King Jeroboam, the Man who Missed the Golden Opportunity (1)
Jeroboam was one of the servants of King Solomon when things were still going on well with the King and his God. When King Solomon did what was not pleasing to God, he decides to take the kingdom off the family of David albeit not totally and give it to someone else.
He (God) was thence, as his manner was seeking for a person whose desire and heart was in accordance with what he has for his people and that was when he found jeroboam and he sent his servant, Prophet Ahijah to him to tell him about what God has in stock for him having searched his heart and known that he desires to rule the people of God.
“And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
“And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
“Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
“And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.” (1 Ki 11:6, 9, 11, 12 & 37)
King Solomon would hear of this prophesy having been told by God himself that he would rend the kingdom from him, on hearing of the chosen servant, he sought to kill jeroboam which makes his flee Israel to seek political asylum in Egypt and Shishak the king of Egypt granted him the asylum.
Let us dig a little bit into this topic.
The Man Jeroboam
Meaning of Jeroboam: Jeroboam was the first crowned king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His name in Hebrew is written as “ירבעם”, Romanized form is yârob‛âm (phonetic spelling is yaw-rob-awm') which means people will contend.
Period of Reign: He reigned for 22 years. Edwin R. Thide says he reigns from 931 - 910 BCE while William F. Albright says he reigned from 922 – 901 BCE.
Parents: His father’s name was Nebat who was said to be one of the servants of King Solomon in the palace. While his mother’s name was Zeruah. (1 Ki 11:26) He was one of rare leaders in Israel whose parents names were mentioned in the bible.
However, when his mother was heavy with his pregnancy, his father (perhaps) died which makes the bible to say of the woman that she was a widow by the time she gave birth to Jeroboam.
Tribe and Village: He was of the tribe of Ephraim and is village is Zeredah in the Jordan valley.
“And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon's servant, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king” (1 Ki 11:26)
Wife: The name of his wife was not stated in the bible, but Septuagint says the name of his wife was Ano who was said to be great among the King’s daughters in Egypt. He was given to him by Shishak King of Egypt. (1 Ki 14:2)
e-sword in her commentary of Shishak king of Egypt says, this is the first time we meet with the proper name of an Egyptian king in Scripture, Pharaoh being the general appellation for all the sovereigns of that country. It is the belief of some that Shishak is the same with the renown Sesostris of the Greek history, but this may not be totally true. For some think this king lived well before King Solomon. Usher in his opinion thinks he is Sesonchis, and while dating the period he starts to reign puts it around 3026 (978 BC)
Children: Two of his children were named in the bible the one who succeeds him and the one who died when he was still in power. They are Abijah and Nadab. (1 Ki 14:1 & 20)
Jeroboam as a Youth
He was active and industrious which prompted King Solomon to notice him and he makes him he overseer of the ongoing work of the house of Joseph because he also belongs to the house of Joseph. (Gen 48:1; 1 Ki 11:21-28)
“And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.” (1 Ki 11:28)
As youths today we have to know that there is no short-cut to fame, no short-cut to success, we need to be industrious and hardworking in all we are doing so that God and people of the world would notice us as Jeroboam has been noticed by the King and people of his days.
The Prophesy – Beginning of a New Thing
Like other servants of the king he was residing in the palace, but he would have to leave the palace for some works outside the palace when he was met by Prophet Ahijah who may have been led by God to go and meet him on the way. It is a probability that God has told his prophet the way Jeroboam would take (1Ki 21:17-19) so that he would be able to deliver the message to him for he was not perambulating when he wants to deliver the message to Jeroboam. (1 Ki 11:27-28)
The prophet went straight to the point when he met the man, through the sign he must have been given by God in the secret which is tearing the new cloth he had wore into twelve shreds and handing over ten shreds to Jeroboam, showing and telling him the mind of God for him, the country because of sins of King Solomon.
“And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
“And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
“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:” (1 Ki 11:29-31)
The prophet told him that God wants to start a new thing with him by handing over ten tribes to him to see how he would manage what he has given him according to his heart desires. He warmly and joyously received the torn cloths, but did he make the heart of God glad? This and others about him shall be answered in the next article.
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