Israel rebels against Rehoboam
1Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labour and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.’
5Rehoboam answered, ‘Come back to me in three days.’ So the people went away.
6Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. ‘How would you advise me to answer these people?’ he asked.
7They replied, ‘If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favourable answer, they will always be your servants.’
8But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9He asked them, ‘What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, “Lighten the yoke your father put on us”?’
10The young men who had grown up with him replied, ‘The people have said to you, “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.” Now tell them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” ’
12Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, ‘Come back to me in three days.’ 13The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, 14he followed the advice of the young men and said, ‘My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’ 15So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfil the word that the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
16When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:
‘What share do we have in David,
what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
Look after your own house, David!’
So all the Israelites went home. 17But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
18King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labour, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.