II Chronicles 12
This chapter finishes for us the history of Rehoboam, his “acts” and his
character; and, with the preceding two chapters, it may be counted among
the masterpieces of Scripture biography. In so short a compass, how well
marked, how distinctly highlighted, are the features of the man! The name of
Rehoboam is, undoubtedly, one of the more important, if not taking rank
among the most important, of Scripture, and no one can rise from the
study of the fifty-eight verses of these three chapters without a very
satisfactory conception of the man Rehoboam and what he was. It will be
seen from the language of the second verse, compared with ch.11:17, that,
roughly speaking, this chapter stretches over the last sad and evil twelve of the
whole seventeen years of Rehoboam’s reign. This, however, does not negate
the possibility of the anticipation in ch.11 of what, in point of chronology,
belongs to this chapter. The parallel of this chapter is I Kings 14:21-31, which
gives us more than our vs. 1, 6, 12, 14, of what is personal to the evil-doing
of Rehoboam, but much less than our text respecting Shishak and his army,
and Shemalah and his messages.
1 "And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the
kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the
LORD, and all
kingdom… strengthened himself; i.e. while insecure and full of apprehensions,
Rehoboam walked humbly and surely, but when he thought his object, simply
safety, was gained, his true and worse self appeared or reappeared, and, clothed
with self-confidence, he forsakes the “Law,” to bring sure retribution on himself.
(I Kings 14:22-24), we see that the sins that were at work were not
those of king merely, but of people, especially in abominations such as
those of sodomy and the immoral practices of the “groves,” as well as the
ecclesiastical and irreligious iniquities of “high places” and “image” worship!
The Peril of Security (v. 1)
The King of Judah, whose career had been marked by such a strange
admixture of good and evil, of wisdom and folly (see homily on ch. 11:18-23),
here takes another turn in his varied course, and this time a decisive one; but
we mark first
kingdom, and had strengthened himself.” The reference is, principally
though not perhaps exclusively, to the action chronicled in the previous
chapter (vs. 5-12, 22-23). When he found that it was not open to him to
regain the seceded tribes by force of arms, he set himself, like a wise man,
to secure the fraction that was left him. He may have consoled himself with
the thought — which is not only a thought but a truth — that a small estate
that is well governed and well kept is far better than a large one that is ill
managed, and that, consequently, soon shows signs of feebleness and
decline. Those three years of consolidation, spent in the service of Jehovah,
and under the sanction of His priests and prophets, were years of real worth
to the country, and probably of happiness to Rehoboam. In the conduct of
our estate, whether that be some business in which we are engaged, or
some institution or Church we are serving, or some character (another’s or
our own) that we are building up, we spend our time and our strength well
in the work of “establishing and strengthening.” In the supreme matter of
human character we can hardly lay too much emphasis on this matter of
consolidation. Character must be fortified by knowledge, by the
understanding and the cordial acceptance of Christian principles, by
exercise, by the nourishment and growth of a strong love for what is pure
and true and generous, and by a hearty hatred of all that is corrupt and
mean and false.
had attained to a position in which he felt himself secure, then he:
Ø relaxed his hold on his early convictions,
Ø surrendered his trust in God, and
Ø abandoned the faith and practice of his fathers.
While conscious of danger from without, he was glad to be able to look for
help to the Power that was above, and he remained loyal to Jehovah; as soon
as he felt or fancied himself secure within his ramparts, he flung away his
spiritual support. Here we have guilt and folly in equal measure:
Ø guilt, for it was singularly ungrateful of him to forsake the God who
had so clearly placed his dynasty on the throne, and impious of him
to turn from the worship of Him whom he believed to be the one true
and living God;
Ø folly, for he might have known that his material defenses would avail
him nothing if the anger of the Lord was enkindled and the hand of the
Lord directed against him.
Supposed security is a strong temptation.
