one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
Since Jeroboam was anointed king over Israel, he was very desirous to maintain his position. He may have even become a little paranoid, afraid that his subjects might decide to return to Rehoboam as their king. The thing which, apparently, he feared most as the reason they might want to return to Rehoboam was their adherence to the laws of God, and the house of God in Jerusalem where they had been in the habit of going to make their sacrifices to the LORD. So, to counteract that, he decided to make it unnecessary for them to go to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice, by setting up gods of his own in his own realm. So he made two calves of gold, and set them up for gods. He set one of them up in Beth-el, and the other in Dan., (nothing is said to confirm this, but probably the city of Dan is under consideration here instead of the tribe of Dan.) And he announced to the people that these were the gods that brought them up from the land of Egypt, and they could worship before them instead of going up to Jerusalem. This was the first official act of turning Israel away from the worship of the LORD to the worship of idols.
(Verses 31 through 33) And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not sons of Levi. 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 Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the fifteenth day of the month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
By this we see that the turning of Israel away from the worship of the LORD to the serving of idols was deliberate upon the part of Jeroboam. He not only had the idol gods made and set up, but led the way in the sacrificing unto them. All this was done for the sake of expediency, that the children of Israel might not have to go up to Jerusalem to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD. Men always try to justify their departure from the service of the LORD. but their pretended excuse never justifies them.
(Verses 1 through 5) And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD, Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
While Jeroboam was preparing to do his idolatrous act of offering incense upon his altar to the golden calf he had placed in Beth-el, a man of God from Judah approached, and declared an important message. That message was, “O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD, ‘Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.’” He also gave a sign concerning the altar. “This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.’” This angered Jeroboam so that he put forth his hand toward the man of God, and commanded his men to take that man. When he did this, his hand dried up so that he could not pull it back to himself: and the altar was rent, and all its ashes poured out, exactly as the man of God had declared it would be.
(Verses 6 through 10) And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread, nor drink water in this place: for so it was charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way by that he came to Beth-el.
King Jeroboam was, no doubt, frightened, and he wanted this man of God to pray for him that the LORD would heal his hand. This the man of God did, and the LORD restored the king’s hand to be as it was before. Jeroboam was so impressed with this that he tried to get the man of God to go home with him, and he promised the man a reward. The man of God’s answer was that he would not go home with the king for any reward, even to the half of all he owned, because the LORD Who had sent him to proclaim this word had also charged him to eat nothing, and to drink nothing in this place, and to even return to Judah by a different route from that he had taken in coming to Beth-el. No doubt the man of God’s mind was thoroughly made up to do exactly what the LORD had commanded him. But, alas, as we shall see, sometimes the LORD’S servants can be persuaded to turn against His commandments, no matter how firmly they think their minds are set to do His will.
(Verses 11 through 19) Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth-el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth-el: the words he had spoken to the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me an ass. So they saddled him an ass: and he rode thereon, and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place. For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee unto thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drink water.
We cannot surely know just why this old prophet played this trick upon the man of God. In fact we do not even know whether this prophet was a prophet of the LORD, and the LORD sent him to try the man of God who had come to prophesy in Beth-el, or whether he was actually a false prophet whom Satan sent to entrap the man of God. But whatever the reason, he went, and by lying to him, persuaded him to disregard the commandment the LORD had given him at the beginning of his journey. So the man of God came back with the old prophet to his house, and ate and drank with him.
(Verses 20 through 22) And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: and he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of which the LORD did say unto thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
The LORD said nothing to either the man of God or the prophet until they had finished eating and drinking. But then the word of the LORD came to the prophet, and he told the man of God the message the LORD gave him. That message was that since he had disobeyed the commandment of the LORD, and had let himself be enticed by the prophet to come back home with him to eat and to drink, He would never return to his home again.
(Verses 23 through 32) And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. And, behold, men passed by, and saw the carcase cast in the way, and the lion standing by the carcase: and they came and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt. And when the prophet that brought him back from the way heard thereof, he said, It is the man of God, who was disobedient unto the word of the LORD: therefore the LORD hath delivered him unto the lion, which hath torn him, and slain him, according to the word of the LORD, which He spake unto him. And he spake to his sons, saying, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled him. And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase: the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the ass. And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city, to mourn and to bury him. And he laid his carcase in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother! And it came to pass, after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying, When I am dead, bury me in the sepulchre wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones: for the saying which he cried by the word of the LORD against the altar in Beth-el, and against all the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.
This is indeed a strange story, but it is clearly enough set forth to need no explanation. No doubt, there are many who will say that it just could not have happened that way. But inasmuch as the whole matter was the work of the LORD, there is no reason to have any doubts concerning it. We cannot always understand why the LORD brings some things to pass as he does. But that is no excuse for not believing what He says about what He does work. Even though this old prophet had been the one to entice the man of God to disobey the commandment the LORD had given him, he wanted to be buried in the same sepulchre as the man of God, when he should die, perhaps, as witness that he believed what the man of God had prophesied.
(Verses 33 and 34) After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places. And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.
The prophecy and the sign that the man of God had spoken and shown against Jeroboam’s altar had no effect upon the king. He continued on in his evil ways, so that his conduct caused the LORD to finally bring his entire house to destruction.
(Verses 1 through 4) At that time Ahijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known as the wife of Jeroboam; and get thee to Shiloh: behold, there is Ahijah the prophet, which told me that I should be king over this people. And take thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child. And Jeroboam’s wife did so, and arose, and went to Shiloh, and came to the house of Ahijah. But Ahijah could not see; for his eyes were set by reason of his age.
