Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king.
When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of Solomon's death, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon.
The leaders of Israel sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went together to speak with Rehoboam.
"Your father was a hard master," they said. "Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects."
Rehoboam replied, "Come back in three days for my answer." So the people went away.
Then King Rehoboam went to discuss the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. "What is your advice?" he asked. "How should I answer these people?"
The older counselors replied, "If you are good to the people and show them kindness and do your best to please them, they will always be your loyal subjects."
But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers.
"What is your advice?" he asked them. "How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?"
The young men replied, "This is what you should tell those complainers: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist -- if you think he was hard on you, just wait and see what I'll be like!
Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I'll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I'll use scorpions!'"
Three days later, Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam's decision, just as the king had requested.
But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors
and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, "My father was harsh on you, but I'll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I'll use scorpions!"
So the king paid no attention to the people's demands. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the prophecy of the LORD spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat by the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.
When all Israel realized that the king had rejected their request, they shouted, "Down with David and his dynasty! We have no share in Jesse's son! Let's go home, Israel! Look out for your own house, O David!" So all Israel returned home.
But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)