1 Kings 10-13 Common English Bible (CEB)
Queen of Sheba
10 When the queen of Sheba heard reports about Solomon, due to the Lord’s name,[a] she came to test him with riddles. 2 Accompanying her to Jerusalem was a huge entourage with camels carrying spices, a large amount of gold, and precious stones. After she arrived, she told Solomon everything that was on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for him to answer. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw how wise Solomon was, the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the servants’ quarters, the function and dress of his attendants, his cupbearers, and the entirely burned offerings that he offered at the Lord’s temple, it took her breath away.
6 “The report I heard about your deeds and wisdom when I was still at home is true,” she said to the king. 7 “I didn’t believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, the half of it wasn’t even told to me! You have far more wisdom and wealth than I was told. 8 Your people and these servants who continually serve you and get to listen to your wisdom are truly happy! 9 Bless the Lord your God because he was pleased to place you on Israel’s throne. Because the Lord loved Israel with an eternal love, the Lord made you king to uphold justice and righteousness.”
10 The queen gave the king one hundred twenty kikkars of gold, a great quantity of spice, and precious stones. Never again has so much spice come to Israel as when the queen of Sheba gave this gift to King Solomon. 11 Hiram’s fleet went to Ophir and brought back gold, much almug wood, and precious stones. 12 The king used the almug wood to make parapets for the Lord’s temple and for the royal palace as well as lyres and harps for the musicians. To this day, that much almug wood hasn’t come into or been seen in Israel. 13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she wanted and all that she had asked for, in addition to what he had already given her from his own personal funds. Then she and her servants returned to her homeland.
14 Solomon received an annual income of six hundred sixty-six kikkars of gold, 15 not including income from the traders, the merchants and their profits, all the Arabian kings, and the officials of the land. 16 King Solomon made two hundred body-sized shields of hammered gold, using fifteen pounds[b] of gold in each shield, 17 and three hundred small shields of hammered gold, using sixty ounces[c] of gold in each shield. The king placed these in the Forest of Lebanon Palace.
18 The king also made a large ivory throne and covered it with pure gold. 19 Six steps led up to the throne, and the back of the throne was rounded at the top. Two lions stood beside the armrests on both sides of the throne. 20 Another twelve lions stood on both sides of the six steps. No other kingdom had anything like this. 21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold, and all the items in the Forest of Lebanon Palace were made of pure gold, not silver, since even silver wasn’t considered good enough in Solomon’s time! 22 The royal fleet of Tarshish-style ships was at sea with Hiram’s fleet, returning once every three years with gold, silver, ivory, monkeys, and peacocks.[d]
23 King Solomon far exceeded all the earth’s kings in wealth and wisdom, 24 and so the whole earth wanted an audience with Solomon in order to hear his God-given wisdom. 25 Year after year they came with tribute: objects of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
26 Solomon acquired more and more chariots and horses until he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses that he kept in chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 In Jerusalem, the king made silver as common as stones and cedar as plentiful as sycamore trees that grow in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and Kue, purchased from Kue by the king’s agents at the going price. 29 They would import a chariot from Egypt for six hundred pieces of silver and a horse for one hundred fifty, and then export them to all the Hittite and Aramean kings.
Solomon meets God a third time
11 In addition to Pharaoh’s daughter, King Solomon loved many foreign women, including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 2 These came from the nations that the Lord had commanded the Israelites about: “Don’t intermarry with them. They will definitely turn your heart toward their gods.” Solomon clung to these women in love. 3 He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred secondary wives. They turned his heart. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods. He wasn’t committed to the Lord his God with all his heart as was his father David. 5 Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes and wasn’t completely devoted to the Lord like his father David. 7 On the hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a shrine to Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and to Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 9 The Lord grew angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from being with the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 The Lord had commanded Solomon about this very thing, that he shouldn’t follow other gods. But Solomon didn’t do what the Lord commanded.
11 The Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done all this instead of keeping my covenant and my laws that I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 12 Even so, on account of your father David, I won’t do it during your lifetime. I will tear the kingdom out of your son’s hands. 13 Moreover, I won’t tear away the entire kingdom. I will give one tribe to your son on account of my servant David and on account of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Solomon and Hadad
14 So the Lord raised up an opponent for Solomon: Hadad the Edomite from the royal line of Edom. 15 When David was fighting against Edom, Joab the general had gone up to bury the Israelite dead, and he had killed every male in Edom. 16 Joab and all the Israelites stayed there six months, until he had finished off every male in Edom. 17 While still a youth, Hadad escaped to Egypt along with his father’s Edomite officials. 18 They set out from Midian and went to Paran. They took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt and to Pharaoh its king. Pharaoh assigned him a home, food, and land. 19 Pharaoh was so delighted with Hadad that he gave him one of his wife’s sisters for marriage, a sister of Queen Tahpenes. 20 This sister of Tahpenes bore Hadad a son, Genubath. Tahpenes weaned him in Pharaoh’s house. So it was that Genubath was raised in Pharaoh’s house, among Pharaoh’s children. 21 While in Egypt, Hadad heard that David had lain down with his ancestors and that Joab the general was also dead. Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me go to my homeland.”
