Following the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam assumed the throne. The people pleaded for a reduction in both the taxes and conscripted labor that had been imposed by Solomon. Rehoboam refused, and the country revolted. The ten northern tribes, led by Jeroboam, formed their own country which they called Israel; the remaining two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, became known as Judah.
Jeroboam realized that if the two countries continued to share a common religion they would eventually reunite, so he took matters into his own hands to ensure that didn’t happen.
- He set up golden calves at Dan and Bethel, the northern and southern boundaries of his new country, and instructed the people to worship there rather than Jerusalem.
- He appointed priests from every class of people rather than from the tribe of Levi.
- He ordained feast days to correspond with those observed in Jerusalem.
Because of Jeroboam, Israel fell immediately into idolatry and apostasy from which they never returned. These were “the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin.”