King Jeroboam’s role in the history of ancient Israel is very important because his rule took place as a result of King Solomon’s disobedience. Jeroboam made some significant changes to the worship and lifestyle of Israel during his reign. His actions set off a chain of events that had made God angry with the people of Israel for many years. According to Ussher’s chronology of the Old Testament Timeline his reign started circa 990 BC. He is the first king of Divided Israel.
Jeroboam’s Early Days
Jeroboam was born to Nabat and he grew up to become a respected and well liked member of his community. His name means “the people contend” or “he pleads the people cause” and his name perfectly defined the course of his life. By the time he was old enough to work he was recognized by King Solomon as a young man with great leadership and organizational skills.
He was also popular well respected by the people of Israel. He was also a natural born leader. King Solomon noticed the positive way that people responded to Jeroboam and he noticed how blessed he was in the work that he performed. After Solomon realized that Jeroboam was a good manager he promoted him to the position Chief Laborer.
God uses Jeroboam against King Solomon
There was a prophet in Israel during the time of King Solomon and Jeroboam and his name was Ahijah. One day Jeroboam was on his way to Jerusalem and Ahijah met up with him during his journey. The prophet and King were alone. He informed Jeroboam that he was sent from God to let him know that he would become the next king of Israel. God would prosper his royal line as long as he kept the Lord’s commandments and walked in his ways. He went on to explain that he would take the kingdom from Solomon because he was responsible for leading his people to worship false gods. Ahijah also told Jeroboam that these events wouldn’t take place until King Solomon passed away.
Eventually, King Solomon found out about God’s appointment of Jeroboam and he decided to have him killed. Jeroboam had no choice but to flee to Egypt to save his life. He remained in Egypt up until the time Solomon died.
Jeroboam Returns from Egypt
Jeroboam came back to Israel after King Solomon had passed away. He found out that his son Rehoboam was going to become the next ruler. He led some of the people of Israel to Rehoboam’s palace and asked him to be a kinder ruler than King Solomon. Rehoboam denied their request after he consulted with a group of advisors who were his age. Then ten of the twelve tribes of Israel rebelled against him. The Bible says they did this because God initiated Rehoboam’s negative response (see 1 Kings 12: 15 – 16)
Jeroboam starts the Gold Calf Cult
Jeroboam eventually becomes King of Israel and King Rehoboam was prepared to fight against him. God intervened and told both armies not to fight because they were brothers. King Jeroboam then decided to start another religion in Israel. He did this to stop his people from going up to Solomon’s Temple to offer sacrifices to the Lord. He believed that if the people performed sacrifices to God they would turn their allegiance back to God and reunite with Rehoboam. To retain his power he created the worship of the Golden Calf Cult.
Jeroboam consistently fought against Judah as long as he lived. He had continued the practice of the Golden Calf Cult up until the time of his demise. The Golden Calf Cult is the one thing that started the people of Israel and Judah to worship false gods and demons. The worship of the false gods in Israel and Judah lasted for a very long time and it was almost impossible to get the people to completely stop worshipping in this manner.
- 1 Kings 11: 26 Jeroboam is born to Nabat.
1 Kings 11: 27, 28 Jeroboam recognized as a leader by the people and promoted by King Solomon.
1 Kings 11: 29 – 39 The prophet Abijah tell Jeroboam that he will be the king of Israel.
1 Kings 11: 40 Jeroboam escapes to Egypt to save his life from King Solomon.
1 Kings 12: 15 – 16 Jeroboam returns back to Israel after King Solomon dies.
1 Kings 12: 1-14 Rehoboam denies the people request for mercy and the people revolt.
1 Kings12:20 Jeroboam is made king of rebellious tribes of Israel.
1 Kings 12: 25 – 33 Jeroboam starts the Golden Calf Cult as a means to control his people.