Jeroboam’s son became sick, and apparently the sickness was very severe. So Jeroboam sent his wife to Ahijah, the prophet who had told him that he would be king of Israel, to find out what was going to become of the child. But he had her disguise herself so that she would not be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. We do not know what was his purpose concerning the disguise, whether in an effort to keep Ahijah from knowing who she was, or to keep the public from knowing that he would even ask anything of Ahijah, since Ahijah was a prophet of the LORD, and he had turned so completely away from the LORD. Ahijah was so nearly blind that a disguise was not needed so far as he was concerned. But, as we shall see, even the disguise did not keep Ahijah from knowing who she was.
(Verses 5 through 10) And the LORD said unto Ahijah, Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son; for he is sick: thus and thus shalt thou say unto her: for it shall be, when she cometh in, she shall feign herself to be another woman. And it was so, when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, that he said, Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam; why feignest thou thyself to be another? for I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among My people, and made thee prince over My people Israel, and rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments, and who followed Me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in My eyes; but hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke Me to anger, and hast cast Me behind thy back: therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
The LORD told Ahijah who Jeroboam’s wife was before she even came in at the door. And without her even asking anything, he began to tell her the LORD’S message to Jeroboam. He (the LORD) reminded Jeroboam that it was He who had raised Jeroboam up to the throne of Israel, and that just as soon as this was done, Jeroboam did more evil than anyone before him had done, in that he turned away, and led Israel away from worshipping and serving Him, and set up idols for all Israel to worship, thus casting the LORD behind his back. And for this, He, the LORD, was going to cut him and all his house completely off, and make them completely desolate. Just as a man would completely remove a dunghill, He was going to remove the whole house of Jeroboam. Next, He will tell him more details of what is in store for him and his descendants.
(Verses 11 through 16) Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet shall enter into the city, the child shall die. And all Israel shall mourn for him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam. Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now. For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and He shall root up Israel out of this good land, which He gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
No doubt, this was a far different message from that desired by either Jeroboam’s wife, or even Jeroboam himself. Not only had the LORD declared that He would take the kingdom away from Jeroboam and his descendants, but only one of Jeroboam’s household would ever be buried. Those who would die in the city would be eaten by the dogs that roamed the streets; and those who died in the field would be left for the vultures to eat. The only one of his family in whom the LORD had found any good thing was the child who was about to die. And he would die at the moment Jeroboam’s wife entered the city in which he lived. The LORD would raise Himself up another to be “king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam in that day: but what? even now.” That is, that day in which this will take place is now. Not only will the LORD destroy the family of Jeroboam for all the sin he has committed, and led Israel to commit, but He will even cause Israel to be taken captive, and carried away, and dispersed over the world. This portion of the matter was to be quite a while after the destruction of the house of Jeroboam. But at the LORD’S time it came to pass.
(Verses 17 through 20) And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died. And they buried him; and all Israel mourned for him, according to the word of the LORD, which He spake by the hand of His servant Ahijah the prophet. And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred, and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.
Just as the LORD had declared by Ahijah, the child died when the wife of Jeroboam reached the threshold of the house, and all Israel joined in the mourning for this child: then they buried him. We are then referred to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel for any further record of the acts of Jeroboam. He reigned in Israel for twenty two years, and died, his son Abijam being then set up as king over Israel
(Verses 21 through 24) And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all Israel, to put His name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they committed, above all that their fathers had done. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.
Here the story turns from Israel and Jeroboam, unto Judah and Rehoboam the son of Solomon. He was forty one years of age when he began to reign; and he reigned seventeen years. Jerusalem continued to be his capitol city. His mother was Naamah an Ammonitess. (And the Ammonites are a nation with whom the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry.) In spite of their having the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, the people of Judah turned away from the LORD, and worshipped the idol gods of the nations around them. Also there were sodomites in the land. Sodomites were not people of the blood lineage of the people of Sodom. They were people who practiced the same sin for which Sodom was so notorious, homosexuality. And they also “did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.”
(Verses 25 through 28) And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: and he took away the treasures of the king’s house; he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. And king Rehoboam made in their stead brasen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king’s house. And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard chamber.
Rehoboam had only reigned almost five years when Shishak the king of Egypt made a raid upon Jerusalem, and took away all the treasures of the king’s house, including the golden shields which Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced these with shields of brass, which the guard carried when Rehoboam went into the house of the LORD, and returned them to the guard chamber when he had gone out of the house of the LORD.
(Verses 29 through 31) Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
Thus we come to the closing out of the reign and life of Rehoboam. He reigned about five years less than did Jeroboam king of Israel; and between these two, there was war all their days. Notice might be taken that in verse 20, where we are told of Jeroboam’s death, nothing is said about his being buried, but here we are told that Rehoboam “was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Whether the burial of Jeroboam is just an omission, or whether the word of the LORD as spoken by Ahijah, in verse 11, applied to Jeroboam himself, as well as to his descendants, may be clarified later. At the death of Rehoboam, his son Abijam became king of Judah.
(Verses 1 through 8) Now in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father. Nevertheless for David His servant’s sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem. Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life. Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.
It was in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam of Israel, that Abijam began to reign in Jerusalem over Judah. And he only reigned three years. But during that time he followed after all the sins of his father Rehoboam. The war between Judah and Israel continued throughout his reign. He died, and was buried in Jerusalem the city of David. And his son Asa became king in his stead. Abijam’s reign over Judah was the shortest so far recorded, and since he continued in the sins of his father, perhaps, the brevity of his reign was a blessing to Judah.
(Verses 9 through 15) And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah the daughter of Abishalom. And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maacah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels.
Asa was the first good king in Judah after Solomon. He served and worshipped the LORD, instead of following after idol gods, as had both his father and his grandfather. “Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD his God,” does not mean that Asa lived in sinless perfection, as is clearly shown by the fact that he did not take away “the high places,” which were themselves a violation of the commandments of the LORD. But He worshipped the LORD God only, and would not turn aside to follow idols. He even had his mother “removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.” He also brought in the things that his father had dedicated, (but apparently had not delivered) and those which he had himself dedicated, into the house of the LORD. These items were silver, and gold, and vessels.
