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Chinese12/4/2005English
經文:列王紀上十二章
鑰節:「王不肯依從百姓,這事乃出於耶和華,為要應驗……祂的話。」(12:15)
提要

        所羅門死後,上帝引導以色列國內事件的發展,好叫祂透過先知亞希雅所說的話得以實現。先前被所羅門懷疑有叛逆企圖而逃往埃及的耶羅波安,在得知所羅門王駕崩的消息後,便應北邊各支派之請回到以色列。耶羅波安企圖用所羅門時代「人力稅」的政策(參5:13~14)在以色列國內製造紛爭,並藉機贏取百姓的支持。他可能在埃及時就已開始籌畫這項陰謀了。

        在羅波安的加冕典禮上,精明的耶羅波安率領百姓向新王要求減稅。他們的抱怨可能不甚公平,因為在所羅門王年間,每個人似乎都很滿足。所羅門的老顧問大概看出耶羅波安的計策,他們很有智慧的建議羅波安答應百姓的請求,以緩和情勢。羅波安的年輕謀士其實並不年輕,他們與新王同齡,而我們知道羅波安當政時年約四十歲。不過,這些涉世未深的謀士畢竟不像諳外交藝術的老臣,他們仍堅持治國之道應採嚴刑峻法。

        羅波安不像他的父親那麼有智慧,也不善於對付他的百姓。他聽從錯誤的建議,正中耶羅波安下懷。這一切其實也都出於上帝的計劃。結果造成了北邊支派公開的反叛羅波安。羅波安派亞多蘭去收稅無異火上加油,以色列將氣出在亞多蘭身上,用石頭將他打死。

        只有猶大和便雅憫支派繼續支持大衛家。便雅憫支派的領土與猶大支派極為接近,幾被視為猶大支派的一部分。所有其他北邊支派的百姓則都擁戴耶羅波安作他們的王。以色列國於焉分裂,正如上帝對所羅門宣示的審判,因為所羅門容許以色列境內有拜偶像的事。猶大支派的以色列人組成了南國,稱為「猶大國」。所有其他的以色列支派則組成北國,稱為「以色列國」。

        羅波安於是準備要攻打以色列。由於他還擁有所羅門遺留下來的財富和權勢,他應該可以輕易的得勝。但是上帝藉先知示瑪雅警告猶大國的以色列人勿與他們的兄弟爭戰,上帝說:「因為這事出於我」(12:24)。猶大人尊敬上帝的話,也順服了祂的指示,因而避免了一場內戰。羅波安可能仍想作戰,但猶大百姓在這件事上不支持他。

        耶羅波安小心翼翼的保護他的新王國不與猶大有任何瓜葛,好使他能充分掌握以色列國。他奸詐的為以色列人作了一個金牛犢,陷他們於偶像的敬拜,又設立新的宗教中心,新的祭司制度、和新的宗教節日。他這麼做的目的是想一刀砍斷與猶大的臍帶,因為聖殿和對上帝的敬拜都與大衛家有關。不過,他的罪行絕不會使他保有以色列國。上帝已經告訴他,要擁有一堅固王國的唯一方法是事奉祂(11:38)。

禱告

        主啊,您所行的完全公義。您的計畫絕對完美。我們臣服於您。謝謝您使我們得享您的國度、您的律法、和您的供應。刵穌,萬王之王,您真是比所羅門更大。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read 1 Kings 12
Key Verse:"So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of affairs was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word...".(1 Kings 12:15)
Overview

        After the death of Solomon, the Lord directed the events which would fulfill His words spoken through the prophet Ahijah (11:11-13, 31-38). Upon hearing the report of Solomon's death and being summoned by the people of the northern tribes, Jeroboam returned from exile in Egypt, where he had fled when Solomon suspected him of treason (11:40). It appears that he tried to stir up dissension in Israel because of Solomon's policy of forced labour or "human taxation" (cf. 5:13-14), and he attempted to gain the support of the people. He probably continued the plans of his conspiracy while in Egypt.

        At the time of Rehoboam's coronation, Jeroboam shrewdly led the people to request that taxes be lowered. Their complaint may not have been justified, because it appears that during the reign of Solomon everyone had been content. The older advisors of Solomon probably detected Jeroboam's scheme and wisely advised Rehoboam to grant them their request and thus ease the situation. Rehoboam's younger advisors were not youths; they were his contemporaries, and we know that he was forty-one years old when he began to reign (14:21). They, however, unlike the older men, were lacking experience in diplomacy and believed the way to rule was with a hard hand and a big stick.

        Unlike his father, Rehoboam was unwise in dealing with the people. He listened to the wrong advisors, which was probably what Jeroboam expected. This was all in the providence of God. The outcome was open rebellion by the northern tribes against Rehoboam. When he sent Adoram to collect their taxes, he added fuel to the fire (12:18; 4:6). They took out their anger on Adoram and stoned him.

        Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued to support the house of David. The territory of Benjamin was so close to Judah that they almost became absorbed into the larger tribe and came to be considered as part of Judah. All the other tribes to the north called upon Jeroboam and made him their king. Thus the land was divided, just as the Lord had spoken as a divine judgment of Solomon's sins and the idolatry he had allowed in the land. The Israelites of Judah now made up the Southern Kingdom which was known as "Judah". All the other Israelite tribes made up the Northern Kingdom, known as "Israel".

        Rehoboam then made preparations to attack Israel. Since he still had the strength and wealth of Solomon, he could probably overcome them easily. However God warned the Israelites through the prophet Shemaiah not to fight their brethren, saying, "this thing is from Me" (12:24). The Judahites respected God's word and obeyed Him in order to prevent civil war. Rehoboam probably wanted otherwise, but he did not have the support of the people to fight.

        Jeroboam was careful to protect his new kingdom from any alliances with Judah so that the kingdom would remain in his hands. He craftily gave Israel their own idolatrous religion of calf worship (like the Egyptians). He set up new religious centres, a new priesthood, and new pagan religious feasts. He did this to break any ties with Judah, because the Temple and worship of God was associated with the family of David. His sinful actions, however, would never keep the kingdom in his hands. God had told him the only way in which he would have an "enduring house" would be by serving Him (11:38).

Prayer

        Your acts, Lord, are totally righteous. Your plan is perfect. We submit to You as our King. Thank You for the blessings of Your Kingdom, Your laws, and Your provision. Truly, King Jesus, You are much greater than Solomon.


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