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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The people apply to Rehoboam to ease them of their burdens, 2 Chronicles 10:1-4. Rejecting the advice of the aged counsellors, and following that of the young men, he gives them an ungracious answer, 2 Chronicles 10:5-14. The people are discouraged, and ten tribes revolt, 2 Chronicles 10:15-17. They stone Hadoram, who went to collect the tribute; and Rehoboam but barely escapes, 2 Chronicles 10:18, 2 Chronicles 10:19.
1And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.
Rehoboam went to Shechem - This chapter is almost word for word the same as 1 Kings 12:1-19, to the notes on which the reader is referred.
2And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
3And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,
4Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.
5And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
6And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
7And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
8But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.
9And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
10And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
My little finger shall be thicker - "My weakness shall be stronger than the might of my father." - Targum.
11For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
13And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
14And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
For the cause was of God - "For there was an occasion Divinely given." - Targum.
16And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
To your tents, O Israel - "To your cities, O Israel." - Targum.
Now, David, see to thine own house - "Now, David, rule over the men of thy own house." - Targum.
17But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
Stoned him - When he endeavored to collect the tribute which Solomon had imposed on them. - Jarchi.
19And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
Israel rebelled - A few soft words, and the removal of a part of the oppressive taxes, (for they said, Ease thou Somewhat the grievous servitude), would have secured this people to the state, and prevented the shedding of a sea of human blood, which was the consequence of the separation of this kingdom. Rehoboam was a fool; and through his folly he lost his kingdom. He is not the only example on record: the Stuarts lost the realm of England much in the same way; and, by a different mode of treatment, the House of Brunswick continues to fill the British throne. May the thread of its fortune, woven by the hand of God, never be undone! and may the current of its power glide on to the latest posterity!
Talia secla, suis dixerunt, currite, fusis
Concordes stabili fatorum numine Parcae.
Virg. Ecl. iv., ver. 46.
"God's firm decree, by which this web was spun,
Shall ever bless the clue, and bid it smoothly run."
Labitur, et labetur in omne volubilis Aevum.
Horat. Epist., l. i., c. 2, v. 43.
"Still glides the river, and shall ever glide."