Jeroboam and Rehoboam
1 Kings 11:26-14:31
God's Promise to Jeroboam
26 Another man who turned against King Solomon was one of his officials, Jeroboam son of Nebat, from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27 This is the story of the revolt.
Solomon was filling in the land on the east side of Jerusalem and repairing the city walls. 28 Jeroboam was an able young man, and when Solomon noticed how hard he worked, he put him in charge of all the forced labor in the territory of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. 29 One day, as Jeroboam was traveling from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh met him alone on the road in the open country. 30 Ahijah took off the new robe he was wearing, tore it into twelve pieces, 31 and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, because the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, ‘I am going to take the kingdom away from Solomon, and I will give you ten tribes. 32 Solomon will keep one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be my own from the whole land of Israel. 33 I am going to do this because Solomon has rejected me and has worshiped foreign gods: Astarte, the goddess of Sidon; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Molech, the god of Ammon. Solomon has disobeyed me; he has done wrong and has not kept my laws and commands as his father David did. 34 But I will not take the whole kingdom away from Solomon, and I will keep him in power as long as he lives. This I will do for the sake of my servant David, whom I chose and who obeyed my laws and commands. 35 I will take the kingdom away from Solomon's son and will give you ten tribes, 36 but I will let Solomon's son keep one tribe, so that I will always have a descendant of my servant David ruling in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as the place where I am worshiped. 37 Jeroboam, I will make you king of Israel, and you will rule over all the territory that you want. 38 If you obey me completely, live by my laws, and win my approval by doing what I command, as my servant David did, I will always be with you. I will make you king of Israel and will make sure that your descendants rule after you, just as I have done for David. 39 Because of Solomon's sin I will punish the descendants of David, but not for all time.’”
40 And so Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he escaped to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon's death.
The Death of Solomon
41 Everything else that Solomon did, his career, and his wisdom, are all recorded in The History of Solomon. 42 He was king in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 43 He died and was buried in David's City, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.
The Northern Tribes Revolt
1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned from Egypt. 3 The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and then they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, 4 “Your father Solomon treated us harshly and placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”
5 “Come back in three days and I will give you my answer,” he replied. So they left.
6 King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.
7 They replied, “If you want to serve this people well, give a favorable answer to their request, and they will always serve you loyally.”
8 But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. 9 “What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”
10 They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist!’ 11 Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!’”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13 The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14 as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!” 15 It was the will of the Lord to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.
16 When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”
So the people of Israel rebelled, 17 leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.
18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labor, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19 Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.
20 When the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned from Egypt, they invited him to a meeting of the people and made him king of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's descendants.
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. 22 But God told the prophet Shemaiah 23 to give this message to Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 24 “Do not attack your own relatives, the people of Israel. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They all obeyed the Lord's command and went back home.
Jeroboam Turns Away from God
25 King Jeroboam of Israel fortified the town of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there for a while. Then he left and fortified the town of Penuel. 26-27 He said to himself, “As things are now, if my people go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to the Lord in the Temple there, they will transfer their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah and will kill me.”
28 After thinking it over, he made two bull-calves of gold and said to his people, “You have been going long enough to Jerusalem to worship. People of Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt!” 29 He placed one of the gold bull-calves in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30 And so the people sinned, going to worship in Bethel and in Dan. 31 Jeroboam also built places of worship on hilltops, and he chose priests from families who were not of the tribe of Levi.
Worship at Bethel Is Condemned
32 Jeroboam also instituted a religious festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the gold bull-calves he had made, and he placed there in Bethel the priests serving at the places of worship he had built. 33 And on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the day that he himself had set, he went to Bethel and offered a sacrifice on the altar in celebration of the festival he had instituted for the people of Israel.
1 At the Lord's command a prophet from Judah went to Bethel and arrived there as Jeroboam stood at the altar to offer the sacrifice. 2 Following the Lord's command, the prophet denounced the altar: “O altar, altar, this is what the Lord says: A child, whose name will be Josiah, will be born to the family of David. He will slaughter on you the priests serving at the pagan altars who offer sacrifices on you, and he will burn human bones on you.” 3 And the prophet went on to say, “This altar will fall apart, and the ashes on it will be scattered. Then you will know that the Lord has spoken through me.”
4 When King Jeroboam heard this, he pointed at him and ordered, “Seize that man!” At once the king's arm became paralyzed so that he couldn't pull it back. 5 The altar suddenly fell apart and the ashes spilled to the ground, as the prophet had predicted in the name of the Lord. 6 King Jeroboam said to the prophet, “Please pray for me to the Lord your God, and ask him to heal my arm!”
The prophet prayed to the Lord, and the king's arm was healed. 7 Then the king said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat. I will reward you for what you have done.”
8 The prophet answered, “Even if you gave me half of your wealth, I would not go with you or eat or drink anything with you. 9 The Lord has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.” 10 So he did not go back the same way he had come, but by another road.
