1 Kings 12 — The Sin of Jeroboam

By Wayne Jackson

Jeroboam, a ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, is given special attention in the Old Testament. No less than twenty-one times he is charged with having caused Israel to sin (cf. 1 Kings 14:16). What was his transgression that merited such attention?

He was an innovator. He practiced what the apostle Paul would call “will-worship” (Colossians 2:23). His presumptuous activities are detailed in 1 Kings 12.

First, he corrupted the worship of Jehovah by instituting golden calves as objects of divine adoration (v. 28).

Second, he changed the place of service from Jerusalem to the cities of Bethel and Dan — under the guise of convenience (vv. 27-30).

Third, Jeroboam appointed priests from among tribes other than that of Levi (v. 31) — a practice unauthorized, since the law had spoken “nothing” about priests from Israel’s other tribes (cf. Hebrews 7:14). This is a perfect example illustrating the fact that the “law of silence” is indeed a reality in the scriptural scheme of things!

Fourth, the king altered the time of the feast of the tabernacles from the seventh month, fifteenth day, to the eighth month, fifteenth day (v. 32).

All of this he had “devised of his own heart” (v. 33). He was a high-handed rebel who well deserved the wrath of God. And all of his spiritual kin are not extinct!

Thus, in your margin in connection with chapter 12 note: Sin of Jeroboam: Changed the object, place, priesthood, and time of worship. Then mark and label the appropriate verses.

Small f26f621c f6aa 4d2b 853d 24e53c812a17

About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.