1 Kings 12:11
Whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. Whereas my father scourged you with whips, I will scourge you with scorpions.'"
The Accomplishment of the Predicted JudgmentJ. Urquhart 1 Kings 12:1-20
Revolt of the Ten TribesM. R. Vincent, D. D.1 Kings 12:2-20
Revolt of the Ten TribesMonday Club Sermons1 Kings 12:2-20
The Kingdom DividedB. P. Raymond.1 Kings 12:2-20
The Kingdom DividedJ. B. G. Pidge, D. D.1 Kings 12:2-20
Tribal Causes of SchismA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Kings 12:2-20
Israel's Magna ChartaJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 12:6-11
Dangerous Counsellors of James IiMacaulay's England1 Kings 12:10-14
Rehoboam's Foolish AnswerHomilist1 Kings 12:10-14
The Character of RehoboamJ. Young, M. A.1 Kings 12:10-14

The question submitted to Rehoboam at Shechem concerned the constitution of the monarchy. Hitherto there had been no constitution defining the rights of the people and limiting the power of the crown. Rehoboam took three days to deliberate upon the people's Bill of Rights, and in that interval took counsel. The old men who stood before Solomon advised concession, while the young ones, who had grown up with him, recommended resistance. Wisdom was with the ancients.


1. Because it recognises their rights.

(1) The people do not exist for the king. They may be governed as republic without a king.

(2) But the king exists for the people. Where no people are there can be no king.

(3) For a king, therefore, to use the people simply for his own aggrandisement and ignore their rights is preposterous (Jeremiah 2:14).

2. respects their happiness.

(1) Since the people collectively are of more importance than an individual monarch, the haughty bearing of a monarch is out of place. So the sages counselled Rehoboam to "serve" the people and "speak good words to them."

(2) The interests of a good king will be bound up with the happiness of his subjects, and he cannot reasonably object to a constitution that will recognise this community of interests.


1. It encourages his virtues.

(1) It does this by limiting his extravagance. Solomon would have been far happier had his people been saved the charge of building palaces for, and sustaining in state, seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines.

(2) For what would be necessary to sustain his rank a constitutional king might trust the good sense of his people. At Shechem they did not seek exemption from taxation, but relief from its excesses. They knew that it would not be to the credit of a great people to pauperise their prince.

2. It gives stability to his throne.

(1) "They will be thy servants forever." Such was the manner in which this was expressed by the sages. It will be their interest to be so. Gratitude also will bind them. The loyalty of love is stronger and more enduring than that of fear. This is the loyalty which the gospel claims, and the constancy of the subjects of the kingdom of Christ is witnessed in's million martyrdoms.

(2) Who rules over a loving people may be tranquil. He need not fear the poniard of the assassin. (This is the paradise of tyrants!) He will have the joy of ruling over a happy nation. The typical constitutional monarch is the father of his people.


1. The young counsellors give no reasons.

(1) This method they leave to the ancients. For reasons they substitute smart speech. "Thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins." Pertness too often has displaced reason.

(2) Why should reasons be given by one who claims a Divine right to act as he pleases?

2. But may there not be a benevolant autocracy?

(1) Certainly. And if this can be guaranteed, together with competent wisdom, then there is no better government. For is not this the very idea of the government of God?

(2) But who can guarantee this in human kingdoms? The people certainly are as likely to know what is for their welfare as the majority of their kings.

(3) What if the autocrat should prove a fool? What if he should prove a devil? Would not a kingdom in this case be a hell upon earth?

(4) Rehoboam seems to have combined the satanic and the foolish. Lost the greater part of his kingdom; reigned over the remnant wickedly. Christians should pray for their rulers. They should bless God for their liberties. - M.

My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
These were the words of an infatuated fool — a fool led on to his own destruction by the "irony of destiny."

I. WISDOM IS NOT HEREDITARY. The question is often asked, as this kind of phenomenon comes under notice, how does it happen that great men seldom have great children? Does genius wear itself out? We incline to think that the gross neglect which geniuses manifest towards their children has much to do with it. Still, it cannot be denied that the descendants of many of our greatest men have been little better than "drivelling idiots."

II. CURSE OF EVIL COMPANY. We could not find a more painful instance than the one under consideration, either in profane or sacred history. It was fraught with terrible consequences.

1. It is a curse to the man himself. Do evil, unholy, foolish companions make a person happy? Does it not rather bring trouble, sorrow, regrets, and present inconvenience? It is expensive, humiliating, degrading.

2. It is a curse to the man's influence. Character is assimilated with those with whom we associate. And even if the evil influence does not produce evil results, the name of the evil clings to him who mixes with it.