Ø When we believe ourselves to be possessed of a sufficiency of material
treasure, we think we can afford to be independent of the aid of the
Ø When we think we have surrounded ourselves with all needful sources
of earthly and human joy, we are apt to think we can dispense with the
consolations and the satisfactions which are in Jesus Christ; when we
have attained to some strength of mind and of will, to some measure
of maturity, we are tempted to suppose that there is less necessity,
if any at all, to look upward for Divine support, to lean on the
Divine arm. To yield to this temptation is:
o To err sadly; for we shall find that no defenses or securities that
are of earth or that are of man will avail us against all the
difficulties and hazards that are around and against us, without
the aid of an ALMIGHTY ARM; and the end will be failure
o To sin grievously; for God is demanding of us, in terms we cannot
fail to understand and with a frequency we cannot fail to mark,
that we should put our trust:
§ in Him, and not in man;
§ in Him, and not in ourselves;
§ in Him, and not in “the chariots and horses” of this world.
· THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HIGH POSITION. Rehoboam “forsook
the Law of the Lord, and
unaccountable for following him, but how weighty was his responsibility
for leading them astray!
2 "And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king
LORD," Shishak; Hebrew שִׁישַׁק; Septuagint, Σουσάκιμ - Sousakim - Shishak,
Sheshonk, Sesonchis, the Sheshenk I. or Shashank I. of the monuments,
son of an Assyrian king called Nimrod or Nemaruth, became King of Egypt
as first of six kings who lasted in all a hundred and seventy years, of the
twenty-second dynasty of Manetho,
had fled for refuge from Solomon (I Kings 11:40). He reigned An. Sac.
3830 (B.C. 980) to 3851 or 3863. This makes Solomon’s reign A.S.
3799(B.0. 1011) to 3839 (B.C. 971). Shishak’s invasion, therefore, in aid
of Jeroboam, was A.S. 3844 (B.C. 966). A representation of it exists in
relief sculptured on the south external wall of the
Karnak, Thebes; and, together with this, an elaborate list of countries,
cities, tribes, conquered by Sheshenk or tributary to him, a hundred and
thirty-three in number. Among these are some of the very fifteen fenced
cities (see our v. 4) which Rehoboam built or fortified, viz. the three,
Shoco, Adoraim, and Aijalon, while the erasure of fourteen names just
where these are found accounts, no doubt, for the non-appearance of
others of them. There are also the names of Levitical and Canaanite cities,
situated in the kingdoms of the ten tribes, but belonging to the Levites who
had been compelled to migrate into
accepted by Conder, in his ‘Handbook to the Bible’ (see pp. 28-34), and
do not quite agree with those adopted in Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’
3:1287-1294. Both of these most interesting articles will well repay
perusal, as well as the article “
(The name and word Shishak has no relation whatever with the Sheshach
Jeremiah 25:26; 51:41, שֵׁשַׁך, a word which, possibly spelling
The Apostasy of Rehoboam (vs. 1-2)
mentioned (ch. 11:17). Rehoboam’s piety was short-lived, like the morning
cloud and early dew (Hosea 6:4), and like the seed upon stony ground
(Matthew 13:5). Want of stability and permanence is a chief defect in
man’s goodness. Many begin well who neither continue long nor end aright.
after he had established the kingdom and strengthened himself. His fit of
reforming zeal continued no longer than the fear which caused it. When
this expired that vanished. So long as the country was defenseless,
Rehoboam deemed it prudent to have Jehovah on his side, and with that
end in view he patronized Jehovah’s altars. The moment his garrisons were
erected, manned, and stored, he began to reckon that Jehovah’s aid was
not so indispensable, and that his reforming zeal need not be so extremely
hot. So men still think of God, and assume a semblance of religion when
they feel themselves in peril, but the instant peril passes they doff the cloak
of piety they have erstwhile worn:
Ø like Pharaoh (Exodus 8:8, 15; 9:27, 34),
Ø like the Israelites (Numbers 21:7; 25:1; Psalm 78:31; 106:6), and
Ø like Ahab (I Kings 21:27-29), and others.
· THOROUGH-GOING IN ITS CHARACTER.
Ø Negative. He forsook the Law of the Lord, probably by violating its
moral precepts and discontinuing its ceremonial rites, by abandoning
the worship and deserting the altars of Jehovah.
