|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:16-24 The people speak unbecomingly of David. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public, forgotten ! These considerations should reconcile us to our losses and troubles, that God is the Author of them, and our brethren the instruments: let us not meditate revenge. Rehoboam and his people hearkened to the word of the Lord. When we know God's mind, we must submit, how much soever it crosses our own mind. If we secure the favour of God, not all the universe can hurt us.
Verse 18. - Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute [Probably the same officer as the Adoniram of ch. 1 Kings 4:6. For "Adoram," the LXX. and other versions read "Adoniram" here. It is curious that a person of the same name, Adoram (LXX. Adoniram), was over David's levy (2 Samuel 20:24). That there was a relationship, and that the office had descended from father to son, can hardly be doubted, but whether two persons or three are indicated it is impossible to say. It is of course just possible, though hardly likely that one and the same person (Ewald) can have been superintendent of servile work under David, Solomon, and Rehoboam. It is generally assumed that the young king sent this officer "to treat with the rebels and to appease them, as Josephus expressly says" (Bahr). It seems quite as likely that he was sent to coerce them, or to collect the taxes, as a summary way of showing that the king meant to enforce his rights and was not moved by their words. For it is hardly probable that such a proud and headstrong prince as Rehoboam would stoop, especially after the confident threats which he had just uttered, to parley with rebels. Such a man, guided by such counsellors, and inflated with a sense of his own power and importance, would naturally think of force rather than of conciliation or concessions. He would be for trying his whips of scorpions. And if conciliation had been his object, it is hardly likely that he would have employed Adoram, the superintendent of the levy, a man who would naturally be obnoxious to the people, to effect it. Moreover the sequel - Adoram's tragical end - also favours the supposition that he was sent, not "to arrange some alleviation of their burdens" (Rawlinson), but to carry out the high-handed policy Of the king]; and all Israel stoned him with stones ["With one exception, this was a bloodless revolution" (Stanley). It has been remarked that the practice of stoning is first heard of in the stony desert (Arabia Petraea). But in reality it is older than the date of the Exodus, as Exodus 8:26 shows. And it is an obvious and ready and summary way of despatching obnoxious persons (cf. Exodus 17:4; 1 Samuel 30:6; 1 Kings 21:10). It is to this day a favourite method of the East for testifying hatred and intolerance], that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed [So the LXX., ἔφθασεν. The Hebrew literally means, as margin, "strengthened himeself." But the A.V. gives the practical force of the word. He bestirred himself; he lost no time; the death of Adoram showed him the danger of a moment's delay. "He saw those stones were thrown at him in his Adoram" (Hall).] to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute,.... There was one of this name in this office in the time of David, 2 Samuel 20:24, this is the same with Adoniram, as Jarchi thinks, see 1 Kings 4:6, him he sent either to collect the tribute of the Ephraimites, to show his authority; or rather to call the people back to have some further discourse with them, and endeavour to soften things, and bring them to a compliance, so Josephus (l); but it was too late, and he employed a very improper person; the heavy taxes were their complaint, and a tax gatherer, and especially one that was at the head of the tribute, must be of all men the most disagreeable to them; this is another instance of the folly and false steps of Rehoboam:
and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died; the populace fell upon him at once, and stoned him to death; and which, though contrary to law and justice, was approved of and applauded by their principal men and all the people; so irritated and provoked were they by Rehoboam's answer to them. Hottinger (m) says, this man was buried in Shechem, which is very probable; but it is not expressed here, as he suggests it is; however, a grave stone, found A. D. 1480, in Spain, with this inscription, is not genuine,
"this is the grave of Adoniram, a servant of King Solomon, who came to collect tribute, and died such a day:''
therefore King Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem; from Shechem, fearing they would treat him in the same manner in their rage and fury; his courage was now cooled, and his haughty and hectoring spirit was now brought down, and he was glad to make use of his chariot for flight; this is the first time we read of a king of Israel riding in a chariot; though before of Sisera, a Canaanitish captain, and that only in a chariot of war.
(l) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 8. sect. 3.((m) Praefat. ad Cipp. Hebr. p. 4. Vid. Walton. in Bibl. Polyglott. Prolegom. 3. sect. 35. p. 22.
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