Jeroboam the First

Michael Wilcock

READ : 1 Kings 12:26-33
Matthew 18:1-7

Woe to the one by whom the temptation comes. (Matt. 18:7)

We call him Jeroboam the First because there was going to be another king of the same name later on.

He was also the First to rule a new Israelite kingdom, the northern half of the old one. It was he who had led the revolt against the foolish Rehoboam and persuaded ten of the tribes to break away from the rule of the House of David.

And he was the First to invent a new religion, so that his people wouldn’t hanker after the kind of thing they were used to in the old temple down in Jerusalem; Jereboam wanted to dissolve all their links with the south. It looked as much like the Jerusalem religion as he could make it, and to folks who had rather hazy ideas about God, it seemed pretty satisfactory. But it wasn’t the real thing.

Over and above all this, he was the First of a score of kings who, though guilty of a variety of sins, all followed in his footsteps in this particular respect. For the rest of its history his kingdom’s worship of God would be not what God had said it should be, but what Jeroboam had said it should be.

Jesus reserved one of his most stinging rebukes for people like Jeroboam. His words about temptations (he called them “stumbling blocks”) mean, “Woe to those who sin by causing other people to sin.’”


For the sake of others who may follow where I lead, teach me to watch my step.