The Word Made Fresh
1When Rehoboam was established and grew strong, he and all the Israelites under him abandoned the law of the LORD. 2Because they were not faithful to the LORD, in the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign King Shishak of Egypt invaded Jerusalem 3with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army of Libyans, Sukkiim and Ethiopians came with him. 4He captured the walled cities of Judah and advanced to Jerusalem.
5While Rehoboam and the army officers gathered at Jerusalem to plan their defense against Shishak, the prophet Shemaiah came to them and said, “The LORD says this: ‘Because you abandoned me, I have abandoned you into Shishak’s hands.’”
6Then the army commanders and the king were humbled and said, “The LORD is right.” 7When the LORD saw it, the word of the LORD came again to Shemaiah, saying, “They are humbled, and I will not destroy them. I’ll give them some recognition and my anger shall not overwhelm Jerusalem at the hand of Shishak. 8But they will become his servants, and they will learn the difference between serving me and serving other earthly kings.”
9So, King Shishak of Egypt entered Jerusalem and took the treasures from the LORD’s house and the king’s house. He took it all, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 10But king Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields. The officers of the guard who stood at the doors of the king’s house were responsible for them, 11and whenever the king went to the LORD’s house, they would carry the shields to accompany him and then return them to the guardroom. 12Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD’s anger turned away and they were not destroyed. Indeed, conditions in Judah improved.
13King Rehoboam’s rule was thus established. He was forty-one years old when his reign began, and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of the whole land of Israel. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah the Ammonite. 14He did not seek the LORD wholeheartedly and that caused him to do wrong. 15The records of his reign, beginning to end, are found in the genealogical records of the prophet Shemaiah, and the wise man Iddo. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other. 16Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His son Abijah succeeded him.
1-8: Egypt’s invasion of Judah was reported in 1 Kings 14:25-28, but the narrative here is much more extensive. Rehoboam turns away from the Law of the LORD, we are told. In 1 Kings 14:22-24 there is a list of things that were done against the LORD: worship places in the hills, male temple prostitutes and other abominations. It is because of this apostasy King Shishak of Egypt seizes the opportunity to attack Jerusalem with a huge army. Shemaiah the prophet, the one who counseled Rehoboam not to attack Jeroboam (11:2), comes to the king and tells him it is because they have turned away from God that God has turned away from them. The King and his officials “humble themselves” and repent, and God relents and does not allow Jerusalem to be utterly destroyed. However, Shemaiah says that God will allow Shishak to place Rehoboam and his court under his rule so they can learn the difference between serving God and serving other kings. I think this is very clever on God’s part; the punishment befits the crime.
9-12: Shishak sacks the city and the temple, but apparently leaves satisfied that he has gotten what he wanted. Rehoboam, for his part, returns to the worship of the LORD, but under armed guard.
13-14: Rehoboam’s reign is summarized; seventeen years, from age 41 to 58, and not very good.
15-16: Shemaiah and Iddo are cited as the sources of information for the account of Rehoboam’s reign. Upon his death he is succeeded by his son Abijah, who is not his eldest son, but Rehoboam had arranged for him to rise to the throne some time back (see 11:22).
Rehoboam is judged to have been a bad king, but the description of his reign in 2 Chronicles is not as accusative as the record in 1 Kings 14:22-24. He actually turns out to be pretty decent. But he was only half Israelite, his mother being an Ammonite, and that could be the reason his reign is judged so badly overall. Throughout 2 Chronicles we will read of the reign of the kings of Judah. The kings of Israel will receive scant mention, and this is the primary contrast between 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles.