1Kings 12


וַיֵּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם שְׁכֶם כִּי שְׁכֶם בָּא כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהַמְלִיךְ אֹתוֹ׃   12:1

1Kin. 12:1   And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel came to Shechem to make him king.

וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־נְבָט וְהוּא עוֹדֶנּוּ בְמִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר בָּרַח מִפְּנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה וַיֵּשֶׁב יָרָבְעָם   12:2 בְּמִצְרָיִם׃

1Kin. 12:2   And it was, when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard, as he was still in Egypt where he had fled from the presence of Solomon, the king, and Jeroboam had remained in Egypt.

וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיִּקְרְאוּ־לוֹ (וַיָּבֹאוּ) [וַיָּבֹא] יָרָבְעָם וְכָל־קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל־רְחַבְעָם לֵאמֹר׃   12:3

1Kin. 12:3   And they sent and called for him, and Jeroboam came, and all the congregation of Israel, and they spoke to Rehoboam saying,

The word in parentheses, translated as and [Jeroboam] came, is assumed to contain a superfluous vav as its last letter, which makes the verb plural.  The assumed error would make the translation of the word and the surrounding words come out as and Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came....  The translation I offer assumes the word is in error.  The correction in the brackets makes the verb singular.  As an odd aside, although the bible scholars and translators also assume the error and change the word to its singular spelling, yet they use the plural form in the translation.  I see this as very strange.  Yet still more strange, this verse is repeated almost verbatim in 2Chr. 10:3, and it doesn’t contain the error; the verb translated as and ... came, doesn’t have the vav suffix.  But that verse is generally translated exactly as if the verb was plural.  The singular form of the verb is ignored there as well.  Just demonstrates how the scholars (even Jewish scholars) viewed and still view the Hebrew of the bible.

                                                                                                                             [Return to 2Chr. 10:3]

אָבִיךָ הִקְשָׁה אֶת־עֻלֵּנוּ וְאַתָּה עַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעֲבֹדַת אָבִיךָ הַקָּשָׁה וּמֵעֻלּוֹ הַכָּבֵד אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן עָלֵינוּ   12:4 וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ׃

1Kin. 12:4   “Your father made our yoke harsh.  But you now, make lighter than the harsh labor of your father and than his heavy yoke that he put on us, and we will serve you.”

As I see it, this statement makes a mockery of the observation of the queen of Sheba that all was good in Israel, attributing the goodness to Solomon’s wisdom (1Kin. 10:8).  In my opinion, Solomon’s emphasis (obsession?) on amassing treasure and exhibiting pomp, ignoring the hardship he imposed on the people, was responsible for the splitting of his kingdom almost immediately after his death.  Solomon must have oppressed the people throughout his reign, even after the temple and palace (and other projects -- the Egyptian princess’ palace, the Millo, Megiddo, for example) were built.                                                                    [Return to 2Chr. 10:4]

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם לְכוּ עֹד שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים וְשׁוּבוּ אֵלָי וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם׃   12:5

1Kin. 12:5   And he said to them, “Go away until three days, then come back to me.”  And the people left.

וַיִּוָּעַץ הַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם אֶת־הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר־הָיוּ עֹמְדִים אֶת־פְּנֵי שְׁלֹמֹה אָבִיו בִּהְיֹתוֹ חַי לֵאמֹר אֵיךְ   12:6 אַתֶּם נוֹעָצִים לְהָשִׁיב אֶת־הָעָם־הַזֶּה דָּבָר׃

1Kin. 12:6   And king Rehoboam consulted the old men who had been standing in the presence of Solomon, his father, while was he alive saying, “How are you counseling to give this people back an answer?”

וַיְדַבֵּר) [וַיְדַבְּרוּ] אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר אִם־הַיּוֹם תִּהְיֶה־עֶבֶד לָעָם הַזֶּה וַעֲבַדְתָּם וַעֲנִיתָם וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם   12:7 דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים וְהָיוּ לְךָ עֲבָדִים כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃

1Kin. 12:7   And they spoke to him saying, “If you would be a servant to this people today, and serve them and answer them and speak to them good words, then they will be your servants always.”

