King Rehoboam promises to be a cruel authoritarian. Israel rejects Rehoboam.
VERSE 1. Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.
VERSE 2. When Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of king Solomon), Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
VERSE 3. They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came, and they spoke to Rehoboam, saying,
VERSE 4. “Your father made our yoke grievous. Now therefore make the grievous service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you.”
Your father made our yoke grievous. The people realize Solomon was a cruel authoritarian.
VERSE 5. He said to them, “Come again to me after three days.” So the people departed.
VERSE 6. King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, “What counsel do you give me about how to answer these people?”
took counsel with the old men. These elders will offer wise advice.
VERSE 7. They spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
VERSE 8. But he abandoned the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.
he abandoned the counsel of the old men. Arrogant Rehoboam ignores the counsel of the wise elders.
VERSE 9. He said to them, “What counsel do you give, that we may give an answer to these people, who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Make the yoke that your father put on us lighter?’ ”
VERSE 10. The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you shall tell the people who spoke to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter on us;’ thus you shall say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist.
The young men who had grown up with him spoke. Arrogant Rehoboam listens to the arrogant yes-men he had surrounded himself with.
They urge Rehoboam to be even more cruel than Solomon.
VERSE 11. Now whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.’ ”
I will chastise you with scorpions. Arrogant Rehoboam promises to be a cruel authoritarian. Another Pharaoh.
VERSE 12. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king asked, saying, “Come to me again the third day.”
VERSE 13. The king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam abandoned the counsel of the old men,
VERSE 14. and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
VERSE 15. So the king didn’t listen to the people; for it was brought about by God, that the LORD might establish his word, which he spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
for it was brought about by God. How do we interpret this phrase?
If we interpret it literally, it means the LORD God is the architect of evil. And that he wants his people to be ruled by evil leaders. And that he is willing for them to suffer terribly.
However, those things do not seem consistent with the character of the LORD God.
If we interpret it figuratively, it means “a bad thing happened, but God used it to bring about good.”
However, that is not the literal meaning of the phrase.
VERSE 16. When all Israel saw that the king didn’t listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, “What portion do we have in David? We don’t have an inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to your tents, Israel! Now see to your own house, David.” So all Israel departed to their tents.
all Israel departed to their tents. The people from other areas went home so they could be outside the jurisdiction of cruel authoritarian king Rehoboam.
VERSE 17. But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
who lived in the cities of Judah. These people fell captive to cruel authoritarian king Rehoboam.
VERSE 18. Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was over the men subject to forced labor; and the children of Israel stoned him to death with stones. King Rehoboam hurried to get himself up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
the men subject to forced labor. That is, “slaves.”
Like his cruel father Solomon, cruel authoritarian king Rehoboam has slaves.
to this day. That is, “as of this writing.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.