Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived in it; and he went out from there, and built Penuel. Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people goes up to offer sacrifices in the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and return to Rehoboam king of Judah." ( 1 Melakim/Kings 12:25-27 )
From our previous post we talked about the strategic's of politics and religion. This for many today looks to create a perfect system of morals and ethics for any nation. However when it's not the Almighty Elohiym that is positioning an effective order and He is not the one being followed, man has a tendency to create his own system of what he believes is righteousness. Just like our example Jeroboam. Now was he ever offered YAH's way???
And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. ( 1 Melakim/1 Kings 11:38 )
Of course he was! Theres many things to wonder about this man. Like did he not understand what he was told? Did he not ever worship the Elohei of Isra'el? But the heart is a strange creature and apparently for this King even though he may have tried and started with good intentions that heart grew into a root for pride,and it was filled not with reverence and fear toward the Almighty, but instead arrogance that would spawn evil.
Maimonides chose Moses as the
paradigm of greatness and saintliness. But why did he pick Jeroboam as
the ultimate symbol of evildoing? Oh, he was wicked – no question
about it! He played a major role in the separation of the 10 tribes from
the rest of Israel. He served as their king and introduced idolatry for the
Jewish people. Sure, he was wicked but how many people really know
who he was? Why didn't Maimonides choose Esav as the paradigm of
wickedness? Or what about Korach, who led the revolt against Moses?
Why pick Jeroboam? Perhaps it’s because Jeroboam really wasn't a bad
man. Jeroboam had the potential of much good. The Talmud tells us,
“The Torah knowledge of Jeroboam was flawless.” “All the wisdom of
the Torah was an open field to him, and he discovered new insights that
no ear had ever heard.” Jeroboam had such great potential -he started
off so good - but our sages describe one flaw in his personality. He was
arrogant. He thought being as great as he was, he could play by his own
rules and that he could get away with anything.
- Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg -
Jeroboam's new found independence and chance to create a new statehood with ten tribes of Isra'el was an opportunity of a lifetime. So what happened?? How could this man stray so far from the Torah and the Elohiym that established him?? And if it is as the Sages state, he knew his Torah, and was assigned by the Most High what in the world brought him to further attempt to exalt himself?
Arrogance is a foundation for disaster. And the root of arrogance is pride.
arrogance or majesty; by implication, (concretely) ornament -- excellency, haughtiness, highness, pride, proudly, swelling.
In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. (T'hillim/Psalms 10:2)
Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool--how much worse lying lips to a ruler! (Misley/Proverbs 17:7)
"Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Ha'shem is a G_d who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. (1 Samuel 2:3)
And we all know " Pride goes before a fall ". As a son of ben Efrayim, and a descendant of Yosef/Joseph, prosperity and success was in his path. But his view of losing was corrupt. Is it not gain to be obedient and not follow the multitude in error, or compromise the ways of the Most High for worldly gain, especially for leadership? Remember the story of King Saul? Sound familiar? Yes the attitude was the same, but the sins of Jeroboam even greater. Back to strategic positioning!
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel. ( 1 Melakim/Kings 12:25 )
Forgetting the promise of YAH, the arrogant king starts to devise territory, he surely could not just pick anywhere, No! But a place not only he but also the people of Isra'el respected. Our translation utilizes the word "built" but with a little closer observance the word in the Hebrew is "banah" which in this case the context actually has more to do with repair or set up. Shechem already had quite a lot of history,,,,,