I Kings 12
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  And Rechovam went to Sh’chem; for all Yisrael were come to Sh’chem to make him king.

א  וַיֵּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם שְׁכֶם כִּי שְׁכֶם בָּא כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַמְלִיךְ אֹתוֹ.

2  And it came to pass, when Yerovam the son of Nebat heard of it—for he was yet in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of king Shlomo, and Yerovam dwelt in Egypt,

ב  וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ יָרָבְעָם בֶּן נְבָט וְהוּא עוֹדֶנּוּ בְמִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר בָּרַח מִפְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה וַיֵּשֶׁב יָרָבְעָם בְּמִצְרָיִם.

3  and they sent and called him—that Yerovam and all the congregation of Yisrael came, and spoke unto Rechovam, saying:

ג  וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיִּקְרְאוּ לוֹ ויבאו (וַיָּבֹא) יָרָבְעָם וְכָל קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל רְחַבְעָם לֵאמֹר.

4  ‘Thy father made our yoke grievous; now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.’

ד  אָבִיךָ הִקְשָׁה אֶת עֻלֵּנוּ וְאַתָּה עַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעֲבֹדַת אָבִיךָ הַקָּשָׁה וּמֵעֻלּוֹ הַכָּבֵד אֲשֶׁר נָתַן עָלֵינוּ וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ.

5  And he said unto them: ‘Depart yet for three days, then come again to me.’ And the people departed.

ה  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם לְכוּ עֹד שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים וְשׁוּבוּ אֵלָי וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם.

6  And king Rechovam took counsel with the old men, that had stood before Shlomo his father while he yet lived, saying: ‘What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?’

ו  וַיִּוָּעַץ הַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם אֶת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עֹמְדִים אֶת פְּנֵי שְׁלֹמֹה אָבִיו בִּהְיֹתוֹ חַי לֵאמֹר אֵיךְ אַתֶּם נוֹעָצִים לְהָשִׁיב אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה דָּבָר.

7  And they spoke unto him, saying: ‘If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.’

ז  וידבר (וַיְדַבְּרוּ) אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר אִם הַיּוֹם תִּהְיֶה עֶבֶד לָעָם הַזֶּה וַעֲבַדְתָּם וַעֲנִיתָם וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים וְהָיוּ לְךָ עֲבָדִים כָּל הַיָּמִים.

8  But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men that were grown up with him, that stood before him.

ח  וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ וַיִּוָּעַץ אֶת הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו.

9  And he said unto them: ‘What counsel give ye, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying: Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter?’

ט  וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם מָה אַתֶּם נוֹעָצִים וְנָשִׁיב דָּבָר אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ אֵלַי לֵאמֹר הָקֵל מִן הָעֹל אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אָבִיךָ עָלֵינוּ.

10  And the young men that were grown up with him spoke unto him, saying: ‘Thus shalt thou say unto this people that spoke unto thee, saying: Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou speak unto them: My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins.

י  וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ לֵאמֹר כֹּה תֹאמַר לָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר אָבִיךָ הִכְבִּיד אֶת עֻלֵּנוּ וְאַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעָלֵינוּ כֹּה תְּדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם קָטָנִּי עָבָה מִמָּתְנֵי אָבִי.

11  And now whereas my father did burden you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.’

יא  וְעַתָּה אָבִי הֶעְמִיס עֲלֵיכֶם עֹל כָּבֵד וַאֲנִי אוֹסִיף עַל עֻלְּכֶם אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי אֲיַסֵּר אֶתְכֶם בָּעַקְרַבִּים.

12  So Yerovam and all the people came to Rechovam the third day, as the king bade, saying: ‘Come to me again the third day.’

יב  וַיָּבוֹ יָרָבְעָם וְכָל הָעָם אֶל רְחַבְעָם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר שׁוּבוּ אֵלַי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי.

13  And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him;

יג  וַיַּעַן הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת הָעָם קָשָׁה וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ.

14  and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying: ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.’

