I Kings 12
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Rechovam went to Shechem, for all Yisrael had come to Shechem to acclaim him as king.

א  וַיֵּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם שְׁכֶם כִּי שְׁכֶם בָּא כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַמְלִיךְ אֹתוֹ׃

2  Yerovam son of Nebat learned of it while he was still in Egypt; for Yerovam had fled from King Shlomo, and had settled in Egypt.

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

3  They sent for him; and Yerovam and all the assembly of Yisrael came and spoke to Rechovam as follows:

ג  וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיִּקְרְאוּ־לוֹ ויבאו [וַיָּבֹא] יָרָבְעָם וְכָל־קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל־רְחַבְעָם לֵאמֹר׃

4  “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke which your father laid on us, and we will serve you.”

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

5  He answered them, “Go away for three days and then come back to me.” So the people went away.

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

6  King Rechovam took counsel with the elders who had served his father Shlomo during his lifetime. He said, “What answer do you advise [me] to give 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  They answered him, “If you will be a servant to those people today and serve them, and if you respond to them with kind words, they will be your servants always.”

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 ignored the advice that the elders gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.

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

9  “What,” he asked, “do you advise that we reply to the people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father placed upon us’?”

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 who had grown up with him answered, “Speak thus to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us.’ Say to 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  My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, and I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.’”

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

12  Yerovam and all the people came to Rechovam on the third day, since the king had told them: “Come back on the third day.”

יב  ויבו [וַיָּבוֹא] יָרָבְעָם וְכָל־הָעָם אֶל־רְחַבְעָם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר שׁוּבוּ אֵלַי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי׃

13  The king answered the people harshly, ignoring the advice that the elders had given him.

יג  וַיַּעַן הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־הָעָם קָשָׁה וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ׃

14  He spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, and said, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog 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  (The king did not listen to the people; for Hashem had brought it about in order to fulfill the promise that Hashem had made through Achiya the Shilonite to Yerovam 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  When all Yisrael saw that the king had not listened to them, the people answered the king: “We have no portion in David, No share in Yishai’s son! To your tents, O Yisrael! Now look to your own House, O David.” So the Israelites returned to their homes.

טז  וַיַּרְא כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לֹא־שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲלֵיהֶם 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 Rechovam continued to reign over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Yehuda.

יז  וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וַיִּמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם רְחַבְעָם׃

18  King Rechovam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but all Yisrael pelted him to death with stones. Thereupon King Rechovam hurriedly mounted his chariot and fled 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  Thus Yisrael revolted against the House of David, as is still the case.

יט  וַיִּפְשְׁעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּבֵית דָּוִד עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

20  When all Yisrael heard that Yerovam had returned, they sent messengers and summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Yisrael. Only the tribe of Yehuda remained loyal to the House of David.

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  On his return to Yerushalayim, Rechovam mustered all the House of Yehuda and the tribe of Binyamin, 180,000 picked warriors, to fight against the House of Yisrael, in order to restore the kingship to Rechovam 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 Hashem came to Shemaya, the man of Hashem:

כב  וַיְהִי דְּבַר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל־שְׁמַעְיָה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים לֵאמֹר׃

23  “Say to King Rechovam son of Shlomo of Yehuda, and to all the House of Yehuda and Binyamin and the rest of the people:

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

24  Thus said Hashem: You shall not set out to make war on your kinsmen the Israelites. Let every man return to his home, for this thing has been brought about by Me.” They heeded the word of Hashem and turned back, in accordance with 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  Yerovam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Efraim and resided there; he moved out from there and fortified Penuel.

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

26  Yerovam said to himself, “Now the kingdom may well return to the House of David.

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר יָרָבְעָם בְּלִבּוֹ עַתָּה תָּשׁוּב הַמַּמְלָכָה לְבֵית דָּוִד׃

27  If these people still go up to offer sacrifices at the House of Hashem in Yerushalayim, the heart of these people will turn back to their master, King Rechovam of Yehuda; they will kill me and go back to King Rechovam 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  So the king took counsel and made two golden calves. He said to the people, “You have been going up to Yerushalayim long enough. This is your god, O Yisrael, who brought you up from 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-im 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   You have been going up to Yerushalayim long enough

The division of the people of Israel into two kingdoms – Yisrael in the north and Yehuda in the south – is a tragedy. Yerovam, the king of Israel, wants to prevent the people under his control from making pilgrimages to the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim, which is located in the rival kingdom of Yehuda. Yerovam is afraid that his people will kill him if they decide that the king of JudahRechovam, son of King Shlomo, is the true king. Therefore, Yerovam tells his subjects not to travel to Yerushalayim. He erects idolatrous golden calves, and establishes his own festivals within the northern kingdom. This leads the people to idolatry and hastens the end of his kingdom. It is easy to see that severing the connection to Yerushalayim is both spiritually and physically dangerous. It results both in distance from Hashem and lack of unity among the people, ultimately leading to destruction and exile.Comment

29  He set up one in Beit El and placed the other in Dan.

כט  וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הָאֶחָד בְּבֵית־אֵל וְאֶת־הָאֶחָד נָתַן בְּדָן׃

30  That proved to be a cause of guilt, for the people went to worship [the calf at Beit El and] the one at Dan.

ל  וַיְהִי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְחַטָּאת וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם לִפְנֵי הָאֶחָד עַד־דָּן׃

31  He also made cult places and appointed Kohanim from the ranks of the people who were not of Levite descent.

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

32  He stationed at Beit El the Kohanim of the shrines that he had appointed to sacrifice to the calves that he had made. And Yerovam established a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month; in imitation of the festival in Yehuda, he established one at Beit El, and he ascended the altar [there].

לב  וַיַּעַשׂ יָרָבְעָם חָג בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי בַּחֲמִשָּׁה־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  On the fifteenth day of the eighth month—the month in which he had contrived of his own mind to establish a festival for the Israelites—Yerovam ascended the mizbayach that he had made in Beit El. As he ascended the altar to present an offering,

 

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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