THE DIVIDED KINGDOM
1 Kings 13:1 - 16:34
Jesus once stated that a
house divided against itself cannot stand. In the previous chapter, we saw
The story of the
19 Kings, 1 Queen
5 Dynasties and several independent kings.
Judah & Benjamin
10 Northern Tribes.
Most were unstable; some were good & some were bad.
All were bad, but only Ahab and Ahaziah were Baal worshipers.
Returned to the land.
THE PROPHECY AGAINST THE
Now behold, there came a man of
The altar against which this
prophecy is pronounced is one of two altars that Jeroboam had caused to be set
up. One altar was at Dan on the northern
They were established in the
last chapter by Jeroboam who feared that the people of his kingdom might come
under the propaganda of
1. The Pronouncement.
And he cried against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”
Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the Lord had spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.’” (1 Kings 13:2-3).
The man of God speaks directly to the altar. After all, the altar is the visible sign of Jeroboam’s transgression. There ought not to have been an altar here. The fact that there was an altar here was a sign that Jeroboam had instituted a religious system different than that which had been established by God.
The prophecy foretells the coming of a son of David - Josiah by name. This man would offer a sacrifice where Jeroboam was now offering a sacrifice. But his sacrifice would be the lives of the false priests whom Jeroboam had established.
King of Northern Kingdom of
He would be king of
Took the throne via rebellion
He would be a legitimate descendant of David
Set up an altar at
He would slaughter the false priests upon this altar
Ruled from 931 to 910 B.C.
Ruled from 640 to 609 B.C.
This prophecy was given nearly 300 years before Josiah would come on the scene. There is a lesson here. It is that God uses a calendar, not a stopwatch. There are promises in the Scriptures which were made thousands of years ago and which still have not yet been fulfilled. But they will be. Just because Christ does not come back tomorrow does not mean that He is not coming back.
2. Jeroboam’s Response.
4 Now when the king heard
the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in
5 The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. ( 1 Kings 13:4-5).
Jeroboam was furious over this prophecy. He pointed at the man of God and ordered that he be arrested. But no sooner had he done this when the hand with which he had pointed was itself “dried up.” This king who “took a hand” in establishing his own religious system found that his own hand completely impotent before the presence of the Lord.
3. Jeroboam’s Request.
The king said to the man of God, “Please entreat the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and it became as it was before. (1 Kings 13:6).
Jeroboam quickly changes his tune. He goes from threatening to pleading. But this is not true repentance. This is seen in the manner of his request. He asks the man of God to intercede on his behalf: “Please entreat the Lord YOUR God, and pray for me.”
He seems to recognize that the God of Abraham is not his God. God is the prophet’s God, but He is not the God of Jeroboam. True repentance takes place when God becomes YOUR God.
4. Jeroboam’s Invitation.
Once he had been healed, Jeroboam took a different track - If you can’t beat them, then join them. He invited the man of God to eat with him. But the man refused. He had been given some very specific instructions from the Lord.
eat with anyone in
Don’t drink with anyone in
Don’t even travel home the same way.
THE COMPROMISE OF THE MAN OF GOD
Having refused Jeroboam’s
offer of hospitality, the man of God began making his way back to
He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. (1 Kings 13:18).
This old prophet was lying
through his teeth. What was the purpose
of this deception? He wished to bend the
man’s will to his own, so he made up a story about an angel appearing to him. There is an important lesson here. God’s truth remains true. It remains true even though an angel might be
claimed to have brought a contradicting message. The Mormon church
preaches such a message. They claim that
an angel named
But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8).
The man of God accepted the prophet’s words at face value. And in doing so, he departed from the clear revelation of God.
Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the command of the Lord, and have not observed the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’” (1 Kings 13:20-22).
This time the Lord really does speak to the old prophet. The message is one of judgment against the man of God. He is judged because he disobeyed the clear command of the Lord. As he continues on his way, he is met by a lion which kills him.
Now I have to ask a
question. What is the point of this
story? Why is it inserted in this
narrative of kings and kingdoms? The man
of God is a microcosm of the people of
The Man of God
The People of
instructions as to how he was to travel through
Given specific instructions as to how they were to worship God.
He followed the old prophet’s alternate instructions.
They followed Jeroboam’s alternate method of worship.
He was killed by a lion.
They would ultimately be taken into captivity.
As we read this story, we are
to put ourselves into the sandals of both the man of God and the people of
THE WAY OF JEROBOAM
1. Jeroboam’s Lack of Repentance.
33 After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but again he made priests of the high places from among all the people; any who would, he ordained, to be priests of the high places.
34 This event became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to blot it out and destroy it from off the face of the earth. (1 Kings 13:33-34).
The prophecy, the miraculous disease and the miraculous healing had absolutely no permanent effect upon Jeroboam. He continued in his program to establish his own group of priests who would be loyal to him and who would worship in the way he wished.
