1 Kings 12:28
Parallel Verses
New International Version
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."

New Living Translation
So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, "It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!"

English Standard Version
So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

New American Standard Bible
So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt."

King James Bible
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So the king sought advice. Then he made two golden calves, and he said to the people, "Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here is your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt."

International Standard Version
So the king sought some advice and then built two golden calves and announced, "It's too difficult for you to travel to Jerusalem. So here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!"

NET Bible
After the king had consulted with his advisers, he made two golden calves. Then he said to the people, "It is too much trouble for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look, Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said, "You've been worshiping in Jerusalem long enough. Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And having taken counsel, the king made two calves of gold and said unto the people, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

King James 2000 Bible
Therefore the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

American King James Version
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

American Standard Version
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And finding out a device he made two golden calves, and said to them: Go ye up no more to Jerusalem: Behold thy gods, O Israel, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

Darby Bible Translation
And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. And he said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt!

English Revised Version
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Webster's Bible Translation
Upon which the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

World English Bible
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look and see your gods, Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"

Young's Literal Translation
And the king taketh counsel, and maketh two calves of gold, and saith unto them, 'Enough to you of going up to Jerusalem; lo, thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:25-33 Jeroboam distrusted the providence of God; he would contrive ways and means, and sinful ones too, for his own safety. A practical disbelief of God's all-sufficiency is at the bottom of all our departures from him. Though it is probable he meant his worship for Jehovah the God of Israel, it was contrary to the Divine law, and dishonourable to the Divine majesty to be thus represented. The people might be less shocked at worshipping the God of Israel under an image, than if they had at once been asked to worship Baal; but it made way for that idolatry. Blessed Lord, give us grace to reverence thy temple, thine ordinances, thine house of prayer, thy sabbaths, and never more, like Jeroboam, to set up in our hearts any idol of abomination. Be thou to us every thing precious; do thou reign and rule in our hearts, the hope of glory.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 28. - Whereupon the king took counsel ["With his counsellors, or the heads of the nation who had helped him to the throne" (Keil). Bahr understands, "he reflected about it alone" (et excogitato consilio, Vulgate), alleging that so important a circumstance as the concurrence of the heads of the people in changing the system of worship would not have been passed over in silence. But while the text does not perhaps imply any formal deliberation with the elders, it is reasonable to suppose that Jeroboam, who owed his position to popular election, and who was far too sagacious not to follow the example of Rehoboam (vers. 6, 9), would summon others to advise him as to this critical and momentous step. Wordsworth refers to Isaiah 30:1, and says that "Jeroboam is the image and pattern of Machiavellian politicians." "Next to Ahithophel, I do not find that Israel yielded a craftier head than Jeroboam's" (Hall)], and made two calves [It is generally held that these were in imitation of, or were suggested by, the "golden calf" of Aaron (Exodus 32:2), and the close resemblance of Jeroboam's words (below), in inaugurating this new cultus, to Aaron's have been thought to prove it. But surely it has been overlooked that Jeroboam could hardly be so shortsighted and unwise as deliberately to reintroduce a worship which had provoked the "fierce wrath" (ver. 12) of God, and had nearly resulted in the extermination of the Jewish race. For of course neither Jeroboam nor his people could have forgotten the stern condemnation which Aaron's calf worship had received. The molten image ground to powder, the ashes mixed in the drink of the people, the slaughter of three thousand worshippers, etc., would assuredly have lived in the memories of the nation. A more impolitic step, consequently - one more certain to precipitate his ruin, by driving the whole nation into the arms of Judah - Jeroboam could not have taken, than to attempt any revival or imitation of the forbidden cultus of the desert. And it is as little likely that the worship of the calves was derived from the worship of Apis, as practised at Memphis, or of "Mnevis, the sacred calf of Heliopolis" (Stanley), though with both of these Jeroboam had recently been in contact. It would have been but a sorry recommendation in the eyes of Israel that the first act of the new king should be to introduce the hateful idolatry of Egypt into the land; and every consideration tends to show that the calf worship