Old Testament

1 Kings 12
Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam
121Rehoboam went to Shechem, because all Israel had gone there to make him king.
2When Jeroboam son of Nebat was still in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon, he heard about this, and he returned from Egypt.[] 3So the people sent for him.
Then Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten your father's harsh service and the heavy yoke he laid on us, and we will serve you.”
5Rehoboam said to them, “Leave me for three days and then return to me.” So the people left.
6Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive. He asked, “What answer do you advise me to give to these people?”
7They said to him, “If today you become a servant to this people—if you serve them and answer them with kind words—then they will be your servants for all time.”[]
8But he rejected the advice which the old men offered him. Instead, he consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9He said to them, “What answer do you advise that we should give to these people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us’?”
10The young men who had grown up with him said, “This is what you should say to this people who said to you, ‘Your father laid a heavy yoke on us. Now lighten our yoke.’ Tell them this: ‘My little finger[] is thicker than my father's waist.[] 11My father imposed a heavy yoke on you. I will make your yoke heavier. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.’”[]
12So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, because the king had said, “Come back to me on the third day.”
13The king answered the people harshly, because he had rejected the advice which the old men had offered. 14He spoke to them as the young men advised him: “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.”
15The king did not listen to the people, because this turn of events was from the Lord, in order to fulfill his word, which the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah from Shiloh.
16All Israel saw that the king had not listened to them. So the people answered the king:
What share do we have in David?
No portion in the son of Jesse!
To your tents, Israel!
Now look after your own house, David!
So Israel went to their tents.[]
17Rehoboam continued to rule over the people of Israel who were living in the cities of Judah.
18King Rehoboam sent out Adoram,[] who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, was able to get in his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.
19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David until this day.
Jeroboam Becomes King of Israel
20When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No tribe was left which followed the house of David, except the tribe of Judah alone.
21When Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he assembled the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand specially chosen soldiers, to fight against the house of Israel and to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.
22But the word of God came to Shemaiah, the man of God: 23“Say the following to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people. 24This is what the Lord says. Do not attack and do not fight against your brothers, the people of Israel. Go home, every one of you, for this turn of events is from me.”
So they listened to the word of the Lord, and they returned home, just as the Lord said. 25But Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and he lived there. From there he also went out and fortified Penuel.[]
The Sin of Jeroboam Son of Nebat
26But Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingship will go back to the house of David. 27If this people goes up to offer sacrifices at the House of the Lord in Jerusalem, then the hearts of the people will return to their master, Rehoboam king of Judah. Then they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
28After the king sought advice, he made two golden calves and said to the people, “Going up to Jerusalem is too much trouble for you. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 29He set up one in Bethel and the other one in Dan.
30This sin took hold, and the people traveled as far as Dan to worship. 31Jeroboam also made shrines[] on the high places,[] and he appointed priests from all kinds of people, even though they were not Levites. 32Jeroboam instituted a festival in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival[] that is held in Judah. He offered sacrifices on the altar. He did this in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. He appointed priests in Bethel for the high places he had made. 33He instituted sacrifices on the altar which he had made in Bethel, on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month which he chose on his own. He instituted a festival for the people of Israel. He went up to the altar to send offerings up in smoke.


  • 12:2 Some Greek manuscripts read he returned from Egypt, and add the words and he came straight to his own city in the land of Zererah in the hill country of Ephraim. Some Greek manuscripts do not have verse 2. The parallel in 2 Chronicles 10:2 supports the reading he returned from Egypt. The Hebrew text in 1 Kings 12:2 reads he remained in Egypt.
  • 12:7 Literally all the days
  • 12:10 Literally my little one
  • 12:10 Or thighs
  • 12:11 Possibly a name for a particularly painful kind of scourge, both here and in verse 14
  • 12:16 Go to their tents is a common idiom for go home. It does not imply that they all lived in tents.
  • 12:18 Also called Adoniram or Hadoram
  • 12:25 Also called Peniel
  • 12:31 Literally houses
  • 12:31 A high place is a shrine smaller than a temple. High places were often open-air shrines, located near the city gate or on a nearby hill.
  • 12:32 That is, the Festival of Shelters (traditionally Tabernacles)