Good News Translation (GNB)
11

Solomon Turns Away from God

111

11.1:
Deut 17.17
Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides the daughter of the king of Egypt he married Hittite women and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon. 2
11.2:
Ex 34.16
Deut 7.3–4
He married them even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with these people, because they would cause the Israelites to give their loyalty to other gods. 3Solomon married 700 princesses and also had 300 concubines. They made him turn away from God 4and by the time he was old they had led him into the worship of foreign gods. He was not faithful to the LORD his God, as his father David had been. 5He worshipped Astarte the goddess of Sidon, and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon. 6He sinned against the LORD and was not true to him as his father David had been. 7On the mountain east of Jerusalem he built a place to worship Chemosh, the disgusting god of Moab, and a place to worship Molech, the disgusting god of Ammon. 8He also built places of worship where all his foreign wives could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.

9-10Even though the LORD, the God of Israel, had appeared to Solomon twice and had commanded him not to worship foreign gods, Solomon did not obey the LORD, but turned away from him. So the LORD was angry with Solomon 11and said to him, “Because you have deliberately broken your covenant with me and disobeyed my commands, I promise that I will take the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your officials. 12However, for the sake of your father David I will not do this in your lifetime, but during the reign of your son. 13And I will not take the whole kingdom away from him; instead, I will leave him one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have made my own.”

Solomon's Enemies

14So the LORD caused Hadad, of the royal family of Edom, to turn against Solomon. 15-16Long before this, when David had conquered Edom, Joab the commander of his army had gone there to bury the dead. He and his men remained in Edom six months, and during that time they killed every male in Edom 17except Hadad and some of his father's Edomite servants, who escaped to Egypt. (At that time Hadad was just a child.) 18They left Midian and went to Paran, where some other men joined them. Then they travelled to Egypt and went to the king, who gave Hadad some land and a house and provided him with food. 19Hadad won the friendship of the king, and the king gave his sister-in-law, the sister of Queen Tahpenes, to Hadad in marriage. 20She bore him a son, Genubath, who was brought up by the queen in the palace, where he lived with the king's sons.

21When the news reached Hadad in Egypt that David had died and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to the king, “Let me go back to my own country.”

22“Why?” the king asked. “Have I failed to give you something? Is that why you want to go back home?”

“Just let me go,” Hadad answered the king. And he went back to his country.11.22 One ancient translation And he went back to his country; Hebrew does not have these words.

As king of Edom, Hadad was an evil, bitter enemy of Israel.11.22 One ancient translation As kingIsrael; in Hebrew this sentence, with some differences, comes at the end of verse 25.

23God also caused Rezon son of Eliada to turn against Solomon. Rezon had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah, 24and had become the leader of a gang of outlaws. (This happened after David had defeated Hadadezer and had slaughtered his Syrian allies.) Rezon and his men went and lived in Damascus, where his men made him king of Syria. 25He was an enemy of Israel during the lifetime of Solomon.

God's Promise to Jeroboam

26Another man who turned against King Solomon was one of his officials, Jeroboam son of Nebat, from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27This is the story of the revolt.

Solomon was filling in the land on the east side of Jerusalem and repairing the city walls. 28Jeroboam was an able young man, and when Solomon noticed how hard he worked, he put him in charge of all the forced labour in the territory of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. 29One day, as Jeroboam was travelling from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah, from Shiloh, met him alone on the road in the open country. 30Ahijah took off the new robe he was wearing, tore it into twelve pieces, 31and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, because the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, ‘I am going to take the kingdom away from Solomon, and I will give you ten tribes. 32Solomon will keep one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be my own from the whole land of Israel. 33I am going to do this because Solomon has rejected me and has11.33 Some ancient translations Solomon has… and has; Hebrew they have… and have. worshipped foreign gods: Astarte, the goddess of Sidon; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Molech, the god of Ammon. Solomon has11.33 Some ancient translations Solomon has; Hebrew They have. disobeyed me; he has done wrong, and has not kept my laws and commands as his father David did. 34But I will not take the whole kingdom away from Solomon, and I will keep him in power as long as he lives. This I will do for the sake of my servant David, whom I chose and who obeyed my laws and commands. 35I will take the kingdom away from Solomon's son and will give you ten tribes, 36but I will let Solomon's son keep one tribe, so that I will always have a descendant of my servant David ruling in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as the place where I am worshipped. 37Jeroboam, I will make you king of Israel, and you will rule over all the territory that you want. 38If you obey me completely, live by my laws, and win my approval by doing what I command, as my servant David did, I will always be with you. I will make you king of Israel and will make sure that your descendants rule after you, just as I have done for David. 39Because of Solomon's sin I will punish the descendants of David, but not for all time.’ ”

40And so Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he escaped to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon's death.

The Death of Solomon

(2 Chr 9.29–31)

41Everything else that Solomon did, his career and his wisdom, are all recorded in The History of Solomon. 42He was king in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 43He died and was buried in David's City, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

12

The Northern Tribes Revolt

(2 Chr 10.1–19)

121Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned from12.2 Some ancient translations (and see 2 Chr 10.2) returned from; Hebrew remained in. Egypt. 3The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and then they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, 4“Your father Solomon treated us harshly and placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”

5“Come back in three days and I will give you my answer,” he replied. So they left.

6King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.

7They replied, “If you want to serve this people well, give a favourable answer to their request, and they will always serve you loyally.”

8But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. 9“What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”

10They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist!’ 11Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!’ ”

12Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!” 15It was the will of the LORD to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.

