This is from 1 Kings 12-14.
It seems that Rehoboam is set to be the new King of all of Israel. God had already warned Solomon that most of the kingdom would be taken from his son because of him turning from God to serve idols.
Anyway, the people want Rehoboam to make their burden lighter. (Solomon had been laying a heavy tax to pay for his big palaces and public works. ) Lowering this tax and work burden seems to me to be a good idea.
His first mistake is that he doesn’t seek God first. Instead, he seeks old men. They had been his father’s advisors (which may mean that they were good to ask advice from.). They advise him to speak kindly to the people and to serve them and treat them well. This does seem good advice, but it would have done for him to go to God first.
He then goes to his peers to get advice, having rejected the advice of the older men. (Once again, he doesn’t go to God.) They basically tell him to increase the burdens on the people and to make the rules even harsher. This advice seems flat out dumb. (Likely these people he asked were spoiled palace brats who wanted EVEN more luxury so they wanted higher taxes..) Unfortunately, he takes their disastrous advice , once again, without asking God if it’s a good idea.
Jeroboam, whom God had promised most of the kingdoms to if he followed God, was also there when Rehoboam spoke to the people. The people were upset with Rehoboam for his words and went home and basically left the kingdom. Rehoboam sent a guy to get him back, but the people killed the messenger with stones. So, Rehoboam had to run for it. He was going to fight to get Israel back, but God told him and his army to not go to war as God had planned this to happen. Rehoboam’s army backed off.
Jeroboam saw that the people kept offering sacrifices in Jerusalem and feared that the people might one day decide to serve Rehoboam because of this, and Rehoboam would have him killed. So, he went to some men to get advice. He made the same mistake as Jeroboam, he didn’t go to God first.
His advisors presumably asked him to make two golden calves. (The Bible says that he took counsel and then he did this. It doesn’t say whether whoever advised him suggested this, or, if they suggested something else, he rejected it, and came up with the calf thing. One things IS certain though, whoever he got advice from, it certainly WASN’T God!) He did this. He told the people who had left Rehoboam that they didn’t have to go to Jerusalem anymore to worship, but they could serve the calves instead. (This is an even bigger mistake!) He said that these calves were the gods that brought them out of Egypt. (He must not have read what happened when they tried to make the golden calf that first time in the desert!!!!) He also built temples at the high places (for idols). He also chose priests from different tribes of Israel (and not just the tribe of Levi like God commanded). He then started a festival that involved offering sacrifices to the golden calves in the high places. (I’m sure God is ticked by now!)
God sent a man of God to go and tell the altar (That is strange!) that David’s family would have a son named Josiah that would offer the pagan priests upon the altar and burn their bones there. He said unto the people that as proof, that the altar would break apart and that the ashes would fall onto the ground. The man of God obeyed. Jeroboam didn’t like this proclamation and pointed at the man of God and told his guys to arrest the man of God. The arm that he pointed at the man of God became paralyzed. The altar then broke into pieces and all of the ashes on it fell onto the ground.
Jeroboam asked the man of God to pray unto God for him and heal his arm. The guy did and the king’s arm was healed. The king offered the man of God a gift if he would come home and eat and drink with him. The man of God said that he wouldn’t go with him, even if he was offering him half of the kingdom as a gift. The man then left.
An old prophet came and went after the man of God. He asked him to go home and eat and drink with him. The man of God said that he couldn’t as he was told by God not to eat or drink anything in the place where he was at and that he must go back on a different road.
The old prophet then lies to the man of God and said that he is a prophet like him (he may have been, in a way) and says that an angel of the Lord came and told him to bring him home and give him something to eat and drink.
So, the man of God went to the old prophet’s house to eat and drink. Pause there. He went. He didn’t consult God to ask why He had said one thing and now an angel, according to this old prophet dude, has said to do the opposite. In short, he ALSO forgot to consult God first before acting.
While they were eating, God sent an angel and spoke to the old prophet and to tell the man of God that he had disobeyed Him and gone and eaten and drinking against God’s command. He would not be buried in his family grave for this.
The man of God left and went off on a donkey and was killed in the road by a lion. People saw the lion and that it wasn’t eating the body of the man of God. They were confused. They talked to the old prophet and he said that the man of God had been killed for disobeying just like God said he would be.
The old prophet went and buried the man of God in his own family grave and told his sons to bury him next to the man of God. The old prophet appears to be showing some remorse for what he did.
Meanwhile, Jeroboam kept getting priests from all over the kingdom and continued in his evil ways. God had had enough.
Jeroboam’s son Abijah became very sick. Jeroboam decided to send his wife to the prophet Ahijah (What a gentleman, sending your wife instead of going yourself!!!) He sent her in disguise so that the people would not know that she was his wife. (Why he did that, I don’t know.) He sent her with gifts and told her to ask the prophet what will happen to their son.
Despite her pretending to be someone else and the prophet being blind, God told him the truth and he knew who she was and said that Jeroboam had been promised the kingdom but had done worse than any before him with his idols and other things. Thus, God would wipe out all of the men in his family (not necessarily right away, apparently, as I think Jeroboam had a son succeed him). Anybody who dies in the city would be eaten by dogs and anybody who died in the fields would be eaten by birds. (Yikes!). Also, he said that their son would die. He said that this son would be buried and mourned for, because he had been the only one in Jeroboam’s family to please God and that he would be the only one in the family that would be buried, well, other than Jeroboam apparently, who died and with buried with his ancestors. (Perhaps this was intended to refer to Jeroboam’s descendants or something.)
God said that he would put in a new king over them who would destroy Jeroboam’s family. God was also mad at the people for their role in building sacred poles (It involved an image of a goddess of fertility.)
Their son died, just like the prophet had said. Also, later, Jeroboam died. (Jeroboam would be used as a reference to many evil kings and whom evil kings were compared to. David seems to be the reference for good kings and whom good kings were compared to.) His son Nadab became king (though he later is killed in 1 Kings 15.)
Meanwhile, Rehoboam did things that were so bad that they were worse than things the evil inhabitants of the land had done before the children of Israel had defeated them. These included the sacred pole thing, idol worship, and sodomy.
Well, King Shishak of Egypt came and attacked Jerusalem and took a bunch of treasures from the Temple. He even took the gold shields that David had taken from the officers of King Hadadezer of Aram and had put on the walls of Jerusalem.
Well, Rehoboam made new shields, though bronze ones, but it seems that they always needed them to fight enemies and so had to often take them out of the Temple to fight.
So, Rehoboam and Jeroboam fought all of their days. And Rehoboam died (presumably of old age) and was buried. And his son Abijah (don’t ask why it’s the same name as Jeroboam’s son) became king after him.
It seems that these guys all could have avoided this mess if they had only talked to God first before acting. We should remember this as well.