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Jeroboam, but he made his escape into Egypt, and remained there as long as Solomon lived.
For forty years King Solomon reigned, and then he“ slept with his fathers,” and was buried at Jerusalem in King David's burial-place.
As soon as Solomon was dead, his son Rehoboam went to Shechem to be anointed King. Jeroboam returned from Egypt on Solomon's death, and now he, and all the congregation of Israel came to Rehoboam, saying, “Thy father made our yoke grievous, now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee."
Rehoboam bade them depart for three days, and then return for his answer. Meanwhile he took counsel with his father's old servants, and they all advised him to yield to the men of Israel, and be friendly to them, so as to win their fidelity. But in an evil moment, Rehoboam also consulted with the young hot-headed men who were his own friends and companions, and they gave him very different advice. Impatient of any opposition, they advised him to rebuke the men of Israel by telling them that he would rather add to his father's yoke than lessen it.
Rehoboam took this bad advice, and thus the word of the LORD was fulfilled, and as He had said, all Israel, save the one tribe of Judah, left Rehoboam. “What portion have we in David ?” they asked, “to your tents, O Israel ; now see to thine own house, David !" And when the king sent his servant Adoram, the collector of tribute-money, to them, they stoned him to death. Then Rehoboam was afraid, and fled to Jerusalem. There he called together as strong an army as he could muster, to go and fight with the rebels, but the LORD stopped him, forbidding any war, “because this thing is from Me.” ; Rehoboam obeyed the word of the LORD, and returned to Jerusalem, and busied himself in strengthening the kingdom of Judah, which was left to him. For five years all was well with him, but then he and his people forsook the law of the Lord and worshipped false gods, and in consequence the LORD permitted Shishak, king of Egypt, to come up against Jerusalem. Shishak took away the treasures both of the temple and of the king's palace, and greatly humbled Jerusalem and her king. Then King Rehoboam humbled himself, and returned to the service of God, and the LORD turned His wrath away from him, and strengthened him . for the rest of his reign, which altogether lasted seventeen years.
JEROBOAM, KING OF ISRAEL. As soon as King Rehoboam had sent away the men of Israel with his rude answer, they made Jeroboam their king, and he dwelt at Shechem in Mount Ephraim. Jeroboam was afraid that if his subjects went constantly up to Jerusalem to worship in the temple, and offer sacrifice, they would forsake him and return to Rehoboam's service. He would not trust to the LORD, who had promised that he should be king of Israel. So, telling the people that it was too much for them to have to go up to Jerusalem, he made two calves of gold, and set them before the people, saying, "Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of Egypt."
One of these idols was placed at Bethel, and
the other in Dan, and Jeroboam went on to make an imitation of the house of the Lord, and as of course none of the Levites, God's appointed priests and ministers, could or would serve these idols, he cast them all off, and pretended to ordain priests of the lowest of the people. So that in fact the people of Israel were deprived of all true worship and all real priests.
But the Lord did not leave this gross rebellion against His Majesty unpunished. One day as Jeroboam stood by the altar he had raised at Bethel, and burnt incense upon it, there came a prophet from Judah, sent by the LORD, with a message of wrath. He cried out, saying, “O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD, Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee."
When Jeroboam heard this sentence against himself, and his deeds, he was very angry, and put forth his hand in his fury, bidding those who stood around seize the prophet. But God caused Jeroboam's hand, which had presumed to pollute His worship, to wither and dry up like a dead thing, so that he could not move it back again. Then the prophet gave a sign from the LORD, saying, “Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.”
And even so it came to pass. Then Jeroboam was afraid, and said to the man of GOD, "Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again.”
When the man of God prayed to God, He was mercifully pleased to restore Jeroboam's hand; and the king, partly perhaps from gratitude, and partly wishing to make favour with the Lord's messenger, asked him to go home with him, and refresh himself, and offered to give him a reward. But the man of God answered, “If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place; for so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, “Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way thou camest.” - Then Jeroboam let the man of God depart, taking a different road from that by which he had come to Bethel. But we learn from this man's history a solemn lesson against selfconfidence, and fancying that because up to a