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Catholic Dictionary




The first king of Israel after Solomon's domain was split during the reign of his son, Rehoboam, in the tenth century B.C. Jeroboam had been a labor chief under Solomon but rebelled at the king's tyranny and fled into Egypt (I Kings 11:26-40). There was no improvement when Rehoboam came to power, so the people revolted and made Jeroboam king. Rehoboam's territory was reduced to Judah and Benjamin (I Kings 12). The schism was widened by religious differences. Jeroboam set up shrines in Bethel and Dan to offset the influence of Jerusalem in the lives of the Israelites. But Old Testament writers were unanimous in condemning "the sins of Jeroboam" and maintained that he turned Israel against the Lord by encouraging pagan ceremonies (I Kings 13).