2 Chronicles 10


Israel Until the Exile of the North (10:1 – 28:27)

Reign of Rehoboam (10:1 – 12:16)

        • ESV Study Bible says, “The reign of Rehoboam (931-915 BC) is dominated by the division of the kingdom and the consequences thereof. While Rehoboam is judged negatively for his failures as a leader, the Chronicler also uses his example to show how repentance and obedience may lead to restoration of blessing.”

The Northern Tribes Revolt

      • Rehoboam traveled to Shechem, where all of Israel had gathered to make him king. Nebat’s son Jeroboam was in Egypt (where he had fled from King Solomon), and when he heard about this he returned. They summoned Jeroboam, and he and all of Israel went to Rehoboam and said: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us. If you lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us we will serve you.” He replied, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people left.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “Shechem (modern Tell Balatah) was located in the tribal allotment of Manasseh, east of the pass between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim…”

        • Guzik adds the following: “Shechem was a city with a rich history. Abraham worshipped there (Genesis 12:6). Jacob built an altar and purchased land there (Genesis 33:18-20). Joseph was buried there (Joshua 24:32). It was also the geographical center of the northern tribes. All in all, it showed that Rehoboam was in a position of weakness, having to meet the ten northern tribes on their territory, instead of demanding that representatives come to Jerusalem.” He continues, “Jeroboam was mentioned previously in 1 Kings 11:26-40. God told him through a prophet that he would rule over a portion of a divided Israel. Naturally, Jeroboam was interested in Solomon’s successor. He was specifically part of the group of elders that addressed Rehoboam.”

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “Rather than simply make Rehoboam king (as he no doubt expected), the tribal leaders wished to negotiate the terms of his kingship, including relief from the forced labor imposed by Solomon.”

      • King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father when he was alive asking, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” They replied, “If you will be good to these people, grant their request, and speak kindly to them, they will be your servants forever.” But Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to the people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?” The young men who had grown up with him answered, “Tell these people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, lighten it for us.’– say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! My father laid a heavy yoke upon you; I will make it even heavier. My father disciplined you with whips; I will discipline you with barbed whips that sting like scorpions.’”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign (12:13), so the young men who grew up with him were not novices. They might have been royal princes, sons of Solomon’s other wives. It was natural for them to have a role in Rehoboam’s government, as shown by his promotion of his son Abijah (11:22). Referring to these princes as ‘young’ might have been a comment on the value of their advice, because the young were not viewed as being wise (see Job 12:12). The words of the younger counselors corresponded with Rehoboam’s disposition. They lacked the experience of the elders, but they shared Rehoboam’s inclinations and preferences. They delivered their answer in metaphors and rhetoric appropriate to a royal court.”

        • Guzik remarks, “This is a common phenomenon today – what some call ‘advice shopping.’ The idea is that you keep asking different people for advice until you find someone who will tell you what you want to hear. This is an unwise and ungodly way to get counsel. It is better to have a few trusted counselors you will listen to even when they tell you what you don’t want to hear.”

      • Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam just as the king had ordered when he said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered the people harshly. He rejected the elders’ advice and followed the advice of the young men saying, “My father laid a heavy yoke upon you; I will make it even heavier. My father disciplined you with whips; I will discipline you with barbed whips that sting like scorpions.” The king refused to listen to the people because this was a turn of events brought about by God to fulfill the word that Yahweh had spoken to Nebat’s son Jeroboam through Ahijah from Shiloh.

        • The same question arises here as in the 1 Kings 12 parallel. Namely, Does verse 15 mean that Rehoboam wouldn’t listen to the people because God had preordained that he would not? For a more in depth discussion of this topic, the interested reader may refer to the notes for 1 Kings 12. Here, I will merely cite Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the commentary that aligns most closely to the view I hold: “The cause was from the Lord – i. e., ‘the turn of events was from the Lord.’ Human passions, anger, pride, and insolence, worked out the accomplishment of the divine designs. Without interfering with man’s free will, God guides the course of events, and accomplishes His purposes.”

      • When all of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they said to the king: “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in Jesse’s son. Go back to your homes, Israel! Look after your own house now, David!” So all of Israel went home, but Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah. Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to hurriedly get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this very day.

        • ESV Study Bible points out, “This poetic fragment announcing rejection of the house of David contrasts pointedly with the poetic declaration of loyalty in 1 Chron 12:18. It was apparently the rallying cry of the northern tribes against Judah (see 2 Sam 20:1).”

        • HCSB reminds us, “Rehoboam insulted ‘all Israel’ by sending the man in charge of the Canaanite slave work force. By sending Adoram, Rehoboam implied that Israel was to be dealt with the same way.”

        • On the name of the forced labor supervisor given here NET Bible notes, “In the parallel account in 1 Kgs 12:18 this name appears as ‘Adoniram.’”

        • Guzik explains, “Rehoboam’s foolishness made Israel reject not only Rehoboam, but also the entire dynasty of David. They rejected the descendants of Israel’s greatest king. This signals the division of the twelve tribes into two kingdoms; a northern kingdom made up of 10 tribes and a southern kingdom made up of Judah and Benjamin…From this point on in the history of Israel, the name ‘Israel’ referred to the 10 northern tribes and the name ‘Judah’ referred to the southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah. There was a long-standing tension between the ten northern tribes and the combined group of Judah and Benjamin. There were two earlier rebellions along this line of potential division, in the days after Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 19:40-43), which developed into the rebellion of Sheba (2 Samuel 20:1-2).”

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