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2 Chronicles 10:1-12:16 – Rehoboam

Summary

After the death of his father, Rehoboam failed to win ratification from the ten northern tribes because of his arrogance and, according to 2 Kings but not Chronicles, Solomon's apostasy. These ten tribes broke away from the south and formed the northern kingdom of Israel with its capital in Samaria.

Analysis

The Deuteronomistic historian's attribution of the division of the kingdom to Solomon's apostasy (1 Kings 11:9-13) was at odds with the Chronicler's portrayal of Solomon. Instead of Solomon's apostasy, therefore, the Chronicler suggested that the rebellion against the Davidic dynasty was rather rebellion against God and the temple that God had established. Rehoboam, as the first king after the united reigns of David and Solomon, serves a paradigmatic function, embodying in his reign the three possible paths that subsequent kings will follow:

(1) Second Chronicles 10:1-11:4 demonstrates the Chronicler's view that sin brings judgment. Both 1 Kings and Chronicles agree that Solomon, Jeroboam, and Rehoboam must all share in the blame for the divided monarchy: Solomon imposed a heavy yoke on the people (2 Chronicles 10:4, 9-11, 14; 1 Kings 12:4, 9-11, 14), Jeroboam rebelled (2 Chronicles 13:6; 1 Kings 11:26), and Rehoboam refused to follow the advice of the elders (2 Chronicles 10:6-8, 13; 1 Kings 12:6-8, 13). Rehoboam is thus as guilty as Jeroboam or Solomon for the split. The retention of Ahijah's prophecy makes clear that Rehoboam's failure to heed his advisors was "brought about by God so that the LORD might fulfill his word" to tear the kingdom from Solomon and give it to Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 10:15-16, see also 11:4, "this thing is from me").

(2) Second Chronicles 11:5-23 demonstrates that obedience brings blessing. Three episodes, mostly without parallel in 1 Kings, proclaim that when the people walk in the ways of David and Solomon they will enjoy success:

  • Rehoboam's fortifications actually were made following the invasion of Shishak (12:1-12). Placing them before Egypt's attack depicts Rehoboam as an obedient king who prospers (11:5-12).
  • When the priests and Levites leave Jeroboam and return to the Jerusalem temple, Judah is depicted as the true remnant of "all Israel" (11:13-17).
  • Rehoboam fathers twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters; large families are a frequent sign of blessing in Chronicles (2 Chronicles 11:18-23).
(3) Second Chronicles 12:1-16 demonstrates that even when disobedience has brought judgment, repentance brings deliverance. The prophet Shemaiah blames Shishak's invasion on Rehoboam and all Israel's abandonment of God (v. 5). But when Rehoboam and the leaders of Israel repented, they were delivered from complete destruction (vv. 6-7, 12). Most important, the terminology of sin and repentance ("forsake," "be unfaithful," "humble oneself," "seek," "abandon," and "rebel,")--established in Solomon's paradigmatic prayer (6:24-25) and God's response (7:14)--reappear here, testifying to the paradigmatic character of Rehoboam's reign for the Chronicler.

2 Chronicles 10:1-12:16

The Revolt against Rehoboam

10Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4‘Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.’ 5He said to them, ‘Come to me again in three days.’ So the people went away.

6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, ‘How do you advise me to answer this people?’ 7They answered him, ‘If you will be kind to this people and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants for ever.’ 8But he rejected the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. 9He said to them, ‘What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, “Lighten the yoke that your father put on us”?’ 10The young men who had grown up with him said to him, ‘Thus should you speak to the people who said to you, “Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us”; tell them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”

12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, ‘Come to me again the third day.’ 13The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men; 14he spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ 15So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by God so that the Lord might fulfil his word, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

16 When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,
‘What share do we have in David?
   We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Each of you to your tents, O Israel!
   Look now to your own house, O David.’
So all Israel departed to their tents. 17But Rehoboam reigned over the people of Israel who were living in the cities of Judah. 18When King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labour, the people of Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

Judah and Benjamin Fortified

11When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled one hundred and eighty thousand chosen troops of the house of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God: 3Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, 4‘Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred. Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me.’ So they heeded the word of the Lord and turned back from the expedition against Jeroboam.

5 Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defence in Judah. 6He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin. 11He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12He also put large shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.

Priests and Levites Support Rehoboam

13 The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all their territories. 14The Levites had left their common lands and their holdings and had come to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had prevented them from serving as priests of the Lord, 15and had appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat-demons, and for the calves that he had made. 16Those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.

Rehoboam’s Marriages

18 Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. 19She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). 22Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23He dealt wisely, and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities; he gave them abundant provisions, and found many wives for them.

Egypt Attacks Judah

12When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he grew strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, he and all Israel with him. 2In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians.* 4He took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord: You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’ 6Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is in the right.’ 7When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying: ‘They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.’

9 So King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made; 10but King Rehoboam made in place of them shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 11Whenever the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard would come along bearing them, and would then bring them back to the guardroom. 12Because he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy them completely; moreover, conditions were good in Judah.

Death of Rehoboam

13 So King Rehoboam established himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 14He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah succeeded him.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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