2 Chronicles 10 (NLT)
The Northern Tribes Revolt
Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king.
Thus the Davidic dynasty continues: David, to his son Solomon, to his son Rehoboam. It is interesting that although Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines, Rehoboam is the only son of his mentioned by name in the Bible.
2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. 3 The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and all Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. 4“Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”
They asked for change. But sadly, not a word for change regarding all the idolatry going on under Solomon.
5 Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”
7 The older counselors replied, “If you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers.
Poor Rehoboam, foolish son of the wisest man on earth! Do you know foolish people like this? They consult you and you give them sensible, wise advice. But it isn’t what they wanted to hear, so they go to someone else, and someone else again — until at last they find someone who will tell them what they want to hear, which is often neither sensible nor wise. Or another angle — have I too often been the foolish person who refuses good advice?
9 “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”
10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”
15 So the king paid no attention to the people.
Rehoboam was a fool. Ironically, his father Solomon worried about losing all he worked for under a foolish successor: Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19)
This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
“Notice also, dear friends, that God is in events which are produced by the sin and the stupidity of men. This breaking up of the kingdom of Solomon into two parts was the result of Solomon’s sin and Rehoboam’s folly; yet God was in it: “This thing is from me, saith the Lord.” God had nothing to do with the sin or the folly, but in some way which we can never explain, in a mysterious way in which we are to believe without hesitation, God was in it all.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
16 When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,
“Down with the dynasty of David!
We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
Look out for your own house, O David!”
So all the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.
So the United Kingdom becomes the Divided Kingdom. The larger portion, the ten tribes that seceded, are from now on known as Israel, or the Northern Kingdom. The two tribes that remain with Rehoboam are smaller in geographic area and known as the Southern Kingdom. Those two loyal tribes are Judah (the family of David-Solomon-Rehoboam) and Benjamin (the land in which the city of Jerusalem is located). Since Judah was large and Benjamin was tiny, they all end up going by the name Judah.
18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the labor force, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death.
A costly example of the king’s immaturity and lack of understanding.
When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.
What a foolish man, Rehoboam! And to go with today’s foolishness, HERE is “My Foolish Heart,” written in 1949, and sung by Tony Bennett with accompaniment by Bill Evans.
“There’s a line between love and fascination . . . “
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.