1Kings 14:1 ¶ At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick.
1Kings 14:2 And Jeroboam said to his wife, Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself, that thou be not known to be 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.
1Kings 14:3 And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.
There came a time when Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, got sick. Jeroboam decided to send his wife in disguise to the prophet Ahijah (the one that had told him he would be king) in Shiloh to find out what would happen to his son. She was to take a gift of ten loaves, some cracknels (cakes or biscuits) and a cruse of honey.
JFB made an interesting observation: “The reason of this extreme caution was an unwillingness to acknowledge that he looked for information as to the future, not to his idols, but to the true God; and a fear that this step, if publicly known, might endanger the stability of his whole political system; and a strong impression that Ahijah, who was greatly offended with him, would, if consulted openly by his queen, either insult or refuse to receive her. For these reasons he selected his wife, as, in every view, the most proper for such a secret and confidential errand, but recommended her to assume the garb and manner of a peasant woman. Strange infatuation, to suppose that the God who could reveal futurity could not penetrate a flimsy disguise!”
1Kings 14:4 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.
1Kings 14:5 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, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.
1Kings 14:6 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.
Jeroboam’s wife did as her husband asked. Before she arrived, however, the LORD spoke to Ajihah, who suffered from the blindness of old age. The LORD told Ahijah that Jeroboam’s wife was coming to consult him on behalf of her sick son. She intended to pretend to be another woman.
When Ahijah heard her approaching his door, he called out to her. He identified her as the wife of Jeroboam and asked why she would pretend to be someone else. He then informed her that he had bad news.
1Kings 14:7 ¶ Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,
1Kings 14:8 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 mine eyes;
1Kings 14:9 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:
1Kings 14:10 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.
1Kings 14:11 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.
The prophet gave the following message for the woman to deliver to her husband (my paraphrase).
I, the LORD God of Israel, took away most of the kingdom of Israel from the house of David and made you their king. In spite of that, you have not served me in the same way that David my servant did. He followed me with a desire to obey my commandments and do what was right in My eyes. You have done great evil, more than all (kings of Israel) who have gone before you. You have made other gods and idols to provoke Me to anger and turned your back on Me. Because of your actions, I will bring evil upon your house and destroy all your sons. I will rid Israel of your family just as completely as a man burning up dung until it is gone. Any of your descendants that die in the city will have their bodies eaten by dogs; those that die in the countryside will be eaten by vultures. Gross!
1Kings 14:12 Arise thou therefore, get thee to thine own house: and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die.
1Kings 14:13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury 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.
The prophet then told Jeroboam’s wife that her son would die when she arrived in the city. There was a word of consolation for the mother. All Israel would mourn the death of her son, and he would receive a proper burial because the LORD God of Israel saw some good in his heart toward God.
1Kings 14:14 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.
1Kings 14:15 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 they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
1Kings 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
Ahijah’s concluded his message from the LORD by declaring that the LORD would raise up a king over Israel who would destroy the house of Jeroboam. The LORD will strike Israel with violence like a reed that is shaken in the water. He will take Israel out of the land that He gave their fathers and scatter them beyond “the river,” a reference to the Euphrates. Why? Because they had turned away from Him to worship false gods, idols. This will happen because of the sins of Jeroboam, the king who led his people into idolatry.
Though Israel would not be carried off into captivity until some 300 years later, the fulfillment of the prophecy of the death of Jeroboam’s son served as a sign that the prophecy of Israel being taken out of the land would just as surely come to pass.
1Kings 14:17 And Jeroboam’s wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah: and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died;
1Kings 14:18 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.
Jeroboam’s wife then left the prophet and returned to Tirzah, one of the royal residences that was located seven miles northeast of Shechem. When she came to the threshold of her home, her son died. They buried him as Israel mourned for him, just as the LORD had declared through the prophet Ahijah, His servant.
1Kings 14:19 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.
1Kings 14:20 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.
This ends the biblical record of the life of Jeroboam. He died after reigning 22 years over Israel—and oh the wicked things he accomplished in that time. His son Nadab succeeded him to the throne.
I can’t help but make a modern day comparison. Sadly, our president of the last 7.5 years will leave the same kind of legacy on his own country in an even shorter amount of time. He has led the way in changing the laws of our land to completely reject the LORD God and the truth of His word. He has led the way in establishing as right that which the LORD declares wrong. He has fast-tracked the process of demonizing Christians and promoting the support of false religions. AND…he has done all this while claiming to be a Christian. Though it seems as though he is doing all this with impunity, be assured that he will one day have to stand before the LORD God and answer for his actions—he and all those that joined him in promoting his wicked agenda.
We learn from the next chapter that Abijah (or Abijam), the son of Rehoboam, reigned as king in Judah during the last four years of Jeroboam’s reign. Their armies eventually met in battle. Though Jeroboam’s forces seemed to have the advantage, Abijah led his troops in the name of the LORD God. As the troops of Jeroboam closed in for the kill, the priests of Judah sounded the trumpets and the men of Judah shouted. The LORD God intervened and delivered them with a great victory. Jeroboam never recovered from this defeat. We are told, “the LORD struck him, and he died.” Jeroboam did not die from the stroke of a man, but from a stroke of God.
1Kings 14:21 ¶ 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 the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
1Kings 14:22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
1Kings 14:23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
1Kings 14:24 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.
The historian now summarizes the rest of Rehoboam’s reign in Judah. Rehoboam succeeded to the throne when he was 41 years old after the death of his father Solomon. He reigned for 17 years in Jerusalem, they city that the LORD chose to associate with His name. His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess.
We know that during the first three years of his reign, the people remained faithful to the LORD.
2 Chronicles 11:14–17 “For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem….And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.”
After that, things quickly changed (much in the same way that things are occurring in America today). The people of Judah began doing evil in the sight of the LORD, making him angry by committing even worse sins than their fathers before them. As in the northern kingdom, they built high places and idols all over the place to worship false gods.
Specifically noted is that there were “sodomites” in the land. Sodomites were male prostitutes that served in the worship of false gods. Gill provides the following note: “Such as were addicted to unnatural lusts between men and men, which the men of Sodom were guilty of, from whence they had their name….”
The wickedness of the people mimicked that of the nations that the LORD had cast out of Canaan to give the land to the children of Israel.
1Kings 14:25 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem:
1Kings 14:26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and 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.
1Kings 14:27 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.
1Kings 14:28 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.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, Shishak, the king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house. He took away everything, including the shields of gold that Solomon had made.
Rehoboam replaced the shields of gold with shields of brass and gave them into the care of the chief of the guard that protected the king’s house. Any time the king went to the temple, the guards would use the brass shields and then return them to the guard chamber.
1Kings 14:29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
1Kings 14:30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
1Kings 14:31 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.
This concludes the historian’s record of Rehoboam. It is noted that there was continual war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam throughout their days. Rehoboam was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Abijam (or Abijah) his son became king.
The Chronicler makes a very important point in his summary of the life of Rehoboam.
2 Chronicles 12:14 “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”
Rehoboam did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD. Man doesn’t just naturally choose to follow the LORD. Scripture records that the heart of man is naturally deceitful and wicked.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
It is a warning to each and every one of us. If we do not prepare our hearts to seek the LORD, we will turn to wickedness just as surely as did Rehoboam. The Hebrew for “prepare” states: “to set up, in a great variety of applications, whether literal (establish, fix, prepare, apply)…confirm, direct, faithfulness…be fixed….” In other words, it involves making a personal choice to establish or fix one’s heart to follow the LORD in faithfulness.