(Verses 16 through 24) And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hands of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt in Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. So Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-beth-maachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah. And king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah. And the rest of the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.
In this text, we skip from Jeroboam over his son Nadab to Baasha, the man who killed Nadab and took over his kingdom, so far as the succession of the kings of Israel is concerned; this is probably because Jeroboam’s son only reigned for two years, and, apparently did little worth mentioning. But during all the time of Baasha and Asa, there was war between Israel and Judah. Baasha started to build Ramah so that he could keep anyone from passing from his kingdom to that of Asa, or vice versa. But with all the gold and silver he could take from his treasures of both the house of God and the king’s house, Asa hired Ben-hadad king of Syria to attack some of Baasha’s cities to distract him from his purpose at Ramah. And while Baasha was distracted, he took the people of Judah, and completely destroyed Ramah, and took the materials thereof, and built Geba and Mizpah. We are then referred to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah for any further list of his acts. In his old age Asa was diseased in his feet. He also died and was buried in the city of David. After the death of Asa, his son Jehoshaphat became king.
(Verses 25 and 29) And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon. Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite: because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.
This completely closes out the house of Jeroboam king of Israel. His son Nadab had reigned only about two years when Baasha the son of Ahijah conspired against him, and killed him. Then Baasha took over the kingdom, and completely wiped out the house of Jeroboam. All of this was in complete accord with what the LORD had said earlier by His servant Ahijah. The LORD had said that He would completely destroy the house of Jeroboam; and that He did.
(Verses 31 through 34) Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? and there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
Baasha did no better than the kings of Israel who were before him, but continued to do evil in the sight of the LORD, even as they. He reigned for twenty four years.
(Verses 1 through 7) Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee a prince over My people Israel: and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made My people Israel to sin, to provoke Me to anger with their sins; behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make his house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat. Now the rest of the acts of Baasha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead. And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani came the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking Him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him.
Baasha had slain Nadab, and taken the kingdom away from him; but he also followed in the way of Jeroboam, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, just as had both Jeroboam and Ahijah. So the LORD sent His word against Baasha. It was almost word for word as He had spoken against Jeroboam. “Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat.” Thus would the house of Baasha become completely extinct. Apparently, this did not apply to Baasha himself, because he “slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah. Elah the son of Baasha survived his father, and reigned in his stead. Again we are referred to the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel for anything else that Baasha, as king of Israel accomplished.
(Verses 8 through 14) In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years. And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah. And Zimri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against the wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which He spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet, for all the sins of Baasha, and for the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
Elah reigned only two years over Israel, walking in the sins of Jeroboam and Baasha. Then his own captain of half his chariots, Zimri by name, conspired against him, killed him, and took over the kingdom. As soon as he took over the kingdom, he killed all the family and friends of Baasha, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD against Baasha and his house, as given by the prophet Jehu. It seems that Elah did very little, if anything, that was worthwhile.
(Verses 15 through 20) In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burned the king’s house over him with fire, and died, for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin. Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
Zimri had only a very short reign, seven days. During so short a time, it seems that he would have had no time to do anything more that the killing of all Baasha’s family and friends. And, indeed nothing more is here recorded of his acts. However, we are again told that rest of his acts and his treason are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. The people of Israel made Omri, who was captain of the host of Israel, king at this time. Then they besieged Tirzah, the city in which Zimri had taken refuge. As Zimri realized that the city was being taken, he went into the king’s palace, and committed suicide by burning the palace down upon himself.
(Verses 21 through 28) Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king, and half followed Omri. And the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill Samaria. But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities. Now the rest of the acts of Omri which he did and his might that he shewed, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria: and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.
Apparently the war between Omri and Tibni lasted four years. Tibni died, and Omri was confirmed king, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. Then he bought a hill from a man named Shemer, and built a city thereon. He called the city Samaria, from the name of the man from whom he bought the hill. It is a little unclear whether his reign of twelve years is counted from the time he was made king by the people of Israel while they were encamped against Gibbethon, or from the time of the death of Tibni. But instead of being a better king than those before him, he was worse than all of them. Nevertheless, his reign lasted for twelve years. Then he died, and was buried in Samaria. His son, Ahab, reigned in his stead.
(Verses 29 through 34) And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk after the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Sagub, according to the word of the LORD, which He spake by Joshua the son of Nun.
It was in the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Asa king of Judah that Ahab began to reign over Israel. The evils which he committed are clearly set forth in this text. And it seems that there were no good accomplishments of Ahab. As we often hear the expression, he brought evil to a new level while he was king over Israel. Not only was he evil in his own planning, and executing, but he also listened to his wife Jezebel, who seemed to have an even more evil mind than did he. We shall soon find more details of his evils. It was in his reign that one, Hiel of Beth-el, rebuilt Jericho; and in that rebuilding, he found the word of the LORD to be true. The LORD had, by Joshua the son of Nun, declared that whoever re-built Jericho would lay the foundation in his firstborn, and set up the gates in his youngest son. That is, at the time when he laid the foundation, his firstborn son would die, and when he set up the gates, there would be the death of his youngest. And this was fulfilled just as prophesied.
In this chapter we take up the story of Elijah the Tishbite, a prophet of the LORD to whom were given miraculous powers. And not only so, but to him was also given an experience that only one other man had, or has, ever experienced. He was taken alive out of this world, and carried to heaven. The other man to whom was given this blessing is said to have been of the LORD translated, with no further description given of the manner of his being carried to heaven. But we are told that Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind. Many of the early Christians believed and taught that the two witnesses mentioned in the eleventh chapter of The Revelation are these two men, Enoch and Elijah. And , I for several reasons, believe this to be the truth of the matter.
