Translation commentary on 1 Kings 12:29

The verbs translated set and put are indeed different in Hebrew. The meaning of the second verb is more often translated “gave.” But the two terms seem to be synonymous in meaning and may therefore be translated in the same way if necessary. The selection of Bethel and Dan was not accidental. They had long been considered to be sacred places (Gen 12.8; Jdg 17–18). Bethel was a town located approximately 16 kilometers (about 10 miles) north of Jerusalem. It was on the southern edge of the newly established northern kingdom. The town of Dan was on the northern boundary (see the comments on 1 Kgs 4.25). New Living Translation expresses the implicit meaning of south and north well by saying “He placed these calf idols at the southern and northern ends of Israel—in Bethel and in Dan.”

Quoted with permission from Omanson, Roger L. and Ellington, John E. A Handbook on 1-2 Kings, Volume 1. (UBS Helps for Translators). New York: UBS, 2008. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .