I Kings

Chapter 12

"Accession to Kingdom of Rehoboam [1-19]."
"Accession of Jeroboam over Israel [20-33]."
"The Nation Split into Two Separate Nations or Houses."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

I Kings 12:1 "And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king."

Solomon is dead, and Solomon's son Rehoboam is now going Shechem to meet with all the tribes of Israel to try to claim his throne. The location of Shechem is about thirty five miles directly north of Jerusalem, and it is just under seven miles south east of Samaria, which will be the capital city of the new nation called the "House of Israel". So Rehoboam is right in the heart of the ten tribes country, and a long way from his capital Jerusalem.

I Kings 12:2 "And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;)"

Remember from the prior chapter that the prophet Ahijah told Jeroboam that he would be the king of the new nation called "the House of Israel", and when Solomon heard of the prophecy he sought to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled for his life to Egypt. But now that Solomon is dead, it is time to return home and claim the throne.

I Kings 12:3 "That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spake unto Rehoboam, saying,"

I Kings 12:4 "Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee."

So this is Jeroboam standing before all the ten tribes, talking to these men of Israel for Judah and Benjamin are not included. Rehoboam, is a very young man that came to be recognized and crowned the new king of all Israel. While the tribes of Judah and Benjamin had it pretty easy under Solomon, Solomon used the ten tribes as the big work horse of his kingdom and empire. Sure the kingdom of Solomon was very beautiful, but at the physical expence of hard labor that came from the ten tribes. So now before these People of the northern part of Solomon's kingdom are going to place themselves under Rehoboam, they want an understanding that their work load and taxes will be lighter. The deal that they are trying to make is that if Rehoboam will agree to it, then they will crown him king and be faithful to him.

I Kings 12:5 "And he said unto them, "Depart yet for three days, then come again to me." And the People departed."

Jeroboam is back and Rehoboam wanted three days to think about the offer that Jeroboam made to him. In three days they were to return and they would get their answer. We know that God has already spoken and He will set the mind of Rehoboam against the house of Israel's request.

I Kings 12:6 "And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, "How do ye advise that I may answer this People?" "

This was a smart move to seek advise from the elders that witnessed the advise of his father Solomon. Of course their mind will be that of his father Solomon's and they knew the full extent of Solomon's kingdom. Rehoboam was reminded that his father Solomon had placed a heavy tax on these ten tribes, and that was the source of much of the wealth and labor of the kingdom. The building was finished and the need for the heavy taxes of the past. This is why the request for lighter taxes made sense. The People want that this yoke be removed from off of them.

I Kings 12:7 "And they spake unto him, saying, "If thou wilt be a servant unto this People this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever." "

The elders that served under Solomon told him that the People's request was fair, and that it would be good for Rehoboam's image, and it would also show that he was a good servant to them. To honor this request of Jeroboam's would assure that all the tribes would stay together as a nation, if Rehoboam would lighten the work load and those taxes. They are telling Rehoboam to use his head and a little common sense, and be gentle with them and they will serve you forever.

I Kings 12:8 "But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:"

Rehoboam did not listen to the old men of wisdom, but ran off to the young men that he had grown up with. Rehoboam sought the wisdom of the youth from within his neighborhood gang instead of listening to the elders that ran the government. Remember that the generation of Rehoboam had been born into luxury and into the generation of good times. The streets, the house and temple had been inlaid with gold and the most expensive woods from all over the world. They had everything that their little minds could imagine, and they had never witnessed the trouble that a war could bring on them. The state of Solomon's kingdom was in good times, and they did not witness any of the hard times outside of Jerusalem. This is the mind set of those kids that Rehoboam is asking for advice. It is also the mindset of many of those at the top of our government today.

Remember that the old elders had been there in the hard times, they saw the trouble of brother killing brother, and all the other troubles prior to Solomon's reign. They knew what a split kingdom would do to Israel, yet God allowed Rehoboam to take the advice of those thugs of the neighborhood. These youth had become callused to God's ways, for they were the offspring of all sorts of heathen women, that offered sacrifices to idols, and in some cases, even offered their own children in living sacrifices. One generation can make a lot of difference as far as falling away from the things of God.

