1 Kings 12

1- 3Jeroboam son of Nebat was still in Egypt where he had run away from Solomon. When he heard about Solomon’s death, he returned to his city, Zeredah, in the hills of Ephraim. Rehoboam and all of the people of Israel went to Shechem. They went to make Rehoboam the king. The people said to Rehoboam, 4“Your father forced us to work very hard. Now, make it easier for us. Stop the heavy work that your father forced us to do. Then we will serve you.” 5Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days and I will answer you.” So the people left. 6There were some older men who had helped Solomon make decisions when he was alive. So King Rehoboam asked these men what he should do. He said, “How do you think I should answer these people?” 7The elders answered, “If you are like a servant to them today, then they will truly serve you. If you speak kindly to them, then they will work for you always.” 8But Rehoboam did not listen to this advice. He asked the young men that were his friends. 9Rehoboam said, “The people said, 'Give us easier work than your father gave us.’ How do you think I should answer these people? What should I tell them?” 10The king’s young friends said, “Those people came to you and said, 'Your father forced us to work very hard. Now make our work easier.’ So you should ˻brag and˼ tell them, 'My little finger is stronger than my father’s whole body. 11My father forced you to work hard. But I will make you work much harder! My father used whips to force you to work. I will beat you with whips that have sharp pieces of metal in them to cut you!’” 12Rehoboam had told the people, “Come back to me in three days.” So after three days all the people of Israel came back to Rehoboam. 13At that time, King Rehoboam spoke hard words to them. He did not listen to the advice from the elders. 14He did what his friends told him to do. Rehoboam said, “My father forced you to work hard. So I will give you even more work. My father used whips to force you to work. I will beat you with whips that have sharp pieces of metal in them to cut you!” 15So the king did not do what the people wanted. The Lord caused this to happen. The Lord did this in order to keep the promise he made to Jeroboam son of Nebat. The Lord used Ahijah the prophet to make this promise. Ahijah was from Shiloh. 16All the people of Israel saw that the new king refused to listen to them. So the people said to the king: “Are we part of David’s family? No! Do we get any of Jesse’s land? No! So Israel, let’s go to our own homes. Let David’s son rule his own people!” So the people of Israel went home. 17But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah. 18A man named Adoniram was the boss over all the workers. King Rehoboam sent Adoniram ˻to talk to the people˼. But the people of Israel threw stones at him until he died. Then King Rehoboam ran to his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19So Israel rebelled ˻(turned against) the family of David. And they are still against David’s family today. 20All the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back. So they called him to a meeting and made him king over all of Israel. The family group of Judah was the only family group that continued to follow the family of David. 21Rehoboam went back to Jerusalem. He gathered together the families of Judah and the family group of Benjamin. This was an army of 180,000 men. Rehoboam wanted to fight against the people of Israel. He wanted to take his kingdom back. 22But the Lord spoke to a man of God. His name was Shemaiah. The Lord said, 23“Talk to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and also to all the people of Judah and Benjamin. 24Say to them, 'The Lord says that you must not go to war against your brothers. Every one of you should go home. I made all these things happen!’” So the men in Rehoboam’s army obeyed the Lord’s command. They all went home. 25Shechem was a city in the hill country of Ephraim. Jeroboam made Shechem a very strong city and lived there. Later he went to the city of Penuel and made it stronger. 26- 27Jeroboam said to himself, “If the people continue going to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, then they will want to be ruled by David’s family. The people will follow Rehoboam, king of Judah again. Then they will kill me. 28So the king asked his advisers what he should do. ˻They gave him their advice.˼ So Jeroboam made two golden calves. King Jeroboam said to the people, “You should not go to Jerusalem to worship. Israel, these are the gods that brought you out of Egypt.” 29King Jeroboam put one golden calf in Bethel. He put the other golden calf in the city of Dan. 30But this was a very great sin. The people of Israel traveled to the cities of Bethel and Dan to worship the calves. But this was a very great sin. 31Jeroboam also built temples at the high places. He also chose priests from among the different family groups of Israel. (He did not choose priests only from the family group of Levi.) 32And King Jeroboam started a new holiday. This holiday was like the ˻Passover˼ Festival in Judah. But this holiday was on the 15th day of the eighth month ˻not the 15th day of the first month˼. During that time the king offered sacrifices on the altar in the city of Bethel. And he made the sacrifices to the calves that he had made. King Jeroboam also chose priests in Bethel to serve at the high places that he made. 33So King Jeroboam chose his own time for a holiday for the Israelites. It was the 15th day of the eighth month. During that time he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the altar that he built. This was in the city of Bethel.

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