4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke that your father laid on us, and we will serve you.”
ד אָבִיךָ הִקְשָׁה אֶת־עֻלֵּנוּ וְעַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעֲבֹדַת אָבִיךָ הַקָּשָׁה וּמֵעֻלּוֹ הַכָּבֵד אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן עָלֵינוּ וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ׃
5 He answered them, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.
ה וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם עוֹד שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים וְשׁוּבוּ אֵלָי וַיֵּלֶךְ הָעָם׃
10:6 Who had served during the lifetime of his father Shlomo
Upon assuming the throne after his father’s death, Rechovam is approached by representatives of the nation who request an easing of the tax burden that had been placed upon them by King Shlomo. Rechovam first consults the elders who had advised his father, but not liking the counsel they give, he instead turns to the younger people, his own contemporaries. This was a breach of the principle, “Ask your father, he will inform you, Your elders, they will tell you” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Rechovam follows the advice of his young friends, and this leads to the split in the kingdom, setting the ten tribes of the kingdom of Yisrael on a very negative path of idolatry and sin. Had Rechovam appreciated the meaning and importance of history and tradition, instead of trying to assert himself and his reign over the nation, much evil might have been averted.1 comment
7 They answered him, “If you will be good to these people and appease them and speak to them with kind words, they will be your servants always.”
ז וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר אִם־תִּהְיֶה לְטוֹב לְהָעָם הַזֶּה וּרְצִיתָם וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם דְּבָרִים טוֹבִים וְהָיוּ לְךָ עֲבָדִים כָּל־הַיָּמִים׃
8 But he ignored the counsel that the elders gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
ח וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת־עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר יְעָצֻהוּ וַיִּוָּעַץ אֶת־הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו׃
9 “What,” he asked, “do you counsel that we reply to these people who said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us’?”
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם מָה אַתֶּם נוֹעָצִים וְנָשִׁיב דָּבָר אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבְּרוּ אֵלַי לֵאמֹר הָקֵל מִן־הָעֹל אֲשֶׁר־נָתַן אָבִיךָ עָלֵינוּ׃
10 And the young men who had grown up with him answered, “Speak thus to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us.’ Say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins.
י וַיְדַבְּרוּ אִתּוֹ הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר גָּדְלוּ אִתּוֹ לֵאמֹר כֹּה־תֹאמַר לָעָם אֲשֶׁר־דִּבְּרוּ אֵלֶיךָ לֵאמֹר אָבִיךָ הִכְבִּיד אֶת־עֻלֵּנוּ וְאַתָּה הָקֵל מֵעָלֵינוּ כֹּה תֹּאמַר אֲלֵהֶם קָטָנִּי עָבָה מִמָּתְנֵי אָבִי׃
11 My father imposed a heavy yoke on you, and I will add to your yoke; my father flogged you with whips, but I [will do so] with scorpions.’”
יא וְעַתָּה אָבִי הֶעְמִיס עֲלֵיכֶם עֹל כָּבֵד וַאֲנִי אֹסִיף עַל־עֻלְּכֶם אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי בָּעֲקְרַבִּים׃
13 The king answered them harshly; thus King Rechovam ignored the elders’ counsel.
יג וַיַּעֲנֵם הַמֶּלֶךְ קָשָׁה וַיַּעֲזֹב הַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם אֵת עֲצַת הַזְּקֵנִים׃
14 He spoke to them in accordance with the counsel of the young men, and said, “I will make your yoke heavy, and I will add to it; my father flogged you with whips, but I [will do so] with scorpions.”
יד וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם כַּעֲצַת הַיְלָדִים לֵאמֹר אַכְבִּיד אֶת־עֻלְּכֶם וַאֲנִי אֹסִיף עָלָיו אָבִי יִסַּר אֶתְכֶם בַּשּׁוֹטִים וַאֲנִי בָּעֲקְרַבִּים׃
15 The king did not listen to the people, for Hashem had brought it about in order that Hashem might fulfill the promise that He had made through Achiya the Shilonite to Yerovam son of Nebat.
טו וְלֹא־שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶל־הָעָם כִּי־הָיְתָה נְסִבָּה מֵעִם הָאֱלֹהִים לְמַעַן הָקִים יְהֹוָה אֶת־דְּבָרוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּיַד אֲחִיָּהוּ הַשִּׁלוֹנִי אֶל־יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־נְבָט׃
16 When all Yisrael [saw] that the king had not listened to them, the people answered the king: “We have no portion in David, No share in Yishai‘s son! To your tents, O Yisrael! Now look to your own house, O David.” So all Yisrael returned to their homes.
17 But Rechovam continued to reign over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Yehuda.
18 King Rechovam sent out Hadoram, who was in charge of the forced labor, but the Israelites pelted him to death with stones. Thereupon, King Rechovam hurriedly mounted his chariot and fled to Yerushalayim.