What Do They Know?

2 Chronicles 10:6-10

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” And they said to him, “If you will be good to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.  And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us’; thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs.

King Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon, and even though Solomon was one of the wisest men in history, he too was flawed and corrupted by wealth, power and outside influences.  Solomon took wives from foreign lands.   These wives brought their false gods with them.  Soon Solomon had forsaken the commandments of God and begun worshiping the foreign gods at the request of his wives.

Solomon began to heavily tax his people to furnish his life style of luxury much like today’s leaders.  Rehoboam was appointed king after Solomon’s death, and the people of Israel asked Rehoboam for some relief from the heavy burdens which Solomon place upon them.

2 Chronicles 10:4

“Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam tells them he will give them an answer in three days.

Rehobaom first seeks the counsel of the “old men”, the people who were the advisors for his father.  The “old men” advise Rehoboam as follows:

And they said to him, “If you will be good to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”

Rehobaom didn’t like what the “old men” told him so he asked the “young men”, his friends and contemporaries, the guys he had grown up with.   They advised him:

And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us’; thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’

What an immature, emotional response.  This was completely the opposite of what the “old men” had advised him to do.

So on the third day as promised Rehobaom tells Israel, you think it was bad under my father’s rule, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Just shut up and pay your taxes.

Israel rebels.  They stone Rehobaom’s taskmasters and this causes Rehobaom to flee, and as the Bible say in verse 19:

So Israel has been in rebellion against the House of David to this day.

Rehobaom made the mistake of many young and upcoming people.  He left the arrogance, ignorance and emotion of youth get in his way.  Like most young people he assumed he was smarter and better than that bunch of senile old farts.  What do they know?  They’re not part of the young, hip generation.  They’re way of doing things is old and obsolete.

Like most young people, Rehobaom failed to realize the benefits of experience.

Rehobaom and his buddies only knew the days of high taxation to finance the government’s out of control spending.  To them the forced labor and taxation was just a way of life, and theirs to do with as they please.  It was just the way things worked.  If you lighten the taxpayer’s load, where will the funds come from?  Something will have to get cut from all this excess and we can’t have that.

To Rehobaom and his friends people working and griping about paying higher taxes was just the way it is and the way it always should be.

The old guys, they experienced the days when all the government did was keep the people safe from invaders.  They remembered a time when every man was under his own fig tree.  These seasoned advisors lived through the happy times and knew if Rehobaom just cut back on the lavish spending and lighten the load by allowing each man to keep the rewards of his labor, the people would love him and serve him just like they did in the earlier days of his father’s reign.

The old guys, through experience knew what would happen, but the young guys through inexperience discounted the wisdom being shared with them.  So it went then, so it goes today and so it will go always.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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