Tuesday, June 26, 2012

my notes from chapter 13 of The Story (I Kings 12-16)

The Folly of Rehoboam (I Kings 11:26-12:24, 14:21-31)

-Olasky’s “Christ met with Moses and Elijah; often Christians do not”, emphasizing 1/4 of the Bible and unconsciously imitating Marcion’s heresy of eliminating the OT (I Cor 10:11)
-review: the life of Solomon including his wisdom, accomplishments, ministry and worship, and earlier in ch. 11, his failures and fall
-latter includes his many wives and idolatry—and God's judgment and consequences pronounced: God raised up adversaries against Solomon and much of the kingdom would be taken from his son, Rehoboam
-intro to this segment of Israel's history: GCM's "In this [story] and the four following chapters (12-16), we have the appalling story of the break-up and degradation of the nation. It covers a period of about 60 years, from the disruption after the death of Solomon [with Rehoboam and Jeroboam], to the corruption under Ahab and the coming of Elijah."
à perhaps the most important unknown/under-rated Biblical story of Israel…

11:26,28's intro to Jeroboam and his rebellion (skim)
-26a's "also...rebelled against the king"-- see: Hadad and Rezon's rebellions against Solomon (11:14-22,23-25)
-26b's revealed background:
-"one of Solomon's officials"-- rebellion from within
-"an Ephraimite" (the dominant northern tribe; more later)
-"his mother was a widow" (an unlikely candidate to lead)
-28's reputation and position:
-"a man of standing"; "how well [he] did his work"
--> "put...in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph (E&M)"
-despite only being a "young man"

11:29-39's Jeroboam's kingship-to-be (read)
-29-30's "about that time", alone on the road, met by Ahijah the prophet who tears his cloak into 12 pieces as an illustration of what had already been prophesied to Solomon (I Kings 11:11-13; reminiscent of Sam 15:27-28)
-31,35's ten pieces/tribes for Jeroboam
-32,36's one tribe left for David's sake (36's "a lamp before me in Jerusalem")
--> funny math here (10 + 1 = 12?) and what about 12 tribes?
-Judah is assumed since it was in the house of David; Benjamin as the one tribe
-tiny Benjamin often mentioned in tandem with dominant Judah (and the two later known as Judah)
-33's cause: "forsaken God", engaged in idolatry, "have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right"
-34-35's transition to be after Solomon's death
-a key factor later: date not specified or known to Jeroboam (w/ app. to waiting on God's timing)
-38's covenantal blessing, incl. "dynasty", conditional on his obedience
-39's purpose: to "humble David's descendants" for a time (ended fully with the appearance of Christ)

11:40-43's conclusion (skip)
-40’s Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam and he flees to Egypt
-43 for Solomon's death (at 60) and succeeded by his son, Rehoboam

12:1-4 (read)
-1's Rehoboam goes to Shechem (about 35 miles north of Jerusalem) to be made king
-W&Z's "a fitting [and] sacred spot...reminded the Israelites of their divinely revealed destiny as a nation and of God's faithfulness." (Gen 12:6-7, 33:18-20, 35:4; Josh 24, 8:30-35)
-but traveling to become king implies political troubles
-Miller and Hayes' "Rehoboam [went] north to negotiate the matter of kingship. Probably the people of the north had already given signals of disloyalty to Jerusalem and the Davidic dynasty. One clear signal [was] their failure to send representatives to Jerusalem affirming their support of Rehoboam in the first place."
-2's Jeroboam returns from exile in Egypt and 3's leads a group to meet with Rehoboam: 4's offer to "serve" if he would "lighten" Solomon's "harsh labor and heavy yoke" (I Sam 8:11-18!)
-"serve" (voluntarily) vs. forced to comply or rebellion
-"harsh labor"-- conscription for Solomon's building projects; "heavy yoke"-- high taxation to finance his governance (I Kings 4:7,20-28, 5:13-14, 9:15,22, 11:28)
-didn't complain about Solomon's idolatry, but only about his (redistributive) fiscal (G&T) policies

12:5-7 (read)
-5's "three days" to think about it-- smart to ask for time
-6's consultation with Solomon's elders-- smart to retain and use his father's elders
-but when looking for counsel, he didn't asked God...
-7's advice: "if today you will be a servant to these people...they will always be your servants" (Pr 15:1)
-"today" vs. "always"-- a good investment (SR vs. LR)
-the epitome of leadership is service (Mk 10:42-45)
-importance of first impressions, getting off to a good start

