1. Rehoboam then went to Shechem, all Israel having come to Shechem to proclaim him king.
2. (As soon as Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news -- he was still in Egypt, where he had taken refuge from King Solomon -- he returned from Egypt.
3. They now sent for him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came.) And they spoke as follows to Rehoboam,
4. 'Your father laid a cruel yoke on us; if you will lighten your father's cruel slavery, that heavy yoke which he imposed on us, we are willing to serve you.'
5. He said to them, 'Go away for three days and then come back to me.' And the people went away.
6. King Rehoboam then consulted the elders who had been in attendance on his father Solomon while he was alive, and said, 'How do you advise me to answer this people?'
7. They replied, 'If you become the servant of this people today, and submit to them and give them a fair reply, then they will remain your servants for ever.'
8. But he rejected the advice given him by the elders and consulted the young men in attendance on him, who had grown up with him.
9. He said, 'How do you advise us to answer these people who have been saying, "Lighten the yoke which your father imposed on us!"? '
10. The young men who had grown up with him replied, 'This is the way to answer these people who have been saying, "Your father made our yoke heavy, you must lighten it for us!" This is the right thing to say to them, "My little finger is thicker than my father's loins.
11. Although my father laid a heavy yoke on you, I shall make it heavier still. My father controlled you with the whip, but I shall apply a spiked lash!" '
12. On the third day Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam in obedience to the king's instruction: 'Come back to me in three days' time.'
13. And the king gave the people a harsh answer, rejecting the advice given him by the elders
14. and speaking to them as the young men had recommended, 'My father made your yoke heavy, I shall make it heavier still! My father controlled you with the whip, but I shall apply a spiked lash!'
15. Thus the king refused to listen to the people, and this was brought about by Yahweh to fulfil the promise which he had made through Ahijah of Shiloh to Jeroboam son of Nebat.
16. When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king thus: What share have we in David? -No heritage in the son of Jesse! Away to your tents, Israel! Now look after your own House, David! So Israel went home again.
17. Rehoboam, however, reigned over those Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.
18. When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of forced labour, all Israel stoned him to death, while King Rehoboam managed to mount his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.
19. And Israel has remained in rebellion against the House of David from that day to this.
20. When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king of all Israel; no one remained loyal to the House of David, except the tribe of Judah.
21. When Rehoboam reached Jerusalem he mustered the whole House of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors, to fight the House of Israel and win back the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
22. But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, man of God,
23. 'Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, to the whole House of Judah, to Benjamin and to the rest of the people,
24. "Yahweh says this: Do not go and make war on your brothers, the Israelites; let everyone go home, for this is my doing." ' They obeyed the command of Yahweh and turned back in accordance with his word.
25. Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the mountain country of Ephraim and made that his residence. Then, leaving there, he fortified Penuel.
26. Jeroboam thought to himself, 'As things are, the kingdom will revert to the House of David.
27. If this people continues to go up to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, the people's heart will turn back again to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will put me to death.'
28. So the king thought this over and then made two golden calves; he said to the people, 'You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt!'
29. He set one up at Bethel,
30. and the people went in procession in front of the other one all the way to Dan. In Israel this gave rise to sin, for the people went to Bethel to worship the one, and all the way to Dan to worship the other.
31. He set up shrines on the high places and appointed priests from ordinary families, who were not of levitical descent.
32. Jeroboam also instituted a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth of the month, like the feast kept in Judah, when he offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did at Bethel, offering sacrifices to the calves which he had made and, at Bethel, installing the priests of the high places which he had set up.
33. On the fifteenth of the eighth month, the month which he had chosen deliberately, he offered sacrifices on the altar which he had made at Bethel; he instituted a feast for the Israelites and himself went up to the altar to burn the sacrifice.