The cause was from the Lord - God left him to himself, and did not incline his heart to follow the counsel of the wise men. This is making the best of our present version; but if we come to inquire into the meaning of the Cause of all this confusion and anarchy, we shall find it was Rehoboam's folly, cruelty, and despotic tyranny: and was this from the Lord? But does the text speak this bad doctrine? No: it says סבה sibbah, the Revolution, was from the Lord. This is consistent with all the declarations which went before. God stirred up the people to revolt from a man who had neither skill nor humanity to govern them. We had such a סבה revolution in these nations in 1688; and, thank God, we have never since needed another. None of our ancient translations understood the word as our present version does: they have it either the Turning Away was from the Lord, or it was the Lord's Ordinance; viz., that they should turn away from this foolish king.
The cause was from the Lord - i. e., “the turn of events was from the Lord.” Human passions, anger, pride, and insolence, worked out the accomplishment of the divine designs. Without interfering with man‘s free will, God guides the course of events, and accomplishes His purposes.
Jeroboam had been further instructed that the kingdom was not to be divided before the close of Solomon's reign. “I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand,” the Lord had declared; “but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David My servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept My commandments and My statutes: but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.” Verses 34, 35. PK 88.1
Although Solomon had longed to prepare the mind of Rehoboam, his chosen successor, to meet with wisdom the crisis foretold by the prophet of God, he had never been able to exert a strong molding influence for good over the mind of his son, whose early training had been so grossly neglected. Rehoboam had received from his mother, an Ammonitess, the stamp of a vacillating character. At times he endeavored to serve God and was granted a measure of prosperity; but he was not steadfast, and at last he yielded to the influences for evil that had surrounded him from infancy. In the mistakes of Rehoboam's life and in his final apostasy is revealed the fearful result of Solomon's union with idolatrous women. PK 88.2
The tribes had long suffered grievous wrongs under the oppressive measures of their former ruler. The extravagance of Solomon's reign during his apostasy had led him to tax the people heavily and to require of them much menial service. Before going forward with the coronation of a new ruler, the leading men from among the tribes determined to ascertain whether or not it was the purpose of Solomon's son to lessen these burdens. “So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.” PK 88.3Read in context »