1 Kings 12
The glory of the kingdom of Israel was in its height and perfection in
Solomon; it was long in coming to it, but it soon declined, and began
to sink and wither in the very next reign, as we find in this chapter,
where we have the kingdom divided, and thereby weakened and made little
in comparison with what it had been. Here is,
I. Rehoboam's accession to the throne and Jeroboam's return out of
1 Kings 12:1,2.
II. The people's petition to Rehoboam for the redress of grievances,
and the rough answer he gave, by the advice of his young counsellors,
to that petition,
1 Kings 12:3-15.
III. The revolt of the ten tribes thereupon, and their setting up
1 Kings 12:16-20.
IV. Rehoboam's attempt to reduce them and the prohibition God gave to
1 Kings 12:21-24.
V. Jeroboam's establishment of his government upon idolatry,
1 Kings 12:25-33.
Thus did Judah become weak, being deserted by their brethren, and
Israel, by deserting the house of the Lord.
|The Folly of Rehoboam.
||B. C. 975.|
1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to
Shechem to make him king.
2 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;)
3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the
congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,
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, lighter, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come
again to me. And the people departed.
6 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?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a 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
8 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:
9 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?
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 thicker than my father's loins.
11 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.
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third
day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the
old men's counsel that they gave him;
14 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 also chastised you with whips, but I will
chastise you with scorpions.
15 Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the
cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which
the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of
Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines, yet we read but of one son he
had to bear up his name, and he a fool. It is said
They shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase. Sin is a bad
way of building up a family. Rehoboam was the son of the wisest of men,
yet did not inherit his father's wisdom, and then it stood him in
little stead to inherit his father's throne. Neither wisdom nor grace
runs in the blood. Solomon came to the crown very young, yet he was
then a wise man. Rehoboam came to the crown at forty years old, when
men will be wise if ever they will, yet he was then foolish. Wisdom
does not go by age, nor is it the multitude of years nor the advantage
of education that reaches it. Solomon's court was a mart of wisdom and
the rendezvous of learned men, and Rehoboam was the darling of the
court; and yet all was not sufficient to make him a wise man. The
race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. No dispute
is made of Rehoboam's succession; upon the death of his father, he was
immediately proclaimed. But,
I. The people desired a treaty with him at Shechem, and he condescended
to meet them there.
1. Their pretence was to make him king, but the design was to unmake
him. They would give him a public inauguration in another place than
the city of David, that he might not seem to be king of Judah only.
They had ten parts in him, and would have him among themselves for
once, that they might recognize his title.
2. The place was ominous: at Shechem, where Abimelech set up
yet it had been famous for the convention of the states there,
Rehoboam, we may suppose, knew of the threatening, that the kingdom
should be rent from him, and hoped by going to Shechem, and treating
there with the ten tribes, to prevent it: yet it proved the most
impolitic thing he could do, and hastened the rupture.
II. The representatives of the tribes addressed him, praying to be
eased of the taxes they were burdened with. The meeting being
appointed, they sent for Jeroboam out of Egypt to come and be their
speaker. This they needed not to have done: he knew what God had
designed him for, and would have come though he had not been sent for,
for now was his time to expect the possession of the promised crown. In
1. They complain of the last reign: Thy father made our yoke
1 Kings 12:4.
They complain not of his father's idolatry and revolt from God; that
which was the greatest grievance of all was none to them, so careless
and indifferent were they in the matters of religion, as if God or
Moloch were all one, so they might but live at ease and pay no taxes.
Yet the complaint was groundless and unjust. Never did people live
more at ease than they did, nor in great plenty. Did they pay taxes?
It was to advance the strength and magnificence of their kingdom. If
Solomon's buildings cost them money, they cost them no blood, as war
would do. Were many servile hands employed about them? They were not
the hands of the Israelites. Were the taxes a burden? How could that
be, when Solomon imported bullion in such plenty that silver was, in a
manner, as common as the stones? So that they did but render to Solomon
the things that were Solomon's. Nay, suppose there was some hardship
put upon them, were they not told before that this would be the manner
of the king and yet they would have one? The best government cannot
secure itself from reproach and censure, no, not Solomon's. Factious
spirits will never want something to complain of. I know nothing in
Solomon's administration that could make the people's yoke grievous,
unless perhaps the women whom in his latter days he doted on were
connived at in oppressing them.
2. They demand relief from him, and on this condition will continue in
their allegiance to the house of David. They asked not to be wholly
free from paying taxes, but to have the burden made lighter; this was
all their care, to save their money, whether their religion was
supported and the government protected or no. All seek their own.
