After the people rejected the cruel Rehoboam as their king they installed a rebel Jeroboam as their monarch. He ended up ruling over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. The divided kingdom is generally known as Israel (referring to the northern ten tribes), and “Judah” (referring to the southern two tribes of Benjamin and Judah).
Jeroboam was a bad king because he was disobedient to the Lord and led people to leave the God of Israel to worship idols. A succession of unfaithful kings followed, leading the absolute destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.
(1 Kings 12) 20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. 21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
22 But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.
25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel. 26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.