Jeroboam I.

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Jeroboam I († 907 BC ) was from 926 BC. Until his death in 907 BC The first king of the northern kingdom of Israel .


The Hebrew personal name יָרָבְעָם jāråv'ām "Jerobeam" is a verb sentence name, consisting of subject and predicate. The subject is the theophoric elementעָם 'ām , German ' father brother ' , for the predicate two different derivations come into question, namely either from the verb rootרבב rbb , German ' to be large' or from the root of the verbרוב rûb , German `` right procuring '' (a secondary root toריב rîb with identical meaning). It is a form of 3rd person singular masculine in the past tense. Translated, the name means either “father brother is great” or “father brother has got the right”. The Septuagint gives the name as Ιεροβοαμ Ieroboam , the Vulgate as Hieroboam .

Biblical narration

According to 1 Kings 11:26  EU , Jeroboam came from the tribe of Judah and was the son of Nebat and Zerua. During Solomon's construction work in Jerusalem, he was the overseer of the laborers from the house of Joseph ( 1 Kings 11:28  EU ), i.e. the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh . With these he rose up against Solomon - allegedly only after he had been anointed king by the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh . He fled to Egypt under the protection of Pharaoh Scheschonq I (Hebrew Shishak - 1 Kings 11.40  EU ). After Solomon's death he returned ( 1 Kings 12.2  EU ) and was elected king of all the tribes of Israel except Judah and Benjamin in the south of the kingdom of Solomon, while the southern kingdom around Jerusalem was ruled by Rehoboam , son of Solomon ( 1 Kings 12.20  EU ). He ruled from 926 BC. Until his death in 907 BC Chr.

The Davidic-Solomonic empire disintegrated after the death of Solomon in 926 BC. Chr. In which I of Jeroboam ruled the northern kingdom of Israel with its capital Samaria (blue) and of Rehoboam ruled kingdom of Judah with its capital Jerusalem (ocher).

Jeroboam made Shechem the capital, then Pnuel and Tirza ( 1 Kings 12.25  EU ; 14.17 EU ) and built the sanctuaries of Bet-El and Dan and had golden calves erected there ( 1 Kings 12.29  EU ). As a priest he also appointed people who were not Levites ( 1 Kings 12.31  EU ). These cultic measures, which Jeroboam intended as a countermeasure to Solomon's cult centralization in Jerusalem and thus to secure his own rule in the northern kingdom, were considered by later authors of the biblical writings - especially of the Deuteronomic History - to be an apostasy from YHWH . With this sin of Jeroboam the downfall of Israel was justified ( 1 Kings 13,34  EU ).

1 Kings 14.1  EU tells of an illness of Abijah, the son of Jeroboam. He then instructs his wife to ask Ahijah of Shiloh about the fate of his son. She should dress up so that she would not be recognizable as Jeroboam's wife and would take ten loaves of bread, cakes and a jar of honey with her ( 1 Kings 14.3  EU ). Ahijah recognizes her and tells her to turn back and as soon as she reaches the city her son will die ( 1 Kings 14:12  EU ).

Jeroboam's successor was his son Nadab .


To date, there is no extra-biblical evidence of Jeroboam's existence, only indications that are interpreted as evidence of the contemporary historical framework that fits him.

After the victory relief of Pharaoh Scheschonq I in Karnak , the settlements of the old Israelite tribal area were destroyed, which can be archaeologically confirmed. The destruction took place in the 10th century, most of the settlements were not rebuilt. It is therefore possible that Sheshonq conquered the area a few decades before Jeroboam and that Jeroboam became an indirect heir to the ancient tribal kingdom of Saul as an Egyptian vassal . Jerusalem, on the other hand, was too insignificant and possibly already a vassal of the Philistines and subjected to Egypt, because it is not mentioned there.