In today's world, there is a great difference of thinking in one generation. The thinking of the leaders and people from the forties and fifties to the eighties and ninties. The earlier generation witnessed the wars and hard times where a dollar meant something, and a man's word was his bond. People paid attention to moral standards, and and your neighbor was your more than just a friend. Today even the top position of our land would lie under oath and cheet his neighbor out of his birthright. The gangs on the corner may look a litte different than the president, but their morals and word are about the same.

The high taxes were at the expence of the northern tribes people, just as in our nation today, and were being taken and outright wasted, given away, and spent of luxuries of the national leaders. The moral population could see those things that were being done and they just were not going to accept it anymore. What was happening here in Shechem with Rehoboam is similiar to what is happening today, only this house of Israel has had enough and just will not take it any more.

I Kings 12:9 "And he said unto them, "What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, `Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?" "

This is Rehoboam speaking to the gang of young men that he grew up with. The offspring of Solomon's wives that came from all corners of the earth, that worshipped and practiced every form of Religion and evilness that you can imagine. "To make the yoke lighter", meant less taxes and less wealth for those at the top in Jerusalem. It meant a change of lifestyle for these rascals that never worked a day in their lives. These are the ones that Rehoboam's is polling to find out what he should do. This is a type of what is going on today. You poll the ones that will give you the kind of results that you are seeking.

I Kings 12:10 "And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, "Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, `Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us;' thus shalt thou say unto them, `My little finger shall be thinker than my father's loins."

These young men are his half brothers from the palace, as well as the children of the men at the top positions in Solomon's government. They are telling Rehoboam to tell the people of the ten tribes, that if you thought my father Solomon was rough on you, wait until you see the yoke I put on you. This young man Rehoboam is just a kid in his earily twenties, and the advice to him from the kids he ran with, is that he should tell the men of northern Israel that he is going to get tough with them. It is a spoiled generation in Jerusalem telling the old timers that he going to get tough with the lazy workers of those ten tribes. This warning sounds like the start of a revolution.

I Kings 12:11 "And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: I will chastise you with scorpions.' "

"Scorpions" are the whips that were called "cat of nine tales" in Jesus day. They were long leather whips, knotted with objects tied in the knots to cause damage to the skin and add to the pain. Rehoboam is telling the house of Israel that they haven't seen anything in pain yet.

So stop and think for a moment, Rehoboam is made up of two tribes that have only seen the light side of life. A gold plated world, with plenty to eat, and for entertainment and the luxuries of life. While the other ten tribes were use to hardship and hard work, and that provided the good times for the people in Jerusalem. These two little tribes are standing there in their delightful garments, are making threats to the ten warriors tribes of the nation. Their hast to be a screw loose somewhere in Rehoboam's mind. God already let us know what the outcome would be, and it was made known even to Solomon by the prophets. There is a time to listen, and Rehoboam is just not listening to common sense.

I Kings 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." "

Jeroboam will be the new king of the House of Israel, while Rehoboam is the son of Solomon. Rehoboam is the one that is now threatening the ten tribes of the House of Israel. Remember that the meeting is taking place in the heart of Jeroboam's territory, and they are all coming together on that third day for Rehoboam's answer. Rehoboam is a long way from his home territory in Jerusalem, and he just is not thinking clearly. This gang from Jerusalem is coming into Israel country to lay out some very strict orders, with a heavy threat to go along with it.

I Kings 12:13 "And the king answered the People roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;"

Remember that the "king" is this punk kid of twenty one that that takes his advise from the neighborhood gang, and not a king with the wisdom of his father Solomon.

I Kings 12:14 "And [Rehoboam] 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 chasetise you with scorpions." "

Rehoboam repeated the words exactly as the neighborhood gang had advised him to; And he made those terms in a rough harsh voice.

I Kings 12:15 "Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the People; for the cause was from the Lord, that He might perform His saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat."

