13 I saw that wisdom(A) is better than folly,(B)
    just as light is better than darkness.

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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.

Footnotes

  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

11 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem,(A) he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.

But this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah(B) the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your fellow Israelites.(C) Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the words of the Lord and turned back from marching against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Fortifies Judah

Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built up towns for defense in Judah: Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soko, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. These were fortified cities(D) in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened their defenses and put commanders in them, with supplies of food, olive oil and wine. 12 He put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.

13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites(E) even abandoned their pasturelands and property(F) and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord 15 when he appointed(G) his own priests(H) for the high places and for the goat(I) and calf(J) idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel(K) who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened(L) the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

Rehoboam’s Family

18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20 Then he married Maakah(M) daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah,(N) Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maakah daughter of Absalom more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives(O) and sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah(P) son of Maakah as crown prince among his brothers, in order to make him king. 23 He acted wisely, dispersing some of his sons throughout the districts of Judah and Benjamin, and to all the fortified cities. He gave them abundant provisions(Q) and took many wives for them.

Shishak Attacks Jerusalem(R)

12 After Rehoboam’s position as king was established(S) and he had become strong,(T) he and all Israel[a](U) with him abandoned(V) the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful(W) to the Lord, Shishak(X) king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans,(Y) Sukkites and Cushites[b](Z) that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities(AA) of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.

Then the prophet Shemaiah(AB) came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon(AC) you to Shishak.’”

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled(AD) themselves and said, “The Lord is just.”(AE)

When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance.(AF) My wrath(AG) will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject(AH) to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”

When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields(AI) Solomon had made. 10 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

12 Because Rehoboam humbled(AJ) himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good(AK) in Judah.

13 King Rehoboam established(AL) himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name.(AM) His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. 14 He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.

15 As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah(AN) the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam(AO) rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Abijah(AP) his son succeeded him as king.

Abijah King of Judah(AQ)

13 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah,[c](AR) a daughter[d] of Uriel of Gibeah.

There was war between Abijah(AS) and Jeroboam.(AT) Abijah went into battle with an army of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.

Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim,(AU) in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Jeroboam and all Israel,(AV) listen to me! Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever(AW) by a covenant of salt?(AX) Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled(AY) against his master. Some worthless scoundrels(AZ) gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive(BA) and not strong enough to resist them.

“And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of David’s descendants.(BB) You are indeed a vast army and have with you(BC) the golden calves(BD) that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didn’t you drive out the priests(BE) of the Lord,(BF) the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull(BG) and seven rams(BH) may become a priest of what are not gods.(BI)

10 “As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. 11 Every morning and evening(BJ) they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense(BK) to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table(BL) and light the lamps(BM) on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him. 12 God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you.(BN) People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord,(BO) the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.”(BP)

13 Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush(BQ) was behind them. 14 Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out(BR) to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets 15 and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel(BS) before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered(BT) them into their hands. 17 Abijah and his troops inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel’s able men. 18 The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied(BU) on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died.

21 But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

22 The other events of Abijah’s reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 12:1 That is, Judah, as frequently in 2 Chronicles
  2. 2 Chronicles 12:3 That is, people from the upper Nile region
  3. 2 Chronicles 13:2 Most Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 11:20 and 1 Kings 15:2); Hebrew Micaiah
  4. 2 Chronicles 13:2 Or granddaughter