The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible1 Kings 12:31
And he made an house of high places…
Or "altars" F19,
built a temple at Dan, and set up several altars in it for sacrifice,
both for burnt offerings, and for incense, as at Jerusalem:
and made priests of the lowest of the people;
this clause seems not so
well rendered; for this would have been very unpopular, and brought his
new form of worship into contempt, to make the dregs of the people
priests, which was not only a very sacred office, but of great honour;
it was usual in some nations for kings to be priests also F20, and
Jeroboam himself exercised this office, (1 Kings 12:33) (13:1) and therefore
would never put the meanest of the people into it, but rather those of
higher rank: the words may be literally rendered, "from the extremities"
or "ends of the people" F21; meaning not merely from the extremist parts
of his country, but rather out of the whole of the people; out of all
sorts of them, out of any of them, without any distinction of tribe:
for so it follows,
which were not of the sons of Levi;
and as by this means he
enriched himself, by taking the cities that belonged to the priests and
Levites, which they were obliged to leave, and from whence he drove
them, (2 Chronicles 11:14) so he pleased the people by laying open the
priesthood common to them, and freeing them from the payment of tithes,
and the like.
F19 (twmb) "altarium", Vatablus.
F20 Rex Anius… Virgil. l. 3. Vid. Servium in ib.
F21 (Meh twuqm) "de extremitatibus populi", Vatablus, Piscator.