1 Kings 12 Jeroboam’s Change – An Acted Parable
Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 10, 2008
KJV 1 Kings 12:26-33
26. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
27. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
28. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
29. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
30. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
31. 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.
32. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
33. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
As we examine the text verse by verse we will begin to understand the implications of Jeroboam’s actions. Not only did his actions effect the people of his day, it turns out this is also an acted parable repeated in history.
Jeroboam had a fear his people would return to the house of David. Jeroboam wanted the people to follow him at all costs. It did not matter God had given him the ten northern tribes. “And he said to Jeroboam, Take 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 ten tribes to thee:” KJV 1 Kings 11:31 When Jeroboam was given his kingdom Ahijah the prophet explained to him why God was taking the major part of the kingdom away from the house of David. “Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.” 1 Kings 11:33 This should have made a lasting impression with Jeroboam but it didn’t. There must have been another influence in his life that left a greater impression. “Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.” KJV 1 Kings 11:40 Did the influence from Egypt have a greater pull on Jeroboam than God?
What is illustrated by this example? There was more given to Jeroboam than most people could ever dream of. There comes a time in a perosn’s life they make a promise to God and say something like, “I would give anything if you would give me….” We are not told about Jeroboam making any promises but he was given an enormous gift from God. You would expect to see a great deal of gratitude from Jeroboam, but instead he completely turns his back on God in ways far worse than Solomon. It seems Jeroboam did not learn from Solomon’s mistakes.
Jeroboam reasons out the situation in his own mind. He reduces the situation to a competition between himself and Rehoboam king of Judah. Is this a mistake other leaders make? The biggest mistake Jeroboam made was to forget who gave the kingdom to him in the first place. Instead of turning to God for help he goes full speed in the opposite direction making the same idol fabricated by Aaron during the Exodus. Not only one but two of them in an attempt to make worship easier for his dedicated followers.
What is the implication of the golden calves? This is the same idol made by Aaron when Moses came down with the ten commandments.
KJV Exodus 32:3. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 5. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
KJV Exodus 32:15. And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. 16. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
KJV Exodus 32:20. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Jeroboam was not only given one reason to avoid idolatry in his land but two. A lesson to learn for us to learn from, those choosing to ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
Jeroboam also, “made priests of the lowest of the people.” Jeroboam set up his own religion with people he could control. This is an example of a state run religion designed for total control. Not only was Jeroboam running the religion but the days of worship were appointed. “And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar.” This is the most significant point in this acted parable. This is history we have seen to be repeated. To identify the offender one needs only to identify a government that has enacted a law changing a day of worship. In order to understand the significance of this change we need to gather more information about the feast Jeroboam changed.
KJV Leviticus 23:33. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 34. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord.
KJV Leviticus 23:39. Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath. 40. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43. That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Moses made provision for these solemn adjurations ever to be kept in remembrance. Parents were to teach them to their children, speaking of them when they were sitting in the house or walking by the way, as well as in the evening and in the morning hours of worship. (Deut. 11:19, 20.) They were to be written for a memorial in a book, and placed in the side of the ark. Every seventh year they were to be taken out and publicly read before the concourse of pilgrims assembled at the Feast of Tabernacles. For this solemn rehearsal of the prophetic writings, they were to gather the men and the women, not forgetting the stranger who was within their gates. The children who were coming to years of understanding were especially mentioned. They were also to hear, and learn to fear the Lord. (See Deut.31:9-13.) THE ABIDING GIFT OF PROPHECY Pages 373-374 by ARTHUR GROSVENOR DANIELLS
Daniells shows us this festival was designed to remind the Israelites of the law of God. Israel gathered together to hear the laws read to them, this clearly explains why Jeroboam choose to change this festival. This change was designed to draw the minds of the people away from the law of God. This change is elementary, if people accept a change concerning a festival day the person offering this change must first attack God’s law by offering an alternative. Jeroboam could never expect to offer a better alternative to God’s law, the only other plan to follow was to create a situation aimed at making the people forget God’s law. As we look further into the Feast of Tabernacles we will see other important point Jeroboam intended to hide from his people.
The Feast of Tabernacles began five days after the Day of Atonement. All Israel at this time rejoiced in their acceptance with God, and thanked Him for the bounties of the harvest that had been safely gathered in. This was the crowning festival of the year. The Israelites were to take “boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” Lev. 23:40.
This feast was commemorative of the wilderness sojourn, when the Israelites had no fixed dwelling place, but it is also typical of the experience of the true Israelites as they journey through the wilderness of sin to the heavenly Canaan. It points forward to the great day of the ingathering of God’s people at the final harvest when they shall come “from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 8:11.
Christ now lays aside His priestly robes and puts on His kingly garments and with the holy angels He comes for His redeemed. John gives a vivid description of this scene: “I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse: and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” Rev. 19:11-14. Our Firm Foundation Pages 352-353
Not only was Jeroboam hiding the law from his people he was robbing them of a sign designed to remind them of their deliverance from Egypt. More importantly Jeroboam’s change also caused his followers to loose sight of God’s promise for deliverance from this life, now known as Christ’s return. One can not begin to contemplate the spiritual losses this one change was responsible for.
” These are the six days on which the Scripture has forbidden the doing of work. The first and seventh day of the Passover; the first and the last of the Feast of Tabernacles; the day of the Feast of Pentecost; and the first day of the seventh month. All these are called holy days. The sabbatism of all is alike.”—”Laws of the Holy Days.” PRACTICAL LESSONS FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF ISRAEL FOR THE CHURCH OF TO-DAY. Page 317 BY F. C. GILBERT
Gilbert points out a relationship between the Sabbath festivals and the seventh-day Sabbath. Within this acted parable there is another connection between Jeroboam’s change and the seventh day Sabbath.
At creation the week was established on a base seven. When counting on a base seven you use only seven numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
When you get past the number 7 you would begin again at the number one. The number eight would revert to the number one. When choosing the fifth day of the eighth month Jeroboam is giving us an acted parable indicating a change from the seventh to the first. Could this acted parable be a spiritual reference to the change of the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week?
KJV Exodus 31:13. Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.
KJV Exodus 31:16. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
This is an acted parable predicting there will be a change of time in worship which God has established for His people.
KJV Mark 7:7. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.