The Review and Herald

1799/1902

July 3, 1913

The Rending of the Kingdom

EGW

“Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.” 1 Kings 11:43. RH July 3, 1913, par. 1

Soon after his accession to the throne, Rehoboam went to Shechem, where he expected to receive formal recognition of authority from all the tribes. “To Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 2

Among those present was Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,—the same Jeroboam who during Solomon's reign had been known as “a mighty man of valor,” and to whom the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite had delivered the startling message, “Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 3

The prophet had spoken plainly regarding the necessity for a division of the kingdom. God had declared that this division must take place, because “they have forsaken me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.” The kingdom was not to be divided, however, before the close of Solomon's reign. “I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand,” the Lord declared through his prophet; “but I will make him a prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 4

To Solomon himself, as well as to Jeroboam, the Lord had revealed the sure result of apostasy. “Forasmuch as ... thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, ...” was the message of the prophet, “I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 5

It was this prophecy of impending ruin that had awakened the apostate king as from a dream, and had led him to repent, and to seek to stay, so far as possible, the terrible tide of evil that during the later years of his reign had been rising high and still higher. But at the time of his repentance, only a few years of life remained to him, and he could not hope to avert the consequences of long years of wrong-doing. His course of evil had set in operation influences that afterward he could never fully control. RH July 3, 1913, par. 6

Especially was this the case in the training of the children born to him through marriage with idolatrous women. Rehoboam, the son whom Solomon chose to be his successor, had received from his mother, an Ammonitess, a stamp of character that led him to look upon sin as desirable. 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. RH July 3, 1913, par. 7

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. RH July 3, 1913, par. 8

The tribes had long suffered grievous wrongs under the oppressive measures of their former ruler. The extravagance of Solomon's reign during his apostasy had led him to tax the people heavily, and to require of them much menial service. They now felt that they could no longer bear so many burdens, and before going forward with the coronation of a new ruler, the leading men from among the tribes determined to ascertain whether or not it was the purpose of Solomon's son to lessen these burdens. “So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, 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.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 9

Desiring to take counsel with his advisers before outlining his policy, Rehoboam said to the men of Israel, “Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed. RH July 3, 1913, par. 10

“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? 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 forever.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 11

Rehoboam then “consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: and he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken unto me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? RH July 3, 1913, par. 12

“And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them. My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. RH July 3, 1913, par. 13

“So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day.... And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 14

“The king harkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. RH July 3, 1913, par. 15

“So when all Israel saw that the king harkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. RH July 3, 1913, par. 16

“But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.” RH July 3, 1913, par. 17

(To be concluded.)