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.'"
I. LIMITED MONARCHY IS BEST FOR THE PEOPLE.
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.
II. IT IS BEST ALSO FOR THE PRINCE.
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.
III. ADVOCATES OF TYRANNY SCORN TO REASON.
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.
Homilist.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.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS DEMAND ON THE PART OF THE PEOPLE WAS MET BY THE KING.
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.
V. THOSE POINTS IN THE CHARACTER AND HISTORY OF REHOBOAM, WHICH MAY BE CALCULATED TO CONVEY SUITABLE INSTRUCTION. And let me remark:
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.
PeopleAdoniram, Adoram, Ahijah, Benjamin, Dan, David, Israelites, Jeroboam, Jesse, Levi, Levites, Nebat, Penuel, Rehoboam, Shemaiah, Solomon
PlacesBethel, Dan, Egypt, Jerusalem, Penuel, Shechem
TopicsAdd, Blows, Burden, Burdened, Chastise, Chastised, Discipline, Disciplined, Harder, Heavier, Heavy, Lade, Laid, Loaded, Punishment, Scorpions, Scourge, Scourged, Snakes, Whereas, Whips, Yoke
Outline1. 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 Themes1 Kings 12:1-15
5692 friends, bad
8410 decision-making, examples
LibraryHow 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
"This Thing is from Me"
The Hebrews and the Philistines --Damascus
How God Works in the Hearts of Men.
Use to be Made of the Doctrine of Providence.
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The Instrumentality of the Wicked Employed by God, While He Continues Free from Every Taint.
The Twelve Minor Prophets.
Of Civil Government.
Travelling in Palestine --Roads, Inns, Hospitality, Custom-House Officers, Taxation, Publicans
The Figurative Language of Scripture.
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