Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online

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Page Four



Jeroboam the Insecure King

Brings in Calf Worship From the Days of Aaron

"Now the kingdom may return to the House of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah."

(Biblical Prophets Article Covers: 1 Kings 12:21-33)


Short Recap -- Adoram

In the last article we read how Rehoboam received a rude awakening, when Adoram, the official who was over the tribute, was killed by the ten tribes, upon his visit.

Adoram's death happened because the ten tribes had decided to rebel against Rehoboam and his newly acquired kingship.

Rehoboam could have easily avoided this rebellion, if he would have listened to the old wise men, who had served under his father Solomon.

Instead, Rehoboam decided to listen to the young men that he had grown up with, when it came to dealing with the concerns and requests of the ten tribes. Be as it may, after Adoram was killed, Rehoboam feared for his life and fled away from Shechem to the city of Jerusalem. After Rehoboam left, the ten tribes decided to make Jeroboam their new king and by doing so, fulfilled the prophecy that was foretold by the prophet Ahijah.



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Rehoboam -- Wait A Minute?



After Rehoboam made it back to the city of Jerusalem, he was determined to gain back control over the ten tribes. So he assembled the "House of David" and raised an army of one- hundred and eighty-thousand men. Rehoboam was ready to wage war against the "House of Israel" but God had different plans.

The Lord sent a prophet by the name of Shemaiah to go and speak to the Rehoboam and the entire House of David. Once Shemaiah came before the people, he spoke these words: "You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me."



Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online

Rehoboam Stands Down -- Jeroboam Advances?


After Rehoboam had heard what God had to say through Shemaiah the prophet, he finally showed some common sense and disbanded the army he had assembled. Rehoboam knew that if he were to go against the "House of Israel," he would also be going against the Almighty God as well. Be as it may, from this point forward, we learned that Jeroboam rebuilt the city of Shechem and made it the new kingdom for the "House of Israel." And after Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem, he also set out and built a city called "Penuel."

But Jeroboam would begin to fall prey to his insecurities, when it came to the kind of influence that he had over the ten tribes, since it's presumed that the Israel king thought that he had very little influence over them. It's also presumed, that Jeroboam might have thought, the "House of David" had a greater influence over his kingdom, then he actually did. This is why he came up with a plan that would keep the two kingdoms from interacting socially and religiously:

"Now the kingdom may return to the House of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah." Jeroboam thought to himself.



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Jeroboam Has an Idea -- From the Days of Aaron?


After Jeroboam came to this conclusion, he sought counsel from the politicians of his kingdom and how he was going to carry out this plan. The plan he finally came up with, dealt with the institution of a religion that was known as the "Golden Calf." Now it's possible that Jeroboam had taken the idea of instituting this "Golden Calf" religion from the early days of Aaron. The reason why I make this claim -- is for the mere fact, that the two events seem to mirror each other.



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From the Days of Aaron -- Very Similar?


Aaron had instituted the "golden calf" after the Israelites were freed from Egypt and they were starting anew. Jeroboam is doing the same, when the ten tribes are starting a new era from within their nation. Notice the two comments that they both made.

Aaron stated: "And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!'" (Exodus 32:4)

Jeroboam stated: "Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, 'It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" (1 Kings 12:28)



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From the Days of Aaron -- He Could Sell the Idea Better?


Also take note of how Jeroboam tried to reason with the ten tribes on why they should not go to Jerusalem, to worship the one true God: "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem."

He makes the suggestion that the trip would be too much of a burden upon them, so why not move beyond the temple and establish something new. I would also like to point out, that by Jeroboam basically copying what Aaron had done, he had a better chance of selling them on the idea that these "golden calves" represented the God of Israel and not some false god.



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The Cities Of -- Dan & Bethel?


Jeroboam would set up two locations that dealt with the placement of the two "golden calves." One place was the city of Bethel, whose name signifies "the house of God." Bethel represented a very important location, since it was located just a few miles away from the city of Jerusalem.

Bethel made for a shorter journey for the Israelites, than it would have been if they were to have traveled to Solomon's temple in Jerusalem. The other location was located on the other side of the Jeroboam's kingdom, which was the northern end of the land and this place was known as the city of Dan.



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Jeroboam Created His Own Priesthood?


After Jeroboam had done this, he took things a few steps further by creating houses in the highest of places and he even created his own priesthood: "He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi."

Of course this didn't sit well with the Levitical Priesthood and because of Jeroboam's actions; the "sons of Levi" would leave Israel, for the House of David:

"For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the Lord. Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made" (2 Chronicles 11:14,15)



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Feast of the Tabernacles?


Jeroboam would also institute a dedication that was similar to the "feast of the Tabernacles" which was a feast that was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of each year. It's presumed that this was done by Jeroboam, in order to add more validity to the idea, that they were serving the one true God, and not just some false god.

"Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made." (1 Kings 12:32)



Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online

Feast of the Tabernacles -- Two Different Months?


Now there was a difference between the two feast, apart from the deities that each represented. The difference was that the "feast of the Tabernacles" was held on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of each year. Jeroboam's was held on the fifteenth day of the eight month of each year. Jeroboam would go even further, by offering up on the altar and burning incense.

"So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense." (1 Kings 12:33)



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King Uzziah Made The Same Sinful Mistake?


Remember, that this was the same mistake that king Uzziah had made as well:

"Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place.

"Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord. Then Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land." (2 Chronicles 26:19-21)


In the next Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online Article:

Now that Jeroboam has done all that he can to keep his kingdom apart from the House of David, how will God respond? Will He place a judgment upon the king, or will He just ignore Jeroboam's sinful ways?



Related Biblical Prophets - Bible Study Online - Article Links


01) The Prophecy of Ahijah

02) The Death of Solomon

03) God Splits the House of David

04) <-CURRENT PAGE->

05) The Prophet From Judah

06) The Prophet and the False Prophet




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