Ahijah prophesies the end of Jeroboam’s rule over Israel
v1 At that time, King Jeroboam’s son Abijah became ill. v2 Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Dress so that people will suppose you to be someone else. Make sure that nobody will recognise you as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh where Ahijah the *prophet is. He *prophesied that I would be king over this people. v3 Take 10 loaves of bread, some cakes and a jar of honey and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’ v4 So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said. She went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.
Now Ahijah was so old that he could no longer see. v5 However, the *Lord told him that Jeroboam’s wife was coming to ask him about her sick son. He also told Ahijah what to say to her. He said, ‘When she comes, she will pretend to be someone else.’
v6 So, when Ahijah heard her footsteps at the door, he said, ‘Come in, wife of Jeroboam. You should not pretend to be someone else. God has sent me to tell you bad news. v7 Tell Jeroboam what the *Lord the God of *Israel says. “I chose you from among the people. I made you leader over my people *Israel. v8 I took the *kingdom away from David’s family and I gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David. He obeyed my commands and he followed me completely. He only did what was right. v9 You have done more wicked things than anyone who ruled before you. You have made other gods and you have made *idols out of metal. You have not given attention to me. You have made me very angry.
v10 Because of this I shall bring *disaster on Jeroboam’s family. I will kill all the male *descendants of your family. I will do this whether they are slaves or free men. I will burn all the family of Jeroboam as you burn rubbish. v11 Dogs will eat those who die in the city. Vultures (birds that eat dead animals) will eat those who die in the country. The *Lord has spoken.”
v12 As for you, go back home. As soon as you enter the city, the boy will die. v13 All the people in *Israel will show *sorrow for him. Then they will bury him. He is the only member of Jeroboam’s family who pleased the *Lord, the God of *Israel. So he is the only member of Jeroboam’s family that people will bury.
v14 The *Lord will choose a king over *Israel who will kill all Jeroboam’s family. And this is what will happen next: v15 The *Lord will punish *Israel. It will be like a grass in the water that the wind blows. He will take *Israel away from this good country which he gave to their *ancestors. He will scatter them beyond the River Euphrates because they have made him angry. They made *idols of the female god Asherah. v16 He will give *Israel up because Jeroboam did wicked things. He also made *Israel do wicked things.’
v17 Then Jeroboam’s wife went back to Tirzah. Just as she entered the house, the boy died. v18 They buried him and all *Israel showed *sorrow for him. This was as the *Lord had said by his servant, the *prophet Ahijah.
v19 The book of the History of the Kings of *Israel contains the other events when Jeroboam was ruling. It tells us about his wars and the way that he ruled. v20 Jeroboam ruled for 22 years and then he died. His son Nadab became king after him.
Jeroboam sent his wife to find out from Ahijah if his sick son would recover. Ahijah had given him a good *prophecy earlier (1 Kings 11:29-31), so he hoped for the same again. Perhaps Jeroboam thought that Ahijah would be angry with him because of his *sins. So he told his wife not to dress like a queen. They thought that the *prophet would not recognise her. Perhaps she thought that this would make the *prophecy a good one. Jeroboam and his wife seemed to think that the *prophet could bless them by his own power. Perhaps they thought that the *prophet could cure their son by some kind of magic. But they were stupid. They did not realise that a real *prophet’s power can only come from God. A *prophet has no special power of his own. So the *prophet depends completely on God’s word.
Ahijah was blind. But God told him who was coming. We might pretend to be someone else. And we might convince other people. But God always knows the truth about us.
Ahijah told Jeroboam’s wife that God had sent him to her. Of course, she travelled to visit Ahijah. But really God sent Ahijah; in other words, God had sent Ahijah with a message. Ahijah had to take that message to Jeroboam’s family. But Ahijah did not need to travel in order to declare that message. Jeroboam’s wife was present with him. So Ahijah spoke his message. That message was about God’s judgement against her husband and his family.
