The Northern Tribes Revolt
(1 Kings 12.1-20)
1Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned home. 3The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, 4“Your father placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”
5Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to consider the matter. Then come back.” So the people left.
6King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.
7They replied, “If you are kind to these people and try to please them by giving a considerate answer, they will always serve you loyally.”
8But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. 9“What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”
10They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.’ 11Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!’”
12Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with whips; I'll flog you with bullwhips!” 15It was the will of the Lord God to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.
16 When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”
So the people of Israel rebelled, 17leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.
18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labor, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.