Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 12
God had chosen only one place where Israel’s people should gather to pray to him (Deuteronomy 12:5-14). That place was the temple, the house of God that Solomon had built in Jerusalem. God had declared that he would always be present there, to hear and to answer his people’s prayers (9:3).
So, at the three sacred holidays each year, Israel’s people would gather at Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). They would go to the temple and they would offer their gifts to God.
However, Israel had now become two separate countries. Solomon’s son Rehoboam was the king of Judah, and Jerusalem was his capital city. That fact worried Jeroboam, who ruled central and northern Israel. He believed that these regular visits to Jerusalem would cause his people not to be loyal to him. Jeroboam became so afraid that he considered his life to be in danger.
If we think only about the political situation then Jeroboam’s fear seems reasonable. However, we need also to think about what God had said about this matter. It was God who appointed Jeroboam to be king (11:31). In fact, God had made some very wonderful promises to Jeroboam. His family could remain kings for as long as David’s family were kings in Judah (11:37-38). However, for that to happen, Jeroboam’s family must themselves remain loyal to God. Now, because of his great fear, Jeroboam was proposing not to obey God’s commands (Exodus 19:4-6).
Next part: The gold calves at Dan and Beersheba (1 Kings 12:28-30)
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