2 Chronicles 13-15: Covenant of Salt

Chapter 13

Here, the rivalry is again described overall as the tension between the house of David and the house of Jeroboam, with the intention of the narrator being very clearly one of “priesthood versus heresy”.  Verses 3-12 is a beautiful proclamation made by Abijah, stating clearly what has been implied in Jeroboam’s removal of the Levitical priests in 2 Chronicles 11 (c.f. v.9-12).  Solomon’s household, as well as Rehoboam’s, were portrayed as the elected household in v.5 – “…the LORD God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt“.  This phrase “covenant of salt” is used in two other instances – Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19.  In my commentary of the book of Numbers, the covenant is explained as such:

“Salt is commonly used in two analogies: the covenant between LORD and man; and negative connotations (C.f. Ezekiel 47:11 and Zeph 2:9).  Leviticus 2:13 makes the point that all the grain offerings shall have the covenant of salt.  When placing this covenant alongside Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt, it is simultaneously an imagery of God’s sanctification/separation.  In 2 Kings, the usage of the salt is for purification of the water; in Ezekiel, the imagery of the salt is that of dirt and uncleanness.  The prophecy of Ezekiel 47:8 makes a distinction between fresh and salt water – and no doubt, the salt water being the water of punishment from the deluge from the window above heaven (c.f. Genesis 7 and 2 Peter 3), but the fresh water being the water on earth.

 

To bring these two imageries together, the feeding on the holy flesh (cow/sheep/goat) and the unmistakable “covenant of salt”, the picture is a two-fold manifestation of Christ’s work on the cross.  Through his blood, we can now feed continuously of the flesh represented by the communion bread as sanctified priests, symbolized by the anointing and separation of the covenant of salt.  It is by this covenant of salt that David and his sons were given the kingship over Israel forever?  Undoubtedly this salt-covenant to David and his sons is a conscious foresight of the Son’s eternal kingdom, an act of purification, just as the salt waters burst through the heavens to purify the world of the wicked creatures.”

This covenant of salt is a synonym to the gospel work completed through David’s lineage and not to Jeroboam’s lineage.  Jeroboam’s failure to see the importance of the Temple, of the Levites, of Jesus’ heritage are all the essence of all heresies – the failure to connect the dots in the Old Testament which all point towards the cross and not to oneself’s creation of truth.  “Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed” (v.12).  Indeed, David, Solomon, Rehoboam and Abijah are not the head of Israel – the LORD God Himself is the Head, and Jeroboam is challenging not Judah, nor Abijah, but the LORD Himself.

This explains Jeroboam’s utter debacle and loss in v.13-20, whereas Abijah grew mighty under the wings of the LORD.

Chapter 14

Again, chapter 14 records another victory achieved solely by relying on the LORD, in fulfillment of Solomon’s prayer in chapter 6.  This time, it is not Jeroboam, but the Ethiopians (who have clearly forgotten the blessing of Solomon through their early Queen of Sheba in chapter 9) who challenged Israel with more men than Jeroboam (an army of a million men vs. Jeroboam’s 800,000 men).  Asa’s cry is similar to that of his father’s: “O LORD, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak.  Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude.  O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.

Chapter 15

Upon the filling of the Holy Spirit, Azariah the son of Oded reminds king Asa of the “Golden Age” of Israel’s rule under David and Solomon, when the gospel was clearly communicated amongst the Israelites, all of whom were looking forward to the day of the Messiah’s first coming.  Azariah’s comment that “For a long time Israel was without the true God” (v.3) is an observation of Israel losing its way in the period since Rehoboam to Asa, due to the removal of the formal priesthood and compliance with the Mosaic statutes under the divided rule of Rehoboam and Jeroboam.  The only comfort of the Israelites was through their oral teaching and remembrance of the LORD’s steadfast love in their times of distress (v.4).  However, Azariah wishes for the Christian walk to be filled with peace (v.5), and not to only call upon the LORD in times of brokenness (v.6).  Asa’s subsequent actions and reforms (v.8-15) are indeed the actions of a righteous Christian king, drawing in more and more of those previous defected (those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon v.9) with his testimony of the LORD.  It is with their collective sacrifice (v.11) and the covenant and oath (v.12-14) that the LORD gave them rest all around (v.15-19) between his tenth year (when he defeated the Ethiopians) and 35th year as king.  The LORD’s steadfast love to the house of David means that Asa’s compliance with the Spirit’s prompting is a key step towards ensuring the survival of Israel until the promise of the Messiah is fulfilled.  Although man has forgotten the law and priesthood, the LORD will never forget.  Although man may even forget the promise of the Messiah as their true hope, the LORD will never stop working to ensure the Messiah will come from the line of David and crush the Satan who leads His sheep astray time and time again.

2 Chronicles 13-15: Covenant of Salt

2 Chronicles 10-12: Servant Leadership

Chapter 10

Rehoboam had an opportunity to continue the peace held in the time of his father Solomon; however, he was the offspring of Satan.  He could have turned the heart of Jeroboam and the rest of Israel in refining the kingdom under Solomon’s headship by considering their petition seriously – and on the third day (v.5) he could have given them hope.  His failure to heed the counsel of the old men (v.6) and instead to side with the young men (v.8) (who, although were childhood friends, were not walking in the way nor experience of the LORD) has caused the opposite effect of what Jesus would have done under Luke 11:10-13.  V.15 – “So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of affairs brought about by God that the LORD might fulfill his word“…

Is this not strange, that the LORD’s “steadfast love” is challenged by his own discretion to turn the affairs of Israel into the eventual division of Israel into two – Judah, and the rest?  The rejection of Judah, the rejection of David’s house (v.16), the rejection of Jerusalem (v.18) – the centre of all attention, the Temple, is no longer accessible.  The centre of all attention, the work of the gospel (as prayed by Solomon in 2 Chronicles 6) is ignored by those under Jeroboam (chapter 11:13-17).  Yet, it is this very turn of events that we see a foreshadowing of the rejection of Christ even by his own kind; however, Rehoboam is an anti-type – where Christ walked in the Father’s bosom, Rehoboam did not.  Rehoboam divided the kingdom in his disobedience, but Christ divided the kingdom by his obedience.

