II Chronicles 10
This chapter begins the fourth and last great division of the work once
called in its unity, “The Chronicles.” This fourth and last division,
therefore, will see us to the end of our ch. 36., where we find, by an
historical anticipation of above fifty years, the memorable proclamation of
Cyrus, which authorized the return of the captive Jews, and sanctioned the
rebuilding of the temple. This stretch of history, divided in our Authorized
Version into twenty-seven chapters, covers, therefore, a period of about
four hundred and fifty years; it ignores almost totally the career of
and, in clearest accord with its post-captive and prophetic objects, abides
uninterruptedly by that of the sacred dynasty of
number twenty, beginning with Rehoboam, ending with Zedekiah, of
whom, however, the last four can be credited with but little semblance of
independent authority, for they were the alternate vassals of the rival and
antagonistic powers of
were those of:
· Manasseh (55 years, B.C.. 697-642);
· Uzziah or Azariah (51years, B.C. 809-758);
· Asa (41 years, B.C.. 959-918);
· Jehoash (40, B.C. 878-838);
· Josiah (32 years, B.C 640-609);
· Hezekiah (29 years, B.C. 726-697);
· Amaziah (29 years, B.C.838-809);
· Jehoshaphat (25 years, B.C. 918-893); and
· Rehoboam (17years, B.C. 979-962). The last of the mournful procession was
· Zedekiah, who was mocked with the title for 11 years (B.C.. 598-587).
In the dates of this chronology, though slight differences are found, there is little
room for variation when once the initial and, in consequence, final dates are fixed.
The line of succession is hereditary throughout, and almost entirely of strict lineal
descent, i.e. from father to son, if we except, first, the interruption caused by the
Queen Athaliah, mother of her predecessor Ahaziah; secondly, Joash, her
grandson and successor, who was son of Ahaziah; thirdly, Jehoiachim (so
named by the King of Egypt, but formerly named Eliakim), who was
brother of his predecessor Jehoahaz; and, fourthly, Zedekiah (or
Mattaniah), who was the paternal uncle (II Kings 24:17) of his
predecessor Jehoiachin, and who was put on the throne by
Nebuchadnezzar, against whom he in due time rose in rebellion, and by
whom he was sent captive to
having thereupon his own eyes put out. After him them was no more a king
succeeding reigns be summed up, we shall obtain too large a result, as they
often or always overlapped one another, and, of course, did not fall into
exact years. The initial date we take as B.C.. 979, and the final date at the
end of Zedekiah’s eleven years, culminating in the destruction of
B.C.. 975-588. Side by
side with these preliminary notes respecting
it may be stated that the initial and final dates for the separate kingdom of
added for the reign of Solomon, and forty years for that of David, we shall
be conducted to the date of either B.C.. 1059 or 1055 as the beginning of
the Davidic royal line, and may count the duration of that royal line as
numbering about 472 years. An interesting table, showing some slight
differences of date, may be found in pp. 53, 54 of the second edition of
Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible.’
The verses of this chapter, nineteen in number, correspond with those of
I Kings 12:1-19. They so correspond as to convince us that both
writers took from one original, or, at any rate, one former source. But they
are particularly instructive also in another direction. Our vs. 2 and 3 are
in order, and quite intelligible. Vs. 2 and 3 of the parallel are not so, and
convince us either that the carelessness of copyists was more than usual
(even when our Authorized Version “of it” is cancelled) or, which is a by
far less acceptable supposition, that the carelessness of the compiler or
writer was great. Though these two lengths of nineteen verses each so
closely correspond as to show both indebted to one former source, they
also evince clearly that neither writer absolutely bound himself by the exact
words of his pattern, but took the meaning, and slightly altered, so to say,
grammar and syntax of sentences.
1 “And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all
make him king.” This verse would have been far better placed last in the
previous chapter, but now, left without note of time, it purports to tell us that
(whereas by the last clause of the previous chapter “Rehoboam reigned in
his” father Solomon’s “stead,” and had been presumably accepted as his
heir and successor in
later on, repairs to Shechem (the ancient capital, and the prized position of
the high-spirited tribe of Ephraim) to receive some final recognition as king
princess (I Kings 14:21, 31). Eurydemus may be considered as a close
reproduction in Greek of the Hebrew name Rehoboam. To his son Abijah,
by his favourite wife Maachah, who was the third of the wives that
belonged to the house of Jesse, he bequeathed the kingdom. Wanting any
positive Scripture statement of the matter of Rehoboam going to Shechem,
we believe the explanation given above is the most probable, and that it
was not any designed stroke of policy, with the view of conciliating or
flattering Ephraim. Though no formal statement of it be made here, yet it is
quite intelligible that the opinions, feelings, and readiness to express them
the part of Ephraim and “
be reckoned for. Shechem. For many reasons one of the most interesting
geographical names in all the Old Testament. It was the ancient capital, as
situate in Ephraim, with Ebal to the immediate north, and Gerizim to the
immediate south. Its upper slopelands (its position on which is possibly the
origin of the name, שֶׁכֶם, “a shoulder” commanded a view of the
day’s journey, for travelers from Galilee to
name in later times, it is thought, of Mabertha, or Mabartha (מַעֲבַרְתָּא),
Pliny’s Mamortha. Vespasian subsequently named it Neapolis, the modern
Nablous. The Authorized Version synonyms of Shechem appear as Sichem,
Sychem, Sychar (John 4:5, 20). In post-Captivity times, a new temple
on Gerizim was the cathedral of Samaritan worship, which was leveled by
John Hyrcanus, B.C. 129. Jacob’s well is a half-mile south-east, and
Joseph’s tomb two miles east (Joshua 24:32). Almost every one of the
references to Shechem are of great interest on one account or another, and
to turn to each of them in order is to read the Scripture narrative of the
place. The leading references are subjoined (Genesis 12:6; 33:18-19;
34:1-31; 35:1-4. 37:12, 28; 43:22; 49:5-7; Deuteronomy 27:11; Joshua
20:7; 21:20-21; 24:1, 25, 32; Judges 9:34-45; 21:1; II Kings 17:5-6, 24; 18:9;
I Chronicles 6:67; 7:28; Ezra 4:2; Jeremiah 41:5; John 4:5; Acts 7:16; 8:5). The
article “Shechem,” by Dr. Hackett, in Dr. Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ vol. 3. pp.