Ø Positive. He returned to the heathen idolatries which for three years he
had neglected, like a dog to his vomit, etc. (II Peter 2:22). So a merely
negative declension in religion is impossible. He who abandons
the service of God cannot stop short of serving the devil. No man can
serve two masters (Matthew 6:24); but every man must serve one.
in his iniquity (Joshua 22:20), so Rehoboam sinned not alone in his
apostasy, but by means of his
royal example or command drew all
after him. “One sinner destroyeth much good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18); “A
little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (I Corinthians 5:6). One asks,
where were the priests and Levites who had so bravely, resisted the
profanations of Jeroboam, and rather sacrificed their suburbs and
possessions than defile their consciences (ch. 11:14)? and where were
the pious Israelites
who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of
(ibid. v. 16)? In one short year their:
Ø fervor had been quenched,
Ø fidelity shaken, and their
Ø courage damped.
(Proverbs 13:21), and in two years Nemesis overtook Rehoboam in the
shape of an Egyptian invasion. Of all sinners it is true, “their feet shall slide
in due time” (Deuteronomy 32:35); of apostates it is written, “I will
recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 11:21).
Ø The sin of APOSTASY!
Ø The danger of PROSPERITYT!
Ø The impossibility of NEUTRALITY!
Ø The fickleness of crowds in RELIGION as in POLITICS!
Ø The corrupting influence of EVIL EXAMPLE!
Ø The CERTAINTY OF RETRIBUTION!
3 "With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen:
and the people were without number that came with him out of
the fenced cities
which pertained to
Twelve hundred chariots. The parallel does not give the
numbers. These are large, but not inconsistent with those mentioned in
other connections, whether those of Solomon, or, going further back, of
Pharaoh. Lubims. The letter s is orthographically redundant in this, as also
in the following names, the forms being already plural. The Lubim mean
Libyans, west of
Egyptian monuments as Lebu, of Semitic
type, subjugated by
kings in the thirteenth century B.C. They were among the oldest of
colonists, that drifted along the coast of Africa, north of the
from the East, and are perhaps the same as the Lehabim (Genesis 10:13;
here ch. 16:8; Nahum 3:9; Daniel 11:43; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 38:5).
Sukkiims. Probably an Arab tribe, though the Septuagint Version gives
Τρωγοδύται - Trogodutai - Troglodytes (cave men) as though taking them
Troglodytes in the hills west of the
Gesenius at once renders the סֻכִּיִּים tent-dwellers, and sets the people in
question down for some African tribe. They are not mentioned elsewhere
so as to be recognized. Ethiopians. These were ethnically Cushites, but
the territorial application of the term was confined to the African Cushite
settlers. It is remarkable that, in ch. 21:16, Ethiopians are classed with Arabians,
otherwise with African peoples, and in particular
Isaiah 20:3-4; 43:3; 45:14; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5; 38:5). They were
many-tribed, and the Sabaeans were a leading tribe of them. It is evident that
Shishak could draw from a large and varied dominion subject to his dynasty
at this time.
Shishak’s Invasion (vs. 2-4)
king named Nimrod, “who had met his death in
2:215, 216; Ebers, in Riehm’s ‘Handworterbuch,’ art. “Sisak;” ‘Records of
the Past,’ 12:93). His mother’s name was Tentespeh, his wife’s Tahpenes (l
Kings 11:19). One of his wife’s sisters married Hadad the Edomite; another
became the wife of Jeroboam (Stanley, ‘Jewish Church,’ 2:275; Ewald,
Ø Chariots. In ancient times a common instrument of war (Exodus 14:9;
II Samuel 15:1; I Kings 20:1). Shishak had twelve hundred,
or twice the number of Pharaoh’s chosen chariots in the time of Moses
The Philistines once collected against
thousand (I Samuel 13:5). Solomon had fourteen hundred (I Kings 10:26),
Rehoboam likely not so many in consequence of the disruption of
Ø Horsemen. Sixty thousand; five times as many as had belonged to
Solomon (I Kings 4:26), and twelve times as many as the Philistines
warriors once fell before David’s troops (II Samuel 10:18).
