Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 12

Rehoboam should make the people’s work easier

1 Kings 12:4-5

Solomon did not force Israel’s people to pay such large amounts in tax as foreigners had to pay (4:20-21). However, he did expect Israel’s people to do some physical work for him, as their king (5:13). So, Solomon collected taxes from the people in the foreign nations that he controlled (10:14-15). However, Israel’s people made a serious promise in front of God that they would obey their king (Ecclesiastes 8:2).

When Rehoboam became king, the people in northern and central Israel refused to make that promise. The work that Solomon had given them to do, was too hard, they said. They knew that they would still have to do some work for their nation. However, they would only accept Rehoboam as their king if he made the work easier.

Rehoboam did not have the wisdom that his father Solomon had. Solomon’s wisdom was a special gift from God (3:12). Rehoboam’s interest was not wisdom, but rather how to obtain power. He could see that the demands of the people would make it impossible for him to become a truly powerful king.

Rehoboam delayed his decision so that he could obtain advice. Usually, it is a wise decision to obtain advice. However, that is only true if the advisers are genuinely wise. Rehoboam had the choice of two different groups of advisers. There were the older men who had advised Solomon. They had many years of experience in government. Then, there were Rehoboam’s own friends. They had lived in luxury with him in the palace. They had strong opinions, but little or no experience in government.

Next part: The advice of the older men with great experience (1 Kings 12:6-7)


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