Melachim 1 Kings 1-Chapter 14: The reigns of Yeravam and Rechavam and their sins

Chapter 14: The reigns of Yeravam and Rechavam and their sins

1.      The wife of Yeravam sets out to beseech mercy from the prophet Achiyah on behalf of her deathly ill son:

  • At that time Aviyah, the son of Yeravam, became deathly ill.
  • Yeravam asks his wife to approach Achiyah in disguise: Yeravam asked his wife to disguise herself so she not be recognized as the wife of Yeravam, and that she should then go to Shilo where Achiyah the prophet is found, who is the prophet who stated that Yeravam would be king over the people [and beseech for mercy on behalf of their son].
  • She is told to bring food with her: Yeravam told his wife to take with her ten loaves [of bread] and biscuits and a flask of honey, and come to him, and he will tell her what will be of the child.
  • She travels to Achiyah: Yeravam’s wife did as her husband asked, and she arose and went to Shilo and came to the house of Achiyah.

2.      Achiyah tells Yeravam’s wife a prophecy of the ultimate destruction of her husband’s kingdom:

  • Achiyah is blind: At that time Achiyah could not see for he became blind due to his old age.
  • Hashem appears to Achiyah and forewarns him of Yeravam’s wife’s arrival: Hashem then appeared to Achiyah and told him that the wife of Yeravam will be arriving to ask him on behalf of her son who is sick. Hashem then told Achiyah that he shall speak to her the following prophecy, and so it was, that she then arrived in disguise.
  • Achiyah greets Yerevan’s wife: Achiyah heard the sound of her footsteps by the doorway, and he said to her, “Come in, Yeravam’s wife. Why are you disguised? I have been sent to you to tell you harsh tidings.”
  • Achiyah relays the prophecy of doom for Yeravam: Achiyah told her, “Go tell [your husband] Yeravam, that Hashem the God of Israel has said, “I raised you from amidst the people and I made you their ruler, and I tore the kingdom from the House of David, and I gave it to you. However, you have not been like My servant David, who heeded My commandments and followed Me with all his heart to do only what was proper in My eyes. You have done worse than all that were before you and you have gone and made for yourself foreign gods and molten images to anger Me, and you have cast Me behind your back. Therefore, I shall bring disaster on the house of Yeravam, and I will cut off from Yeravam every male child and every man of power, and I will purge the house of Yeravam as one expels dung from the food he ate, until it is completed. In the city, the dogs will eat the dead of Yeravam, and in the field, the birds of the heaven shall eat the dead.”
  • Achiyah instructs the wife to return home and that the child will die: Achiyah then told the wife of Yeravam that she should return to the city and that as soon as she arrives to the city her child will die.
  • A continuation of the prophecy of the aftermath of Yeravam and the Jewish nation: Achiyah continued with his prophecy, telling the wife of Yeravam as follows: “When you return home and will find your child dead all of Israel will eulogize him and bury him, for he alone of shall come to a grave from the house of Yeravam, as he is the only one from the house of Yeravam who still has some good found in him and deserves to be buried. Hashem will raise a king over Israel who will cut off the house of Yeravam. Hashem will smite Israel as a reed sways in the water, and He will uproot Israel from this good land that He has given to your fathers and He will scatter them on the other side of the river because they have made their trees of idol worship which anger Him. Hashem will put Israel [to shame] because of the sins of Yeravam that he sinned and that he has caused Israel to sin.”

3.      The son of Yeravam dies:

  • Yeravam’s wife arrived home to Tirzah [the capital of Yeravam’s kingdom in the Shomron] and when she came onto the threshold of the house, the youth died.
  • The boy is buried and eulogized: All of Israel buried him and eulogized him as Hashem had spoken through His servant Achiyah the Shilonite.

4.      The reign of Yeravam:

  • The remaining events of Yeravam, his wars and reign, is written in the book of Chronicles of the kings of Israel.
  • The years of Yerava’s reign: Yeravam reigned for twenty two years, and he then passed away and was buried with his forefathers
  • The king who reigned after him: Yeravam’s son Nadav ruled in his place after he died.

5.      The reign of Rechavam and the sins of Judah:

  • His age at the time of rule and years of reign: Rechavam, the son of Shlomo, was 41 years old when he ruled over Yehuda. He was king for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that Hashem had chosen to place His Name there out of all the tribes of Israel.
  • His mother’s name: Rechavam’s mother’s name was Naamah the Amonitess.
  • The sins of Judah: The tribe of Yehuda sinned before Hashem the Lord, and they angered Hashem more than the sins of their forefathers. They, too, built for themselves altars for idolatry, and monuments and trees for idol worship on every high hill and under every green tree. They also committed adultery in the land. They committed all the abominations of the nations that Hashem had driven out from Israel, on their behalf.

6.      The Egyptian conquest of Jerusalem:

  • In the fifth year of reign of the king Rechavam, Shishak, the king of Egypt, came up to battle against Jerusalem. He took the treasures of the Temple and the treasures of the king’s palace. He took everything [including the ivory throne of Shlomo[1]]. He took all the golden shields that Shlomo had made.
  • New shields are made: King Rechavam made new copper shields instead of them, and he put them under the jurisdiction of the captain of those who guarded the door of the king’s palace. Whenever the king went to the Temple, the runners would carry the shields [to protect him from an assassination[2]] and then return them to the chambers that they were stored in.

7.      The legacy of Rechavam:

  • The remainder of the events of Rechavam and all that he did, are written in the book of Chronicles of the kings of Judah.
  • The state of affairs between Rechavam and Yeravam: There was a continuous war between Rechavam and Yeravam throughout their days.
  • Rechavam dies and is buried: Rechavam died and was buried with his fathers in the City of David.
  • His mother: His mother’s name was Naamah, the Amonitess.
  • His successor: Aviyam, his son, reigned in his place.

[1] Rashi 14:25

[2] Meiam Loez 14:27

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