The Revolution
1 Kings 12:16-20
So when all Israel saw that the king listened not to them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David?…

The unconciliatory, insulting, insane conduct of Rehoboam in rejecting the Bill of Rights of the people of Israel provoked a revolution in the state. This is recorded in the text, in which we learn that -


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).


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.

Parallel Verses
KJV: So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

WEB: When all Israel saw that the king didn't listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, "What portion have we in David? Neither do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, Israel! Now see to your own house, David." So Israel departed to their tents.

The Revolt
Top of Page
Top of Page