Chapter 11

The steadfast love of the LORD is apparent in v.1-4: He does not want Israel to be divided; yet, Rehoboam’s decision to heed Satan and not Jesus has led to this division, an unsurprising outcome given Jesus’ response to Solomon in chapter 7:12-22.  Rehoboam’s leadership is that of secular might, of secular toughness, of Christless manhood – his intention is pure, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.  However, the LORD would rather win people over with love rather than with might; with weakness and vulnerability as the defining elements of kingship than oppression.

It is in v.13-17 that we know Israel will survive until the day of the Messiah’s return, and that Jeroboam will be a name despised for generations to come.  For Jeroboam to cast them out from serving as priests of the LORD (v.14), knowing these were the same people appointed by the LORD through David in 1 Chronicles, is nothing short of foolish.  In God’s foresight, the lack of geographical restriction for the tribe of Levites, for this tribe of priests, also means that they are free to move around Israel knowing that the LORD is their portion.  They are living like Abraham, looking forward to the true home in new creation (Hebrews 11) – and it is these very Levites who made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon (v.17).  If only Rehoboam, too, walked in his forefathers’ way.

Chapter 12

Yet, Rehoboam did not walk in his forefathers’ way, despite the Levites’ efforts to maintain Israel’s status as priesthood to all the neighbouring nations, just as the Levites were the priesthood to the widespread heretical leadership of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam.  Hence, in Rehoboam’s fifth year (it is not explained why the Levites did not stay faithful to the LORD from the fourth year onwards), when all of Israel was unfaithful under his rule, the Egyptian king Shishak invaded Israel.  In fulfilment of Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6, the invasion was stayed when the Israelites finally decided to humble themselves, knowing that any righteousness they have could have only been inherited from the LORD Himself (v.6-8).  What is interesting, however, is that the LORD chooses to discipline His children by providing them with works which allow them to see what it is like for the LORD to serve – a reminder once again of the LORD’s steadfast love and His servant-leadership which no other God can provide.  This also hammers another nail into the coffin of Marcionism, should anyone doubt that the gospel of the gracious Lamb of God is a truth inherent in the Old Testament.

And in v.9-12 we see and end to the “Golden Age” of Israel – now degraded to copper; a willing sacrifice the LORD has made in allowing Shishak to enslave Israel.  This house of the LORD has lost its glory for several reasons – yet the primary reason is that of Rehoboam’s sinful life (v.14); secondarily, that the house of the LORD is but a shadow of the LORD’s heavenly dwelling; and thirdly, that we begin to see a foreshadowing of Christ’s incarnation, that he will put on a flesh which is more bronze than gold, more servant than king – the same as Israel’s current predicament.  V.13 ends the chronicling of Rehoboam’s life with his background as a son of Naamah the Ammonite – a Gentile, though called “beautiful”, was likely a cause of Solomon’s own idolatry for beautiful distractions (1 Kings 11:8).

 

2 Chronicles 10-12: Servant Leadership

1 Kings 14: The Two Houses

1At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. 2And Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to(A) Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there,(B) who said of me that I should be king over this people. 3(C) Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child.”

 

Shiloh is within the realms of Israel, north of Bethel.  Yet, Jeroboam does not go to Shiloh himself lest he be called a hypocrite of his own religion.  Throughout the last two chapters he has established himself as a tour de force in the making of a new faith – faith in his new golden calves, as the false high priest of both Bethel and Dan.  The irony of the death of the man of God in chapter 13 is but a foretelling of the death of Jeroboam – that the wrath of God, though laid up on The Man of God His Son, is not propitiated from Jeroboam who steadfastly still refuses to say Yes in Jesus.  In fact, looking at the curse against the house of Jeroboam in v.7-16 (especially v.11) reminds us of the dignity of being buried with the Man of God, and rising in resurrection with him.  The LORD was in sovereign control over even the lion and the donkey who only served to kill the man, and in contrast, He in His sovereignty commands the death of Jeroboam’s kingdom by being fed to the dogs and birds.

4Jeroboam’s wife did so. She arose and went to(D) Shiloh and came to the house of(E) Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. 5And the LORD said to(F) Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”

When she came, she pretended to be another woman. 6But when(G) Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you. 7Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:(H) “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8and(I) tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been(J) like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and(K) made for yourself other gods and(L) metal images, provoking me to anger, and(M) have cast me behind your back, 10therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and(N) will cut off from Jeroboam every male,(O) both bond and free in Israel, and(P) will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. 11(Q) Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the LORD has spoken it.”‘ 12Arise therefore, go to your house.(R) When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him(S) there is found something pleasing to the LORD, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. 14(T) Moreover, the LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and(U) root up Israel out of(V) this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them(W) beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their(X) Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. 16And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”

Indeed – how can a Jeroboam’s wife presume to feign her position before the prophet, who though had dim eyes was in fact clearer in Spiritual sight than anyone else in the kingdom of Israel?  In the words of Matthew Henry:

“Those who think by their disguises to hide themselves from God will be wretchedly confounded when they find themselves disappointed in the day of discovery. Sinners now appear in the garb of saints, and are taken to be such; but how will they blush and tremble when they find themselves stripped of their false colours, and are called by their own name: “Go out, thou treacherous false-hearted hypocrite. I never knew thee. Why feignest thou thyself to be another?’’ Tidings of a portion with hypocrites will be heavy tidings. God will judge men according to what they are, not according to what they seem.”

