12:4 “Your father made us work too hard. 1 Now if you lighten the demands he made and don’t make us work as hard, we will serve you.” 2
1 Kings 12:9-11Context
12:9 He asked them, “How do you advise me 3 to respond to these people who said to me, ‘Lessen the demands your father placed on us’?” 4 12:10 The young advisers with whom Rehoboam 5 had grown up said to him, “Say this to these people who have said to you, ‘Your father made us work hard, but now lighten our burden.’ 6 Say this to them: ‘I am a lot harsher than my father! 7 12:11 My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. 8 My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.’” 9
1 tn Heb “made our yoke burdensome.”
2 tn Heb “but you, now, lighten the burdensome work of your father and the heavy yoke which he placed on us, and we will serve you.” In the Hebrew text the prefixed verbal form with vav (וְנַעַבְדֶךָ, [vÿna’avdekha] “and we will serve you”) following the imperative (הָקֵל [haqel], “lighten”) indicates purpose (or result). The conditional sentence used in the translation above is an attempt to bring out the logical relationship between these forms.
3 tn In the Hebrew text the verb “we will respond” is plural, although it can be understood as an editorial “we.” The ancient versions have the singular here.
4 tn Heb “Lighten the yoke which your father placed on us.”
5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Rehoboam) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
6 tn Heb “Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter upon us.”
7 tn Heb “My little one is thicker than my father’s hips.” The referent of “my little one” is not clear. The traditional view is that it refers to the little finger. As the following statement makes clear, Rehoboam’s point is that he is more harsh and demanding than his father.
8 tn Heb “and now my father placed upon you a heavy yoke, but I will add to your yoke.”
9 tn Heb “My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.” “Scorpions” might allude to some type of torture using poisonous insects, but more likely it refers to a type of whip that inflicts an especially biting, painful wound. Cf. CEV “whips with pieces of sharp metal.”