III. Rehoboam consulted with those about him concerning the answer he
should give to this address. It was prudent to take advice, especially
having so weak a head of his own; yet, upon this occasion, it was
impolitic to take time himself to consider, for thereby he gave time to
the disaffected people to ripen things for a revolt, and his
deliberating in so plain a case would be improved as an indication of
the little concern he had for the people's ease. They saw what they
must expect, and prepared accordingly. Now,
1. The grave experienced men of his council advised him by all means to
give the petitioners a kind answer, to give them good words, to promise
them fair, and this day, this critical day, to serve them, that is, to
tell them that he was their servant, and that he would redress all
their grievances and make it his business to please them and make them
easy. "Deny thyself (say they) so far as to do this for this once, and
they will be thy servants for ever. When the present heat is
allayed with a soft answer, and the assembly dismissed, their cooler
thoughts will reconcile and fix them to Solomon's family still." Note,
The way to rule is to serve, to do good, and stoop to do it, to become
all things to all men and so win their hearts. Those who are in power
really sit highest, and easiest, and safest, when they take this
2. The young men of his council were hot and haughty, and they advised
him to return a severe and threatening answer to the people's demands.
It was an instance of Rehoboam's weakness,
(1.) That he did not prefer aged counsellors, but had a better opinion
of the young men that had grown up with him and with whom he was
1 Kings 12:8.
Days should speak. It was a folly for him to think that, because they
had been his agreeable companions in the sports and pleasures of his
youth, they were therefore fit to have the management of the affairs of
his kingdom. Great wits have not always the most wisdom; nor are those
to be relied on as our best friends that know how to make us merry, for
that will not make us happy. It is of great consequence to young
people, that are setting out in the world, whom they associate with,
accommodate themselves to, and depend upon for advice. If they reckon
those that feed their pride, gratify their vanity, and further them in
their pleasures, their best friends, they are already marked for ruin.
(2.) That he did not prefer moderate counsels, but was pleased with
those that put him upon harsh and rigorous methods, and advised him to
double the taxes, whether there was occasion for so doing or no, and to
tell them in plain terms that he would do so,
1 Kings 12:10,11.
These young counsellors thought the old men expressed themselves but
1 Kings 12:7.
They affect to be witty in their advice, and value themselves on that.
The old men did not undertake to put words into Rehoboam's mouth, only
counselled him to speak good words; but the young men will furnish him
with very quaint and pretty phrases, with pointed and pert similitudes:
My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins, &c.
That is not always the best sense that is best worded.
IV. He answered the people according to the counsel of the young men,
1 Kings 12:14,15.
He affected to be haughty and imperious, and fancied he could carry all
before him with a high hand, and therefore would rather run the risk of
losing them than deny himself so far as to give them good words. Note,
Many ruin themselves by consulting their humour more than their
1. How Rehoboam was infatuated in his counsels. He could not have acted
more foolishly and impoliticly.
(1.) He owned their reflections upon his father's government to be
true: My father made your yoke heavy; and therein he was unjust
to his father's memory, which he might easily have vindicated from the
(2.) He fancied himself better able to manage them, and impose upon
them, than his father was, not considering that he was vastly inferior
to him in capacity. Could he think to support the blemishes of his
father's reign who could never pretend to come near the glories of it?
(3.) He threatened not only to squeeze them by taxes, but to chastise
them by cruel laws and severe executions of them, which should be not
as whips only, but as scorpions, whips with rowels in them, that will
fetch blood at every lash. In short, he would use them as brute beasts,
load them and beat them at his pleasure: not caring whether they loved
him or no, he would make them fear him.
(4.) He gave this provocation to a people that by long ease and
prosperity were made wealthy, and strong, and proud, and would not be
trampled upon (as a poor cowed dispirited people may), to a people that
were now disposed to revolt, and had one ready to head them. Never,
surely, was man so blinded by pride and affectation of arbitrary power,
than which nothing is more fatal.
2. How God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. It was from the
1 Kings 12:15.
He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the
things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be
rent from him. Note, God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by
the imprudences and iniquities of men, and snares sinners in the work
of their own hands. Those that lose the kingdom of heaven throw it
away, as Rehoboam did his, by their own wilfulness and folly.
|Revolt of the Ten Tribes.
||B. C. 975.|
16 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.
17 But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the
cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king 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
19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was
come again, that they sent and called him 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.
