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 Israel,

and, in clearest accord with its post-captive and prophetic objects, abides

uninterruptedly by that of the sacred dynasty of Judah. The kings are in

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 Egypt and Assyria. The longest reigns of the twenty

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 Babylon, after seeing his sons slain, and

having thereupon his own eyes put out. After him them was no more a king

in Judah. It will be obvious that, if the years marking the duration of the

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

Jerusalem, as B.C. 587. Some chronologies quote these dates, however,

B.C.. 975-588. Side by side with these preliminary notes respecting Judah,

it may be stated that the initial and final dates for the separate kingdom of

the ten tribes, Israel, with their nineteen kings, were B.C. 979 (975) to the

date of Samaria taken, B.C. 719, or (as some would date the overthrow of

Israel) B.C. 722 or 721. It need scarcely be said that, if forty years are

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 Israel come to

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 Jerusalem and all Judaea) Rehoboam, now somewhat

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

from “all Israel.” Rehoboam. Solomon’s son by Naaraah; an Ammonite

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

on the part of Ephraim and Israel were well enough known, and had to

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

Shiloh, near to it, was the ancient seat of the national worship. It was

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

Mediterranean. It was the half-way resting-place, at the end of the second

day’s journey, for travelers from Galilee to Jerusalem, and hence bore the

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

articleShechem,” by Dr. Hackett, in Dr. Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ vol. 3. pp.

1234-1240, is of exceptional interest. All Israel. No doubt this expression

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

be represented as one demanded or occasioned by the attitude of Israel, in

the lesser comprehension of the name.

 

 

The Coronation of a King (v. 1)

 

  • THE PERSON OF THE MONARCH. Rehoboam, the man “who

enlarges the people,” a name upon which his subsequent history was a

satire.

 

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

decease.

 

  • THE SCENE OF THE CORONATION. Shechem.

 

Ø      A spot of rare beauty. Eighteen hours distant from Jerusalem, and

situated at the foot of Mount Gerizim, in the mountain range of Ephraim

(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

beautiful spot in Central Palestine” (Stanley, ‘Sinai and Palestine,’ pp. 233,

234).

 

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

the conquest of Canaan had been completed, and made a covenant with

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. Stanley speaks of it as having

been the custom, even after the erection of Jerusalem into the capital, to

inaugurate new reigns at Shechem, citing as a modern parallel “the long

continuance of Rheims, the ancient metropolitan city of France, as the

scene of the French coronations’’ (‘Sinai and Palestine,’ p. 239); but, as

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

was Jerusalem, the metropolis of the entire kingdom, just as when they had

acknowledged David’s sovereignty (II Samuel 5:1) they came to

Hebron, at that time the capital of Judah. Besides, Rehoboam had already

been crowned at Jerusalem, and in that act the northern tribes should have

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

fusion with Judah was not so complete as, after seventy-three years, it

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

abstained from the national gathering at Jerusalem, and summoned

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).

 

  • THE GIVERS OF THE CROWN. All Israel The ten tribes as

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.

 

  • LESSONS:

 

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 in Egypt,

whither he fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam

returned out of Egypt.  3 And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all

Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,  In these verses the compiler brings

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 refuge-retreat in Egypt

(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

all Israel (of our first verse) “had sent and called him” Probably the

growing sense of discontent and the rankling in those tribes that were not

closely breathing the atmosphere of Jerusalem and the one home county,

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 Egypt to Jeroboam; and that sending and his returning

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. Stanley’s faith in

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)

 

  • THE EXILE’S STORY.

 

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

engaged in building Millo, and closing up the breach in the city of David

(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

felt humiliated at being obliged to work in the capital of Judah, or being a

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” (‘Ant.,’ 8:7.8).

 

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

withdrawing from the land, and seeking refuge in Egypt under the scepter

of Shishak (see on ch. 12:2).

 

  • THE EXILE’S RETURN.

 

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

to Egypt to resume his emancipation work until Rameses II. was dead

(Exodus 2:23). Joseph could not return from Egypt with Mary and

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;

Josephus, Ant.,’ 8:8. 1), was probably the medium through which he

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)

to have returned from Egypt ex proprio motu (of one’s own accord), and to

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

yet in Egypt, to return to his native land; the second while he lingered

at Zareda, to come to Shechem.