The first word in this verse is in error, as it is missing a final vav.  The word is singular in spelling and the assumption is that it should be plural.  If singular, the translation would be And he spoke ....  The correction is in the brackets.

וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ וַיִּוָּעַץ אֶת־הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו׃   12:8

1Kin. 12:8   But he ignored the counsel of the elders that they gave him, and he consulted the young men who grew up with him who were standing before him.

The scholars assume that Rehoboam was forty-one years old at this time.  I imagine this assumption is based on the presumption that Rehoboam was Solomon’s oldest son, and he would probably have been born very soon after Solomon became king.  As we learned in the last chapter, Solomon reigned forty years.  The bible gives us no clues.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם מָה אַתֶּם נוֹעָצִים וְנָשִׁיב דָּבָר אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ אֵלַי לֵאמֹר הָקֵל מִן־הָעֹל   12:9 אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן אָבִיךָ עָלֵינוּ׃

1Kin. 12:9   And he said to them, “What are you counseling that we should give back this people an answer who spoke to me saying, ‘Make lighter from the yoke that your father put on us?’”

וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ לֵאמֹר כֹּה־תֹאמַר לָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר אָבִיךָ   12:10 הִכְבִּיד אֶת־עֻלֵּנוּ וְאַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעָלֵינוּ כֹּה תְּדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם קָטָנִּי עָבָה מִמָּתְנֵי אָבִי׃

1Kin. 12:10   And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him saying, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you ease from us;’ thus you should speak to them: “My little finger is thicker than the loins of my father.”

וְעַתָּה אָבִי הֶעְמִיס עֲלֵיכֶם עֹל כָּבֵד וַאֲנִי אוֹסִיף עַל־עֻלְּכֶם אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי אֲיַסֵּר   12:11 אֶתְכֶם בָּעַקְרַבִּים׃

1Kin. 12:11   “So now, my father put a burden on you, a heavy yoke?  Then I will add to your yoke.  My father chastised you with whips?  But I will chastise you with scorpions.”

וַיָּבוֹ) [וַיָּבוֹא] יָרָבְעָם וְכָל־הָעָם אֶל־רְחַבְעָם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר שׁוּבוּ אֵלַי   12:12 בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי׃

1Kin. 12:12   Then Jeroboam came, and all the people, to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had bade saying, “Come back to me on the third day.”

The first word in this verse (before the left parenthesis), translated as Then [Jeroboam} came, is missing an aleph.  The correction is in the brackets. 

וַיַּעַן הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־הָעָם קָשָׁה וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ׃   12:13

1Kin. 12:13   And the king answered the people roughly and ignored the counsel of the elders that they had given him,

וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם כַּעֲצַת הַיְלָדִים לֵאמֹר אָבִי הִכְבִּיד אֶת־עֻלְּכֶם וַאֲנִי אֹסִיף עַל־עֻלְּכֶם אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם   12:14 בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי אֲיַסֵּר אֶתְכֶם בָּעַקְרַבִּים׃

1Kin. 12:14   and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men saying, “My father made heavy your yoke, but I will add onto your yoke.  My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”

וְלֹא־שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־הָעָם כִּי־הָיְתָה סִבָּה מֵעִם יְהוָה לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת־דְּבָרוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָה בְּיַד   12:15 אֲחִיָּה הַשִּׁילֹנִי אֶל־יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־נְבָט׃

1Kin. 12:15   So the king did not listen to the people, for it was ordained from the Lord in order to fulfill His word that the Lord spoke by the hand of Achijah, the Shilonite, to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

וַיַּרְא כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי לֹא־שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲלֵיהֶם וַיָּשִׁבוּ הָעָם אֶת־הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּבָר לֵאמֹר מַה־לָּנוּ חֵלֶק   12:16 בְּדָוִד וְלֹא־נַחֲלָה בְּבֶן־יִשַׁי לְאֹהָלֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַתָּה רְאֵה בֵיתְךָ דָּוִד וַיֵּלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְאֹהָלָיו׃

1Kin. 12:16   When all of Israel realized that the king had not listened to them, then the people gave the king an answer back saying,

                         “What is our portion in David? 

