The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes on 1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 7, 2012


Background~See my notes on Yesterday’s first reading (1 Kings 11:4-13).

1Ki 11:29  So it came to pass at that time, that Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, and the prophet Ahias (Ahijah), the Silonite (Shilonite), clad with a new garment, found him in the way: and they two were alone in the field.

So it came to pass. After his condemnation of Solomon, God began to raise up “adversaries” against him as punishment: Adad (Hadad) in 1 Kings 11:14; Razon (Rezon) in 1 Kings 11:23. This reverses one of the impetuses Solomon had for building the temple: “But now the Lord my God hath given me rest round about; and there is no adversary nor evil occurrence. Wherefore I purpose to build a temple to the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying: Thy son, whom I will set upon the throne, in thy place, he shall build a house to my name” (1 Kings 5:4-5). But more trouble loomed for Solomon.  God had told him, “Because thou hast done this, and hast not kept my covenant, and my precepts, which I have commanded thee, I will divide and rend thy kingdom, and will give it to thy servant (1 Kings 11:11); it is this that the narrator is about to describe as coming to pass.

Jeroboam. See verses 26-28. I’ll just note here that Jeroboam is, in verse 28, described as “a valiant and mighty man” (גבור חיל), which recalls the description of David in 1 Sam 16:18. Also in verse 28 he is described as “ingenious and industrious”, which leads Solomon to place him in a position of trust. This remind us of David who had been a faithful servant to King Saul. As Saul attempted to kill David, Solomon attempts to kill Jeroboam (1:kings 11:40).  There are a numerous “series of correlations between the story of Jeroboam, Solomon, and Ahijah and the story of David, Saul and Samuel” (FIRST KINGS, by Jerome T. Walsh, pg. 148).  The rise of Jeroboam is described in a way which recalls the rise of David, and this presentation, taking place as it does in a narrative about the fall of Solomon is not without meaning.

1Ki 11:30  And Ahias taking his new garment, wherewith he was clad, divided it into twelve parts:
1Ki 11:31  And he said to Jeroboam: Take to thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give thee ten tribes.
1Ki 11:32  But one tribe shall remain to him for the sake of my servant, David, and Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:

(vs 30) And Ahias taking his new garment. Ahias (Ahijah) was in the previous verse identified as a Shilonite. Recall that, as a result of Saul’s sins, David was anointed by the prophet Samuel, whose career began at Shiloh (1 Sam 1:24).

(vs 30 cont.) Divided it (his new garment) into twelve parts. As the next two verses make clear, the twelve parts are intended to symbolize the twelve Tribes of Israel. The action recalls the demise of King Saul whose mantle Samuel tore to symbolize that God would tear the kingdom from him (1 Same 15:24-31).

(vs 31-32) Take these ten pieces…Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give thee ten tribes. But one tribe shall remain to him.  Thus there formed a new kingdom under Jeroboam which would retain the name Israel, and which is often termed by modern scholars as “the Northern Kingdom.” Because the line of David belonged to the Tribe of Judah the author doesn’t think it necessary to indicate that it would remain under the Davidide dynasty. The one tribe to remain is a reference to Benjamin. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin would become known as “Judah”, and is often termed “the Southern Kingdom” by modern scholars.

(vs 32 cont.) For the sake of my servant, David. As pointed out in my notes on yesterday’s first reading, this is a refrain which appears several times in the chapter. At one and the same it time recalls David’s fidelity to God-even after failure (i.e., he sought reconciliation) but, more importantly, it highlights God’s fidelity to the promise he made to David in 2 Sam 7.

(vs 32 cont.) For the sake of… Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribe of Israel. Jerusalem was chosen as the place where his name would dwell in the temple which Solomon built. God’s actions in regard to Jeroboam were in no way a repudiation of Jerusalem, the Temple, or the cult (see comment below)

1Ki 12:19  And Israel revolted from the house of David, unto this day.

Refers to what took place after Solomon’s death, during the reign of his foolish son, Rehoboam, (read 1 Kings 12:1-18). This political division, willed by God as a punishment for Solomon’s idolatry, would soon turn into a religious schism, as Jeroboam would lead his newly acquired kingdom into idolatry, forsaking Jerusalem and its Temple. See tomorrow’s first reading. I hope to post notes on that reading as well, but can promise nothing. If I do create a post you can find it here under Saturday.

2 Responses to “My Notes on 1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19”

  1. […] 1 Kings 11:1-12:25. See also my posts on the first readings for Thursday (1 Kings 11:4-13) and Friday (1 Kings 11:29-32, […]

  2. […] Psalm 37; Mark 7:14-23)The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Commentary on the Matins HymnMy Notes on 1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19Notes on 1 CorinthiansIs Logic A Science Or An Art?This Week's Posts: Sunday, February 5-Saturday, […]

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