Golden Calves - Part 2



by Garry Maddux

April 16, 2023

Opening Scripture Psalm 49:12-20

12  Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approves their sayings. Selah.

14  Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning, and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

15  But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

16  Be not thou afraid when one is made rich when the glory of his house is increased;

17  For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself.

19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.

20  Man that is in honor, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

Jeroboam became like v18 seeking control and praise of others. He was like the beast that perished. Now let’s look at some scriptures about Jeroboam.


1Ki 21:22  And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger and made Israel to sin. 

2Ki_3:3  Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel sin; he departed not therefrom.

2Ki_9:9  And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah:

2Ki 10:29  Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.

2Ki_10:31  But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel sin.

2Ki_13:11  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.

Amo_7:9  And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

The ten northern tribes were under punishment and eventually, God divorced them.  The wicked kings followed after the sins of Jeroboam.

Like today the modern Israelites are under punishment again. We have also followed the ways of Jeroboam.

After the death of Solomon, the 12 tribes were split (Judah, and Benjamin), and the other 10 northern tribes were. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah and Sechem was the capital of the northern tribes. Jeroboam was made King of the Northern 10 tribes while Rehoboam was the king of Judah.

The story of how Jeroboam came to power:

Solomon clave to mixed women:

1Ki 11:1  But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 

1Ki 11:2  Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go into them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 

Solomon went after 7 other nations and did evil in the sight of God.

1Ki 11:5  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 

1Ki 11:6  And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 

Because of all this, God rends the Kingdom away from Solomon.

1Ki 11:11  Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee and will give it to thy servant. 

Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon had forbidden wives; the 7 races mentioned are all forbidden.

God was angry at Solomon because he not kept God’s covenant and his statutes.

Punishment of kingdom rend away after his sons.

During the later years of Solomons, God was preparing a man to rule over the northern tribes.

Solomon makes Jeroboam ruler over the house of Joseph:

(1Ki 11:28)  And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph.

God sends a prophet to Jeroboam.  Prophet tells Jeroboam he will be King of Israel:

1Ki 11:29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment, and they two were alone in the field:

1Ki 11:30  And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

1Ki 11:31  And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee

If Jeroboam harks to God he will be blessed like David:

1Ki 11:37  And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel.

1Ki 11:38  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.

Jeroboam was selected by Solomon to rule. Jeroboam was a great charismatic leader.  A great leader can influence others and Jeroboam was able to learn how to influence people and make a change.

According to Harvard business school (2020):

 “Leadership is all about influencing people, “The article continues by saying, “Early in your career, you might exercise authority by being the go-to person on a certain subject within your organization, or by actively listening and building consensus among your team. As you advance, you may exert influence by knowing how to articulate the direction you think the company should head in next.”

While this article refers to a business it applies to Jeroboam in his early career he learned how to articulate how a nation should head.

Influence is “the ability to produce effects on other people’s behavior.” Influencing others requires building a strong sense of trust with your colleagues. “This means [you] need to understand the types of resources people value when it comes to achieving safety and self-esteem,” says Harvard Business School Professor Julie Battilana.

Focus on understanding their motivations and encourage them to share their opinions. You can use that knowledge to make a change and show their voice matters (Harvard Business School, 2020)

(Miller, 2022) says, “Charismatic leaders cast a vision that motivates their followers to act on their words. Because they effectively communicate what better future they're working toward and how to make it happen, they see goals get accomplished. Team members need a clear vision to keep the momentum rolling.”

Jeroboam’s influence grew to the point it cause a threat to Solomon. Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam but he fled to Egypt until Solomon’s death.

1Ki 11:40  Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

Jeroboam was a charismatic leader. The people in the 10 northern tribes liked him.  Jeroboam returned and the Kingdom was split:  Rehoboam went to Schemn to be crowned king, however the people wanted and brought back Jeroboam.

Jeroboam meets with Rehoboam:

1Ki 12:1  And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 

1Ki 12:2  And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) 

1Ki 12:3  That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 

Solomon had taxed the people to pay for the temple maintenance.

1Ki 12:4  Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 

God set up the circumstance to divide the two kings.

1Ki 12:15  Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 

Rehoboam took the advice of the young men.

Jeroboam suggested reducing the taxes, which made the people happier.  They did not want to pay the additional 4% above the 10%.  They did not want to support a larger yearly budget for temples and palaces.

The temple cost 120 billion in today’s money.  Solomon taxed the people and wanted more.  He said he was going to double it.  Rehoboam sent a tax collector and Israel stoned him:

1Ki 12:18  Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore King Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 

Jeroboam was made king over the 10 northern tribes. Sent prophet to Rehoboam advising that he not go up against Jeroboam:

IKi 12:24  Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD. 

Under Jeroboam the people were happy.  He went on a building spree:

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

This provided jobs for the people.  Taxes were less than under Rehoboam. Let’s compare the golden calves that Jeroboam later built and the ones at the time of Moses.

The golden calves and Arron:

Exo 32:1  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

People were happy. They had just confirmed they would follow God and his commandments. They had the prospect of going into the Promised Land. They had a leader they feared and trusted Moses.

Then the mixed multitude and others began to complain about their leader.

(Ross 2020) “An important context is that the people who worshipped before the golden calf had personally and recently witnessed some of the greatest miracles God had ever performed. Yet, despite these awesome numerous miracles they had recently experienced, after forty days of Moses’ absence they doubted both the existence of God and Moses. After all, they had seen, experienced and heard; their lack of faith shouts volumes about their spiritual condition.”

A parable about the state of men’s hearts:

Matthew 13:3-9

3  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up because they had no deepness of earth:

6  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8  But others fell into good ground and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

V5 Many fell upon stony places:  this relates to many Israelites who turn away from God’s law, listen to others, and follow after pleasures.

V6 Many had no root and many fell among thorns. This is those Israelites who follow along for fear of others.

The Israelites wanted an idol they could see. They turn away either from persecution or the pleasures of the world.  Modern churches today turn from God’s law and worship idols.

How far have the modern Israelites strayed?

Here is an idol today called the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

Pastafarianism ... a religion in Europe that goes by the name Church of tghe Flying Spaghetti MonsterPastafarianism And The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Crowley, 2020, In an article from Newsweek, Titled, I, Pastafari' Doc Chronicles the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster says, “There's never been a religion more likely to elicit giggles from people once they hear its name than the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster—or Pastafarianism, as its members call it. While the satirical belief system has long been, for some, a go-to smart-aleck response when they're asked about their faith, a new documentary makes the case for the religion’s importance, by focusing on hearings in Europe that are meant to determine whether Pastafarianism qualifies as a real religion.”

This is a sample of modern idols like the golden calves of the Israelites today.

Another story from an Ashbery church service on the 9th of April. The Pastor gave a enthusiastic message about the resurrection of Christ. He then invited the kids to get a basket of Easter candy and then to go outside and see the large display of live bunnies. People today want gods they can see that will give them comfort, happiness, or pleasure.

Now back to Arron:  They threatened Arron. Arron had a riot on his hands as more and more joined the rebellion in wanting gods they could idolize and see.

Arron sought to make a symbol to appease the people until Moses returns. Arron sought to delay things by having the people gather gold. Perhaps the people would see where the gold came from (Egypt) and change their minds.

Exo 32:2  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 

Exo 32:3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears and brought them unto Aaron. 

Calves were chosen because the Egyptians worship cattle. They reminded them of prosperity and the good things cattle represented. God even said he would bless their cattle.

Exo 32:4  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool after hehad made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 

Exo 32:5  And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 

Exo 32:6  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. 

Some commentaries say that the people danced like cattle and were naked. This ended when Moses comes back.

Back to Jeroboam:  Jeroboam was concerned that the people would return to Jerusalem for the feasts to worship God. While at the feast Rehoboam might persuade them to return to him and they would come and kill him. What did Jeroboam do? He made changes.

Lewin's Change Management Model:

This first stage of change involves preparing the organization to accept that change is necessary, which involves breaking down the existing status quo before you can build up a new way of operating.

Key to this is developing a compelling message showing why the existing way of doing things cannot continue. This is easiest to frame when you can point to tangible factors.

To change the Israelites, Jeroboam had to provide why worshiping the golden calves was necessary.

According to Lewin’s Model, he had to break down the status quo and tell them why the existing way of doing things cannot continue.

He provided a persuasive message that all people are equal and the convenience of worshiping at Dan.

1Ki 12:27  If these people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 

1Ki 12:28  Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and 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. 

He told the people these are your gods.

Set up one in Dan.

Set up one in Bethel.

Made priest of the lowest of the people. (all people are equal)

1Ki 12:31  And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 

God was angry: 1Ki 12:30  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

Two things he has done:

1. Worship God a month later with false symbols.

2. Made priests (equal opportunity) equal with all people.

This is why Jeroboam was the evilest of all rulers. Under Jeroboam, no one ate pork.  They kept the laws of God.

Jeroboam did not do anything else evil.  Everyone liked him.

Remember God hates idolatry. Israel is a special people to God. All people are not the same. God punished Jeroboam for these two sins

1Ki 15:29  And it came to pass, when he (Nadab the son of Jeroboam) reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:

Will God punish others for leading people astray? 

The good way to rule

2Ch 17:3  And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; 

2Ch 17:4  But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. 

In closing:

We learned about the sinful ways of Jeroboam.

We compare it to the Golden Calves with Arron.

We looked at how and what Jeroboam did to keep the people under his control.

How did this displease God and brought judgment on the house of Jeroboam?

Finally, we shared what a good ruler should be; keeping the laws of God and his covenant.

Consider whether there is anything in your life that is keeping you from following God’s law and his covenants.

Works Cited

Crowley, 2020, I, Pastafari’ Doc Chronicles the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,

Miller, 2018, Characteristics of an effective leader, Harvard Business School

Miller, 2022, What is Charismatic Leadership?, Harvard Business School,

Mind Tools, (N.D.), Lewin's Change Management Model, Understanding the Three Stages of Change,

Ross, (2020), Why Did God Kill the Hebrews Who Worshipped the Golden Calf?,