                                And there is no inheritance in the son of Jesse. 

                         To your tents, Israel! 

                                Now behold your house, David!” 

And Israel went to its tents.

The four lines that I show as poetry are not recognized as such by the sages.  However, I see them as a poignant and desperate statement of disappointment in the king’s response to the plea by the people who have been so spurned and threatened now after forty years of hardship.  They express a loss of hope and a call to arms.

וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַיֹּשְׁבִים בְּעָרֵי יְהוּדָה וַיִּמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם רְחַבְעָם׃   12:17

1Kin. 12:17   Then the children of Israel were dwelling in the cities of Judah, and Rehoboam reigned over them.

וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם אֶת־אֲדֹרָם אֲשֶׁר עַל־הַמַּס וַיִּרְגְּמוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בּוֹ אֶבֶן וַיָּמֹת וְהַמֶּלֶךְ   12:18

  רְחַבְעָם הִתְאַמֵּץ לַעֲלוֹת בַּמֶּרְכָּבָה לָנוּס יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃

1Kin. 12:18   And king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the levy, and all Israel threw stones at him and he died.  And king Rehoboam made speed getting up on a chariot to flee to Jerusalem.

                                                                                                                   [Rerturn to 2Chr. 10:18]

וַיִּפְשְׁעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּבֵית דָּוִד עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃   12:19

1Kin. 12:19   And Israel has revolted toward the house of David until this day.

The first word in this verse, translated as and ... revolted, is plural, although its antecedent, Israel, is singular.  The chronicler must have been conveying the idea that each inhabitant of Israel had revolted.   [Return to 2Chr. 10:19]

וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי־שָׁב יָרָבְעָם וַיִּשְׁלְחוּ וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־הָעֵדָה וַיַּמְלִיכוּ אֹתוֹ   12:20 עַל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל   12:1 לֹא הָיָה אַחֲרֵי בֵית־דָּוִד זוּלָתִי שֵׁבֶט־יְהוּדָה לְבַדּוֹ׃

1Kin. 12:20   And it happened that all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned and they went and called him to the congregation and they made him king over all Israel. There was no one following the house of David except for the tribe of Judah by itself.

There appears to be an oversight in this verse.  The tribe of Benjamin was also following the house of David.  See the next verse.

וַיָּבֹאוּ) [וַיָּבֹא] רְחַבְעָם יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּקְהֵל אֶת־כָּל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה וְאֶת־שֵׁבֶט בִּנְיָמִן מֵאָה וּשְׁמֹנִים אֶלֶף   12:21 בָּחוּר עֹשֵׂה מִלְחָמָה לְהִלָּחֵם עִם־בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְהָשִׁיב אֶת־הַמְּלוּכָה לִרְחַבְעָם בֶּן־שְׁלֹמֹה׃

1Kin. 12:21   When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, then he assembled the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand select men practiced at war, to battle with the house of Israel to bring back the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon.

The first word (before the left parenthesis) is in error, containing an extra vav as the final letter, which would make the verb plural.  The correction is in the brackets.  I find it interesting and peculiar that this error strangely resembles the error in v. 12:12.  There an aleph is missing; here a vav is added.  Yet they are both the same word.

וַיְהִי דְּבַר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל־שְׁמַעְיָה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים לֵאמֹר׃   12:22

1Kin. 12:22   But the word of God came to Shemaiah, a man of God, saying,

אֱמֹר אֶל־רְחַבְעָם בֶּן־שְׁלֹמֹה מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה וְאֶל־כָּל־בֵּית יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִין וְיֶתֶר הָעָם לֵאמֹר׃   12:23

1Kin. 12:23   “Speak to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to the whole house of Judah and of Benjamin and the rest of the people saying,

כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה לֹא־תַעֲלוּ וְלֹא־תִלָּחֲמוּן עִם־אֲחֵיכֶם בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל שׁוּבוּ אִישׁ לְבֵיתוֹ כִּי מֵאִתִּי נִהְיָה   12:24 הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת־דְּבַר יְהוָה וַיָּשֻׁבוּ לָלֶכֶת כִּדְבַר יְהוָה׃

1Kin. 12:24   ‘Thus says the Lord:  ‘You shall not go up and you shall not fight with your brothers, the children of Israel.  Return each to his house, for this affair has come from Me.’”  And they heard the word of the Lord and they turned to go back as the Lord had commanded.

