1 Kings 12 – “Israel Secedes from Judah”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Rehoboam attempts to increase the work load of the Israelites. They rebel and anoint Jeroboam as their new king. Jeroboam establishes new religious centers in Dan and Bethel.

II. Photo
Rehoboam rules with an iron fist: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.” (v. 14b)

III. Important Verses
3-5: They sent for him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam as follows:  “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke which your father laid on us, and we will serve you.” He answered them, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.
12-14: Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, since the king had told them: “Come back on the third day.” The king answered the people harshly, ignoring the advice that the elders had given him. He spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, and said, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.”
16: When all Israel saw that the king had not listened to them, the people answered the king: “We have no portion in David, No share in Jesse’s son! To your tents, O Israel! Now look to your own House, O David.” So the Israelites returned to their homes.
18-19: King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but all Israel pelted him to death with stones. Thereupon King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. Thus Israel revolted against the House of David, as is still the case.
20: When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent messengers and summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the House of David.
26-29: Jeroboam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well return to the House of David. If these people still go up to offer sacrifices at the House of the LORD in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will turn back to their master, King Rehoboam of Judah; they will kill me and go back to King Rehoboam of Judah.” So the king took counsel and made two golden calves. He said to the people, “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” He set up one in Bethel and placed the other in Dan.
32b: And Jeroboam established a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month; in imitation of the festival in Judah, he established one at Bethel, and he ascended the altar [there].

IV. Outline
1-5. Jeroboam’s demand
6-7. The counsel of Rehoboam’s elders
8-11. The counsel of Rehoboam’s friends
12-14. Rehoboam’s imperious response
15. Divine providence
16. The Israelites secede
17. Rehoboam rules in Judea
18-19. Rehoboam’s messenger is killed; Rehoboam flees
20. Jeroboam is crowned king of Israel
21-24. Upon hearing God’s message, Rehoboam abstains from battle
25. Jeroboam’s fortifications
26-31. Jeroboam establishes calves in Dan and Bethel
32-33. Jeroboam’s festival in the 8th month

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon John. “1 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 12 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Longe, Burke O. “1 Kings with an Introduction to Historical Literature” Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.longthanhart.com/images/lta_photos/lta009.jpg