Rehoboam and Jeroboam were rulers of the divided kingdom of Israel. The former, one of Solomon’s offspring, was reigning in Judah, the southern one (The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1 Kings 11:43). Before he started his reign in the Northern kingdom, the latter was Solomon’s functionary (1 Kings 11:26). The present paper is aimed at exploring the lives of these two leaders.
Solomon, while alive, was told that Jeroboam would get hold of the best part of Israel’s tribes. Rehoboam and the rest of Solomon’s kin would be punished in this manner for worshiping idols. Jeroboam, a god-abiding and virtuous person was chosen over Solomon’s son who lapsed into heresy (Inrig 58). The contrast between the prudent and virtuous as opposed to harshness and vanity became stark after Solomon’s death. Jeroboam tried to persuade Rehoboam not to batten on taxation, but the latter refused to stop the oppression (Inrig 59).
The reason for the prophecy to become true is, therefore, evident: the majority of the tribes did not want to reside with a king who taxed them heavily to sustain his passion for luxury and indolence. Apart from that, god’s work was in the division of the tribes. When Rehoboam tried to return the tribes by armed conflict, god stopped him.
The contrast, however, does not go further than that. Indeed, the reign of the two kings is remarkably similar. Whether the reason for that is the greed or the desire for power, Jeroboam and Rehoboam demonstrate behaviors that indicate the degradation of the prudent and the deepening of the sin.
Jeroboam started to fear the disunity in his Northern kingdom. The cause of his fears were the pilgrims, those who went to Jerusalem to pray and worship; the king anticipated they would eventually like to stay there, which is why he went into practicing idolatry. He built shrines, instituted the worship of calves, and encouraged the tribes to accept them as their gods (1 Kings 12:28). He may have accomplished political protection but the wrath of god fell upon him: Jeroboam’s family was doomed to collapse. His offspring destroyed the Northern kingdom to the end, specifically Jehu, who murdered everyone who had a clue in governance matters.
The kingdom of Rehoboam, on the other hand, was a monolith of Davidic familial reign, which is probably why god granted this kingdom an extra century of life. Rehoboam’s reign gradually led the Southern kingdom downward, mainly by establishing idol worshiping (2 Chronicles 12:14). After Rehoboam, several kings were wise enough to try to turn their people to god but their doing did not receive succession.
In the end, the reign of Rehoboam and Jeroboam marked the division of united Israel, which would not come together again until more than a millennium would pass. As prophesized, Jeroboam’s family received the power and lost it because of the leader’s infidelity. Rehoboam was sinful and never opened his heart to god, which is the cause of his collapse.
Inrig, Gary. I&II Kings: Holman Old Testament Commentary. Paris, Ontario: B&H Books, 2003. Print.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. Ed. Milan Vilimek Jihlavsky. Jihlava, Czech Republic, 2015. Print.