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Deeper Commentary

1Ki 12:1 Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king-
The LXX addition on :24 adds: "And Jeroboam went to Shechem in mount Ephraim, and assembled there the tribes of Israel; and Roboam the son of Solomon went up thither". This would explain why this gathering to instate Rehoboam as king was held in Shechem and not in Jerusalem. And yet although Jeroboam was present with supporters, it appears that "all Israel" favoured the idea of Rehoboam as king. The old men truly advised him that if he would only ease the taxation, all Israel would remain loyal to him (:7). It could even be that the ten tribes had invited Rehoboam from Jerusalem to their great meeting place in Shechem specifically because they wanted him to be king. But this had to change, according to God's judgment upon Solomon- the ten tribes had to be removed from the control of his dynasty.  

1Ki 12:2 It happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam therefore lived in Egypt-
It seems this verse and :3 should follow 1 Kings 11:43 as in LXX and some Hebrew manuscripts.

1Ki 12:3 and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying-
We note that Jeroboam didn't immediately begin by demanding the throne, but rather led the people in asking Rehoboam to reduce his father's excessive taxation system. But his return from Egypt, and his awareness of the prophecy about him ruling over Israel, surely meant he had in view the possibility of Rehoboam rejecting the request.

In a distorted way, Jeroboam was almost a type of Christ; for as made clear at the end of 1 Kings 11, he could have been the Messianic ruler over Israel had he chosen Yahweh's way. I'd suggest that many wicked Old Testament characters could have been types of Christ if they had lived righteously, and the record indirectly indicates this. Jeroboam fled to Egypt because of the persecution of Solomon, as did the Lord. When Solomon died, "they sent and called him", connecting with the record of the Lord Jesus going to Egypt and coming back after Herod's death. Jeroboam came back on the third day (:12) and offered freedom from bondage to Israel, as did Christ on his resurrection. In 1 Kings 13:10 we read of the prophet who came to prophesy about Jeroboam; we are told that he didn't return the way he came, but went back another way. That's an echo of the wise men, who came to see Jesus, and returned another way.  

1Ki 12:4 Your father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make the grievous service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you-
Ephraim had been specifically targetted as a provider of labour and tax revenues (1 Kings 11:28). The influence of Egypt upon Solomon is reflected by the way in which he is described as making the people serve him with "hard bondage" (2 Chron. 10:4; 1 Kings 12:4). This is the very Hebrew phrase used to describe what the Egyptians did to Israel (Ex. 1:14; 6:9; Dt. 26:6). Solomon put his people under a yoke (2 Chron. 10:4), just as Egypt did to them (Lev. 26:13). And so we see the progression. Solomon loved an Egyptian woman, came to serve her gods, traded with Egypt... and the attitude of Egypt to God's people became Solomon's attitude to them. There is something unique about God's people; and yet the closer we come to the world, the more we come to see our own community, God's special family, just as this world sees us. The world's attitude to us can so easily become our attitude to our brethren- no longer seeing them as the specially chosen little children of God, sensitive to them as our very own brothers and sisters.

The very possession of wisdom and teaching of it to others can of itself make a man or woman demotivated to personally apply it. He foretold that the people would sign when a wicked man ruled them (Prov. 29:2 RV)- and they did "sigh" because of the heavy burdens he placed upon them (1 Kings 12:4). He imposed the "yoke" of tribute upon the people (2 Chron. 10:4), whereas he himself had warned that a king that imposes tribute on his people "overthrows" a country (Prov. 29:4 RV mg.). He saw it all as true- and yet it was far from him personally.

1Ki 12:5 He said to them, Depart for three days, then come back to me. The people departed-
The three days may have been in order to allow the advisers to be summoned from Jerusalem.

1Ki 12:6 King Rehoboam took advice with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What advice do you give me to return answer to this people?-
If Solomon was 41 at this time and the "young men" were those who had grown up with him, these men would have been really quite "old", old enough to have lived through much of David's reign and to have been influenced by his spirituality. Or the word may be used here to simply refer to the elders, whereas Rehoboam had also surrounded himself with his own peer group as advisers.