יד  וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם כַּעֲצַת הַיְלָדִים לֵאמֹר אָבִי הִכְבִּיד אֶת עֻלְּכֶם וַאֲנִי אֹסִיף עַל עֻלְּכֶם אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי אֲיַסֵּר אֶתְכֶם בָּעַקְרַבִּים.

15  So the king hearkened not unto the people; for it was a thing brought about of Hashem, that He might establish His word, which Hashem spoke by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Yerovam the son of Nebat.

טו  וְלֹא שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל הָעָם כִּי הָיְתָה סִבָּה מֵעִם יְהוָה לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת דְּבָרוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה בְּיַד אֲחִיָּה הַשִּׁילֹנִי אֶל יָרָבְעָם בֶּן נְבָט.

16  And when all Yisrael saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying: ‘What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Yisrael; now see to thine own house, David.’ So Yisrael departed unto their tents.

טז  וַיַּרְא כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לֹא שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲלֵהֶם וַיָּשִׁבוּ הָעָם אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּבָר לֵאמֹר מַה לָּנוּ חֵלֶק בְּדָוִד וְלֹא נַחֲלָה בְּבֶן יִשַׁי לְאֹהָלֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַתָּה רְאֵה בֵיתְךָ דָּוִד וַיֵּלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְאֹהָלָיו.

17  But as for Bnei Yisrael that dwelt in the cities of Yehuda, Rechovam reigned over them.

יז  וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וַיִּמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם רְחַבְעָם.

18  Then king Rechovam sent Adoram, who was over the levy; and all Yisrael stoned him with stones, so that he died. And king Rechovam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Yerushalayim.

יח  וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם אֶת אֲדֹרָם אֲשֶׁר עַל הַמַּס וַיִּרְגְּמוּ כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל בּוֹ אֶבֶן וַיָּמֹת וְהַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם הִתְאַמֵּץ לַעֲלוֹת בַּמֶּרְכָּבָה לָנוּס יְרוּשָׁלִָם.

19  So Yisrael rebelled against the house of David, unto this day.

יט  וַיִּפְשְׁעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּבֵית דָּוִד עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה.

20  And it came to pass, when all Yisrael heard that Yerovam was returned, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Yisrael; there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Yehuda only.

כ  וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי שָׁב יָרָבְעָם וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל הָעֵדָה וַיַּמְלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ עַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא הָיָה אַחֲרֵי בֵית דָּוִד זוּלָתִי שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה לְבַדּוֹ.

21  And when Rechovam was come to Yerushalayim, be assembled all the house of Yehuda, and the tribe of Binyamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men that were warriors, to fight against the house of Yisrael, to bring the kingdom back to Rechovam the son of Shlomo.

כא  ויבאו (וַיָּבֹא) רְחַבְעָם יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּקְהֵל אֶת כָּל בֵּית יְהוּדָה וְאֶת שֵׁבֶט בִּנְיָמִן מֵאָה וּשְׁמֹנִים אֶלֶף בָּחוּר עֹשֵׂה מִלְחָמָה לְהִלָּחֵם עִם בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהָשִׁיב אֶת הַמְּלוּכָה לִרְחַבְעָם בֶּן שְׁלֹמֹה.

22  But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying:

כב  וַיְהִי דְּבַר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל שְׁמַעְיָה אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים לֵאמֹר.

23  ‘Speak unto Rechovam the son of Shlomo, king of Yehuda, and unto all the house of Yehuda and Binyamin, and to the rest of the people, saying:

כג  אֱמֹר אֶל רְחַבְעָם בֶּן שְׁלֹמֹה מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה וְאֶל כָּל בֵּית יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִין וְיֶתֶר הָעָם לֵאמֹר.

24  Thus saith Hashem: Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren Bnei Yisrael; return every man to his house; for this thing is of Me.’ So they hearkened unto the word of Hashem, and returned and went their way, according to the word of Hashem.

כד  כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה לֹא תַעֲלוּ וְלֹא תִלָּחֲמוּן עִם אֲחֵיכֶם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שׁוּבוּ אִישׁ לְבֵיתוֹ כִּי מֵאִתִּי נִהְיָה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת דְּבַר יְהוָה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ לָלֶכֶת כִּדְבַר יְהוָה.