וַיִּבֶן יָרָבְעָם אֶת־שְׁכֶם בְּהַר אֶפְרַיִם וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהּ וַיֵּצֵא מִשָּׁם וַיִּבֶן אֶת־פְּנוּאֵל׃   12:25

1Kin. 12:25   Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and he dwelled in it.  And he went out from there and built Penuel.

וַיֹּאמֶר יָרָבְעָם בְּלִבּוֹ עַתָּה תָּשׁוּב הַמַּמְלָכָה לְבֵית דָּוִד׃   12:26

1Kin. 12:26   And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom might return to the house of David.”

אִם־יַעֲלֶה הָעָם הַזֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹת זְבָחִים בְּבֵית־יְהוָה בִּירוּשָׁלִַם וְשָׁב לֵב הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל־אֲדֹנֵיהֶם   12:27 אֶל־רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה וַהֲרָגֻנִי וְשָׁבוּ אֶל־רְחַבְעָם מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה׃

1Kin. 12:27   “If this people go up to make sacrifices in the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, to Rehoboam, king of Judah.  Then they will kill me and return to Rehoboam, king of Judah.”

וַיִּוָּעַץ הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁנֵי עֶגְלֵי זָהָב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם רַב־לָכֶם מֵעֲלֹות יְרוּשָׁלִַם הִנֵּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל   12:28

אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלוּךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

1Kin. 12:28  So the king consulted, and he made two calves of gold, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem.  Behold, your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.”

וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הָאֶחָד בְּבֵית־אֵל וְאֶת־הָאֶחָד נָתַן בְּדָן׃   12:29

1Kin. 12:29   And he set one in Beth-el and he put the other in Dan.

                                                                             [Return to Jere. 48:13]             [Return to Hose. 4:15]

וַיְהִי הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לְחַטָּאת וַיֵּלְכוּ הָעָם לִפְנֵי הָאֶחָד עַד־דָּן׃   12:30

1Kin. 12:30   Now this thing was for a sin, but the people went before the one as far as Dan.

וַיַּעַשׂ אֶת־בֵּית בָּמוֹת וַיַּעַשׂ כֹּהֲנִים מִקְצוֹת הָעָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הָיוּ מִבְּנֵי לֵוִי׃   12:31

1Kin. 12:31   And he made houses of high places, and he made priests from the most ordinary of the people, who were not from the children of Levi.

וַיַּעַשׂ יָרָבְעָם חָג בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי בַּחֲמִשָּׁה־עָשָׂר יוֹם לַחֹדֶשׁ כֶּחָג אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה וַיַּעַל עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּח   12:32ַ כֵּן עָשָׂה בְּבֵית־אֵל לְזַבֵּחַ לָעֲגָלִים אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה וְהֶעֱמִיד בְּבֵית אֵל אֶת־כֹּהֲנֵי הַבָּמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃

1Kin. 12:32   And Jeroboam made a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month like the feast that was in Judah, and he went up to the altar, the one he made in Beth-el, to sacrifice to the calves that he made, and he established the priests of the high places that he had made in Beth-el.

וַיַּעַל עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה בְּבֵית־אֵל בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁמִינִי בַּחֹדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר־בָּדָא   12:33 (מלבד) [מִלִּבּוֹ] וַיַּעַשׂ חָג לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעַל עַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לְהַקְטִיר׃

1Kin. 12:33   And he went up to the altar that he made in Beth-el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, in the month that he alone had devised, and he fashioned a feast for the children of Israel, and he went up to the altar to offer.

There’s one more assumed error in this verse.  The word in parentheses is thought to have a daled in place of a vav.  Spelled with the daled the word would be translated as alone or by himself, whereas with the vav the word would be translated as in his heart.  I fail to see any marked difference in meaning between the two, so I have accepted the original spelling, although I acknowledge and point out the assumption of the ancient scholars.


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