By the Spirit, God spoke through him such a terrible prophecy that should only remind Jeroboam of why he was blessed to lead Israel in the first place.  It is the LORD’s favour, not Jeroboam’s self-making (v.7-9); and Jeroboam’s destruction, however, is his bondage to sin and to Satan, blindly denying the LORD’s exaltation (v.7), failed to keep his commandments (shamar, שׁמר, a priestly term, though Jeroboam became a priest of other gods)(v.8), making false images (v.9).  The following verses read almost like Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 1:

“The account here given of the wickedness of the Jews agrees with that which the apostle gives of the wickedness of the Gentile world (Rom. 1:21, 24), so that both Jew and Gentile are alike under sin, Rom. 3:9. (1.) They became vain in their imaginations concerning God, and changed his glory into an image, for they built themselves high places, images, and groves (v. 23), profaning God’s name by affixing to it their images, and God’s ordinances by serving their idols with them. They foolishly fancies that they exalted God when they worshipped him on high hills and pleased him when they worshipped him under the pleasant shadow of green trees. (2.) They were given up to vile affections (as those idolaters Rom. 1:26, 27), for there were sodomites in the land (v. 24), men with men working that which is unseemly, and not to be thought of, much less mentioned, without abhorrence and indignation. They dishonoured God by one sin and then God left them to dishonour themselves by another. They profaned the privileges of a holy nation, therefore God gave them up to their own hearts’ lusts, to imitate the abominations of the accursed Canaanites; and herein the Lord was righteous. And, when they did like those that were cast out, how could they expect any other than to be cast out like them?2. See here how weak and poor they were; and this was the consequence of the former. Sin exposes, impoverishes, and weakens any people.” – Matthew Henry

And such is the declaration of God’s judgment against Jeroboam; such transparency, which though Josiah would proclaim upon Israel in the latter chapters of 2 Kings 350 years later, are but types of the global disaster and restoration of the Noahic flood and the Day of Resurrection.  No righteous posterity shall come out to Jeroboam’s womb, far from the blessing of progenitors to Abraham and David’s line.  Here, the Father’s mercy does not extend to Jeroboam for reason of his failing to keep (as Adam was commanded in Genesis 2:15), and failing to cling onto the Judaic line of Christ through David’s offspring.  V.16 describes how Jeroboam sinned “and made Israel to sin”, and such is the effect of a king who does not make promises as Christ does to His church to mutually edify and glorify (John 17:24-26).  The scattering of Israel, under the Assyrian captivity, begins here – with the false leadership of Jeroboam outside of the house of Judah, the refined line of Christ’s tree line (represented by the scattering of Israel beyond Euphrates, v.15 c.f. Isaiah 8:7; Jeremiah 2:18).

17Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to(Y) Tirzah. And(Z) as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. 18And all Israel buried him and mourned for him,(AA) according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.

19Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam,(AB) how he warred and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20And the time that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years. And he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.

 

Though not described in detail here, note Jeroboam’s death in 2 Chronicles 13:18-22 which displays an important comparison to 1 Kings 14:

 

“18Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed,(AC) because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers. 19And Abijah pursued Jeroboam(AD) and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and(AE) Ephron[e] with its villages. 20Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah.(AF) And the LORD struck him down,(AG) and he died. 21But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the(AH) story of the prophet(AI) Iddo.” – 2 Chronicles 13:18-22

Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah: why is that?  2 Chronicles 18 reveals it plainly:  “because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers”.  For the first time since Solomon’s death we see reliance on the LORD, not the golden calves, not the false elohim, but the LORD struck him down and he died (v.20).  The further fulfilment of the Shilonite’s words is described in 1 Kings 15 by Baasha’s overtaking of Jeroboam’s house: but the narrator purposely left it for later description.  Instead, the focus is on the parallel between Jeroboam’s heretical rule, and Rehoboam’s similarly rebellious activity though favoured by the LORD simply because he is the heir of David’s throne.

21(AC) Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem,(AD) the city that the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there.(AE) His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 22(AF) And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they(AG) provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. 23For they also built for themselves(AH) high places(AI) and pillars and(AJ) Asherim on every high hill and(AK) under every green tree, 24and there were also(AL) male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

 

So strange a comparison – that we see the LORD curse Jeroboam’s house so, to see the only ‘dignity’ to arise out of a death of a Christly child, almost a comparison to the death of the man of God!  Rehoboam, similarly led Judah to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to jealousy, more than all that their fathers had done (v.22).  They, too, built high places and pillars and Asherim (like Jeroboam – c.f. v.15; even the narrator makes this comparison obvious in v.24 noting that ‘they did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out’) – but the favour and mercy upon Rehoboam is simply because he reigned over the city that the LORD has chosen out of all the tribes of Israel; that he reigns in the line of the chosen.  Who is chosen?  Christ is the Chosen and Elected One of all ages (Isaiah 42:1).  That is why Rehoboam is not cursed; his household is not cursed, even though he is born of Naamah the Ammonite, repeated twice in this chapter (v.21 & 31) – that is not a purebred.  That is the comparison the narrator is trying to make.  Would the Shilonite’s prophecy prevail not only against the house of Jeroboam, but also against Rehoboam, forever cursing the coming of the seed (Genesis 3:15)?  No – even in Abijam’s sins, even in his mixed heritage, the house of David prevails for God’s promise in David, shadowed by Christ, shall not be broken, despite our sins.  He is faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13; c.f. 1 Kings 15:4-5).

