2 Chronicles 12

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 12

Egypt Invades Judah

      • After Rehoboam’s rule was firmly established and strong, he and all Israel abandoned the law of Yahweh. Because they were unfaithful to Yahweh, in King Rehoboam’s 5th year, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and an innumerable number of men who came with him from Egypt including Libyans, Sukkites, and Ethiopians. He captured the fortified cities of Judah and marched against Jerusalem.

        • HCSB notes, “’All Israel’ refers to Judah and Benjamin, the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom had already abandoned the Lord’s law…While the number of chariots is in line with documented military units of the time, the number of horsemen seems excessive. If it was a scribal error for 6,000, the number would be appropriate for the number of chariots. There is, however, no documented evidence for a scribal error, and so the question of the large number of horsemen is an open one.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “The book of Kings states no theological reason for Egypt’s invasion, but the Chronicler does: The Egyptians attacked Jerusalem because Rehoboam had abandoned the covenant and rebelled against the Lord.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “After a faithful beginning, Rehoboam seems to have descended into pride and a reliance on his own strength instead of dependence on God. That he and his people abandoned the law of the Lord is equated with abandoning God himself (v. 5): there is no effective relationship with God without obedience to his revealed will. The NT makes the same point positively when Jesus equates love for him with obedience to his commandments (John 14:21).”

        • On the word “unfaithful” the same source continues, “(Hb ma’al) A key term for the Chronicler…The Egyptian invasion follows hard on the heels of national apostasy and is explicitly identified by the writer as God’s punishment for sin; but not every instance of distress or suffering in Chronicles is understood this way (e.g., 2 Chron 20:1-12; 32:1, where Judah suffers foreign invasion after its kings have acted faithfully; similarly 13:8.)…”

        • Guzik writes, “Rehoboam did this when he was strong and secure. He trusted in God so long as he felt he needed Him; but he grew independent of God instead of more dependent on Him. 1 Kings 14:21-24 tells us that this forsaking of the law of the LORD went so far as the allowance of perverted persons in the land, specifically describing prostitutes associated with the worship of idols. It is possible that the term perverted persons refers to both men and women cultic prostitutes. However, the term was used in Deuteronomy 23:17-18 in distinction to feminine cultic prostitutes. The worst part about Rehoboam’s sin was that it led the entire kingdom into sin with him. 1 Kings 14:21-24 describes Judah’s apostasy like this: “Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins. These sins provoked the LORD to jealousy because they were essentially sins of idolatry. Israel turned their back on the God who loved and redeemed them, and like an unfaithful spouse, they pursued spiritual adultery with idols.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible says, “Shishak I, also known as Sheshonk, Sheshonq, or Shoshenq, founded the Twenty-second Dynasty and ruled Egypt from c. 945-924 BC…Shishak himself was of Libyan descent, so it is not surprising that he would employ or conscript Libyan soldiers in his campaigns. He had also campaigned in Nubia, as reported in one of his topographical inscriptions, and thus likely conscripted Nubian soliders to serve in his army. The Sukkim (Sukkites), known as the Tjukten in Egyptian records of the thirteenth to twelfth centuries BC, were related to the Libyans.”

      • Shemaiah the prophet went to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah who were gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak. He told them, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘You have abandoned Me, therefore I have abandoned you into Shishak’s hands.’” The Israelite leaders and the king humbled themselves and said, “Yahweh is just.” When Yahweh saw that they had humbled themselves, the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah saying, “They have humbled themselves, so I will not destroy them. I will deliver them soon. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem by Shishak. However, they will become his servants so that they will learn the difference between serving Me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”

        • Guzik says, “This was the same prophet that discouraged Rehoboam from attacking the 10 tribes of Israel that rejected his leadership and formed the northern kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 11:1-4). He had the opportunity to speak to all the leaders of Judah because they were gathered on account of Shishak’s invasion. This was a correction that matched the offence. If Judah insisted on forsaking God, they would find themselves forsaken in the day of their need. The great danger of telling God ‘Leave me alone’ is that someday He may answer that prayer…In response to the repentance of His people, God granted Judah some deliverance. He would not allow them to be completely destroyed, but He would allow some difficulty to come to them. When Judah forsook the law of the LORD, it was as if they offered themselves as servants to another master. God will allow them to experience some of the consequences of serving another master.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Shemaiah’s speech expresses the elements required in Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple (7:14). The leaders of Israel…humbled themselves, and the wrath of judgment was removed from Jerusalem.”

