Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 12

Jeroboam orders new defences at Shechem and Peniel

1 Kings 12:25

The people of northern Israel had formed a separate nation because they hated their work for Solomon. However, their new king, Jeroboam, saw at once that their nation was in great danger of war. So, his first act was to order them to build strong defences for two cities: Shechem and Peniel. It was the same kind of work that they had been doing for Solomon. In fact, Jeroboam had great skill in how he directed the men to do such work (11:27-28).

Shechem was the town where Israel’s people had gathered to oppose Rehoboam, Solomon’s son (12:1). Important events in the life of Jacob had happened both here, and at Peniel, Jeroboam’s other city (Genesis 32:22-32; Genesis chapter 34). The grave of Joseph is in Shechem (Joshua 24:32). Moses told Israel’s people to gather on the mountains above Shechem for the important event in Deuteronomy chapter 27. Here, Israel’s people made the decision that they would serve only the true God (Joshua chapter 24).

Shechem became Jeroboam’s capital city. It was in the region that belonged to Ephraim, Jeroboam’s own tribe (family group).

Peniel is on the east side of the river Jordan, where Israel then had much land. It was near to Ammon, the nation from which Rehoboam’s mother came (14:31). Perhaps Jeroboam was afraid that Ammon’s army might attack Israel in support of Rehoboam. This was a very serious matter, because Ammon’s people had acted in a very fierce manner on previous occasions (1 Samuel 11:1-3; 2 Samuel 10:1-4).

Next part: Jeroboam's fear of the temple (1 Kings 12:26-27)


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