Ø Infantry. Without number, composed of native forces and mercenaries
or foreign troops — Lubims, Sukkims, and Ethiopians.
o The Lubims, or Libyans (ch. 16:8; Daniel 11:43), the Lehabim of
Genesis 10:13, the Temhu, or Tehennu, or more accurately
the eastern portion of this people, the Lubu of the monuments
(Ebers, ‘Egypt and the Books of Moses,’ p. 104), were the
of the districts of Marcotis and
arm of the
Liby-AEgyptii of the ancients (Keil), the people dwelling
(Kautzsch in Riehm, art. “Libyer”).
The Sukkim were aborigines of
(Septuagint, Vulgate), “probably the Ethiopian troglodytes upon
mountains on the west coast of the
whom Strabo and Pliny mention, the latter speaking of a troglodyte
city Suche, which has been identified with Suakim (Kautzsch).
o The Ethiopians, or Cushites, introduced among the forces of Shishak
(cf. Nab. 3:9)
were drawn from the African territory south of
Ø Shishak’s. Perhaps to assist Jeroboam in his measures of hostility against
and eventually to secure the supremacy of
Ø Jehovah’s. To punish Rehoboam and Judah for their apostasy. Though
second causes need not be overlooked, they must not be permitted to
obscure, far less to deny, the first. Had Rehoboam remained faithful to
Jehovah, all the intrigues of Jeroboam would have failed to start Shishak
on the extradition here reported.
which Rehoboam trusted (ch. 11:5-9), and encamped his army before the
His garrisons and soldiers had yielded the first assault, The props on
which men lean often prove broken reeds. The shelters to which sinners
run in the day of calamity mostly turn out refuges of lies (Isaiah 28:17).
Ø The certainty of sin being sooner or later overtaken by retribution
Ø The weakness of all defenses, whether for nations or for individuals,
when God is not within them (Psalm 127:1).
Ø When God has a sinner to chastise He can easily find an instrument
wherewith to do it (Isaiah 10:5).
5 "Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes
and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and
therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak." Shemaiah (see
Exposition, ch.11:2). The princes. These seem to have been a fruit of some
original organization with Solomon, as they are not found with David
(I Kings 4:2-6). Ye have forsaken me… therefore have I also left you.
The same Hebrew verb is employed in both members of this sentence,
and the rendering should follow in like manner (see ch.7:19-22).
6 "Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves;
and they said, The LORD is righteous." Note, as very apt parallel passages,
Jeremiah 13:15-18; Exodus 9:27.
Two Messages from Jehovah (vs. 5-8)
Ø By whom sent. Shemaiah the prophet, or man of God (ch.11:2). When Jehovah
has a message for any age, people, or individual, he can always find a messenger
to bear it:
o a Moses to go to Pharaoh,
o a Samuel to speak to Saul,
o a Nathan to send to David,
o an Elijah or a Micaiah to warn Ahab,
the Baptist to preach to
The hour never comes without the man. When a Paul or a Polycarp, an
Athanasius or an Augustine, a Calvin or a Luther, a Knox or a Wesley,
when most required. (A Billy Graham for this age – some have called
him “the Elijah to come!” - Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 17:10-13– CY – 2016)
Ø To whom addressed. To Rehoboam and
the princes of
invasion had caused to convene in
together to consult about the safety of the capital; they had not called
Jehovah to the council. They had not realized that in such a crisis as had
arisen “vain was the help of man,” and “through God alone could they do
valiantly” (Psalm 60:11-12); that unless God kept the city, they the
watchers would watch in vain (Psalm 127:1). Yet they seem to have
discerned that their best efforts would prove ineffectual, and they were
filled with fear. Happily Jehovah thought of them, though they forgat Him.
