Rehoboam’s Folly

We could all save ourselves a lot of words if we’d only remember that people rarely take advice unless they have to pay for it. Never bring your boss a problem without some solution. You are getting paid to think, not to whine. The trouble with good advice is that it usua … More


Rehoboam was installed as king in Shechem after his father died (v. 1). Shechem was a very fitting spot for the coronation of a king of Israel as it was the first place God appeared to Abraham (Gen. 12:6-7), Jacob settled there and (Gen. 33:18-20) and Joseph was buried there (Josh. 24:32). Jeroboam heard about Solomon’s death and that Rehoboam had been crowned as the new king. He and some of his followers traveled to see Rehoboam and make a plea for lower taxes. He told the king that if he would lighten the taxes and make things easier for them they would serve him and be loyal to him (vv. 2-5). Rehoboam said that he wanted three days to think about their suggestion.

First he asked the older men, who had served as his father’s advisors, for their advice (vv. 6-7). These wise men said, “Do as the people ask; don’t tax them so heavily and be kind to them.” Then Rehoboam called in some of the young men whom he had grown up with and asked their advice. These younger men’s counsel was the opposite of what the elders had given (vv. 8-11).

Rehoboam did not have the wisdom of his father Solomon. Instead of following the wise advice of the older men, he followed the counsel of the younger men. When Jeroboam came back to the king on the third day, Rehoboam looked very stern and angry and spoke to them roughly telling them he was going to make things harder and not easier for them (vv. 12-14). It is clearly stated that this turn of events was from the Lord (v. 15). This is a fulfillment of prophecy made by Ahijah (11:31-39) and a manifestation of God’s judgment because of Solomon’s apostasy.


When Rehoboam asked for advice he didn’t carefully evaluate what he was told. When I evaluate advice I need to consider if it is realistic, workable, and consistent with Biblical principles. Advice is helpful only if it is consistent with God’s standards.

I Kings 12:1-15 (English Standard Version)

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