And they spoke to him, saying, If you be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)If thou be kind to this people.—A free paraphrase of, “If to-day thou become a servant to this people and serve them” (Kings)—words which may have seemed inappropriate to the redactor, in connection with the king, but which form a pointed antithesis to the last clause of the verse, “they will be thy servants for ever.”
And please them.—Be propitious to them, receive them graciously (raçah). (Genesis 33:10.) Kings, “answer them.”And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. if thou be kind to this people, and please them] The Chronicler has softened the forcible words of the parallel passage (1 Kings 12:7), “If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them.” The words which were too blunt for Rehoboam were also too blunt for the Chronicler.Verses 7, 8. - Rehoboam was now (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13; but cf. 13:7) forty-one years of age; he was just too old to find any excuse for inability to gauge either the experience, and value of it, of the "old," or the inexperience, and foolishness of it, of the immature human heart. According to the modern phrase, he was just ripe to have known and bethought himself of this. But all rashly Rehoboam casts the die. The sound judgment, real knowledge, opportune and practical advice of the "old men," uttered evidently off so kind a tongue, should have been indeed now "as good as an inheritance; yea, better too" (Ecclesiastes 7:11, margin). The reading of the parallel is well worthy to be noted (1 Kings 11:7), with its manifestly pleasantly and skilfully worded antithesis, "If thou this day will be a servant to this people... then they will be thy servants for ever." Our words, however, have their own exquisite beauty about them, If thou wilt be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them. One might fancy that Saul, and David, and Solomon, and angels themselves bended over the scene, and looked and listened and longed for wisdom and love and right to prevail. The young men that had grown up with him. While this expression throws light as above on that which speaks of Rehoboam's old men counsellors, it wakens the question how men of forty-one years of age can be called "young," as Rehoboam was not living in patriarchal aged times. And the question is emphasized by the language applied to Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 13:7, where he is described as "young and tenderhearted," and unable, for want of strength of character and of knowledge, to "withstand vain men" (as he surely shows too clearly now). It has been suggested ('Speaker's Commentary,' 2:562, Note C) that כא (21) should be read for מא (41) in the two passages quoted above (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 12:13). The suggestion seems good, and it is certainly reasonable for the requirements of both matter and manner. 1 Kings 12:1-19; so that we may refer for the exposition of it to the commentary on 1 Kings 12, where we have both treated the contents of this chapter, and have also discussed the deeper and more latent causes of this event, so important in its consequences.
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