25(AM) In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house.(AN) He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold(AO) that Solomon had made, 27and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 28And as often as the king went into the house of the LORD, the guard carried them and brought them back to the guardroom.

This alliance between Jeroboam and Shishak is now an unholy alliance against the church of Christ (Psalm 2) – established in 1 Kings 11:40, taking away the golden treasures of the LORD.  Such is the comparison made against the prophecy in Daniel 2:32-45 to Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom of gold subsumed by a kingdom of silver and bronze – only to be entirely consumed by the humble element – the Stone and Rock of Ages.  The Stone that became a Mountain – the theology of the mustard seed (Luke 13:19).  Though the glory of Israel seemed to dim by the theft of Shishak, the true glory remained, though dim, in the men of God like Shemaiah, like the mysterious visitor from Judah buried in Bethel, the prophet who looks forward to the prophecy concerning Josiah, and undoubtedly Ahijah himself.  These are the little seeds, sown across a rebellious nation, as the lamp still shone in the city of Jerusalem for the day when the light of the world breaks into the darkness as sunlight does to the darkest of nights.

29(AP) Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30(AQ) And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David.(AR) His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. And(AS) Abijam his son reigned in his place.

And so the chapter ends not on a note of negativity as one may assume, by Rehoboam and Jeroboam’s rebellion.  Rather, though the light is dim, Rehoboam is still managing the house of the LORD (v.28).  The temple is still not entirely neglected – and this is the mercy of our God through Christ’s redemptive work – that he redeems not those false priests and Pharisees of the purebred line of Israel like Jeroboam was from the house of Ephraim; but especially those of the line of David, whom David himself is a descendant of a Moabite, that Rehoboam should receive the same mercy for the beauty which Naamah the Ammoite bore is not physical – but a beauty inherited from Christ.  The chapter ends with Rehoboam keeping the commandment of the maintenance of this otherwise neglected temple, and we are reminded that he is of mixed heritage.  Yet, the LORD’s favour rests on him anyway – Romans 11.

1 Kings 14: The Two Houses

1 Kings 12: the Divided Priesthood

1(A) Rehoboam went to(B) Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2And as soon as(C) Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for(D) he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from[a] Egypt. 3And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4(E) “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” 5He said to them,(F) “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.

 

Rehoboam is by no means the son whom Solomon was writing to in the book of Proverbs.  Instead of inheriting the Spirit Whom Solomon was filled with, the subject Wisdom in the very book geared towards the son of Solomon (Proverbs 1:8).  Yet, Rehoboam walks in exactly the opposing direction:

6Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. 9And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. 11And now, whereas(G) my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'”

Though Israel, like Solomon’s disciplining, were but servants of the LORD – the truth of being children of God by the Spirit and through Christ is a gospel foundation found throughout both Old and New Testaments, as Jesus expressly states in John 15:12-17:

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Indeed, are we to remain as disciplined servant-slaves in the period of Solomon, ‘whipped’ by the law of Moses?  Or are we to abide in Christ after His victory on the cross, and as v.15 clarifies – that we are friends of the LORD, though we are also His servants.  The movement from slave to friendship is that of the beholding of the visible LORD as the Person through Whom we meet the Father also, such mystery revealed by His Spirit.  Yet – on the third day, such slavery is not abolished.  Instead, Rehoboam clings onto the law of the Old Testament, and failed to see the Spirit of the law who points exclusively to Christ (1 Corinthians 2).  Instead, on the third day, their yoke is made heavier – yet, on the third day of Christ’s work on the cross, the yoke of slavery is removed and instead we are given the yoke of Christ (Matthew 11:29-30; Galatians 5:1).  And so, Rehoboam failed by neglecting the priestly council of old (v.8 – c.f. 1 Kings 4), and instead took counsel from the young men who have grown up with him and stood before him.   What grand theology of servant-leadership which the old council of Levites and prophets is ignored – an incarnate theology of God-with-us, God-serving-us (Mark 10:45), twisted on its head to fulfill the theistic agenda of us-serving-God and us-trying-to-be-with-God.  Such is the advice of the young, not perceiving by the Spirit the teachings of the Torah and from history that the Angel fights for us (Joshua 5:14-15), pleads for us to the Most High (Genesis 48:16), leads us in the wilderness (Exodus 23:21) as the warm ambassador and Son of the One enthroned.  Rehoboam exudes coldness and a spirit of arrogance, ignoring once again his father’s mandate towards him (Proverbs 16:5), leaving the Son of the Most High to fulfill the true meaning of humility in His incarnation.

12So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king said,(H) “Come to me again the third day.” 13And the king answered the people harshly, and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him, 14he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying,(I) “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15So the king did not listen to the people, for(J) it was a turn of affairs brought about by the LORD that he might fulfill his word, which(K) the LORD spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Again – is it the LORD’s fault that Rehoboam spoke and acted in the name of evil?  No – this turn of affairs was merely part of the prophecy by the LORD through Ahijah to Jeroboam (v.15), the LORD who hears us and listens to us against Jeroboam who does not listen to the people (repeated in v.15 and 16).  Jeroboam is a type of the deity whom we create and worship – a ‘god’ who does not hear (Habakkuk 2:18-20) for it is lifeless, an implication which can be imputed to Jeroboam himself.

