Leave a 75th Birthday Greeting to Honor Dr. Michael Youssef for His Ministry Leading The Way!

1 Kings 12

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king.
2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from[a] Egypt.
3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him:
4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”
5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.
7 They replied, “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”
10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.
11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’ ”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.”
13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders,
14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”
15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: “What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, Israel! Look after your own house, David!” So the Israelites went home.
17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[b] who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.
19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God:
23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,
24 ‘This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’ ” So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.

Golden Calves at Bethel and Dan

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.[c]
26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.
27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.
30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.[d]
31 Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.
32 He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made.
33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.

1 Kings 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Rehoboam's accession, The people's petition, His rough answer. (1-15) Ten tribes revolt. (16-24) Jeroboam's idolatry. (25-33)

Verses 1-15 The tribes complained not to Rehoboam of his father's idolatry, and revolt from God. That which was the greatest grievance, was none to them; so careless were they in matters of religion, if they might live at case, and pay no taxes. Factious spirits will never want something to complain of. And when we see the Scripture account of Solomon's reign; the peace, wealth, and prosperity Israel then enjoyed; we cannot doubt but that their charges were false, or far beyond the truth. Rehoboam answered the people according to the counsel of the young men. Never was man more blinded by pride, and desire of arbitrary power, than which nothing is more fatal. God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be rent from him. God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by the imprudences and sins of men. Those that lose the kingdom of heaven, throw it away, as Rehoboam, by wilfulness and folly.

Verses 16-24 The people speak unbecomingly of David. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public, forgotten ! These considerations should reconcile us to our losses and troubles, that God is the Author of them, and our brethren the instruments: let us not meditate revenge. Rehoboam and his people hearkened to the word of the Lord. When we know God's mind, we must submit, how much soever it crosses our own mind. If we secure the favour of God, not all the universe can hurt us.

Verses 25-33 Jeroboam distrusted the providence of God; he would contrive ways and means, and sinful ones too, for his own safety. A practical disbelief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom of all our departures from him. Though it is probable he meant his worship for Jehovah the God of Israel, it was contrary to the Divine law, and dishonourable to the Divine majesty to be thus represented. The people might be less shocked at worshipping the God of Israel under an image, than if they had at once been asked to worship Baal; but it made way for that idolatry. Blessed Lord, give us grace to reverence thy temple, thine ordinances, thine house of prayer, thy sabbaths, and never more, like Jeroboam, to set up in our hearts any idol of abomination. Be thou to us every thing precious; do thou reign and rule in our hearts, the hope of glory.

Cross References 33

  • 1. ver 25; S Genesis 12:6; Joshua 24:32
  • 2. S 1 Kings 11:40
  • 3. S 1 Samuel 8:11-18; 1 Kings 4:20-28
  • 4. S 1 Kings 4:2
  • 5. Proverbs 15:1
  • 6. Leviticus 19:32
  • 7. Exodus 1:14; Exodus 5:5-9,16-18
  • 8. ver 24; S Deuteronomy 2:30; Judges 14:4; 2 Chronicles 22:7; 2 Chronicles 25:20
  • 9. S 1 Kings 11:29
  • 10. S Genesis 31:14
  • 11. S 2 Samuel 20:1
  • 12. Isaiah 7:17
  • 13. 1 Kings 11:13,36
  • 14. S 2 Samuel 20:24; 1 Kings 4:6; 1 Kings 5:14
  • 15. S Joshua 7:25
  • 16. 2 Kings 17:21
  • 17. 1 Kings 11:13,32; Ezekiel 37:16
  • 18. 1 Kings 14:30; 1 Kings 15:6,16; 2 Chronicles 11:1
  • 19. 2 Chronicles 12:5-7
  • 20. S Deuteronomy 33:1; 2 Kings 4:7
  • 21. S ver 1; Judges 9:45
  • 22. S Judges 8:8,17
  • 23. Deuteronomy 12:5-6
  • 24. S Exodus 32:4; 2 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 17:16; S 2 Chronicles 11:15
  • 25. S Exodus 32:8
  • 26. S Genesis 12:8; S Joshua 7:2; Genesis 28:19
  • 27. Judges 18:27-31; Amos 8:14
  • 28. 1 Kings 13:34; 1 Kings 14:16; 1 Kings 15:26,30; 1 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 3:3; 2 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 17:21
  • 29. S Leviticus 26:30; 1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29
  • 30. S Exodus 29:9; Numbers 3:10; 1 Kings 13:33; 2 Kings 17:32; 2 Chronicles 11:14-15; 2 Chronicles 13:9
  • 31. Leviticus 23:33-34; S Numbers 29:12
  • 32. 2 Kings 10:29
  • 33. Numbers 15:39; 1 Kings 13:1; 2 Kings 23:15; Amos 7:13

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or "he remained in"
  • [b]. Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac (see also 4:6 and 5:14); Hebrew "Adoram"
  • [c]. Hebrew "Penuel," a variant of "Peniel"
  • [d]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text "people went to the one as far as Dan"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 1 KINGS 12

This chapter relates Rehoboam's going to Shechem to be made king, and Jeroboam's return from Egypt, 1Ki 12:1,2, the people's request to Rehoboam to be eased of their taxes, as the condition of making him king, 1Ki 12:3,4, his answer to them, after three days, having had the advice both of the old and young men, which latter he followed, and gave in a rough answer, 1Ki 12:5-15, upon which ten tribes revolted from him, and two abode by him, 1Ki 12:16-20, wherefore he meditated a war against the ten tribes, but was forbid by the Lord to engage in it, 1Ki 12:21-24 and Jeroboam, in order to establish his kingdom, and preserve the people from a revolt to the house of David, because of the temple worship at Jerusalem, devised a scheme of idolatrous worship in his own territories, 1Ki 12:25-33.

1 Kings 12 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.