(Verses 1 through 7) And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD liveth, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these three years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him. saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
With Ahab being the sort of man that he was, and Elijah telling him that for three years there would be neither dew nor rain, when this began to come to pass, Ahab would surely try to destroy Elijah. So by His word the LORD commanded Elijah to go to a certain brook, and there go into hiding. He also told Elijah that He had commanded the ravens to feed Elijah while he was thus in hiding. And Elijah immediately went to the place of which the LORD spoke to him, and found exactly what the LORD had said. There was water in the brook for him to drink, and the ravens brought him bread and flesh twice a day. This may, by some, be thought so incredible that they feel the need to try to “spiritualize” the entire event. However, one who cannot believe that the LORD literally fulfilled his word in this, may as well discard the rest of the Bible also, because he surely cannot believe the first sentence of the first chapter of it. When there had been no rain for a long while, the brook dried up. This would, unless a remedy could be found, certainly render it impossible for Elijah to remain in this hiding place.
(Verses 8 through 16) And the word of the LORD came again unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which He spake by Elijah.
As the brook Cherith dried up, the LORD sent Elijah to another location, and to another person whom He had chosen to sustain the prophet. That we might see the emphasis the word of the LORD puts upon His election in all matters, we should take notice that He told Elijah to which city he should go, he told him to what person of that city he should go, and declared that He had commanded that person to sustain him. This city was not even in Israel, and neither is there any indication that the chosen person was an Israelite. The inference is that this woman was a Zidonian, since this city belonged to Zidon. In addition to this, she was a widow woman who felt sure that she was preparing to cook the last meal she and her son would ever have in this world, since it was the last food she had, or even knew where to get. Yet the LORD sent Elijah to her to ask for something to eat, and though she thought she had only enough food for a very scanty meal for her and her son, the LORD gave her faith to believe what Elijah told her. So she did what the LORD commanded her by His prophet; and by her faith she was saved. Her food never ran out, though they ate of it for many days.
(Verses 17 through 24) And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I done with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast Thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray Thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
There are at least two other instances given in The Old Testament of the raising of persons from death. But this is, perhaps the most widely known. But since it is so clearly set forth, there seems to be little. if any, need for comments concerning it, and certainly none for explanation thereof. It certainly shows us that God not only is, but always has been able to do whatsoever He will. This poor woman, seemingly, was afraid that the LORD was bringing judgment upon her for her sin; but, in truth, He was only increasing her faith. And thus it sometimes is with us when troubles come.
(Verses 1 through 6) And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was sore famine in Samaria. And Ahab called Obadiah, which was governor of the house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: for it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD , that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks; peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we may not lose all the beasts. So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it. Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
“After many days” the LORD commanded Elijah to go and meet with Ahab. He also said that He would then bring rain upon the earth. So, in obedience to His command, Elijah went back into the land of Israel. Meanwhile it had become so dry all over the land that Ahab had called Obadiah, who was governor over his house, and sent him out in one direction, while he went in another to see if they could find any grass and any water for their mules and horses. In spite of the wickedness of Ahab, Obadiah was a man who feared the LORD, and had concealed and fed a hundred of the prophets of the LORD, when Jezebel was trying to have them killed.
(Verses 7 through 16) And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah? And he answered him, I am: go, tell my lord, Behold, Elijah is here. And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they found thee not. And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. And it shall come to pass, as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come to tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD’S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before Whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him today. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
As Elijah returned to Israel he met Obadiah, who immediately recognized him, and fell down before him in the ancient manner of worship with his face to the ground, and asked him if he were indeed Elijah. Elijah gave him an affirmative answer, and also commanded him to go to Ahab, and tell him that Elijah had come. This, Obadiah was afraid to do lest the Spirit take Elijah away again, and Ahab be angered so that he would kill Obadiah. But Elijah assured him that he would show himself to Ahab that very day; and Obadiah went to meet Ahab. When he told Ahab that Elijah had come back, Ahab went with him to meet the prophet..
(Verses 17 through 20) And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou hast, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. And now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
When Ahab saw Elijah, he asked Elijah if he were the one who was troubling Israel. But Elijah set him straight about that matter at once. Instead of Elijah having troubled Israel, it was Ahab and his sins that were bringing the trouble. Then he told Ahab to gather all the children of Israel together at mount Carmel, and all the prophets of Baal and of the groves set up by Jezebel, eight hundred and fifty in all, and have them also present on the mount. So Ahab sent forth the summons for all to come, as Elijah had said. And both the prophets and the people were gathered there as requested.
(Verses 21 through 25) And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call upon the name of your gods, and put no fire under.
Elijah was bold in the service of his God. He came before this congregation made up of all Israel and the four hundred and fifty prophets, and the four hundred prophets of the groves of Jezebel, a crowd of whom a great majority were followers of the idol gods of Baal and Jezebel. Not only so, but Jezebel, in particular, had already shown her readiness to kill any who differed with her concerning which god, or gods, should be served.. He presented to them a choice. That choice was to serve either the LORD, or Baal. But there was to be a trial to show which was indeed the LORD. He proposed a trial of the gods against the LORD God. He called upon all the people to serve the One Who proved Himself to be GOD. At this point there was no answer from the people. Not a word was spoken in answer to this proposal. Then Elijah detailed the trial. It was very simple. The prophets of Baal would get first choice in the matter, because they were four hundred and fifty, as against him, the only prophet of the LORD who would participate in the matter. The prophets of Baal would choose a bullock, dress it, and lay it in order upon the wood on the altar, but put no fire under it. Then they would call upon their gods to send down fire to consume the offering. When they were through, he would take the bullock that was left, and prepare it exactly as they had done theirs, and call upon the name of the LORD God. Whichever god that answered with fire, and consumed the offering, would be proclaimed the God worthy of being worshipped and served. This met with the approval of the people. So they were ready to start.
