1 Rehoboam went to Shechem. All the people of northern Israel gathered to make him king.
2 Jeroboam son of Nebat went to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. When he heard this news he returned from Egypt.
3 The people of the northern tribes sent for him. Then they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him:
4 »Your father Solomon treated us harshly and placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.«
5 »Come back in three days and I will give you my answer,« he replied. So they left.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted elders who had been with Solomon his father when he was living. He said: »In your opinion, what answer am I to give to these people?«
7 They said to him: »If you will be a servant to this people today, caring for them and giving them a favorable answer, then they will be your servants for ever.«
8 But he paid no attention to the opinion of the elders. He went to the young men who were his advisors:
9 »What is your opinion?« He asked: »What answer are we to give to this people? They want me to lighten the burdens placed on them by my father.«
10 His young advisors said: »This is the answer to give to the people who came to you saying: Your father put a hard yoke on us; will you make it less? Say to them: My little finger is thicker than my father's body.
11 »If my father put a hard yoke on you, I will make it harder! My father gave you punishment with whips, but I will give you blows with snakes.«
12 So all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day just as the king ordered.
13 The king gave them a harsh answer. He paid no attention to the suggestion of the elders.
14 He gave them the answer suggested by the young advisors. He said: »My father made your yoke hard, but I will make it harder! My father gave you punishment with whips, but I will give it with snakes.«
15 The king did not listen to the people. This came about by Jehovahs purpose, so that what he had said by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam, son of Nebat, might be fulfilled.
16 When all Israel realized that the king would not respond to their request, the people in answer said to the king: »What share do we have in David? What is our heritage in the son of Jesse? To your tents, O Israel; now see to your people, David.« So Israel went away to their tents.
17 Rehoboam was still king over those of the children of Israel who were living in the towns of Judah.
18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, the overseer of the forced work. He was stoned to death by all Israel. King Rehoboam went quickly and got into his carriage to escape to Jerusalem.
19 Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they requested a meeting of the people. At that meeting they made him king over Israel. There was none who followed the house of David except the tribe of Judah.
21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together one hundred and eighty thousand of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He wanted to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel.
22 But God told the prophet Shemaiah:
23 »Give this message to Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin:
24 »Do not attack the people of Israel, your own relatives. All of you go home. What has happened is my will.« They all obeyed Jehovahs command and went home.
25 King Jeroboam of Israel fortified the town of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there for a while. Then he left and fortified the town of Penuel.
26 He thought to himself: »The way things are my people will go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to Jehovah at the Temple there.
27 »They will transfer their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah and will kill me.«
28 After asking for advice, the king made two golden calves. He said: You have been worshiping in Jerusalem long enough. Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.
29 He placed one in Bethel and the other in Dan.
30 This became Israels sin, worshiping the golden calves. 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 invented for the Israelites.