GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Rehoboam went to Shechem because all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2Jeroboam (Nebat's son) was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. When he heard [about Rehoboam], he returned from Egypt. 3[Israel] sent for Jeroboam and invited him back. Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said, 4"Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you." 5He said to them, "Leave and come back the day after tomorrow." So the people left.
6King Rehoboam sought advice from the older leaders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive. He asked, "What do you advise? How should I respond to these people?" 7They told him, "If you will serve these people today, humble yourself, and speak gently, then they will always be your servants." 8But he ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. He sought advice from the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we respond to these people who are asking me to lighten the burden my father put on them?" 10The young men who had grown up with him answered, "This is what you should tell them: 'My little finger is heavier than my father's whole body. 11If my father put a heavy burden on you, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.'"
12So Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam two days later, as the king had instructed them. 13The king answered the people harshly. He ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. 14He spoke to them as the young men advised. He said, "If my father made your burden heavy, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions." 15The king refused to listen to the people because the LORD was directing these events to carry out the promise he had made to Jeroboam (Nebat's son) through Ahijah from Shiloh.
16When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, "What share do we have in David's kingdom? We won't receive an inheritance from Jesse's son. To your own tents, Israel! Now look after your own house, David!" So Israel went home to their own tents.
17But Rehoboam ruled the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram to Israel. He was in charge of forced labor, but they stoned him to death. So King Rehoboam got on his chariot as fast as he could and fled to Jerusalem. 19Israel has rebelled against David's dynasty to this day.
20When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent men to invite him to the assembly. They made him king of all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's dynasty.
21When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he gathered all the people of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 of the best soldiers, to fight against the people of Israel and return the kingdom to Rehoboam, son of Solomon. 22But God spoke his word to Shemaiah, the man of God. He said, 23"Speak to Judah's King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, and all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and the rest of the people. 24This is what the LORD says: Don't wage war against your relatives from Israel. Everyone, go home. What has happened is my doing." So they obeyed the word of the LORD. They returned [home], as the LORD told them.
25Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem in the hills of Ephraim and lived there. Then he left that place and built Penuel. 26He said to himself, "The kingdom will probably return to David's dynasty now. 27King Rehoboam of Judah, the former master of these people, will regain popularity if they go to sacrifice in the LORD's temple in Jerusalem. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah." 28After 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." 29He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30Worshiping them became [Israel's] sin. The people went as far as Dan to worship the one calf. 31Jeroboam built worship sites on hilltops. He appointed men who were not descended from Levi to be priests. 32Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, just like the festival in Judah. He went to the altar in Bethel to sacrifice to the calves he had made. He appointed priests from the illegal worship sites [to serve] in Bethel. 33He went to his altar in Bethel to burn an offering on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, [the festival] he had invented for the Israelites.