1 Kings 12:8
But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
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1 Kings 12:8. But he forsook the counsel of the old men — Judging it unworthy of his majesty and authority, and likely to encourage the people in their insolent demands; and, being proud and vain, he scorned to condescend to them and court them in this way, but would have obedience paid to him as to an absolute monarch; and consulted with the young men — So called compared with the old men, otherwise, as they had grown up with him, they must have been near forty years old. They were, however, men who were unexperienced, and who understood not the humour of the people they had to do with. This is frequently the fault of new kings: to show their power, and gratify their dependants, they frequently change their counsellors and put in new officers; not considering who are wisest and worthiest, but who have been their companions.

12:1-15 The tribes complained not to Rehoboam of his father's idolatry, and revolt from God. That which was the greatest grievance, was none to them; so careless were they in matters of religion, if they might live at case, and pay no taxes. Factious spirits will never want something to complain of. And when we see the Scripture account of Solomon's reign; the peace, wealth, and prosperity Israel then enjoyed; we cannot doubt but that their charges were false, or far beyond the truth. Rehoboam answered the people according to the counsel of the young men. Never was man more blinded by pride, and desire of arbitrary power, than which nothing is more fatal. God's counsels were hereby fulfilled. He left Rehoboam to his own folly, and hid from his eyes the things which belonged to his peace, that the kingdom might be rent from him. God serves his own wise and righteous purposes by the imprudences and sins of men. Those that lose the kingdom of heaven, throw it away, as Rehoboam, by wilfulness and folly.The age of Rehoboam at his accession is an interesting and difficult question. According to the formal statement of the present text of 1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13, he had reached the mature age of 41 years, and would therefore be unable to plead youth as an excuse for his conduct. The general narrative, however, seems to assume that he was quite a young man (compare 2 Chronicles 13:7). Perhaps the best way of removing the whole difficulty would be to read in the above text "twenty-one" for "forty-one." The corruption is one which might easily take place, if letters were used for numerals. 5-8. he said … Depart yet for three days—It was prudent to take the people's demand into calm and deliberate consideration. Whether, had the advice of the sage and experienced counsellors been followed, any good result would have followed, it is impossible to say. It would at least have removed all pretext for the separation. [See on [312]2Ch 10:7.] But he preferred the counsel of his young companions (not in age, for they were all about forty-one, but inexperienced), who recommended prompt and decisive measures to quell the malcontents. He forsook the counsel of the old men; judging it unworthy of his majesty and authority, and likely to encourage and increase the people in their insolent demands. The young men; so called comparatively to the old men; otherwise they were near forty years old, as the following words imply.

That were grown up with him; which is added as the reason of his inclination to their counsels, because his daily converse with them, and the likeness of their age and humour to his, had engaged his affections to them, and that bribed his judgment, as it commonly doth.

But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him,.... He did not rightly relish it, nor cordially receive it; it did not suit with his haughty temper, he could not brook it, to stoop to his people; he thought it a lessening of his dignity to do anything that looked like courting their favour; and therefore determined not to take the advice given him by the old men, but to seek for other:

and consulted with the men, that were grown up with him, and which stood before him; the sons of nobles, with whom he had his education, and who were his companions from his youth upwards, and who were now officers in his court, and of his privy council, being his favourites, and those he consulted on this occasion; and though they are called young men, as they were in comparison of the old men, yet since they were contemporary with Rehoboam, who was now forty one years of age, they must be about forty, or not much under, and at an age to be wiser than they appeared to be.

But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him:
8. young men that were grown up with him] i.e. Who were about the same age. It is not needful to suppose that they had been educated with him from their youth up. They now being his contemporaries were chosen to ‘stand before him,’ to be his privy counsellors. This office the older men had held under Solomon (see 1 Kings 12:6).

Verse 8. - But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given [Heb. counselled] him ["We can easily imagine that their proposal was not very agreeable to the rash and imperious young king, in whose veins Ammonite blood flowed" (Bahr) ], and consulted with the young men [see on ver. 1. "The very change argues weakness.. Green wood is ever shrinking" (Hall)] that were grown up with him [possibly his companions in the harem], and which stood before him [i.e., as his courtiers and counsellors (cf. ver. 6). The old men were the counsellors of Solomon; the young men alone are spoken of as the ministers of Rehoboam. 1 Kings 12:8But Rehoboam forsook this advice, and asked the younger ministers who had grown up with him. They advised him to overawe the people by harsh threats. "My little finger is stronger than my father's loins." קטי, from קטן, littleness, i.e., the little finger (for the form, see Ewald, 255, b.), - a figurative expression in the sense of, I possess much greater might than my father. "And now, my father laid a heavy yoke upon you, and I will still further add to your yoke (lay still more upon you): my father chastised you with whips, I will chastise you with scorpions." עקרבּים, scorpiones, are whips with barbed points like the point of a scorpion's sting.

(Note: The Rabbins give this explanation: virgae spinis instructae. Isidor. HisPal. Origg. v. c. 27, explains it in a similar manner: virga si est nodosa vel aculeata, scorpio vocatur. The Targ. and Syr., on the other hand, מרגגין, Syr. mārganā', i.e., the Greek μάραγνα, a whip. See the various explanations in Bochart, Hieroz. iii. p. 554f. ed. Ros.)

This advice was not only imprudent, "considering all the circumstances" (Seb. Schmidt), but it was unwise in itself, and could only accelerate the secession of the discontented. It was the language of a tyrant, and not of a ruler whom God had placed over His people. This is shown in 1 Kings 12:13, 1 Kings 12:14 : "The king answered the people harshly, and forsook the counsel of the old men," i.e., the counsellors who were rich in experience, and spoke according to the counsels of the young men, who flattered his ambition. It is very doubtful, indeed, whether the advice of the old men would have been followed by so favourable a result; it might probably have been so for the moment, but not for a permanency. For the king could not become the עגלים of the people, serve the people, without prejudicing the authority entrusted to him by God; though there is no doubt that if he had consented to such condescension, he would have deprived the discontented tribes of all pretext for rebellion, and not have shared in the sin of their secession.

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