So I noticed a little something the other day in 2 Chronicles the other day that was fun. And interesting. It is the fact that I have A.D.D. Just kidding. I didn’t notice that.
So there is this king, Rehoboam, who comes after David and Solomon, sort of (it could be said that Absalom was the next king, but he really didn’t ascend all the way) and unlike David and Solomon, Rehoboam doesn’t do too well. He isn’t terrible by any means, but he’s not that hot either. But what I want to talk about is probably the defining act of Rehoboam: if there is anything to remember about him it is that this king was the cause of the splitting of Israel into the southern and northern tribes. This is 2 Chronicles 10:
10:1 Rehoboam traveled to Shechem, for all Israel had gathered in Shechem to make Rehoboam king. 10:2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news, he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 10:3 They sent for him and Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 10:4 “Your father made us work too hard! Now if you lighten the demands he made and don’t make us work as hard, we will serve you.” 10:5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then return to me.” So the people went away. 10:6 King Rehoboam consulted with the older advisers who had served his father Solomon when he had been alive. He asked them, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” 10:7 They said to him, “If you are fair to these people, grant their request, and are cordial to them, they will be your servants from this time forward.” 10:8 But Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted the young advisers who served him, with whom he had grown up. 10:9 He asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who said to me, ‘Lessen the demands your father placed on us’?” 10:10 The young advisers with whom Rehoboam had grown up said to him, “Say this to these people who have said to you, ‘Your father made us work hard, but now lighten our burden’ – say this to them: ‘I am a lot harsher than my father! 10:11 My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.’” 10:12 Jeroboam and all the people reported to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had ordered when he said, “Return to me on the third day.” 10:13 The king responded to the people harshly. He rejected the advice of the older men 10:14 and followed the advice of the younger ones. He said, “My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.”
After this Jeroboam leads the northern tribes to rebel against the king and they create the northern Kingdom of Israel. Good job, Rehoboam. Those young guys were really good with their advice.
But I bring this up though because of another person who does do a good job. Let’s see who that is.
11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”
This little quote comes from Matthew 11 and is spoken by none other than… Jesus! And interesting is that Matthew includes in the geneaology of Jesus, Matthew 1:7 “Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa.” An interesting juxtaposition as Rehoboam is saying come to me and I will make your burdens heavy, and Jesus is saying come to me and I will make your burden light. Jesus, coming from the line of kings who weren’t always the best and who actually were willing to force harsher weights on their people, is reversing that and doing what would have been wise, to lighten the load.
And to finish it, a few verses after the 2 Chronicles quote is:
10:16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, “We have no portion in David – no share in the son of Jesse! Return to your homes, O Israel! Now, look after your own dynasty, O David!”
Now I’m saying this is explicitely what is going on, but it seems like Jesus, in reversing the ruling of Rehoboam, is now including the people into the portion of David, the share of the son of Jesse. Jesus is once again including the people and bringing them back to Him. Where once the kings pushed the people out of the inheritance of David, now the King is bringing them back in, saying that they have a place in the dynasty.
I thought it was pretty cool.