Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 14

The royal palace at Tirzah

1 Kings 14:17-18

Originally, Jeroboam chose Shechem as his capital city (12:25). He built it with strong defences as he prepared for war against Rehoboam, the king of Judah. That was how Shechem became the first capital city for the kings of northern and central Israel.

However, Jeroboam did not continue to live there for long. He had seen the luxury in which Solomon lived. It seems that Jeroboam desired some of that luxury for himself.

So, he chose Tirzah as the place for his royal palace. Even before then, at the time of Solomon, people spoke of Tirzah as one of the most beautiful places in Israel (Song of Solomon 6:4). It was about 8 miles (12 kilometres) north of Shechem; so, the defences at Shechem helped to protect Tirzah, too. We have no description of the palace at Tirzah, but 1 Kings 16:9 mentions it. It remained the palace for later kings of Israel until Omri built the new city called Samaria.

So, it was at Tirzah that Jeroboam’s son died. That was what Ahijah the prophet (holy man) had told Jeroboam’s wife. His sudden death, at the moment of her return to Tirzah, was evidence that God would act against Jeroboam’s whole family. That son alone, in the whole family, had remained loyal to God. God permitted his early death so that he alone would receive the honour to have a proper funeral.

In the end, that son’s grave in Tirzah would stand alone, to remind people of God’s judgment against this formerly great family.

Next part: The rule and death of Jeroboam (1 Kings 14:19-20)


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