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Passage: 2 Chronicles 10:1-12:16

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.