1234-1240, is of exceptional interest. All
may mean even here the assemblage of the federated twelve tribes.
Considering the immediate recurrence of the expression in v. 3, it must
be, however, that the Jeroboam party of the ten tribes (headed by the
strong and self-conscious Ephraimites) are especially in view; in point of
fact, of course, all the twelve tribes were represented in the gathering of
v. 1. There can be no division of opinion about this, though the meeting
represented as one demanded or occasioned by the attitude of
the lesser comprehension of the name.
The Coronation of a King (v. 1)
enlarges the people,” a name upon which his subsequent history was a
Ø The child of a heathen mother. This was Naamah, the Ammonitess
(ch. 12:13; I Kings 14:31), a daughter of the last Ammonite king, Hanun,
the son of Nahash (I Chronicles 19:1, etc.). Rehoboam probably
suffered in character and constitution from his taint of heathen blood.
Ø The son of a distinguished father. Judged at the worst, Solomon was a
great king, no less renowned for administrative faculty than for wisdom
and wealth. The first two, it is clear, do not pass from sire to son by the
law of heredity. A man may bequeath money to his son, but he is helpless
in the matter of intellectual wealth. A king may hand on crown and throne
to his descendant, but he cannot communicate capacity to rule.
Ø The heir of an extensive empire. The sovereignty of the undivided
kingdom and of all the tributary princes fell into his hands on his father’s
Ø A spot of rare beauty. Eighteen
hours distant from
at the foot of
(Judges 9:7) — the modern Nablous, near the site of the ancient
Shechem, “is the most beautiful, perhaps it might be said the only very
spot in Central Palestine” (
Ø A scene of inspiring memories. Patriarchs had pitched tents and erected
altars there (Genesis 12:6-7; 33:18-20). Thither Joshua had convened
the princes and elders, the heads and representatives of the people, when
them, setting them a statute and ordinance — so practically constituting
Shechem the first capital of the ]and (Joshua 24:1, 25). There Joseph’s
bodes were consigned to a sepulcher in the parcel of ground which Jacob
had bought of Hamor for a hundred pieces of silver (Joshua 24:32).
There, on the two mountains which overlooked the valley, Gerizim and
Ebal, had been placed the blessing and the curse as commanded by Jehovah
(Deuteronomy 11:29-30; Joshua 8:31, 33). There also the first attempt,
though unsuccessful, at king-making had been made (Judges 9:1).
Ø A locality unauthorized for coronations.
custom, even after the erection of
inaugurate new reigns at Shechem, citing as a modern parallel “the long
the French coronations’’ (‘Sinai and
Rehoboam’s is the only coronation that took place at Shechem (in addition
to the above-mentioned crowning of Abimelech), one example, or even
two, can hardly be said to constitute a custom. The proper place for
carrying out such a second coronation as the northern tribes contemplated
acknowledged David’s sovereignty (II Samuel 5:1) they came to
taken part. That they stood aloof and claimed for themselves a right of
either acquiescing in or repudiating the sovereignty of Rehoboam shows, if
not that they still had a right of free election to the crown, at least that their
might have been. Their intention, probably, was to acknowledge
Rehoboam as king, but at the same time to assert their freedom by insisting
on his compliance with certain demands and conditions. Hence they
from the national gathering at
Rehoboam to a new assembly at Shechem to receive their fealty as if they
were a separate empire. “It was a significant hint to Rehoboam, if he had
properly understood it” (Ewald).
distinguished from Judah and Benjamin, which had already taken the oath
of allegiance to the son of Solomon (ch. 9:31). The northern tribes,
from the time of David’s accession to the throne of Saul (II Samuel 2:4),
when they adhered to the scepter of Ishbosheth, Saul’s son (ibid. v.10),
had asserted a semi-national independence; this again, after having lain
in abeyance for the greater part of a century, suddenly flamed up, and
gave ominous outlook of trouble to the young prince.
Ø Kings’ crowns oftentimes conceal thorns.
Ø Those thrones are most stable which rest on the free choice and
affection of subjects.
Ø Those peoples are best ruled whose sovereigns by their lives show
they have been enthroned BY GOD!
2 “And it
came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was
whither he fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam
returned out of
up lost time. He has not mentioned before the name of Jeroboam, just as he has not
mentioned the lustful sins of Solomon that led to idolatry, and these sequel idolatries
of his, that heralded the shattering of his kingdom immediately on his decease.
So we are now told all in one how Jeroboam, in his
(I Kings 11:26-40), “heard” of Solomon’s demise, and apparently (see
first clause of our third verse) heard of it in this wise, that “they,” i.e. the
growing sense of discontent and the rankling in those tribes that were not
closely breathing the atmosphere of
because of their burdens and taxation, and possibly also Ephraim’s ancient
and famed rivalry, knew instinctively that this hour of Solomon’s death was
the hour, if any, of their redemption. The interval in the history speak for
themselves; for though the tribes, after the long seething of their complaining
and sufferings, needed but short time for deliberation, Solomon’s
death must have been an accomplished fact before they (whoever the
“they” were) sent to
or otherwise, at any rate his hearing and consequent returning, must have
taken time. Considering all this, it is remarkable that no note of time is
found. But had only our first verse been placed as the last of the foregoing
chapter, the ambiguity would have been less. For the strange variations on
the history of Jeroboam (a name, together with that of Rehoboam, new to
Solomon’s time, meaning “many-peopled,” while Rehoboam signifies
“increaser of people”), as found in the Hebrew texts, and additions to it,
see the Septuagint Version, I Kings 11:43; 12:24; and A. P. Stanley’s
article, “Jeroboam,” in Dr. Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 1. 979, 980; and
comp. again I Kings 11:26-40; 12:25; 14:13, 17-18.
the Septuagint notwithstanding, its variations and additions are not
reconcileable enough with either the Hebrew text or themselves to
command anything like unfeigned acceptance. One thing may be
considered to come out without much obscurity or uncertainty — that
Jeroboam was the acknowledged rather than tacit leader of an opposition
that was tacit at present rather than acknowledged; nor is it at all
improbable, under all the circumstances, that the Rehoboam party in,
knowing well how the ground really lay, were as content to let the
coronation, so to call it, at Shechem linger awhile for Jeroboam’s return, as
Jeroboam’s opposition party out desired and perhaps compelled the delay.