25  Then Yerovam built Sh’chem in the hill-country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel.

כה  וַיִּבֶן יָרָבְעָם אֶת שְׁכֶם בְּהַר אֶפְרַיִם וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהּ וַיֵּצֵא מִשָּׁם וַיִּבֶן אֶת פְּנוּאֵל.

26  And Yerovam said in his heart: ‘Now will the kingdom return to the house of David.

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר יָרָבְעָם בְּלִבּוֹ עַתָּה תָּשׁוּב הַמַּמְלָכָה לְבֵית דָּוִד.

27  If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Hashem at Yerushalayim, then will the heart of this people turn back unto their lord, even unto Rechovam king of Yehuda; and they will kill me, and return to Rechovam king of Yehuda.’

כז  אִם יַעֲלֶה הָעָם הַזֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹת זְבָחִים בְּבֵית יְהוָה בִּירוּשָׁלִַם וְשָׁב לֵב הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל אֲדֹנֵיהֶם אֶל רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה וַהֲרָגֻנִי וְשָׁבוּ אֶל רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה.

28  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them: ‘Ye have gone up long enough to Yerushalayim; behold thy gods, O Yisrael, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’

va-yi-va-ATZ ha-ME-lekh va-YA-as sh’-NAY eg-LAY za-HAV va-YO-mer a-lay-HEM rav la-KHEM may-a-LOT y’-ru-sha-LA-yim hi-NAY e-lo-HE-kha yis-ra-AYL a-SHER he-e-LU-kha may-E-retz mizt-RA-yim

כח  וַיִּוָּעַץ הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁנֵי עֶגְלֵי זָהָב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רַב לָכֶם מֵעֲלוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלוּךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.

12:28   Ye have gone up long enough to Yerushalayim

The division of the People of Israel into two kingdoms – Israel in the North and Judea in the South – is a tragedy. Jeroboam, the king of Israel, wants to prevent the people under his control from making pilgrimages to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in Judea. Jeroboam is afraid that his people will kill him if they decide that the Judean King, Rehoboam son of King Solomon, is the true king. Therefore, Jeroboam tells his subjects not to travel to Jerusalem. He erects idols of golden calves and establishes his own festivals within the Northern Kingdom. This leads to idolatry and hastens the end of his kingdom. It is easy to see that severing the connection of Jews to Jerusalem is both spiritually and physically dangerous. It results in both distance from God and lack of unity, which ultimately results in destruction and exile.

Comment

29  And he set the one in Beit El, and the other put he in Dan.

כט  וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת הָאֶחָד בְּבֵית אֵל וְאֶת הָאֶחָד נָתַן בְּדָן.

30  And this thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

ל  וַיְהִי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְחַטָּאת וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם לִפְנֵי הָאֶחָד עַד דָּן.

31  And he made houses of high places, and made kohanim from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi.

לא  וַיַּעַשׂ אֶת בֵּית בָּמוֹת וַיַּעַשׂ כֹּהֲנִים מִקְצוֹת הָעָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָיוּ מִבְּנֵי לֵוִי.

32  And Yerovam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Yehuda, and he went up unto the Mizbayach; so did he in Beit El, to sacrifice unto the calves that he had made; and he placed in Beit El the kohanim of the high places that he had made.

לב  וַיַּעַשׂ יָרָבְעָם חָג בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי בַחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ כֶּחָג אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה וַיַּעַל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ כֵּן עָשָׂה בְּבֵית אֵל לְזַבֵּחַ לָעֲגָלִים אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְהֶעֱמִיד בְּבֵית אֵל אֶת כֹּהֲנֵי הַבָּמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה.

33  And he went up unto the Mizbayach which he had made in Beit El on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and he ordained a feast for Bnei Yisrael, and went up unto the Mizbayach, to offer.

לג  וַיַּעַל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה בְּבֵית אֵל בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר בָּדָא מלבד (מִלִּבּוֹ) וַיַּעַשׂ חָג לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעַל עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לְהַקְטִיר.

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I Kings 11
I Kings 13

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I Kings 12