he enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne, and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah "the Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 12:13). He was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne, yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4). After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord" (comp. 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis. The terrible cry was heard (comp. 2 Sam. 20:1):
"What portion have we in David?
Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
To your tents, O Israel:
Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16). And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2 Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See JEROBOAM.)