"I Will Chastise You With Scorpions"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 185

Context: God tells the aged King Solomon, who has joined his foreign wives in idolatry, that He will punish him by dividing Israel and allowing his son to rule only a remnant. The prophet Ahijah tells Jeroboam, a young man whom Solomon has recently appointed to be in charge of a forced labor group, that the Lord is giving him sovereignty over ten tribes of Israel and that Solomon's son shall rule over only one tribe. Jeroboam flees to Egypt for his life when Solomon discovers this revelation. After the death of Solomon and the coronation of Rehoboam, Jeroboam returns and leads a delegation of Israelites to pledge Rehoboam their support if he will lighten the burden that Solomon had imposed upon them. The old advisers to Solomon recommend that Rehoboam promise to be the servant of the people. Rehoboam, however, prefers the counsel of his young friends, who suggest that he say:

And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

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