21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all
the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, a 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.
22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God,
23 Speak unto 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,
24 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.
We have here the rending of the kingdom of the ten tribes from the
house of David, to effect which,
I. The people were hold and resolute in their revolt. They highly
resented the provocation that Rehoboam had given them, were incensed at
his menaces, concluded that that government would in the progress of it
be intolerably grievous which in the beginning of it was so very
haughty, and therefore immediately came to this resolve, one and all:
What portion have we in David?
1 Kings 12:16.
They speak here very unbecomingly of David, that great benefactor of
their nation, calling him the son of Jesse, no greater a man
than his neighbours. How soon are good men, and their good services to
the public, forgotten! The rashness of their resolution was also much
to be blamed. In time, and with prudent management, they might have
settled the original contract with Rehoboam to mutual satisfaction. Had
they enquired who gave Rehoboam this advice, and taken a course to
remove those evil counsellors from about him, the rupture might have
been prevented: otherwise their jealousy for their liberty and property
well became that free people. Israel is not a servant, is not a
homeborn slave; why should he be spoiled?
They are willing to be ruled, but not to be ridden. Protection draws
allegiance, but destruction cannot. No marvel that Israel falls away
from the house of David
(1 Kings 12:19)
if the house of David fall away from the great ends of their
advancement, which was to be ministers of God to them for good.
But thus to rebel against the seed of David, whom God had advanced to
the kingdom (entailing it on his seed), and to set up another king in
opposition to that family, was a great sin; see
2 Chronicles 13:5-8.
To this God refers,
They have set up kings, but not by me. And it is here mentioned
to the praise of the tribe of Judah that they followed the house of
(1 Kings 12:17,20),
and, for aught that appears, they found Rehoboam better than his word,
nor did he rule with the rigour which at first he threatened.
II. Rehoboam was imprudent in the further management of this affair,
and more and more infatuated. Having foolishly thrown himself into a
quick-sand, he sunk the further in with plunging to get out.
1. He was very unadvised in sending Adoram, who was over the
tribute, to treat with them,
1 Kings 12:18.
The tribute was the thing, and, for the sake of that, Adoram was the
person, they most complained of. The very sight of him, whose name was
odious among them, exasperated them, and made them outrageous. He was
one to whom they could not so much as give a patient hearing, but
stoned him to death in a popular tumult. Rehoboam was now as
unhappy in the choice of his ambassador as before of his counsellors.
2. Some think he was also unadvised in quitting his ground, and making
so much haste to Jerusalem, for thereby he deserted his friends and
gave advantage to his enemies, who had gone to their tents indeed
(1 Kings 12:16)
in disgust, but did not offer to make Jeroboam king till Rehoboam had
1 Kings 12:20.
See how soon this foolish prince went from one extreme to the other. He
hectored and talked big when he thought all was his own, but sneaked
and looked very mean when he saw himself in danger. It is common for
those that are most haughty in their prosperity to be most abject in
III. God forbade his attempt to recover by the sword what he had lost.
What was done was of God, who would not suffer that it should be undone
again (as it would be if Rehoboam got the better and reduced the ten
tribes), nor that more should be done to the prejudice of the house of
David, as would be if Jeroboam got the better and conquered the two
tribes. The thing must rest as it is, and therefore God forbids the
1. It was brave in Rehoboam to design the reducing of the revolters by
force. His courage came to him when he had come to Jerusalem,
1 Kings 12:21.
There he thought himself among his firm friends, who generously adhered
to him and appeared for him. Judah and Benjamin (who feared the Lord
and the king, and meddled not with those that were given to change)
presently raised an army of 180,000 men, for the recovery of their
king's right to the ten tribes, and were resolved to stand by him (as
we say) with their lives and fortunes, having either not such cause, or
rather not such a disposition, to complain, as the rest had.
2. It as more brave in Rehoboam to desist when God, by a prophet,
ordered him to lay down his arms. He would not lose a kingdom tamely,
for then he would have been unworthy the title of a prince; and yet he
would not contend for it in opposition to God, for then he would have
been unworthy the title of an Israelite. To proceed in this war would
be not only to fight against their brethren
(1 Kings 12:24),
whom they ought to love, but to fight against their God, to whom they
ought to submit: This thing is from me. These two considerations
should reconcile us to our losses and troubles, that God is the author
of them and our brethren are the instruments of them; let us not
therefore meditate revenge. Rehoboam and his people hearkened to the
word of the Lord, disbanded the army, and acquiesced. Though, in
human probability, they had a fair prospect of success (for their army
was numerous and resolute, Jeroboam's party weak and unsettled), though
it would turn to their reproach among their neighbours to lose so much
of their strength and never have one push for it, to make a flourish
and do nothing, yet,
(1.) They regarded the command of God though sent by a poor prophet.
