The wisest human, and arguably the wealthiest, to ever have lived wrote about home life, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverb 17:1) Was his wisdom gained by experience? I think it likely if not probable. Solomon’s house couldn’t have been all smiles and giggles. How could a man so divided in his affections (700 wives!) satisfy a wife’s hope for loyal, faithful, only-you love?
“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” Do you catch the exasperation? A party is hardly a place to get into it with your mate. So why she cannot hold herself together until the guests are gone stokes the rage he manages to squelch until they leave. A spousal fight is best conducted in private, but prudence is not always practice; so even as the music continues, attendees chatter, and no one reacts, the scuttlebutt is out there — irretrievable.
“Here we go again…” he sighs, ignoring the high-pitched ranting, screaming, yelling, enraged voice now echoing through marbled palace corridors. Her venting is worse than poverty, heavier than stone. He exhales, defeated for a solution and wearied by the regularity of its occurrence. The celebrated King’s shoulders slump, his face buries into in his hands as a heavy rush of air leaves his nostrils, but she is not finished. His eyes roll heavenward, clearly pleading for an end to it. Meanwhile, marble is a poor muffler; little-boy ears cannot mute the sounds of battle between parents. An angry mother’s belittling of Father– whether deserved or not– is toxic to the heart of a child. His poisoned soul will grow to resent the weakness in his Father. “I will be better. No one will walk over me. I will silence those who try,” the King’s son resolves.
Solomon’s appetite for wealth and his wish for “quiet” becomes his boy’s mandate. Upon enthronement, Rehoboam lunges for control. Counsel to pronounce a nationwide crackdown fits like a glove, but the people will not have it. He loses ten of the twelve tribes, to Jereboam, one of Solomon’s house servants. But wise old Solomon had seen it coming. The Patriarch’s insight had led to foresight and in the very next proverb he predicted, “A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.” (Proverb 17:2)
A King’s troubles at home portend trouble in his realm. A man’s weaknesses privately flesh themselves out in public. It is true for kings of nations and rulers at home. It is predictable, but also preventable. Solomon’s downfall was that he did not take his own advice. Every man decides if he will follow suit.
A Special Announcement from The Meeks.
Manabouts is preparing a treat for you to enjoy AFTER Christmas! Exiting 2017 and leading into the New Year, we will reflect on twelve of King Solomon’s most common teachings to his boys. More than that, we are spicing things up by inviting twelve guest bloggers to address those topics! Whether it is dealing with rebellious sons or where to start with a boy under five, these guys will short-cut the learning curve by sharing what has worked and what hasn’t. Real estate salesmen, engineers, missionaries, businessmen, and YouTube sensations will share advice for us dads that’s true and VERY practical.
Join us for “The Twelve Days AFTER Christmas: Beginning and Ending with A Father’s Wise Counsel ” beginning December 25th.