In this context, we may consider Solomon's frequent proverbs about the wisdom of having advisors, and his words in Prov. 20:18: "Plans are established by advice". Solomon's advice to his son sounds all well and good; but Rehoboam was given two different paths of advice by his advisors. Again, Solomon's words are true, but simplistic. Because as Rehoboam's case shows, the issue is not so much having advisors per se, but deciding which advisors to listen to. Solomon too had advisors, but did what he wanted, making this Proverb somewhat hollow when applied to himself.

1Ki 12:7 They said, If you will be a servant to this people this day, and will serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever-
See on :1. The general will of Israel was for Rehoboam and not Jeroboam, but the taxation issue was crucial.

The paradox of servant leadership is found here- if Rehoboam had been a servant of his people, then he would have ruled over them. In all ways, the Lord is our pattern. He was a servant of all, and so should we be. His servanthood dominated His consciousness. He said that He came not [so much as] to be ministered unto, but so as to minister, with the end that He gave His life for others (Mk. 10:45).

1Ki 12:8 But he ignored the advice of the old men which they had given him, and took advice with the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him-
It is true that as we go through life, we ought to realize that harsh responses and demands upon others are not really the way to go. These "young men" were perhaps the boys he had grown up with in Solomon's harem, his half brothers. They, like him, would not have been pure Israelites as their mothers were Gentiles, and they didn't have the long term well being of the nation at heart. Rehoboam was 41 at this stage. Perhaps then we can understand this as meaning that he had appointed young men as his advisers, who had been raised near him (the Hebrew eth translated "with" is a very wide word). They were young, but the Hebrew doesn't have to mean he had grown up with them. Rather they were young men who had been raised as he had been, in the same harem, which would hardly have been much of a place of wisdom.      

1Ki 12:9 He said to them, What advice do you give, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me saying, ‘Make the yoke that your father put on us lighter?’-
He had written in his Proverbs that the ruler who lacks wisdom will oppress his people (Prov. 28:16); and although his wisdom remained with him right to the end, in terms of knowledge (Ecc. 2:9; 12:10), yet at the end of his reign Solomon was the ruler who did oppress his people (1 Kings 12:11). And he had gone on in Prov. 28:16 to warn against covetousness in a ruler, even though he went ahead with practicing every conceivable form of it in Ecc. 2. “Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh” (Ecc. 11:10) Solomon taught- and yet Solomon in Ecclesiastes is the very picture of such a person.  Like  the experienced pilot who takes off with frozen wings and then crashes, so Solomon’s very wisdom somehow disinclined him to living it out in practice. This is the perversity of our nature- the higher we may rise, the deeper we are inclined to fall.

1Ki 12:10 The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him saying, Thus you shall tell this people who spoke to you saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter to us;’ you shall say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist-
The Lord appears to allude to this when He invites all those burdened and heavy laden to come to Him because His yoke is easy and the burden light (Mt. 11:28). It could be argued that He is thereby acknowledging that Jeroboam, who offered the easier burden, could have been as Him, a fulfilment of the promise of the Messianic king (1 Kings 11:38). He saw in those people abused by Solomon the religiously abused people who were suffering under the burdens placed upon them by their religious leaders; and He saw those Jews as represented by Solomon, whom He continually reads in a bad light. 

1Ki 12:11 Now whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions’-
The contrast is not between whips and scorpions, but the idea is rather than he would use a far heavier whip known as a scorpion. The Romans had a whip called a "scorpio", used for punishment.

We have an insight into why Solomon was like this in Prov. 10:13 LXX: "He that brings forth wisdom from his lips smites the fool with a rod". Solomon has himself in view, but now instead of attributing wisdom to Divine inspiration, he starts to consider that it emanated from himself. When he died, the people complained that he had whipped [Heb. 'beaten'] them unreasonably. It was Solomon's false view of his wisdom which led him to do this. He assumed that he must be right, he was infallible, because of his possession of Divine truths. He justified indulging his natural human tendency to be overly harsh on others because he claimed he was the source of all wisdom. And again we see a parallel in fundamentalist Christian groups; where the more dogmatic are the claimants to possession of absolute truth about everything, the more they tend to abuse others and show no mercy to any who fail to attain to their supposed wisdom. Prov. 26:3 is also relevant, in the LXX "As a whip for a horse, and a goad for an ass, so is a rod for a simple nation". It was this attitude which led Solomon to beat his own people. Like many who hold God's truth, the mere holding of it lifted Solomon up in pride, and he came to despise all others who didn't accept his wisdom.

Despite having such knowledge and wisdom with which to rule Israel (for this was the primary purpose of the gift of wisdom to him), Solomon oppressed his people. With evident reference to himself, he commented: “Because the king’s word has power, who may say unto him, What doest thou?” (Ecc. 8:4 RV). It is only God who cannot be questioned in this way. But Solomon felt that because he possessed God’s wisdom, he could therefore act as God: “I counsel you, Keep the King’s command, and that in regard of the oath of God” (Ecc. 8:2) could suggest that he thought that his commandments were in fact God’s. So the possession of Truth, which we too have, can lead to an incredible arrogance, a lack of openness to others’ comments upon us, and a certainty that we are right in all that we do and are beyond criticism. The hardness of a man is changed by true wisdom (Ecc. 8:1 RV), but knowing this, Solomon became hard hearted. He had the wisdom- but as he said, it was far from him personally.  

“Surely oppression maketh a wise man foolish” (Ecc. 7:7 RV), he commented at the end of his life- even though right then he was chastising the people with whips, oppressing them (1 Kings 12:11). He knew the true wisdom, he saw his reflection so accurately in the mirror, but resigned from its personal implications. He could even write that “I returned and considered all the oppression that are done under the sun [by himself!]: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power [Solomon was king and had set up the tax system in a clever and biased way]; but they had no comforter” (Ecc. 4:1; 5:8). It was a real case of spiritual schizophrenia- he sorrowed for the people he oppressed.

1Ki 12:12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king asked, saying, Come to me again the third day-
We the readers are drawn into a sense of expectation; we ourselves know what Rehoboam is going to say, but we are placed in the position of the suffering people, who didn't yet know what Rehoboam was going to answer.

1Ki 12:13 The king answered the people roughly, and forsook the advice of the old men which they had given him-
"Roughly" is the word used of how the Egyptians treated the Israelites in whipping them and giving them heavy burdens to carry (Ex. 1:14). This was how he was behaving. It is the word the people have just used when they complained that Solomon had treated them 'grievously' (:4); and Rehoboam confirms that he is going to do the same. Solomon had frequently warned against forsaking the advice of elders (s.w. Prov. 2:17; 4:2 and especially the warning of Prov. 27:10 not to forsake the advice of your father's friend). But Rehoboam had probably not even read or heard all these Proverbs, as Solomon himself had ignored his own Proverbs and lived quite opposite to them. And so did his son.   

1Ki 12:14 and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions-
Solomon has so much to say about 'chastisement' / "correction" / "instruction" coming from the possession of wisdom (Prov. 8:10,33; 10:17; 12:1; 13:1,24; 15:5,10,32; 16:22; 19:20,27; 22:15; 23:12,13). But in the end he chastised or corrected his people by whipping them (s.w. 1 Kings 12:11,14). Solomon initially asked for wisdom in order to guide his people, but he ended up whipping / physically chastising them into conformity with his wishes rather than allowing wisdom to correct. Again, he was playing God; for it is God through His wisdom who chastises, and not man. But Solomon thought he was effectively God to his people. This is why Solomon argues that servants cannot be corrected by words (Prov. 29:19 s.w.), and a child must be physically chastised (s.w. Prov. 19:18; 29:17 cp. Prov. 13:24; 23:13), regardless of his screams of pain. This kind of thing is a denial of his claims elsewhere that it is Divine wisdom which chastises / corrects, and such correction is from God and not man. Solomon's final description of himself as an old and foolish king who refuses to be admonished says it all (Ecc. 4:13); he admonishes others (s.w. Ecc. 12:12), but refuses to be admonished or corrected by his own wisdom. He failed to personalize it.  

