I Kings – Chapter 14

A Blind Man Sees Through a Disguise

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Yaravam had a young son named Aviyah, who became ill. Yaravam sent his wife to see the prophet Achiya, who had predicted his ascension to the throne. It wouldn’t do for people to know the idolatrous Yaravam was consulting the prophet of G-d, so he told his wife to disguise herself and to take a more modest gift than the king would normally send. (Achiya was blind, but they didn’t want other people to know, either.) Yaravam’s wife traveled to Achiya in Shiloh. G-d had told Achiya to expect her, so when she got there, he greeted her by name even though she was disguised and he was blind!

Achiya said, “I have a message for your husband from G-d: I took most of the kingdom from David’s house and gave it to you, but you are worse than any of your predecessors! Therefore, I will eliminate all your male descendants. They won’t even be properly buried! If they die in the city, dogs will eat them. If they die in the country, birds will eat them. Now, as for why you’re here, Mrs. Yaravam, as you enter your city, the boy will die. He alone of Yaravam’s descendants will be buried, because in him is what little good is left in your husband’s house. A new king will wipe out Yaravam’s house.”

Yaravam’s wife left and, sure enough, as she re-entered her city, the boy died. He was buried and mourned as G-d had said. Yaravam reigned in Israel for 22 years and was succeeded by his son, Nadav.

Rechavam reigned in Judah for 17 years. The people of Judah descended into idolatry and immorality worse than any previous generation, so G-d allowed them to be invaded by Shishak, king of Egypt. He carried away all the treasures of the Temple, as well as the golden shields that Solomon had made. (Rechavam replaced them with copper shields.) Rechavam and Yaravam were in a perpetual state of war. When Rechavam died, he was succeeded by his son, Aviyam.

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