(Verses 26 through 29) And they (the prophets of Baal) took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them. and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
Thus went the trial of Baal. His prophets called upon him from morning all the way until the time of the evening sacrifice, and received no answer of any kind. They even mutilated themselves with knives and lancets, and jumped up upon their altar, but all to no avail. About noon Elijah began to ridicule their god, and the effort the priests were setting forth in hope of getting the attention of their god. Elijah told them that they must cry louder because there were so many other things their god might be doing that it might take a great deal of effort to attract him; he might even be asleep and they must wake him. But no effort they put forth accomplished anything.
(Verses 30 through 40) And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at about the time of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done these things at Thy word. Hear me, O LORD. hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the LORD God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice. And the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, He is the God; the LORD He is the God. And Elijah said unto them, take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
The old altar of the LORD had been broken down. So Elijah took twelve stones, one for each tribe of Israel, and with them repaired the altar of the LORD. He then dug a trench around the altar. Then he prepared the bullock he was to offer to the LORD, and laid wood on the altar, and placed the bullock on the wood. Then, instead of putting fire under the offering, he had the people pour twelve barrels of water upon the offering and the wood and the altar. The water ran down over the altar, and filled the trench he had dug. Then, about the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah came near the altar, and prayed to the LORD God of Israel, asking that He cause it to be known that all these things he had done were according to His word, and that He thus turn the hearts of the children of Israel back to Himself. Whereupon the LORD sent down fire that consumed the offering, the wood, and the stones of the altar, and even licked up the water in the trench. When the people all saw this, they all fell upon their faces, and said, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God.” Then Elijah had the people take all four hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal down to the brook Kishon, and there he slew all of these prophets.
(Verses 41 through 46) And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
After the trial was finished, Elijah told Ahab to get himself down from mount Carmel, and go to his place, where he could eat and drink, for there was the sound of abundance of rain, while, as yet, there were no clouds. And Elijah and his servant went up to the top of mount Carmel. There Elijah cast himself down on the ground, put his face between his knees, and sent his servant to look toward the sea. At first the servant saw nothing; but Elijah sent him back seven times to look. And on the seventh time the servant saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand come up out of the sea. When he reported this to Elijah, the prophet told him that it was time for him to go and tell Ahab to prepare his chariot, and go, before the rain came and stopped him. By this time the heavens were black with clouds, and there was much wind and rain. So they all left and went to Jezreel. The hand of the LORD was upon Elijah so that he ran before Ahab to Jezreel.
(Verses 1 through 3) And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had dine, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
When Ahab reached home, he told Jezebel all about what Elijah had done, including his slaying all the prophets of Baal. This, of course, made her very angry. So she sent a messenger to tell Elijah that she was going to have him killed within twenty four hours. He, knowing that she was fully capable of carrying out such a threat, fled to Beer-sheba, a city of Judah. And there he left his servant.
(Verses 4 through 8) But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and he said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength if that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
After leaving his servant, Elijah went a day’s journey farther into the wilderness. There he sat down under a juniper tree, and being so weary and depressed, he prayed that the LORD would let him die. He felt that he had accomplished no more than his fathers, and that it would be better for him to die than to live, since all he had done had made no difference in the situation. The same evils were being done by Ahab, and Jezebel, and all Israel, that had been going on for so long. Then he lay down under the juniper tree, and went to sleep. He was awakened by an angel who touched him, and called him to get up, and eat. There was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. So he arose and ate and drank. Then he again lay down and went to sleep. Again the angel touched him, and told him to get up and eat again, because he was to take a long journey, and it would be too great for him unless he ate again. So again he obeyed the angel. Then he started on his journey, and went to mount Horeb. The journey took him forty days and forty nights. Horeb was known as “the mount of God,” because it was the place where the LORD appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and commissioned him to go and lead His people out of the land of Egypt. We do not know why Elijah went to Horeb, unless it was simply to get as far as possible away from the people with whom he had been dealing. But, surely, the LORD had purposed that he go there.
(Verses 9 through 12) And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away. And He said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Elijah found a cave in mount Horeb, and there is where he decided to stay for a while. Then the word of the LORD came to him. The LORD questioned him as to why he was there. And he poured out his complaint before God. He told the LORD that he had been very jealous for Him, because Israel had turned away from the LORD, and had already killed all the prophets of God except him; and they were hunting him that they might kill him. Notice how like us Elijah was. Just before he came to Horeb, he had even prayed that the LORD would let him die, because he saw no hope of any improvement in the relation of the children of Israel with the LORD. Now he has come all this distance away from Israel, trying to save his life. And he is complaining to the LORD for the very thing he had just a little while before prayed for. So the LORD sets him up for a lesson. The LORD said to him, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD.” Then the LORD caused three great things to take place, “a great and strong wind,“ “an earthquake,” and ”a fire.” And after each, we are told, “but the LORD was not in” it. This, in no wise, means that these things were not caused by the power of the LORD, but only that He was not, in them, communicating with Elijah. After these had passed, there was a “still small voice.” The lesson here is that, although such great works as winds, earthquakes, and fires may indeed show the power and might of the LORD, His Presence is known, even without there being anything that would cause a great commotion. He can, and does, often speak in a soft whisper that is just as authoritative as would be a voice of thunder. And none might hear it except the one to whom it is addressed.
(Verses 13 through 18) And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him.
