Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 12

Rehoboam’s reply to the people’s demands

1 Kings 12:12-15

A vast crowd of Israel’s people gathered to hear Rehoboam’s reply to their demands. Everyone hoped that he had made a sensible decision. For several years, their work for the king had been too hard for them. The start of Rehoboam’s rule was the right time to deal with these matters.

In the palace in Jerusalem, Solomon’s chief advisers also hoped that Rehoboam would agree to the people’s demands. These old men, with great experience, had been responsible for much of the work that Israel’s people now complained about. However, these advisers realised that Rehoboam now needed to unite the nation under his rule. Now was the time for the king to speak gentle and kind words to the people. Then, they would gladly accept him as their ruler.

However, Rehoboam’s decision was, instead, to follow the advice of his friends. Those younger men had told him to reply to the people in a strict and firm manner. They were trying to make the people too afraid to make any more demands from their king.

The Bible records that God brought about this situation. In other words, Rehoboam made his own decision, but God was working in these circumstances. God had already declared, by Ahijah the prophet (holy man), that Israel’s people would not accept the rule of Solomon’s son (11:29-39). Instead, Jeroboam would become their king. Now the events about which Ahijah had spoken, were happening.

Next part: Israel divides into two nations (1 Kings 12:16-17)


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