1 Kings 14:1-15:24
14 About this same time, Abijah (Jeroboam’s son) became very ill.
Jeroboam (to his wife): 2 Get up quickly, and dress in a disguise so that no one will know you are my wife. Then travel as fast as you can to Shiloh, where the prophet Ahijah is dwelling. He is the one who prophesied that I would be king of these people. 3 Pack 10 loaves of bread, a few cakes, and a honey jar. Go find him quickly; he should be able to prophesy the boy’s fate.
4 Jeroboam’s wife did this urgent thing. She traveled quickly to Shiloh and found the dwelling place of Ahijah. Ahijah was blind in his old age and could not see a thing. 5 The Eternal One had already told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is on her way to ask you to prophesy the fate of her boy who is ill. This is what you are to say to her. But beware, when she comes to your house, she will pretend to be someone else.”
6 Ahijah heard her footsteps come into his house, and he called out to her.
Ahijah: Come inside. You are Jeroboam’s wife, but why do you wear a disguise? I have an urgent and severe message for you from the Eternal One.
7 Go back to Jeroboam right now, and tell him this is the message of the Eternal One, the God of Israel: “I appointed you from the community and granted you leadership over My people Israel. 8-9 I stripped the kingdom out from under the house of David, and I handed it over to you. But you have committed evil which exceeds those before you; and you have not been an honorable servant like David, for he honored My laws and gave his entire heart to Me. Unlike you, he sought to do My will. You have made yourself other gods and cast false idols in their honor. You have aroused My wrath by putting Me behind you. 10 Therefore, beware.
“I will bring destruction to Jeroboam’s house; and I will keep every Israelite man—both free and slave—away from him. I will wipe out Jeroboam’s house, just as one burns the dung from animals, so his house will be burned up and wiped out. There will be nothing left of his house. 11 All who remain devoted to Jeroboam, if they die in the city, will be devoured by dogs. If they die in the fields, they will be devoured by birds of the heavens.” The Eternal One has already said that is what will happen.
12 Get up quickly, and go back to your home. As soon as you set foot in the city, your son will die. 13 All of Israel will grieve for him and bury him. He is the only member of Jeroboam’s family who will have a proper burial, for he was the only one within Jeroboam’s house in whom the Eternal God of Israel found something good.
14 The Eternal will appoint for Himself a new king over Israel, and this new king will separate the kingdom from Jeroboam’s house from this day and beyond. 15 The Eternal One will strike Israel, and Israel will be rattled just as water rattles a reed. The Eternal One will tear out Israel from this promised land given to their ancestors, and He will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River. He will do this because they have crafted their sacred poles and aroused the fiery wrath of the Eternal One. 16 He will abandon Israel because of Jeroboam’s wickedness, which caused all of Israel to be wicked as well.
17 Jeroboam’s wife then got up and traveled to Tirzah. As soon as she stepped into the house, her son died. 18 All Israel buried him and grieved for him, just as the Eternal One said they would in the message He gave through the prophet Ahijah.
19 Is not the rest of Jeroboam’s story—how he caused war, as well as the general history of his actions and reign—documented in the book of the chronicles of Israel’s kings?
20 Jeroboam ruled over Israel for 22 years, then he left this world to sleep with his fathers. Jeroboam’s son, Nadab, then inherited the throne.
21 Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, ruled over Judah. He was granted kingship when he was 41 years old, and he ruled 17 years. He lived out his reign in Jerusalem, the city which the Eternal chose from all of Israel’s tribes as the dwelling place for His name. His mother was Naamah the Ammonitess, one of Solomon’s foreign wives.
22 Judah was also wicked in the Eternal’s eyes. Their wickedness aroused His jealousy more than the wickedness of all their ancestors combined. 23 They constructed high places and crafted holy pillars. They infected the pure earth with their sacred poles on every mountain and beneath every beautiful tree. 24 There were also temple prostitutes who worked throughout the land. They followed the examples of the nations and were wicked just as the nations were before the arrival of the Israelites.
25 During the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, Shishak, Egypt’s king, waged war against Jerusalem. 26 He stole all the treasures from the Eternal’s temple and from the palace. He stole everything, even the golden shields Solomon had crafted.
Paying tribute to the powerful Egyptian pharaoh, who is also known as Shoshenq I, may have saved Judah from destruction, but Jeroboam and Israel are not so safe. This record describes what happens to Israel, but Shishak records another perspective in a relief at the temple at Karnak. In the relief, Shishak’s god is shown pulling a rope with 120 slaves attached to it. Each slave carries the name of a town Shishak claims to have conquered. Even if the information in the relief is embellished, history does agree that Shishak has control of Judah and Israel in the eighth century.
27 King Rehoboam crafted bronze shields to replace the golden shields. He put the shields in the hands of the leaders of the guard who stood guard at the entrance of the palace. 28 On ceremonial occasions, such as when the king entered the Eternal’s temple, the guards carried the shields. They would then return the shields to their room.
29 Is not the rest of Rehoboam’s story documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? 30 There were always wars taking place between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 Rehoboam left this world to sleep with his fathers and was laid to rest with his ancestors in the city of David. His mother was called Naamah the Ammonitess. Then his son, Abijam, inherited the throne.
15 During the 18th year of Jeroboam’s reign (Jeroboam was Nebat’s son), Abijam[a] took over the throne of Judah. 2 Abijam reigned 3 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Maacah[b] (Abishalom’s daughter). 3 Abijam indulged in the same wicked things as his father did. His heart did not wholly belong to the Eternal One his God, as his ancestor David’s heart had. 4 Nevertheless, the Eternal One his God left the lamp of His presence in Jerusalem for David’s sake, so that He might allow his son to grow up there and to make a strong foundation for Jerusalem. 5 David did what was good in the eyes of the Eternal, for he did not abandon the commands of the Eternal during his lifetime, with the exception of the incident with Uriah the Hittite.[c] 6 The war between Rehoboam’s and Jeroboam’s people continued during Abijam’s entire lifetime.
7 Is not the rest of Abijam’s story documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? How war continued between Abijam and Jeroboam? 8 Abijam left this world to sleep with his fathers, and they laid him to rest in the city of David, as was the tradition. His son, Asa, then inherited the throne.
In ancient Israel, people are typically buried in family tombs that are either in natural caves on the family property or are cut out of rock. Initially, the body is laid in the center of the tomb on a stone bench. Later, when the flesh has rotted off the bones and more space is needed in the tomb, a family member will push the bones off the bench into the corners of the tomb or into holes in the walls intended to hold the bones. In this way, everyone “slept with his fathers” before being literally “gathered to his ancestors.”
9 During the 20th year of Israel’s king, Jeroboam, Asa took over the throne in Judah. 10 He ruled for 41 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Maacah[d] (Abishalom’s daughter).
11 Asa did what was good in the Eternal’s eyes, just as his ancestor David had. 12 He eliminated cult prostitution throughout the land, and he destroyed every idol his fathers had crafted. 13 He also took away his mother’s position as queen mother because she, Maacah, had made a corrupt and vile image honoring the goddess Asherah. Asa stripped down the goddess’s image and set fire to it in the trash heap beside the Kidron stream. 14 The high places were left alone. Asa did not touch them, but his heart belonged wholly to the Eternal One for his entire life. 15 He transported silver and gold and objects into the Eternal’s temple, replacing those that Shishak had taken. He dedicated old things of his father’s, as well as his own new things.
16 There was war continually between Asa and Baasha (Israel’s king who took the throne in a coup against Nadab) during their reigns. 17 Baasha, Israel’s king, challenged Judah and fortified Ramah. He built up the region so that no one could approach or leave Asa, Judah’s king.
Ramah is about five miles north of Jerusalem and astride the road leading to the northern tribes.
18 Asa then gathered up all the silver and gold from the treasuries in the Eternal’s temple and in the king’s house. He handed it all over to those who were in his service. King Asa told them to go see Ben-hadad (son of Tabrimmon and grandson of Hezion, Aram’s king) in Damascus.
Asa (to Ben-hadad): 19 Let us make an agreement, just as my father and your father did. I offer you gifts of silver and gold and request that you break your agreement with Baasha, Israel’s king. Then he will leave me alone, and both you and I will benefit from the deal.
