REHOBOAM'S GREAT MISTAKE 127
Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer, king of Zobah. He gathered men about him and became commander of a robber band, and he went to Damascus and lived and reigned there. He was a foe to Israel as long as Solomon lived.
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was a man of great ability. When Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he placed him over all the men of the tribe of Joseph who were working for the ruler.
Once upon a time, when Jeroboam went away from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh met him on the way and took him aside. Now Ahijah had put on a new garment, and while they two were alone in the field, Ahijah took hold of the new garment he had on and tore it in twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces; for Jehovah, the God of Israel, declares, 'I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you, but he shall have only one tribe.'" So Jeroboam also rebelled against Solomon.
Solomon, therefore, wanted to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, and he was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
REHOBOAM'S GREAT MISTAKE
When Solomon died, Rehoboam his son ruled after him. As soon as Jeroboam, who was still in Egypt, heard that Solomon had died, he returned at once to his home town, Zeredah in Mount Ephraim.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had come to Shecheni to make him ruler. But they said to Rehoboam, "Your father laid a heavy yoke upon us. Now make the hard service of your father and the heavy yoke that he laid upon us lighter, and we will serve you." He said to them, "Go away for three days; then come again to me." So the people went away.
Then Rehoboam asked advice from the old men who had been in the service of Solomon his father during his lifetime and inquired, "What answer do you advise me to give this people?" They said to him, "If now you will serve this people and give them a favorable answer, then they will be your servants forever."
But he rejected the advice which the old men had given him and asked the young men who had grown up with him and had been in his service. And he said to them, "What answer do you