Jeroboam in Biblical Archaeology

Shema servant of Jeroboam seal

In 1903, in the ruins of the Biblical city of Meggido, an archaeologist found a seal made of jasper, engraved with the following inscription: "SHEMA SERVANT OF JEROBOAM."

The seal belonged to a servant of one of the early kings of Israel, either Jeroboam I, who ruled shortly after the reign of King Solomon, or Jeroboam II, who ruled at the time of Jonah the prophet.

JEROBOAM I: According to the Bible, because king Solomon began worshiping the foreign gods of his many wives, the Lord took away ten tribes of Israel from his son's rule and placed Jeroboam as king over them. This is recorded in 1Kings 11:29-40:

"Now it happened at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; and he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you '(but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 'because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David.

'However, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes. 'But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and give it to you; ten tribes. 'And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. 'So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 'Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. 'And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.'

Solomon therefore sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt.

The name of this Egyptian king to whom Jeroboam fled, Pharaoh Shishak, has also been found on an inscription that lists the cities he conquered during his invasion of Israel.

Shishak's Kingdom of Judah Karnak inscription

Inscription mentioning Rehoboam's 'Kingdom of Judah" as subject to Pharaoh Shishak

This confirms the Bible in 1Kings 14:25-26: "It happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam (Solomon's son) that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD"


"Go, tell Jeroboam, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: "Because I exalted you from among the people, and made you ruler over My people Israel, "and tore the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it to you; and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes; "but you have done more evil than all who were before you, for you have gone and made for yourself other gods and molded images to provoke Me to anger, and have cast Me behind your back; "therefore behold! I will bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free; I will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as one takes away refuse until it is all gone. "The dogs shall eat whoever belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city, and the birds of the air shall eat whoever dies in the field; for the LORD has spoken!" 1Kings 14:7-11

The reason for Gods great anger against Jeroboam is found in 2Kings 10:29 which states that he built golden calves in the cities of Bethel and Dan and caused the children of Israel to worship idols instead of the one true God.


In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned fortyone years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat (Jeroboam I), who had made Israel sin. 2Kings 14:23-24


'Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house' 1Kings 11:38

Biblical Archaeology

This article on Jeroboam is taken from our 4 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.

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Sources used in compiling data and illustrations for this article:

Shishak - "Kingdom of Judah"Photo Link

Shema Servant of Jeroboam Seal Photo Link

The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God. Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless noted.

Artwork: "Jeroboam Seal" Illustration Copyright © 2000 John Argubright.

Artwork: Illustration of Rehoboam on hieroglyphics from sculpture at Karnak which is inscribed with the words Kingdom of Judah Illustrated in International Cyclopaedia, Volume XV (1892), Author: H.T. Peck, Publisher: Dodd, Mead and Co.

The Revell Bible Dictionary, Author: Fleming H Revell, ISBN 0-8007-1594-2. Pg.550 "Jeroboam seal", Pg.853 (Shishak Inscriptions)

Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov/Dec 1995, Jan/Feb 1994 Pg.29 (Jeroboam seal)

Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 1994 PG.41-43 Pharaoh Shishak,(925 B.C.)

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