So to this day Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David.
I. IT COMMENCED WITH THE REJECTION OF THE KING.
1. This act was done in haste.
(1) By his hesitation at such a time, under such circumstances, to listen to their grievances, the people saw that Rehoboam was a tyrant. They accordingly availed themselves of the three days he took to consider his reply, to concert their measures, and were therefore ready for action.
(2) They soon "saw that the king hearkened not." He left them in no doubt, for he took high ground at once. And they were as prompt in their resolution.
2. It was done in anger.
(1) This is seen in the manner in which the leaders of the people mingle their advice to their constituents with their answer to the king (ver. 16).
(2) Also in the promptness with which the people acted upon the advice. "So Israel departed unto their tents."
3. But their anger carried them too far.
(1) Why include David in their resentment? Had they no inheritance in the son of Jesse? Would they have said so when David delivered them from the hand of Goliath? How fitful is the passion of the multitude! How soon are good men forgotten!
(2) In rejecting David did they not forsake the Lord who gave them David and his seed forever by a covenant of salt? (2 Chronicles 13:5-8.)
(3) In rejecting David, in whom was the promise of Messiah, did they not go far towards rejecting Christ? See Stephen's argument, Acts 7.
(4) Were they not impolitic in this? In so rejecting David they alienated from their cause the great tribe of Judah. Wrong is never truly politic.
(5) In their hot haste they do not consult God, either by urim or by prophet (Hosea 8:4).
II. IT WAS COMPLETED IN THE CROWNING OF JEROBOAM.
1. Between these acts there was an interval.
(1) While in their tents the Israelites were still open to consider. They were as yet committed to no policy for the future. Time and reflection might have shown them that their anger had been carried too far.
(2) Wise counsel now might have brought before them the evils of a division in the nation. Thus they would be weakened in the presence of the heathen. And in case of differences with Judah difficulties might arise in respect to their religious duties. For their temple was in the dominion of Judah. They may, therefore, be liable to temptations to irreligion, if not to idolatry.
(3) While in their tents they were likewise still open to negotiations. Reasonable concessions now from Rehoboam might bring them back to their allegiance.
2. But Rehoboam's .folly hastened the sequel
(1) He sent among them "Adoram, who was over the tribute." Adoram, from his office, was odious to them, for the taxes he had collected were the very ground of their complaint. Thus the infatuation of the king was as conspicuous in his choice of an ambassador as in that of his counsellors.
(2) The haste with which this was done aggravated the evil. It was done while he was yet in Shechem, before his return to Jerusalem. If Adoram was commissioned then to collect taxes, Rehoboam lost no time in producing his scorpion.
(3) Irritated as they were, this act roused their resentment to fury, and "all Israel stoned" Adoram to death.
3. They now completed the revolution.
(1) Rehoboam, in terror of his life, mounted his chariot, and fled to Jerusalem. So ignominiously ended his threatening words! (Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 17:19; Proverbs 18:12.)
(2) Israel, now free from the embarrassment of the monarch's presence proceeded at once to crown Jeroboam.
(3) But in all this there is no consultation with the Lord; yet to the letter are the predictions of Ahijah verified. There is a Providence in human affairs. Prophecy makes this evident. Wicked men are, in their very waywardness, unconsciously made the instruments of that Providence in bringing punishment upon themselves. - 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
TopicsDavid, Family, Rebelled, Rebellion, Transgresseth
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 12:19
6224 rebellion, against authority
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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