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Chapter XLI.

For, on the death of Solomon in the fortieth year of his reign, Roboam his son having succeeded to the throne of his father in the sixteenth year of his age, a portion of the people, taking offense, revolted from him. For, having asked that the very heavy tribute which Solomon had imposed upon them might be lessened, he rejected the entreaties of these suppliants, and thus alienated from him the favor of the whole people. Accordingly, by universal consent, the government was bestowed on Jeroboam. He, sprung from a family of middle rank, had for some time been in the service of Solomon. But when the king found that the sovereignty of the Hebrews had been promised to him by a response of the prophet Achia, he had resolved privately to cut him off. Jeroboam, under the influence of this fear, fled into Egypt, and there married a wife of the royal family. But, when at length he heard of the death of Solomon, he 91returned to his native land, and, by the wish of the people, as we have said above, he assumed the government. Two tribes, however, Judah and Benjamin, had remained under the sway of Roboam; and from these he got ready an army of thirty thousand men. But when the two hosts advanced, the people were instructed by the words of God to abstain from fighting, for that Jeroboam had received the kingdom by divine appointment. Thus the army disdained the command of the king, and dispersed, while the power of Jeroboam was increased. But, since Roboam held Jerusalem, where the people had been accustomed to offer sacrifice to God in the temple built by Solomon, Jeroboam, fearing lest their religious feelings might alienate the people from him, resolved to fill their minds with superstition. Accordingly, he set up one golden calf at Bethel, and another at Dan, to which the people might offer sacrifice; and, passing by the tribe of Levi, he appointed priests from among the people. But censure followed this guilt so hateful to God. Frequent battles then took place between the kings, and so they retained their respective kingdoms on doubtful conditions. Roboam died at the close of the seventeenth year of his reign.

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