12:8-11 (read)
-8a's "But Rehoboam rejected [their] advice"
            -as he had rejected God’s counsel (as had his father!)
-remarkably stupid/arrogant, esp. in that culture (Lev 19:32)
--> why did he find this advice unpalatable? control, capitulate now—with much to prove (SR/LR, given Solomon's long shadow), practical difficulties of reducing the size of govt
--> also implies that he was surprised by their advice; thought they would advocate continuing his father's policies
-see also: taking their advice as an insult to his father &/or made no sense given the apparent success of Solomon's reign and his famous wisdom
-8b-9's consultation with "young men"-- his childhood friends ("grown up with him") and current advisors ("serving him")
--> why did he ask another group?
            -2nd opinion; what if they had concurred with the elders?
-didn't like that advice (already reduced the decision to the status quo or more oppression)
-already made up his mind; if so...
-looking/hoping for affirmation or a scapegoat? (w/ app. to us and others in counsel)
-interesting that he would want three days
-10-11's advice (Dt 17:20)
-substance: increase their burden—heavier yoke, scorpions vs. whips (Ex 1,5)
-scorpions as "metal-spiked leather lashes"-- representing stricter punishment for lawbreaking
-style: talk tough-- 10b's "my little finger is thicker than my father's waist"; 11's scourge with whips and scorpions
-even if this was the best/chosen policy, more tact?!
--> 12-14's three days later, Rehoboam delivers the news
-except 10b's "my little finger is thicker than my father's waist"!
-in a word, decided to pursue their fear instead of their love
--> in sum, his folly in choosing the counsel of young vs. old; buddies vs. objective outsiders (incl. 9's "we" vs. 6's "me"-- too closely tied to his friends)
-MH's "Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines, yet we read but of one son he had to bear up his name, and he a fool." (esp. ironic given Solomon's entire purpose and direct audience for Proverbs!)
-Reardon’s “Many a life has been ruined—and in this case, a kingdom lost—because someone preferred the pooled stupidity of his contemporaries to the accumulated wisdom of his elders.”)

12:15-24 (skip)
-15a's "So the king did not listen to the people..."
-15b's begins the chain of events to fulfill God's word (11:9-13)
-free will vs. predestination; not condoning any actions, but merely noting connection to God's promised punishment
-21's Rehoboam "mustered" 180K troops "to make war" and "regain the kingdom"
-but 22-24a's word from Shemaiah "the man of God"-- a prophet: 24a's "do not go up to fight against your brothers...go home...for this is my doing"
--> 24b's obedience; civil war averted

14:21,22-24,25-28,29-31's summary of Rehoboam's reign (skim)
-21's personal characteristics, incl. age and length of reign: reigned for 17 years; became king at age 41 (born to Solomon around age 19, about a year before David's death)
-MH's "Solomon came to the crown very young, yet he was a wise man. Rehoboam came to the crown at 41, when men will be wise if ever they will, yet he was foolish."
-22-24's sin of the nation; in sum, 22's "Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done"
-25-28's Shishak attack
-25's king of Egypt; had already thumbed his nose at Judah by harboring Jeroboam when he rebelled against Solomon (11:40)
-26's "carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord...and the royal palace"-- taken or given as tribute
-a la Eccl, the vanity of Solomon's wealth, power and accomplishments-- five years into his reign!
-27-28's replaced gold shields with bronze; symbolic of Judah's "golden age" ending
--> an instrument of God's discipline, taking their liberty and wealth; and the Israelites get an old wish—to be slaves to Egypt again

                                      The Sins of Jeroboam (I Kings 12:25-13:34)

12:25-30 (read)
-25's fortifies Shechem to live there, builds up Peniel (Gen 32:30)
-26-27's "thought": "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David"-- since the people would want to go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, they would kill him and give their allegiance to Rehoboam
-not much faith in the people
-no faith in God; ignores God's promises and past performance
-28b-29's action: "made two golden calves" and told the people to worship them—in Bethel ("the house of God"; Gen 28:11-22, 35:6-7, Jud 20:26-27) and Dan (Jud 18)—vs. traveling to Jerusalem (Dt 16:16)
-directly disobeys God's word (Dt 12:4-6,14's "the place the Lord will choose")
-28a's "after seeking advice" (12:5-11; what advice did he get from them?)
-appealed to the distance they would have to travel
-a self-centered argument, pretending to care about others (w/ app.)
-but not most convenient geographically: Dan in far north and Bethel very close to Jerusalem
-prob. as much political as religious; Bethel/Dan as far south/north of Jeroboam's kingdom early-on
-later, an overreach with Bethel falling to Judah and Dan falling to Syria at times
--> 30a's "this thing became a sin"
-promoted violations of 1st/2nd C’s; led to later intro of Baal worship & merging with Canaanite religious practices (I Kings 16:30-33 w/ Ahab)
-see also: 31-32's sin details
--> interesting that he waited patiently for God's timing and plan after receiving word/promise of his future reign, but not here...
-when perceived as a matter of survival and continued well-being as king
-all this despite God's earlier warning to Jeroboam (11:38)
--> instead, Jeroboam should have gone to God or thought about what God had already done vs. choosing an evil (albeit practical) means to a "reasonable" end
-NIVSB's "Jeroboam abandoned religious principle for political expediency"
-w/ app. to taking God's agenda into our own hands-- as our own agenda
--> Jeroboam vs. Aaron: both built golden calves on others’ advice—as inappropriate means/timing to reasonable ends; claimed that the gods had delivered them from Egypt (12:28b); sons with similar names (14:1,20's Abijah/Nadab; Lev 10:1's Abihu/Nadab)
-amazing that Jeroboam would repeat Aaron's error (w/ app. to learn from Scripture and from the past; obtain and follow good counsel; Is 42:23, I Cor 10:11)

