Rehoboam’s Reign of Folly
1Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, because all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard about the new king (for he was in [a]Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon), Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 And the people sent messengers and summoned him. So when Jeroboam and all Israel came, they spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4 “Your father [King Solomon] made our yoke hard (heavy, difficult); so now lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” 5 Rehoboam replied, “Come back to me again in three days.” So the people departed.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon [as advisers] while he was alive, asking, “What advice do you give me in answer to these people?” 7 They answered him, saying, “If you are kind to these people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But the king rejected the advice which the elders gave him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him [as advisers]. 9 He asked them, “What advice do you give to us regarding the answer to these people, who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who grew up with him told him, “Tell the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter for us’: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s [b]loins! 11 Now my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, but I will add [more weight] to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions (extremely painful scourges).’”
12 So on the third day Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam just as the king had directed, saying, “Return to me on the third day.” 13 The king answered them harshly, for King Rehoboam rejected the counsel of the elders. 14 He spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for the [c]turn of events was from God that the Lord might fulfill His word, which He had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16 When all Israel saw that the king did not listen and pay attention to them, the people answered him,
“What portion do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Every man to your tents, O Israel;
Now, [Rehoboam, descendant of] David, see to your own house.”
So all Israel went to their tents. 17 But as for the Israelites who lived in Judah’s cities, Rehoboam ruled over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam [d]sent Hadoram, who was over the forced labor, and the Israelites stoned him and he died. And King Rehoboam hurried to mount his [royal] chariot to escape to Jerusalem. 19 And Israel has rebelled against the house of David to this day.