2 Chronicles 11

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 11

Rehoboam Secures His Kingdom

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “The Chronicler’s account of Rehoboam’s rule over the southern kingdom is much longer and more complex than that given in Kings (1 Kings 14:21-31). As the first king of Judah after the division of the kingdom, Rehoboam serves to illustrate several key themes that will recur throughout the subsequent history of the Davidic monarchy: the blessings that flow from repentance and obedience to the prophetic word; conversely, the punishment that follows from disobedience to God’s law; the function of the faithful Levites in strengthening the kingdom; and the constant presence of the prophetic word to guide and rebuke. Rehoboam’s reign shows how the principles and promises of judgment and restoration in 2 Chron 7:13-14 are being enacted in the life of the kingdom, even when the king falls short of the ideal compared to his people (12:14).”

      • When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem he assembled 180,000 select warriors from Judah and Benjamin to attack Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself. But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah, the man of God, “Say this to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, the king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin. This is what Yahweh says: ‘Do not attack and fight against your brothers. Every one of you must go home, because what has happened is My doing.’” So they listened to the word of Yahweh and called off the attack against Jeroboam.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “This is from 1 Kings 12:21-24. Rehoboam’s attempt to reunite the kingdom by force is averted by the prophet Shemaiah (see 2 Chron 12:5, 7), who informs him that the division is from God (11:4; see 10:15). Despite their rebellion (for which they had good reason at this point), the northern tribes did not cease to be part of ‘all Israel.’”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Shemaiah’s prophetic intervention averted immediate civil war among Israel’s tribes, but the summary of Rehoboam characterizes his reign as one of continual warfare with Jeroboam (12:15). Civil war characterized the first fifty years of the divided kingdom, until the time of Omri.”

      • Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and he built up these fortified cities throughout Judah: Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soko, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were the fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. He fortified these cities and placed commanders in them as well as stores of food, olive oil, and wine. He put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him.

        • On verses 5 all the way to 23, ESV Study Bible notes, “This information has no parallel in Kings but is derived from another source or sources… It illustrates the blessings that come to Judah following Rehoboam’s and the people’s obedience to the word of Yahweh (11:4), while Jeroboam leads the northerners into apostasy. The fortified cities covered the eastern, southern, and western approaches to Judah, and were thus probably intended as a defense against Egypt, Jeroboam’s ally. Yet they did not prove effective against Shishak (12:4).”

        • HCSB clarifies, “This ‘Gath’ was not the Philistine city of Gath, which was west of Rehoboam’s line of fortresses, and there is no evidence that Solomon or Rehoboam ever conquered that city. More likely, it was a shortened name of the city of Moresheth-gath, just north of Mareshah.”

Priests and Levites Come to Jerusalem

      • The priests and Levites throughout Israel supported him, no matter where they lived. The Levites even left their pasturelands and property behind and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons prohibited them from serving as Yahweh’s priests. Jeroboam appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat and calf idols he had made. Those among the Israelite tribes who had determined in their hearts to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, followed them to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors. This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and they were loyal to Solomon’s son Rehoboam for three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during that time.

        • Jeroboam instituted his own syncretistic cult in Bethel and Dan to deter his people from going to sacrifice in Jerusalem and possibly defecting to Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:26-33). The Chronicler condemns him for his goat idols as well as golden calves (2 Chron 11:15; see Lev 17:7), and for driving out the legitimate priesthood (2 Chron 11:14; 13:9). The exemplary attitude is shown by those Levites who took the costly step of abandoning their lands to move to Judah, and those laypeople who followed them to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice (11:16). Israel’s true unity was centered on the temple worship (see 15:9). The time of the Levites’ ‘strengthening the kingdom’ is frequent in Chronicles (see 19:8-11; 20:14-17; 29:25-30), and the task remained equally relevant in the Chronicler’s own day (1 Chron 9:2). Rehoboam’s and Judah’s commitment to faithful worship and obedience to God’s law lasted only three years (12:1).” (ESV Study Bible)

        • The following sources include some very interesting information regarding the nature of the worship going on in the northern kingdom:

          • Some scholars believe that Jeroboam set up the goat and calf idols as pedestals for the Lord, noting that the Canaanites believed that their gods stood on the backs of animals (cp Exod 32:5, where the gold calf was used in ‘a festival to the Lord’). However, Jeroboam never specifically credited the Lord with rescuing Israel (1 Kgs 12:28), so others think he might have meant that other gods stood on the animals. Still others think Jeroboam may have adopted the practice of the Egyptians, portraying actual pagan deities in animal form (cp Exod 32:4).” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

        • Their significance [the goat…idols] is uncertain, but they may be a representation of satyr-like demons understood to traverse deserted wastelands. Alternatively, gold and silver statues of goats from Ur may imply a possible connection with the tree of life and/or Asherah, as these statues portray the goats standing upright with their forelegs fastened to a tree.” (NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible)

        • Guzik points out, “This meant that since the days of Jeroboam the southern kingdom of Judah was made up not only of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but also of a godly remnant from all the ten northern tribes. Spiritually speaking, Israel was struck twice – by the ungodly religion of Jeroboam and by the departure of the godly and faithful. There were few godly people left in the northern kingdom.”

Rehoboam’s Family

      • Rehoboam married Mahalath and she bore the following sons to him: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. Mahalath’s father was David’s son Jerimoth, and her mother was Abihail. Abihail’s father was Jesse’s son Eliab. He later married Absalom’s daughter, Maakah, and she bore him the following sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Rehoboam loved Absalom’s daughter Maakah more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had 18 wives and 60 concubines, 28 sons and 60 daughters.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “The numbers of Rehoboam’s wives and children are probably the total from his entire reign rather than those accumulated by his fifth year…”

        • HCSB points out that, “’Jerimoth’ is not mentioned anywhere else as David’s son. It is unclear whether this was an alternate name for one of David’s sons or a previously unknown son to be added to the list.”

        • ESV Study Bible remarks, “…His family is of strong Davidic lineage: the father of Mahalath was Jerimoth, presumably the son of one of David’s concubines (1 Chron 3:9), while Maacah was probably the granddaughter of David’s son Absalom, through his daughter Tamar (2 Sam 14:27).”

        • Guzik adds, “Rehoboam obviously did not learn from his father Solomon’s error. Though he had far fewer wives and concubines (he was probably less able to support as many), he still had a heart that broke the command of Deuteronomy 17:17.”

      • Rehoboam appointed Maakah’s son Abijah as the chief prince over his brothers because he intended to name him as his successor. He acted wisely, placing some of his sons throughout the regions of Judah and Benjamin in the various fortified cities. He supplied them with plenty of provisions and procured many wives for them.

        • HCSB says, “’Abijah’ was known as ‘Abijam’ in the book of Kings.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Rehoboam loved his second wife more than his first, so he violated the right of primogeniture (inheritance belonging to the firstborn son, Deut 21:15-17) by making Abijah…the next king in what might have been co-regency. This action secured an orderly succession. Rehoboam’s delegation of control to the royal princes extended the reign of the royal family into outlying districts. This provided for a smooth transition of power and also made a revolt or attempted coup less likely…”

Click here to go to chapter 12