was not, and was not intended to be, idolatry, such as the worship of Egypt undoubtedly was. It is always carefully distinguished from idol worship by the historians and prophets. And the idea which Jeroboam wished to give his subjects was clearly this that, so far from introducing new gods or new sanctuaries, he was merely accommodating the old worship to the new state of things. He evidently felt that what he and his house had most to fear was, not the armies of Rehoboam but the ritual and religious associations of Jerusalem. His object, if he were wise, must therefore be to provide a substitute, a counterfeit worship. "I will give you," he virtually says, "at Bethel and Dan, old sanctuaries of our race long before Jerusalem usurped their place, those visible emblems of the heavenly powers such as are now found only in the temple. You too shall possess those mysterious forms which symbolize the Invisible, but you shall have them nearer home and easier of access." There can be little doubt, consequently, that the "calves" were imitations of the colossal cherubim of Solomon's temple, in which the ox or calf was probably the forma praecipua (1 Kings 6:23).] of gold [Hardly of solid gold. Possibly cf. wood covered with gold plates, i.e., similar to the cherubim (1 Kings 6:23-28); probably of molten brass (see 1 Kings 14:9, and cf. Psalm 106:19), overlaid with gold; such images, in fact, as are described in Isaiah 40:19], and said unto them, It is too much for you [This translation, pace Keil, cannot be maintained. Nor can it be said that "the exact meaning of the original is doubtful" (Rawlinson), for a study of the passages where this phrase, רַב־לָכֶם occurs (see, e.g., Deuteronomy 1:6; Deuteronomy 2:3; Deuteronomy 3:26; and cf. Genesis 45:28; Exodus 9:28; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Kings 19:4) will convince the reader that it must be rendered here, "It is enough" - i.e., "you have gone long enough to a city which only owes its present position to the ambition of the tribe of Judah, and which is a standing testimony to your own inferiority; henceforth, desist." We have an exact parallel in Ezekiel 44:6; where the Authorized Version renders, "Let it suffice you." The LXX. supports this view by rendering ἱκανόυσθω ὑμῖν throughout. Vulgate, nolite ultra ascendere, etc.] to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods [rather "god," for Jeroboam had no idea of introducing polytheism. It is true he made two calves because of his two sanctuaries, but each was designed to represent the same object - the one God of Israel. The word is translated, gods" in Exodus 32:1, 4, 8, 23, 31; but as the reference is in every case to the one calf, it should be translated "god" there also. In Nehemiah's citation of the words (Nehemiah 9:18), the word is unmistakably singular. "This is thy god," etc. The words are not "exactly the same as the people used when setting up the golden calf" (Bahr). Jeroboam says, "Behold," etc.], O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [It is at first sight somewhat difficult to resist the view, which is generally entertained, that Jeroboam, of set purpose, cited the ipsissima verba of the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 32:4). But a little reflection will show that it is much more difficult to believe that a monarch, circumstanced as Jeroboam was, could at the very outset of his career have acted in the teeth of history, and have committed the gross blunder, not to say wanton outrage, of deliberately connecting his new cult with the calf worship of the desert. He can hardly have dared, that is, to say, "This is no new religion, for this very form of worship our fathers used formerly in the desert, under the guidance of Aaron himself" (Seb. Schmidt, followed by Keil, al.) unless both he and his people alike - which is inconceivable - were ignorant of their nation's history recorded in Exodus 32:19-35. It has been argued by some that this action of Jeroboam and the ready compliance of the ten tribes, prove that the Pentateuch cannot then have been written. But, as Hengstenberg (cited by Wordsworth) rejoins, the same argument would lead to the conclusion that the Bible could not have been written in the dark ages, or, we might add, even at the present day. He can hardly have claimed, that is to say, to be reintroducing the calf worship, which God had so emphatically reprobated, unless he designed an open defiance of the Most High, and wished to shock all the religious instincts and convictions of his people. It is much more natural, consequently, to suppose, considering the very frequent recurrence, though sometimes in slightly different shapes, of the formula "the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 20:2; Exodus 29:45, 46; Leviticus 19:36; Leviticus 23:43; Leviticus 25:38; Leviticus 26:13, 45; Numbers 15:41; Numbers 16:13; Numbers 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:6, 15; Deuteronomy 6:12; Deuteronomy 8:14; Deuteronomy 9:26; Joshua 24:6, 17; Judges 6:8; 1 Samuel 8:8; 1 Samuel 10:18; 1 Kings 8:21, etc.) that the correspondence is accidental, the more so as Jeroboam does not quote the exact words, and that he has used a phrase which was constantly in their ears, insisting thereby that his calves were emblems of the God of their race, the God whose great glory it was that He had taken their nation out of the midst of another nation, etc. (Deuteronomy 4:34), and delivered them from a thraldom with which, perhaps, the tyranny of Rehoboam is indirectly compared. Or it there was any reference to the golden calf, it must have been depreciatory, as if to say," That was rank idolatry, and as such it was punished. That calf was an image of Apis. My calves are cherubic symbols, symbols such as He has Himself appointed, of the Great Deliverer of our race. Behold thy God, which really brought thee up," etc.]

