Divrei Hayamim II – Ten: Peer Pressure

King Solomon is dead, and his son Rehoboam inherits the throne. Almost immediately after his coronation, Rehoboam is approached by Jeroboam, whose people had been subjugated under Solomon’s reign. He asks that their burden be lightened under the new king. Rehoboam asks for three days to contemplate his decision, and confers with the elders, who recommend he respond with kindness. “But he disregarded the counsel of the elders, which they had advised him, and he conferred with the youths who had grown up with him, who were standing before him (Chronicles II 10:8).” The youth respond brashly and crudely, and the backlash from taking their advice is long-lasting. Ultimately, it leads to the break between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It’s so sad, because while Rehoboam initially had the right instincts, he was easily swayed by the bravado of his peers and it backfired. Peer pressure to be macho is apparently as old as the Torah, and needs to be nipped in the bud in favor of thoughtful contemplation of feedback and application of advice.

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