2. The Prophecy of Jeroboam’s Doom.
At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam became sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise now, and disguise yourself so that they will not know that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to Shiloh; behold, Ahijah the prophet is there, who spoke concerning me that I would be king over this people.” (1 Kings 14:1-2).
Jeroboam now found himself faced with a problem. His son was sick. This was the son of whom God had promised to build “an enduring house” (1 Kings 11:38). He was the heir apparent.
Jeroboam sends his wife to confer with Ahijah the prophet. It had been Ahijah who had first brought the good news that the Kingdom would be divided and the northern tribes given to Jeroboam. Perhaps he reasons that Ahijah will deliver more good news. But this is not to be the case. The message that he delivers is a message of judgment.
“Go, say to Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel, “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, 8 and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you ‑‑ yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in My sight; 9 you also have done more evil than all who were before you, and have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back ‑‑ 10 therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone. (1 Kings 14:7-10).
Jeroboam is judged because of his religious programs which have led the people into idolatry. Because he has “done more evil” (vs 9 - ) than any before him, so now the Lord is “bringing calamity,.” literally, “bring evil” against him. The dynasty which was originally promised to Jeroboam is now going to be flushed away like a piece of refuse.
The sign that God’s judgment will eventually be born will be that Jeroboam’s son will die. There is an interesting contrast here.
Sign of God’s judgment - child shall die.
Sign of God’s grace - a Child was born.
His death was a sign of impending judgment.
His death was a sign of our salvation.
The child was the only one of Jeroboam’s family to come to the grave.
The Child did not remain in the grave, but rose from the dead.
This judgment is not alone upon the house of Jeroboam. It also extends to the entire Northern Kingdom of Israel.
“For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water; and He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.” (1 Kings 14:15).
of the idolatry of the Northern Kingdom, they will ultimately be uprooted and
taken into captivity to be scattered beyond the
That is a time of GRACE. During that time, the Israelites can avoid that judgment by turning to the Lord in repentance.
THE WAY OF REHOBOAM
1. The Times of Rehoboam’s Reign.
Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon
Rehoboam was the son of Solomon. His mother was of the country of Ammon - presumably one of the 700 foreign wives which Solomon had married. Theirs had been a political marriage and it had produced this young man.
parallel account in 2 Chronicles 11:17 tells us that the people of
story is one of good beginnings but poor endings. It is a pattern which we shall see repeated
in a number of the kings of
The Christian life has been likened to a race. Paul said that we all run. But it is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We are in for the long haul. We are running for eternity. No one ever won only the first half of a race. You only win if you cross the finish line.
23 For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree.
24 There were also male cult
prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the
nations which the Lord dispossessed before the sons of
High Places: It was the custom throughout the entire fertile crescent to conduct worship in a “high place.” The origin of this practice may go back all
the way to the
· Sacred Pillars: This is different from a support pillar or column. This is an obelisk. They were used by the Canaanites as fertility symbols.
· Asherim: An Asherah was a tree which was used for worship. Asherim (plural) were an entire grove of such trees.
· Male Cult Prostitutes: A part of the pagan worship involved homosexual acts within the places of worship. It was thought that participation in such actions would incite the various gods who ruled over the wind and the rain to participate and thus bring fertility to the land.
25 Now it happened in the
fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of
26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
27 So King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place, and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king's house.
28 Then it happened as often as the king entered the house of the Lord, that the guards would carry them and would bring them back into the guards’ room. (1 Kings 14:25-28).
21st Dynasty of Egypt had been friendly to
there came a Libyan to the throne who founded a new ruling family - the 22nd
Dynasty. He is known in historical
records as Sheshonq (the Biblical Shishak). He was able to reunify the country which had
been previously divided and brought a certain amount of stability to the
crown. He then turned his attention to
foreign policy, renewing an alliance with
is likely this same Sheshonq who gave refuge to such
From this time on, the reign of Rehoboam would be only a shadow of its former glory. The golden shields of Solomon were replaced by shields of bronze, a less-valued commodity. The old forms continued, but they lost some of their luster.
That is what happens when sin takes place. It may be forgiven, but life loses some of its luster. How is your luster? Have you lost something in transition? Perhaps that fading is due to sin which has crept in. If that is the case, it is time to repent and return.
ABIJAM’S EVIL REIGN OVER
1 Now in the eighteenth
year of King Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over
2 He reigned three years in
3 He walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. (1 Kings 15:1-3).
Our story now moves from
Jeroboam in the north back to the
We are specifically told that Abijam followed in the sins of Rehoboam and Solomon. There is a lesson here for fathers. It is the lesson of the harvest. You always sow what you reap. And you always sow MORE than what you reap. If you are setting an example of sinfulness, then your children will take that example and will often surpass it. On the other hand, if you teach your children to serve the Lord and to follow Him, they will often not only follow your example, but will surpass it.
ASA’S REFORMATION IN
1. His Reign.
So in the twentieth year of
Jeroboam the king of
bring about the first of four revivals in the
2. His Righteous Walk.
Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father. (1 Kings 15:11).
the rest of the book of Kings, we will read of each of the kings of
a. He walked in the sins of his fathers.
b. He walked right in the sight of the Lord like David.
There are two ways in which you can live. You can live in sin, or you can live in the sight of the Lord, determined to try to obey Him and please Him. Asa was such a man. He wished to do right in the sight of God.
3. His Reforms.
He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.
He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron. (1 Kings 15:12-13).
The writer of Kings make no mention of the prophet Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1-7) who was a moving influence in the life of Asa. There are times when God will use a man or a woman as an influence for good behind the scenes.
2 Chronicles 15 relates how Asa called an assembly of the people in which all were invited to renew their covenant with the Lord.
4. The Limitations of Reform.
But the high places were not taken away; nevertheless the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days. (1 Kings 15:14).
Although Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord, it did not necessarily follow that all of he subjects were equally devoted to God. While it is true that you CAN legislate morality, you CANNOT legislate devotion. You can make a person to ACT in the appropriate manner, but you cannot make a person believe. You can govern outward actions, but you cannot govern attitudes. Only the Lord can do that.
reforms which Asa brought about in
And he gathered all Judah and
Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resided with them, for
many defected to him from
was seen as a threat to the continued security of the Northern Kingdom and the
response was an embargo against all traffic coming from or going into
Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of
had murdered all of the dynasty of Jeroboam (we are
told that story in the latter part of this chapter). He invaded
are several different cities in
purpose of Baasha’s taking of this city was to
prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa
18 Then Asa
took all the silver and the gold which were left in the treasuries of the house
of the Lord and the treasuries of the king’s house, and delivered them into the
hand of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben‑hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the
son of Hezion, king of
20 So Ben‑hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel‑beth‑maacah and all Chinneroth, besides all the land of Naphtali. (1 Kings 15:18-20).
of turning to the Lord for help, Asa responds to the
incursion by soliciting assistance from the King of Aram (modern
The Aramaeans had been long-standing enemies of
there was a new dynasty in
would Asa turn to
We are often tempted to do the same thing. We trust in Christ for eternal life, but we won’t trust Him to deal with a difficult situation at work.
THE HOUSE OF BAASHA’S EVIL REIGN IN THE NORTH
again, our scene shifts back to the northern kingdom of
25 Now Nadab
the son of Jeroboam became king over
26 He did evil in the sight of
the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made
27 Then Baasha
the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired
against him, and Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all
28 So Baasha
killed him in the third year of Asa king of
a usurper to the throne - an assassin-turned king. This sets the tone for the rest of the
history of the northern kingdom of
It came about as soon as he was king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam any persons alive, until he had destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30 and because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger. (1 Kings 15:29-30).
execution of the entire family of Jeroboam was a punishment for the sins of
Jeroboam in leading
However Baasha proved to be no better at following the Lord than Jeroboam. He seems to have continued in following the same spiritual idolatry which had been instituted by Jeroboam. As a result, he was confronted by the prophet Jehu.
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha, saying, 2 “Inasmuch as I exalted you from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made My people Israel sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins, 3 behold, I will consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
4 “Anyone of Baasha who dies in the city the dogs will eat, and anyone of his who dies in the field the birds of the heavens will eat.” (1 Kings 16:1-4).
As the house of Jeroboam had been removed for its idolatry, so the house of Baasha would be removed for continuing in the same idolatry.
the son of Baasha and succeeded him to the throne of
House of Jeroboam
House of Baasha
Founder of the dynasty rebelled against Rehoboam and reigned for a long period - 22 years.
Founder of the dynasty murdered Nadab and reigned in his place for a long period - 24 years.
Jeroboam instituted idolatry in the land.
Baasha continued the program of idolatry.
Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, succeeded his father and reigned only 2 years before being assassinated.
Elah, the son of Baasha, succeeded his father and reigned only 2 years before being assassinated.
THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF OMRI
The assassination of Elah and its resulting execution of all of the members of
the house of Baasha left a power vacuum. Zimri may have
thought to become king himself, but he was unable to gain a following and his
reign lasted only a week. Following his
untimely death, there arose two contenders for the throne of
Tibni, the son of Ginath.
Omri, commander of the army.
After a civil war which lasted 6 years, it was Omri who came out as the winner in this conflict - he seems to have had both the military expertise as well as the support of the army it taking the throne.
He bought the hill
2. Ahab’s Marriage Alliance.
30 Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.
31 It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.
32 So he erected an altar for
Baal in the house of Baal which he built in
the son of Omri and successor to his throne, entered
into an alliance with the Phoenicians, sealing it by taking a Phoenician
princess to be his wife. This alliance
would have long-lasting repercussions in
It is because of this Phoenician influence that Ahab soon finds himself engaged, not only in idolatry, but in the worshiping of Baal, the god of the Phoenicians.
to this time, the Israelites had been guilty of attempting to worship Yahweh in
an improper manner - through the use of idols which had been established at
In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:34).
had issued a decree that
with the full blessing of Ahab, Hiel set out to