The Sheschonq campaign is also mentioned in a private document. The Theban priest of Amun Hori noted on his cardboard sarcophagus that he had "accompanied the king on his trains in the countries of Rtwn". "Rtwn" is the name for Syria / Palestine. The mummy box is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge under the inventory number: E 8.1896. The cult site in Dan (Tell Dan) has been excavated. The excavation resulted in numerous extensions to the facility. It "had an ascent, several side altars and a large main altar with four horns" and was used until "Roman times", "of course with changing objects of worship". Excavators suspect an earlier sanctuary under the cult site, which at the time of Jeroboam I already had an area of ​​45 × 60 meters, but of which no archaeological traces could be found. “The system includes an 18-meter-long platform made of large, lined-up stone blocks and a number of cult objects such as oil lamps with seven wicks, pithoi (large containers decorated with a snake pattern), stands for incense vessels, a container filled with animal bones, clay and faience figures and a sunk basin lined with sloping basalt slabs. "

“In Tell Dan, Avram Biran's successor, David Ilan, recently found a record that was probably part of the place of worship. The bronze plaque from the 8th century BC Chr. Represents a standing Assyrian deity on a bull and could originally have been a kind of pectoral or standard. The bronze does not come from the time of Jeroboam, but from the century after him. But it clearly shows that there was a cult in Dan even long after Jeroboam, in which the bull (calf) played a role. "


  • Juha Pakkala:  Jerobeam I .. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (Hrsg.): The scientific Bibellexikon on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff.
  • Avram Biran: Biblical Dan, Jerusalem 1994.
  • Andreas Späth: A biblical-archaeological tour of the sermon on 1 Kings 12.33 - 13.33. Jeroboam - a short picture of life with archaeological highlights , in: S. Grosse; R. Mayer; W. Schlichting; H. Seubert: "Jeroboam once sacrificed ..." Heresy - revolt of the zeitgeist against God's order , Ansbach 2013, pp. 83–97. ISBN 978-3-9814303-6-3
  • Andreas Späth: Jerobeam I of Israel - a short life picture with archaeological highlights Part I , in: DIAKRISIS, No. 2/2015, 36th year, pp. 122–128.
  • Andreas Späth: Jerobeam I of Israel - a short picture of his life with archaeological highlights Part II , in: DIAKRISIS, No. 4/2015, 36th year, pp. 240–250.
  • Klaus Dorn:  Jerobeam I .. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 3, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2 , Sp. 55-60.
  • Georg Hentschel : 1 Kings. Echter, Würzburg 1984. ISBN 3-429-00904-9
  • Peter van der Veen: Jerobeam , in: Calwer Bibellexikon , Calw 2003, Sp.642b.
  • Ernst Würthwein: The Books of Kings. The first book of kings, chapters 1-16 (ATD 11.1). Göttingen 2 1985. ISBN 3-525-51151-5

Web links

Commons : Jeroboam I.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Rechenmacher: Old Hebrew names, Münster 2012, p. 83.127.
  2. Cf. BU Schipper, Israel and Egypt in the time of the kings. The cultural contacts from Solomon up to the fall of Jerusalem, in: Orbis biblicus et orientalis Volume 170, Freiburg (Switzerland) - Göttingen 1999, p. 193.
  3. Schipper 1999, p. 129f.
  4. A. Späth: Jeroboam I of Israel - a short picture of life with archaeological highlights Part I, in: DIAKRISIS, No. 2/2015, 36th year, p. 128.
  5. See A. Späth (2013), p. 93.
  6. Späth 2013, p. 92.
  7. A. Biran: Biblical Dan, Jerusalem 1984, p. 228, quoted from A. Späth (2013), p. 93.
  8. A. Späth (2013), p. 93.
  9. Late 2013.
  10. U. Zerbst, An Altar for the Golden Calf, in: Studium Integrale Journal, 6th Jhg., Issue 1 1999, p. 47; quoted from A. Späth (2013), p. 92.
  11. A. Späth: Jeroboam I of Israel - a short life picture with archaeological highlights Part II, in: DIAKRISIS, No. 4/2015, 36th year, p. 246f.
predecessor Office successor
Solomon King of Israel
926–907 BC Chr.