 

16And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.(L) To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents. 17But Rehoboam reigned over(M) the people of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah. 18Then King Rehoboam sent(N) Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19(O) So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20And when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. There was none that followed the house of David but(P) the tribe of Judah only.

 

There are interesting parallels between v.18 and the parable of Jesus in Matthew 21:33-41, regarding the stoning of Adoram (lord of heights / noble honour) as taskmaster over the forced labour and ambassador and sent one of Rehoboam.  The parallel is an ironic satire of the sending of prophets and servants of the LORD murdered by the world, though here Rehoboam, in following his parallel as the lifeless mock-Father sending Adoram, the lifeless mock-Son (for supporting Rehoboam’s Spirit-less agenda).  However, the Israelites have also sinned by murdering Adoram, important to note that the LORD does not favour the people under Jeroboam’s future rule because of their righteousness.  Quite the contrary, the favour clearly still lies with David (1 Kings 11:34-36, 11:39) and the other 10 tribes subject to whether Jeroboam clings onto Christ and His example of servant-leadership as well (1 Kings 11:38).

 

21(Q) When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22But the word of God came to(R) Shemaiah the man of God: 23“Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the(S) rest of the people, 24‘Thus says the LORD, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home,(T) for this thing is from me.'” So they listened to the word of the LORD and went home again, according to the word of the LORD.

Though the LORD had permitted Rehoboam’s choice to follow the prostitute Folly instead of the Spirit, Wisdom (Proverbs 9), His plan to preserve Judah and Benjamin as the 1 tribe given to Rehoboam against the 10 tribes given to Jeroboam is actually a form of protection displaying the LORD’s favour to the line of Judah.  Can the house of Israel be won over with more brute force (of a pitiful 180,000 chosen warriors against Judah and Benjamin’s own countrymen ten times the size), just as the forced labour would be won over by scorpions?  Shemaiah, this man of God (a term applied to very few people, including David himself – 2 Chronicles 8:14), bearing a similar name to a Levite in the time of David (who with 200 of David’s men took part in the bringing up of the ark from Obed-edom to Hebron – 1 Chronicles 15:8), is a symbolic ‘conscience’-call, reminding them that the LORD is their king.  Either they continue to listen to Rehoboam and fall to their demise, or follow the man of God who supersedes the kingship of Rehoboam, following in line with Samuel, David, Elijah, Elisha, Moses – the humble men who faced ruthless and Christ-less kings.  And it is for this very reason that Abijah, who proclaimed judgment upon Jeroboam as if it were Christ’s return in completion of his victory over Satan (2 Chronicles 13:8-12), would lead the men of Judah and Benjamin to victory against the Israelites.  There is no other reason for Shemaiah’s refusal to allow Rehoboam’s war, except that Rehoboam is not following the LORD’s will like Solomon and David have. 

25Then Jeroboam(U) built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and(V) built Penuel. 26And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. 27If this people(W) go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”

 

What is the significance of Jeroboam’s building of Shechem and Penuel to his fear in v.26?  Abraham pitched his tent and built an altar under the oak of Moreh at Shechem (Genesis 12:6), noting that the Canaanites were already there in the land; when Jacob arrived there, it was a Hivite city (Genesis 33:18, 34), though he purchased from Hamor a parcel of the field given to Joseph (Genesis 33:19, Joshua 24:32, John 4:5).  Shechem thereafter becoming a city of refuge after the Canaanites were ousted (Joshua 21:20-21), and as a scene of the blessing and curses (Joshua 24:23-25).  Yet, it is at this very place that Rehoboam was announced as king (1 Kings 12:1), undoubtedly acting as a reminder to Jeroboam that Rehoboam comes from the true lineage of David, himself standing outside of the house of David only to be reminded of the Shilonite’s words of this sacred house of Christ, building Penuel (face of God) though without the same significance as what Jacob had done in Genesis 32:30-31 when he wrested with Jesus.

 

Yet, strangely, Jeroboam and Rehoboam are not such different creatures.  Both are not listening to their people; both are not listening to God – both are deaf by all accounts despite the LORD speaking to Jeroboam through Ahijah the Shilonite in 1 Kings 11, and Rehoboam approached by Shemaiah, the man of God.  The LORD is with both Rehoboam and Jeroboam – but neither is walking with Him.

 

What is interesting is how, despite the rest of Israel’s detachment from the tribe of Judah and Benjamin combined, the designated location of the temple and the future place of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God remains at ancient Moriah or otherwise named as Jerusalem now (Genesis 22:2, 2 Chronicles 3:1), which is in the region of Judah.  In protecting Judah and Benjamin by preventing a civil war (v.22-24; whereby Rehoboam’s men may be slaughtered especially if they are fighting not in the LORD’s direction), this is a second layer to understanding the LORD’s favour towards Judah (if not the primary reason for such favour) – that Jerusalem is the designated location of His House built by the hands of Solomon, the son of David.  Despite Jeroboam being the effective king of Israel, his leadership is only supplemented by the LORD if He were to allow the Israelites to continue to worship at the place of Christ’s future work on the cross.  Yet, His denial of Jerusalem as valid place of worship is not merely a denial of methodology.  It is a fundamental denial of the LORD Himself, of the joint work of the Father Son and Spirit to happen at that key location – Jerusalem where the city of peace truly fulfils the implication of its name.  Jeroboam’s fear is not entirely unfounded however – as it had been with Solomon that he was a king who focused much on temple worship (being the founder of the temple – 1 Kings 6, and having a wide-reaching reputation implicating the success of his kingship stemming from the one LORD – 1 Kings 10).  So v.27 reveals such a tie between temple worship and the king – “If this people(W) go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah”; however, Rehoboam is but a mock-son of God.  He is not the son spoken of by Solomon in the book of Proverbs.  If it only were true, that if the ancient church would go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, Jesus Christ.  Yet – it would appear that their hearts are far away because their king is not Jesus, but Rehoboam (c.f. Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

 

28So the king took counsel and(X) made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough.(Y) Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30Then(Z) this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.[b] 31He also made(AA) temples on high places and(AB) appointed priests from among all the people, who were not of the Levites. 32And Jeroboam appointed a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like(AC) the feast that was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he made. And he placed in Bethel(AD) the priests of the high places that he had made. 33He went up to the altar that he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he had devised from his own heart. And he instituted a feast for the people of Israel and went up to the altar(AE) to make offerings.