Did you get that? what the king did and refused to do was; "for the cause was from the Lord." This fulfills the prophecy stated in I Kings 30, 31; "And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him [Jeroboam] and rent it into twelve pieces." "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.' "

God was setting the stage of events to take place exactly as He had planned. The nation will be split, and because of Rehoboam's hardness, the People will turn against him. It was God's will that the ten tribes would not serve Jerusalem and the king.

I Kings 12:16 "So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, "What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David." So Israel departed unto their tents."

The time has come when the split of Israel has taken place. Israel from this time forth will be made up of only the ten tribes to the north, with Samaria their capital, and the other two tribes will be known as Judah, or "the house of Judah". So "all Israel" does not include Judah nor Benjamin, nor the "remnant of cities" of those tribes if Israel that are within Judah's territories.

The order went out to "go to your tents", and within their tents are their weapons. This is the reason that any weapons control within any land is bad business, for when the government steps outside their bounds, there must be someone to step forward and make a stand. When the command went out for the people of the house of Israel to "go to their tents", Rehoboam knew exactly what this meant, WAR.

I Kings 12:17 "But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them."

I Kings 12:18 "Then king Rehoboam set Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem."

Rehoboam's reponse to the "house of Israel", was to send out the head tax collector into the hornets nest, and try to collect more taxes [tribute]. The people ten tribes stone the man as he approached, and he died on the spot. Rehoboam saw the hatred in the faces of the people of the ten tribes, and he and his guard mounted their chariots in haste and headed home to Jerusalem. When Rehoboam saw the stir that his words caused, he sold out cheep. The tax collector paid the price with his life for Rehoboam's stupidity. The people just were not going to be the king's mules any more, and be taken advantage of.

I Kings 12:19 "So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day."

Remember this; that when you hear the word "ISRAEL" from this point on in scripture, it is always refering to the ten tribes that go to make up "the House of Israel". They will be the northern kingdom with their capital city of "Samaria". The other two tribes of Judah and Benjamin are now called the "house of Judah". Jerusalem is the capital city of the house of Judah, both nations will have their own kings and separate governments. Rehoboam is over the house of Judah, while Jeroboam will be the king over the house of Israel.

Many Christians today simply do not know the difference between these two nations, and they get mixed up; for God will deal with each nation separately. They will have separate prophets, and separate outcomes. Though both of these nation will be scattered in the long run, Israel will be scattered about 745-722 B.C. by the Assyrians, and become know as the "Caucasians". Then some hunderd years later Nebuchadnezzar hauled the house of Judah into Babylon. When the house of Judah came out of their capitivity in Babylon, then the house of Judah will be referred to as "the Jews".

The two houses are still split, and will remain apart until the coming of the Lord at the sounding of the seventh trumpet. You will not see the joining of these two peoples in your flesh bodies, for it will be in the Millennium age of Jesus Christ our Lord. Then Ezekiel 37 will come to pass, and the two sticks that Ezekiel wrote on and put together will happen and be joined together again, and the prophecy will be fulfilled.

I Kings 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."

"All Israel" are all the ten tribes that make up the "house of Israel". Jeroboam is now king over all Israel, over the ten tribes of the "house [nation] of Israel", and Judah is not included in this nation.

I Kings 12:21 "And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, and hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehooam the son of Solomon."

When Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem his was mad and his feeling were hurt. He had just lost eighty percent of the his nation, and he now knew that he acted on bad advice of those around him. The first thing he did was to call up the draft and prepare for war with Israel, however he would be greatly out-numbered. They already killed his head tax collector stoned right before his eyes, and that made a statement of defiance against Jerusalem. He saw the majority of his riches being taken away, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Judah took all the men in the kingdom, 180,000 men to go out and do battle with Israel. The purpose was to force the ten tribes back into the kingdom of Rehoboam. Remember that when David called the men of Judah together, he had 470,000 men to go against Israel. Solomon had turned the tribe of Judah and made them soft, for only one third were fit to do battle one generation later. Rehoboam again is not listening to common sense. Israel will field ten times that number to go against Judah.

