After Israel split in two, Jeroboam, first king of the northern tribes set up gold calf shrines. Apparently, he didn't want his people of Israel going back to Jerusalem's Temple to worship. For if the northerners got too friendly with the southern tribe of Judah, they might want to reunite under a king from David's family.
Excerpt from 1 Kings 13 1-6:
PROPHET PREDICTS KING WILL SACRIFICE PAGAN PRIESTS
King Jeroboam went to the altar at the golden calf shrine at Bethel to burn some incense as a sacrificial offering. But a man, prompted by the LORD, had come up from Judah to criticize the pagan shrine.He spoke directly to the altar there.“Bad news for you, altar! I’ve got terrible news for you, and this comes from the LORD. A son is coming from David’s family—a boy named Josiah. He’s going to offer sacrifices here. But he’ll be sacrificing your priests who serve on hilltop shrines. They won’t be burning incense anymore. They’ll be burning. And they’ll leave behind a pile of their bones. Here’s how you’ll know the LORD has sent this message. This altar will get torn down. And the ashes of sacrifices burned on it will get thrown out as trash.”When the king heard that, he pointed at the man of God and said, “Arrest him!” But when the king stuck out his hand, it was bent up, withered, and paralyzed. He couldn’t even pull it back in.The altar collapsed and its ashes poured out onto the ground—exactly the sign the man had given.
The king said to the man, “Ask your God to fix my hand and make it like it was before.” So the man did, and the LORD did. The king had his good hand back.