2 Chronicles 11-12
Chapter 11: Jeroboam does wickedly
When Rehoboam comes to Jerusalem, he assembled from the house of Judah and Benjamin; one hundred and eighty thousand (180,000) warriors. This was the time of Jeroboam’s rebellion against the house of David. Rehoboam would keep the kingdom united, even if he had to do it by force. He was ready for a war against any of the Tribes of Israel that wanted to secede, but God spoke through a prophet in order to stop him. It was convincing enough, because Jeroboam decided to listen to the words of God spoken through Shemaiah, who was a man of God.
Rehoboam stayed in Jerusalem and made sure to build cities of defense in Judah, Bethlehem, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Sochoh, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. He fortified strongholds and put captains to watch over stores of food, oil and wine. He put shields and spears; making them very strong.
From all the territories; the priests and the Levites who were in Israel came out and took their stand with him. Jeroboam and his sons had been rejected from serving as priests of the Lord and therefore were now appointed as priests in the high places for the demons, and the calf idols. With this, they were able to strengthen the kingdom of Judah, but only because of the godly men and women who had migrated there. The kingdom was strong for 3 years because they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
Rehoboam took for himself as a wife; Mahalath and she bore him children: Jeush, Shamariah, and Zaham. Rehoboam also took for himself eighteen wives and sixty concubines. Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maachah as chief to be leader among his brothers. He dispersed his sons throughout all the territories of Judah and Benjamin in order to keep them from forming an alliance to overthrow Abijah, who would be the likely successor to the throne.
Chapter 12: Rehoboam forsakes the Lord
After Rehoboam had established his kingdom with strength, he completely forsook the law of the Lord and all of Israel along with him. He grew independent of God, instead of becoming more dependent on him. Essentially he looked to his own strength and wisdom, instead of humbling himself before the Lord.
In the fifth year of the reign of the King of Rehoboam, Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem and because they had transgressed against the Lord, the Lord held his hand back and let the king of Egypt, Lubim, Sukkim and the Ethiopians take the fortified cities of Judah and Jerusalem. Shishak (known in Egyptian history as Sheshonk I), was the founder of the 22nd Dynasty and one of the most energetic Pharaohs. His campaigns include a list of documented cities of Palestine that he conquered which stands to this day, carved into the walls of the temple of Amon at Karnak.
Shemaiah, the prophet comes to Rehoboam and relays a message from God; “…Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.” (2 Chronicles 12:5). Shemaiah was the same prophet who discouraged Rehoboam from attacking the 10 tribes of Israel that rejected the leadership and ultimately formed the northern kingdom of Israel (see: 2 Chronicles 11:1-4).
Because of this invasion, the leaders and King of Israel humbled themselves and said; “…The Lord is righteous.” (2 Chronicles 12:6). After the Lord had seen them humble themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah saying; “…They had humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries” (2 Chronicles 12:7-8).
So, Shishak comes to Jerusalem and takes away all of the treasures of the house of the Lord and treasures of the King’s house. He also took away the gold shields, which Solomon had made. After the useless gold shields were taken to Egypt, Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place. This is an example of the fall; from gold to bronze in less than 5 years!
Thus Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. His mother’s name was Naamah. And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. The acts of Rehoboam, first and last, were written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer. Again, the Lost Books of the Bible. And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. So Rehoboam rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. Then Abijah his son reigned in his place.