When we know God's mind we must submit to it, how much soever it
crosses our own mind.
(2.) They consulted their own interest, concluding that though they had
all the advantages, even that of right, on their side, yet they could
not prosper if they fought in disobedience to God; and it was better to
sit still than to rise up and fall. In the next reign God allowed them
to fight, and gave them victory
(2 Chronicles 13:1-22),
but not now.
||B. C. 975.|
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt
therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return
to the house of David:
27 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, and they
shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28 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.
29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to
worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31 And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the
lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
32 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 Beth-el,
sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in
Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made.
33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el the
fifteenth day of the eighth 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
We have here the beginning of the reign of Jeroboam. He built Shechem
first and then Penuel--beautified and fortified them, and probably had a
palace in each of them for himself
(1 Kings 12:25),
the former in Ephraim, the latter in Gad, on the other side Jordan.
This might be proper; but he formed another project for the
establishing of his kingdom which was fatal to the interests of
religion in it.
I. That which he designed was by some effectual means to secure those
to himself who had now chosen him for their king, and to prevent their
return to the house of David,
1 Kings 12:26,27.
1. He was jealous of the people, afraid that, some time or other, they
would kill him and go again to Rehoboam. Many that have been advanced
in one tumult have been hurled down in another. Jeroboam could not put
any confidence in the affections of his people, though now they seemed
extremely fond of him; for what is got by wrong and usurpation cannot
be enjoyed nor kept with any security or satisfaction.
2. He was distrustful of the promise of God, could not take his word
that, if he would keep close to his duty, God would build him a sure
(1 Kings 11:38);
but he would contrive ways and means, and sinful ones too, for his own
safety. A practical disbelief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom
of all our treacherous departures from him.
II. The way he took to do this was by keeping the people from going up
to Jerusalem to worship. That was the place God had chosen, to put his
name there. Solomon's temple was there, which God had, in the sight of
all Israel, and in the memory of many now living, taken solemn
possession of in a cloud of glory. At the altar there the priest of the
Lord attended, there all Israel were to keep the feasts, and thither
they were to bring their sacrifices. Now,
1. Jeroboam apprehended that, if the people continued to do this, they
would in time return to the house of David, allured by the magnificence
both of the court and of the temple. If they cleave to their old
religion, they will go back to their old king. We may suppose, if he
had treated with Rehoboam for the safe conduct of himself and his
people to and from Jerusalem at the times appointed for their solemn
feasts, it would not have been denied him; therefore he fears not their
being driven back by force, but their going back voluntarily to
2. He therefore dissuaded them from going up to Jerusalem, pretending
to consult their ease: "It is too much for you to go so far to
1 Kings 12:28.
It is a heavy yoke, and it is time to shake it off; you have gone
long enough to Jerusalem" (so some read it); "the temple, now that
you are used to it, does not appear so glorious and sacred as it did at
first" (sensible glories wither by degrees in men's estimation); "you
have greed yourselves from other burdens, free yourselves from this:
why should we now be tied to one place any more than in Samuel's
3. He provided for the assistance of their devotion at home. Upon
consultation with some of his politicians, he came to this resolve, to
set up two golden calves, as tokens or signs of the divine presence,
and persuade the people that they might as well stay at home and offer
sacrifice to those as go to Jerusalem to worship before the ark: and
some are so charitable as to think they were made to represent the
mercy-seat and the cherubim over the ark; but more probably he adopted
the idolatry of the Egyptians, in whose land he had sojourned for some
time and who worshipped their god Apis under the similitude of a bull
(1.) He would not be at the charge of building a golden temple, as
Solomon had done; two golden calves are the most that he can afford.
(2.) He intended, no doubt, by these to represent, or rather make
present, not any false god, as Moloch or Chemosh, but the true God
only, the God of Israel, the God that brought them up out of the land
of Egypt, as he declares,
1 Kings 12:28.
So that it was no violation of the first commandment, but the second.
