1 Kings 11:26–14:20

Yahweh Raises Up Jeroboam

26 Now Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zeredah (now the name of his mother was Zeruah, a widow woman), a servant of Solomon rebelled against the king.i 27 This is the reason that he rebelled against the king: when Solomon built the Millo, he closed the gap of the city of David his father. 28 Now the man Jeroboam was a man of ability, and Solomon saw that the young man was a diligent worker,j so he appointed him over all of the forced labor for the house of Joseph. 29 It happened at that time that Jeroboam went out from Jerusalem, and he accidentally met Ahijah the Shilonite the prophet on the way. Now he had clothed himself with new clothing. While the two of them were alone in the field, 30 Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which was on him and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and I will give to you ten tribes, 32 but one tribe shall be for him, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel; 33 because he has forsaken me, and they bowed down to Ashtoreth, the god of the Sidonians, to Chemosh, the god of Moab, and to Molech, the god of the Ammonites.k They did not walk in my ways to do right in my eyes, my ordinances, or my judgments, as did David his father. 34 But I will not take all of the kingdom from his hand, but I will make him a leader all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my ordinances. 35 But I will take the kingship from the hand of his son, and I will give ten tribes to you. 36 To his son I will give one tribe in order to be a lamp for my servant David, always before my face, in Jerusalem the city in which I have chosen to place my name. 37 You I will take, and you shall reign over all your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 38 It shall be that if you listen to all that I command you and you walk in my ways and you do right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, then I will be with you, and I will build an enduring house for you as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 I will punish the offspring of David on account of this; however, not always.’ ”40 Then Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam got up and fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king of Egypt, and he remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and all that he did and his wisdom; are they not written on the scroll of the acts of Solomon? 42 All the days that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all of Israel were forty years. 43 Then Solomon slept with his ancestors,l and they buried him in the city of David his father, and Rehoboam his son became king in his place.

Israel’s Appeal to Rehoboam

12 Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all of Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. It happened that Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it while he was still in Egypt where he had fled from the face of King Solomon, and Jeroboam had lived in Egypt. So they sent and summoned him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came. Then they spoke to Rehoboam, saying, “Your father made our yoke heavy; now lighten the hard labor of your father and the heavy yoke which he placed on us, and we will serve you.” He said, “Go up for three days and then return to me”; so the people went away.

Rehoboam Seeks Counsel to Respond

Then King Rehoboam consulted with the old men who had been servinga before Solomon his father when he was alive, saying, “How are you advising me to answer this people?”b They said to him, “If you will be a servant today to this people, then you will serve them; and if you answer them and speak good words to them, they will always be your servants.” But he rejected the advice of the old men, which they gave him, and he consulted with the youngsters who had grown up with him, who were servingc before him. He said to them, “What are you advising that we should reply to this people who spoke to me by saying, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us.’ ” 10 Then the youngsters who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you: ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ you shall say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11 So then, my father loaded a heavy yoke on all of you, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions!’ ”

Rehoboam Responds Unwisely with Disastrous Results

12 Jeroboam and all of the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had spoken: “Return to me on the third day.” 13 Then the king answered all the people harshly, as he had rejected the advice of the old men that they had offered. 14 He spoke to them according to the advice of the youngsters, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add onto your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turning of events from Yahweh in order to fulfill his word which Yahweh had spoken through the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16 When all of Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, “What share do we have in David?d There is no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, Israel! Now look to your house, David!” Then Israel went to theire tents.

17 The Israelitesf were living in the cities of Judah, and Rehoboam was reigning over them. 18 King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was over the forced labor, and all of Israel cast stones at him and he died, but King Rehoboam managed to get up on the chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David until this day.

Civil War Averted

20 It happened that just when all of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all of Israel. Not one followed after the house of David except the tribe of Judah alone. 21 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all of the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand choice troopsg to fight with the house of Israel, to restore the kingship to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 Then the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon the king of Judah and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and the remainder of the people, saying, 24 ‘Thus says Yahweh: “You shall not go up and you shall not fight with your brothers the Israelites.h Return each of you to his house, for this thing was from me.” ’ ” So they heeded the word of Yahweh, and they returned to go home according to the word of Yahweh.

Jeroboam Becomes King over Israel

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and he resided in it. Then he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 Then Jeroboam said to himself,i “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David 27 if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the housej of Yahweh in Jerusalem. The heart of this people will return to their master Rehoboam the king of Judah, and they shall kill me and return to him.”k

28 And the king had decided, so he made two golden calves and he said to them,lYou have been going up to Jerusalem long enough;m here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 He put one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 This thing became a sin, and the people walked before the one as far as Dan. 31 Then he built the houses on the high places, and he appointed priests from all walks of lifen who were not from the sons of Levi. 32 Jeroboam also inaugurated a religious feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the religious feast which was in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. Thus he did in Bethel, by sacrificing to the calves that he had made; and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 He offered sacrifices on the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month which his heart had devised. He inaugurated a religious feast for the Israelites,o and he went up to the altar to offer incense.

A Man of God Proclaims Judgment against the False Altar

13 Suddenly a man of God from Judah came to Bethel, by the word of Yahweh, while Jeroboam was standing at the altar to offer incense. Then he proclaimed against the altar by the word of Yahweh and said, “O altar, altar, thus says Yahweh: ‘Look, a son will be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall burn on you.’ ”

He gave a sign on that day, saying, “This is the sign that Yahweh has predetermined: Look, this altar will be torn apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.”

It happened at the moment the king heard the word of the man of God that he cried out against the altar in Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him!” But his hand which he stretched out to him was paralyzed, and he was not able to draw it back to himself. Then the altar was torn apart and the ashes from the altar poured out according to the sign which the man of God had announced by the word of Yahweh. Then the king responded and said to the man of God, “Please entreat the favor of Yahweh your God, and pray for me that my hand may return to me.” So the man of God entreated the face of Yahweh, and the hand of the king returned to him, as it was in the beginning. Then the king spoke to the man of God, “Come with me to the house and refresh yourself, that I may give you a gift.”

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