And now, whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke,
&c.] Which was putting words into his mouth, owning the charge and accusation brought against his father, as he did, ( 1 Kings 12:14 ) , which was very unbecoming, if true; unless this is said according to the sense of the people:
I will add to your yoke;
make it heavier, lay more taxes on them:
my father hath chastised you with whips;
which was putting a lie into his mouth, and which he uttered, ( 1 Kings 12:14 ) for no instance of severity exercised on the people in general can be given during the whole reign of Solomon:
but I will chastise you with scorpions;
treat them more roughly, and with greater rigour: whips may mean smaller ones, these horse whips, as in the Targum; which gave an acute pain, like the sting of scorpions, or made a wound like one. Ben Gersom says, these were rods with thorns on them, which pierced and gave much pain. Weemse F8 thinks these are alluded to by thorns in the sides, ( Numbers 33:55 ) ( Judges 2:3 ) , for whipping with them was about the sides, and not along the back. Abarbinel calls them iron thorns, rods that had iron prongs or rowels to them, which tore the flesh extremely. Isidore F9 says, a rod that is smooth is called a rod, but, if knotty and prickled, it is rightly called a scorpion, because it makes a wound in the body arched or crooked. Pliny F11 ascribes the invention of this sort of scorpions to the Cretians.
F8 Christian Synagogue, paragraph 6. diatrib. 2. p. 190.
F9 Origin. l. 5. c. 27. p. 39.
F11 Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56.