1 Kings 12 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of 1 Kings 12)
12:4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, a lighter, and we will serve thee.

(a) Do not oppress us with such high taxes, which we are not able to pay.

12:7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a b servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

(b) They showed him that there was no way to win the people's hearts but to grant them their just petition.

12:9 And he said unto them, c 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?

(c) There is nothing harder for them that are in authority than to control their desires and follow good counsel.

12:10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou [it] lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little [finger] shall be d thicker than my father's loins.

(d) I am much more able to keep you in subjection than my father was.

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

(e) The people declare their obedience in this that they attempted nothing before the king gave them just opportunity.

12:16 So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in f 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.

(f) Though their cause was good, yet it was hard for the people to control their desires, as these vile words declare.

12:19 So Israel rebelled against the house g of David unto this day.

(g) By the just judgment of God for Solomon's sins.

12:21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he h 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.

(h) For as yet he did not realize that the Lord had so appointed it.

12:22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the i man of God, saying,

(i) That is, the Prophet.

12:24 Thus saith the k 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.

(k) Who of his just judgment will punish the trespasser, and of his mercy spare the innocent people.

12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD l at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, [even] unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

(l) He feared least his people should have by this means been enticed to rebel against him.

12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves [of] gold, and said unto them, m 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.

(m) So crafty are carnal persuasions of princes, when they will make a religion serve their appetite.

12:31 And he made an n house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

(n) That is, a temple, where altars were built for idolatry.

12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the o 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 Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

(o) Because he would bind the people's devotion to his idolatry even more, he made a new holy day, besides those that the Lord had appointed in the law.