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patient 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.


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 certain point we have withstood temptation, and been steady in well-doing, we may slacken our care and watchfulness.

The man of God journeyed on his way from Bethel, satisfied perhaps, that now all his temptation to neglect his Master's bidding was over, and instead of pushing on as fast as he could, he sat down to rest beneath an oak tree. Meanwhile an old prophet who dwelt at Bethel heard what had happened, and as it would seem, from a good motive, hastened after the traveller. Most probably he was one of “the remnant left in Israel,” who mourned over the king's idolatry, and was rejoiced at the thought of seeing a true minister sent by God. Anyhow this old prophet made haste to mount his ass, and follow the man of God, whom he found sitting under the oak. Then the old prophet invited the stranger to return and eat bread at his house. But he received the same answer as Jeroboam did. In his anxiety to gain his point the old prophet now presumed to tell a lie. <I am a prophet as thou art," he said, "and an Angel spake unto me by the Word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water."

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