Lamentations: Third Kinah 11
“Therefore God caused it to happen so” This is based on Kings I 12:15: “The king did not listen to the people; for God had brought it about in order to fulfill the promise that God had made through Ahijah Hashiloni
to Yeravam ben Nevat” This is the story of the split of the Jews after the death of Shlomo Hamelech. The people came to Rechavam demanding changes and, as the verse says, he did not listen to the people. The shocking thing is that the verse also says that God caused this to happen.
This raises the issue of Free Choice and of God’s management of the forces of history. Many commentaries explain that when it says that the king did not listen to the people it means that a delegation was sent to the king to speak with him because the people did not want to split the kingdom. The delegation attempted to respectfully work everything out with the king and it was at this point that God brought about the king’s refusal to listen.
The Da’as Sofrim says that God had given Shlomo extraordinary wisdom and because of his sins deprived his son Rechavam of the most basic common sense. Rechavam was also deprived of his free choice in order to bring about what God had decreed.
Rabbi Moshe David Vialli, one of the students of the Ramchal explains that there was no one more deserving God’s presence than Yeravam. The people fell into sin with their rebellion against the House of David. Therefore God brought about both the split of the kingdom and the elevation of Yeravam as king. Rav Saadiah Gaon in Emunot V’Deot, Fourth Ma’amar, #6, says that this is an example of God manipulating a king in order to protect the nation from damage.