a. What did the people demand from Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he became king, and what did he say to them? 2 Chronicles 10:3–5.
b. How did the advice of Rehoboam’s associates differ from the counsel of those with more experience? Which advice did he follow? 2 Chronicles 10:6–14.
“Flattered by the prospect of exercising supreme authority, Rehoboam determined to disregard the counsel of the older men of his realm, and to make the younger men his advisers.”—Ibid., pp.89, 90.
“At the meeting in Shechem, at the very beginning of his reign, Rehoboam might have taken a course that would have inspired confidence in his ability to stand at the head of the nation. If he had shown a willingness to keep ever before him the welfare of his subjects, the people would have accepted him as a wise ruler. But in this hour of opportunity, failing to reason from cause to effect, he forever weakened his influence over a large portion of the people.”—The Review and Herald, July 3, 1913.
2. AN UNWISE DECISION
a. Based on his decision, how would you describe the character of Rehoboam?
“Although Solomon had longed to prepare the mind of Rehoboam, his chosen successor, to meet with wisdom the crisis foretold by the prophet of God, he had never been able to exert a strong molding influence for good over the mind of his son, whose early training had been so grossly neglected. . . . At times he endeavored to serve God and was granted a measure of prosperity; but he was not steadfast, and at last he yielded to the influences for evil that had surrounded him from infancy.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 88.
b. How did the people react against the adamant attitude of the foolish king? 2 Chronicles 10:16.
“Had Rehoboam and his inexperienced counselors understood the divine will concerning Israel, they would have listened to the request of the people for decided reforms in the administration of the government. But in the hour of opportunity that came to them during the meeting in Shechem, they failed to reason from cause to effect, and thus forever weakened their influence over a large number of the people. Their expressed determination to perpetuate and add to the oppression introduced during Solomon’s reign was in direct conflict with God’s plan for Israel, and gave the people ample occasion to doubt the sincerity of their motives. In this unwise and unfeeling attempt to exercise power, the king and his chosen counselors revealed the pride of position and authority. . . .
“Among the tribes were many thousands who had become thoroughly aroused over the oppressive measures of Solomon’s reign, and these now felt that they could not do otherwise than rebel against the house of David.”—Ibid., p.90.
c. When Rehoboam saw his mistake, how did he try to remedy the situation? What was the response of the people? 1 Kings 12:18.
3. A DIVISION TAKES PLACE
a. When Rehoboam saw that only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to him, and that the other ten tribes rebelled, how was he prepared to act? 2 Chronicles 11:1.
b. How did the Lord speak through a prophet to Rehoboam in order to save him from making another mistake, worse than the first? 2 Chronicles 11:2–4.
“For three years Rehoboam tried to profit by his sad experience at the beginning of his reign; and in this effort he was prospered. He ‘built cities for defense in Judah,’ and ‘fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.’ He was careful to make these fortified cities ‘exceeding strong’ (2 Chronicles 11:6, 11, 12) But the secret of Judah’s prosperity during the first years of Rehoboam’s reign lay not in these measures. It was their recognition of God as the Supreme Ruler that placed the tribes of Judah and Benjamin on vantage ground.”—Ibid., pp.92, 93.
c. What did Rehoboam eventually do that resulted in the failure of Israel to be a light to the world? 2 Chronicles 12:1.
“Naturally headstrong, confident, self-willed, and inclined to idolatry, nevertheless, had he placed his trust wholly in God, he would have developed strength of character, steadfast faith, and submission to the divine requirements. But as time passed, the king put his trust in the power of position and in the strongholds he had fortified. Little by little he gave way to inherited weaknesses, until he threw his influence wholly on the side of idolatry. ‘It came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him’ (2 Chronicles 12:1).
“How sad, how filled with significance, the words, ‘And all Israel with him’! The people whom God had chosen to stand as a light to the surrounding nations were turning from their Source of strength and seeking to become like the nations about them.”—Ibid., pp.93, 94.
a. After Jeroboam, the rival king, had been placed on the throne by the ten rebellious tribes, of what was he greatly afraid and what did he do? 1 Kings 12:26–29.
“Jeroboam’s greatest fear was that at some future time the hearts of his subjects might be won over by the ruler occupying the throne of David. He reasoned that if the ten tribes should be permitted to visit often the ancient seat of the Jewish monarchy, where the services of the temple were still conducted as in the years of Solomon’s reign, many might feel inclined to renew their allegiance to the government centering at Jerusalem. Taking counsel with his advisers, Jeroboam determined by one bold stroke to lessen, so far as possible, the probability of a revolt from his rule. He would bring this about by creating within the borders of his newly formed kingdom two centers of worship, one at Bethel and the other at Dan. In these places the ten tribes should be invited to assemble, instead of at Jerusalem, to worship God.”—Ibid., pp.99, 100.
b. What did Jeroboam do besides setting up two idolatrous places of worship? 1 Kings 12:31, 32.
c. How did God arrest and punish the defiant attitude of Jeroboam? 1 Kings 13:1–6.
“The Lord seeks to save, not to destroy. He delights in the rescue of sinners. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked’ (Ezekiel 33:11). By warnings and entreaties He calls the wayward to cease from their evildoing and to turn to Him and live. He gives His chosen messengers a holy boldness, that those who hear may fear and be brought to repentance. How firmly the man of God rebuked the king! And this firmness was essential; in no other way could the existing evils have been rebuked. The Lord gave His servant boldness, that an abiding impression might be made on those who heard.”—Ibid., p.103.
5. THE DANGER OF A WRONG INFLUENCE
a. Recognizing we are called to be the light of the world, how careful should we be to never accept or exert a wrong influence? Hebrews 12:13; 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16.
“As with Solomon, so with Rehoboam—the influence of wrong example led many astray. And as with them, so to a greater or less degree is it today with everyone who gives himself up to work evil—the influence of wrongdoing is not confined to the doer. No man liveth unto himself. None perish alone in their iniquity. Every life is a light that brightens and cheers the pathway of others, or a dark and desolating influence that tends toward despair and ruin.”—Ibid., p.94.
b. How did the Lord assure Israel that He still loved them and was willing to forgive them? Isaiah 1:17–20; Jeremiah 3:11–13, 22.
“Notwithstanding the perversity of those who leaned toward idolatrous practices, God in mercy would do everything in His power to save the divided kingdom from utter ruin. And as the years rolled on and His purpose concerning Israel seemed to be utterly thwarted by the devices of men inspired by satanic agencies, He still manifested His beneficent designs through the captivity and restoration of the chosen nation.”—Ibid., pp.96, 97.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Before the coronation of Rehoboam, what did the representatives of the tribes want to know from the new king?
2. Contrast the advice Rehoboam got from the experienced men who had been his father’s advisors with that of the young, inexperienced men.
3. How did the people react against the answer of the king, and why?
4. What did Rehoboam do when he saw that he was in a helpless condition?
5. What lesson should we learn from Rehoboam’s mistake?