Ø In what terms it ran.
o It intimated a fact: “Ye have forsaken me.” This showed that Jehovah
had been cognizant of all that had taken place since Rehoboam got his
garrisons erected, had witnessed the idolatries and unspeakable
abominations of the faithless king and his coward princes, though perhaps
they had reasoned that, as God was in the height of heaven, He could not
know what transpired upon the earth (Job 22:12-14). But though they
had not seen Him, He had observed them (Proverbs 15:3; Amos 9:8).
o It announced a consequence: “Therefore have I also left you in the
hand of Shishak.” Thus did Jehovah signify that it was He Himself even
more than Shishak that had come up against Rehoboam and his princes;
Shishak had not appeared before their gates without His permission; and
without His assistance nothing they could do would prevent them falling
into Shishak’s hand. Jehovah, indeed, could avert that calamity. He could
put a hook into Shishak’s nose and lead him back by the way he came, as
He afterwards did to Sennacherib (II Kings 19:28; Isaiah 37:29); but
mean time, as they had left Him for the calves of
be the prey of
Ø What effect it produced.
Ø Contrition, or at least seeming contrition: “They humbled themselves.”
To be sure, their penitence, like their previous reformation, was only skin
deep. Nevertheless, it had the semblance of reality, and God accepted it as
Ø Confession: “They said, The Lord is righteous,” i.e. in punishing them
as He had done; in which was implied an acknowledgment that they had
sinned. This the design of all God’s chastisements, whether national or
individual, to excite personal humiliation and hearty recognition of
THE HOLINESS AND JUSTICE OF GOD! (Deuteronomy 8:5, 16;
Ezekiel 20:37, 43; Hosea 5:15). Only confession may be on the lip
where no real contrition is in the heart.
Ø Its occasion. The success of the first message in the (at least seeming)
penitence of the king and his princes. “God speaketh once, yea twice”
(Job 33:14), to men, even to His people, who often fail to understand
His first voice (I Samuel 3:4; Daniel 12:8; Mark 9:32; John 11:13), or
understand but refuse to hear (Isaiah 65:12), though occasionally also they
listen and submit (Jonah 3:5). In the first case, His second speaking may be
nothing more than a repetition of the first, or an explanation of its contents;
in the second, it commonly assumes the form of increased warnings and
severer threatenings; in the third it is usually a voice of mercy following on
of judgment. It was so with Rehoboam and the princes
Ø Its contents.
o Their humiliation had been observed and accepted: “They have
humbled themselves.” So God still sees and regards with favor ALL
who abase themselves before Him (Jeremiah 31:18; Psalm 9:12; 10:17;
I Kings 21:29).
o A degree, at least, of clemency would be extended towards them: “I
will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my
wrath shall not be poured out upon
So God delights to meet the first advances of returning penitents with
such foretastes of mercy as will lure them on to desire its full fruition.
o Nevertheless, a measure of correction would be laid upon them.
Though Shishak should not be suffered to work his will either upon them
or their city, they would, nevertheless, fall into his hand. They’ should be
his servants, either as captives or as tributaries; and would learn the
difference between Jehovah’s rule and the domination of foreign kings.
So God still deals with His people — forgives them, but permits them to
reap the temporal fruits of their transgression, that they may know what
an EVIL and BITTER THING IT IS TO FORSAKE GOD! (Jeremiah
2:19), and how much more easy is Christ’s yoke (Matthew 11:28-30)
than that of sin (Lamentations 1:14).
Ø The omniscience of God: “All things are naked,” etc. (Hebrews 4:13)
Ø God’s compact with the soul: “The Lord is with us,” etc. (ch. 15:2).
Ø The mercifulness of God: He is “long-suffering, and slow to wrath”
(Exodus 34:6; Psalm 78:38).
Ø The misery of sin: it ever entails SORROW! (Psalm 32:10).
Ø God’s ability to execute His own sentences: “It is a fearful thing to
fall into the hands of a living God!,” (Hebrews 10:31); “Though hand
join in hand,” etc. (Proverbs 11:21).
7 "And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word
of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled
themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them
some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon
“some” here is כִּמְעַט. There is plain authority (Ruth 2:7; Psalm 38:10) for
translating this word as of time, and the rendering “a little while” of the margin,
will, therefore, seem preferable. But see next note, and the “altogether” of
v. 12. It has often been most justly remarked what grateful note should be
taken of the fact that God always is recorded as turning such a wistful,
loving eye TO ANY SYMPTOM OF REPENTANCE (I Kings 21:27-29;
Jonah 2:5-9). Who can estimate the loss of men, that the symptoms have
been so frequent, so comparatively easily found as compared with the reality
8 "Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my
service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries."
