Study Guide

1 Kings Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Civil War

  • Rehoboam (we'll call him Ray for short) goes to Shechem to be crowned king of all Israel.
  • Jeroboam (we'll call him Jerry), who's still hiding in Egypt, hears that Solomon is dead, which means it's time for him to take over ten of the tribes of Israel.
  • Jerry gathers supporters and appears before Ray. He tells him, "Your father was a pretty oppressive ruler. Do us a favor: don't be like that, and we'll serve you, no problem."
  • Ray says, "Lemme think about it for a few days."
  • He counsels with the old men who counseled his father, and they suggest that he be kind and just toward his people.
  • But Ray doesn't like the sound of that. He asks some of his younger counselors what to do, and they're like, "Tell them that you're a bigger man than your dad was, and you'll oppress them even worse than he did. He afflicted them with whips? You'll use—picture this—scorpions."
  • Ray thinks this sounds pretty cool, so he goes ahead and tells the people about it.
  • Remember God's plan for Ray to lose most of the kingdom? Yeah—this is all part of it.
  • The Israelites don't like the plan one bit, so everyone but the tribe of Judah rebels against Ray.
  • But Ray's thinking, "Well, you still have to pay your taxes," so he sends a servant to collect his treasure, as usual.
  • The people stone him to death. That's when Ray realizes this is serious, and he flees to Jerusalem for protection.
  • The other tribes hear that Jerry's back in town, and they make him their king.
  • Ray isn't gonna stand for this, so he gathers an army of 180,000 warriors to fight against Jerry's tribes.
  • But there is this prophet named Shemaiah, and the Lord told Ray through him not to attack the other tribes because this is the way it's meant to be. Ray's like, "Fine."
  • So now there are 2 kings and 2 kingdoms: Rehoboam over Judah and Jeroboam over Israel.
  • But Jerry has a problem: Ray still controls Jerusalem, which means he controls the temple. So anytime anyone wants to worship, they have to go to Jerusalem.
  • With Ray in control of the people's spiritual lives, he could potentially gain their favor back, and then they'd kill Jerry. Jerry doesn't want this to happen, so he comes up with a plan.
  • He makes two golden calves and puts one in Bethel and the other in Dan, both far from Jerusalem. He then makes some guys priests and builds some temples of his own.
  • He tells the people that these were the gods that brought them out of Egypt, and they totally buy it. He institutes some feasts, makes some sacrifices, and voila: Problem-o solved.