 

And so Jeroboam conducts a string of blasphemous actions, by creating new gods.  As though Rehoboam is a mock-Father, so Jeroboam is a mock-Aaron – he who ‘saves’ the Israelites away from the tyrant Rehoboam but only to set up new ‘gods’ (Hebrew Elohim) of two calves of gold.  This is an echo of Aaron’s words in Exodus 32:4.  Instead of devoting to the temple in Jerusalem, he made several temples on high places and appointed priests not of the Levites, breaching Exodus 29:9.  Instead, the placement of these self-made priests in Bethel (house of God) is almost a direct mocking of the true house of God built by Solomon’s hands by the LORD’s edict.  This place, like Shechem, is symbolic of Abraham’s journey – but under Jeroboam it bears a mock-meaning.    Instead of a place of vision (Genesis 28:11-19, 31:13), or a place of counsel (Judges 20:18-31), or a place of the LORD’s presence (through the ark of the covenant c.f. Judges 20:26-28) in the day of the Judges – it is a place of false worship and man-made religion.  Jeroboam’s blasphemy knows no bounds – and thus only fitting for this place to be redeemed by Abijah in 2 Chronicles 13:19.  In particular, that such idol worship should take place geographically in the furthest south compared to the furthest north of Israel, Bethel and Jerusalem straddling the borders of Israel and Judah and Dan being not in the heart of the united Israel but far north, far away from the mandated place of Christ’s work.

Instead of the feast of booths representing the Father’s presence with us on the 15th day of the 7th month (Leviticus 23:34), on the 15th day of the 8th month, this mock-feast is done in worship of the two golden calves.  What blasphemy that Rehoboam chooses the 15th of Bul / Cheshvan, for it is in this very month that Solomon completes the temple, simultaneously the same month as a reminder that the Noahic flood began and ended.  The irony falls on Rehoboam’s choice of this month; where Solomon chose to complete the First Temple in the month of the ending of the flood (1 Kings 6:38), Rehoboam chose to have a feast on about the same day as the day when rain fell and consumed the earth (Jewish calendar records it as 17th Cheshvan / Bul), in a month which otherwise has no remarkable divinely ordained festivity.  In other words, the parallel is that Solomon’s worship in a month of bitterness is reversed by his son’s institution of false worship, fulfilling the meaning of the barrenness of the month’s activities.

 

Ultimately, just as Rehoboam worshipped a lifeless god by being the lifeless lord of Judah, so also Jeroboam reflects this same truth by creating lifeless religion – “devised from his own heart” (v.33 – c.f. Psalm 14:1).  Here, Jeroboam treads ever so close to revealing the two persons of the Trinity in the two calves of gold, just as Aaron has revealed the oneness of the Trinity by equally calling the one calf as the plural Elohim (Exodus 32:4) – such Israelite ancient tradition preparing the men of Israel and Judah for the LORD who sends His own ‘Adoram’, only that he came to take our burdens, to serve us, and to die for us though we are the Israelites who have stoned him effectively on the cross.

 

 

1 Kings 12: the Divided Priesthood

1 Kings 4: The Age of Solomon

1King Solomon was king over all Israel, 2and these were his high officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was(A) the priest; 3Elihoreph and Ahijah the sons of Shisha were secretaries;(B) Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 4(C) Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the army;(D) Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 5Azariah the son of Nathan was over(E) the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and(F) king’s friend; 6Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and(G) Adoniram the son of Abda was in charge of(H) the forced labor.

The chapter begins with a bold declaration – “King Solomon was king over all Israel” (v.1).  There has been no king who began his reign over all Israel; even David was king over Judah for seven and half years (2 Samuel 2:11) before he was made king over Israel as well.  Yet, the chapter does not stop there to awe us – it continues with a recounting of Solomon’s closest aides which are very different from David’s mighty three or the thirty (2 Samuel 23).  We have the one who hears the LORD, son of he who is just (Azariah, son of Zadok); we have the friend of Jehovah (Ahijah); the LORD is judge (Jehoshaphat); made by the LORD (Benaiah); brother of song (Ahishar), along with the LORD most high (Adoniram).  These are but a few of the names of the eleven high officials.