3. It is a curse to his future. It will ultimately bring him ruin. No person was ever yet strong enough in his integrity to resist the united influence of boon cornpardons. Their influence sows a seed which will ultimately produce an abundant harvest.

III. STUPIDITY OF DESPOTISM. A despot uses his power for the mere sake of using it, and not to effect any good purpose, or to bring about any desirable end. There are many minor despots in the world — persons put into little offices, who love to manifest and to parade their brief authority.

IV. THE OVERRULING POWER OF GOD. He maketh even the wrath and the folly of man to praise Him. Had Rehoboam acted wisely, we do not know whether the Judgment might not have been still further postponed; but as it was, this act precipitated God's wrath and effected His purposes.




III. THE FINAL REPLY OF REHOBOAM TO THE DEMAND OF HIS PEOPLE. It was nothing else, we cannot but say, than downright infatuation.

IV. THE CAUSE WAS FROM THE LORD. And this is one among many proofs of God's absolute predestination, and of the perfect freedom of human actions. The division of the kingdom from Rehoboam was absolutely certain; it was determined by God; it was positively predicted by a prophet of God.


1. Talent and piety are not inherited by birth. No part of Solomons far-famed wisdom descended to his son. He was even more than usually deficient in common prudence, and in the capacity for government. A father may convey to his heirs the riches he has accumulated; but there is a nobler wealth, which cannot be bequeathed, and which cannot be transferred. Knowledge, mental opulence, talent — these are the result of individual application, of laborious industry, and of perseverance. Without these, no fancied gifts of nature can avail; and with these there is scarcely any extent of acquisition, which it is not possible to secure. But it is yet far more important to notice, that true piety does not descend by birth: Religion is a personal and individual thing; it is not transferred like property, it does not descend like any civil privilege. Religion is an individual matter; it is a change wrought upon the individual's mind; it is a living principle and energy within the individual heart and the individual nature. Talent and piety are not inherited by birth.

2. The king's rejection of wise counsel. The aged are not always wise, and they are often too cold and too calculating to be safe guides; and sometimes also their manner is unfortunate and repulsing; they are unamiable, they are irmpatient of the habits and feelings of youth, and they pronounce too magisterially to be very easily borne. But these are exceptions, and beyond all doubt, a multitude of years should teach wisdom. It was one of the laws of ancient Sparta (a heathen State), that whenever an old man appeared, the young in the assembly should rise up in token of their reverence. Reverence for age lies at the foundation of a sound moral character; it is not only becoming, it is not only beautiful, but it is essential; and where it is wanting in measure, it shows there is something utterly wrong, utterly unsound, in the moral constitution.

3. His arbitrary disposition. Instead of soothing, and gradually quenching the spirit of revolt, Rehoboam sought to cut down the clamours of his subjects, by arbitrary measures. The saying of the wise man cannot be too often repeated, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."

4. Rehoboam's imprudent choice of his associates. We cannot question that the ruin of this prince is to be ascribed to those whom he selected as his companions. Had it not been for the young men who grew up along with him, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah bad been undivided, and he had retained the crown. And, in connection with this, "Evil communications corrupt good manners." There is nothing, so far as personal piety is concerned, so far as the salvation of the soul is concerned, of so much importance as the choice of your associates.

(J. Young, M. A.)

Macaulay's England.
But there was at the court a small knot of Roman Catholics whose hearts had been ulcerated by old injuries, whose heads had been turned by recent elevation, who were impatient to climb to the highest honours of the State, and who, having little to lose, were not troubled by thoughts of the day of reckoning. These men called with one voice for war on the constitution of the Church and the State. They told their master that he owed it to his religion and to the dignity of his crown to stand firm against the outcry of heretical demagogues, and to let the Parliament see from the first that he would be master in spite of opposition, and that the only effect of opposition would be to make him a hard master.

(Macaulay's England.)

Adoniram, Adoram, Ahijah, Benjamin, Dan, David, Israelites, Jeroboam, Jesse, Levi, Levites, Nebat, Penuel, Rehoboam, Shemaiah, Solomon
Bethel, Dan, Egypt, Jerusalem, Penuel, Shechem
Add, Blows, Burden, Burdened, Chastise, Chastised, Discipline, Disciplined, Harder, Heavier, Heavy, Lade, Laid, Loaded, Punishment, Scorpions, Scourge, Scourged, Snakes, Whereas, Whips, Yoke
1. The Israelites, assembled at Shechem to crown Rehoboam,
4. by Jeroboam make a suit of relaxation unto him
6. Rehoboam, refusing the old men's counsel, answers them roughly
16. Ten tribes revolting, kill Adoram, and make Rehoboam flee
21. Rehoboam, raising an army, is forbidden by Shemaiah
25. Jeroboam strengthens himself by cities
26. and by idolatry of the two calves