Notice that neither the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, caused Elijah to make any movement; but when he heard the “still small voice,” he moved. First he wrapped his face in his mantle, because the LORD had long before told Moses that no man could see His face and live. Therefore he was afraid to go forth with his face unwrapped, because he thought the LORD might appear before him, and he would see the face of the LORD. If he did see His face, he would surely die. So he wrapped his face with his mantel, covering his eyes. Then he went out to the entrance of the cave, and stood. At this point, a voice spoke to him, and asked him again, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Certainly the LORD knew why Elijah was there. In fact, the LORD had caused him to come to this place. Elijah may not even have known that the LORD had caused hin to come here: it may be that all he knew about the situation was just what he told the LORD. All Israel had forsaken the way of the LORD, and slain all His prophets, and he, having been so “jealous for the LORD,” was afraid that they were going to kill him. So he had fled in an effort to save his life. But the LORD had another mission for Elijah. He told the prophet to return by the way of the wilderness of Damascus, and do three things when he arrived there. First, he was to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. Syria was a Gentile nation; but the LORD is not just the God of Israel, but ruler of the whole world. So His hand is also in the affairs of the Gentiles. The next thing he was to do was to anoint a new king over Israel, even Jehu the son of Nimshi. And finally, he was to anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah to be prophet in the place of himself, Elijah. Certainly this signifies that the days of Elijah the prophet were about to come to an end also. Then the LORD told him that with these three men in the positions to which He, the LORD, had appointed, the sinners who escaped from the sword of one would be killed by another of the three. Then He answered one of Elijah’s greatest complaints. Elijah had twice said to the LORD, “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it.” but the answer of the LORD is, “Yet have I left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him.” This is indeed a small remnant, when compared to the entire population of Israel; but an immense host, when compared to one poor old man who is frightened and alone, and thinks himself to be the only one left. We may, at times, become so lonely and discouraged that we think that, maybe, we are left alone. But remember this answer of the LORD to Elijah. He still could not see this great number, but he had the assurance that they were there, and that they were kept by the hand of God. What could be more encouraging?
(Verses 19 through 21) So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
Although the LORD had told Elijah to anoint three men to the positions to which He had appointed them, He did not tell him that this had to be done in any particular order. So, as Elisha was the first of these that Elijah saw, he was the first he addressed. This is another instance of the election of the LORD. Elisha was by no means seeking to be a prophet. In fact, that was, probably, the least considered thing on his mind, if, indeed, he ever had thought of it. But when Elijah cast his mantle upon him, he was ready to go. However he did give a feast for the people before going to minister to Elijah. So this also shows the irresistibility of the LORD’S calling.
(Verses 1 through 6) And Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered all his host together: and there were thirty and two kings with him, and horses, and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and warred against it. And he sent messengers to Ahab king of Israel into the city, and said unto him, Thus saith Ben-hadad, Thy silver and thy gold is mine; thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest, are mine. And the king of Israel answered and said, My lord, O king, according to thy saying, I am thine, and all that I have. And the messengers came again, and said, Thus speaketh Ben-hadad, saying, Although I have sent unto thee, saying, Thou shalt deliver me thy silver, and thy gold, and thy wives, and thy children; yet will I send my servants unto thee tomorrow about this time, and they shall search thine house, and the houses of thy servants; and it shall be, that whatsoever is pleasant in thine eyes, they shall put in their hand, and take it away.
At this time Ben-hadad was king of Syria; and he gathered with himself thirty two kings and their armies, and besieged Samaria. He sent messengers to Ahab the king of Israel, demanding that Ahab send him all his silver and gold, and his wives and children, which demand Ahab agreed to honor. Then Ben-hadad added to his demands that his servants would go to Ahab’s palace, and the houses of the people of Samaria, and search them out. And anything they found that they wanted they would be free to take. This demand Ahab refused.
(Verses 7 through 12) Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, Mark, I pray you, and see how this man seeketh mischief: for he sent unto me for my wives, and for my children, and for my silver, and for my gold; and I denied him not. And all the elders and all the people said unto him, Hearken not unto him, nor consent. Wherefore he said unto the messengers of Ben-hadad, Tell my lord the king, All that thou didst send for to thy servant at the first I will do: but this thing I may not do. And the messengers departed, and brought him word again. And Ben-hadad sent unto him, and said, The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people that follow me. And the king of Israel answered and said, Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off. And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set the battle in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.
This is only the back and forth, as we call it today, “saber rattling” before the battle. It seems to be clearly enough set forth that there should be no misunderstanding of it. One thing that was said by king Ahab that it would be well to always remember is, “Let not him that girdeth on his armour boast himself as he that putteth it off.”
(Verses 13 through 16) And, behold, there came a prophet unto Ahab king of Israel, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou seen all this great multitude? behold, I will deliver it into thine hand this day; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD. And Ahab said, By whom? And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Even by the young men of the princes of the provinces. Then he said, Who shall order the battle? And he answered, Thou. Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. And they went out at noon. But Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the pavilions, he and the kings, the thirty and two kings that helped him.
It may be surprising to some that, as evil as Ahab was, the LORD still took a hand in this battle, on his side. But until He is ready to reveal it, we are never able to understand His purposes. In this case, He sent His prophet to Ahab to tell him that his enemy would be delivered into his hands. He even told him by whom this would be accomplished, and He even left Ahab in control for ordering the battle. There were only two hundred and thirty two of these men by whom the LORD said the enemy would be delivered into the hands of Ahab. And even the whole of his army was only about seven thousand, while, although the number of the Syrians is not given, they were a much superior number.
(Verses 17 through 21) And the young men of the princes of the provinces went out first; and Ben-hadad sent out, and they told him, saying, There are men come out of Samaria. And he said, Whether they be come out for peace, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive. So these young men of the princes of the provinces came out of the city, and the army which followed them. And they slew every one his man: and the Syrians fled; and Israel pursued after them: and Ben-hadad the king of Syria escaped on an horse with the horsemen. And the king of Israel went out, and smote the horses and chariots, and slew the Syrians with a great slaughter.