16

12.16:
2 Sam 20.1
When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”

So the people of Israel rebelled, 17leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.

18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labour, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got into his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.

20When the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned from Egypt, they invited him to a meeting of the people and made him king of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's descendants.

Shemaiah's Prophecy

(2 Chr 11.1–4)

21When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. 22But God told the prophet Shemaiah 23to give this message to Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 24“Do not attack your own brothers, the people of Israel. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They all obeyed the LORD's command and went back home.

Jeroboam Turns Away from the LORD

25King Jeroboam of Israel fortified the town of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there for a while. Then he left and fortified the town of Penuel. 26-27He said to himself, “As things are now, if my people go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to the LORD in the Temple there, they will transfer their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah and will kill me.”

28

12.28:
Ex 32.4
After thinking it over, he made two bull calves of gold and said to his people, “You have been going long enough to Jerusalem to worship. People of Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt!” 29He placed one of the gold bull calves in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30And so the people sinned, going to worship in Bethel and in Dan.12.30 One ancient translation in Bethel and in Dan; Hebrew in Dan. 31Jeroboam also built places of worship on hilltops, and he chose priests from families who were not of the tribe of Levi.

Worship at Bethel is Condemned

32

12.32–33:
Lev 23.33–34
Jeroboam also instituted a religious festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the gold bull calves he had made, and he placed there in Bethel the priests serving at the places of worship he had built. 33And on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the day that he himself had set, he went to Bethel and offered a sacrifice on the altar in celebration of the festival he had instituted for the people of Israel.

13

131At the LORD's command a prophet from Judah went to Bethel and arrived there as Jeroboam stood at the altar to offer the sacrifice. 2

13.2:
2 Kgs 23.15–16
Following the LORD's command, the prophet denounced the altar: “O altar, altar, this is what the LORD says: A child, whose name will be Josiah, will be born to the family of David. He will slaughter on you the priests serving at the pagan altars who offer sacrifices on you, and he will burn human bones on you.” 3And the prophet went on to say, “This altar will fall apart, and the ashes on it will be scattered. Then you will know that the LORD has spoken through me.”

4When King Jeroboam heard this, he pointed at him and ordered, “Seize that man!” At once the king's arm became paralysed so that he couldn't pull it back. 5The altar suddenly fell apart and the ashes spilt to the ground, as the prophet had predicted in the name of the LORD. 6King Jeroboam said to the prophet, “Please pray for me to the LORD your God, and ask him to heal my arm!”

The prophet prayed to the LORD, and the king's arm was healed. 7Then the king said to the prophet, “Come home with me and have something to eat. I will reward you for what you have done.”

8The prophet answered, “Even if you gave me half your wealth, I would not go with you or eat or drink anything with you. 9The LORD has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.” 10So he did not go back the same way he had come, but by another road.

The Old Prophet of Bethel

11At that time there was an old prophet living in Bethel. His sons13.11 Some ancient translations sons; Hebrew son. came and told him what the prophet from Judah had done in Bethel that day and what he had said to King Jeroboam. 12“Which way did he go when he left?” the old prophet asked them. They showed him13.12 Some ancient translations showed him; Hebrew saw. the road 13and he told them to saddle his donkey for him. They did so, and he rode off 14down the road after the prophet from Judah and found him sitting under an oak. “Are you the prophet from Judah?” he asked.

“I am,” the man answered.

15“Come home and have a meal with me,” he said.

16But the prophet from Judah answered, “I can't go home with you or accept your hospitality. And I won't eat or drink anything with you here, 17because the LORD has commanded me not to eat or drink a thing, and not to return home the same way I came.”

18Then the old prophet from Bethel said to him, “I, too, am a prophet just like you, and at the LORD's command an angel told me to take you home with me and offer you my hospitality.” But the old prophet was lying.

19So the prophet from Judah went home with the old prophet and had a meal with him. 20As they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the old prophet, 21and he cried out to the prophet from Judah, “The LORD says that you disobeyed him and did not do what he commanded. 22Instead, you returned and ate a meal in a place he had ordered you not to eat in. Because of this you will be killed, and your body will not be buried in your family grave.”

23After they had finished eating, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet from Judah, 24who rode off. On the way, a lion met him and killed him. His body lay on the road, and the donkey and the lion stood beside it. 25Some men passed by and saw the body on the road, with the lion standing near by. They went on into Bethel and reported what they had seen.

26When the old prophet heard about it, he said, “That is the prophet who disobeyed the LORD's command! And so the LORD sent the lion to attack and kill him, just as the LORD said he would.” 27Then he said to his sons, “Saddle my donkey for me.” They did so, 28and he rode off and found the prophet's body lying on the road, with the donkey and the lion still standing by it. The lion had not eaten the body or attacked the donkey. 29The old prophet picked up the body, put it on the donkey, and brought it back to Bethel to mourn over it and bury it. 30He buried it in his own family grave, and he and his sons mourned over it, saying, “Oh my brother, my brother!” 31After the burial, the prophet said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in this grave and lay my body next to his. 32The words that he spoke at the LORD's command against the altar in Bethel and against all the places of worship in the towns of Samaria will surely come true.”

Jeroboam's Fatal Sin

33King Jeroboam of Israel still did not turn from his evil ways, but continued to choose priests from ordinary families to serve at the altars he had built. He ordained as priest anyone who wanted to be one. 34This sin on his part brought about the ruin and total destruction of his dynasty.