Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 12:10

The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!' But you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Counsel;   Government;   Jeroboam;   Petition;   Rashness;   Rehoboam;   Revolt;   Rulers;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Counsel;   Evil;   Young Men;   Young People;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Rehoboam;   Shechem;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeroboam;   Jerusalem;   Rehoboam;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Counselor;   Education in Bible Times;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Wages;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Israel, Kingdom of;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Kings, the Books of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Counselor;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Rehoboam,;   Solomon;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Rehoboam ;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Yoke;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Finger;   Loins;   Thick;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Government of the Hebrews;   Jeroboam;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Revolt;   Kingdom of Israel;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Calf, Golden;   Finger (1);   Games;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Government;   Kings, Books of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the young men that were grown up with him - It was a custom in different countries to educate with the heir to the throne young noblemen of nearly the same age. This, as Calmet observes, answered two great and important ends: -

  1. It excited the prince to emulation; that he might, as far as possible, surpass in all manly exercises, and in all acts of prudence and virtue, those whom one day he was to surpass in the elevation and dignity of his station.
  • That he might acquire a correct knowledge of the disposition and views of those who were likely to be, under him, the highest officers of the state; and consequently, know the better how to trust and employ them. The old counsellors Rehoboam did not know; with the young nobility he had been familiar.
  • My little finger shall be thicker - A proverbial mode of expression: "My little finger is thicker than my father's thigh." As much as the thigh surpasses the little finger in thickness, so much does my power exceed that of my father; and the use that I shall make of it, to employ and tax you, shall be in proportion.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-12.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    My little finger … - i. e., “You shall find my hand heavier on you than my father‘s - as much heavier as if my little finger were thicker than his loins.”

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-12.html. 1870.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And the young men that were grown up with him, spake unto him, saying,.... Gave him the following advice:

    thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying; as is said, 1 Kings 12:4.

    thus shall thou say unto them, my little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins; or, "is thicker"F7עבה "grossior est", V. L. Pagninus; "densior est", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. signifying that he had more strength and power than his father had, and that he would make them know it, and they should feel the weight of it, and instead of lessening he would increase their taxes; for also hereby was intimated, that his glory, grandeur, and magnificence, was greater than his father's, especially when he first came to the kingdom, and therefore required the same taxes, or greater, to support it; and perhaps reference may be had to the difference of their age, Solomon being a child, or a very young man, when he came to the throne; whereas Rehoboam was upwards of forty years of age, and capable of judging what was fit to be done, and not to be talked to and treated after this manner, nor to receive the kingdom upon a condition of the people's prescribing.

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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-12.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou [it] lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little [finger] shall be d thicker than my father's loins.

    (d) I am much more able to keep you in subjection than my father was.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-12.html. 1599-1645.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.

    Shall be thicker — Or rather, is thicker, and therefore stronger, and more able to crush you, if you proceed in these mutinous demands, than his loins, in which is the principal seat of strength.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-12.html. 1765.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    1 Kings 12:10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou [it] lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little [finger] shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

    Ver. 10. And the going men that were grown up with him.] And so knew how to humour him; as,

    Agmen adulantum media procedit in aula.

    My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins,] i.e., Multo fortior sum patre meo. (a) I have as much and more absolute power over your persons and goods than ever my father had; and can force you according to my will. He was a youth when he was crowned, and consented to anything: but I am forty years of age, and will not be made such a child of. The rashness, therefore, of your present demands, I will chastise with rigour, &c. Now, what was it but pride, boldness, and folly, that made this silly man thus to vaunt himself, and say, My little finger, &c.? How truly he spoke it, that one thing sufficiently showeth, that the golden shields used to be borne before his father, were taken away from Rehoboam, and brazen shields put in their places! Hic nimirum fuit vanae illius gloriationis exitus, saith one. This was the issue of these vain vauntings.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-12.html. 1865-1868.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Or rather, is thicker, and therefore stronger, and mere able to crush you, if you proceed in these mutinous demands,

    than his loins, in which is the principal seat of strength. My father was young and weak, and had many enemies, when he first took the kingdom; but I am the undoubted heir; and I find the kingdom by his wise care far better settled and fortified against all enemies, foreign or domestic, than he did.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-12.html. 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    10.My little finger’ thicker than my father’s loins — A proverbial expression equivalent to, My power is greater than my father’s, and my exactions shall come upon you accordingly.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-12.html. 1874-1909.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Finger is not expressed in Hebrew or Septuagint, but the Syriac and Josephus agree with the Vulgate. In Paralipomenon, we read loins, instead of back. Hebrew and Septuagint, my little (Protestants supply finger). Septuagint, "my littleness," Greek: mikrotes; but in Paralipomenon finger is added. (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "my weakness is stronger than my father's strength." The loins denote strength. Roboam did not use these boastings and insolent expressions: but he adopted their spirit. (Calmet) --- He insinuates that he was twice as old as his father when he began to reign, (Pineda vii. 24,) or he uses a proverbial exaggeration. (Delrio. adag. 202.) (Menochius)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-12.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    My little finger. Figure of speech Parotmia. App-6.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-12.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.

    My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins - literally, my smallness [and hence, the Septuagint translates, hee mikrotees mou]. Gesenius and most of the commentators prefer "little finger." It seems to have been a proverbial phrase, denoting, I have greater power than my father.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (10) Thus shalt thou speak.—The advice of the young men—the spoilt children of a magnificent and luxurious despotism, of which alone they had experience—is the language of the arrogant self-confidence, which mistakes obstinacy for vigour, and, blind to all signs of the times, supposes that what once was possible, and perhaps good for the national progress, must last for ever. It is couched in needlessly and absurdly offensive language; but it is, as all history shows—perhaps not least the history of our own Stuart dynasty—a not unfrequent policy in revolutionary times; holding that to yield in one point is to endanger the whole fabric of sovereign power; relying on the prestige of an authority proudly confident in itself; and trusting to cow by threats the classes long subject to despotic oppression, and despised accordingly by those who wield it. It can succeed only when the popular disaffection is superficial, or when a nation is wearied out with revolutionary fanaticism and failure.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-12.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
    Thus shalt thou
    2 Samuel 17:7-13
    My little finger
    A proverbial mode of expression: "My little finger is thicker than my father's thigh." As much as the thigh surpasses the little finger in thickness, so much does my power exceed that of my father; and the use I shall make of it to oppress and tax you shall be in proportion.
    2 Chronicles 10:10,11; Proverbs 10:14; 18:6,7; 28:25; 29:23; Isaiah 47:6
    Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 8:11 - He will take;  1 Kings 12:14 - My father made;  Proverbs 13:10 - Only;  Proverbs 13:20 - but;  Proverbs 28:16 - prince;  Ecclesiastes 4:16 - no end

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    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 12:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-12.html.