Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 11; 2 Chronicles 12

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I remind you that 2 Chronicles was penned after the Babylonian captivity and was a historical record of the time of the kings in Israel. The history we will consider in this study was recorded in the Book of 1 Kings before the Babylonian captivity.

2 Chronicles 11

The events in today’s Scripture were part of an earlier devotional in 1 Kings 12 and follow the northern ten Tribes’ succession from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Rehoboam raised an army to put down the insurrection; however, God forbade him to go to war against his brethren (2 Chronicles 11:1-4; 1 Kings 12:21-24). Rehoboam then set out to improve the defenses of the cities in Judah and built walls to fortify his strongholds (2 Chronicles 11:5-12).

Remaining loyal to Rehoboam and rejecting the idolatry of northern Israel, the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts, leaving their lands and houses (2 Chronicles 11:14a). Adding to his wickedness, Jeroboam, the new king of Israel, not only established his golden calves as objects of worship in Israel, he also rejected the priests of the LORD, and “ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15).

Jeroboam’s disobedience and his rejection of the LORD launched an exodus out of the northern tribes of those who had “set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel [and] came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LordGod of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 11:16). The departure of those faithful to the LORD left Israel weakened, for “they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.

The closing verses of 2 Chronicles 11 give us insight into the personal life of King Rehoboam (his wives, concubines, and children). Notable are the names found in 2 Chronicles 11:20, where we read, “20And after her he took Maachah [pronounce “Maa-Ha”] the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.”

 

Maachah (2 Chronicles 11:20) is the Hebrew word for “daughter” and describes a female offspring, albeit a daughter, granddaughter, or even a great-granddaughter. Because we know Absalom [the rebel son of King David] had only one daughter named Tamar (2 Samuel 14:27), we must conclude that Maachah was, in fact, an offspring of Absalom but was most likely his granddaughter. So, we learn that Rehoboam’s favorite wife was Maachah, who was his second cousin and the mother of Abijah, who would succeed him as king (2 Chronicles 11:22; 2 Chronicles 12:16, 2 Chronicles 13:1).

2 Chronicles 12

2 Chronicles 12 reviews the tragic events we considered in 1 Kings 14. This final chapter in Rehoboam’s life reminds us all, especially those in leadership, of what becomes of a man, family, or organization when its leader(s) forsake the LORD, His law, and commandments.

Strong and confident in his early years as king, Rehoboam failed the most crucial step to success in spiritual leadership because: “He did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

Failing to follow in his grandfather’s spiritual footsteps (i.e., King David), “it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him” (2 Chronicles 12:1). The tragic consequences of his failure to humble himself before the LORD and obey His law, led Israel away from the LORD, and invited God’s judgment.

The tool of God’s judgment was Shishak, king of Egypt, who came against Jerusalem with a coalition of peoples: “Lubims (i.e., Libyans), the Sukkiims (possibly a tribe of Arabia), and the Ethiopians of Africa (2 Chronicles 12:2). With 1200 chariots, and 60,000 cavalrymen, Shishak “took the fenced [i.e., walled] cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 12:4; 1 Kings 14:25-26).

 

Prophecy Against Rehoboam and Judah (2 Chronicles 12:5-12)

The LORD sent Shemaiah, who prophesied to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah that their sins had given cause for the LORD to bring Shishak against Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 12:5). Because Rehoboam and his leaders humbled themselves, the LORD was merciful and spared Jerusalem from destruction (2 Chronicles 12:6-7). Yet, He did not spare Rehoboam and Judah the humiliation of becoming servants to the king of Egypt (2 Chronicles 12:8).

“Shishak king of Egypt…took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house…[and] he carried away also the shields of gold [used in pageantry] which Solomon had made” (2 Chronicles 12:9; 1 Kings 14:26). Masking his humiliation, Rehoboam commanded “shields of brass” be fashioned to replace his father’s golden shields (2 Chronicles 12:10-11).

Closing thoughts –

 Rehoboam reigned for 17 years in Jerusalem; nevertheless, his reign was scarred by his failure to prepare “his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14). The peace Israel enjoyed during the reign of his father Solomon was lost, and “there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually” (2 Chronicles 12:15). Rehoboam the son of Solomon died, and “Abijah his son reigned in his stead” (2 Chronicles 12:16) over a nation that was divided, and no longer protected by the LORD’s blessing.

Warning: A leader, institution, and nation that rejects the LORD, His law, and commandments will invite God’s judgment.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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