1 Kings 12:1-33

Daybreak for Students

1 Kings 12:1-33

1 Kings 12
And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? — 1 Kings 12:6

I remember receiving my first big paycheck. How quickly my mind began assessing all of the things I could buy! Suddenly I had been given the ability to get what I wanted. Should I go out to lunch with my friends or buy myself a pizza? Should I buy a video game or maybe a stereo? All at once I was thrown into the middle of decisions I had never faced before.

My mother, being the logical and intelligent person that she is, tried to help me make wise choices. She knew having a car would be something I could enjoy and appreciate for some time. Since one of the reasons I had taken a job was to gain more independence, my mother encouraged me to work toward the purchase of a car. However, that meant saving money instead of spending it!

Regretfully, I did not listen to my mother’s counsel. Instead, I made many impulsive and senseless purchases, which left me little to show for the money I had earned. I squandered my paychecks on fulfilling my immediate desires instead of saving toward a long-term goal.

Eventually, I matured enough to recognize the wisdom of my mother’s advice, and changed my ways. (I have a car now!) The lesson was a good one — though it may seem easier to please ourselves than to follow wise counsel, the end result is not as good.

In our focus verse, Rehoboam began his reign by asking the elders for advice. He did not like the advice he was given, however, and he sought further advice from his peers, and chose to follow their counsel. In placing his desires ahead of the good of the kingdom, he brought division and years of quarrel and strife to the tribes.

In the Gospel, we have a heritage of godly commandments, counsel, and traditions, both from the Bible itself, and also from veteran Christians. May the Lord help us look for and follow the advice of our elders in the church, and above all to seek and follow the Lord’s counsel. If we do, we are certain to reap rich spiritual rewards.


This chapter marks a pivotal point in the history of the Children of Israel. The nation that God had founded and provided for was torn from the hand of King Solomon because he had angered God (1 Kings 11:9-11). For David’s sake (1 Kings 11:12; 1 Chronicles 17:13) He waited until Solomon’s death and left the line of David with two tribes — Judah and Benjamin. Judah, the largest tribe, and Benjamin, the smallest, were often mentioned as one tribe because they shared the same border.

Jerusalem was the seat of Israel’s government at the time of Solomon’s death. However, Rehoboam went about thirty-five miles north to Shechem to become king. Possibly, Rehoboam thought it would help rally the support of the northern tribes if he traveled north. The lack of unity between the tribes began in the time of the judges, and was especially noticeable between Judah (in the south) and Ephraim (in the north).

The Law of Moses instructed the men of Israel to go to the Temple three times each year. Afraid that he would lose the loyalty of the northern Israelites, Jeroboam set up his own centers for worship. Bethel was on the main road to Jerusalem, and only about ten miles north. Dan was at the most northern part of Israel, thus sparing the people of that area the inconvenience of travel.

The ten northern tribes — Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Issachar, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali — revolted against Rehoboam’s reign and formed the kingdom of Israel. They elected Jeroboam as their king and established their capital as the city of Samaria. This was all done according to the prophecy delivered to Jeroboam by Ahijah the prophet (1 Kings 11:29-39).

Jeroboam had the potential to be the first of a great line of kings. God told him that He would “build thee a sure house, as I built for David” if he would only follow His commandments. Unfortunately, Jeroboam was the first of nineteen evil kings of Israel. He stained the kingdom and led the way for all kings after him, who “walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.” For over two hundred years, there was not a single good king in Israel, and then Assyria conquered the kingdom and took them into captivity.


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel
     A.   The division of the kingdom (12:1-24)
           1.   The occasion of the division (12:1-5)
           2.   The various counsel to Rehoboam (12:6-11)
           3.   Rehoboam’s foolish decision (12:12-15)
           4.   The revolt of the northern tribes (12:16-20)
           5.   The civil war averted (12:21-24)
     B.   The reign of Jeroboam of Israel
           1.   The wicked scheme of Jeroboam (12:25-33)


  1. How did Rehoboam know the “young men” from whom he took counsel?

  2. Contrast the way Rehoboam asked the “old men” for advice with the way he asked the “young men.” What was the difference? (What was his attitude?)

  3. What is our responsibility to our elders in the Church today? 


God has provided us with a wealth of spiritual knowledge. Let us use every resource He has given so we can be assured of every blessing He has for us.