Today: [2 Chronicles Ten] The Cost of Disobedience. In this chapter Solomon is dead and his son rules in his place. The ten northern tribes appeal to Rehoboam for tax relief and the king refuses thus resulting in a divided kingdom. This had been prophesied to come to pass long before Solomon died. Ahijah the prophet ordained Jeroboam the son of one of Solomon’s servants to be king over the northern tribes because of Solomon’s idolatries. Solomon certainly never expected that his lifestyle choices would cost him so greatly. In our own lives we make choices that many times affect us in ways we cannot measure even after the cost is exacted. Therefore we read this chapter with a certain sense of the fear of the Lord that we might not experience the same chastisement that Solomon and his son Rehoboam did.
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[2Ch 10:1-19 KJV] 1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king. 2 And 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. 3 And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, 4 Thy 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. 5 And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
King Solomon dead and unfortunately his wisdom dies with him. His son Rehoboam is the first king to serve in a divided Israel. He takes the throne and promptly offends the northern tribes and they will defect to Jeroboam. Now you will remember that Jeroboam was the son of Nebat who was one of Solomon’s servants. He was approached by Ahijah the prophet during Solomon’s riegn (1 Kings 11) and Ahijah prophesied to him that God was rending the ten northern tribes from Solomon and making Jeroboam king. Eventually the northern kingdom is set up in Samaria thus beginning the long and bitter hatred between the Samartians and the southern kingdom of Judea. We must pause here and make sure we do not classify Jeroboam as just another usurper or to think that the division of tribes was the work of Satan. God Himself sent the prophet Ahijah to Jeroboam and it was God Himself who ordained that the kingdom be divided due to Solomon’s idolatries.
After Ahijah prophesies to Jeroboam he flees to Egypt to hide from Solomon. Now this is interesting in light of the fact that Solomon’s primary wife is the daughter of the king of Egypt. Therefore we see that by the end of Solomon’s riegn his palace is filled with intrigues against the throne and the king is steep in idolatry and pagan practices at the behest of his foreign wives and concubines. Nonetheless God does not remove the kingdom from Solomon because of His promise to David. He promises to David that his line will be preserved forever – a promise ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Himself. After the ressurection James the brother of Jesus was killed by king Herod and eventually the Romans and the Jews respectively seek out the entire line of David and exterminate them. Therefore the only remaining inheritor of the throne of David is Jesus and those who believe in Him by faith including you and I being grafted into that line by virture of the new birth which constitutes us kings and priests unto God.
We also see from that toward the end of his reign Solomon apparently laid heavy tax burdens on the people whereas before in his early reign he did not do so. After the death of Solomon and the assession of Rehoboam the people call Jeroboam out of exile in Egypt and ask him to be their representative before Rehoboam to ask for relief. The people know doubt knew the prophecy of Ahijah and Jeroboam himself knew what the outcome would be because of the word of God through Ahijah. Nonetheless he presents himself to Rehoboam and asks for respite for the people. This shows us that prophecy is not cast in stone. Prophecy is conditional and provisional based on decisions that people make. To look at a prophecy and expect it to say what will be is equivelent to what soothsayers and psychics produce. A prophetic word over your life is an invitation for you to participate in God’s purposes accompanied by a promise of what will happen if you do. Prophets do not gaze into crystal balls and tell you what will be – they look into the purposes of God and invite you to be a participant. Jeroboam understood that Rehoboam had a choice and he promises that if Rehoboam will relent that all the northern tribes will serve him.
6 And 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? 7 And 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. 8 But 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. 9 And 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? 10 And 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. 11 For 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.
Rehoboam asks Jeroboam and his retinue of representatives from the northern tribes to give him three days to consider. He rightly calls upon the old men who served his father Solomon to see what they might recommend. They suggest a conciliatory course of action in order to secure the kingdom. Here we see the danger of too many counselors. Rehoboam like so many who seek out spiritual council was not looking for wisdom from God he was looking for agreement. Therefore he seeks further counsel by calling upon the young who were brought up with him to see what they would recommend. They suggest to Rehoboam that he chastize the people for daring to ask him for clemency. They tell him to come down hard upon Jeroboam and the northern tribes and threaten to be far more severe in his policies than Solomon even was. This sets the stage for the seperation of the southern and northern tribes.
12 So 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. 13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, 14 And 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. 15 So 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. 16 And 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. 17 But [as for] the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then 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. 19 And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
We see that sure to the word of Ahijah the kingdom is divided. Rehoboam answers the people roughly and refuses to hearken to the people. As the Lord hardend Pharoah’s heart so the heart of Rehoboam was hardened as well so that the Lord might perform His word. Here we find a curious thing that God would so move upon the will of a man as to bring about his broader purposes. God’s intention was to chastize the house of Solomon for their idolatries by rending the ten northern tribes from them to establish a northern kingdom. Thus while God could have softened Rehoboam’s heart toward the people He did exactly the opposite because God is a soveriegn God and works all things after His own counsel. Therefore Jeroboam and the 10 northern tribes defect. Rehoboam attempts to collect tribue but the people stone his tax gatherer with stones in front of the king and Rehoboam barely escapes with his life.
Ezra concludes by saying that Israel rebelled against Judah and the house of David until the current day. Remember that as Ezra write this the northern kingdom has not existed for many decades having been taken into captivity from whence they never return. Therefore this is Ezra’s commentary one why the northern tribes were effectively anhillated because of rebelling against Judah. Jeroboam himself in the writings of 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles is scorned and defamed but in reading this we must never forget that he was ordained by God to do what he did even though the tribe of Judah right down to Jesus’ day despised and hated Samaria in the north we deep hatred.
In our own lives we may go through things that make us wonder why God didn’t change the heart of someone in a relationship. Always remember that God works in our lives according to the counsel of His own will. It wasn’t Satan that divided the kingdom. The fault lay with Solomon and the fact that God disciplined his house because of idolatry by dividing the kingdom. Choices have consequences. God still loved Judah and He still preserved the line of David but things could have been much different had Solomon not given himself over to the sins of his foreign wives. Likewise in our own lives we may make choices that alter our destiny and change outcomes for us that we have no idea at the time what a price is being exacted. Therefore we ask the Father for wisdom and insight to hear His voice and obey even when it isn’t clear what the future holds.
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