Ahijah told Jeroboam’s wife that her child would die. But he would die for an unusual reason. That son had pleased God. In other words, the son was obeying God. So God would cause the son to die in order to save him from an awful punishment. Everyone else in Jeroboam’s family would die because of *sin. People would not even bury their dead bodies because God was so angry with them. But that son was different. People would bury him in honour because he had pleased God.
Ahijah added that another family would rule over *Israel. But the *kingdom would never have a firm ruler. In the end, soldiers from Assyria would take the people into *exile.
So Jeroboam’s son died. His death showed that Ahijah’s *prophecy was correct. But Jeroboam did not turn back to God. Instead Jeroboam fought wars and he continued to rule by his own strength. And he continued to *worship false gods. After he had ruled for 22 years, Jeroboam died. Two years afterwards, Baasha killed Jeroboam’s other son, called Nadab and all the rest of his family. The Bible says that we cannot lie to God. ‘You cannot cheat God. A farmer harvests the same crops as he sows. So a man who lives by his own desires will die, because of his desires. But a man who lives by the Spirit will always live, because of the Spirit.’ (See Galatians 6:7-8.)
Rehoboam’s rule as king of *Judah
v21 Rehoboam the son of Solomon was king in *Judah. His mother’s name was Naamah. She came from Ammon. He was 41 years old when he became king. He ruled for 17 years in Jerusalem. This was the city which the *Lord chose. He wanted people to give honour to him there.
v22 The people in *Judah *sinned against God. Because of their *sins they made him more angry with them than their *ancestors had done. v23 They made places of *worship for false gods. They put up large stones and images of female gods on hills and under large trees. v24 There were even men who offered their bodies for sex. The people practised all the disgusting things that the nations before them had done. God had forced the people from those nations to leave as the *Israelites went in.
v25 When Rehoboam had ruled for 5 years, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. v26 He took away all the valuable things that were in the *temple of the *Lord and the palace. He even took the gold *shields that Solomon had made. v27 So Rehoboam made *shields out of bronze (a brown metal) to replace them. The officers who guarded the palace gates looked after them. Rehoboam handed out the *shields to them. v28 Every time the king went to the *Lord’s *temple, the guards carried the *shields. Afterwards they took them back to the room where the guards stayed.
v29 The book of the ‘History of the Kings of *Judah’ records all the events of Rehoboam’s rule. It also tells us what he did. v30 Rehoboam and Jeroboam were always at war with each other. v31Rehoboam died and they buried him in the royal graves in David’s city. Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah. She came from Ammon. Rehoboam’s son Abijam followed him as king.
The Bible does not say anything good about Rehoboam. During his rule, the people turned away from God. They were worse than in the time of the Book of Judges.
The stones were like images of male gods. Both men and women offered their bodies for sex. They did this as part of their religion. People believed that this would give them good crops. The gods would send rain and sun.
The original inhabitants of the country called Canaan followed a wicked religion. These practises were part of that religion. Because that religion was so evil, God forced those people to leave the land. He gave the land to his own people, that is, the *Israelites. He warned his people about those religions. They should not imitate the behaviour of the people who used to live in their country. They should not *worship the false gods. And they should not marry anyone from the nations that used to own the land. Solomon had married Rehoboam’s mother, who was from the nation called Ammon. And Solomon *worshipped false gods when he was old. During Rehoboam’s rule, the people were following those evil religions and their wicked practices. These *sins were terrible. They caused God to be angry.
The army from Egypt defeated Rehoboam’s army. So the king of Egypt took away all the valuable things in the *temple. Rehoboam replaced gold *shields with cheaper ones that he made out of bronze (a brown metal).
Rehoboam and Jeroboam were always at war with each other. They did not always fight but they always had to be ready for war.
Our *sins make God angry. ‘God is angry with wicked people every day’ (Psalm 7:11). *Sin makes things worse, not better. ‘They said that they themselves were clever. They said that they understood many things. But really, they became fools. They refused to *worship the great and good God who can never die. Instead, they made and *worshipped false gods. Their false gods were like human people, who must die…They refused to believe the true things about God. Instead, they chose to believe something that is not true’ (Romans 1:22, 23, 25)