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 12:1-15

     5010   conscience, matters of

1 Kings 12:1-17

     7233   Israel, northern kingdom

1 Kings 12:1-19

     7236   Israel, united kingdom

1 Kings 12:1-24

     5366   king
     7245   Judah, kingdom of

1 Kings 12:8-11

     5692   friends, bad
     5887   inexperience

1 Kings 12:8-14

     5746   youth

1 Kings 12:8-15

     8410   decision-making, examples

1 Kings 12:9-11

     4696   yoke

1 Kings 12:10-14

     5404   masters

How to Split a Kingdom
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt); 3. That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4. Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Political Religion
'Then Jeroboam built Shechera in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26. And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27. If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"This Thing is from Me"
"Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me."--1 Kings 12:24. IT IS VERY DELIGHTFUL to read a history in which God is made prominent. How sadly deficient we are of such histories of our own English nation! Yet surely there is no story that is more full of God than the record of the doings of our British race. Cowper, in one of his poems, shows the parallel between us and the house of Israel,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 42: 1896

The Hebrews and the Philistines --Damascus
THE ISRAELITES IN THE LAND OF CANAAN: THE JUDGES--THE PHILISTINES AND THE HEBREW KINGDOM--SAUL, DAVID, SOLOMON, THE DEFECTION OF THE TEN TRIBES--THE XXIst EGYPTIAN DYNASTY--SHESHONQ OR SHISHAK DAMASCUS. The Hebrews in the desert: their families, clans, and tribes--The Amorites and the Hebrews on the left bank of the Jordan--The conquest of Canaan and the native reaction against the Hebrews--The judges, Ehud, Deborah, Jerubbaal or Gideon and the Manassite supremacy; Abimelech, Jephihdh. The Philistines,
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 6

How God Works in the Hearts of Men.
1. Connection of this chapter with the preceding. Augustine's similitude of a good and bad rider. Question answered in respect to the devil. 2. Question answered in respect to God and man. Example from the history of Job. The works of God distinguished from the works of Satan and wicked men. 1. By the design or end of acting. How Satan acts in the reprobate. 2. How God acts in them. 3. Old Objection, that the agency of God in such cases is referable to prescience or permission, not actual operation.
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
Sections. 1. Summary of the doctrine of Divine Providence. 1. It embraces the future and the past. 2. It works by means, without means, and against means. 3. Mankind, and particularly the Church, the object of special care. 4. The mode of administration usually secret, but always just. This last point more fully considered. 2. The profane denial that the world is governed by the secret counsel of God, refuted by passages of Scripture. Salutary counsel. 3. This doctrine, as to the secret counsel of
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8.
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint.
1. The carnal mind the source of the objections which are raised against the Providence of God. A primary objection, making a distinction between the permission and the will of God, refuted. Angels and men, good and bad, do nought but what has been decreed by God. This proved by examples. 2. All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God. Examples, with answers to objections. 3. These objections originate in a spirit of pride and blasphemy. Objection, that
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Twelve Minor Prophets.
1. By the Jewish arrangement, which places together the twelve minor prophets in a single volume, the chronological order of the prophets as a whole is broken up. The three greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, stand in the true order of time. Daniel began to prophesy before Ezekiel, but continued, many years after him. The Jewish arrangement of the twelve minor prophets is in a sense chronological; that is, they put the earlier prophets at the beginning, and the later at the end of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Of Civil Government.
OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. This chapter consists of two principal heads,--I. General discourse on the necessity, dignity, and use of Civil Government, in opposition to the frantic proceedings of the Anabaptists, sec. 1-3. II. A special exposition of the three leading parts of which Civil Government consists, sec. 4-32. The first part treats of the function of Magistrates, whose authority and calling is proved, sec. 4-7. Next, the three Forms of civil government are added, sec. 8. Thirdly, Consideration
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Travelling in Palestine --Roads, Inns, Hospitality, Custom-House Officers, Taxation, Publicans
It was the very busiest road in Palestine, on which the publican Levi Matthew sat at the receipt of "custom," when our Lord called him to the fellowship of the Gospel, and he then made that great feast to which he invited his fellow-publicans, that they also might see and hear Him in Whom he had found life and peace (Luke 5:29). For, it was the only truly international road of all those which passed through Palestine; indeed, it formed one of the great highways of the world's commerce. At the time
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The Figurative Language of Scripture.
1. When the psalmist says: "The Lord God is a sun and shield" (Psa. 84:11), he means that God is to all his creatures the source of life and blessedness, and their almighty protector; but this meaning he conveys under the figure of a sun and a shield. When, again, the apostle James says that Moses is read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day (Acts 15:21), he signifies the writings of Moses under the figure of his name. In these examples the figure lies in particular words. But it may be embodied
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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