Thus the battle ended exactly as the prophet had said. The Syrians were completely routed, with many of them killed.
(Verses 22 through 27) And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee. And the servants of the king of Syria said unto him, Their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And do this thing, Take the kings away, every man out of his place, and put captains in their rooms: and number thee an army like the army that thou hast lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot: and we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. And he hearkened unto their voice, and did so. And it came to pass at the return of the year, that Ben-hadad numbered the Syrians, and went up to Aphek, to fight against Israel. And the children of Israel were numbered, and were all present, and went against them: and the children of Israel pitched before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians filled the country.
The prophet came again to Ahab, and warned him that next year the Syrians would come against him again. Meanwhile, Ben-hadad, on the advice of his counselors, organized himself another army, man for man, exactly as he had before, except that he took away the thirty two kings, and replaced them with captains. And at the end of the year, he made another attempt to make war against Israel. This time, however, on the advice of his counselors, he came to Aphek, a city in the plains. His counselors had said that their failure before had been due to the fact that the gods of Israel were gods of the hills, and therefore when they were fighting in the hills the Israelites had the advantage. But they were sure that if the battle were joined in the plain, they would prove stronger than Israel. When the two armies were in place, the Syrians seemed to cover the whole land by reason of their number, while the armies of Israel resembled two little flocks of goats.
(Verses 28 through 34) And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD. And they pitched one over against the other seven days. And so it was, that in the seventh day the battle was joined: and the children of Israel slew of the Syrians an hundred thousand footmen in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. And Ben-hadad fled, and came into the city, into an inner chamber. And his servants said unto him, Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings: let us, I pray thee, put sackcloth on our loins, and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel: peradventure he will save thy life. So they put sackcloth on their loins, and put ropes on their heads, and came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me live. And he said, Is he yet alive? he is my brother. Now the men did diligently observe whether any thing would come from him, and did hastily catch it: and they said, Thy brother Ben-hadad. Then Ben-hadad came forth to him; and he caused him to come up into the chariot. And Ben-hadad said unto him, The cities which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away.
Thus this battle ended with the complete destruction of the Syrian army, and a covenant that some would consider as a great advantage for the children of Israel. But, as we shall see, this was not pleasing to the LORD.
(Verses 35 through 38) And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him. Then said he unto him, Because thou hast not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as thou art departed from me, a lion shall slay thee. And as soon as he was departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him. Then he found another man, and said, Smite me. I pray thee. And the man smote him, so that in smiting he wounded him. So the prophet departed, and waited for the king by the way, and disguised himself with ashes upon his face.
It is a little unclear just what this text has to do with the remainder of the story. Certainly the LORD had moved this prophet to ask these two men to smite him: but to what advantage to the remainder of the episode seems hidden, because it seems to have nothing to do with the remainder of the chapter, except that after the man hit the prophet hard enough to wound him, the prophet went to the way along which the king would come, and waited in disguise for him. It might be that his being wounded was a part of his disguise, so that he might appear to have been in battle.
(Verses 39 through 43) And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said unto him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself hast decided it. And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel discerned him that he was of the prophets. And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Because that thou hast let go out of thy hand a man whom I had appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people. And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.
When the king came along, the prophet called him, and gave him a parable, concerning a man who had failed to hold a man entrusted to his keeping. As is true with all of us, it was much easier for Ahab to condemn the man for not keeping the prisoner entrusted to him, than to condemn himself for letting Ben-hadad go free. And when he pronounced judgment upon the prophet, the prophet declared that this is the judgment God has laid upon the king. The whole story told by the prophet was for the purpose of making Ahab condemn himself. When the prophet announced that this was the judgment against Ahab, it made Ahab very displeased. But he went on to Samaria.
(Verses 1 through 7) And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give the worth of it in money. And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread. But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou canst not eat bread? And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard. And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.
This is the background for one of the great sins of Jezebel the wife of Ahab. Ahab was a wicked man, but, as we commonly say today, “He could not even hold a candle to his wife Jezebel.” When Naboth refused to sell his vineyard to Ahab, his refusal made Ahab very angry, but all he was going to do was to go home and pout about it. When Jezebel found out what his trouble was, she immediately had a plan for getting the vineyard for him. It bothered her not at all that what she was going to do was extremely wicked. Without telling him any of her plan, she promised to deliver the vineyard to him.
(Verses 8 through 14) So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: and set two men, sons of Belial, (sons of the devil,) before him to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then they shall carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.
Thus Jezebel had Naboth removed from being an obstruction to the greed of Ahab. Ahab, most likely, would not have done anything to stop her from this wicked plan, had he known about it beforehand; but, at least, he had no part in bringing it to pass. It seems that politics were as evil then as they are today. If someone in authority wants something, he can usually find a way of getting it. However, as we shall see, The LORD is always able to bring all things to their proper judgment.
(Verses 15 and 16) And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth was stoned, and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give thee for money: for Naboth is not alive, but dead. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
As soon as Jezebel got the word of Naboth’s death, she passed the word on to Ahab, and told him to go down to the vineyard, and take possession of it. So he immediately set about to do that.
(Verses 17 through 24) And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he has gone down to possess it. And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thine. And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee; because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and I will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked Me to anger, and made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
The LORD sent Elijah to meet Ahab at the vineyard of Naboth. And there He delivered the word of the LORD to Ahab. This is a terrible judgment upon Ahab. But it is so clearly set forth that there is little room for comment thereon. It is very similar to what the LORD had already pronounced upon some of the kings who preceded Ahab.
(Verses 25 through 29) But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before Me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring this evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.
