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Verses 1-19



Rehoboam was inaugurated as king at Shechem. Jereboam who had gone to Egypt for fear of King Solomon, hearing of Solomon's death, returned to Israel. The tribes of Israel had some respect for this capable leader, and asked him to intercede for them to Rehoboam. Thus Jereboam and others with him came to Rehoboam, telling him that Solomon had laid heavy burdens on them and asking him to lighten this severe bondage so that they would willingly serve him (vv.3-4).

Rehoboam asked for three days to consider this (v.5), then consulted with the elders who had served in Solomon's court. They rightly advised him to be kind to the people, thus treating them with respect and consideration, and assured him that the people would respond to gladly serve him. Rehoboam could well afford to show such kindness, for he had inherited great wealth from his father.

However, he rejected the wise counsel of men of experience (v.8) and instead accepted the foolish counsel of the young men who had grown up with him. They told him to give the men of Israel a crushing reply, "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but 1 will chastise you with scourges" (vv.10-11).

On hearing so harsh a reply from the king, it is not surprising that the people immediately rebelled, saying, "What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse" (v.16). Thus they declared their immediate separation from Judah, a separation that has never been repaired and never will until the Lord Jesus returns to Israel at the end of their Great Tribulation.

In futile ignorance Rehoboam sent his head tax collector to demand revenue from these Israelites, but they stoned him to death. Then Rehoboam realised the rebels were not merely bluffing, and he quickly drove in his chariot to Jerusalem (v.18). lest he should suffer the same fate as his servant.

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