Of course, Jeroboam knew well, none better than he, as of old the overseer
of the forced labor and taxation of Ephraim (I Kings 11:28; 9:15),
how grievous the service and how heavy the yoke to his people, even when
he had acquitted himself as the most “industrious” of taskmasters.
The Recall of an Exile (v. 2)
Ø His name. Jeroboam, “whose people are many;” the son of Nebat. His
father was an Ephrathite of Zareda, in Ephraim; his mother a widow
(I Kings 11:26) — which may mean either that he had been born in unlawful
wedlock (Septuagint), or that his father had died while he was young, leaving
him to be brought up by his widowed mother (Josephus).
Ø His character. Courageous and industrious, “a mighty man of valor”
(Judges 6:12; 11:1), and a man that did work (Proverbs 22:29) —
two qualities befitting youth, and almost certain to bring temporal success
in their train; two qualities that should never be absent from Christians,
who are specially commanded to “add to their faith virtue, or courage”
(II Peter 1:5), and to “be not slothful in business” (Romans 12:11).
Ø His promotion. Just when Jeroboam came to manhood, Solomon was
in building Millo, and closing up the breach in the
(I Kings 9:15). For these purposes Solomon raised a levy of workmen,
not of the Hittites, Amorites, etc. (here, ch. 8:7), but of Israelites,
who worked by courses of ten thousand a month (I Kings 5:13; 9:15);
or imposed certain burdens in connection with those works which required
to be borne by the Israelites. Discerning Jeroboam to be a capable youth,
of spirit and energy, Solomon appointed him overseer or governor of all
those Israelites employed in or about the works who belonged to the house
of Joseph, i.e. who were Ephraimites.
Ø His incipient rebellion. Serving in this office, he began to commune
with his own thoughts about raising a revolt. Either as an Ephraimite he
humiliated at being obliged to work in the capital of
youth of aspiring mind he was not content with the elevation suddenly
thrust upon him, and wished to climb higher; but in any case, when the
“mood” was on him, an incident occurred which, chiming in as it did with
his own aspirations, pricked the sides of his intent, and bore him onwards
in his dangerous career of ambition. That incident was his meeting with
Ahijah the Shilonite, who told him that Jehovah intended to wrest ten tribes
from the Davidic kingdom and give them to him, Jeroboam (I Kings 11:29).
A perilous communication for a youth like Jeroboam to carry about
with him! Josephus states that it prompted him “to persuade the people to
forsake Solomon, to make a disturbance, and to bring the government over
to himself” (‘
Ø His precipitate flight. His treason having come to the king’s knowledge,
he was obliged to save himself from well-merited execution by suddenly
from the land, and seeking refuge in
of Shishak (see on ch. 12:2).
Ø Its date. When Solomon was dead. A king’s life is sometimes a
kingdom’s best bulwark against revolution. So long as Solomon lived,
insurrection under Jeroboam was impracticable. Yet a king’s life may be
the greatest barrier to the progress of a good work. Moses could not return
Joseph could not return from
Jesus until Herod was dead (Matthew 2:19).
Ø Its occasion. The invitation of the northern tribes (v. 3). This,
addressed to Jeroboam while at the court of Shishak (I Kings 12:2;
learned of Solomon’s decease. Not necessary to hold that it was only
dispatched to Jeroboam after the tribes had assembled at Shechem (Bahr),
since it may easily have been sent immediately on Solomon’s death,
between which event and the gathering at Shechem twelve months
intervened. Jeroboam, however, is commonly supposed (Bertheau, Bahr)
have been residing with his wife and child at Zareda or Sarira, when
summoned to Shechem. The suggestion (Keil) is probably correct that
two invitations were addressed to Jeroboam — the first while he was
at Zareda, to come to Shechem.
Ø Its object. Whether of his own accord, or in obedience to the summons
tribes, Jeroboam returned from
little question, was to further his own ambitious projects.
4 “Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat
the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us,
and we will serve thee.” The grievous servitude… heavy yoke. These may,
for conciseness’ sake, be supposed to correspond with the naturally enough
hated “forced labor” (I Kings 4:6-7; 5:13-16; 11:27-28) and the
burdensome “taxes” (ibid. vs.19-28) which had not failed to become
more odious to the people as familiarity with them grew. The refreshing
New Testament contrast to all this (Matthew 11:28-30) will occur to
Two Young Men (vs. 1-4)
These two young men, Rehoboam and Jeroboam — for we may regard
them as such, though the former was forty years old when he began to
reign — may be viewed together, as they were brought together, and may
furnish us with some useful suggestions for the guidance of our life. We
Rehoboam born in the palace, born to the purple, surrounded with every
luxury, accustomed to the utmost deference, expecting the greatest things.
Jeroboam commencing his career almost at the bottom of the scale, losing
his father when quite young, obliged to work hard to sustain his widowed
mother, obtaining employment as a workman in connection with one of
King Solomon’s works, with “no prospects” in life.
another in the face at Shechem, what was it that each saw in the other?
Probably the king’s son saw in the son of Nebat a man who was clothed in
presumption, who had forgotten his position, who was entertaining a
daring and criminal purpose in his heart. And probably Jeroboam saw in the
enthroned monarch a man who was unfitted for his post, unequal to the
strain that would be put upon his powers, a feeble man who would prove
an easy prey to his own designs. No kindly feeling, we may be sure, shone
in the eyes of either prince or subject as they confronted one another that
day at Shechem.
