Jeroboam

Jeroboam (Jair´uh-boh´uhm; meaning uncertain; possibly Heb., “may the people multiply” or “he who contends for the people”)

I, the first king of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), who reigned ca. 922–901 BCE. Jeroboam began his rise to power when Solomon appointed him to oversee the forced labor in Ephraim and Manasseh (1Kgs 11:26-28). He rebelled against Solomon and was promised kingship over the northern tribes by the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh, who interpreted the revolt of the north as a judgment on the house of David because of the sins of Solomon (1Kgs 11:29-39). In order to discourage his Ephraimite subjects from traveling to Jerusalem for worship, he set up gold bull images (“calves”) at Bethel and Dan. These religious reforms earned him the condemnation of the writers of the books of Kings, for whom he became the paradigm of the evil king (see, e.g., 1Kgs 15:26).

1Kgs 11:26-28

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1Kgs 11:29-39

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1Kgs 15:26

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