Their roles are not that of war or conflict – their roles are purely administrative and useful in building up a kingdom rather than destroying another’s.  Note also the number of priests / prophets or relation to priesthood and prophethood mentioned also in these opening six verses: Azariah, Zadok, Abiathar, Azariah son of Nathan the prophet, and Zabud the priest, son of Nathan as well.  Such a peaceful Christocracy this is, befitting of the name Solomon, in contrast with Rehoboam who does not heed the counsel of the old and wise (1 Kings 12):

“The great officers of his court, in the choice of whom, no doubt, his wisdom much appeared. It is observable, 1. That several of them are the same that were in his father’s time. Zadok and Abiathar were then priests (2 Sam. xx. 25), so they were now; only then Abiathar had the precedency, now Zadok. Jehoshaphat was then recorder, or keeper of the great seal, so he was now. Benaiah, in his father’s time, was a principal man in military affairs, and so he was now. Shisha was his father’s scribe, and his sons were his, v. 3. Solomon, though a wise man, would not affect to be wiser than his father in this matter. When sons come to inherit their father’s wealth, honour, and power, it is a piece of respect to their memory, cæteris paribus—where it can properly be done, to employ those whom they employed, and trust those whom they trusted. Many pride themselves in being the reverse of their good parents. 2. The rest were priests’ sons. His prime-minister of state was Azariah the son of Zadok the priest. Two others of the first rank were the sons of Nathan the prophet, v. 5. In preferring them he testified the grateful respect he had for their good father, whom he loved in the name of a prophet.” – Matthew Henry

7Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each man had to make provision for one month in the year. 8These were their names: Ben-hur, in(I) the hill country of Ephraim; 9Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elonbeth-hanan; 10Ben-hesed, in Arubboth (to him belonged Socoh and all the land of Hepher); 11Ben-abinadab, in all(J) Naphath-dor (he had Taphath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); 12Baana the son of Ahilud, in(K) Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth-shean that is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as the other side of Jokmeam; 13Ben-geber,(L) in Ramoth-gilead (he had(M) the villages of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead, and he had(N) the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars); 14Ahinadab the son of Iddo, in Mahanaim; 15Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he had taken Basemath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); 16Baana the son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth; 17Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar; 18(O) Shimei the son of Ela, in Benjamin; 19Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead,(P) the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan. And there was one governor who was over the land.

The government was not only led by the finest people from the line of priests and prophets, symbolizing the rest from Saul and David’s days of war (1 Samuel 14:52; 1 Chronicles 22:8) but it is also led by twelve officers who each provided for one month in the year (v.7) to Solomon’s household.  Note however the difference between these twelve officers compared to the eleven high officials.  We have the son of a viper (Ben-hur); a lancer (Ben-deker); a son of kindness (Ben-hesed); a son of nobleness (Ben-abinadab); a son of affliction (Baana); a brother of anger (Ahimaaz); not to mention the strong man Geber.  This is but a palette swap of such twelve officers in comparison with the eleven officials.  Note how they are of such stark contrast; the highest officials are not these mighty men (which could have been Solomon’s closest aides).  Instead, these mighty men, these twelve officers, are allocated the privilege to give life and food for the king and his household, each man responsible for one month in the year.  Note that each come from a variety of locations in Israel: from the house of the sun (Beth-shemesh) to the place of crowns (Megiddo); from the house of rest (Beth-shean) to the meadow of dance (Abel-meholah); from the fruitful land (Bashan) to Mahanaim, God’s camp (Genesis 32:2) – these are but a taste of the redeemed corners of Israel contributing to the greater differentiated but united imagery of Israel under one king.  Note how each of these locations had previously had their respective Canaanite ruler (c.f. v.19 – in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of Amorites and Og king of Bashan) – and yet there was one governor who was over the land, instead of a variety of kings and rulers fighting against each other, in lieu of Moses defeating the king of Bashan at Edrei in Deuteronomy 1:4, who is one of the last representatives of the giant race of Rephaim, his rule extending over 60 cities (Joshua 13:12).  Yet, now, we have Geber as governor over the land which Bashan had once ruled in, no longer terrorizing the Israelites but his resources being subsumed into one of the twelve months of provisions for the family of the chosen king.  I note with interest that such life-giving responsibilities allocated to the twelve warrior-officers are themselves several “ben”’s:  the Hebrew word for “son”, indicative of heritage, the most sensitive word in the Hebrew culture denoting offspring and their forward looking faith to the firstborn son of the Father coming in the name of the Lamb (Genesis 22:2; John 1:29, 36).  Through the combined focus of the high priesthood in fulfillment of Exodus 19:6; and the sonship spoken of in Genesis 22, we have a combined picture of the Ben-adonai; of Ben-Yahweh; of Yahweh Himself, the Son of the Father, coming in the lineage of the high priesthood of Melchizedek – the combination of the picture of holiness (of the eleven high officials), and sustenance (of the twelve warrior-officers).

20Judah and Israel were as many(Q) as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. 21[a](R) Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the(S) Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt.(T) They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.

So finally, we see not only a fulfillment of the promise to Solomon’s request in v.22-34, but also a fulfillment of the centuries long promise made to Abraham in Genesis chapters 12, 15, 17 and 22 – v.20-21 is both historical and prophetic.  For we find that in Genesis chapter 22:18, the progressive revelation of Christ brings us to realize that it is through and in Abraham’s offspring that the prophecy is fulfilled – this offspring and the lamb that is to be slain on Moriah to be one and the same.  What magnificence and timing that Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea under the reign of the peaceful one?  What has the grain offering and the Hebrew festivals (Leviticus 2 for grain offering; Feast of booths – Leviticus 23, a reminder of Israel being directed to dwell in booths when brought out of Egypt by Yahweh) served except for us to finally see that Israel no longer has to dwell in booths; no longer has to feed on manna; no longer has to live in foreign land or in the wilderness – but can now each have their own vine and fig tree.  They can now dwell in the land, which resembles that New Creation which He is preparing for us.  Is this not finally a fulfillment of this festival of the feast of booths in Deuteronomy 31:7-13, that they finally live in the land that the Israelites have gone over the Jordan to possess?   Such a grand Jubilee (Leviticus 25) points us towards this everlasting grain fellowship and meal with the true king (v.20; Exodus 24; Matthew 22; John 21) – and such is the genuine glory experienced by the church of Christ, provided by the true Melchizedek, king of Salem (peace) typified by Solomon (peaceful).

