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Rehoboam’s Foolishness

12 Then Rehoboam went to Shechem for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. Now when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard about it, he was still in Egypt where he had fled from the face of King Solomon and settled in Egypt. They summoned him, so Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying: “Your father made our yoke burdensome. Now therefore lighten the harsh labor of your father and his heavy yoke which he laid on us and we will serve you.”

He said to them: “Go away for three more days and then come back to me.” So the people departed.

Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to respond to these people?”

They spoke to him, saying: “If you will be a servant to this people today, serving them, granting them their petition, and speaking favorably to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

But he rejected the counsel the elders had given him, instead consulting with the young men who grew up with him and stood before him. So he asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who have spoken to me saying: ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us?’”

10 The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him saying: “Thus you should say to these people who spoke to you saying ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, make it lighter on us!’ thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11 So now, my father laid on you a heavy yoke, and as for me, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but as for me, I will chastise you with scorpions.’”

12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king told them, saying, “Come back to me on the third day.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. He rejected the counsel the elders had given him, 14 and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”

Ten Tribes Revolt

15 So the king did not listen to the people. For it was a turn of events from Adonai fulfilling His word, which Adonai spoke by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16 But when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king saying:

“What share have we in David?

No inheritance in Jesse’s son!

To your tents, O Israel!

Now look at your own house, David!”

So the Israelites departed to their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was over the forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. Then King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 Israel has rebelled against the house of David to this day.

20 Now when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. 21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah as well as the tribe of Benjamin—180,000 select soldiers, to fight against the house of Israel in order to restore the kingship back to Rehoboam son of Solomon.

22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying: 23 “Speak to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people saying, 24 Thus says Adonai: you are not to go up or fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Turn back every man to his own house, for this matter is from Me.”

So they heeded the word of Adonai. They turned and went back, according to the word of Adonai.

25 Then Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and resided there. From there he went out and built Penuel.[a]

Jeroboam Resorts to Idolatry

26 But Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David. 27 If this people keep going up to offer sacrifices in the House of Adonai at Jerusalem, then the heart of these people will turn back to their lord—to King Rehoboam of Judah. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28 So the king sought counsel and made two golden calves. He said to them, “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough! Here are your gods O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29 Then he set up one in Bethel and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin for the people went to worship before the one even up in Dan.

31 He also made shrines on the high places and appointed priests from among the people, who were not sons of Levi. 32 Then Jeroboam instituted a festival in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, imitating the Festival that is in Judah. He went up to the altar that he built in Bethel, to sacrifice to the calves that he had made. He installed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he made. 33 Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month—in the month that he had made up from his own heart—and made up a festival for the children of Israel, and went up to the altar to burn incense.


  1. 1 Kings 12:25 Heb. face of God.