Rehoboam was now called upon to decide definitely what policy
he would pursue in his administration — whether that of leniency
and popularity, or that of stringency and force; whether he would “rule by
love or fear.” Jeroboam had, at this point in his life, to decide whether he
would adopt the safe policy of continuing in retreat, or the bold and
venturesome one of heading a national revolt, and being either crushed
beneath the feet of authority or raised to the height of a successful
Singularly enough, the names of both these men signified “enlarger or
multiplier of the people;” they pointed, probably, to the hopes of their
parents concerning them. But though they both occupied the throne, and
one of them rose to a much higher position than could have been
anticipated at his birth, both men failed:
o in the sight of God and
o in the estimate of the wise.
o The one by his folly estranged and lost the greater part of
the other led
Ø Be not much affected by social position; very great advantages in this
respect will not carry us far along the path of true success; without
CHARACTER their value will soon expire. On the other hand, great
disadvantages may be overcome by industry, energy, patience, virtue.
Ø Be prepared to make the decisive choice, whenever the critical moment
may come. We cannot be sure when this will arrive, but there will come an
hour — there may come more hours than one — when a decision has to be
taken by us on which the gravest consequences, to ourselves or to others,
will depend. Shall we then be equal to the occasion? Shall we be prepared
to speak the wise word, to choose the right course, to take the step that
will lead upward and not downward? This will depend on the character
that we shall have been forming before that time comes. If we shall have
been neglecting our opportunity and misusing our privileges, we shall then
be found wanting; but if we shall have been gathering wisdom at every
open source, we shall be able to speak, to act, to decide as God would
have us do, as we shall afterwards thank God we did.
Ø Aspire to fulfill the best hopes and prophecies of younger days. We may
have a name, a reputation, to uphold. Our parents and teachers may be
looking for good and even great things from us. Let us be earnest and
eager to live such a life, that not only shall there be no painful
discrepancy between the hope and the reality, but that there shall be a
happy and satisfying correspondence between the two.
5 “And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And
the people departed.” This first reply of Rehoboam was not necessarily
inauspicious. Yet sometimes, as it proved now, the caution that takes time to
consider heralds fatal mistake. This is when either a generous, instinctive
impulse, asking an instantaneous obedience, is chilled by some self-regard;
or yet worse, when the offended Spirit is restrained, and no inner guiding
voice is heard, as Saul found, to his ruin.
6 “And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood
before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel
give ye me to return answer to this people?” The old men who had stood
before Solomon his father while he yet lived. The first practical step now taken
by Rehoboam, if he delay at all, is the right and far from inauspicious step.
O si sic omnia (Oh would that all had been done or said thus) that
followed after! The “old men” here spoken of, and not before distinctly
spoken of, need not necessarily be regarded as professional advisers of
Solomon, nor as a privy council of state; they may designate those of like
age with him, or but little his juniors, and with whom he had chiefly
associated for his own society.
7 “And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please
them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took
counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that
stood before him. 9 And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may
return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease
somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?” Rehoboam was now
(I Kings 14:21; here, ch. 12:13; but compare ch.13:7) forty-one years of age; he
was just too old to find any excuse for inability to gauge either the experience, and
value of it, of the “old,” or the inexperience, and foolishness of it, of the immature
human heart. According to the modern phrase, he was just ripe to have known and
bethought himself of this. But all rashly Rehoboam casts the die. The sound
judgment, real knowledge, opportune and practical advice of the “old
men,” uttered evidently off so kind a tongue, should have been indeed now
“as good as an inheritance; yea, better too” (Ecclesiastes 7:11, margin).
The reading of the parallel is well worthy to be noted (I Kings 11:7),
with its manifestly pleasantly and skillfully worded antithesis, “If thou this
day will be a servant to this people… then they will be thy servants for
ever.” Our words, however, have their own exquisite beauty about them, If
thou wilt be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good
words to them. One might fancy that Saul, and David, and Solomon, and
angels themselves bended over the scene, and looked and listened and
longed for wisdom and love and right to prevail. The young men that had
grown up with him. While this expression throws light as above on that
which speaks of Rehoboam’s old men counselors, it wakens the question
how men of forty-one years of age can be called “young,” as Rehoboam
was not living in patriarchal aged times. And the question is emphasized by
the language applied to Rehoboam in ch.13:7, where he is described as
“young and tenderhearted,” and unable, for want of strength
of character and of knowledge, to “withstand vain men” (as he surely
shows too clearly now). It has been suggested (‘Speaker’s Commentary,’
2:562, Note C) that כא (21) should be read for מא (41) in the two
passages quoted above (I Kings 14:21; here, ch.12:13). The
suggestion seems good, and it is certainly reasonable for the
requirement of both matter and manner. (Could not the problem be that
Rehoboam was half Ammonite? CY -2016)
10 “And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him,
saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying,
Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us;
thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my
father’s loins. 11 For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will
put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will
chastise you with scorpions.” Language perhaps never spoke more clearly what
was in man. And it spoke in this case the mad infatuation of insolent temerity
12 “So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third
day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.”
It may be worth observing that the history is silent of what of
hope and fear or other thought and feeling transpired with Jeroboam and
his party these three critical days of suspense, as also it was so silent as to
what transpired with them during the three days, three weeks, three
months, before the first interview with Rehoboam at Shechem.
13 “And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook
the counsel of the old men, 14 And answered them after the advice of the
young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto:
my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
Roughly; i.e. Rehoboam had not “heard the instruction of a father,” and had
been an ill pupil indeed of him who wrote and taught, “A soft answer tumeth
away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
The Legacy of Brilliance (vs. 4-14)
We have here:
grievous” (v. 4). No man ever had a nobler opportunity than Solomon
had. His father handed to him a united nation, a country whose enemies
were subdued, the kindly and helpful shadow of a great name and a
beloved disposition and an illustrious career. He was endowed by God with
great talent and surpassing wealth. He had before him an object of
honorable ambition, which would be acceptable to Heaven and gratifying
to his subjects. But, instead of pursuing the path of usefulness and the prize
of a people’s gratitude, he aimed at overwhelming splendor. And what did
he gain by his pursuit? Forty years of selfish gratification, not undimmed
(we may be sure) by many cares, disappointments, difficulties, in his home
(or harem) and in his court; and when he died he left a kingdom less
compact, a dynasty less secure than he found when he took the reins of
government from his father David. All his brilliance ended in a popular
sense of injury, in a general consciousness that the people had been
weighted with needlessly heavy burdens, with a store of suppressed
popular discontent ready to burst out and blaze forth at the first
opportunity. Brilliance is a very fascinating thing, whether it be on the
throne or in parliamentary government, or in the courts of law, or in
business, or in the school. But what is its end? To what issues does it lead?