 

Ø      Its object. Whether of his own accord, or in obedience to the summons

of the tribes, Jeroboam returned from Egypt; his ulterior aim, there can be

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

every memory.

 

 

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

have them:

 

  • STARTING FROM DIFFERENT ENDS OF THE SOCIAL SCALE.

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.

 

  • MEETING MIDWAY IN THEIR CAREER. When they looked one

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.

 

  • CHALLENGED TO MAKE A CHOICE ON A CRITICAL OCCASION.

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

revolution.

 

  • DISAPPOINTING THE HOPES OF THEIR BEST FRIENDS.

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

his kingdom;

o       the other led Israel into shameful and ruinous APOSTASY!

 

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

itself.

 

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:

 

  • THE LEGACY OF BRILLIANCE. “Thy father made our yoke

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.

 

  • THE WISDOM OF CONTEMPLATION AND CONSULTATION.

“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.

 

  • OUR TRUE COUNSELORS. These are:

 

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.

 

16 “And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto

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 Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So

all Israel went to their tents.”  What portion have we in David? (see II Samuel

20:1). To your tents, O Israel; i.e. there is nothing more to be done here; all may

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 Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah,

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. Israel would not have revolted but that

Jeroboam was of Ephraim, and Judah would not have remained steadfast

but that, with other determining influences also, to Judah belonged

Rehoboam and Solomon and David.

 

18 “Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and

the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king

Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.”

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

Israel in solemn assembly, and, after holding conference with them, to have

his officer and ambassador scornfully stoned to death, and then to betake

himself to his chariot with all speed and flee to Jerusalem, — this was a

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.

 

  • THE SOURCE OF IGNOMINY. What is it that brings men down to

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

mancomes 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

shame.

 

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).

 

  • THE AVOIDANCE OF IGNOMINY. If we would not be put to

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

commendation.

 

19 “And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.”

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 history of Israel

(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:

 

  • OF THE SURE WORD OF GOD. The forewarning, “Thou shalt surely

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.

 

  • THE ERRING UNCERTAINTY FIRST, AND THEN THE

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,

what follows:

 

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,

unexpected accession.

 

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:

 

§         kindness,

§         justice, and

§         God,

 

to serve:

 

§         self,

§         folly, and

§         time present.

 

  • THE INFINITE RISK OF MISCHIEF IRREPARABLE THAT

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 kingdom of God is one;

o       the Church of God is one;

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 Bethel and Dan, instead of Jerusalem without compare.

 

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)

 

  • A REASONABLE REQUEST PREFERRED (vs. 3-4)

 

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

from Egypt to Babylon, must be conceded.  (Let us, in this 21st century

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

prosperity.

 

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

was not that of the house of Joseph alone, but of “all Israel;” and that

the circumstance of Judah and. Benjamin refusing to back it up is not

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

there been in Israel’s history such a critical “three days,” unless, perhaps,

the three days’” start on leaving Egypt (Exodus 8:27-28), or the three

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,

not for Israel alone, but for the world, Almost always dangerous, delay was

in this case disastrous.

 

  • A GOOD COUNSEL REJECTED (vs. 6-8.)

 

Ø      The kings 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 kings best course. “The accumulated wisdom of the Solomonic era

recommended concession, The old counselors gave just such advice as

might have been found in the Book of Proverbs” (Stanley). They advised

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

Wales’s crest.

 

Ø      The kings 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

what Israel ought to do” (I Chronicles 12:32), Rehoboam was “a

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.

 

  • AN EVIL POLICY ADOPTED (vs. 9-11.)

 

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.

 

  • A DIVINE COUNSEL FULFILLED (v. 15.)

 

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

mysterious.

 

  • A NATIONAL REVOLT CONSUMMATED (vs. 16-17.)

 

Ø      With popular enthusiasm. “All Israel,” with the exception of those

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

Israel (II Samuel 20:1) expressed the people’s sense of wrong in being

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

Israel was an accomplished, most likely a permanent, fact. Mounting his

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

KINGDOM!

 

  • LESSONS.

 

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

advisers.

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 understanding.”
        Geo. Herbert.  Jacula Prudentum.

 

  [After a long search (for this passage) for the purpose of deciding a bet,

some gentlemen of Cambridge found it among the fragments of Euripides,

where it is given as a translation of a Greek iambic.  Malone’s Note to

         Boswell’s Johnson.]

 

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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