Not only did Solomon rule over all of Israel – but also over “all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt” – his reign overflowing from Israel outwards to non-Israelite land.  Is this not a physical image of the fulfillment also of the promise to Noah’s children (Genesis 9:27)?  A precursor to the greater fulfillment of the breaking down of the Israel-Gentile divide by enlarging the tent of David (Isaiah 54:2)?  What a beautiful picture of the centrality of renewed Israel, of the renewed kingdom, the service of Solomon pointing us to the service of Christ.  Though Solomon may have a limit to the days of his life (v.21) until corruption ensues under the headship of his son Rehoboam (1 Kings 12; reversal of peace with harshness of labour), the Christ’s kingdom shall be everlasting.

22Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty cors[b] of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, 23ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture-fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl. 24For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to(U) Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates.(V) And he had peace on all sides around him. 25And Judah and Israel(W) lived in safety,(X) from Dan even to Beersheba,(Y) every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. 26(Z) Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 27And those officers supplied provisions for King Solomon, and for all who came to King Solomon’s table, each one in his month. They let nothing be lacking. 28Barley also and straw for the horses and(AA) swift steeds they brought to the place where it was required, each according to his duty.

Look further at how magnificent this fulfillment is – thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl (v.22-23).  What an incredible comparison between Israel now and the Israel even in its pre-Egypt days let alone Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16) – and only one day is spoken of here! If this is but a shadow of the church in the wilderness today, is not the Day of Resurrection, the Day of Judgment, yet also the Day of the LORD for those who stand under the true king (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:12; 1 John 4:17)?

Yet, once again, peace and safety (v.24-25) are the constant refrain here.  Solomon’s dominion stretching from the west of the Euphrates, dominating even the fortified (Gaza) over all the kings west of the Euphrates (the northeast boundary of the promised land – Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4), such safety defined by every man under his vine and fig tree; such displacement akin to the displacement of new creation (Psalm 37; 82:8; Galatians 4:30).  This is symbolic of the prophesy made in (Deuteronomy 8:8), an imagery often used throughout Scripture to denote blessing (2 Kings 18:31; Isaiah 36:16; Jeremiah 8:13; Zechariah 3:10).  However, such peace and safety only existed – “all the days of Solomon” (v.25), just like the LORD’s day (2 Peter 3:18; the eternal nature of the LORD’s day being repeated at least 12 times by the description “forever” in the book of Revelation).  Though “nothing be lacking”, and the Israelites did everything “according to his duty” (v.28), such a beautiful government of peace, safety, Solomon-centric dominion is constantly surrounding the fact that this is but a shadow and not everlasting.  For these things will only last in “all the days of Solomon”, which are sweet but short compared to the days of Adam to Abraham (Genesis 6:3; 11).

29(AB) And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind(AC) like the sand on the seashore, 30so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all(AD) the people of the east(AE) and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31For he was(AF) wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32(AG) He also spoke 3,000 proverbs,(AH) and his songs were 1,005. 33He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from(AI) all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

It is thus important to remember that this is God’s provision of wisdom to Solomon; it is God who revealed such things to Solomon – and it is simply because Solomon asked (1 Kings 3:9), not for his own glory but for the glory of the church.  Not for his own selfish personal and private spiritual growth, but for ruling God’s people, understanding that Solomon is but a steward of creation and the men of Israel, and not the people’s true King of kings.  The peculiar and odd notion that God withholds revelation from us is shattered in this very chapter.  It is by and through His Word, by His Logos, that this world was made (Colossians 1), that we can by His Wisdom and His Spirit speak of trees, beasts, birds, reptiles, fish (v.32-34).  To resign ourselves to simply proclaiming God’s wonder without specifying His wonder in the discernment that Solomon has is to be incapable of seeing the light from the darkness masquerading as light.  To resign ourselves to simply acknowledge God’s sovereignty without being able to see how the gospel is proclaimed in His handiwork through Christ (Psalm 8; 19) is to preach a religious theism, one of many theories of the world.  But Solomon’s wisdom brought people to his feet; this Wisdom brought kingship over the peoples of Canaan and even outside of Canaan; His Spirit brought spiritual and physical blessing, peace and safety, and knowledge (2 Peter 1).  This is far from the cling and clatter of tongues, healing, prophecy, teaching, preaching, evangelism; apostleship, prophethood, pasturing and teaching; (1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 4:11) for through this shadow of Christ, only Jesus is the one who is filled with the Spirit without measure (Isaiah 11:2; John 3:34):

So, because Jesus of Nazareth was none other than the Son of God, the divine Son, who had assumed an unfallen human nature, he was able to, and had a right to, receive the Holy Spirit without measure.  The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was the official ceremony of anointing that made Jesus of Nazareth the Christ, as well as being the public recognition of who He was” – The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 6 The Work of the Holy Ghost in our Salvation quoted in Paul Blackham’s thesis on “The Pneumatology of Thomas Goodwin”.

Do we therefore, as Christians who are given the same Third Person of the Trinity who dwells in our hearts and who fills us with wisdom if we so ask, preach such Godly truths so that people of all four corners of the earth may come to hear (v.34), whatever adamic tradition or culture or education or wisdom they may provide in their own regions?  Do we dwell under the banner of Solomon, “a type of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and hidden for use; for he is made of God to us wisdom” (Matthew Henry)?

1 Kings 4: The Age of Solomon