Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 12

The advice of the older men with great experience

1 Kings 12:6-7

Rehoboam did not need the people to work as hard for him as they had worked for Solomon. However, without their hard work, Rehoboam could never be as rich or as powerful as Solomon had been.

Rehoboam did not want to show any weakness. So he asked Solomon’s chief advisers what he should do. They explained to him that it is necessary for any ruler first to gain the support of the people. So, they told him to be humble and to accept the people’s demands. Then, the people would accept him as their king and he would start to have authority over them. When they had agreed to be loyal to him, he would then be able to direct their work. In other words, in time he could become a powerful king, but he would have to gain authority over the people slowly.

Rehoboam strongly disliked that advice. He considered the people to be his servants, and that he had the right to direct their work. It is the master and not the servants who decides about their tasks. If Rehoboam agreed to the people’s demands, he would seem to himself to be a very weak leader.

So Rehoboam decided to ask his friends what he should do. These were the younger men whom he was appointing to the important jobs in his government. They were eager to please Rehoboam, because their jobs depended on him. So, they were not like the older men, Solomon’s advisers, who were simply trying to give the best advice.

Next part: The advice of Rehoboam's friends (1 Kings 12:8-11)


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