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The Character Of Jeroboam

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CHAPTER 12 Aug. 17 
The People Complain to Rehoboam
Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2It 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; 3and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying, 4Your 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. 5He said to them, Depart for three days, then come back to me. The people departed. 6King 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? 7They 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. 8But 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. 9He 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?’. 10The 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. 11Now 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’. 12So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king asked, saying, Come to me again the third day. 13The king answered the people roughly, and forsook the advice of the old men which they had given him, 14and 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. 15So 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. 
The Division of the Kingdom
16When 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. 17But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18Then 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. 19So Israel rebelled against the house of David to this day. 20It 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. 21When 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. 22But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God saying, 23Speak 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, 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. 25Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived in it; and he went out from there, and built Penuel. 26Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27If 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. 28Whereupon 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! 29He set the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30This thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. 31He made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people, who were not of the sons of Levi. 32Jeroboam 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. 33He 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.


12:7 We see here the paradox of servant leadership- 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). This is what makes Him Lord of all- because He was servant of all.
12:15 There are times when God has influenced men not to respond to the evidently wise words of other men, in order to fulfil His purpose (see too 2 Chron. 25:20).
12:21 The Lord Jesus framed His parable about Satan's kingdom rising up and being divided against itself (Mk. 3:23-26) in the very language of the Kingdom of Israel being "divided" against itself by Jeroboam's 'rising up' (see  too 13:6)- as if Israel's Kingdom was Satan's kingdom. Dividing against our brethren makes us Satan’s Kingdom rather than God’s.
12:24 So they listened to the word of Yahweh- It requires quite some humility to change our plans when we have already set up a plan of action which involves mobilizing others. 
12:26 ‘Said in his heart’ is a common Biblical phrase (e.g. Gen. 17:17; 1 Sam. 27:1;Esther 6:6). The focus of the Bible is upon our spiritual mindedness, rather than upon any cosmic conflict between God and a supposed Satan figure. The arena for spiritual conflict is ultimately within the human heart.