1 Kings 12 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)
King Rehoboam Foolishly Rejects Israel’s Request
12 Rehoboam went to Shechem because all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2 Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. When he heard ⌞about Rehoboam⌟, he returned from Egypt.[a] 3 ⌞Israel⌟ sent for Jeroboam and invited him back. Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said, 4 “Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you.”
5 He said to them, “Leave and come back the day after tomorrow.” So the people left.
6 King Rehoboam sought advice from the older leaders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive. He asked, “What do you advise? How should I respond to these people?”
7 They told him, “If you will serve these people today, humble yourself, and speak gently, then they will always be your servants.”
8 But he ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. He sought advice from the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we respond to these people who are asking me to lighten the burden my father put on them?”
10 The young men who had grown up with him answered, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is heavier than my father’s whole body. 11 If my father put a heavy burden on you, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.’ ”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam two days later, as the king had instructed them. 13 The king answered the people harshly. He ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. 14 He spoke to them as the young men advised. He said, “If my father made your burden heavy, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.” 15 The king refused to listen to the people because the Lord was directing these events to carry out the promise he had made to Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) through Ahijah from Shiloh.
16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king,
“What share do we have in David’s kingdom?
So Israel went home to their own tents. 17 But Rehoboam ruled the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.
18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram to Israel. He was in charge of forced labor, but they stoned him to death. So King Rehoboam got on his chariot as fast as he could and fled to Jerusalem. 19 Israel has rebelled against David’s dynasty to this day.
King Jeroboam Establishes Idolatry in Israel
20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent men to invite him to the assembly. They made him king of all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David’s dynasty.
21 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he gathered all the people of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 of the best soldiers, to fight against the people of Israel and return the kingdom to Rehoboam, son of Solomon.
22 But God spoke his word to Shemaiah, the man of God. He said, 23 “Speak to Judah’s King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and the rest of the people. 24 This is what the Lord says: Don’t wage war against your relatives from Israel. Everyone, go home. What has happened is my doing.” So they obeyed the Lord’s word. They returned ⌞home⌟, as the Lord told them.
25 Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem in the hills of Ephraim and lived there. Then he left that place and built Penuel. 26 He said to himself, “The kingdom will probably return to David’s dynasty now. 27 King Rehoboam of Judah, the former master of these people, will regain popularity if they go to sacrifice in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.”
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said, “You’ve been worshiping in Jerusalem long enough. Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.” 29 He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30 Worshiping them became ⌞Israel’s⌟ sin. The people went as far as Dan to worship the one calf. 31 Jeroboam built worship sites on hilltops. He appointed men who were not descended from Levi to be priests.
32 Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just like the festival in Judah. He went to the altar in Bethel to sacrifice to the calves he had made. He appointed priests from the illegal worship sites ⌞to serve⌟ in Bethel. 33 He went to his altar in Bethel to burn an offering on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, ⌞the festival⌟ he had invented for the Israelites.