        • ESV Study Bible adds, “The partial deliverance that Judah experienced was intended to teach its people a fuller devotion to God. For the Chronicler’s own generation, it would have called to mind their own circumstances: subject to the Persian kings, yet free to worship Yahweh in his temple (see Ezra 9:8-9).”

      • So King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and seized the treasuries of Yahweh’s house and of the king’s house. He took everything including the gold shields that Solomon had made. King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned them to the officers of the guard on duty at the entrance of the king’s house. Whenever the king went to Yahweh’s house, the guards went with him bearing shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

        • On verses 9-11, ESV Study Bible writes, “Resumes the account from 1 Kings 14:26-28…The treasures of the temple and palace were surrendered to avert an attack on the city.”

        • Solomon left great wealth to his son Rehoboam, both in the temple and in the palace. After only five years, that wealth was largely gone – because Rehoboam and Judah forsook the law of the LORD. 1 Kings 10:16-17 mentions these 500 shields, 200 large and 300 small. These shields made beautiful displays in the House of the Forest of Lebanon, but they were of no use in battle. Gold was too heavy and too soft to be used as a metal for effective shields. This was an example of the emphasis of image over substance that began in the days of Solomon and worsened in the days of Rehoboam…The replacement of gold with bronze is a perfect picture of the decline under the days of Rehoboam. The dynasty of David went from gold to bronze in five years…In the days of Solomon, the gold shields hung on display in the House of the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 10:16-17). Under Rehoboam, the replacement bronze shields were kept in a protected guardroom until they were specifically needed for state occasions.” (Guzik)

      • Because Rehoboam humbled himself, Yahweh’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.

        • HCSB says, “’Conditions were good’ is literally ‘good [things/people] were [existed].’ If we take the phrase to mean ‘good things’ existed, then it may mean that Judah was spared looting and pillaging from enemies. If it means ‘good people,’ then it may mean there were many faithful people living there. Since the previous sentence speaks of Rehoboam’s repentance as a reason for moderating God’s judgment, ‘good people’ is the preferred understanding of the phrase, and adds an additional reason for the Lord’s forbearance.”

        • Guzik adds, “This great humbling of Rehoboam came after he had humbled himself as described in 2 Chronicles 12:6. It shows that God knew there was more humbling to do even after Rehoboam did it himself. Even so, this was God’s favor and mercy to him because both Rehoboam and Judah deserved far worse. By the measure of justice alone God had the right to destroy him completely…Many in sin humble themselves before God hoping that He will not humble them further. Nevertheless, God knows just how much humbling someone needs and if more is necessary, God will certainly bring it.”

Summary of Rehoboam’s Reign

      • King Rehoboam firmly established his rule in Jerusalem. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king and he ruled in Jerusalem for 17 years, the city that Yahweh had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, a woman from Ammon. He did evil because he did not determine in his heart to seek Yahweh.

        • The writer’s overall estimate of Rehoboam’s reign is negative: whereas 1 Kings 14:22…blames the people for ‘doing evil,’ the Chronicler makes this charge against Rehoboam and adds that he did not set his heart to seek the Lord (cf 2 Chron 11:16).”

      • The events of Rehoboam’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the “Annals of Shemaiah the Prophet” and the “Annals of Iddo the Seer” that include genealogical records. There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Then Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Abijah succeeded him as king.

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “On top of the losses inflicted by Pharaoh Shishak, the northern kingdom and southern kingdom engaged in prolonged strife and conflict. Much of the warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam consisted of a back-and-forth battle for Benjamin (particularly the central Benjamin plateau), the strategic tribal area just to the north of Jerusalem.”

        • ESV Study Bible adds, “These verses generally follow 1 Kings 14:29-31 but specify that historical records from Shemaiah and Iddo contributed to the Chronicler’s sources…The Chronicler’s use of such sources accounts for much of the material in this work that is additional to 1-2 Kings.”

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