Rehoboam announces war. Rehoboam leads the nation into idolatry. Rehoboam’s wives. Rehoboam’s nepotism.
VERSE 1. When Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
one hundred eighty thousand chosen men. Rehoboam amasses an army of 185,000 soldiers.
to fight against Israel. In the previous chapter, hot-headed young Rehoboam announced that he would be a tyrant. Justifiably, the tribe of Israel defected.
Now Rehoboam wants them back. He will go to war to achieve it.
Shemaiah the man of God. He is venerated as a saint in the liturgical calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church on January 8.
VERSE 3. “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
Speak to Rehoboam. It was wrong for hot-headed king Rehoboam to go to war against the tribe of Israel.
The LORD calls the prophet Shemaiah to announce this to Rehoboam. Doubtless there was risk for Shemaiah, due to Rehoboam’s fragile ego and impulsivity.
VERSE 4. ‘The LORD says, “You shall not go up, nor fight against your brothers! Every man return to his house; for this thing is of me.” ’ ” So they listened to the LORD’s words, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
they listened to the LORD’s words. This is amazing.
built cities for defense in Judah. These 15 cities form a circle of defense around Judah.
VERSE 6. He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
VERSE 7. Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam,
VERSE 8. Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
VERSE 9. Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
VERSE 10. Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, which are fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin.
VERSE 11. He fortified the strongholds and put captains in them with stores of food, oil and wine.
VERSE 12. He put shields and spears in every city, and made them exceedingly strong. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him.
VERSE 13. The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel stood with him out of all their territory.
Previously, Jeroboam had removed the priests from office and replaced them with an illegitimate priesthood.
So now the priests side with Rehoboam.
VERSE 14. For the Levites left their pasture lands and their possessions, and came to Judah and Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons cast them off, that they should not execute the priest’s office to the LORD.
VERSE 15. He himself appointed priests for the high places, for the male goat and calf idols which he had made.
He himself appointed priests for the high places. The LORD God had absolutely forbidden his people to worship idols.
And when the nation arrived in the Promised Land, Joshua son of Nun led the military effort to eradicate idol-worshippers from the face of the earth.
But now, king Rehoboam is re-introducing idolatry to the nation.
Within three generations, the kings had fallen from righteousness into absolute depravity:
- King David (died 970 BC): generally righteous
- King Solomon (died 931 BC): neutral
- King Rehoboam (915 BC): absolute depravity
The idolatry of Rehoboam will persist for centuries, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC.
the male goats. That is, goat-demons. These are idolatrous images that should not exist:
Leviticus 17:7. They shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat idols, after which they play the prostitute. This shall be a statute forever to them throughout their generations.
VERSE 16. After them, out of all the tribes of Israel, those who set their hearts to seek the LORD, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers.
those who set their hearts to seek the LORD. These people have their priorities correct. Their first priority is to seek the LORD God.
Seeking the kingdom of God is to be our number one priority. Yet for many of us, our use of time and money show that it is a low priority. Read more »
VERSE 17. So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years, for they walked three years in the way of David and Solomon.
VERSE 18. Rehoboam took a wife for himself, Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse.
Mahalath. She is Rehoboam’s first wife.
VERSE 19. She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
VERSE 20. After her, he took Maacah the granddaughter of Absalom; and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
Maacah. She is Rehoboam’s second wife.
VERSE 21. Rehoboam loved Maacah the granddaughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
eighteen wives and sixty concubines. The LORD God forbade this:
Deuteronomy 17:17. He shall not multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away. He shall not greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
VERSE 22. Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah to be chief, the prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.
VERSE 23. He dealt wisely, and dispersed some of his sons throughout all the lands of Judah and Benjamin, to every fortified city. He gave them food in abundance; and he sought many wives for them.
he sought many wives for them. Rehoboam treats women as property.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.