Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it, he was living in Egypt (for he was yet in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon). 3 Then they sent and called for him. And Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4 “Your father made our yoke harsh; but you, now, lighten the harsh service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” 5 Then he said to them, “Go for three days, then return to me.” So the people went away. 6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the elders who had stood before his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you counsel me to respond to this people?” 7 And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to this people today, and will serve them and grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had counseled him, and took counsel with the young men who grew up with him and stood before him. 9 So he said to them, “What counsel do you give that we may respond to this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” 10 Then the young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!’ Thus you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11 So now, my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’” 12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had spoken, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” 13 And the king answered the people harshly, and he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from Yahweh, that He might establish His word, which Yahweh spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
Israel Rebels Against Judah
16 Then all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them. So the people responded to the king with this word, saying,
“What portion do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel!
Now see to your own house, David!”
So Israel went to their tents. 17 But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him and he died. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. 20 Now it happened when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the congregation and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David. 21 Then Rehoboam came to Jerusalem and assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who could wage war, to fight against the house of Israel to return the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, 24 ‘Thus says Yahweh, “You shall not go up and fight against your brothers, the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” So they listened to the word of Yahweh, and returned to go their way according to the word of Yahweh.
Jeroboam Makes Golden Calves
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.” 28 So the king took counsel, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 29 And he set one in Bethel, and one he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. 31 And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam made a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, to sacrifice to the calves which he had made. And he had the priests of the high places, which he had made, stand in Bethel. 33 Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he made a feast for the sons of Israel and went up to the altar to burn incense.