1Ki 12:15 So the king didn’t listen to the people; for it was a thing brought about of Yahweh, that He might establish His word which Yahweh spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat-
There are times when God has influenced men not to respond to the evidently wise words of other men, in order to fulfill His purpose (e.g. 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron. 25:20). There are a number of other passages which mention how "it was of the Lord" that certain attitudes were adopted by men, resulting in the sequence of events which He desired (Dt. 2:39; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 2:25; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron. 10:15; 22:7; 25:20). It is tempting to read Jud. 14:4 in this context, meaning that God somehow made Samson desire that woman in order to bring about His purpose of freeing Israel from Philistine domination. God through His Spirit works to confirm men in the path they wish to go. And this is the huge significance of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives today.

1Ki 12:16 When all Israel saw that the king didn’t listen to them, the people answered the king saying, What portion have we in David? Neither do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, Israel! Now see to your own house, David. So Israel departed to their tents-
This was the cry of Sheba in 2 Sam. 20:1. But the promises of 2 Sam. 7 were to David and his seed / house. By resigning from any association with that house, they were walking out of the hope of Israel which was in those promises. This has been done so many times by those who [understandably] become disillusioned with the family of believers, but their break with them develops into a break with the things of God's Kingdom.

1Ki 12:17 But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them-
This means that there were people from the ten tribes living in Judah, particularly those who had been transported there by Solomon to live in the various defensive outpost towns he had built in southern Judah. And they remained under Rehoboam. See on :23.

1Ki 12:18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the men subject to forced labour; and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. King Rehoboam made speed to get himself up to his chariot, to escape to Jerusalem-
If the forced labour quotas of Solomon were to now be multiplied, life would literally be impossible for the ten tribes. It is no surprise therefore that Adoram was stoned and Rehoboam had to flee for his life back to Jerusalem- reflecting on the folly of his young advisors.

1Ki 12:19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David to this day-
The same phrase used of Edom in 2 Kings 8:22. The word for "rebelled" is also translated "transgressed". Their division from the house of David was a division away from the promises about the eternal establishment of that house, as noted on :16. In this sense it was therefore sinful. 

1Ki 12:20 It happened, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none who followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only-
They presumably made him king by anointing him. "All Israel" may therefore imply that those present at the meeting with Rehoboam in Shechem had largely been more local people. The mention of "Judah only" is a nod to the fulfilment of the promise that Rehoboam would be left with but one tribe; but :21 goes on to say that Benjamin were also given to him, by grace. For Benjamin was the tribe of Saul who had for many years been bitterly opposed to David and his tribe of Judah. It was the men of Benjamin who had supported previous revolts against Davidic rulership (2 Sam. 19:17; 20:1). Perhaps they were simply influence by the fact that Jerusalem was technically in their tribal allotment (Josh. 18:28). If they were not with Judah, then they would apparently have to accept Shechem or some other northern city as their capital and effectively abandon Jerusalem, which Solomon had built up to be the most impressive city of the whole Middle East at the time.   

1Ki 12:21 When Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon-
Benjamin was a small tribe (1 Sam. 9:21; Ps. 68:27). 18 years later, there were 400,000 warriors in Judah (2 Chron. 13:3), so this was a very significant proportion of warriors. 

1Ki 12:22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God saying-
This may be now a quotation from the history written by Shemaiah about Rehoboam (2 Chron. 12:15).

1Ki 12:23 Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people saying-
"The rest of the people" presumably refers to those of the ten tribes who lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam (:17). The records dovetail so perfectly, as we would expect of a history written ultimately under Divine inspiration.

