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Jeroboam

increase of the people. (1.) The son of Nebat (1 Kings
11:26-39), "an Ephrathite," the first king of the ten tribes,
over whom he reigned twenty-two years (B.C. 976-945). He was the
son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by
Solomon to be chief superintendent of the "burnden", i.e., of
the bands of forced labourers. Influenced by the words of the
prophet Ahijah, he began to form conspiracies with the view of
becoming king of the ten tribes; but these having been
discovered, he fled to Egypt (1 Kings 11:29-40), where he
remained for a length of time under the protection of Shishak I.
On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes, having revolted, sent
to invite him to become their king. The conduct of Rehoboam
favoured the designs of Jeroboam, and he was accordingly
proclaimed "king of Israel" (1 Kings 12: 1-20). He rebuilt and
fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom. He at once
adopted means to perpetuate the division thus made between the
two parts of the kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel, the two
extremities of his kingdom, "golden calves," which he set up as
symbols of Jehovah, enjoining the people not any more to go up
to worship at Jerusalem, but to bring their offerings to the
shrines he had erected. Thus he became distinguished as the man
"who made Israel to sin." This policy was followed by all the
succeeding kings of Israel.

While he was engaged in offering incense at Bethel, a prophet
from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the
Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of
defiance, his hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he
stood was rent asunder. At his urgent entreaty his "hand was
restored him again" (1 Kings 13:1-6, 9; compare 2 Kings 23:15);
but the miracle made no abiding impression on him. His reign was
one of constant war with the house of Judah. He died soon after
his son Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18).

(2.) Jeroboam II., the son and successor of Jehoash, and the
fourteenth king of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one
years, B.C. 825-784 (2 Kings 14:23). He followed the example of
the first Jeroboam in keeping up the worship of the golden
calves (2 Kings 14:24). His reign was contemporary with those of
Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He
was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), and extended
Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the
sea of the plain" (14:25; Amos 6:14). His reign of forty-one
years was the most prosperous that Israel had ever known as yet.
With all this outward prosperity, however, iniquity widely
prevailed in the land (Amos 2:6-8; 4:1; 6:6; Hos. 4:12-14). The
prophets Hosea (1:1), Joel (3:16; Amos 1:1, 2), Amos (1:1), and
Jonah (2 Kings 14:25) lived during his reign. He died, and was
buried with his ancestors (14:29). He was succeeded by his son
Zachariah (q.v.).

His name occurs in Scripture only in 2 Kings 13:13; 14:16, 23,
27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; 1 Chr. 5:17; Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; 7:9, 10,
11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam the son of Nebat that
is meant.