I Kings 12:22 "But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, "

I Kings 12:23 " "Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the remnant of the People, saying,"

The Lord is going to make Rehoboam stop and think for a moment as to what he is about to do. This verse also documents the people that went to make up the house of Judah, Rehoboam's kingdom. Benjamin was part of Judah, and not Israel, as well as those cities of the other ten tribes that fell in the borders of Judah and Benjamin's land. Levi was scattered amongst all the tribes, for it was not given a territory by Moses nor Joshua. They were the priests amongst all the tribes.

Many say that this would make thirteen tribes, but remember from the book of Genesis that Jacob had twelve sons, and when Jacob [Israel] blessed Joseph, the blessing fell not on Joseph but on his two sons, Ephriam and Manasseh, so Joseph is not mentioned as a tribe. Where Joseph is mentioned, it refers to Ephriam, for Ephraim will carry the name of Israel, not the Jews.

Genesis 48:17 "And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head."

Genesis 48:18 "And Joseph said unto his father, "Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head."

Genesis 48:19 "And his father [Israel] refused, and said, "I know it, by son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger borther shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations."

Genesis 48:20 "And he blessed them that day, saying, "In thee shall Israel bless, saying, `God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh:' "and he set Ephraim before Manasseh."

In these five verses the entire Abrahamic covenant that God gave to Abraham, that was passed on to Isaac, and Jacob bought from Easu for a bowl of mush, was passed on to Ephraim, with a part to Manasseh. These two sons of Joseph were the double portion of the blessing that Joseph received from his father. So where ever Ephraim went, there would go the name Israel, not to the tribe of Judah, they are know as Judah or the house of Judah. These two separate entities of nations are now going to war against each other. It will be a civil war with brother fighting against brother unless God steps in and common sense prevails.

I Kings 12:24 "`Thus saith the Lord, "Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from Me.' They hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord."

The prophet is stating that the thing that just happened is at God's order. The people of Judah did as the prophet's word from God stated, and they all went home.

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

Jeroboam built Shechem on the west side of Jordan as a fort to protect Israel from their enemies, which of course Judah was now considered. The protection of the eastern front of the kingdom was at the fort called Penuel. Three of the tribes of the house of Israel were located east of Jordan, and they were; part of the tribe of Manasseh, Gad and Reuben. Jeroboam is making the battle lines on both the west and the east sides of the river Jordan.

I Kings 12:26 "And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:"

We are now going to see a man fall apart in his mind. The very force that set him up, is going to tare him down. He is about to do the very thing that brought down Solomon's kingdom and rent the kingdom out of Rehoboam's hand. Remember the promise that God made to Jeroboam, that if he obeyed Him and kept his Commandments and Statutes, He would bless him for ever. So we will see what the first thing that Jeroboam did as king of the kingdom that God gave him.

I Kings 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." "

It was written that everyone should go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord God Almighty, however Jeroboam thought that if his people went to Jerusalem, Rehoboam would make a move on his people, and turn them against him. Then if the People listen to Rehoboam and turn against him, they would try to kill him. Jeroboam simply did not trust God nor did he believe that God could protect him.

God has given us many wonderful promises in His Word that they apply to us today. The point is that we have to believe in those promises, and have faith and act on those promises, or they will not be any good to those of unbelief. Jeroboam only acted on what seemed good to himself, and disregarded all the other promises. He had nothing but doubt and contempt for God, and he is about to lose the blessings of God.

I Kings 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." "

This is terrible, to replace the altar of God with two golden calves. This whole statement was a lie, for when the Israelites left Egypt it was because God delivered them from the Egyptians. The two golden calves were made in defiance against God, while Moses was up on the mount Siani getting the two tablets of stone. Jeroboam missed the entire message of Exodus 32: for it was the peoples defiance against God that forced Aaron to take the golden ear rings and all the gold to make their golden calf to replace the things of God. That act broke the first of the commandments, "To have no other gods before Me." For their great sin, all those that did not repent and turn from that act, were killed.

