27. “The Influence of Wicked and Righteous Leaders”

The actions of Rehoboam and Jeroboam caused strife enough to separate the children of Israel until each was taken captive centuries later. Where much is given, much is expected, and both Rehoboam and Jeroboam failed in their positions.

“Historical Parallels and Patterns: Enlightened Absolutism and the Israelite–Nephite Concept of Kingship,” Stella Nickerson, BYU Religious Education 2009 Student Symposium
A just king sees himself as the servant of his people. The concept is elegantly articulated in 1 Kings. When the people rose up against King Rehoboam, he was counseled by his elders, “If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever” (1 Kings 12:7). His decision to ignore this advice led to civil war. This humble, servile view of kingship was an essential element of Israelite political understanding.

“The Divided Kingdoms,” Old Testament Institute Student Manual, Kings–Malachi
While the first kings (Saul, David, and Solomon) laid a foundation for the kingdom of Israel, basing government leadership in men rather than God laid the seeds of destruction that would later divide the nation and lead to their downfall. After the death of Solomon, a schism over taxation divided the nation into two kingdoms. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and anointed successor, ruled over the Southern Kingdom, which was composed of the territory belonging to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The house of David continued to govern this nation until the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.

“Recognizing Righteous Leadership,” Elder Paul E. Koelliker, Ensign, July 2010
Rehoboam rejected counsel to lighten the burden of the children of Israel. Instead, he imposed additional hardships on them, thinking that he could establish order and retain his hold over the people. His focus on his own might led to continuous contention with the leaders of other tribes. The northern tribes felt threatened by Rehoboam’s actions and appointed Jeroboam to be their spokesman. Angered by the unrighteous rule and decisions of the king, Jeroboam determined to persuade the people that they should follow him, abandon the house of David, and establish a separate kingdom in the north called the kingdom of Israel.

“Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift,” Hugh W. Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints
Leaders are movers and shakers, original, inventive, unpredictable, imaginative, full of surprises that discomfit the enemy in war and the main office in peace. For the managers are safe, conservative, predictable, conforming organization men and team players, dedicated to the establishment. Good leaders have a passion for equality.