But he [Rehoboam] abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. (1 Kings 12:8 ESV)
After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam ascended to the throne of Israel.
The new king’s wisdom and leadership are immediately put to the test when the people of Israel come before Rehoboam to make a request. They claimed that Solomon worked with a heavy yoke and asked Rehoboam to be kinder to them.
Rehoboam told the assembly to return in three days, and he would answer them. During that time, Rehoboam sought counsel from Solomon’s advisor (who were old men) and from his friends (who were young like him). The old men told Rehoboam to serve the people now, and they would then serve him for life. The young men told him to exert his dominion by making their work harder.
Foolishly, Rehoboam went with the young men’s counsel.
This event broke Israel in two.
Ten of the twelve tribes rebelled against Rehoboam and made another man, Jeroboam, king over them. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained with Rehoboam for the sake of God’s love for Rehoboam’s grandfather, David.
Out of foolishness, King Rehoboam severed Israel.
Though David and Solomon both gave hope that they might be the promised offspring of woman, Rehoboam immediately assures us that he is not. He does the very opposite of uniting people under his rule, and for the next several hundred years, his descendants will do no better.
Fortunately, Jesus would come and be a wise and kind king to His people. While Rehoboam made their yoke heavier, Jesus gives to us a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Matt. 11:30).
Jesus is a far greater and wiser king than Rehoboam, who urges us to come to Him for rest. In what ways have you found Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30 to be true? How have you found rest in Christ?