GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Rehoboam went to Shechem because all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2Jeroboam (Nebat's son) was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. When he heard [about Rehoboam], he returned from Egypt. 3[Israel] sent for Jeroboam and invited him back. Jeroboam and all Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said, 4"Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you." 5He said to them, "Come back the day after tomorrow." So the people left.
6King Rehoboam sought advice from the older leaders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive. He asked, "What do you advise? How should I respond to these people?" 7They told him, "If you are good to these people and try to please them by speaking gently to them, then they will always be your servants." 8But he ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. He sought advice from the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we respond to these people who are asking me to lighten the burden my father put on them?" 10The young men who had grown up with him answered, "This is what you should tell them: 'My little finger is heavier than my father's whole body. 11If my father put a heavy burden on you, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.'"
12So Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam two days later, as the king had instructed them. 13The king answered them harshly. He ignored the older leaders' advice. 14He spoke to them as the young men advised. He said, "If my father made your burden heavy, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will use scorpions." 15The king refused to listen to the people because the LORD was directing these events to carry out the promise he had made to Jeroboam (Nebat's son) through Ahijah from Shiloh.
16When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, "What share do we have in David's kingdom? We won't receive an inheritance from Jesse's son. Everyone to his own tent, Israel! Now look after your own house, David!" So all Israel went home to their own tents.
17But Rehoboam ruled the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram to the Israelites. He was in charge of forced labor, but they stoned him to death. So King Rehoboam got on his chariot as fast as he could and fled to Jerusalem. 19Israel has rebelled against David's dynasty to this day.