1 Kings 14 – “The Death of Jeroboam’s Son; Rehoboam’s Decline”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
After being scolded by Ahijah the prophet, Jeroboam’s wife learns that her son has died. Rehoboam rules in Judah, but there is rampant idolatry and the Egyptian Pharaoh raids the temple. Rehoboam and Jeroboam battle continuously.

II. Photo
Jeroboam sends his wife to the prophet: “Jeroboam said to his wife, ‘Go and disguise yourself, so that you will not be recognized as Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh, where the prophet Ahijah lives.’” (v. 2a)

III. Important Verses
1-3: At that time, Abijah, a son of Jeroboam, fell sick. Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go and disguise yourself, so that you will not be recognized as Jeroboam’s wife, and go to Shiloh. The prophet Ahijah lives there, the one who predicted that I would be king over this people. Take with you ten loaves, some wafers, and a jug of honey, and go to him; he will tell you what will happen to the boy.”
15-16: “The LORD will strike Israel until it sways like a reed in water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have provoked the LORD by the sacred posts that they have made for themselves. He will forsake Israel because of the sins that Jeroboam committed and led Israel to commit.”
17-18: Jeroboam’s wife got up and left, and she went to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped over the threshold of her house, the child died. They buried him and all Israel lamented over him, in accordance with the word that the LORD had spoken through His servant the prophet Ahijah.
22-24: Judah did what was displeasing to the LORD, and angered Him more than their fathers had done by the sins that they committed. They too built for themselves shrines, pillars, and sacred posts on every high hill and under every leafy tree; there were also male prostitutes in the land. [Judah] imitated all the abhorrent practices of the nations that the LORD had dispossessed before the Israelites.
25-26: In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt marched against Jerusalem and carried off the treasures of the House of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He carried off everything; he even carried off all the golden shields that Solomon had made.
30: There was continual war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

IV. Outline

1-20. The death of Jeroboam’s child
    1. Jeroboam’s son becomes ill
    2-4a. Jeroboam sends his wife to Ahijah the prophet
    4b-16. Ahijah guarantees death, the end of the dynasty, and exile
    17-18. Jeroboam’s child dies
    19-20. Summary statement of Jeroboam’s reign
21-31. Rehoboam’s failures
    21-24. The Judeans sin under Rehoboam’s rule
    25-26. Shishak of Egypt raids the temple
    27-28. Rehoboam replaces Solomon’s gold shields with copper
    29-31. Summary statement of Rehoboam’s reign

V. Comment
Chapter 14 tells two stories: it begins with the death of Jeroboam’s son Abijah, and it ends with Rehoboam’s moral and political decline. Jeroboam’s son is said to have lived in Tirzah, and the following is Dale W. Manor’s summary of what scholars currently know about this enigmatic location: “Joshua is attributed with killing the king of Tirzah when Israel entered Canaan (Josh 12:24), but the city is not mentioned again in historical narrative until the time of Jeroboam. Jeroboam is not explicitly described as having reigned from Tirzah, although it is implied in the text in connection with the death of his son (1 Kgs 14:1–18). It is more clearly implied to be the capital of the N kingdom after Jeroboam’s death; all of his immediate successors—Baasha (1 Kgs 15:21, 33), Elah (1 Kgs 16:8), Zimri (1 Kgs 16:15), and Omri (1 Kgs 16:23–24)—reigned there until Omri moved the capital to Samaria. Tirzah was the home of Menahem, who later killed Shallum and seized the throne of Samaria (2 Kgs 15:14–16)…

“The identification of Tirzah has been a matter of some discussion and even now is not certain. On linguistic grounds, Robinson (BR 3, 302) identified it with Tulluza, [Vol. 6, p. 574]  which is located ca. 6 km N of Shechem. Another possibility based upon the same reasoning was to identify it with Teyasir, further NE of Tulluza (ISBE [1929 ed] 4: 2987). Albright, however, affirmed that the identification with Tulluza was “based on a fancy similarity of name, and lacks archaeological support” (1931: 244). His reason for rejecting the other site is unclear except that he states that it “has nothing to commend it, toponymically or archaeologically” (1931: 244).

“Albright’s strategy for identifying the location of the city was based upon several lines of reasoning, which involved a process of elimination. He concluded (1931: 241–42) that for strategic reasons, the city was probably located NE of Shechem to protect against incursion from the N (Damascus) and from the E (Ammon), but would still need to be somewhat centrally located to deal with problems that might arise from the W (Philistines and Phoenicians). Further information is inferred from the Samaria Ostraca, which mention several clans (or districts) of Samaria, one of which is Hepher. Hepher was subdivided into subclans and included Noah and Hoglah, who also are mentioned in the ostraca. According to the biblical texts, Noah and Hoglah were sisters (cf. Josh 17:3), who had another sister named Tirzah. He assumed that it would be reasonable for the territories associated with these related subclans to be contiguous (or at least in close proximity). Through a process of elimination in locating the areas of the other major clans, he finally concluded that the territory of Hepher and its subclans was NE of Samaria, and that Tell el-Far’ah “falls necessary [sic] into the region of Hefer, and the identification of it with Tirzah is imposed because of the lack of any other archaeological possibility in this region” (1931: 251). Albright identified sherds of the EB, MB, LB, and Iron Age I and II, with the most from Iron Age I (1931: 246).

“The subsequent excavations at Tell el-Far{ah have uncovered no written evidence to identify the site with Tirzah, but have revealed a stratigraphic profile that mirrors what is known about Tirzah from written sources. It is generally accepted that Tell el-Far’ah (M.R. 182188) is the best candidate to identify with Tirzah.” (Dale W. Manor, “Tirzah” ABD vol. VI, 573–77)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon John. “1 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 12 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Longe, Burke O. “1 Kings with an Introduction to Historical Literature” Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1984).
Photo taken from http://blog.successcreations.com/