1 Kings 12:6-16
12:6 Then King Rehoboam [Solomon’s son; did evil in the sight of the Lord during his 17 year reign] consulted [Rehoboam wisely sought advice to determine the best course of action] the elders [men who understood the complexities of ruling a kingdom; these men realized the people had a valid complaint] who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer [read 12:3-4] these people?” he asked.
12:7 They replied [their advice reflected a wealth of experience and knowledge; the elders were aware of the growing resentment under Solomon’s reign], “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”
12:8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men [as opposed to “the elders” in 12:6] who had grown up with him [indicates limited experience and knowledge] and were serving him [Rehoboam had quickly enlisted his friends to serve in his administration].
12:9 He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke [used figuratively to refer to hardship and burden] your father [Solomon] put on us’?”
12:10 The young men who had grown up with him replied [these young men urged Rehoboam to rule by fear and force rather than by concern and service; their advice expressed ambition, greed, and indifference for the well being of the people], “Tell these people who have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter’—tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist [proverb emphasized that Rehoboam’s weakest measures would be stronger than his father’s sternest measures].
12:11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions [a reference to metal-spiked leather lashes].’”
Note: What are ways we can weigh advice carefully? What principles guide you in evaluating advice? What factors influence you as you listen to advice and decide on a course of action?
12:12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said [cf. 12:5], “Come back to me in three days.”
12:13 The king answered the people harshly [refers to action that can be cruel or stubborn]. Rejecting the advice [to ease the people’s burden, even at the expense of revenues for the king and his court] given him by the elders,
Note: What makes advice godly? Godly advice…
• has a concern for people
• guides us in ethical and moral paths
• encourages us to lead through service
• focuses on bringing glory to God
(Source: ETB Adult Leader Guide, Spring 2003, p. 84)
12:14 he followed [the king chose to act on the bad advice] the advice [advice that was brash, selfish, and callous] of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged [the term used to beat a slave] you with whips; I will scourge [use of this word indicates that Rehoboam saw the people as slaves] you with scorpions.”
12:15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
12:16 When all Israel [“all Israel” a reference to northern tribes] saw that the king refused to listen to them [Rehoboam destroyed in one moment what David and Solomon had built over a period of 80 years], they answered the king: “What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son [rhetorical question that declares they were severing all ties with Judah (the tribe of David)]? To your tents, O Israel [a call for the leaders of the northern tribes to return home]! Look after your own house, O David [a way of telling Rehoboam he could reign over Judah, but not over them]!” So the Israelites went home.
1 Kings 12:26-28
12:26 Jeroboam [the Northern Kingdom’s first king; made Shechem his capital; read the words of Ahijah the prophet concerning Jeroboam in 11:29-31] thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David [David still recognized as a great national hero; Jeroboam feared that the people would change their minds and accept Rehoboam as king].
12:27 If [Jeroboam, unsure of how firmly he was in control, began to think of an unpleasant scenario] these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”
12:28 After seeking advice [the source of the advice he sought is unspecified], the king [Jeroboam established a new place of worship and new symbols to use in worship] made [Jeroboam’s actions were politically motivated and designed to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship; Jeroboam interested in self-preservation] two golden calves [this was a violation of God’s commandments in Ex. 20:4-6; one calf was set up in Bethel in the south (located ten miles north of Jerusalem) and Dan in the north (north of the Sea of Galilee) as per 12:29; Jeroboam sowed the seeds of evil and idolatry that would eventually result in the fall of the Northern Kingdom (cf. 2 Kings 17:21-23)]. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods [a violation of the first and second commandments], O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt. [cf. Aaron’s words in Ex. 32:4]”