Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
Old Testament, 1 Kings, Chapters 12-14; 2 Chronicles 17 and 20
Supplemental; 1 Kings 11:1-4, 26-40; 2 Kings 17:20-23
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #27
The Influence of Wicked and Righteous Leaders
1 Kings 12—22, A divided monarchy
Northern Kingdom (10 Tribes) Israel also called Ephraim
Southern Kingdom (tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levites) Judah
Rehoboam (Judah) Forsook the law of the Lord
Jeroboam (Israel) Set up idols and false priesthood
Nadab (Israel) Followed Jeroboam’s pattern
Abijah (also called Abijam) (Judah) Walked in all the sins of his father
Asa (Judah) Did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord
Baasha (Israel) Followed the pattern of Jeroboam
Jehoshaphat (Judah) Did not take down the high places but was otherwise righteous
Elah (Israel) Was a drunkard—“made Israel to sin”
Zimri (Israel) Was a murderer, idolater (reigned seven days)
Omri (Israel) Was a worse idolater than all before him
Ahab (Israel) Was even worse than Omri, married Jezebel
1 Kings 12 - Rehoboam and Jeroboam
After Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam goes to Shechem as a concession to the northern tribes of Ephraim and Judah who didn’t support him, to be crowned king. While Rehoboam is in Shechem, Jeroboam (see Chapter 11 in supplemental reading ) who fled to Egypt, was called back to speak to Rehoboam along with “all the congregation of Israel” (v. 12:3). They said to Rehoboam, “Thy father made our yoke grievous; now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us lighter, and we will serve thee” (v. 12:4). Rehoboam told them they should come again in three days. During that time the king consulted the “old men” who told him “be a servant unto this people …and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever” (v. 12:7). And Rehoboam consulted the “young men” who told him to say to the people “And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke, …and chastise you with scorpions (stinging whips)" (v. 12:11). And Rehoboam took the advice of the young men. And all Israel departed except for those who dwelt in the cities of Judah (vv. 12:16-17).
And all Israel called Jeroboam to their congregation and made him king. Then Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem and prepared for war with the northern tribes. “But the word of God came unto Shemaiah a man of God, saying, "Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel” (vv. 12:22-24). And Rehoboam listened to the word of the Lord through Shemaiah, the prophet, and war was avoided.
Then Jeroboam [king of the Northern Kingdom] built his capital in Shechem in mount Ephraim. From that time he led his people into idolatry by making golden calves and placing them in Bethel and Dan so the Israelites would not go to worship in Jerusalem. Jeroboam also changed the traditional feast days and ordained priests who were not Levites. "And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi" (vv. 12:25-33).
1 Kings 13 - Jeroboam and the prophet from Judah
A prophet from Judah “by word of the LORD” (v. 13:1) goes to Bethel in the Northern Kingdom to prophesy. He tells Jeroboam that the altar will be destroyed and the ashes poured out as a sign from God that his sacrifice is evil and not accepted by the Lord. Jeroboam puts his hand on the altar and the hand “dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him” (v. 13:4). And Jeroboam asks the prophet to plead with the Lord to restore his hand; and the hand is restored (v. 13:6).
Now comes the strange story of the prophet from Judah and an “old” prophet from Bethel who persuades the Judean prophet to go against “the word of the Lord.” He has been told by the Lord not to eat bread or drink water in that place. The old prophet lied and told the prophet from Judah that the Lord had spoken to him through an angel that he should bring him back into his house to eat bread and drink water—and the prophet from Judah disregards the Lords word and accepts the offer made by the prophet from Bethel. After he has eaten and drunk water, the old prophet tells the other prophet that because he disobeyed the word of the Lord he will be killed by a lion and his carcass will be left there (vv. 13:8-24). And thus it is. Then the old prophet takes the Judean prophet’s body and buries it in his own sepulchre (v. 13:31) (see also 2 Kings 13:17). Moral of the story: always obey the word of the Lord and not the word of man.
