Rehoboam traveled to Shechem where all Israel had gathered to inaugurate him as king.
Jeroboam was then in Egypt, where he had taken asylum from King Solomon; when he got the report of Solomon's death, he came back.
Summoned by Israel, Jeroboam and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said,
"Your father made life hard for us - worked our fingers to the bone. Give us a break; lighten up on us and we'll willingly serve you."
"Give me," said Rehoboam, "three days to think it over; then come back." So the people left.
King Rehoboam talked it over with the elders who had advised his father when he was alive: "What's your counsel? How do you suggest that I answer the people?"
They said, "If you will be a servant to this people, be considerate of their needs and respond with compassion, work things out with them, they'll end up doing anything for you."
But he rejected the counsel of the elders and asked the young men he'd grown up with who were now currying his favor,
"What do you think? What should I say to these people who are saying, 'Give us a break from your father's harsh ways - lighten up on us'?"
The young turks he'd grown up with said, "These people who complain, 'Your father was too hard on us; lighten up' - well, tell them this: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.
If you think life under my father was hard, you haven't seen the half of it. My father thrashed you with whips; I'll beat you bloody with chains!'"
Three days later Jeroboam and the people showed up, just as Rehoboam had directed when he said, "Give me three days to think it over; then come back."
The king's answer was harsh and rude. He spurned the counsel of the elders
and went with the advice of the younger set: "If you think life under my father was hard, you haven't seen the half of it: my father thrashed you with whips; I'll beat you bloody with chains!"
Rehoboam turned a deaf ear to the people. God was behind all this, confirming the message that he had given to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah of Shiloh.
When all Israel realized that the king hadn't listened to a word they'd said, they stood up to him and said, Get lost, David! We've had it with you, son of Jesse! Let's get out of here, Israel, and fast! From now on, David, mind your own business.
Rehoboam continued to rule only those who lived in the towns of Judah.
When King Rehoboam next sent out Adoniram, head of the workforce, the Israelites ganged up on him, pelted him with stones, and killed him. King Rehoboam jumped in his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem as fast as he could.
Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty ever since.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)