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And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth ° day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

12:32 sacrificing unto the calves. There had been a precedent in Israel for using golden calves to represent Jehovah, for their first high priest, Aaron, had long before done the same (Exodus 32:4), persuading the people that this Egyptian cult with which they had been familiar was just an alternate way of worshipping God. Jeroboam had recently spent time in Egypt (I Kings 11:40), and was again impressed with this cult as a means of luring the already doubting Israelites (doubting because of the many pagan religions promoted by Solomon for his wives) away from having to go to Jerusalem to worship. This device would appeal also to their pagan neighbors.

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