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  The Great Bible Story #64
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Rehoboam acts foolishly

Jacob Ninan
After Solomon's death his son Rehoboam took over as king over all Israel. When Jeroboam heard this he came to talk to Rehoboam along with all the people. He said that Solomon had been very hard with the people and so he suggested that Rehoboam should make things easier for them. Rehoboam said he would think about it and asked them to come after three days.

When he consulted with the older leaders of Israel they suggested the strategy that Rehoboam should show some lenience towards the people after which they would fall in line with whatever he said. He went on to consult young men of his age to see what they would suggest. These friends were of the opinion that he should act tough with them and get them under control, saying that if they thought Solomon was tough he would be tougher still! Sadly, Rehoboam liked the opinion of the youngsters than the wisdom and experience of the older men.

When Jeroboam and the people came to meet him after three days Rehoboam just mouthed what the young people had told him. He told them they would find him tougher than his father Solomon!

This was enough to trigger the people in the wrong way. They formed groups along tribal lines, and ten tribes in the north of the land separated from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. These two separate kingdoms came to be known as Israel and Judah or the northern and southern kingdoms. Israel made Jeroboam their king with Samaria as their capital, and Rehoboam ruled over Judah in Jerusalem. Some people of Benjamin were with Israel and the others with Judah. The people pf Levi came over to Jerusalem and supported Judah.

Now Jeroboam wondered if people would go back to Jerusalem because the temple was there. So he made two golden calves, put one in Bethel and one in Dan along with altars so that the people could go there instead to worship! He also made priests from those from tribes other than Levi.

One day Jeroboam was offering something on the altar in Bethel when a prophet came from God and told him that one day a king called Josiah would be born as a descendant of David who would desecrate this altar by burning human bones on it. He also said the altar would be split in two. The altar immediately split into two. Jeroboam was angry and asked somebody to catch the prophet, pointing him out with his hand. His hand became stiff and he could not draw it back! He had to beg the prophet to pray to God to heal his hand.


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