Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:25

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Beth-El;   Ephraim;   Jeroboam;   Penuel;   Shechem;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ephraim, Mount;   Mountains;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Peniel or Penuel;   Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gilead;   Israel;   Jabbok;   Jeroboam;   Jerusalem;   Palestine;   Penuel;   Shechem;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Judgments of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Israel, Kingdom of;   Penuel;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Aholah;   Israel;   Peniel;   Penuel;   Shechem (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ephraim;   Golden Calf;   Jeroboam;   Penuel;   Shechem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gad;   Israel;   Penuel;   Rehoboam,;   Shechem;   Solomon;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Penuel ;   Rehoboam ;   Shechem ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Israel kingdom of;   Peniel;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Israel, Kingdom of;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jeroboam;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Revolt;   Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Amos (1);   Fortification;   Gad (1);   Israel, Kingdom of;   Peniel;   Samaria, City of;   Shishak;   Temple;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Shechem;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Built Shechem - In the sense of “enlarged and fortified.” See Daniel 4:30. The first intention of Jeroboam seems to have been to make Shechem his capital, and therefore he immediately set about its fortification. So also he seems to have fortified Penuel for the better security of his Trans-Jordanic possessions (marginal reference).

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-12.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

JEROBOAM ESTABLISHED HIS IDOLATROUS KINGDOM

"Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now will the kingdom return to the house of David: if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then will the heart of this people turn again to their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin; for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. And he made houses of high places, and made priests from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he went up unto the altar; so did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he had made. And he went up unto the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart: and he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and went up unto the altar to burn incense."

"Jeroboam built Shechem" (1 Kings 12:25) This was one of the two capitals that Jeroboam established for his kingdom. It was not only rich in the traditions and history of Israel, but it was a control point on the trade routes to the East. The other capital was Penuel, a "Trans-jordanic city on the bank of the Jabbok river."[14] It has been supposed that Jeroboam built this capital east of Jordan as a protection in case of an attack from Egypt.

However, Jeroboam was worried about the religious situation more than any thing else, and he decided to switch Israel to outright idolatry. Thus, Solomon lost the kingdom by idolatry, and Jeroboam sought to establish his on idolatry. It is a mark of Jeroboam's cleverness that he recognized the widespread tolerance already existing in Northern Israel, especially at Dan, where a syncretism with paganism had already existed ever since the time of the Judges.

This writer rejects as absolutely untenable the dictum of some scholars to the effect that the calves which Jeroboam made, "Were not intended as substitutes for the Lord but as traditional symbols of him."[15] There is absolutely nothing in all the Bible that supports any such notion. The comment that, "The bull images set up by Jeroboam were traditional symbols of Yahweh's strength,"[16] cannot possibly be correct.

"W. F. Albright has built an excellent case on archaeological grounds showing that bull images were not images of Jehovah, but pedestals upon which the invisible God of Israel stood,"[17] as Gates noted; but he added that, "Even that use of images was a throwback to the idolatry of the Canaanites; and it was not only specifically condemned by Moses, but also by the prophets Hosea (Hosea 8:5-6; 13:2-3) and Amos."[18] That Jeroboam himself recognized those bull images as mere idols instead of anything pertaining to Almighty God is proved by his use of the plural, "O Israel, these are the gods that brought you up out of Egypt." Some have even tried to render this place God instead of gods; but that is impossible because both here and in Exodus 32:4, both the verb and the noun are plural.[19]

"Jeroboam's bulls were pagan images after the pattern of the Egyptian idols Apis and Mnevis."[20] When Jeroboam offered sacrifices, he offered them "to the calves" not to God, "sacrificing unto the calves" (1 Kings 12:32). Christian commentators need to rethink their false conclusions about the permissibility of anything on the order of Jeroboam's pagan bull images. The excuse that Solomon had them in the Temple is not applicable, because that was also a sin against God even when Solomon did it. It was idolatry, for which he lost his kingdom. Another excuse is that those bull calves had wings resembling the cherubim over the Mercy Seat, but we cannot find any authority that identifies Jeroboam's bulls as having wings; and, even if they did have wings, they were still pagan bull images, condemned in the Decalogue, by all the prophets, and denominated in this very passage as "sin." Hosea wrote that, "Israel became a trafficker (a Canaanite)" (Hosea 12:7); and right here is where it started with Jeroboam's reintroduction into Canaan of the very paganism for which God had replaced the inhabitants with Israel. Of course, Jeroboam knew exactly what he was doing!

"Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12:29). Here Jeroboam quoted verbatim, the words of Aaron following his making the golden calf at Sinai (Exodus 32:4,8). In both instances of this idolatry, the word "gods" forbids any notion that either Aaron or Jeroboam was thinking of Jehovah. God struck three thousand Israelites with death for that lapse into idolatry, and it is impossible to suppose that God was pleased with it here.

To paraphrase what seems to be a conviction among many of the present-day scholars, here is what they say:

Jeroboam was not turning Israel to Idolatry, he was merely saying, "Look, these calves are the gods that brought you up out of Egypt, just as Aaron said in the wilderness." This is no new religion, at all, we are merely returning to some old symbols that our people used long before David and Jerusalem!

We do not accept that viewpoint at all. We appreciate the opinion of Hammond who said that, "Jeroboam could not have claimed to be reintroducing calf-worship, unless he had designed an open defiance of the Most High."[21]

Hammond's argument was that Jeroboam could not possibly have done anything like that, but this writer believes that, HE DID EXACTLY THAT; INTRODUCING INTO CANAAN THE VERY SAME PAGANISM THAT WAS THERE WHEN GOD THREW OUT THE OLD CANAANITES AND REPLACED THEM WITH ISRAEL.

"And Jeroboam made priests from among all the people" (1 Kings 12:31). All the people, that is, except Levites. The law of God specifically limited many religious activities to the Levites alone, and here Jeroboam violated that law with impunity. What we cannot understand is why some commentators feel that Jeroboam could not also have reintroduced the pagan idolatrous calf-worship. Any man who could have done either of these sinful things Could have done both, exactly as did Jeroboam! This passage shows that Jeroboam himself even officiated as a priest.

"And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month" (1 Kings 12:32). The feast of Tabernacles was held in the seventh month; and Jeroboam designed this one to compete with the true Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:24ff). It would be difficult indeed to find another example of an Israelite who had any less regard either for God or for his word than did Jeroboam.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-kings-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in Mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein,.... Not that this city had lain in ruins from the times of Abimelech, Judges 9:45 for then it would not have been a proper place for the convention of the people, 1 Kings 12:1 but he repaired the walls of it, and fortified it, and built a palace in it for his residence:

and went out from thence, and built Penuel; a place on the other side Jordan, the tower of which was beaten down by Gideon, Judges 8:17 and might be now rebuilt, or at least the city was repaired by him, and anew fortified, perhaps for the better security of his dominions on that side Jordan; though Fortunatus ScacchusF16Elaeochrism. Myrothec. l. 2. c. 58. col. 593. is of opinion that this was an altar, the same as at Carmel, 1 Kings 18:30, which Jeroboam built, and called by this name in testimony of the common religion of the Israelites and Jews.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-12.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jeroboam built Shechem — destroyed by Abimelech (Judges 9:1-49). It was rebuilt, and perhaps fortified, by Jeroboam, as a royal residence.

built Penuel — a ruined city with a tower (Judges 8:9), east of Jordan, on the north bank of the Jabbok. It was an object of importance to restore this fortress (as it lay on the caravan road from Gilead to Damascus and Palmyra) and to secure his frontier on that quarter.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

Shechem — He repaired, and enlarged, and fortified it; for it had been ruined long since, Judges 9:45. He might chuse it as a place both auspicious, because here the foundation of his monarchy was laid; and commodious, as being near the frontiers of his kingdom.

Penuel — A place beyond Jordan; to secure that part of his dominions.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

Ver. 25. Then Jeroboam built Shechem.] Shechem had been ruined and sowed with salt, [ 9:45] it had been rebuilt, [1 Kings 12:1] but now made a royal city, as being in meditullio regni, in the middle of the kingdom: as Constantinople, for its situation, is said to be a city fatally founded, to command a great part of the world. (a)

And built Penuel.] Beyond Jordan, to be a bulwark there.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Kings 12:25. Jeroboam built Shechem 1:e. Rebuilt, enlarged, and beautified it, and made it a royal city.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-kings-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Jeroboam built Shechem, i.e. he repaired, and enlarged, and fortified it; for it had been ruined long since, Jude 9:45. He might choose it as a place both auspicious, because here the foundation of his monarchy was laid; and commodious, as being near the frontiers of his kingdom.

