Ahijah Announces Jeroboam’s Downfall.* 1At that time Abijah, son of Jeroboam, took sick. 2a So Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go and disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you as Jeroboam’s wife. Then go to Shiloh, where you will find Ahijah the prophet. It was he who spoke the word that made me king over this people. 3Take along ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the child.” 4The wife of Jeroboam did so. She left and went to Shiloh and came to the house of Ahijah.
Now Ahijah could not see because age had dimmed his sight. 5But the LORD said to Ahijah: Jeroboam’s wife is coming to consult you about her son, for he is sick. Thus and so you must tell her. When she comes, she will be in disguise. 6So Ahijah, hearing the sound of her footsteps as she entered the door, said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why are you in disguise? For my part, I have been commissioned to give you bitter news. 7Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I exalted you from among the people and made you ruler of my people Israel. 8I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you. Yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with his whole heart, doing only what is right in my sight. 9You have done more evil than all who were before you: you have gone and made for yourself other gods and molten images to provoke me; but me you have cast behind your back. 10b Therefore, I am bringing evil upon the house of Jeroboam:
I will cut off from Jeroboam’s line every male
—bond or free—in Israel;
I will burn up what is left of the house of Jeroboam
as dung is burned, completely.
11c Anyone of Jeroboam’s line who dies in the city,
dogs will devour;
anyone who dies in the field,
the birds of the sky will devour.
For the LORD has spoken!’ 12As for you, leave, and go home! As you step inside the city, the child will die, 13and all Israel will mourn him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s line will be laid in the grave, since in him alone of Jeroboam’s house has something pleasing to the LORD, the God of Israel, been found. 14The LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Jeroboam—today, at this very moment! 15The LORD will strike Israel like a reed tossed about in the water and will pluck out Israel from this good land which he gave their ancestors, and will scatter them beyond the River,* because they made asherahs for themselves, provoking the LORD. 16He will give up Israel because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and caused Israel to commit.” 17So Jeroboam’s wife left and went back; when she came to Tirzah and crossed the threshold of her house, the child died. 18He was buried and all Israel mourned him, according to the word of the LORD spoken through his servant Ahijah the prophet.
19The rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he fought and how he reigned, these are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. 20The length of Jeroboam’s reign was twenty-two years. He rested with his ancestors, and Nadab his son succeeded him as king.
III. KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL*
Reign of Rehoboam. 21* Rehoboam, son of Solomon, became king in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city in which, out of all the tribes of Israel, the LORD chose to set his name. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite.
22Judah did evil in the LORD’s sight and they angered him even more than their ancestors had done. 23They, too, built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and asherahs,* upon every high hill and under every green tree. 24There were also pagan priests in the land. Judah imitated all the abominable practices of the nations whom the LORD had driven out of the Israelites’ way. 25* In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem. 26d He took everything, including the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the house of the king, even the gold shields Solomon had made. 27To replace them, King Rehoboam made bronze shields, which he entrusted to the officers of the guard on duty at the entrance of the royal house. 28Whenever the king visited the house of the LORD, those on duty would carry the shields, and then return them to the guardroom.
29The rest of the acts of Rehoboam, with all that he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. 30There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. 31Rehoboam rested with his ancestors; he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. His son Abijam succeeded him as king.
* [14:1–20] The last major unit of the Jeroboam story recounts the story of Ahijah of Shiloh’s oracle condemning the entire house of Jeroboam; this is followed by a formulaic notice of Jeroboam’s death and the succession of his son. Compare the first unit of the Jeroboam story, 11:26–43, which recounted Ahijah’s oracle proclaiming Jeroboam’s kingship, followed by the formulaic notice of the death of Solomon.
* [14:21–16:34] The treatment of the events of Jeroboam’s reign shows that the author believes that the political division of the kingdoms embodies the Lord’s will, but that their religious separation is undesirable. The Israelites are, in effect, one people of God under two royal administrations. This complex arrangement is reflected in the way 1–2 Kings organizes the history of the divided kingdoms. Each reign is treated as a unity: the kings, whether of Israel or Judah, are legitimate rulers. But the accounts of northern and southern kings are interwoven in the order in which each came to the throne, without regard to which kingdom they ruled: the people of God is one.
* [14:21] The account of each king’s reign follows the same basic pattern: a formulaic introduction, a theological evaluation based on religious fidelity, a brief account of an event from the king’s reign, and a formulaic conclusion.
* [14:25–28, 30] The narrator recounts Shishak’s campaign here to imply that it was punishment for Judah’s evil, and perhaps to cast him as supporting Jeroboam in his constant warfare with Rehoboam. (Shishak was named as Jeroboam’s protector and patron in 11:40.) Egyptian records of the campaign list one hundred fifty cities conquered in Israel as well as Judah, but Jerusalem is not one of them. Chronicles has a parallel version of this account in 2 Chr 12:9–11.