The Children's Bible
Rehoboam's Great Mistake
hen Solomon died, Rehoboam his son ruled after him. As soon as Jeroboam, who was still in Egypt, heard that Solomon had died, he returned at once to his home town, Zeredah in Mount Ephraim.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had come to Shechem to make him ruler. But they said to Rehoboam, "Your father laid a heavy yoke upon us. Now make the hard service of your father and the heavy yoke that he laid upon us lighter, and we will serve you." He said to them, "Go away for three days; then come again to me." So the people went away.
Then Rehoboam asked advice from the old men who had been in the service of Solomon his father during his lifetime and inquired, "What answer do you advise me to give this people?" They said to him, "If now you will serve this people and give them a favorable answer, then they will be your servants forever."
But he rejected the advice which the old men had given him and asked the young men who had grown up with him and had been in his service. And he said to them, "What answer do you advise that we give to this people who have said to me, 'Make the yoke that your father laid upon us lighter'?" The young men who had grown up with him said to him, "Make this answer to them: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins! While my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will make your yoke heavier; my father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges.'"
So when all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as he had directed, he answered the people harshly and did not follow the advice which the old men had given him, but spoke to them as the young men had advised, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will make your yoke still heavier; my father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scourges." So Rehoboam paid no attention to the demand of the people.
When all Israel saw that he paid no attention to their demand they gave him this answer: "What interest have we in David? We have nothing in common with the son of Jesse! To your tents, O Israel! Now look out for your house, O David!"
So the Israelites went to their homes.
Then Rehoboam sent to them Adoniram, who was over the men who did forced labor. But when all the Israelites stoned him to death, Rehoboam quickly mounted his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. So Israel has refused to obey the house of David to the present day.
As soon as all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly of the people and made him ruler over all Israel. None remained loyal to the house of David except the tribe of Judah.