Since the time of the Judges, there was tension between the northern and southern tribes. So, Rehoboam chooses an historically sacred city, Shechem (Joshua 24), for his inauguration ceremony to appease those in the north. When Jeroboam and the assembly of Israel request their heavy yoke be lightened, Rehoboam tells them to return in 3 days. Rehoboam rejects the counsel of the elder statesmen who served his father, Solomon (1 Kings 4:1-6) and grandfather, David (II Sam. 8:15-16), and at 41 years of age (1 Kings 14:21), Rehoboam follows the poor counsel of his peers; he answers Jeroboam harshly.

Our lesson: We know that Proverbs 15:1, when applied on a personal level, can persuade opposition. Here we see the result of a harsh response: an entire kingdom divided—Jeroboam, king of Israel, the northern kingdom, with Samaria the capital; Rehoboam, king of Judah, the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem the capital. God king of all fulfills His word (1 Kings 11:29-36).

Godless Jeroboam fears that the people will leave and stay in Jerusalem if allowed to go there to worship. He creates a false religion with altars in Bethel and Dan, institutes festive days, and makes an unholy priesthood, leading the north into idolatry. They never recover until the time of Jesus (See John 4:19-24).