The Old Prophet of Bethel
11 At that time there was an old prophet living in Bethel. His sons came and told him what the prophet from Judah had done in Bethel that day and what he had said to King Jeroboam. 12 “Which way did he go when he left?” the old prophet asked them. They showed him the road 13 and he told them to saddle his donkey for him. They did so, and he rode off 14 down the road after the prophet from Judah and found him sitting under an oak tree. “Are you the prophet from Judah?” he asked.
“I am,” the man answered.
15 “Come home and have a meal with me,” he said.
16 But the prophet from Judah answered, “I can't go home with you or accept your hospitality. And I won't eat or drink anything with you here, 17 because the Lord has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.”
18 Then the old prophet from Bethel said to him, “I, too, am a prophet just like you, and at the Lord's command an angel told me to take you home with me and offer you my hospitality.” But the old prophet was lying.
19 So the prophet from Judah went home with the old prophet and had a meal with him. 20 As they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet, 21 and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, “The Lord says that you disobeyed him and did not do what he commanded. 22 Instead, you returned and ate a meal in a place he had ordered you not to eat in. Because of this you will be killed, and your body will not be buried in your family grave.”
23 After they had finished eating, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet from Judah, 24 who rode off. On the way a lion met him and killed him. His body lay on the road, and the donkey and the lion stood beside it. 25 Some men passed by and saw the body on the road, with the lion standing near by. They went on into Bethel and reported what they had seen.
26 When the old prophet heard about it, he said, “That is the prophet who disobeyed the Lord's command! And so the Lord sent the lion to attack and kill him, just as the Lord said he would.” 27 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle my donkey for me.” They did so, 28 and he rode off and found the prophet's body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion still standing by it. The lion had not eaten the body or attacked the donkey. 29 The old prophet picked up the body, put it on the donkey, and brought it back to Bethel to mourn over it and bury it. 30 He buried it in his own family grave, and he and his sons mourned over it, saying, “Oh my brother, my brother!” 31 After the burial the prophet said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in this grave and lay my body next to his. 32 The words that he spoke at the Lord's command against the altar in Bethel and against all the places of worship in the towns of Samaria will surely come true.”
Jeroboam's Fatal Sin
33 King Jeroboam of Israel still did not turn from his evil ways but continued to choose priests from ordinary families to serve at the altars he had built. He ordained as priest anyone who wanted to be one. 34 This sin on his part brought about the ruin and total destruction of his dynasty.
The Death of Jeroboam's Son
1 At that time King Jeroboam's son Abijah got sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you, and go to Shiloh, where the prophet Ahijah lives, the one who said I would be king of Israel. 3 Take him ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey. Ask him what is going to happen to our son, and he will tell you.”
4 So she went to Ahijah's home in Shiloh. Old age had made Ahijah blind. 5 The Lord had told him that Jeroboam's wife was coming to ask him about her son, who was sick. And the Lord told Ahijah what to say.
When Jeroboam's wife arrived, she pretended to be someone else. 6 But when Ahijah heard her coming in the door, he said, “Come in. I know you are Jeroboam's wife. Why are you pretending to be someone else? I have bad news for you. 7 Go and tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to him: ‘I chose you from among the people and made you the ruler of my people Israel. 8 I took the kingdom away from David's descendants and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who was completely loyal to me, obeyed my commands, and did only what I approve of. 9 You have committed far greater sins than those who ruled before you. You have rejected me and have aroused my anger by making idols and metal images to worship. 10 Because of this I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will kill all your male descendants, young and old alike. I will get rid of your family; they will be swept away like dung. 11 Any members of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and any who die in the open country will be eaten by vultures. I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
12 And Ahijah went on to say to Jeroboam's wife, “Now go back home. As soon as you enter the town, your son will die. 13 All the people of Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He will be the only member of Jeroboam's family who will be properly buried, because he is the only one with whom the Lord, the God of Israel, is pleased. 14 The Lord is going to place a king over Israel who will put an end to Jeroboam's dynasty. 15 The Lord will punish Israel, and she will shake like a reed shaking in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land which he gave to their ancestors, and he will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they have aroused his anger by making idols of the goddess Asherah. 16 The Lord will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and led the people of Israel into sin.”
17 Jeroboam's wife went back to Tirzah. Just as she entered her home, the child died. 18 The people of Israel mourned for him and buried him, as the Lord had said through his servant, the prophet Ahijah.
The Death of Jeroboam
19 Everything else that King Jeroboam did, the wars he fought and how he ruled, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. 20 Jeroboam ruled as king for twenty-two years. He died and was buried, and his son Nadab succeeded him as king.
King Rehoboam of Judah
21 Solomon's son Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the territory of Israel as the place where he was to be worshiped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah from Ammon.
22 The people of Judah sinned against the Lord and did more to arouse his anger against them than all their ancestors had done. 23 They built places of worship for false gods and put up stone pillars and symbols of Asherah to worship on the hills and under shady trees. 24 Worst of all, there were men and women who served as prostitutes at those pagan places of worship. The people of Judah practiced all the shameful things done by the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced into the country.
25 In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. 26 He took away all the treasures in the Temple and in the palace, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 27 To replace them, King Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates. 28 Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom.
29 Everything else that King Rehoboam did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 30 During all this time Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other. 31 Rehoboam died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Abijah succeeded him as king.