“And Jeroboam returned not from his evil way;" and he continues to make the lowest of the people priests over high places "and this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth” (vv. 13:33-34).
1 Kings 14 - Rehoboam and Jeroboam both die
Jeroboam's son Abijah becomes sick and the king sends his wife in disguise to Shiloh in Judah to find the prophet Ahijah. This is the prophet who earlier told Jeroboam he would be king over the ten tribes. He tells Jeroboam’s wife that because Jeroboam has done evil and made other gods and molten images, that his son Abijah will die. Ahijah also tells her to tell Jeroboam that the Lord will smite Israel [the Northern Kingdom], that they will be taken out of the land of their fathers, and they shall be scattered because they have provoked the Lord to anger. (vv. 14:1-15). "And he [the Lord] shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin" (v. 14:16).
And the days which Jeroboam [in Israel] reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers and Nadab, his son reigned in his stead” (14:20).
Meanwhile, Rehoboam, the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. And he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem. And the people in Judah were also evil “above all that their fathers had done” (v. 14:22). They worshiped idols in their “high places and groves” and there were “sodomites in the land” (vv. 14:23-24). In the fifth year of the reign of Rehoboam, the king of Egypt came to war with Jerusalem. The scriptures say that he took away all the treasures of the king’s house and the house of the Lord in Jerusalem (v. 14:26). “And there was war between Rehoboam [Judah] and Jeroboam [Israel] all their days” (v. 14:30). And Rehoboam died and “Abijam his son reigned in his stead” (v. 14:31).
▶Note: Rehoboam's son, Abijam, is also referred to as Abijah in 2 Chronicles 12:16 (see footnote 1 Kings 14:31a).
2 Chronicles 17: 1-10 - Jehoshaphat, a righteous leader
The following is Jehoshaphat's lineage: David, his son Solomon, Solomon's son Rehoboam, Rehoboam's son Abijam (Abijah), Abijam's son Asa, Asa's son Jehoshaphat.
The first thing Jehoshaphat does is to strengthen Judah. He “placed forces in all the fenced cities” and “sent garrisons in the land…and in the cities which Asa his father had taken” (v. 17:2-3). “And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father[s]; David, and sought not unto Baalim [fertility gods of the Canaanites and others; see Internet]; but sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel” [the Northern Kingdom] (vv. 17:3-4).
And because he followed the Lord, Judah prospered with “riches and honour” in abundance. “And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD.” And the scripture says he “took away” the high places and groves where the immoral worship of Baal was practiced (v. 17:6) (see note below). Then, he called the prophets and the Levite priests and sent them to teach the people of Judah “the book of the law of the LORD” throughout all the cities of Judah. “And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat” (vv. 17:5-10).
“High places (1 Kings 12:31): altars that were built on hilltops. When the people fell into idolatry, they desecrated these altars and used them for idol worship.
Groves (1 Kings 14:15): places of pagan worship where people sometimes engaged in immoral behavior” (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 128–33).
Note: Second Chronicles 20:33 states: “the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.”
2 Chronicles 20: 1-30 - The people of Jehoshaphat trust in the Lord
Now a great multitude of people from Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Jehoshaphat “turned himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” And the people came out of all the cities to ask help of the Lord. When they were gathered Jehoshaphat prayed mightily remembering that the Lord had promised Abraham the land as a sanctuary for his people. He tells the Lord that they don't know why this “great company” has come against them and they don't know what to do; “but our eyes are upon thee”—they are willing to rely on the Lord (vv. 20:1-13).
The Spirit of the Lord comes to Jahaziel, a Levite and the son of Zechariah, in the midst of the congregation. And he said, “Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's“ (v. 20:15). He told them to go to the end of the wadi or valley east of the wilderness of Jeruel (see footnotes 16b, 16c). He tells them they will not need to fight in this battle; “set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” Then Jehoshaphat and all the people fell on the ground and worshipped the Lord (vv. 20:14-18).