Usually it conducts:
Ø to poverty,
Ø to serious error,
Ø to discomfiture,
Ø often to a CATASTROPHE!
But, where brilliance breaks down and is ruined, steady and
conscientious faithfulness, under the guidance of heavenly wisdom, will
succeed — will lead on to a real enrichment, to a lasting safety, to an
honor that may be accepted and enjoyed.
“He said… Come again unto me after three days And he took counsel”
(vs. 5-6). It is, indeed, true that no good ultimately came of this delay
and this consultation. But that was because Rehoboam consulted the
wrong men. He did well in asking for time and in appealing to others at this
critical juncture. Supposing that this demand took him by surprise, nothing
would have been more foolish than to have given a reply offhand. A
remonstrance is very likely to excite anger in the first instance, and no wise
man will come to an important decision when he is out of temper. It is in
the hour of complete self-control that we should settle grave matters
affecting our destiny. Moreover, we do well to take the judgment of
others. It was due to the nation that his father’s wise statesmen should be
asked for their advice in a great national crisis. It was due to himself that
his inexperience should secure the inestimable advantage of their ripe
sagacity. It is always due to ourselves that we get the additional light which
can be gained from an impartial judgment. No man can possibly look at his
own affairs in a perfectly pure atmosphere; no man can take an entirely
unbiassed view of his own temporal interests. Men who look from outside
see what we cannot possibly see, and their counsel is sure to be worth our
consideration. “The physician who prescribes for himself, or the lawyer
who advises himself, has a fool for his patient or for his client.” This saying
will hold good in every department of human action. Take time for
thought, and invite the frank and full counsel of your true friends.
Ø They who have had an opportunity of knowing. The young men whom
Rehoboam consulted could have given him very good advice on some
subjects, on those that belonged to their period of life — athletics,
fashions, etc.; but of statesmanship what could they tell? We should take
care to consult those who know, who have learned in the best schools.
Ø They who give us frank rather than palatable counsel; who will tell us
what they believe to be for the best, rather than that which will humor
our own fancies.
Ø They whose counsel makes for peace rather than for strife. There are
times when the wisest will be for war, but in nine cases out of ten the true
Christian advocate will urge conciliation and concord.
15 “So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of
God, that the LORD might perform His word, which He spake by
the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.”
So the king hearkened not… for the cause was of God…
His word, which He spake by… Ahijah (see, as before, I Kings 11:29-31,
also 9-39). Rehoboam hearkened not, as Pharaoh hearkened not,
but hardened his heart. The Divine word foretold, as the Divine mind
foreknew, the inevitable course of the stream, that took its source in and
from Solomon’s faithless heart and life. Solomon “being dead yet” bears
his full share of the responsibility of what Rehoboam was, and shortly came
to show he was. Everything must fall out as God foretells it shall fall out,
not because “the cause is from Him” in this sense that He has made it, but in
the sense that He has pronounced it, through knowing it with an absolute
knowledge. It were but a thing to be expected also, that just in the measure
that the Bible is the Word of God, it shall exhibit and pronounce plainly the
phenomena of His own ultimate fiats, rather than linger to track or describe
the uncertainties of human morality or conduct. Let but that result appear,
which God has with His sure and abiding Word declared, and the practical
attitude and language of Scripture are that it is vain to fight against it; for
the thing is of God. It was known of Him and said of Him. And it carries its
punishment or its recompense in it, as of Him. It will be noticed, again, how
our compiler refers to the incident of Ahijah, as though he had recorded it,
which he had not done.
them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we
in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every
man to your tents, O
20:1). To your tents, O
as well go home. The use, and especially repeated use, of the names,
David, Jesse, David, plainly speaks tribe rivalry, if not jealousy.
17 “But as
for the children of
Rehoboam reigned over them.” To the tribe of Judah the family of David
belonged. There was less inclination on this ground, to begin with, among them
to go to the length of revolting. Though they too are pressed with burden and
taxation, yet royal expenditure, residence, magnificence, are all near them, and
are some solarium doubtless to them. God said that this tribe and (as is
abundantly evident from Ahijah’s forcibly dramatic parable of the rent
garment) Benjamin also should be saved to Rehoboam and for ever to
David’s line, and again it is evident that He works in the midst of human
event, and moral cause and effect.
Jeroboam was of Ephraim, and
that, with other determining influences also, to
Rehoboam and Solomon and David.
18 “Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and
the children of
Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot,
to flee to
Hadoram that was over the tribute … stoned him… Rehoboam made speed…
to flee. Hadoram was perhaps the same as Adoniram, son of Abda (I Kings 4:6; 5:14),
but on the arbitrament of age this is less likely, and certainly it is very unlikely that
he was one with Hadoram of II Samuel 20:24. Rehoboam must be supposed to have
sent Hadoram either to make some “tribute” summons, or try some
arrangement respecting it, or respecting conciliatory steps. The reception
he met warns Rehoboam to make the quickest escape possible, and no
doubt opens his eyes fully to what he has done. It was the remanet of his
delusive self-confidence to send this collector of taxes to those who had
begged some remission of taxation.
Ignominy, Its Source and Its Avoidance (v. 18)
For the son of Solomon and the grandson of David to meet the tribes of
his officer and ambassador scornfully stoned to death, and then to betake
himself to his chariot with all speed and flee to
pitiable illustration of human ignominy (public shame). We almost pity the
abject prince for his misery as much as we blame him for his folly.
such dishonour? It is:
Ø When they assume a position to which they are not entitled; when they
take a higher place than they can fairly claim, and the “more honorable
man” comes in to supplant them, and they “begin with shame to take the
lower place” (Luke 14:9). An assumption of social or literary or
ecclesiastical superiority, unwarranted by the facts, must sooner or later
end in an ignominious surrender.
