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Mind Your Language #2

Updated on June 3, 2020

Over three decades ago I become interested in the Bible, having drank from the heavenly cup once, I have not been tired to drink more



I have said this article is focusing on the son of king Solomon who though his father was wise but he did not act wisely in his conduct on the throne, for he failed the litmus test with which the people of the country tested him to welcome him to the position of his father. The failure of his litmus test was centered on his response to the people, which is harsh… this topic shall be concluded in this second article.

King Rehoboam’s Response

On the assigned day that he asks the people to return for reply, they have gathered together and gone to him to hear maybe he would yield to what they have asked or not. On getting to the King, he replied them rashly adding that he would increase their burdens.

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day.

And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him;

And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, my father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, 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. So Israel departed unto their tents. (1 Ki 12: 12-16)

He ignored the elders counsel and replied the people harshly, he did not mind his language when replying them. He thought he has been crowned king and there is nothing anyone could do about that again, after all God has stated and make covenant with the family that they shall continue to be king forever over the land of Israel he reasoned.


Why He Replied Like That

Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary about this event says that his reply is figurative because the word my little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins means “I possess much greater might than my father”.

The King thinks what they have come to him for was presented figuratively and he has to answer them figuratively, thence he replied in that fashion. But his figurative reply was not appealing to the people.

Effects of His Harsh Words/Reply

It is being said that gentle words bring positive changes, but harsh words cause stir, wrath, and fight. This was what happened in the land as he ignored the elders counsel which states that

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. (Pro 15:1-2)

And the unified Kingdom was divided into two, one large quadrant and another small quadrant, the North, and the South (Judah) Kingdoms.

Because he could not fathom what has betide him he sent Adoram who was in charge of labor to them, but he was killed and he himself would have been killed if he did not escape. And the countries would have gone to war with many people dead if not for the prophet who counseled him otherwise that what happened was in the plan of God because of his father’s actions. (1 Ki 12:1-20; 2 Chro 10:1-19)

Poll: Experience:

Have you experienced something horrible after replying harshly before?

See results


We need to always guide our utterances when we speak. It is not in all instances that we should be uttering harsh words. And as the bible has said in the book of Proverbs 15:1-2, speaking words harshly more often than not lead to provocation, making things to go out of hand, but when we speak gently, we would save ourselves lots of troubles. Again, in some instances we need to know that it is not everyone who understands figurative expressions, speak directly and understandably.



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