1Ki 12:24 ‘Thus says Yahweh, You shall not go up, nor fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Everyone return to his house; for this thing is of Me’. So they listened to the word of Yahweh, and returned and went their way, according to the word of Yahweh-
This was significant humility, involving a recognition that what had happened was "of God", in judgment for Solomon's sins. To fight against our brothers can never be justified. 1 Kings 14:30 "There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually" would indicate disobedience to this command to Rehoboam not to fight the ten tribes.

At this point, LXX adds to the record: "Roboam his son reigned in his stead in Jerusalem, being sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twelve years... And there was a man of mount Ephraim, a servant to Solomon, and his name was Jeroboam: and the name of his mother was Sarira, a harlot: and Solomon made him head of the levies of the house of Joseph: and he built for Solomon Sarira in mount Ephraim; and he had three hundred chariots of horses: he built the citadel with the levies of the house of Ephraim; he fortified the city of David, and aspired to the kingdom... ".

1Ki 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived in it; and he went out from there, and built Penuel-
Shechem was ideally centrally situated within his territory. Penuel was on the east side of Jordan, and would consolidate his power there, as well as controlling the fords of Jordan.

1Ki 12:26 Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom will return to the house of David-

As noted on :1, the ten tribes had initially welcomed Rehoboam as their king. Their only issue was with the taxation system. ‘Said in his heart’ is a common Biblical phrase (e.g. Gen. 17:17; 1 Sam. 27:1; 1 Kings 12:26; Esther 6:6). There is a huge importance attached to self talk and spiritual mindedness. Further, there are many instances where we read that a person ‘said’ something; but it’s apparent that they said it to themselves, in their heart. Take Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:20: “But Gehazi said, Behold, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought; but, as the Lord lives, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him”. For sure, Gehazi said this to nobody but himself. Or Moses – he’s recorded as saying “People have found out what I have done!” – surely he said this within himself (Ex. 2:14 GNB).

1Ki 12:27 If this people goes up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and return to Rehoboam king of Judah-
This reasoning was maybe true enough on a secular level, but it reflects a lack of faith in the promise made to Jeroboam in 1 Kings 11:38. Jeroboam simply didn't have the faith to believe in this wonderful grace; that he, son of a whore (:24 LXX) could be empowered by God to be the Divinely chosen king of Israel and the fulfilment of the promises to David. Perhaps Jeroboam was forced into this way of thinking by the approach of a feast, probably tabernacles (:32), when his people would usually go up to Jerusalem to worship.

1Ki 12:28 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!-
It's been suggested that theses calves were false cherubim. There is certainly a connection between the calf and the cherubim. In Ez. 1:10 we read that the living creatures had "the face of an ox on the left side". In Ez. 10:14 we learn that this face was that of a cherub. Jeroboam placed the calves at each end of the land of Israel, as if it was the ark (the ark had the cherubim at each end of it). By doing so, Jeroboam excluded Jerusalem, the temple, from God's presence. He excluded others from the presence of God. The calves were therefore a mixture of true religious symbolism with gross apostasy. In Hosea 8:2,3 we read a prophecy against Jeroboam: "Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good... of their silver and their gold have they made them idols... thy calf, O Samaria hath cast thee off... (it) shall be broken in pieces", as they were later by Josiah. So Israel thought that they knew God at this time, they felt in fellowship with Him, when actually the anger of God was deeply against them. Jeroboam was the one on whom the sin of Israel's later idolatry is blamed. But Jeroboam is not called an idolater. He no doubt had an element of good spiritual motivation in him. 2 Kings 3:2,3 implies that Jeroboam did not actually worship Baal. Jehoram put away the image of Baal, but he cleaved to the sins of Jeroboam. The implication is that Jeroboam was not a Baal worshipper, which is what the majority of the wicked kings were guilty of.

Jeroboam quotes the words of Ex. 32:4 "These be your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt". The connection is conscious and intentional. His argument was presumably that the golden calf was quite legitimate and built by none other than Aaron. What was wrong, so he perhaps reasoned, was that the people had worshipped it as an idol. Whereas Jeroboam was initially arguing that his calves were a legitimate part of Yahweh worship.  