13:1-5 (read)
-1's man sent by God from Judah to Bethel when Jeroboam was at its altar making a sacrifice (Amos 7:10-17)
-interesting that God prevents an army with a civil agenda from going to Israel (12:21-24), but sends a prophet with a religious agenda instead
-amazingly bold, esp. in timing and place; fearing man vs. God
-public rebuke for large and public sin (Gal 2:11-14, I Tim 5:20)
-2's cry "against the altar"-- "by the word of the Lord": Josiah would sacrifice the priests of the high places on it (II Kings 23; Lev 26:30's more general prophecy)
-prophesying Josiah—"from the house of David [Judah]"?!
-a supernatural prophecy 290 years in advance
-3's sign from God to verify the future prophecy (5’s fulfillment): altar split and its ashes poured out-- signified God's power and the unacceptability of Jeroboam's sacrifice
-4a's Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered the man of God to be seized
-4b's hand "shriveled" and he couldn't "pull it back"
-in both cases, "hand" symbolizes authority (or lack of)

13:33-34 (skim)
-33a's "even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways"; 33b's "once more appointed priests...from all sorts of people"
-connect to previous story (no longer a strange tangent)-- but a lesson not learned (Jer 35:17)
-34's summary: "This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and...destruction"
-which sin? appointing all sorts of priests, refusal to repent despite warnings, or the whole story?
--> see: Crabb's conference on "the sin of Jeroboam" and Hosea
-northern kingdom's 20 kings as all evil; 16 of 20 explicitly commit the sin of (or walk in the ways of) Jeroboam (in Hosea's time, II Kings 14:24, 15:9,18,24,28's 5 of 7 kings; in sum, II Kings 17:21-23)
-see also: Hos 8:5-6, 10:5; 6:4, 13:2-3's decline to exile; our loves determine our life's direction; and Eccl's vanity

                               From Jeroboam's Fall to Elijah (I Kings 14-16:28)

14:1-5 (skip)
-1's illness for Jeroboam's son, Abijah (not 15:1's king of Judah)
-2-4's commands his wife to visit the prophet Ahijah—in disguise, with (customary) gifts

14:6-9 (read)
-6's ambush: identifies her and her disguise ("why such pretense?") and gives her the "bad news" before she can even inquire of him or give him the gifts-- why?
-why waste time? 
-more dramatic
-no op to give him the gifts-- assures perceived pure motives
-ironic given his physical blindness (14:4)
-instant credibility for his prophecy
-illustrates that this was in God's hands, not hers or Jeroboam's; see: 6b's "I have been sent to you..." (!)
-7-9 for God's message for Jeroboam-- through his wife and Ahijah (with Reardon’s “a harshness hardly surpassed on any page of Holy Scripture”):
-7-8a for God's provision—and given God's activity on behalf of Jeroboam, gratitude, obedience, and faith should have followed
-but 8b-9 for Jeroboam's (lack of) participation

14:10-16’s outcome (read)
-10-11’s personal: "because of this, I am going to bring disaster on [his] house"
-male as lit. "him who urinates against the wall" ("piss/pisseth" 8x in KJV: 16:11, 21:21; II Kings 9:8, 18:27, Is 36:12; I Sam 25:22,34)
-shameful: dung, dogs and birds!
-ironic: MH's "He thought, by his idolatry, to [preserve] his government, and by that he not only lost it, but brought destruction upon his family."
-12-13’s son dies—a good man, taken out early; the only one to be properly buried
-14-16's national—new king, but future disaster connected to present and to-be-continued sins: 16b's "the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit"
-"caused"—individual and external responsibility for sins committed! (24x in I,II Kings; II Chron 21:11, Mal 2:8, Mt 18:6-9's children and body parts, Rom 14:20-21, I Cor 8:13, 10:32)
-see also: God would "give [them] up because of [their] sins" and Israel as "a reed swaying in the water"-- apt given their political (and spiritual) instability
-on latter, post-split, 20 kings in each kingdom; in the North, greater instability, violence and apostasy-- nine different 'dynasties' over 210 years (930-722/721); in the South, all in David's line except Athaliah (930-586)

--> Jeroboam dies as well—and then the sad parade begins…
15:1-8's Abijah/Abijam (of Judah; II Chron 13)
15:9-15,16-22,23-24's good king Asa (of Judah; II Chron 14-16's details)
15:25-32's Nadab (of Israel)
15:33-16:7's Baasha (of Israel)
16:8-14's Elah (of Israel)
16:15-20's Zimri (of Israel)
16:21-28's Omri (of Israel; omit)
16:29-34's intro to, and summary of, Ahab (of Israel)
--> nearly one-third of the Kings material is devoted to the 34 years that Ahab and his sons ruled vs. the kingdom of God (represented most by Elijah and Elisha)
--> the agenda of Kings' writer/compiler was to highlight the extent to which a king and his nation were faithful to God and how he and they dealt with idolatry-- rather than his and his nation's earthly historical importance (see: number of verses for various kings)
-w/ app. to what matters for us within God's economy; all else is "vanity"


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