How Rehoboam lost the kingdom
1Rehoboam went to Shechem where all Israel had come to make him king. 2When Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, heard the news, he returned from Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon. 3The people sent and called for Jeroboam, who along with the entire Israelite assembly went and said to Rehoboam, 4"Your father made our workload#Or our yoke; also in the verses that follow 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."
5He answered them, "Come back in three days." So the people left.
6King 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."
8But 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’?"
10The 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#Or pinky finger, perhaps a euphemism is thicker than my father’s entire waist! 11So 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!’"
12Jeroboam 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." 13The king then answered the people harshly. He ignored the elders’ advice 14and 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!"
15The 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. 16When all Israel saw that the king wouldn’t listen to them, the people answered the king:
"Why should we care about David?
We have no stake in Jesse’s son!
Go back to your homes, Israel!
You better look after your own house now, David!"
Then the Israelites went back to their homes, 17and Rehoboam ruled over only the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.
18When 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. 19Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20When 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. 21When 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. 22But 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
25Jeroboam fortified Shechem at Mount Ephraim and lived there. From there he also fortified Penuel. 26Jeroboam thought to himself, The kingdom is in danger of reverting to the house of David. 27If 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. 28So 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." 29He put one calf in Bethel, and the other he placed in Dan. 30This act was sinful. The people went to worship before the one calf at Bethel and before the other one as far as Dan.#Cf LXX; MT lacks before the one at Bethel. 31Jeroboam made shrines on the high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, but none were Levites. 32Jeroboam set a date for a celebration on the fifteenth day of the eighth month.#October–November 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. 33On the fifteenth day of the eighth month—the time he alone had decided—Jeroboam went up#Or offered sacrifices 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.#Or went up on the altar to burn incense