From Caroline Dixon
The Yes Men goad the young king Rehoboam,
Thus shall you say to them,
'My little finger is thicker than my father's thighs'
- 1 Kings 12:10b
Thigh, of course, being a common euphemism for the symbol of manliness located in the thigh's general vicinity. A pissing contest. A son trying to show himself more macho than his enemy, or his father, or whoever else would threaten his dominance. Almost like a presidential candidate defending the size of his hands at a nationally-televised debate.
In this account, the young king Rehoboam ignores the wise counsel of his father's advisors (those who served his father King Solomon), and instead listens to "the young men who had grown up with him." So, instead of relieving the heavy yoke of labor that his people endure, he doubles-down on cruelty and pride.
And the king answered the people harshly,
and forsaking the counsel that the old men had given him,
he spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying,
"My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke.
My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions."
The LORD uses the young king's folly to carry out his decision to allow Israel and Judah to be a divided kingdom. The people rebel and the kingdom is divided under Rehoboam.
Proverbs 3 is literally King Solomon's warning to his son to heed wisdom and fear the Lord. Reading it, with the 1 Kings 12 story in mind, is heartbreaking indeed.
I am enjoying some peaceful Summer Fridays off from my job with international students at Gordon College.