Ø When they undertake a task for which they are unfitted. The son of
Gideon wisely shrank from the act of execution for which his immaturity
rendered him unfitted. “As the man is, so is his strength,” said he. Youth
must not undertake the task of manhood, nor ignorance that of learning,
nor inexperience that of trained and proved ability, nor mental feebleness
that of intellectual vigor, nor moral frailty that of spiritual strength. Else it
will sustain an ignominious fall.
Ø When they adopt a course which should have been scrupulously
avoided. What could have been the result of such insensate folly as that of
which Rehoboam had just been guilty but this ignominious flight? When his
far stronger father had incensed the citizens by heavy and burdensome
taxation, what a ruinous mistake it was for him to declare that he would go
even further than Solomon himself had gone in this direction! To take a
course which conflicts with men’s natural rights, or which kindles their just
indignation, or which wounds their keen susceptibilities, is to invite
dishonor to our door; it is to robe our own shoulders with the mantle of
Ø When we credit ourself with a character which we have not gained;
when we assume that we are in spirit and in principle what in truth we are
not, that we have moral qualities which we really do not possess; — in this
case, the dishonor that awaits us may come either in this world or the next.
o We may be found unable to resist the temptations which we encounter,
and our lamentable failure may expose us to the rebuke and the
condemnation of man (see Acts 5:1-11; 13:13; 15:38; II Timothy 4:10).
o We may find ourselves rejected and expelled on THE GREAT DAY
OF JUDGMENT! (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:44-46).
shame by our fellow-men or by the Divine Judge, we must do these things:
Ø Study until we know ourselves; examine our hearts until we know what
is in them — what is the spirit we are of, what are the principles at the root
of our behavior.
Ø Be content with the position and the work which our heavenly Father
has assigned us (see Psalm 84:10; 131:1).
Ø Make continual and earnest supplication that God will reveal us to
ourselves (Psalm 19:12; 39:4; 139:23-24). Then, instead of an ignominious
retreat, our path will be that of the just, shining more and more; we shall
advance from honor to honor; God Himself will crown us with His Divine
Unto this day. So our compiler of Captivity and post- Captivity date
transcribes the literal words of his copy.
A Notable and Very Mournful Instance of Lacking Wisdom
through not Asking of God (vs. 1-19)
The compiler of the Chronicles, in the pursuit of the special objects which
he had in view, feels that he need lose no time in details, or in parts of the
whole history, which were to be found elsewhere, but which were less
important to his own object. The fifteenth verse of this chapter supplies us
with an instance of this, its reference to Ahijah the Shilonite finding full
explanation in the fuller parallel (I Kings 11:29-40). Our own
familiarity with the mournful history and mournful needlessness of the
schism, and the method in which it was brought about, which is the subject
of this chapter, seems to lose for us nothing of that same mournfulness.
Men may make use of the contents of this portion of the
(as of other portions of Holy Scripture, which seem to trench on the
unfathomable depth of the doctrine of God’s election and fore-ordination)
to find their (ever very easily found) theoretic difficulties, as unconcealedly
suggested by the words of the above-quoted fifteenth verse. But it remains
the same, that the election and the fore-ordaining of One who foreknows,
and whose word of prophecy is as sure as the word of any other being
after the event, are altogether different phenomena, different facts from
what they otherwise should seem to be. Still, the central mystery must
needs remain, before which we wonder, exercise faith, and silently adore,
or we should not be creatures in the presence of the Creator. The history of
this crisis of the nation highly favored reminds us:
die,” was not more truly fulfilled than the forewarning made now, not a
century and a quarter ago, that the nation that would have an earthly king
would come to find, not its gain therein, but its loss. The dicta of revealed
religion (for such both of the above forewarnings may be justly styled) are
great, simple, and eternal for man. And from instances on a universal scale,
and then on a national scale, are we, as individuals, mercifully, most
forcibly, and most graciously admonished.
CERTAIN ERRINGNESS OF THE MAN WHO FAILS TO MAKE
GOD AND RIGHT, DUTY AND TRUTH, HIS SWORN GUIDE.
Ø High place,
Ø high office,
Ø high responsibility,
these give the prominence which is needed to enforce the example of such
truth. The deviation is not more real than in the humblest, lowliest life, but
it is more conspicuous. Let us note, as circumstances bearing on the case,
Ø Rehoboam must have had some forewarning of the place to which he
was to come. Solomon’s was not a sudden death, nor his son’s a sudden,
Ø Rehoboam must have had some acquaintance with the severity of the
oppression and servitude of the people as a whole, and probably some
anticipation of the likelihood of the representations, which in fact they
made to him, of their experiences.
Ø These representations, and the manner in which they were brought
before Rehoboam, were far from unreasonable.
Ø Rehoboam, to all appearance, is disposed to begin by acting wisely. He
will wait three days before replying. He will utilize that interval by asking
the advice of the experienced. He asks it; it is given, and given rightly.
Ø There can be little doubt that it was at this point that self and self-will
showed themselves in Rehoboam. Perhaps he had already heard, already
knew, the feeling and the reckless bias of the younger men — for it is
significantly said they were of those who had been brought up with him,
and who were his chief associates now — or otherwise, if his own
inclination and will were strong enough of themselves, he did not lean to
the judgment of the old men, and hoped for different advice from the
younger men, though it were but the merest prop to his own wish. He asks
their advice, and is flattered and is glad that it leaps with the thought of his
own brave and bravado spirit! In this show of right-doing, in this
superficial wisdom, so different from that special wisdom noted in his
father, one fatal defect existed. He asked the advice of the old. That it
might not be said he asked the advice of one class alone, he asked the
advice of the young also. But he did not ask the advice of God, he did not
pray for the direction of God. And his foot slipped; he stumbled and fell,
and that fall was great. Two things were wrong with even his earthly
wisdom. To ask the advice of the young at all was a mistake, and to a great
extent even a contradiction in terms. For inevitably they were wanting in
the experience which was necessary to draw upon for advice. To ask the
advice of the young, after having asked and received that of the aged, was
a greater mistake. It looked like a sham and a delusion, and a self-deception,
and a craving after self-deception; and such it was. It was an
affront to common sense, an insult to his own conscience, and a sop
thrown to self — that enemy which is often, very often, a man’s worst,
very worst enemy! Rehoboam asked advice of those persons who he knew
wouldn’t be above giving the advice which he wanted. So he, indeed, easily
got what he wanted. So it may be said again God permitted him to have
what He saw he was bent on having, as He permitted the people and nation
to have, some hundred and twenty years before, the king they were bent on
having. But he lived to rue the day, and rueing it still ever, he died. An
unreasonable, a cruel, and a brutally insolent answer alienated once and for
ever the hearts, service, and lives of the larger part of the people from their
king; but a king who had disentitled himself. A very few days and he was a
fugitive (v. 18), though to his own capital — that capital one lamentably
dismembered in its provinces. So stumble and, so fall, sooner or later,
those who set at naught:
§ justice, and
§ folly, and
§ time present.