The genius of this verse, nevertheless, will quite admit of the
Authorized Version rendering, proposed to be superseded in the last verse.
This says life shall be spared, but still severe moral reckoning (that of
servitude in a sense and tributariness) shall be taken with the transgressors
and forsakers of the Lord! The contrast of God’s service and that of men
and the world again touchingly recalls the words of Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
Servitude and Service (v. 8)
“They shall be servants to him [for a short time], that they may discern my
service and the service of the kingdoms of the lands; i.e. that they may see
that my rule is not so oppressive as that of foreign kings” (Keil). God
would let Rehoboam and the princes of
Shishak — be in his power, be at his mercy, be compelled to go through
the miserable humiliation of buying him off — that he might be able to
contrast the honorable and happy service which he had known for three
years (ch. 11:17) with the unendurable subjection to which he was now
reduced. He should feel and know that the way of transgressors is hard
(Proverbs 13:15); that between the bonds of the Lord and the yoke of the
stranger there was all the difference between blessedness and misery,
between a holy service and a degrading servitude.
yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants [or, ‘slaves’] ye are to whom
ye obey?” “Ye were the servants [slaves] of sin; … Being made free from
sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18).
Ø Sin is a foreign power. It is a stranger; it is an interloper; it has stepped
in between ourselves and God; it is like the Egyptian forces that came up
captivity. Sin is our natural enemy, whom we have greatest reason to dread.
Ø Sin proves a hard master, and forces to a cruel bondage. It is the
ultimate source of poverty, and that is a hard master; it leads to vice, and
that holds its victims in the most degrading thraldom; it throws around its
subjects the coils of procrastination, and these hold the spirit in an evil
circle from which it tries vainly to escape; it takes men further and further
away from God, and leads them down to sources of satisfaction that are
sure to fail and to end in disappointment and heart-ache; it is a sorry
servitude in which to suffer; it is in very striking contrast to:
of our Divine Father and Redeemer, to yield ourselves in glad self-surrender
to Him, to spend our days and powers in HIS SERVICE — what is this?
Ø It is the one right thing to do. It is to be fulfilling the greatest and
strongest of all obligations.
Ø It is the path of true liberty. Every servant of a Divine Saviour can say
“In a service which thy love appoints
There are no bonds for me,
A life of self-renouncing love
Is a life of liberty.”
Ø It is the secret and the source of lasting peace and of abiding joy.
Ø It is the commencement of that life which is “life indeed,” which is the
beginning and foretaste of “eternal life” — the life which is:
o of God,
o for God,
o with God, and
o in God.
9 "So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took
away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of
the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of
gold which Solomon had made.” Words do not tell in this verse the
“humbled service” of Rehoboam and the princes; but the position speaks,
speaks volumes of itself. Where did Rehoboam hide himself, where would
he not have been glad to hide himself, while the treasures of the house of
the Lord, and those of his own house, were coolly taken by the foreign
soldiery, none forbidding them, nor resisting, nor even making afraid?
The First Sacking of
closer round the capital, and in the end stormed its citadel, has received
confirmation from the monuments.
Ø In the
Rameses II. had by means of pictorial representations and hieroglyphic
inscriptions preserved a record of their victories, Sheshonq, on returning
Ø On the south wall, behind the picture of the victories of Rameses II., to
the east of the hall of the Bubastids, appears a colossal image of the
Egyptian sovereign, arrayed in warlike costume and dealing heavy blows
with a club or iron mace upon his captives, who are Jews or, at least,
Asiatics, whom he grasps.by the hair of their heads.
Ø In another representation he is depicted as leading captive a hundred and
thirty-three cities or tribes, each one of which is personated by the figure of
a chief whose name is written on an embattled shield, and whose
physiognomy has been supposed (Lenormant) to declare them Jews,
though this is probably imagination.