1Ki 12:29 He set the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan-
These were at the far north and south of his territory. Perhaps if indeed his calves were alluding to the cherubim (:28), his idea was that they were as the cherubim overshadowing the land.

1Ki 12:30 This thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan-
This doesn't have to mean that they only went to Dan. Bethel was a well known sanctuary, but Dan was in a remote northern part of the land. So I would paraphrase this as meaning 'The people went to worship before one or the other of them, yes, they even made the journey all the way up to Dan'. Therefore LXX adds "and they neglected the house of the Lord".

1Ki 12:31 He made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people, who were not of the sons of Levi-
The Levites went to Judah (2 Chron. 11:13,14). So Jeroboam allowed the ordinary people to be priests; in Ex. 32 we learn that the ordinary people offered the sacrifices to the golden calf, not the priests. Again, it seems that Jeroboam was trying to consciously mimic the golden calf apostasy, perhaps arguing that Israel were a nation of priests. It is no accident that Josiah stamped his calves to powder, just as Moses did to the golden calf. Now why did Jeroboam so consciously lead Israel into the same apostasy which brought them as it were within a hairs breadth of national rejection in Ex. 32? Jeroboam wasn't ignorant. Perhaps he had gone down a path of contorted exposition which made out that Israel didn't really sin by worshipping the calf. Or perhaps he got so carried away with the idea that he was like Aaron, the priest, that he thought (like some modern Rabbis) that Aaron couldn't have done anything wrong, and therefore he consciously copied Aaron, as he did David, Solomon, Jacob and Samuel. Again, we see Jeroboam having a familiarity with Scripture, but not pausing to really meditate upon his actions or upon the real spirit of the word. We see him failing to analyze why Aaron acted as he did, failing to see that Aaron acted politically, failing to deeply analyze his own motives.  The character of Jeroboam shines through here. Jeroboam named his sons Abijah [Abihu] and Nadab- the very names of Aaron's sons. It seems Jeroboam tried to model himself upon Aaron, and justify the building of the calves by interpreting what Aaron did as a positive, righteous thing (as some Jewish expositors do today). He politely overlooked the fact that Aaron was condemned for making the calf, and that Nadab and Abihu were slain for unacceptable worship (Lev. 10:1,2). We too can justify outright wrong behaviour in the name of superficial allusion to Scripture, willfully failing to see the similarities between our actions and those of men who were condemned for doing in essence the things which we seek to justify.

1Ki 12:32 Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; he did so in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made-
Jeroboam was full of works, of activity in fighting the Lord's battles. He was active in the Truth, as we would say. He ordained a feast "Like the feast which was in Judah". He ordained a new feast on the 15th day of the 8th month, no doubt copying the feast of tabernacles, on the 15th of the 7th month. See on :27. So Jeroboam lacked an attention to detail, despite an appearance of spirituality. 1 Chron. 5:17 says that in Jeroboam's reign, the genealogies we read in the early chapters of Chronicles were written. So in some ways, he gave great attention to detail- when it suited him.

1Ki 12:33 He went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart: and he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and went up to the altar, to burn incense
He went up to the altar, making himself the priest. It seems that he was copying David and Solomon, who did just this. But he lacked David's motivation and spirituality. Another example of his mixture of truth and error is shown by the way he built an altar at Bethel. Now this had many religious associations; Jacob offered there, Samuel held regular gatherings there; and as with trying to be like David and Solomon, it seems that Jeroboam went in for even more self-conscious spiritual exhibitionism and seeking to publicly associate himself with righteous men. In :28 we read that the idea of the calves was a result of taking counsel with others; but the idea of ordaining an alternative feast of tabernacles, picking a random date near enough to the Mosaic one, was purely "devised of his own heart". He has to take much personal responsibility, and so "Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin" is the continual judgment of the records upon him personally.