25 Jeroboam made Shechem into a strong city. He lived there, in the hill country of Ephraim. He also went to make Penuel a strong city.
26 Jeroboam thought, ‘I do not want the people of my kingdom to accept David's descendants as king again. 27 The people that I rule will go to the Lord's temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices there. Then they may decide to serve Rehoboam, king of Judah, who was their master before. They might kill me and then go back to serve King Rehoboam.’
28 So King Jeroboam talked to his advisors. He used gold to make images of two young cows. He said to the people, ‘It is too difficult for you to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord, as you have done before. So I have made these gold cows for you instead. Look at them, Israelite people! These are your gods that rescued you and brought you out from Egypt.’
29 Jeroboam put one gold cow in Bethel. He put the other gold cow in Dan. 30 But that caused the Israelite people to do a very bad thing. They went to Bethel and to Dan to worship the gold cows.
12:29The Book of Deuteronomy said that each Israelite must go to Jerusalem three times in every year. Jeroboam made other places for them to go to instead. The places were Bethel and Dan. It was easier for most Israelites to travel to Bethel (in the south) and to Dan (in the north).
31 Jeroboam also built places on hills for people to worship. He chose men who were not from Levi's tribe to be priests. 32 He decided to have a festival on the 15th day of the eighth month each year. He wanted it to be like the festival that they had in Judah. He offered sacrifices on the altar in Bethel to the gold cows that he had made. He also chose priests to serve at the places that he built for people to worship.
12:32The festival in Judah was probably the Feast of Huts.
33 On the 15th day of the eighth month, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar that he had made at Bethel. That was the special day that he himself had decided to choose as a festival for the Israelites. On that day, he burned incense on the altar.