Penuel; a place beyond Jordan; of which see Genesis 32:30 Jude 8:17; to secure that part of his dominions.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

JEROBOAM’S WORKS AND IDOLATRY, 1 Kings 12:25-33.

25.Built Shechem — Enlarged and fortified it for a royal residence.

Dwelt therein — Not exclusively, for in 1 Kings 14:17, we find him dwelling at Tirzah.

Went out from thence — That is, Shechem was the base of operations in the building and fortifying of other cities.

Penuel — The place east of the Jordan, near the fords of the Jabbok, where Jacob wrestled with the angel, (Genesis 32:30) and whose tower and inhabitants, in the time of the judges, Gideon had destroyed. Judges 8:17. Jeroboam probably regarded it as an important position, commanding the great caravan road to the farther East, and accordingly fortified it for the security of his kingdom.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-12.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

1 Kings 12:25. Jeroboam built Shechem — He repaired, enlarged, and fortified it; for it had been ruined long since, 9:45. He might choose it as a place both auspicious, because here the foundation of his monarchy was laid; and commodious, as being near the frontiers of his kingdom. And built Penuel — A place beyond Jordan; to secure that part of his dominions.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Built, or "had built," while Roboam was preparing for his invasion. (Salien) --- Sichem and Phanuel had been ruined by Abimelech, and by Gedeon, Judges viii. 17., and ix. 45. (Calmet) --- By means of these fortresses, he secured both sides of the Jordan. (Haydock) --- Jeroboam afterwards fixed his residence at Thirsa, where the court was kept, till Amri built Samaria.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

built = rebuilt, or repaired. This doubtless included increased fortification (2 Chronicles 11:11).

mount = hill-country.

Penuel. On east of Jordan (Genesis 32:30. Judges 8:8),

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.

Jeroboam built Shechem - destroyed by Abimelech (Judges 9:1-49). It was rebuilt, and perhaps fortified by Jeroboam, as a royal residence.

Built Penuel - a ruined city with a tower (Judges 8:9), east of Jordan, on the north bank of the Jabbok. It was an object of importance to restore this fortress, as it lay on the caravan road from Gilead to Damascus and Palmyra, and secure his frontier on that quarter.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(25) Jeroboam built Shechem.—Shechem had passed through many vicissitudes of fortune. It was already a city when Abraham entered the Promised Land (Genesis 12:6), and is from time to time mentioned in the patriarchal history (Genesis 33:18, Genesis 35:4, Genesis 37:12-13). At the Conquest it became a city of refuge (Joshua 20:7; Joshua 21:20-21), and the scene of the solemn recital of the blessings and curses of the Law (Joshua 8:33-35). From its proximity to Shiloh, and to the inheritance of Joshua, it assumed something of the character of a capital (Joshua 24:1; Joshua 24:32). Then it became the seat of the usurpation of Abimelech, which allied itself with the native inhabitants of the region; but rebelling afterwards against him, it was destroyed (Judges 9). We then hear nothing more of it till this chapter, when the tribes assemble at Shechem, under the shadow of the famous hills of Ebal and Gerizim, to meet Rehoboam. Jeroboam is said to have “built it” anew. This may be taken literally, as indicating that it had never recovered from its destruction by Abimelech, or it may simply mean that he fortified and enlarged it as his capital. Subsequently it gave way to Tirzan and Samaria; but its almost unrivalled position preserved it in importance among the Samaritans after the Captivity, even down to our Lord’s time, and under the name of Nablous (Neapolis) it has lasted to the present day, while many other cities once famous have passed away.

Penuel.—See Genesis 32:30-31; Judges 8:8; Judges 8:17. It lay on or near the Jabbok, on the other side of Jordan, commanding the road from the east by Succoth to the fords of Jordan and Shechem. Jeroboam rebuilt it—perhaps out of the ruin in which it had been left by Gideon—as an outpost to his new capital, and a royal stronghold among the tribes on the east of Jordan.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
built
9:15,17,18; 15:17; 16:24; 2 Chronicles 11:5-12
Shechem
1; Judges 9:1,45-49
Penuel
Genesis 32:30,31; Judges 8:8,17
Reciprocal: Joshua 17:7 - Shechem;  Judges 9:6 - plain;  2 Samuel 19:20 - Joseph;  Jeremiah 41:5 - Shechem;  Hosea 6:9 - by consent;  Hosea 13:1 - exalted

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:25". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-12.html.