Old Testament History

By Henry Preserved Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
FROM JEROBOAM TO JEHU

THE attempt of an ambitious satrap to make himself an independent monarch is a constantly recurring phenomenon in oriental history. Such attempts in the outlying districts of Solomon's kingdom we have already chronicled. Another in the centre of the kingdom need cause no surprise when we remember the fierce and haughty temper of Ephraim. Such an attempt was made during Solomon's life, though suppressed for the time being. It was headed by Jeroboam ben Nebat, a man of obscure origin, but of energetic character. According to our sources, he attracted the attention of Solomon, who promoted him to the position of overseer of the forced labour in the country of Ephraim. According to an intimation in the Greek version,1 he fortified his native place Zereda, and enlisted chariots in his service. This almost ostentatious indication of an intention to revolt aroused the vigilance of Solomon, and Jeroboam was obliged to flee to Egypt. He found an asylum with Shishak ( Sheshonk) a king not friendly to Solomon.2 Here he watched the course of events, and apparently kept in communication with the Sheikhs of Ephraim. Change of the throne is usually the signal for civil disorders in the East, and so it proved in this case. As soon as Solomon's death was announced, Jeroboam returned to his native town, which was within easy reach of Shechem, the capital of Ephraim.

We remember Shechem as the city in which Abimelech had once set up his kingdom. The fact that Rehoboam, who succeeded to Solomon's throne in Judah without opposition, found it necessary to come hither for recognition shows how much of the old

____________________
1
The passage partly duplicates the Hebrew text, but is in part original. It is printed by Swete ( Old Testament in Greek), as 3 Kings, 1224 a-f, in Lagarde's edition as 3 Kings, 1225-39
2
The statement that Shishak gave him his daughter in marriage seems to have come in by confusion with the story of Hadad.

-177-

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