No doubt, many will read things into this text, that simply are not there. In verses 25 and 26, we are told that there was never one who had sold himself to do evil as had Ahab. His wife Jezebel stirred him up to do much of it. Also he followed after idols, and all the things that the Amorites did. So He did much evil in the sight of the LORD. But when Elijah spoke to him the word of the LORD, concerning the judgments that the LORD had declared against him, he became very humble before the LORD. He dressed himself in sackcloth, fasted, and “went softly.” How long he continued this, we do not know. But the LORD said, that because of this, He would delay the judgment He had declared against the house of Ahab until the time of Ahab’s son. Whether, or not this means that the LORD forgave him, and took away all his sins, I confess, I do not know. But also, I am sure that since the LORD did not tell us, it is none of our business.
(Verses 1 through 6) And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle against Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses. And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD today. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go up against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king
Ahab’s covenant, which he made with Ben-hadad seemed to work very well for about three years, although Ahab did not take possession of the cities that Ben-hadad said he would return to Ahab. One day while Jehoshaphat the king of Judah was visiting
Ahab, the king of Israel reminded his servants that the city of Ramoth in Gilead actually belonged to Israel, and he asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah to accompany him in a campaign against Ben-hadad to take this city. To this, Jehoshaphat agreed: but Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to inquire of the word of the LORD as to whether, or not this was the proper thing to do. So Ahab called all his prophets together, and asked them if the endeavor would be successful. All the four hundred prophets told him to go ahead with these plans, and the LORD would deliver the city into his hands.
(Verses 7 through 14) And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is one man, Micaiah the son of Imla, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imla. And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each upon his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou hast consumed them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the king’s hand. And the messenger that was gone to call Michaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Michaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.
Jehoshaphat, seemingly recognizing that these prophets were all prophets of Ahab, but not prophets of the LORD, asked if there was not a prophet of the LORD by whom they might make inquiry of the LORD. Ahab, reluctantly admitted that there was one man, a prophet of the LORD, by whom they might inquire. His name was Michaiah, and he was the son of Imla. But Ahab did not like this prophet, because he always prophesied unpleasant things concerning him, rather than pleasant things. But Jehoshaphat insisted that he be called; and Ahab sent for him. Meanwhile these other prophets kept on prophesying good things to king Ahab. The messenger who had been sent for Michaiah told him about all the good things the prophets were saying, and asked him to let his message be in harmony with the things they were saying. But Michaiah declared that he would speak only what the LORD said to him.
(Verses 15 through 23) So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Michaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. And He said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and so do. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.
When Michaiah appeared before the kings, he gave to them the same answer all of Ahab’s prophets had given him. But Ahab knew that he was not speaking his real answer. So he rebuked him, and demanded that he speak truly what the LORD had told him. (This, in itself, makes Ahab’s action amazing. He knew that if Michaiah gave him the true answer, it would declare evil (unpleasant things) against him. So he demanded that Michaiah tell him the truth; and when he did so, Ahab totally disregarded it.) The LORD had shown Michaiah that Ahab would be killed in this battle, but Israel would be permitted to return to their homes. He had also shown him how Ahab was to be persuaded to go to battle that he might be slain therein. It would be by a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets, not the prophets of the LORD, but the prophets of Ahab.
(Verses 24 through 30) But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Michaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of LORD from me to speak unto thee? And Michaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, Take Michaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. And Michaiah said, If thou ever return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle: but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
So, in spite of the warning given to Ahab, there seemed to be no stopping of Ahab from making war on Ramoth-gilead; and king Jehoshaphat went with him. Ahab even had Michaiah imprisoned, with the instructions to the jailors that he was to be kept in prison, and fed on the bread and water of affliction until he returned in peace. At this point Michaiah gave him another warning, “If thou ever return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me.” Yet Ahab and Jehoshaphat took their army on to the battle. For whatever reason, Ahab had Jehoshaphat to dress in his royal robe, while he disguised himself and went into battle
(Verses 31 through 36) But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out. and it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of his harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and he died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. And there was a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.
The king of Syria commanded the captains of his chariots that they engage in battle with no man except the king of Israel. When they saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robe, they thought him to be Ahab. But upon his shouting at them, they realized their mistake, and turned away from him. Apparently, they never recognized Ahab; but some unidentified man made a random shot with his bow, and his arrow went between the joints of Ahab’s armor, and delivered the death wound to him, although he did live until about sundown of that day. When he was wounded, he had the driver of his chariot take him out of the battle; but he stayed up in his chariot, and bled to death. His blood ran down from his wound into the midst of the chariot. About the time of his death there was a proclamation issued that dismissed the army of Israel, and sent all the soldiers to their own homes.
(Verses 37 through 40) So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according to the word of the LORD which He spake. Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
This is a very simple declaration of the death and burial of Ahab king of Israel. As the chariot in which he died was washed in the pool of Samaria, the dogs licked up his blood, just as the LORD had said would be. His son Ahaziah became king in the room of his father Ahab.
(Verses 41 through 50) And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places. And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land. There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king. Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber. Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not. And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.
Here we turn from Ahab and his descendants to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. He became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab the king of Israel. He was thirty five years old when he became king, and he reigned for twenty five years. He was one of the righteous kings of Judah. Apparently the only thing that he left undone that he should have done was that he did not do away with the “high places,” where the people offered sacrifices and incense. However these offerings were made to the LORD, and not to idols. Jehoshaphat made peace with Israel, something that had not been done since the two kingdoms had been separated. He made ships to go to Ophir for gold, but they were destroyed at Ezion-geber. And he would not let the servants of the king of Israel go with his servants in the ships. He finished the work begun by Asa, in driving the sodomites out of Judah. When he died, they buried him in the city of David, and his son Jehoram ascended the throne.
(Verses 51 through 53) Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
Thus is described the reign of Ahaziah the son of Ahab, and his reign was short and evil. He followed in the evil ways of Ahab, Jezebel, and the wicked kings who had gone before him His reign lasted only two years; and there appears to be nothing good to say about it.