And he chose thus to engage the people's devotion because he knew there
were many among them so in love with images that for the sake of the
calves they would willingly quit God's temple, where all images were
(3.) He set up two, by degrees to break people off from the belief of
the unity of the godhead, which would pave the way to the polytheism of
the Pagans. He set up these two at Dan and Beth-el (one the utmost
border of his country northward), the other southward, as if they were
the guardians and protectors of the kingdom. Beth-el lay close to
Judah. He set up one there, to tempt those of Rehoboam's subjects over
to him who were inclined to image-worship, in lieu of those of his
subjects that would continue to go to Jerusalem. He set up the other at
Dan, for the convenience of those that lay most remote, and because
Micah's images had been set up there, and great veneration paid to them
for many ages,
Beth-el signifies the house of God, which gave some
colour to the superstition; but the prophet called it Beth-aven, the
house of vanity, or iniquity.
4. The people complied with him herein, and were fond enough of the
novelty: They went to worship before the one, even unto Dan
(1 Kings 12:30),
to that at Dan first because it was first set up, or even to
that at Dan, though it lay such a great way off. Those that thought it
much to go to Jerusalem, to worship God according to his institution,
made no difficulty of going twice as far, to Dan, to worship him
according to their own inventions. Or they are said to go to one of the
calves at Dan because Abijah, king of Judah, within twenty years,
(2 Chronicles 13:19),
and it is likely removed the golden calf, or forbade the use of it, and
then they had only that at Dan to go to. This became a sin; and
a great sin it was, against the express letter of the second
commandment. God had sometimes dispensed with the law concerning
worshipping in one place, but never allowed the worship of him by
images. Hereby they justified their fathers in making the calf at
Horeb, though God had so fully shown his displeasure against them for
it and threatened to visit for it in the day of visitation
so that it was as great a contempt of God's wrath as it was of his law;
and thus they added sin to sin. Bishop Patrick quotes a saying of the
Jews, That till Jeroboam's time the Israelites sucked but one calf, but
from that time they sucked two.
5. Having set up the gods, he fitted up accommodations for them; and
wherein he varied from the divine appointment we are here told, which
intimates that in other things he imitated what was done in Judah
(1 Kings 12:32)
as well as he could. See how one error multiplied into many.
(1.) He made a house of high-places, or of altars, one temple at Dan,
we may suppose, and another at Beth-el
(1 Kings 12:31),
and in each many altars, probably complaining of it as an inconvenience
that in the temple at Jerusalem there was but one. The multiplying of
altars passed with some for a piece of devotion, but God, by the
prophet, puts another construction upon it,
Ephraim has made many altars to sin.
(2.) He made priests of the lowest of the people; and the lowest of the
people were good enough to be priests to his calves, and too good. He
made priests from the extremest parts of the people, that is,
some out of every corner of the country, whom he ordered to reside
among their neighbours, to instruct them in his appointments and
reconcile them to them. Thus were they dispersed as the Levites, but
were not of the sons of Levi. But the priests of the high-laces,
or altars, he ordered to reside in Beth-el, as the priests at Jerusalem
(1 Kings 12:32),
to attend the public service.
(3.) The feast of tabernacles, which God had appointed on the fifteenth
day of the seventh month, he adjourned to the fifteenth day of the
(1 Kings 12:32),
the month which he devised of his own heart, to show his power
in ecclesiastical matters,
1 Kings 12:33.
The passover and pentecost he observed in their proper season, or did
not observe them at all, or with little solemnity in comparison with
(4.) He himself assuming a power to make priests, no marvel if he
undertook to do the priests' work with his own hands: He offered
upon the altar. This is twice mentioned
(1 Kings 12:32,33),
as also that he burnt incense. This was connived at in him because it
was of a piece with the rest of his irregularities; but in king Uzziah
it was immediately punished with the plague of leprosy. He did it
himself, to make himself look great among the people and to get the
reputation of a devout man, also to grace the solemnity of his new
festival, with which, it is likely, at this time he joined the feast of
the dedication of his altar. And thus,
[1.] Jeroboam sinned himself, yet perhaps excused himself to the world
and his own conscience with this, that he did not do so ill as Solomon
did, who worshipped other gods.
[2.] He made Israel to sin, drew them off from the worship of
God and entailed idolatry upon their seed. And hereby they were
punished for deserting the thrones of the house of David. The
learned Mr. Whiston, in his chronology, for the adjusting of the
annals of the two kingdoms of Judah and Israel, supposes that Jeroboam
changed the calculation of the year and made it to contain but eleven
months, and that by those years the reigns of the kings of Israel are
measured till Jehu's revolution and no longer, so that during this
interval eleven years of the annals of Judah answer to twelve in those