1Rehoboam then went to Shechem, al Israel having come to Shechem to proclaim him king. 2(As soon as Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news -- he was stil in Egypt, where he had taken refugefrom King Solomon -- he returned from Egypt. 3They now sent for him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came.) And they spoke asfol ows to Rehoboam, 4'Your father laid a cruel yoke on us; if you wil lighten your father's cruel slavery, that heavy yoke whichhe imposed on us, we are wil ing to serve you.' 5He said to them, 'Go away for three days and then come back to me.' And the people went away. 6King Rehoboam then consulted the elders who had been in attendance on his father Solomon while hewas alive, and said, 'How do you advise me to answer this people?' 7They replied, 'If you become the servant of this people today, and submit to them and give them a fairreply, then they wil remain your servants for ever.' 8But he rejected the advice given him by the elders and consulted the young men in attendance on him,who had grown up with him. 9He said, 'How do you advise us to answer these people who have been saying, "Lighten the yokewhich your father imposed on us!"? ' 10The young men who had grown up with him replied, 'This is the way to answer these people whohave been saying, "Your father made our yoke heavy, you must lighten it for us!" This is the right thing to say tothem, "My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. 11Although my father laid a heavy yoke on you, I shall make it heavier stil . My father controlled you withthe whip, but I shall apply a spiked lash!" ' 12On the third day Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam in obedience to the king'sinstruction: 'Come back to me in three days' time.' 13And the king gave the people a harsh answer, rejecting the advice given him by the elders 14and speaking to them as the young men had recommended, 'My father made your yoke heavy, I shallmake it heavier stil ! My father control ed you with the whip, but I shall apply a spiked lash!' 15Thus the king refused to listen to the people, and this was brought about by Yahweh to fulfil thepromise which he had made through Ahijah of Shiloh to Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16When al Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king thus: Whatshare have we in David? -No heritage in the son of Jesse! Away to your tents, Israel! Now look after your ownHouse, David! So Israel went home again. 17Rehoboam, however, reigned over those Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah. 18When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of forced labour, all Israel stoned him todeath, while King Rehoboam managed to mount his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19And Israel has remained in rebel ion against the House of David from that day to this. 20When al Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and madehim king of al Israel; no one remained loyal to the House of David, except the tribe of Judah. 21When Rehoboam reached Jerusalem he mustered the whole House of Judah and the tribe ofBenjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors, to fight the House of Israel and win back the kingdomfor Rehoboam son of Solomon. 22But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, man of God, 23'Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, to the whole House of Judah, to Benjamin andto the rest of the people, 24"Yahweh says this: Do not go and make war on your brothers, the Israelites; let everyone go home,for this is my doing." ' They obeyed the command of Yahweh and turned back in accordance with his word. 25Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the mountain country of Ephraim and made that his residence. Then,leaving there, he fortified Penuel. 26Jeroboam thought to himself, 'As things are, the kingdom wil revert to the House of David. 27If this people continues to go up to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, thepeople's heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they wil put me to death.' 28So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, 'You havebeen going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt!' 29He set one up at Bethel, 30and the people went in procession in front of the other one al the way to Dan. In Israel this gave riseto sin, for the people went to Bethel to worship the one, and all the way to Dan to worship the other. 31He set up shrines on the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not oflevitical descent. 32Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast keptin Judah, when he offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did at Bethel, offering sacrifices to the calves which hehad made and, at Bethel, instal ing the priests of the high places which he had set up. 33On the fifteenth of the eighth month, the month which he had chosen deliberately, he offeredsacrifices on the altar which he had made at Bethel; he instituted a feast for the Israelites and himself went up tothe altar to burn the sacrifice.
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