1 Kings 12:25-33

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.[a]
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.[b]
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 12:25 in Other Translations

KJV
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
ESV
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel.
NLT
25 Jeroboam then built up the city of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and it became his capital. Later he went and built up the town of Peniel.
MSG
25 Jeroboam made a fort at Shechem in the hills of Ephraim, and made that his headquarters. He also built a fort at Penuel.
CSB
25 Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built Penuel.

1 Kings 12:25-33 Meaning and Commentary

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 12:25-33 In-Context

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.
25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.
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.
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.

Cross References 13

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

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Hebrew "Penuel," a variant of "Peniel"
  • [b]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text "people went to the one as far as Dan"
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