Rehoboam the Foolish

Michael Wilcock

READ : 1 Kings 12:1-17

. . . forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him . . . (v. 13)

What a foolish son for such a wise father! In Solomon’s time it was to him that all sensible people used to listen. But to whom would Rehoboam listen now that Solomon was dead? Well, he listened to the northern tribes of Israel, and to Jeroboam their spokesman (who had an agenda of his own), and believed what they said, though it should have been taken with a very large pinch of salt. Then to decide how to answer them, he listened to the know-it-all guys of his own generation instead of to people of experience, and so gave the northerners the excuse they wanted to break away from the rule of David’s family.

The obvious lesson is “Try not to be a fool!” Have the humility to ask for advice, and the sense to ask the right people for it!

There would in fact be another lesson for Rehoboam to learn. Later on, when he thought of trying to repair by force the damage he had caused, a message would come from God through the prophet Shemaiah: God is in control of all this foolishness and is working out his own plans through it (see vv. 22-24). It was, as we shall see, a symptom of a deeper malady and would need a more drastic remedy. By that time Rehoboam would have learned to listen to the right voices. But however inexperienced he may have been in those earlier days, that was still no excuse for playing the fool.


Which voices do we listen to? Lord, give us discernment.