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AND Roboam came to Jerusalem, and called together all the house of Juda and of Benjamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men and warriors, to fight against Israel, and to bring back his kingdom to him.

Ver. 1.  Chosen.  Sept. "young," (H.) as the Heb. term also signifies.  T.

 

--- His.  Heb. "the kingdom again to Roboam."




2 And the word of the Lord came to Semeias the man of God, saying:

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3 Speak to Roboam the son of Solomon the king of Juda, and to all Israel, in Juda and Benjamin:


4 Thus saith the Lord: You shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: let every man return to his own house, for by my will this thing has been done. And when they heard the word of the Lord, they returned, and did not go against Jeroboam,

Ver. 4.  Will, to punish the disorders of Solomon, &c.  See 3 K. xii. 24.  Gen. xlv. 8.  God knows how to draw good out of evil, without approving the misconduct of men.  H.


5 And Roboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built walled cities in Juda.

Ver. 5.  Juda.  This was now become a frontier country, and both kings were forced to erect fortifications.  3 K. xii. 25.




6 And he built Bethlehem, and Etam, and Thecue,

Ver. 6.  Etam, famous for fine waters and gardens, (Joseph. viii. 2.) about ten miles from Jerusalem, on the road to Hebron.  It was fortified against the inroads of Simeon and Dan.  C.



Bethlehem

Bethlehem of Juda, where Booz also was born. C. --- That place was, moreover, to be honoured with the birth of the Messias. S. Aug. q. 165. --- Ephrata: another name of Bethlehem. Ch.

7 And Bethsur, and Socho, and Odollam,


8 And Geth, and Maresa, and Ziph,


9 And Aduram, and Lachis, and Azecha,


10 Saraa also, and Aialon, and Hebron, which are in Juda and Benjamin, well fenced cities.

Aialon

Aialon 1- (Josh 10:12 etc.) town and valley: Yâlô, W. N.W. of Jerusalem, E. of Amwâs. 2- (Judg 12:12; Zabulon): Kh. Jalîm, E. of Acre. --- Aialon belonged to Dan. Jos. xix. 42. But it was near Benjamin, (M.) and was probably occupied by people chiefly of that tribe. H.

11 And when he had enclosed them with walls, he put in them governors and storehouses of provisions, that is, of oil and of wine.

Ver. 11.  Governors, of a military character.  Heb. "captains, (T.) and store of provisions, (wheat) and of oil," &c. such as would be requisite in a siege.


12 Moreover in every city he made an armoury of shields and spears, and he fortified them with great diligence, and he reigned over Juda, and Benjamin,


13 And the priests and Levites, that were in all Israel, came to him out of all their seats, 14 Leaving their suburbs, and their possessions, and passing over to Juda, and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off, from executing the priestly office to the Lord.

Ver. 14.  Off.  This was done at different times; so that almost all the Levites took refuge in the dominions of Juda.  Yet some prevaricated.  Ezechiel (xliv. 12.) only exempts the family of Sadoc.  C.

 

--- The rest set before us a noble example to endure temporal loss, rather than to neglect the practice of religion, or to conform to a false one.  W.




15 And he made to himself priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.

Ver. 15.  Devils.  Heb. "goats."  C.

 

--- Sept. express this by two names, "for the idols, and for the fools."  H.

 

--- The Mendesians of Egypt, solemnly worshipped the goat; and Pan was represented nearly in the same form.  Yet it is probable that the Hebrews style the idols by this name out of derision.  3 K. xv. 2.  C.



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16 Moreover out of all the tribes of Israel, whosoever gave their heart to seek the Lord the God of Israel, came into Jerusalem to sacrifice their victims before the Lord the God of their fathers.


17 And they strengthened the kingdom of Juda, and established Roboam the son of Solomon for three years: for they walked in the ways of David and of Solomon, only three years.

Ver. 17.  They, the pious refugees.  T.  C. xv. 9.

 

--- Solomon, while virtuous.

 

--- Only is not expressed in Heb. or Sept. but it is sufficiently implied.




18 And Roboam took to wife Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David: and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Isai.

Ver. 18.  Daughter.  Heb. ban, "the son."  But bath, "daughter," (H.) occurs properly in some MSS. as in the ancient versions.  Leusden has here this very odd note: "perhaps by ban, (with a pathah) here both sexes may be understood."  Forte per ban hic intelligitur uterque sexus.  Kennicott

 

--- Prot. substitute, "daughter."  H.




19 And they bore him sons Jehus, and Somorias, and Zoom. 20 And after her he married Maacha the daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abia and Ethai, and Ziza, and Salomith.

Ver. 20.  Daughter, or grand-daughter, by Thamar.  3 K. xv. 2.  C.




21 And Roboam loved Maacha the daughter of Absalom above all his wives, and concubines: for he had married eighteen wives, and threescore concubines: and he beget eight and twenty sons, and threescore daughters.


22 But he put at the head of them Abia the son of Maacha to be the chief ruler over all his brethren: for he meant to make him king,

Ver. 22.  Head.  Sept. "prince."  H.

 

--- Grotius maintains that Abia was the eldest.  But all others are of a contrary opinion, and believe that Roboam derogated from the law, (Deut. xxi. 16.  C.) as David had done, unless it was left to the option of the king to appoint whom he pleased for his successor.  H.

 

--- Meant.  Prot. supply, "he thought" which is found in the Sept.




23 Because he was wiser and mightier than all his sons, and in all the countries of Juda, and of Benjamin, and in all the walled cities: and he gave them provisions in abundance, and he sought many wives.

Ver. 23.  Because.  Sept. "And he was magnified above....and he gave them (cities, autaiV) abundance," &c.  This may be all understood of Abia.  But Heb. rather speaks of his father: "And he acted wisely, and dispersed all his other children, throughout the countries of Juda;" (H.) keeping them at a distance, to prevent any commotion, (C.) but making ample provision and procuring wives for them, perhaps at no small cost, as few might wish to be thus prisoners at large.  T.

 

--- It was probably then the custom to educate the royal children in the noblest families.  See 4 K. x. 1.  C.

 

--- This would also tend to increase their father's influence, and to make them better acquainted with the country, that they might be able to communicate all necessary intelligence.  H.

 

--- Pagnin and Vatable insinuate, that Roboam "caused to be educated and dispersed some of all his children, throughout all the lands of Juda."  M.




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