LURKS IN THE INTEMPERATE SIN, THE INTEMPERATE
TEMPER, OR, PUT GENERALLY, THE INTEMPERATE ACTION,
OF MEN IN AUTHORITY, BY REASON OF THE EASY EXCUSE
FOR SCHISM, THE FACILE THOUGH SUPERFICIAL DEFENCE OF
IT, THEREBY OFFERED TO THE VERY LIPS OF THOSE WHO
ARE, OR OUGHT TO BE, UNDER THEIR AUTHORITY, AND WHO
OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE REMAINED IN HAPPY
UNQUESTIONING SUBORDINATION TO THAT AUTHORITY.
The illustration and instance of this here is patent and glaring. The disaster
was enormous. The long-trailed consequences were mournful, melancholy,
miserable. The fault and sin of the ten tribes or their representatives are
undeniable. Their sweet reasonableness of yesterday and three days ago is,
unfortunately, not simply blown to the winds or evaporated into thin air —
worse by far, it is converted into a determined breaking loose from some of
the holiest bonds wherewith it is the mercy of Heaven to bind on earth:
o the people of God are one.
Disguise it as laxity of creed may, disguise it as laxity of practice may,
disguise it as the great ancient or even greater modern cleavages of
apostasy may, the calamity is of the nature of an avalanche alike of faith
and of good works, and ever buries beneath its disastrous debris, not
bodies but souls innumerable, and of immeasurable worth.
o Hence the golden calves, instead of the One only Object of worship,
without image or likeness.
o Hence priests of the lowest life, i.e. without the credentials of devotion,
love, Divine call and appointment.
o Hence, instead of the one altar, many, but these rended, their ashes
poured out to the ground, and incense a rejected abomination, and
all the long-drawn sequel of WOE:
§ untraceable by human eye,
§ irremediable by human power.
Does not the world take more loss from the dissensions of the Church
than all the Church takes from the united enmities of the world?
The Loss of a Kingdom (vs. 3-19)
Ø A public grievance stated. The northern tribes, through Jeroboam,
complained to Rehoboam that Solomon had made their yoke grievous.
Whether this was true or not has been much debated.
o That it was largely used as a pretext to justify their subsequent
behavior is not without support. In the first place, it was put forward by
tribes already disaffected, and through the medium of one who had
formerly shown himself a traitor. Then, that Solomon, in making a
from levy of his subjects for carrying on his numerous buildings, was only
acting in accordance with the custom of Oriental monarchs generally
not think that we as the Church, or as individual Christians, need
to be like the world. Is it not bringing the same results as Solomon
produced? CY – 2016) Besides, it may be assumed that no more
oppressive tasks were laid on the northern than on the southern tribes,
none of which complaint was heard. Further, if heavier burdens
than before were placed upon the people by Solomon, that was
largely inevitable from the magnificence of his court and the extensive
building operations demanded by the safety as well as glory of the
kingdom. And finally, if the people were heavily burdened under
Solomon, they still enjoyed considerable advantages of peace and
o In support of the assertion made by the tribes, attention may be called
to the facts that neither Rehoboam nor his counselors denied, but
rather both undisguisedly admitted, its truth (v. 11); that the complaint
that of the house of Joseph alone, but of “all
sufficient to demonstrate its falsehood.
Ø A measure of relief demanded. “Make the heavy yoke of thy father
lighter.” Not only was this reasonable, but it should, have been a point in
their favor, that they sought redress for their grievance by the peaceful
method of conference rather than by immediately resorting to the sword.
Instead, however, of granting their request, Rehoboam temporized, put
them off, asked for three days to consider the matter, promising at the end
of that time to give them a definite and final answer. Never before had
“the three days’” start on leaving
days’ preparation for the conquest (Joshua 1:11). The issue of this
“three days’” deliberation on the part of Rehoboam was momentous.
According as it should be should likewise be the after-course of history,
in this case disastrous.
Ø The king’s aged advisers. It argued some sense on the part of
Rehoboam that he first solicited advice from the experienced statesmen of
the kingdom, and the privy counselors of his late father — perhaps for a
moment he was of opinion that “days should speak, and multitude of years
should teach wisdom” (Job 32:7); it proved him possessed of little sense
that he closed his ears against their prudent suggestions (Proverbs 23:9).
Ø The king’s best course. “The accumulated wisdom of the Solomonic era
recommended concession, The old counselors gave just such advice as
have been found in the Book of Proverbs” (
acquiescence in the popular demand. They urged the king to win the
people by kindness. The beautiful antithesis of the Book of Kings, “If thou
wilt be a servant unto this people, and wilt save them… then they will be
thy servants for ever” (I Kings 12:7), is here lacking, but the
sentiment is the same. The aged senators believed that kindness held the
key to the human heart, and that “a soft answer turneth away wrath”
(Proverbs 15:1; 25:15) as much in nations as in individuals; they knew
that one must often stoop to conquer, and that he who would be served by
others should ever exhibit a readiness to serve others (“Therefore all things
whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:”
Matthew 7:12); nay, that the true function of a king is to serve his people —
a thought happily expressed by the Ich dien (I serve) of the Prince of
Ø The king’s consummate folly. “He forsook the counsel of the old men.”