20 Ben-hadad heard King Asa’s request and immediately dispatched military leaders to wage war against Israel’s cities. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, all of Chinneroth, and all of Naphtali. 21 Baasha received word of this, and he immediately stopped fortifying Ramah as an outpost against Asa. Then he stayed in Tirzah.
22 When King Asa heard it, he made a declaration to Judah. There was not a single citizen or foreigner who did not hear his words. Everyone tore down the fortifications around Ramah; Baasha had been using large rocks and timber. King Asa then fortified his own cities of Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah with those rocks and timbers.
23 Is not the rest of Asa’s story—his actions, strengths, and records of cities built—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings? When he was an old man, his feet were struck with a horrible disease. 24 Asa left this world to sleep with his fathers and was laid with them to rest in the city of David. His son, Jehoshaphat, then inherited the throne.
While Peter is in Joppa, another story is developing a day’s journey to the north along the Mediterranean coast.
10 Cornelius, a Roman Centurion and a member of a unit called the Italian Cohort, lived in Caesarea. 2 Cornelius was an outsider, but he was a devout man—a God-fearing fellow with a God-fearing family. He consistently and generously gave to the poor, and he practiced constant prayer to God. 3 About three o’clock one afternoon, he had a vision of a messenger of God.
Messenger of God: Cornelius!
Cornelius (terrified): 4 What is it, sir?
Messenger of God: God has heard your prayers, and He has seen your kindness to the poor. God has taken notice of you. 5-6 Send men south to Joppa, to the house of a tanner named Simon. Ask to speak to a guest of his named Simon, but also called Peter. You’ll find this house near the waterfront.
7 After the messenger departed, Cornelius immediately called two of his slaves and a soldier under his command—an especially devout soldier. 8 He told them the whole story and sent them to Joppa.
9 Just as these men were nearing Joppa about noon the next day, Peter went up on the flat rooftop of Simon the tanner’s house. He planned to pray, 10 but he soon grew hungry. While his lunch was being prepared, Peter had a vision of his own—a vision that linked his present hunger with what was about to happen: 11 A rift opened in the sky, and a wide container—something like a huge sheet suspended by its four corners—descended through the torn opening toward the ground. 12 This container teemed with four-footed animals, creatures that crawl, and birds—pigs, bats, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, and vultures.
A Voice: 13 Get up, Peter! Kill! Eat!
Peter: 14 No way, Lord! These animals are forbidden in the dietary laws of the Hebrew Scriptures! I’ve never eaten nonkosher foods like these before—not once in my life!
A Voice: 15 If God calls something permissible and clean, you must not call it forbidden and dirty!
16 Peter saw this vision three times; but the third time, the container of animals flew up through the rift in the sky, the rift healed, 17 and Peter was confused and unsettled as he tried to make sense of this strange vision.
At that very moment, Peter heard the voices of Cornelius’s delegation, who had asked for directions to Simon’s house, coming from the front gate.
Delegation: 18 Is there a man named Simon, also called Peter, staying at this house?
19-20 Peter’s mind was still racing about the vision when the voice of the Holy Spirit broke through his churning thoughts.
Holy Spirit: The three men who are searching for you have been sent by Me. So get up! Go with them. Don’t hesitate or argue.
21 Peter rushed downstairs to the men.
Peter: I’m the one you’re seeking. Can you tell me why you’ve come?
Delegation: 22 We’ve been sent by our commander and master, Cornelius. He is a Centurion, and he is a good, honest man who worships your God. All the Jewish people speak well of him. A holy messenger told him to send for you, so you would come to his home and he could hear your message.
23 Peter extended hospitality to them and gave them lodging overnight. When they departed together the next morning, Peter brought some believers from Joppa.
A song of David for those journeying to worship.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters live together in peace!
2 It is like the finest oils poured on the head,
sweet-smelling oils flowing down to cover the beard,
Flowing down the beard of Aaron,
flowing down the collar of his robe.
3 It is like the gentle rain of Mount Hermon
that falls on the hills of Zion.
Yes, from this place, the Eternal spoke the command,
from there He gave His blessing—life forever.
7 Elegant speech sounds odd when it comes from a fool,
and a lie on the lips of a leader is even more out of place!
8 A bribe is like an enchanting charm to one who counts on it—
everywhere he looks he sees the illusion of success.