Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
(iii) HISTORY OF THE KINGS WHO REIGNED IN JERUSALEM, FROM REHOBOAM TO THE EXILE (2Chronicles 10:1-19).
(1) The Revolt of the Ten Tribes. The Reign of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 10-12.).
Considered by itself, this section might be pronounced a transcript of 1Kings 12:1-24. Such differences as appear in the Hebrew text are mostly unimportant, consisting of merely verbal modifications and omissions not affecting the general sense. (See Intro. §6; and the commentary on the passage in Kings.)
And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.(1) To Shechem.—Sh’kémah, with accusative ending; Kings, Sh’kem. “Were come,” pf. plural; Kings, singular.
And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.(2) Who was in Egypt.—Really a parenthesis, “And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard (now he was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the face of Solomon the king), that Jeroboam returned from Egypt.” The chronicler has omitted to say he was still in Egypt (‘ôdennû, Kings), because he has not alluded before to his flight thither. (See 1Kings 11:26-40.)
That Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.—Kings continues the parenthesis, “and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt.” The words dwelt and returned are spelt with the same letters in Hebrew, the difference being one of pointing only.
And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,(3) And they sent and called him.—To the assembly. (Comp. 1Kings 12:20.)
All Israel.—Chron. omits assembly of. “Came,” singular; Kings, plural.
Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.(4) Made . . . grievous . . . ease thou.—Made hard . . . lighten.
Now therefore.—And now. Kings and the Syriac here, “and thou now”—w’attah ‘attah: an assonance which the chronicler has avoided, at the expense of the proper emphasis, which lies on thou. (Some Hebrew MSS. and the Vulgate and Arabic read, and thou.) (Comp. 2Chronicles 10:10, and thou . . . lighten it.)
And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.(5) Come again unto me after three days.—Hob., Yet three days and return unto me. The verb go ye (Kings) seems to have fallen out before the first words. The LXX., Syriac, and Arabic have it.
Departed.—Singular; Kings, plural. Contrast 2Chronicles 10:1.
And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?(6) Before Solomon.—“Liphnê Sh’lomoh” the common formula for “‘eth-p’nê Sh’lomoh” (Kings).
To return answer to . . .—Literally, to return to this people a word; Kings, “to return this people a word” (double accusative)—a construction preserved in 2Chronicles 10:9 below.
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.(7) 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.”
But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.(8) That stood before him.—The chronicler has omitted a redundant expression (‘asher).
And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?(9) And he said unto them.—The verse agrees with Kings to the letter.
And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.(10) Spake unto him.—Heb., with him; probably a mistaken repetition. Kings, “unto him,” and so LXX.; but Syriac, “with him.”
The people.—This people (Kings).
But make thou it somewhat lighter for us.—Literally, And thou lighten from upon us. LXX., well: καὶ σὺ ἄφες ἀφ᾿ ἡμῶν.
Thus shalt thou say.—Kings, “speak.”
My little finger.—The word “finger” should not be italicised. The word qōten means “little finger.”
For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.(11) For whereas . . .—Literally, And now, my father . . . and I, I will add to your yoke.
Whips . . . scorpions.—The whips . . . the scorpions.
I will chastise you.—These words are found in the text of Kings, both here and in 2Chronicles 10:14.
So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.(12) So Jeroboam.—Literatim as Kings.
And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,(13) Them.—Kings, “the people.”
King Rehoboam.—Not in Kings, which adds, “that they counselled him.”
And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.(14) And answered them.—And spake unto them.
My father made your yoke heavy.—The Targum and a large number of Hebrew MSS. read, “I will make heavy.” This appears to be an error arising out of a fusion of the two words ‘abî hikhbîd into ’ahhbîd. All the versions have the reading of the text.
Thereto.—“To your yoke” (Kings).
So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.(15) The cause was of God.—It was brought about by God. Literally, it was a turn or turning-point (of events) from with God. The word n’sibbah is equivalent to sibbah of Kings. Both are isolated in the Old Testament. The latter is the common word for “cause” in Rabbinic, as sibbath sibbôth—causa causarum.
That the Lord might perform his word.—The chronicler does not deviate from the text of Kings here, although he has not mentioned Ahijah’s prophecy to Jeroboam before. (Comp. 2Chronicles 9:29. )
And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.(16) And when all Israel saw.—Now all Israel had seen. Kings: “And all Israel saw.” The chronicler makes a new start. (The word “saw” is wanting in very many Hebrew MSS., and in LXX., Vulg., and Targ., and some Hebrew editions.)
Answered.—Returned the king—scil., a word, which Kings supplies.
Every man to your tents, O Israel.—Literally, A man (’îsh) to thy tents, &c. The word “man” is probably spurious, being due to a repetition of the letters of the preceding proper name Jesse (Heb., Yishai or Ishai). Kings, LXX., Vulg. are without it, but Syriac has it.
See to thine own house—i.e., govern Judah, thine own tribe. Vulg., “pasce domum tuam.”
Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.(18) Hadoram.—Kings, “Adoram.” LXX. (Vat.), Adoniram. (Comp. 1Kings 4:6.)
The tribute.—The levy (ha-mas).
The children of Israel.—Kings, “all Israel.”
Made speed.—Had made speed.
His chariot.—The (royal) chariot.
And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.(19) Unto this day.—Neither the compiler of Kings nor the chronicler saw fit to alter a phrase which no longer applied to the political circumstances of their own day. (Comp. 1Chronicles 4:41; 1Chronicles 4:43; 1Chronicles 5:26.)