2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 10
The Division of the Kingdom.
THE DEMAND OF THE NORTHERN TRIBES. — V. l. And Rehoboam went to Shechem, one of the chief cities of the northern tribes and almost in the center of Canaan; for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king. Cp. l Kings 12. V. 2. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, after the prophet Ahijah had promised Jeroboam the position as king of the northern tribes, 1 Kings 11, 40, heard it, received information of this move to make Rehoboam king, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt. V. 3. And they sent and called him, the people of the northern tribes had sent him word, because he was an influential man. and because some of them may have known of Ahijah's promise. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, stating the conditions under which they would accept him as their king, v. 4. Thy father made our yoke grievous, by heavy taxes and by other burdens which he had deemed necessary for his ambitious plans, although they had redounded to the welfare of the nation as such; now, therefore, ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, reducing its pressing burden to some extent, and we will serve thee. V. 5. And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. He wanted time to consider their proposition from every angle. And the people departed. V. 6. And King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon, his father, while he yet lived, tried and experienced counselors, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? V. 7. And they, out of the fullness of their ripe experience, 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. It is doubtful whether the northern tribes would have remained loyal even with this soft answer returned to them, but at any rate it would have taken from them every pretext for separation. V. 8. But he, inexperienced, imperious, and tyrannically inclined, forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, having always been surrounded with the pomp, power, and luxury of magnificent court life and therefore regarding the common people as a herd for bearing burdens, that stood before him. V. 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? V. 10. And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, in the arrogant manner which he evidently liked, 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, a contemptuous repetition of the people's demand; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. V. 11. For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, loading a very grievous burden upon them, I will put more to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, figuratively speaking, but I will chastise you with scorpions, a whip with many thongs, whose ends were weighted with sharp points, used for punishing slaves. It is a blessing to a country if its ruler surrounds himself with experienced, trustworthy counselors, who will give the best advice at the right time. But woe to the land whose ruler chooses men as counselors who are out of touch with the needs of the country!
THE REVOLT OF ISRAEL. — V. 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. V. 13. And the king answered them roughly, in a violent and haughty manner; and King Rehoboam, headstrong as he was, forsook the counsel of the old men, v. 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. V. 15. So the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was of God, He it was that arranged matters in this manner, that the Lord might perform His word which He spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, 1 Kings 11, 29. The weakness and inexperience of Rehoboam, his utter want of common sense, and his judicial blindness was made use of by the Lord in bringing upon the house of Solomon the punishment for the latter's idolatry. V. 16. And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, stubbornly refusing to listen to their appeal, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David, the dynasty of Judah? And we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to your tents, O Israel! And now, David, that is, the house of David, the reigning family of Judah, see to thine own house! It was a quiet, but determined declaration of withdrawal, showing the scorn and derision which the people of the northern tribes felt for the foolishness of Rehoboam. So all Israel went to their tents, thus accomplishing the rebellion with all quietness. V. 17. But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, including the Simeonites and the tribe of Benjamin, Rehoboam reigned over them. v. 18. Then King Rehoboam, apparently unaware of the seriousness of the situation and of the accomplished revolt, sent Hadoram, that was over the tribute, his chief tax-gatherer; and the children of Israel, to show that they were in dead earnest, stoned him with stones that he died. This occurred while Rehoboam was still staying in Shechem. But King Rehoboam made speed, he used all energy, to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem, since the seriousness of the situation now finally dawned upon him. V. 19. And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day, to the time that the account was written from which our author took his information. Note: Tyranny is usually followed by disintegration. Mark also: The sins of men are acts of their perverted will, yet God often makes use of the situations due to men's perversions, in the natural course of events, to carry out His plans.