And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king.
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;)
Jeroboam the son of Nebat
Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.
And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?
And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.
If thou wilt
But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter?
And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
Thus shalt thou
My little finger
A proverbial mode of expression: "My little finger is thicker than my father's thigh." As much as the thigh surpasses the little finger in thickness, so much does my power exceed that of my father; and the use I shall make of it to oppress and tax you shall be in proportion.
And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
I will add
but I will chastise
Should you rebel or become disaffected, my father's whip shall be a scorpion in my hand. His was chastisement, mine shall be punishment. Celsius and Hiller conjecture that ‚krabbim denotes a thorny kind of shrub, whose prickles are of a venomous nature, called by the Arabs scorpion thorns, from the exquisite pain which they inflict. But the Chaldee renders it margenin, and the Syriac moragyai, i.e., [maragnai] scourges; and in the parallel place of Chronicles the Arabic has saut, a scourge. Isidore, and after him Calmet and others, assert that the scorpion was a sort of severe whip, the lashes of which were armed with knots or points that sunk into and tore the flesh.
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.
Come to me again
And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;
And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
My father made
Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
The cause of all this confusion and anarchy was Rehoboam's folly, cruelty, and despotic tyranny, and this was certainly not "from the Lord," nor does the original text speak this doctrine. See an elucidation of a similar passage at 2 Sa 24:1. It says, sibbah, (from savav, to turn, change,) "the change or Revolution was from the Lord;" which is consistent with all the preceding declarations. God stirred up the people to revolt from a man who had neither skill nor humanity to govern them. God serves his own wise and righteous purpose by the imprudences and iniquities of men, and snares sinners in the work of their own hands. "He maketh the wrath of man to praise him."
that he might
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.
to your tents
But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
Heb. strengthened himself. flee to Jerusalem.
So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
or, fell away.
unto this day
And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only.
and made him
none that followed
And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin, an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.
Ye shall not go up
for this thing
Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel.
And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David:
said in his heart
If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
and they shall
Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
two calves of gold
He invented a political religion, and instituted feasts in his own times, different from those appointed by Jehovah; gave the people certain objects of adoration, and pretended to think that it would be both inconvenient and oppressive to them to go up to Jerusalem to worship. These calves were doubtless of the same kind as the calf which was set up by Aaron; and it is remarkable, that in pointing them out to the people he should use the same words that Aaron used on that occasion, when they must have heard what terrible judgments fell upon their forefathers for this idolatry. Solomon's idolatry, however, had prepared the people for Jeroboam's abominations.
It is too much
And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.
And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.
became a sin
And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.
And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
offered upon the altar
or, went up to the altar. sacrificing. or, to sacrifice. he placed.
So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.
offered upon the altar
or, went up to the altar, etc.
in the month
and burnt incense
Heb. to burn incense.