First Kings 12:25-33 provides an account of how Jeroboam I set out to establish the official religion of the North following ancient Israels division. Consideration of Jeroboams selected locations for cultic sites, his choice of bull-calf statues, and the formula recited reveals that Jeroboam did not institute novel practices in the official religion he sought to establish for the northern kingdom. Rather, he looked to ancient and accepted practices, thus playing the role of restorer rather than innovator. While this discussion may contribute to an apology for Jeroboam, the primary goal is an attempt at understanding his actions.
William R. Baker
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Joni Sullivan Baker
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