When Moses confronted Aaron and asked him "What did this People unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?"

Exodus 32:22 "And Aaron said, "Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the People, that they are set on mischief."

Exodus 32:23 "For they said unto me, `Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.' "

Exodus 32:24 "And I said unto them, `Whatsoever hath any gold, let them break it off.' So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.' "

How stupid did Aaron think Moses was? Aaron cast the gold into his heated pot, and out walks this golden calf. This is the same degree of stupidity that Jeroboam is using to lure the house of Israel into worshipping his two golden calves. Only it wasn't the people that cried out for the calves, but Jeroboam's greed to hold on to the kingdom that God gave him. The lesson here is that Jeroboam was just no good, even from the start. His jealousy and power for the moment cause him to create a new religious form, just as Aaron did back in the wilderness, at the foothills of Mount Sinai.

The thought was that it was to much trouble to go to the temple, and to far to go to church at Jerusalem, to make our sacrifice. If God promised you that He will care for you, He will. God promised Jeroboam that he would take care of his kingdom, but Jeroboam just did not believe God. God entrusted the ten tribes to him to lead them in worship of the true God, yet the first thing that he did was to build these two golden idols.

I Kings 12:29 "And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan."

"Beth-el" means "the house of God". Jeroboam placed the one calf in the house of God, and he put the other calf way to the north in the land of Dan.

I Kings 12:30 "And this thing became a sin: for the People went to worship before the one, even unto Dan."

Thus even from the start of the establishment of the nation of "the house of Israel", the people became idol worshippers. Even with all the guarentees and assurances that God gave to this new nation, they still turned their backs on God.

Today we have many assurances and promises from God for our protection and care, and God expects us to believe Him and act on those promises in faith. He promises that he will make you successful if you will trust him and follow His ways. It takes faith on your part, to study his Word, and claim those promises for yourself. This is nottalking about those old rituals that were fulfilled in Christ, but following the instructions of Christ, and His Apostles. Be a studant of the Word, and know what you are doing, and why you do it. The purpose for our actions should be to please our heavenly Father, and do His will.

I Kings 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."

Jeroboam built another house of god, another temple to house this new religious form in. God appointed those who were to serve him in the Temple, and he chose the Levites, the sons of Aaron. Jeroboam on the other hand took the "lowest of the people", and this term "lowest", in the Hebrew text is # 7098 in the Strong's Hebrew dictionary; "qatsah, used as in 7098, the coast, the corner or uttermost edge." Jeroboam took the coastal people, the Zidonians or Kenites to be the priests in the temples of the house of Israel. These were the people of Hiram's kingdom, the Kenites that would lead God's people in worship. This was the same problem that Solomon had, letting other than the Levites control the things of God.

I Kings 12:32 "And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fourteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. (So did he in Beth-el,) sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places which he had made."

The purpose of this new feast day that Jeroboam had created and established was to offer sacrifices to the calves which he made. So ask yourself, why did they offer blood sacrifices anyway? it was to cover sin. Only God can cover any sin and give forgiveness. Jeroboam is turning the people's hearts and minds from God, to idols. Jeroboam took the normal day of the "feast of tabernacles", and created another name and purpose for that day. So instead of the love offering going to God, it went to these these two golden idol calves.

Everything about this religious form was man made. The place of worship, the priests doing the service, the things being taught, and the altar was before an idol that was completely man made. Does this sound like many of the man made religious forms of today? In the end, you have nothing but a lot of hot air. Jeroboam was not just playing king, but he was playing God here. He did it all for the sake of saving his new kingdom that God had granted to him. He did not trust God to hold the nation in tact for him, and relied on his own power.

I Kings 12:33 "So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Beth-el 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."

The kingdom is now established and has turned from following the ways of God to follow this heathen religious form run by these foreigners. The following pages are a listing of the kings of both Israel and Judah, and will help you as we study the rest of the book of I Kings.

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