In the morning they went forth to the wilderness where the Lord sent them and the King said to them, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe in his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” And they went out before the army singing praises to the Lord. And the Lord caused the children of Ammon and Moab to go against the inhabitants of mount Seir to utterly slay and destroy them; then those who were left of the Ammonites and the Moabites fell on each other. When Judah came to the given place in the wilderness, they beheld all were “dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.” And for three days they took away the spoil found in abundance from among the dead. On the fourth day they returned home with joy. “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.” And the Lord gave Jehoshaphat rest “round about.” Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah for twenty five years in Jerusalem always doing what was right in the sight of the Lord (vv. 20:18-32).
Supplemental Reading; 1 Kings 11:1-4, 26-40; 2 Kings 17:20-23
1 Kings 11 - Solomon is corrupted; Ahijah prophesies that Israel will be divided
And Solomon married many “strange” [foreign] women who brought their idol and heathen worship with them to Israel. The scripture states that he had seven hundred wives and princesses, and three hundred concubines (v. 11:3). These women corrupted Solomon and when he was old, he “turned away his heart after other gods” (v. 11:4). And God stirred up adversaries against the king.
Solomon’s servant, an industrious man named Jeroboam, was made ruler over the house of Joseph [Ephraim and Manasseh] (v. 11:28). A prophet named Ahijah told Jeroboam that he would rule over the ten tribes of Israel but the tribe of Judah [including half the tribe of Benjamin and the Levites] would continue under David’s line [including the promised Messiah] (vv. 11:29-36). From that day Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam who fled to Egypt for safety. Solomon reigned over all of Israel forty years and died and was buried in the city of David. He was succeeded by Rehoboam, his son (vv.11:40-43).
2 Kings 17- The Northern Kingdom (Israel) is conquered and scattered by Assyria
Hoshea was king of Israel when Shalmaneser [the king of Assyria after Tiglath-pileser] conquered Israel.
“Hoshea: Reigned nine years (abt. 732–722 B.C.). By the time of Hoshea’s reign, Israel’s captivity was unavoidable. Samaria fell to Assyria about 721 B.C. and most of the inhabitants were deported. They were then scattered and became the ten lost tribes” (see 2 Kings 17:1–34). (See The Kings and the Prophets of Israel and Judah chart; LDS.org.)
Hoshea “became his servant, and gave him presents” which meant he was willing to be a vassal king (v. 17:3). After a while, Hoshea quit sending tribute to the Assyrians and Shalmaneser put him in prison. For three years the Assyrian king besieged the Northern Kingdom and finally took the city of Samaria. The Assyrians took away the captive Israelites to Halah, Habor by the river of Gozan, and to the cities of the Medes (v. 17:4-6). This punishment was because the Lord had been provoked to anger: “For they [the Israelites] served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing” (vv. 17:11-12). “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove and worshipped all the host of heaven, [the sun, moon, and stars] and served Baal” (v.17:16). They sacrificed their children by fire and used “divination and enchantments.”
And the Lord removed them out of his sight (v. 17:17), “there was none left but the tribe of Judah only” (v. 17:18). “The ten tribes carried into captivity at this time were Reuben, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The three remaining tribes [in the Southern Kingdom] were Judah, Benjamin, and Levi” (Student Manual, II, p. 127). Not all members of every tribe were taken captive. Some had already migrated to Judah because of the wickedness of the people in Israel. And, some of the ten tribes remained in Israel.
To repopulate Samaria, the Assyrians brought in their own people along with others from various countries. The scriptures state that these people did not fear [know] the Lord; “therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them” (v. 17:25). Then the Assyrian king sent an Israelite priest back from his captivity “and taught them how they should fear the LORD” (v. 17:28). The result was, “They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence” (v. 17:33). In other words, they worshipped Jehovah and combined it with the pagan religions of Assyria. The Samaritans as a people eventually resulted from the intermarriage between the remaining Israelites and the Assyrians who came after the ten tribes were carried away (Student Manual, II, p. 127).
Note: Sometime during the three year siege of Samaria, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon II who destroyed the city and “carried the survivors captive into Assyria” (Student Manual, II, p. 114).