Had he not been a fool, for whom wisdom is too high (Proverbs 24:7),
in whose eyes his own way is always right (ibid. ch.12:15), and who,
as a consequence, “walketh in darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:14), he might
have discerned that the situation was critical, that rebellion was in the air,
and that the old experienced statesmen of the last reign were the only pilots
competent to steer the ship of state through the breakers. Unlike the men
of Issachar, who were men that had “understanding of the times to know
strong ass” (Genesis 49:14):
o impatient of control and
o incapable of guiding either himself or others.
Some men never see the right thing to do until it is too late.
Ø Its proposers. “The young men that were grown up with him” — either
the statesmen of the new reign whom Rehoboam had appointed from
among his own companions, or young courtiers who had danced
attendance on his person while heir-apparent to the crown, and now clung
to the steps of the throne in the hope of preferment. Though afterwards
spoken of as young (ch. 13:7), Rehoboam was at this time
over forty years of age.
Ø Its proposals. Not concession, but coercion, should be the order of the
day. Their complaints should be silenced, not removed. Their appeal for
lighter service should be answered by a heavier yoke. For Solomon’s whips
they should have Rehoboam’s scorpions. Other rulers besides Rehoboam
have tried to still the complaints of their subjects by more and heavier
oppression; e.g. Pharaoh (Exodus 5:15-19), and the Stuarts of England,
not to mention others.
Ø Its pursuance. Rehoboam hearkened to the counsel of the young men,
and at the close of the stipulated three days answered Jeroboam and his
co-deputies “roughly,” in the terms put into his mouth by his hot-headed
advisers. “It was the speech of a despotic tyrant, not of a shepherd and
ruler appointed by God over His people” (Keil). It undid in a moment the
work of centuries. It shattered the kingdom which David’s sword and
Solomon’s wisdom had built.
Ø The Divine purpose. The division of the kingdom. Foretold by Ahijah
(I Kings 11:31), the hour had struck for its accomplishment. Jehovah
doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the
inhabitants of earth (Daniel 4:35). Yet all the free actions of men have
their places in His world-embracing plan. Man’s actions may seem
subject to chance; God’s purposes are not. What He determines
HE CAN EFFECT! (Romans 4:21)
Ø The Divine instrumentality. The foolishness of Rehoboam. Not that
Rehoboam was under any internal or supernatural compulsion to act as
he did any more than were Pharaoh (Exodus 14:4; Romans 9:17) and
Judas (Matthew 26:25) to act as they did. Simply, Jehovah decreed to
permit Rehoboam’s folly as a means of furthering His own designs.
Divine sovereignty and human freedom are not contradictory, though
Ø With popular enthusiasm. “All
members of the northern kingdom who dwelt in Judaean cities, joined in
the cry, “What portion have we in David,” etc.? The unanimity of the
movement showed that it was not without ground.
Ø With fierce indignation. The cry which had once before been heard in
cast off by Rehoboam, treated no longer as free subjects, but as conquered
slaves. It proclaimed the deep-seated contempt they now cherished for the
son of Jesse, as they now designate the dynasty of David.
Ø With implacable resentment. “Struck by the king’s words as by an iron
hammer, and grieved at them,” the people rejected his friendly overtures
for reconciliation conveyed through Hadoram. If this was the son of
David’s tribute officer (II Samuel 20:24), he must have been at this time
an old man about eighty. Hence he was probably the Adoniram, son of
Abda, who was over the levy (I Kings 4:6). Though not likely that he
advanced towards the people with a small force as if to enforce submission
(Bertheau, Ewald), but rather that he approached them alone (Josephus), a
more unfortunate selection of one to act as ambassador could scarcely have
been made. Most likely one of the older counselors who recommended
moderation, Hadoram was yet the man who was “over the tribute,” i.e.
was the tax-collector of Rehoboam, and as such could hardly fail to be
obnoxious to the angry multitude. Regarding him as an enemy, they sprang
upon him with murderous fury: “they stoned him with stones till he died,”
thus inflicting on him a death usually reserved for traitors and blasphemers.
This was the one dark spot which marked what would otherwise have been
a bloodless revolution.
Ø With final decision. The murder of his plenipotentiary convinced
Rehoboam that the opportunity for parley was over, that fair speeches
would no longer suffice to quell the insurrection, and that the revolt of
chariot in haste, and with alarm for his safety, the king who had come to
Shechem to obtain a crown returned to Jerusalem, having LOST A
Ø The danger of oppression (Ecclesiastes 7:7).
Ø “In the multitude of counselors is safety” (Proverbs 11:14), only
when all are wise (ibid. ch.12:5), and he who is counseled is not a
fool (ibid. v.15).
Ø He that hesitates is lost — exemplified in the case of Rehoboam.
Ø The rashness of youth — shown in the second company .of the king’s
Ø Quem dens vult perdere prius dementat. Whom the Lord wishes to
ruin, He first deprives of reason.
Quem deus vult
perdere, prius dementat.
Boswell’s Johnson, 1783.
Translated.—Whom the Lord wishes to ruin, he first deprives of reason;
or, “When God will
punish, He will first take away the
Geo. Herbert. Jacula Prudentum.
[After a long search (for this passage) for the purpose of deciding a bet,
some gentlemen of
where it is given as a translation of a Greek iambic. Malone’s Note to
In quiet let him perish, for
provident Jove hath deprived him of reason.
Buckley’s Homer. The Iliad, Book IX. Page 161.
[The passage has reference to the condition of one who is advancing
imperceptibly, though surely, to FINAL RUIN!
Kennedy, cited by Mr. Buckley, supra.]
The above taken from: http://www.bartleby.com/77/1212.html
Ø “Better is a wise child than a foolish king” (Ecclesiastes 4:13).
Ø Good men often suffer for the sins of others, and even lose their lives
when working for the good of others — illustrated in Hadoram.
Ø Wicked men would often like to flee from the sight, and much more
from the consequences, of their own wickedness.
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