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Jeroboam I

Jeroboam I

Jeroboam I was the first king (reigned ca. 931-ca. 910 B.C.) of the independent northern kingdom of Israel. As a result of his successful rebellion against Rehoboam, the Hebrew nation was divided into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

An Ephraimite and the son of Nebat, Jeroboam was of humble origin. He served as the prefect of a forced-labor contingent engaged in constructing fortifications around Jerusalem, Solomon's capital city, as well as numerous buildings on Mt. Zion, the most important and magnificent of which was the Holy Temple. The northern tribes chafed under the yoke of oppressive taxes and compulsory labor imposed by King Solomon. Led by Jeroboam, they plotted a revolt against the King. When it failed, Jeroboam fled to Egypt, where he was given asylum by Shishak, the reigning pharaoh, who saw in the revolt an opportunity to weaken a strong neighbor.

On the death of Solomon and the accession of his son Rehoboam, Jeroboam returned from exile and headed a delegation of the northern tribes that petitioned the new king to redress their grievances. Rehoboam responded by threatening to inflict upon the people even heavier burdens than his father had. The 10 tribes then seceded from the formerly united kingdom and established their own under Jeroboam, whom they elected their king. The northern kingdom of Israel, or as it was sometimes called, Ephraim, after Jeroboam's tribe, never reunited with the southern kingdom, known as Judah, which consisted only of that tribe and the tribe of Benjamin.

Frequent clashes occurred between Judah and Israel during the reign of Rehoboam, who could not accept the loss of the larger part of his father's kingdom; though the prophet Ahijah had announced that the division was divinely decreed. Jeroboam on his part fortified his capital, Schechem, against the king of Judah. At one time the pharaoh Shishak aided the kingdom of Israel to prevent its conquest by Rehoboam and a consequent reunion of the two kingdoms. Shishak, of course, was concerned not with defending Israel but with keeping it apart from Judah.

To divert his subjects from the Temple of Jerusalem, Jeroboam established two central shrines in the northern kingdom, Bethel, near the boundary between the two kingdoms, and Dan in the north. At each site Jeroboam set up a heathen cult centered on a gilded calf, reminiscent of the golden calf the Israelites had worshiped on their way from Egypt. In appointing the priests for these shrines, he disregarded the time-honored rights of the tribe of Levi to the priesthood. These and other acts alienated the prophets of Yahweh from Jeroboam, and they denounced him. The Bible, in fact, describes Jeroboam not only as a sinner but also as one who caused others to sin.

Further Reading

The biblical account of Jeroboam is in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Harry M. Orlinsky, Ancient Israel (1954; 3d ed. 1965), and John Bright, A History of Israel (1959), discuss Jeroboam. □

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Jeroboam I

Jeroboam I (jĕrəbō´əm), in the Bible, first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. He was an Ephraimite and led a revolt against Solomon, inspired probably by the restlessness of N Palestine under southern rule. Jeroboam fled to Egypt when the plot failed but returned on the accession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam. When the new king would not satisfy the northerners, Jeroboam led a secession, leaving the house of David only Judah and some of the area of Benjamin. Jeroboam became notorious for fostering idolatry in his kingdom of Israel. His capital was first in Shechem and later at Tirzah. Jeroboam was succeeded by his son Nadab.

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Jeroboam

Jeroboam Name of two Kings of Israel (northern Palestine). Jeroboam I (active late 10th century bc) led an unsuccessful revolt against King Solomon and was forced to flee to Egypt. After Solomon's death, he returned to lead the secessionist Kingdom of Israel in Palestine's northern hill country. Jeroboam II (r. c.783–c.741 bc) ruled Israel during a period of relative peace. Although Israel made economic progress and saw a revival in its political power, corruption was widespread.

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jeroboam

jeroboam large bowl or wine-bottle. XIX. So called in allusion to Jeroboam, ‘a mighty man of valour’ (1 Kings 11: 28), ‘who made Israel to sin’ (ibid. 14: 16).

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"jeroboam." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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jeroboam

jeroboam a wine bottle with a capacity four times larger than that of an ordinary bottle. It is named after Jeroboam, a king of Israel ‘who made Israel to sin’.

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jeroboam

jer·o·bo·am / ˌjerəˈbōəm/ • n. a wine bottle with a capacity four times larger than that of an ordinary bottle.

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"jeroboam." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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jeroboam

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