King Rehoboam Acts Foolishly

12 (A)Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, because all Israel had come to (B)Shechem to make him king. Now (C)when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard about this, [a]he was living in Egypt (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon). Then they sent word and summoned him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, (D)Your father made our yoke hard; but now, lighten the hard labor imposed by your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” Then he said to them, “(E)Depart [b]for three days, then return to me.” So the people departed.

And King Rehoboam (F)consulted with the elders who had [c]served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” Then they spoke to him, saying, “(G)If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and [d]grant them their request, and speak pleasant words to them, then they will be your servants always.” But he ignored the advice of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him [e]and served him. He said to them, “What advice do you give, so that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” 10 And the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “This is what you should say to this people who spoke to you, saying: ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!’ You should speak this way to them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Now then, my father loaded you with a heavy yoke; yet I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with [f]scorpions!’”

12 Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had [g]directed, saying, “(H)Return to me on the third day.” 13 And the king answered the people harshly, for he ignored the advice of the elders which they had [h]given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “(I)My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with [i]scorpions!” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; (J)because it was [j]a turn of events from the Lord, (K)in order to establish His word which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

The Kingdom Divided; Jeroboam Rules Israel

16 When all Israel saw that the king had not listened to them, the people replied to the king, saying,

“What share do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
(L)To your tents, Israel!
Now look after your own house, David!”

So Israel went away to their tents. 17 But (M)as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent (N)Adoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him [k]to death. And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 (O)So Israel has broken with the house of David to this day.

20 And it came about, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent word and called him to the assembly, and made him king over all Israel. (P)None except the tribe of Judah alone followed the house of David.

21 (Q)Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came to (R)Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 “Tell Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and the (S)rest of the people, saying, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: “You shall not go up nor fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return, every man to his house, (T)for this thing has come from Me.”’” So they listened to the word of the Lord, and returned to go their way in accordance with the word of the Lord.

Jeroboam’s Idolatry

25 Then (U)Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived [l]there. And he went out from there and built (V)Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27 (W)If this people go up to [m]offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king [n]consulted, and he (X)made two golden (Y)calves; and he said to [o]the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; (Z)behold your gods, Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set up (AA)one in (AB)Bethel, and the other he put in (AC)Dan. 30 Now (AD)this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 31 And (AE)he made houses on high places, and [p](AF)appointed priests from [q]all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. 32 Jeroboam also [r]instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, (AG)like the feast that is in Judah, and he [s]went up to the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel (AH)the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 Then he [t]went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, the month that he had [u](AI)devised [v]in his own heart; and he [w]instituted a feast for the sons of Israel and [x]went up to the altar (AJ)to burn [y]incense.


  1. 1 Kings 12:2 Lit Jeroboam
  2. 1 Kings 12:5 Lit three more
  3. 1 Kings 12:6 Lit stood before
  4. 1 Kings 12:7 Lit answer them
  5. 1 Kings 12:8 Lit who stood before
  6. 1 Kings 12:11 Prob. a brutal type of whip
  7. 1 Kings 12:12 Lit spoken
  8. 1 Kings 12:13 Lit advised
  9. 1 Kings 12:14 See note v 11
  10. 1 Kings 12:15 Or the providence of the Lord
  11. 1 Kings 12:18 Lit with stones that he died
  12. 1 Kings 12:25 Lit in it
  13. 1 Kings 12:27 Lit do
  14. 1 Kings 12:28 Lit took counsel
  15. 1 Kings 12:28 Lit them
  16. 1 Kings 12:31 Lit made
  17. 1 Kings 12:31 Lit the extremities of the
  18. 1 Kings 12:32 Lit made
  19. 1 Kings 12:32 Or offered upon
  20. 1 Kings 12:33 Or offered upon
  21. 1 Kings 12:33 Lit made
  22. 1 Kings 12:33 Lit from
  23. 1 Kings 12:33 Lit made
  24. 1 Kings 12:33 Or offered upon
  25. 1 Kings 12:33 Or sacrifices

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