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Whereupon the king took counsel,.... Of some of his principal men, that had as little religion as himself, and were only concerned for the civil state; and the result of their consultation was as follows:

and made two calves of gold; in imitation of that which was made by Aaron, and encouraged by his example and success; and having been in Egypt some time, he might have learned the calf or ox worship there, and might take his pattern from thence, and have two as they had; the one they called Apis, which was worshipped at Memphis, and another called Mnevis, worshipped at Hierapolis, as many learned men have observed; these were she calves, according to the Septuagint and Josephus (q):

and said unto them; not his counsellors, but the people of the land:

it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; pretending he sought their ease, by contriving a method to prevent their long fatiguing journeys, to go up with their sacrifices, firstfruits, &c. and the Jews (r) say the firstfruits ceased from going up to Jerusalem on the twenty third of Sivan, which answers to part of May and part of June, on which day they kept a fast on that account:

behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt; using the same words Aaron did on a like occasion; not that he thought these were really gods, and had divinity in them; nor could he hope or expect that the people would believe they had; but that these were representations of the true God, who had brought them out of Egypt; and that it might as well be supposed that God would cause his Shechinah to dwell in them as between the cherubim over the ark.

(q) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 8.) sect. 4. (r) Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. c. 580. sect. 2.



1 Kings 12:28 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jeroboam's Idolatry
27"If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah." 28So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." 29He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.…
Cross References
Exodus 32:4
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."

Exodus 32:8
They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, 'These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.'

Exodus 32:25
Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.

1 Kings 14:9
You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.

1 Kings 15:26
He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit.

1 Kings 16:19
because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.

2 Kings 10:29
However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit--the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

2 Kings 17:16
They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal.

2 Chronicles 11:14
The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD

2 Chronicles 13:8
"And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hands of David's descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.

2 Chronicles 15:3
For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.

2 Chronicles 17:4
but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel.

2 Chronicles 21:6
He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Ezekiel 23:8
She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.

Daniel 3:1
King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

Hosea 8:4
They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.

Hosea 10:5
The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. Its people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile.

Hosea 10:8
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed-- it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall on us!"

Amos 5:5
do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing."

Amos 8:14
Those who swear by the sin of Samaria-- who say, 'As surely as your god lives, Dan,' or, 'As surely as the god of Beersheba lives'-- they will fall, never to rise again."
Treasury of Scripture

Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

took counsel

1 Kings 12:8,9 But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, …

Exodus 1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it …

Isaiah 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, said the LORD, that take counsel, …

two calves of gold He invented a political religion, and instituted feasts in his own times, different from those appointed by Jehovah; gave the people certain objects of adoration, and pretended to think that it would be both inconvenient and oppressive to them to go up to Jerusalem to worship. These calves were doubtless of the same kind as the calf which was set up by Aaron; and it is remarkable, that in pointing them out to the people he should use the same words that Aaron used on that occasion, when they must have heard what terrible judgments fell upon their forefathers for this idolatry. Solomon's idolatry, however, had prepared the people for Jeroboam's abominations.

Exodus 20:4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any …

Deuteronomy 4:14-18 And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments…

2 Kings 10:29 However, from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel …

2 Kings 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made …

2 Chronicles 11:15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, …

Hosea 8:4-7 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and …

Hosea 10:5,6 The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: …

It is too much

Isaiah 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not …

2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants …

behold

Exodus 32:4,8 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a engraving …

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