1 Kings Chapter 12
In 1 Kings Chapter 12, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, has gone to Shechem. The Israelites had gone there to proclaim their king. But when Jeroboam, who was still in Egypt, heard about this, he came back to Israel. The Israelites told Rehoboam that though his father put a heavy burden on them, they will serve Rehoboam if he lightens their burdens.
Rehoboam Looks for Advice
Rehoboam tells the people to go away for three days and then come back to him. The people obey and in the meantime, Rehoboam consults with the elders who had served his father. Rehoboam asks the elders what he should do. The elders tell him that the people will serve him as long as he serves them.
Rehoboam does not like this advice and turns to the younger men that he had grown up with and were now his servants. The younger men tell Rehoboam to treat the Israelites even more harshly than Solomon treated them.
The Israelites’ Reaction
The Israelites then come back to Rehoboam with Jeroboam. Rehoboam tells them what the young men told him. Unsurprisingly, the Israelites reject Rehoboam’s answer and go back to their homes. Though the Israelites who still live in towns are ruled by the house of Judah, they still keep Rehoboam as their king.
Jeroboam is Made a King
Rehoboam sends out Adoniram, who is in charge of the slaves, but he is stoned to death. The Israelites then make Jeroboam their king. When Rehoboam hears of this, he musters an army made out of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and makes war on the rest of the Israelites. But God tells a man named Shemaiah to warn the Israelites against making war on each other and to go home. They obey.
Jeroboam’s Ungodly Actions
Jeroboam continues to live in Shechem, though he fortifies the area against attack. He is afraid the Israelites will eventually turn on him and give their allegiance to Rehoboam. Jeroboam then makes a pair of golden calves and puts one in Bethel and the other in Dan and tells the people to worship them. Jeroboam also makes priests out of men who are not Levites, holds festivals on days he chooses, and makes unholy sacrifices to the golden calves.