12 1 Rehoboam succeedeth Solomon. 8 He refuseth the counsel of the Ancient. 20 Jeroboam reigneth over Israel. 21 God commandeth Rehoboam not to fight. 28 Jeroboam maketh golden calves.

And (A)Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem, to make him king.

And when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (who was yet in Egypt, (B)whither Jeroboam had fled from king Solomon, and [a]dwelt in Egypt.)

Then they sent and called him: and Jeroboam and all the Congregation of Israel came and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,

Thy father made our (C)yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous servitude of thy father, and his sore yoke which he put upon us, [b]lighter, and we will serve thee.

And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that [c]had stood before Solomon his father, while he yet lived, and said, What counsel give ye, that I may make an answer to this people?

And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be a [d]servant unto this people this day, and serve them, and answer them, and speak kind words to them, they will be thy servants forever.

But he forsook the counsel that the old men had given him, and asked counsel of the young men that had been brought up with him, and waited on him.

And he said unto them, [e]What counsel give ye, that we may answer this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke, which thy father hath put upon us, lighter?

10 Then the young men that were brought up with him, spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou say unto this people, that have spoken unto thee, and said, Thy father hath made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us: even thus shalt thou say unto them, My [f]least part shall be [g]bigger than my father’s loins.

11 Now whereas my father did burden you with a grievous yoke, I will yet make your yoke heavier: my father hath chastised you with rods, but I will correct you with [h]scourges.

12 ¶ Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had [i]appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.

13 And the king answered the people sharply, and left the old men’s counsel that they gave him,

14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke grievous, and I will make your yoke more grievous: my father hath chastised you with rods, but I will correct you with scourges.

15 And the king hearkened not unto the people: for it was the [j]ordinance of the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord had spoken by (D)Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

16 So when all Israel saw that the king regarded them not, the people answered the king thus, saying, What portion have we in [k]David? we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

17 Howbeit over the children of Israel, which dwelt in the cities of Judah, did Rehoboam reign still.

18 ¶ Now the king Rehoboam sent Adoram the receiver of the tribute, and all Israel stoned him to death: then the king Rehoboam [l]made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.

19 And Israel rebelled against the house [m]of David unto this day.

20 ¶ And when all Israel had heard that Jeroboam was come again, they sent and called him to the assembly, and made him king over all Israel: none followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah (E)only.

21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he [n]gathered all the house of Judah with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand of chosen men (which were good warriors) to fight against the house of Israel, and to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.

22 (F)But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the [o]man of God, saying,

23 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and the remnant of the people, saying,

24 Thus saith the [p]Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house: for this thing is done by me. They obeyed therefore the word of the Lord, and returned, and departed according to the word of the Lord.

25 ¶ Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein, and went from thence, and built Penuel.

26 And Jeroboam thought in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David.

27 If this people go up and do sacrifice in the house of the Lord [q]at Jerusalem, then shall the hearts of this people turn again unto their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah: so shall they kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, [r]It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: Behold, O Israel, thy gods which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other set he in Dan.

30 And this thing turned to sin: for the people went (because of the one) even to Dan.

31 Also he made an [s]house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

32 And Jeroboam made a feast the [t]fifteenth day of the eighth month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and offered on the altar. So did he in Bethel and offered unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the Priests of the high places, which he had made.

33 And he offered upon the altar, which he had made in Bethel, the fifteenth day of the eighth month, (even in the month which he had forged of his own heart) and made a solemn feast unto the children of Israel, and he went up to the altar, to burn incense.


  1. 1 Kings 12:2 Or, return from Egypt.
  2. 1 Kings 12:4 Oppress us not with so great charges, which we are not able to sustain.
  3. 1 Kings 12:6 Or, had been of his ancient counselors.
  4. 1 Kings 12:7 They showed him that there was no way to win the people’s hearts, but to grant them their just petition.
  5. 1 Kings 12:9 There is nothing harder for them that are in authority, than to bridle their affections, and to follow good counsel.
  6. 1 Kings 12:10 Or, little finger.
  7. 1 Kings 12:10 I am much more able to keep you in subjection than my father was.
  8. 1 Kings 12:11 Or, scorpions.
  9. 1 Kings 12:12 The people declare their obedience in this that they would attempt nothing before the king had given them just occasion.
  10. 1 Kings 12:15 Or, the Lord was the cause.
  11. 1 Kings 12:16 Though their cause were good, yet it is most hard for the people to bridle their affections, as these vile words declare.
  12. 1 Kings 12:18 Hebrew, strengthened himself.
  13. 1 Kings 12:19 By the just judgment of God for Solomon’s sins.
  14. 1 Kings 12:21 For as yet he perceived not that the Lord had so appointed it.
  15. 1 Kings 12:22 That is, the Prophet.
  16. 1 Kings 12:24 Who of his just judgment will punish the trespasser, and of his mercy spare the innocent people.
  17. 1 Kings 12:27 He feared lest his people should have by this means been enticed to rebel against him.
  18. 1 Kings 12:28 So crafty are carnal persuasions of princes, when they will make a religion to serve to their appetite.
  19. 1 Kings 12:31 That is, a temple, where altars were built for idolatry.
  20. 1 Kings 12:32 Because he would the more bind the people’s devotion to his idolatry, he made a new holy day, besides those that the Lord had appointed in the Law.

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam(A)

12 Rehoboam went to Shechem,(B) for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled(C) from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke(D) on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders(E) who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer,(F) they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected(G) the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged(H) you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord,(I) to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah(J) the Shilonite.

16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share(K) do we have in David,
    what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!(L)
    Look after your own house, David!”

So the Israelites went home.(M) 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah,(N) Rehoboam still ruled over them.

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[b](O) who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death.(P) King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David(Q) to this day.

20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.(R)

21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war(S) against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah(T) the man of God:(U) 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem(V) in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.[c](W)

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem,(X) they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves.(Y) He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”(Z) 29 One he set up in Bethel,(AA) and the other in Dan.(AB) 30 And this thing became a sin;(AC) the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.[d]

31 Jeroboam built shrines(AD) on high places and appointed priests(AE) from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth(AF) month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel,(AG) sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel.(AH) So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.


  1. 1 Kings 12:2 Or he remained in
  2. 1 Kings 12:18 Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 4:6 and 5:14); Hebrew Adoram
  3. 1 Kings 12:25 Hebrew Penuel, a variant of Peniel
  4. 1 Kings 12:30 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text people went to the one as far as Dan

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