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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 12

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1 a 12:1–19 Cp. 2 Chr. 10:1–19 . REHOBOAM went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who was still in Egypt, heard of it, he remained there, having taken refuge in Egypt to escape King Solomon. 3The people now recalled him, and he and all the assembly of Israel came to Rehoboam and said, 4‘Your father laid a harsh yoke upon us; but if you will now lighten the harsh labour he imposed and the heavy yoke he laid on us, we shall serve you.’ 5‘Give me three days,’ he said, ‘and then come back.’

When the people had gone, 6King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had been in attendance during the lifetime of his father Solomon: ‘What answer do you advise me to give to this people?’ 7They said, ‘If today you are willing to serve this people, show yourself their servant now and speak kindly to them, and they will be your servants ever after.’ 8But he rejected the advice given him by the elders, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, and were now in attendance; 9he asked them, ‘What answer do you advise me to give to this people's request that I should lighten the yoke which my father laid on them?’ 10The young men replied, ‘Give this answer to the people who say that your father made their yoke heavy and ask you to lighten it; tell them: “My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. 11My father laid a heavy yoke on you, but I shall make it heavier. My father whipped you, but I shall flay you.” ’

12Jeroboam and the people all came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had ordered. 13The king gave them a harsh answer; he rejected the advice which the elders had given him 14and spoke to the people as the young men had advised: ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I shall make it heavier. My father whipped you, but I shall flay you.’ 15The king would not listen to the people; for the LORD had given this turn to the affair in order that the word he had spoken by Ahijah of Shiloh to Jeroboam son of Nebat might be fulfilled.

16When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, they answered:

‘What share have we in David? We have no lot in the son of Jesse. Away to your tents, Israel! Now see to your own house, David!’

With that Israel went off to their homes. 17Rehoboam ruled only over those Israelites who lived in the cities and towns of Judah.

18King Rehoboam sent out Adoram, the commander of the forced levies, but when the Israelites stoned him to death, the king hastily mounted his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19From that day to this Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David.

20When the men of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over the whole of Israel. The tribe of Judah alone stayed loyal to the house of David.

21 b 12:21–24 Cp. 2 Chr. 11:1–4 . When Rehoboam reached Jerusalem, he mustered the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand chosen warriors, to fight against Israel and recover his kingdom. 22But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23‘Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people, 24This is the word of the LORD: You are not to go up to make war on your kinsmen the Israelites. Return to your homes, for this is my doing.’ They listened to the word of the LORD and went back, as the LORD had told them.

25 JEROBOAM rebuilt Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim and took up residence there; from there he went out and built Penuel. 26‘As things now stand’, he said to himself, ‘the kingdom will revert to the house of David. 27If these people go up to sacrifice in the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, it will revive their allegiance to their lord King Rehoboam of Judah, and they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.’ 28After taking counsel about the matter he made two calves of gold and said to the people, ‘You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough; here are your gods, Israel, that brought you up from Egypt.’ 29One he set up at Bethel and the other he put at Dan, 30and this thing became a sin in Israel; the people went to Bethel to worship the one, and c 12:30 in Israel…one, and: so Gk (Luc.); Heb. the people went. all the way to Dan to worship the other. 31He also erected temple buildings at shrines and appointed priests who did not belong to the Levites, from every class of the people. 32He instituted a pilgrim-feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like that in Judah, and he offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made and compelling the priests of the shrines, which he had set up, to serve at Bethel. 33He went up on the fifteenth day of the eighth month to the altar that he had made at Bethel; there, in a month of his own choosing, he instituted for the Israelites a pilgrim-feast and himself went up to the altar to burn the sacrifice.

Notes:

a 12:1–19 Cp. 2 Chr. 10:1–19 .

b 12:21–24 Cp. 2 Chr. 11:1–4 .

c 12:30 in Israel…one, and: so Gk (Luc.); Heb. the people went.

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