22 Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack here with me that would make you want to go back to your homeland?”
Hadad said, “Nothing, but please let me go!”
Solomon and Rezon
23 God raised up another opponent for Solomon: Rezon, Eliada’s son, who had escaped from Zobah’s King Hadadezer. 24 Rezon recruited men and became leader of a band when David was killing them. They went to Damascus, stayed there, and ruled it. 25 Throughout Solomon’s lifetime, Rezon was Israel’s opponent and added to the problems caused by Hadad. Rezon hated Israel while he ruled as king of Aram.
Solomon and Jeroboam
26 Now Nebat’s son Jeroboam was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His mother’s name was Zeruah; she was a widow. Although he was one of Solomon’s own officials, Jeroboam fought against the king. 27 This is the story of why Jeroboam fought against the king:
Solomon had built the stepped structure and repaired the broken wall in his father David’s City. 28 Now Jeroboam was a strong and honorable man. Solomon saw how well this youth did his work. So he appointed him over all the work gang of Joseph’s house.
29 At that time, when Jeroboam left Jerusalem, Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him along the way. Ahijah was wearing a new garment. The two of them were alone in the country. 30 Ahijah tore his new garment into twelve pieces. 31 He said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, because Israel’s God, the Lord, has said, ‘Look, I am about to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten tribes. 32 But I will leave him one tribe on account of my servant David and on account of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel. 33 I am doing this because they have abandoned me[e] and worshipped the Sidonian goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom. They haven’t walked in my ways by doing what is right in my eyes—keeping my laws and judgments—as Solomon’s father David did. 34 But I won’t take the whole kingdom from his hand. I will keep him as ruler throughout his lifetime on account of my servant David, who did keep my commands and my laws. 35 I will take the kingdom from the hand of Solomon’s son, and I will give you ten tribes. 36 I will give his son a single tribe so that my servant David will always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city that I chose for myself to place my name. 37 But I will accept you, and you will rule over all that you could desire. You will be king of Israel. 38 If you listen to all that I command and walk in my ways, if you do what is right in my eyes, keeping my laws and my commands just as my servant David did, then I will be with you and I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I did for David. I will give you Israel. 39 I will humble David’s descendants by means of all this, though not forever.’”
40 Then Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam fled to Egypt and its king Shishak. Jeroboam remained in Egypt until Solomon died.
Solomon’s remaining days
41 The rest of Solomon’s deeds, including all that he did and all his wisdom, aren’t they written in the official records of Solomon? 42 The amount of time Solomon ruled over all Israel in Jerusalem was forty years. 43 Then Solomon lay down with his ancestors. He was buried in his father David’s City, and Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
How Rehoboam lost the kingdom
12 Rehoboam went to Shechem where all Israel had come to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, heard the news, he returned from Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon. 3 The people sent and called for Jeroboam, who along with the entire Israelite assembly went and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our workload[f] very hard for us. If you will lessen the demands your father made of us and lighten the heavy workload he demanded from us, then we will serve you.”
5 He answered them, “Come back in three days.” So the people left.
6 King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive. “What do you advise?” Rehoboam asked. “How should I respond to these people?”
7 “If you will be a servant to this people by answering them and speaking good words today,” they replied, “then they will be your servants forever.”
8 But Rehoboam ignored the advice the elders gave him and instead sought the counsel of the young advisors who had grown up with him and now served him. 9 “What do you advise?” he asked them. “How should we respond to these people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the workload your father demanded of us’?”
10 The young people who had grown up with him said to him, “This people said to you, ‘Your father made our workload heavy; lighten it for us!’ Now this is what you should say to them: ‘My baby finger[g] is thicker than my father’s entire waist! 11 So if my father made your workload heavy, I’ll make it even heavier! If my father disciplined you with whips, I’ll do it with scorpions!’”
12 Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had specified when he said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king then answered the people harshly. He ignored the elders’ advice 14 and instead followed the young people’s advice. He said, “My father made your workload heavy, but I’ll make it even heavier! My father disciplined you with whips, but I’ll do it with scorpions!”
15 The king didn’t listen to the people because this turn of events came from the Lord so that he might keep the promise he delivered through Ahijah from Shiloh concerning Jeroboam, Nebat’s son. 16 When all Israel saw that the king wouldn’t listen to them, the people answered the king:
“Why should we care about David?
Then the Israelites went back to their homes, 17 and Rehoboam ruled over only the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.
18 When King Rehoboam sent Adoram to them (he was the leader of the work gang), all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam quickly got into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent for him. They called him to the assembly and crowned him king of all Israel.
Nothing was left to the house of David except the tribe of Judah. 21 When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he assembled the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—one hundred eighty thousand select warriors—to fight against the house of Israel and restore the kingdom for Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. 22 But God’s word came to Shemaiah the man of God, 23 “Tell Judah’s King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Don’t make war against your relatives the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, because this is my plan.’” When they heard the Lord’s words, they went back home, just as the Lord had said.
