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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

May 13, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: II Chronicles 9-12


II Chronicles 10:8

But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.


After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam his son became king. But not over all of Israel. According to the Bible at the time of Solomon’s death the nation of Israel was divided. The southern portion of Israel became known as Judah, it was comprised of 2 tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin. Judah’s capital was Jerusalem. This division of Israel took place in 931 B.C.


Rehoboam was its first king (first king of the divided kingdom stage). He reigned for 17 years in which time Jerusalem was invaded by Shishak, the Pharaoh of Egypt, at which time many of the riches of the Temple were plundered and carried away. Rehoboam’s first act as king highlights a stark difference between him and his father.  Solomon was a wise man with boundless vision and a doer of great deeds. Rehoboam was a small-minded man. He was dominated by falsehoods, he failed to give proper honor and place to the Lord God, and he followed the wrong advisors.


Considering that last point, that he followed the wrong advisors, all would do well to learn from his mistake. Upon asking advice of the old men that served and stood before Solomon, he was tapping into years of understanding and wisdom that was no doubt obtained by these men from their witness of the dealings of Solomon. His knowledge, wisdom, and the way he dealt with the citizens of Israel was legendary. These old men were Solomon’s followers. Their advice was to be kind to the people, please them, and speak good words to them, by treating the people so they would be his glad, happy servants.


But the young men, the men that probably heard of Solomon’s wisdom and greatness, but did not have that long term personal relationship with him, knew nothing or little about how to govern the citizenry of the nation. Their advice was hardship. Speak harsh words to them, saying things like My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. Their advice cost him the leadership of 10 tribes in Israel and created a split in the kingdom from which it would never recover.


Rehoboam chose wrongly. Upon reflection it becomes apparent that every person of every walk of life must make the same basic decision that Rehoboam made. Whose advice will they receive and follow? The advice acted upon proves who their leader is. If a loving parent gives a child good advice, yet that young person’s friends, of their same age group, give them conflicting advice, which one will the individual choose? Their parents, or their friends. They both have a perspective. The parent sees things from one point of view, the friends from another. 


In the early 1700’s an English orator and statesman said this, “He who calls in the aid of an equal understanding doubles his own; and he who profits by a superior understanding raises his powers to a level with the heights of the superior understanding he unites with.”  Meaning, choose advisors of superior understanding, not ones of equal understanding. The young men were Rehoboam’s equal, and probably thought that no one was of superior understanding than they. The old men were of superior understanding. Rehoboam chose poorly. Which would you have chosen? Better yet, which will you choose?


Dr. William T. Howe

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