Good News Translation (GNB)
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.

14

The Death of Jeroboam's Son

141At that time King Jeroboam's son Abijah fell ill. 2Jeroboam said to his wife, “Disguise yourself so that no one will recognize you, and go to Shiloh, where the prophet Ahijah lives, the one who said I would be king of Israel. 3Take him ten loaves of bread, some cakes, and a jar of honey. Ask him what is going to happen to our son, and he will tell you.”

4So she went to Ahijah's home in Shiloh. Old age had made Ahijah blind. 5The LORD had told him that Jeroboam's wife was coming to ask him about her son, who was ill. And the LORD told Ahijah what to say.

When Jeroboam's wife arrived, she pretended to be someone else. 6But when Ahijah heard her coming in the door, he said, “Come in. I know you are Jeroboam's wife. Why are you pretending to be someone else? I have bad news for you. 7Go and tell Jeroboam that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to him: ‘I chose you from among the people and made you the ruler of my people Israel. 8I took the kingdom away from David's descendants and gave it to you. But you have not been like my servant David, who was completely loyal to me, obeyed my commands, and did only what I approve of. 9You have committed far greater sins than those who ruled before you. You have rejected me and have aroused my anger by making idols and metal images to worship. 10

14.10:
1 Kgs 15.29
Because of this I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will kill all your male descendants, young and old alike. I will get rid of your family; they will be swept away like dung. 11Any members of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and any who die in the open country will be eaten by vultures. I, the LORD, have spoken.’ ”

12And Ahijah went on to say to Jeroboam's wife, “Now go back home. As soon as you enter the town your son will die. 13All the people of Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He will be the only member of Jeroboam's family who will be properly buried, because he is the only one with whom the LORD, the God of Israel, is pleased. 14The LORD is going to place a king over Israel who will put an end to Jeroboam's dynasty.14.14 Hebrew has five additional words, the meaning of which is unclear. 15The LORD will punish Israel, and she will shake like a reed shaking in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land which he gave to their ancestors, and he will scatter them beyond the River Euphrates, because they have aroused his anger by making idols of the goddess Asherah. 16The LORD will abandon Israel because Jeroboam sinned and led the people of Israel into sin.”

17Jeroboam's wife went back to Tirzah. Just as she entered her home, the child died. 18The people of Israel mourned for him and buried him, as the LORD had said through his servant, the prophet Ahijah.

The Death of Jeroboam

19Everything else that King Jeroboam did, the wars he fought and how he ruled, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. 20Jeroboam ruled as king for 22 years. He died and was buried, and his son Nadab succeeded him as king.

King Rehoboam of Judah

(2 Chr 11.5—12.15)

21Solomon's son Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the territory of Israel as the place where he was to be worshipped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah from Ammon.

22The people of Judah sinned against the LORD and did more to arouse his anger against them than all their ancestors had done. 23

14.23:
2 Kgs 17.9–10
They built places of worship for false gods, and put up stone pillars and symbols of Asherah to worship on the hills and under shady trees. 24
14.24:
Deut 23.17
Worst of all, there were men and women who served as prostitutes at those pagan places of worship. The people of Judah practised all the shameful things done by the people whom the LORD had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced into the country.

25In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. 26

14.26:
1 Kgs 10.16–17
2 Chr 9.15–16
He took away all the treasures in the Temple and in the palace, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 27To replace them, King Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates. 28Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields, and then returned them to the guardroom.

29Everything else that King Rehoboam did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 30During all this time Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other. 31Rehoboam died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Abijah succeeded him as king.