Jeroboam I and the shrines
25 Jeroboam fortified Shechem at Mount Ephraim and lived there. From there he also fortified Penuel. 26 Jeroboam thought to himself, The kingdom is in danger of reverting to the house of David. 27 If these people continue to sacrifice at the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, they will again become loyal to their master Rehoboam, Judah’s king, and they will kill me so they can return to Judah’s King Rehoboam. 28 So the king asked for advice and then made two gold calves. He said to the people, “It’s too far for you to go all the way up to Jerusalem. Look, Israel! Here are your gods who brought you out from the land of Egypt.” 29 He put one calf in Bethel, and the other he placed in Dan. 30 This act was sinful. The people went to worship before the one calf at Bethel and before the other one as far as Dan.[h] 31 Jeroboam made shrines on the high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, but none were Levites. 32 Jeroboam set a date for a celebration on the fifteenth day of the eighth month.[i] It was just like the celebration in Judah. He sacrificed on the altar. At Bethel he sacrificed to the calves he had made. There also he installed the priests for the shrines he had made. 33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month—the time he alone had decided—Jeroboam went up[j] to the altar he had built in Bethel. He made a celebration for the Israelites and offered sacrifices on the altar by burning them up.[k]
Jeroboam I and the man of God
13 A man of God came from Judah by God’s command to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing at the altar burning incense. 2 By the Lord’s word, the man of God cried out to the altar: “Altar! Altar! The Lord says this: Look! A son will be born to the house of David. His name will be Josiah. He will sacrifice on you, Altar, the very priests of the shrines who offer incense on you. They will burn human bones on you.” 3 At that time the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign that the Lord mentioned: ‘Look! The altar will be broken apart, and its ashes will spill out.’”
4 When the king heard the word of the man of God and how he cried out to the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand that Jeroboam stretched out against the man of God grew stiff. Jeroboam wasn’t able to bend it back to himself. 5 The altar broke apart, and the ashes spilled out from the altar, just like the sign that the man of God gave by the Lord’s word. 6 The king said to the man of God, “Plead before the Lord your God and pray for me so that I can bend my hand back again.” So the man of God pleaded before the Lord, and the king’s hand returned to normal and was like it used to be. 7 The king spoke to the man of God: “Come with me to the palace and refresh yourself. Let me give you a gift.”
8 The man of God said to the king, “Even if you gave me half your palace, I wouldn’t go with you, nor would I eat food or drink water in this place. 9 This is what God commanded me by the Lord’s word: Don’t eat food! Don’t drink water! Don’t return by the way you came!”
10 So the man of God went by a different way. He didn’t return by the way he came to Bethel. 11 Now there was an old prophet living in Bethel. His sons came and told him everything that the man of God had done that day at Bethel. They also told their father the words that he spoke to the king. 12 “Which way did he go?” their father asked them. His sons had seen the way the man of God went when he came from Judah. 13 The old prophet said to his sons, “Saddle my donkey.” So they saddled his donkey, and he got on it. 14 He went after the man of God and found him sitting underneath a terebinth tree. He said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”
“I am,” he replied.
15 The old prophet then said to him, “Come home with me and eat some food.”
16 But the man of God answered, “I can’t return or go with you, and I can’t eat food or drink water with you in this place 17 because of the message that came to me from the Lord’s word: Don’t eat food! Don’t drink water! Don’t return by the way you came!”
18 The old prophet said to the man of God, “I’m also a prophet like you. A messenger spoke to me with the Lord’s word, ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat food and drink water.’”
But the old prophet was lying to him. 19 So the man of God went back with the old prophet. He ate food in his home and drank water. 20 Then as they were sitting at the table, the Lord’s word came to the prophet who had brought him back. 21 He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah:
“The Lord says this:
“But he had commanded you: ‘Don’t eat food! Don’t drink water!’ Now your body won’t go to the grave of your ancestors.”
23 After he ate food and drank, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. 24 The man of God departed, and a lion found him on the road and killed him. His body was thrown down on the road. The donkey stood beside it, and the lion also stood beside the body. 25 Some people were traveling nearby, and they discovered the body thrown down on the road and the lion standing beside it. They entered the town where the old prophet lived and were talking about it. 26 The prophet who brought the man of God back from the road overheard. He thought: That’s the man of God who rebelled against the Lord’s command. The Lord has given him to that lion that tore him apart, killing him in agreement with the Lord’s word that was spoken to him.
27 The old prophet told his sons, “Saddle the donkey.” They did so, 28 and he went and found the body thrown down on the road. The donkey and the lion were still standing beside the body. The lion hadn’t eaten the body, nor had it torn the donkey apart. 29 The prophet lifted the body of the man of God and put it on the donkey. He brought it back, arriving in the old prophet’s town to mourn and bury the man of God. 30 He placed the body in his own grave, and they mourned over him, “Oh, my brother!” 31 After the old prophet buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is. Put my bones beside his bones. 32 The message he gave by the Lord’s word concerning the altar of Bethel and all the shrines in the towns of Samaria will most certainly come true.”
33 Even after this happened, Jeroboam didn’t change his evil ways. Instead, he continued to appoint all sorts of people as priests of the shrines. Anyone who wanted to be a priest Jeroboam made a priest for the shrines. 34 In this way the house of Jeroboam acted sinfully, leading to its downfall and elimination from the earth.