1 Kings 11:1-13
For Reflection: Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, rejected the advice: “If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.” Compare this to Jesus instruction in the Lagniappe. There were consequences for Rehoboam’s failure to follow this advice.
Consider your own life and the world around you. Where do you see servant leadership?
Where do you see arrogant self-service?
In which direction are you shifting the balance? How can you move the needle more toward servant leadership?
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11 King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 Then the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice 10 and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods, but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
The Northern Tribes Secede
12 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam remained in Egypt. 3 And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now, therefore, lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 They answered him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him and consulted with the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. 9 He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus you should say to this people who spoke to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11 Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ ”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the older men had given him 14 and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people because it was a turn of affairs brought about by the Lord to fulfill his word that the Lord had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.
16 When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,
“What share do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
To your tents, O Israel!
Look now to your own house, O David.”
So Israel went away to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 18 When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam then hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 23 “Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people: 24 Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred the people of Israel. Let everyone go home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord.