Solomon was the wise king of Israel who brought his nation to its zenith of power and prosperity. He did so, however, by overtaxing his people.
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took the throne. The new king was immediately approached by one of his father’s former servants as well as representatives of the entire nation. They promised faithful service to Rehoboam if he would only lighten the heavy yoke Solomon had placed on them.
Afterward, Rehoboam spoke with the elders who had served his father. These men also assured him that by easing the burden on the people he would procure for himself the benefit their faithful service forever.
But wise counsel needs a discerning ear, and Rehoboam had none. Instead, he met with the “young men” with whom he grew up (he was forty-one when he took the throne). They told him to make the people’s burden even more difficult to prove to them that he was even more powerful than his father.
Rehoboam was indeed in the perfect position to be a greater king than Solomon. Through the voice of inexperienced, self-centered immaturity, however, the unity of Israel went down the tubes, nearly erupting in civil war.
The nation was split in two, never to unite again. As it happened, each half, Israel to the north & Judah to the south, was continually plagued by the other as well as their surrounding enemies. Both estranged nations were eventually overrun and enslaved.
Rehoboam's failure to listen to reason resulted in his own downfall and contributed to the demise of his people. He abandoned Godliness and thus failed to honor his father or have compassion for fellow Israelites. Rather than become a great king as he was poised to do, he lost everything.
Rehoboam’s reign is later described as evil, prolifically idolatrous and one in which sodomites (male cult prostitutes) were brought into the land and the practice of sensual abomination became rampant (1st Kings 14:21-31).
Jesus would later say, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14).
My friends; be careful whose counsel you heed, especially when they tell you what you want to hear.