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1 Kings 12 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Israel Turns Against Rehoboam

12 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the Israelites had ·gone [gathered] to make him king. Jeroboam son of Nebat was still in Egypt, where he had ·gone to escape [fled] from Solomon. When Jeroboam heard about Rehoboam being made king, he was living in Egypt. After ·the people [or the leaders; L they] sent for him, he and ·the people [L all the assembly/crowd of Israel] went to Rehoboam and said to him, “Your father ·forced us to work [L made our yoke] very hard. Now, ·make it easier for us [lighten the harsh labor], and ·don’t make us work as hard as he did [L the heavy yoke he put on us]. Then we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days, and then come back to me.” So the people left.

King Rehoboam asked the elders who had ·advised [served; attended] Solomon during his lifetime, “How do you ·think I should [advise/counsel me to] answer these people?”

They said, “You should be like a servant to them today. If you serve them and ·give them a kind answer [L speak good words], they will serve you always.”

But Rehoboam ·rejected this advice [L disregarded/forsook the counsel given by the elders]. Instead, he asked the young men who had grown up with him and who served ·as his advisers [L him]. Rehoboam asked them, “What is your ·advice [counsel]? How should we answer these people who said, ‘·Don’t make us work as hard as your father did’ [L Lighten the yoke that your father put on us]?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him answered, “Those people said to you, ‘Your father ·forced us to work very hard [L made our yoke heavy]. Now make our work ·easier [lighter].’ You should tell them, ‘My little finger is ·bigger [thicker] than my father’s ·legs [L loins; C more manly]. 11 ·He forced you to work hard [L My father loaded/burdened you with a heavy yoke], but I will ·make you work even harder [L add to your yoke]. My father ·beat [scourged; disciplined; controlled] you with whips, but I will ·beat [scourge; discipline; control] you with ·whips that have sharp points [or scorpions].’”

12 After three days Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam as the king had ordered. 13 King Rehoboam spoke ·cruel [harsh] words to them, because he had ·rejected the advice [disregarded the counsel] the elders had given him. 14 He followed the ·advice [counsel] of the young men and said to the people, “My father ·forced you to work hard [L loaded/burdened you with a heavy yoke], but I will ·make you work even harder [L add to your yoke]. My father ·beat [scourged; disciplined; controlled] you with whips, but I will ·beat [scourge; discipline; control] you with ·whips that have sharp points [or scorpions].” 15 So the king did not listen to the people. The Lord caused this ·to happen [L turn (of events)] to ·keep the promise [L fulfill/establish the word/message] he had made to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah, a prophet from Shiloh [11:11–12, 29–31].

16 When all ·the Israelites [L Israel] saw that the new king refused to listen to them, they said to the king,

“·We have no share [L What portion do we have…?] in David!
We have no ·part [L inheritance] in the son of Jesse!
·People of Israel, let’s go to our own homes [L To your tents, Israel]!
·Let David’s son rule his own people [L Look out for your own house, David]!”

So the Israelites went ·home [L to their tents]. 17 But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.

18 ·Adoniram[a] [C Hebrew: Adoram] was in charge of the ·forced labor [or labor force; 2 Sam. 20:24; 1 Kin. 4:6]. When Rehoboam sent him to the people of Israel, they ·threw stones at him until he died [stoned him to death]. But King Rehoboam ran to his chariot and ·escaped [fled] to Jerusalem. 19 Since then, Israel has ·been against [refused to be ruled by; been in rebellion against] the family of David.

20 When all ·the Israelites [L Israel] heard that Jeroboam had returned, they called ·him to a meeting [an assembly] and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah ·continued to follow [stayed loyal to] the ·family [L house] of David.

21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he ·gathered [mobilized; assembled] one hundred eighty thousand of the ·best [elite; select] soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. As son of Solomon, Rehoboam wanted to fight the ·people [L house] of Israel to ·take back [restore] his kingdom.

22 But ·God spoke his word [L the word of God came] to Shemaiah, ·a [or the] man of God [C a prophet], saying, 23 “·Speak [Say] to Solomon’s son Rehoboam, the king of Judah, and to all the ·people [L house] of Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people. Say to them, 24 ‘·The Lord says [T Thus says the Lord,] you must not go to war against your ·brothers [relatives], the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel]. Every one of you should go home, because ·I made all these things happen [this has come from me; this is my doing].’” So they ·obeyed the Lord’s command [L listened to the word of the Lord] and went home ·as the Lord had commanded [in accordance with his word].

25 Then Jeroboam ·built up [fortified] Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and he lived there. He also went out and ·built up [fortified] the city of Peniel.

Jeroboam Builds Golden Calves

26 Jeroboam said ·to himself [L in his heart], “The kingdom will probably ·go back [revert] to David’s ·family [L house]. 27 If the people continue going to the ·Temple [L house] of the Lord in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, ·they will want to be ruled again by [L the heart of the people will return to] Rehoboam king of Judah. Then they will kill me and ·follow [return to] Rehoboam king of Judah.”

28 King Jeroboam asked for advice. Then he made two golden calves [C on the model of Aaron’s calf; Ex. 32]. “It is too ·long a journey [much] for you to go to Jerusalem [C to worship],” he said to the people. “Israel, here are your gods [or this is your God; C it is possible that the image was associated with the false worship of the true God] who brought you out of Egypt.” 29 Jeroboam put one golden calf in the city of Bethel and the other in the city of Dan [C at opposite ends of his kingdom]. 30 This became a very great sin, because the people traveled as far as Dan[b] [C in the north] to worship the calf there.

31 Jeroboam built ·temples [L houses] on the ·places of worship [L high places; 3:2]. He also chose priests from all the people, not just from the tribe of Levi [C a violation of God’s command; cf. Num. 3:10]. 32 And he started a new festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just like the festival in Judah [C the Feast of Shelters; he was trying to imitate Israel’s way of worship]. During that time the king ·offered sacrifices on [went up to] the altar, along with sacrifices to the calves in Bethel he had made. He also chose priests in Bethel to serve at the ·places of worship [L high places; 3:2] he had made. 33 So Jeroboam ·chose his own time [devised in his own heart the month] for a festival for the Israelites—the fifteenth day of the eighth month. During that time he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built in Bethel. He ·set up [instituted] a festival for the Israelites and ·offered sacrifices [burned incense] on the altar.


  1. 1 Kings 12:18 Adoniram Hebrew copies read Adoram. Some Greek and Syriac copies read Adoniram.
  2. 1 Kings 12:30 as far as Dan The original Hebrew text may have read, “to Bethel and as far as Dan.”
Expanded Bible (EXB)

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