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English Bible Dictionary

Jeroboam I, King of Israel

 

(whose people are many).

The first king of the divided kingdom of Israel, B.C. 975-954, was the son of an Ephraimite of the name of Nebat. He was raised by Solomon to the rank of superintendent over the taxes and labors exacted from the tribe of Ephraim. (1 Kings 11:28) he made the most of his position, and at last was perceived by Solomon to be aiming at the monarchy. He was leaving Jerusalem, when he was met by Ahijah the prophet, who gave him the assurance that, on condition of obedience to his laws, God would establish for him a kingdom and dynasty equal to that of David. (1 Kings 11:29-40) The attempts of Solomon to cut short Jeroboam's designs occasioned his flight into Egypt. There he remained until Solomon's death. After a year's longer stay in Egypt, during which Jeroboam married Ano, the elder sister of the Egyptian queen Tahpenes, he returned to Shechem, where took place the conference with Rehoboam, and the final revolt which ended in the elevation of Jeroboam to the throne of the northern kingdom. Now occurred the fatal error of his policy. Fearing that the yearly pilgrimages to Jerusalem would undo all the work which he effected, he took the bold step of rending the religious unity of the nation, which was as yet unimpaired, asunder, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. He caused two golden figures of Mnevis, the sacred calf, to be made and set up at the two extremities of his kingdom, one at Dan and the other at Bethel. It was while dedicating the altar at Bethel that a prophet from Judah suddenly appeared, who denounced the altar, and foretold its desecration by Josiah, and violent overthrow. The king, stretching out his hand to arrest the prophet, felt it withered and paralyzed, and only at the prophet's prayer saw it restored, and acknowledged his divine mission. Jeroboam was at constant war with the house of Judah, but the only act distinctly recorded is a battle with Abijah, son of Rehoboam, in which he was defeated. The calamity was severely felt; he never recovered the blow, and soon after died, in the 22d year of his reign, (2 Chronicles 13:20) and was buried in his ancestral sepulchre. (1 Kings 14:20)

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Jeroboam.

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