7 Sept. 1 Kings 12:25-33

7 Sept.  King Jeroboam of Israel builds temples to worship idols

“Then Jeroboam made Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim a very strong city, and he lived there. He also went to the city of Peniel and made it stronger.”

“Jeroboam said to himself, ‘The kingdom will probably go back to David’s family. If the people continue going to the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, they will want to be ruled again by Rehoboam. Then they will kill me and follow Rehoboam king of Judah.’”

“King Jeroboam asked for advice. Then he made two golden calves. ‘It is too long a journey for you to go to Jerusalem to worship,’ he said to the people. ‘Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.’ Jeroboam put one golden calf in the city of Bethel and the other in the city of Dan. This became a very great sin, because the people travelled as far as Dan to worship the calf there.”

“Jeroboam built temples on the places of worship. He also chose priests from all the people, not just from the tribe of Levi. And he started a new [religious] festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just like the festival in Judah.”

“During that time the king offered sacrifices on the altar, along with sacrifices to the calves in Bethel he had made. He also chose priests in Bethel to serve at the places of worship he had made.”

“So Jeroboam chose his own time for a festival for the Israelites – the fifteenth day of the eighth month. During that time he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built in Bethel. He set up a festival for the Israelites and offered sacrifices on the altar.”

          (1 Kings 12:25-33)



King Jeroboam I of Israel (who reigned from c.931 to c.911BC) fortified Shechem to provide himself with a stronghold in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the well-defended Judean capital of Jerusalem. He also fortified Penuel (or Peniel), a town across the Jordan in the valley of the River Jabbok (see Genesis 32:30). 

Jeroboam turned away from God on the pretence that if the Israelites went to worship the LORD at the temple built by Rehoboam’s father Solomon in Jerusalem, they would soon be won over to an alliance with Judah and would rebel against him in support of Rehoboam.

So Jeroboam made two golden bull calves for the people to worship in new temples at Bethel (in the central hill country) and at Dan (in the far north of the country) so they would not need to travel south to Jerusalem (in the rival southern kingdom of Judah) to worship there. He also appointed new priests, who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi (see Exodus 28:1-5), and he set up a new religious festival to rival the religious celebrations in the southern kingdom of Judah.

All this was seen as abominable by the LORD, who sent a prophet from Judah to condemn Jeroboam for turning away from the one true God (see 1 Kings 13:1-34). The prophet from Judah warned Jeroboam that a future king (King Josiah) would destroy the new altars he had set up (see 2 Kings 23:4-9).

The photo (by עדירל) shows the site of King Jeroboam’s stronghold at Shechem (Tel Balata at Nablus).

You can read more about Jeroboam @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/32-the-divided-kingdom-amp-journey-into-exile/jeroboam-builds-temples-to-worship-baal/

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