Ø In the lists of names occur those of:
(Rehabau), Mahanaim (Mahanema), etc.; and
cities, as e.g. Bethshan (Beithshanlan),
Ø Among the names is one styled Judah-Malek; not “the King of Judah”
(Rawlinson), which is supposed to point to
Ø The conquered nations are designated as the “‘Am of a distant land,”
and the Fenekh or the Phoenicians. The former expression, “‘Am,” answers
exactly to the Hebrew word for “people,” and may have been intended to
the Jews (Brugsch, ‘
doubtful. The plundering reported suggests that he did (Bertheau, Keil),
but, “like Hezekiah on the occasion of Sennacherib’s invasion (II Kings
18:13-16), Rehoboam may have surrendered his treasures (I Kings
14:26) “to save his city from the horrors of capture” (Rawlinson). In any
case, Shishak carried off valuable spoil.
Ø The treasures of the temple, or house of the Lord, the sacred utensils
employed in worship, which were then material, and the loss of which
greatly hindered the observance of religion — a calamity which cannot
the outward ritual is nothing, but the inward spirit everything.
Ø The treasures of the palace, or king’s house in the city of
regalia or crown jewels, which are always more or less an object of desire
to victorious generals and armies — a smaller calamity than the former, as
the destruction of a nation’s wealth is a lesser evil than the extinction or
suppression of its religion.
Ø The golden shields in the
house of the
Solomon had made, the Septuagint (I Kings 14:26) adding that he likewise
carried off the golden armor David had taken as spoil from the King of Zobah
(I Chronicles 18:7) — the least calamity of the three, the shields being
luxuries of which king or nation might be deprived without hurt, and the
armor spoil of which either might be deprived without wrong.
Ø The nation’s loss concealed. Rehoboam covered up as far as he could
the damage wrought, especially in his palace, by constructing shields of
brass to take the place of those of gold which had been abstracted (see next
Ø The king’s vanity soothed. He also endeavored to heal his own
wounded vanity, by causing these brazen shields to be borne before him in
state procession every time he entered the temple. Just as they had done
before with the golden shields, the guards fetched out their spurious
substitutes with solemn pomp on every ceremonial day, and when the
show was concluded replaced them in the guard-chamber, the spectators
probably not being aware of the imposition.
Ø The instability of earthly things. A greater king than Shishak will one day
plunder kings and common men alike of their material possessions.
Ø The facility with which men impose upon themselves, the efforts they
make, and the stratagems they resort to, to prop up their fallen greatness or
restore their faded glory. Solomon’s weak and vain son not the only man
who has made brass shields do duty for golden ones.
Ø The historic credibility of Scripture. The Shishak invasion is not the only
instance in which the monuments have corroborated Bible history.
10 "Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and
committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the
entrance of the king’s house. 11 And when the king entered into the
house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them
again into the guard chamber." Instead of which King Rehoboam made
shields of brass. A most humbling reversal of the glowing promise afterwards
given, “For brass I will bring gold” (Isaiah 60:17).
Brazen Shields for Golden Ones (v. 10)
gold cannot be got. “Be content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5).
Ø To hide the truth, that our shields of gold have been stolen, lost, or
never had an existence: “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees,”
(Luke 12:1-2); or:
Ø To keep up appearances, and so gratify our vanity by seeming richer or
more socially exalted than we are: “Beware of the scribes, who desire to
walk in long robes,” etc, (Luke 20:46).
Ø To such as serve God with brass when they should do so with gold — an
exhortation to liberality.
Ø To those who serve God with the appearance of’ gold when the inward
reality is lacking— a discourse upon sincerity.
Ø To them who would serve God with gold but have only brass — a
promise of better days when Jehovah’s word shall be fulfilled, “For brass I
will bring gold” (Isaiah 60:17).
12 "And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned
from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in
proper to Chronicles
and its uniform tenor. And also in
The obvious meaning, “and
still some good was left in
some hopefulness in the situation, and reason for striving mightily “to be
watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die”
(Revelation 3:2). The occurrence of לְכָלָה is somewhat against the
rendering of “some” in v. 7 as an adverb of time.
