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Jeroboam Of Israel

Jeroboam (not to be confused with Jeroboam II, a later king of Israel - see Kings of Israel and Judah) was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel after the united kingdom of Israel divided into "Israel" and "Judah" (see the Fact Finder question below for a series of studies detailing the entire history of the Israelite kingdoms). Jeroboam had led the appeal to King Rehoboam (see Rehoboam Of Israel And Judah) to lessen the people's heavy tax burden. When Rehoboam arrogantly refused, the northern ten tribes declared independence and made Jeroboam their king.

"12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. 12:13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; 12:14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (1 Kings 12:12-14 KJV)

"12:20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only." (1 Kings 12:20 KJV)

"He shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam"

Solomon (whose corrupt behavior was the reason that the LORD decreed that Israel would be divided into two kingdoms, as stated in the verses below) had regarded Jeroboam as a political threat much earlier. Even though the division of the kingdom, and the choice of Jeroboam as king of the new kingdom was made by the LORD (i.e. Jesus Christ - see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'), Solomon attempted to kill Jeroboam long before the division happened. Jeroboam fled to Egypt, where he remained until after the death of Solomon (Jeroboam returned at the time described in the verses quoted above).

The Tribes Of Israel

"11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 11:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 11:13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen." (1 Kings 11:9-13 KJV)

"11:29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 11:30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 11:31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 11:32 But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel: 11:33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father." (1 Kings 11:29-33 KJV)

"11:40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon." (1 Kings 11:40 KJV)

Even though he had been chosen by the LORD to be the king of the northern kingdom, and despite the fact that the people popularly elected him, Jeroboam feared that the northern ten tribes would return to a single monarchy, ruled by a king of Judah in Jerusalem. Jeroboam sought ways to make a re-unification much more difficult. Unfortunately, the methods that he chose involved paganism - the very reason that the LORD had torn the united kingdom from Solomon and created Jeroboam's kingdom to begin with. Jeroboam filled Israel with religious corruption, from golden calves, pagan priests (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?) and altering the dates of the annual Holy Days.

"12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

12:28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 12:30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

12:31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 12:32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 12:33 So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense." (1 Kings 12:25-33 KJV)

As a result of his apostasy, the LORD condemned Jeroboam's reign - which had begun with everything in its favor, but was destroyed by Jeroboam's unfaithfulness and disobedience to the LORD. The LORD also declared that the entire corrupt northern kingdom would eventually fall and be exiled (after which they became known as the "lost ten tribes" of Israel), as happened when the LORD permitted the Assyrians to conquer them (see The Galilee Captivity).

"14:14 Moreover the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day: but what? even now. 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin." (1 Kings 14:14-16 KJV)

Jeroboam reigned twenty-two years. He was succeeded by his son Nadab.

"14:20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 14:20 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who established the Israelite monarchy? When was it united? When was it divided? Who is the ultimate King of Israel?
Israelite Monarchy - The Origin
Israelite Monarchy - The Civil War
Israelite Monarchy - The United Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Division Of Israel
Israelite Monarchy - The Northern Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Southern Kingdom
Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah

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