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queen's sister. Rezon, with whom Hadad entered into a league against Solomon, was the man who deserted from Hadadezer, king of Zobah, and was made king of Damascus; but David dispossessed him ; however he had lately recovered his kingdom.
The necessity of defending his dominions against these adversaries, and the various services the Israelites were obliged to render to Solomon, on account of his numerous alliances, made the latter end of his reign grievous to them, and his glory was tarnished in the eyes of all the world.
Jeroboam had distinguished himself by his valour and industry, which induced Solomon to fix upon him as a proper person for the post he had assigned him. This man seems to have been of a very aspiring temper, and to have entertained a secret wish to reign over Israel. This wish would have been fruitless, if Solomon had not forfeited the Divine protection. That Jeroboam might not, how. ever, suppose he had gained dominion over the LORD'. people by his own courage or abilities, a PROPHET was sent to declare the Lord's intention of rending the kingdom, and giving the government of ten tribes to him; and at the same time to inform him why Solomon's memory was to be disgraced, and to promise Jeroboam the establishment of the kingdom of Israel in his family, if he would imitate David in his piety and obedience to the commands of God.
A hijah, it is supposed, clad himself in a new garment, in order to give Jeroboam a sign; for it was customary for prophets to make use of such methods that their predictions might be more striking; in the present instance, the ten pieces given in the Lord's name to Jeroboam were a token of conveyance of the tribes to him.
Whilst Solomon continued religious, he undoubtedly was a happy monarch; there was neither discontent nor faction under his government; he knew not the sorrow
of losing thousands of his subjects by war, nor had he cause to fear, whilst he was under the peculiar direction of God, that any of his plans for the good of the nation would fail of success.
Solomon's life, in all probability, was shortened by his excesses, for he was no more than 58 years old when he died. There is great reason to suppose, after he had made his fruitless experiments he had a proper sense of his crimes : but it was too late for him then to bring about a reformation in his kingdom; for the affection of his people was alienated from him, and his wives, whom he had increased to the number of one thousand, had gained such an ascendancy, that no efforts of his own would have prevailed against theirdifferent parties: and neither he nor his subjects could hope that the Lord, whose honour was so greatly affronted by them, would work a miracle to change their minds. They had slighted the true God, and preferred idols to him; on which account they were justly left to the consequences which they had been repeatedly warnel to expect.
From Solomon's history we may learn, that WISDOM, Power, and RICHES, are llessings only to those who use ther properly; when received with thankfulness, enjoyed with moderation, and employed in relieving the distresses of the indigent, or encouraging honest industry, they are productive of great satisfaction ; but when they are made subservient of vice, they render their possessors despicable and unhappy.
Whatsoever SOLOMON's eyes desired, he kept not from them ; neither withheld he his heart from any joy experience taught him, that there was no profit in any worldly enjoyment ; and his search after HAPPINESS concluded with a thorough conviction, that it was only to be obtained by fearing God,and keeping His commandments. * Ecclesiastes.
THE ISRAELITES ASSEMBLE TO CROWN REHOBOAM
TEN TRIBES REVOLT, AND MAKE JEROBOAM KING
From 1 Kings, Chap. xii. 2 Chron. Chap. xi.
And after the death of Solomon, Rehoboam went to Shechem : for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
And it came to pass when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled froin the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt,)
That they sent and called him: and Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous : now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.
And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men that stood before Solomon his father, while he yet lived, and said, How do you advise, that I may answer this people?
And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood
before him: and he said unto them, What counsel give ye,
we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us, lighter?
And the young men that were grown up with him, spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us ; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than
father's loins. And now whereas
father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke ; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him ; and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke ; my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people ; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by A hijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel : now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.
But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judalı, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned hiin with stones that he died: therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.
So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
And it came to pass when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Issael : there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.
And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he as. sembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors; to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God; saying, Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Ben, jamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord. Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house, for this thing is from me.
They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord. And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victuals, and of oil and wine.
And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel, resorted to him out of all their coasts.