Penalty, Penitence, and Forgiveness (vs. 2-12)
It was not many months before Rehoboam found out the heinousness of his
offense, the magnitude of his mistake; for in the path of sin comes penalty,
and behind penalty steals shame. Happily for him there was mercy behind
that. We look at this succession:
fast on his transgression, came:
Ø Divine displeasure and humiliating defeat. There came in to his palace-gates
the stern spokesman for God, the prophet of Jehovah, with the
language of cutting censure on his lips, “Thus saith the Lord, Ye have
forsaken me, therefore have I also left you,” etc. (v. 5); and with this
anger of the Lord came disgraceful defeat on the field of battle. Those
strong places he had so carefully fortified, of which he was so proud, and
on which he so much relied, went down one after the other at the approach
of the enemy, and left the capital at his mercy (vs. 3-4). Then came:
Ø Spiritual agitation. Shame, fear, confession. Rehoboam was ashamed of
great folly; he was afraid for the safety of
own liberty or life; he made a humble confession of his sin. He and his
princes “humbled themselves” before God (v. 6). And then came:
Ø The Divine clemency.
o God took him back into His forgiving favor (v. 7). “The wrath of the
Lord turned from him” (v. 12).
o He promised him deliverance in a short time, and He graciously
fulfilled His word; for Shishak went back without destroying or
sacking the capital, and without taking the life or liberty of the king.
o His mercy included discipline. God let Rehoboam be subject to the
Egyptian king for a while that he might know the difference between a
degrading servitude and an ennobling service (see next homily); and He
king and his princes might learn that their strength and wealth were as
nothing in comparison with the favor of God, and would be forfeited by
their disobedience and disloyalty. God’s mercy was of such a kind as to
justify repentance, but to discourage rebellion and wrong-doing.
whether this be some special act of transgression, or whether it be the
condition of estrangement and separation from Him, is:
Ø The Divine rebuke. This comes to our heart through the written or
uttered Word of God, or through the pricking and piercing of our own
conscience, or through the coming of God to the individual soul by His
Divine providence. In some form or other God says to us, “Thou hast
sinned, and done evil m my sight.”
Ø Spiritual agitation and return. Our heart is humbled; we are conscious
that we have violated the Law and grieved the Spirit of God, and our soul
is filled with a holy and a manly shame. And then our heart turns toward
God; we “set our hearts to seek the Lord God,” our Father and our
Saviour and our Friend; we earnestly desire to be taken into His service.
And then comes:
Ø Divine forgiveness. God receives us fully into His favor; He takes us
back to His heart and to His home, so that we are no longer aliens or
enemies, but children at His hearth and table. Yet He makes us to know
that our past sin has left some of its marks behind it. It has robbed us of
some treasure; it has injured us, perhaps in our circumstances; certainly
in our soul. We cannot break His righteous Law, we cannot oppose His
holy and loving will, we cannot violate the laws of our own spiritual nature,
without being something the poorer for our folly and our guilt. Nevertheless,
the capital is not taken, the enemy withdraws; we have left us our liberty,
and our power to serve the righteous and the loving Savior.
Good Things in
13 "So king Rehoboam
strengthened himself in
reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began
to reign, and he
reigned seventeen years in
which the LORD had
chosen out of all the tribes of
his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess."
The parallel to the remaining verses of this chapter is found in I Kings 14:21-22,
indicate that Rehoboam was brought down to thinking almost more of the safety
forty years old (see our note, ch.10:8, towards the end, and compare our v. 7,
as well as the parallel places, I Kings 12:8 and 14:21). It cannot be held as
conclusively shown that the age of forty-one is incorrect. An Ammonitess
(see I Kings 11:1-9). Rehoboam’s mother’s name and nationality are noted also,
and twice in the parallel (I Kings 14:21, 31). Naamah was possibly the daughter
of Nahash (I Chronicles 19:1-20:3). The briefness but decidedness of the
notifications made as to this mother of Rehoboam leaves us without doubt
that there is not lacking significance in them. Schulz (in his ‘ Scholia in
Ver. Test.,’ vol. 3.) says the reason is “quia ca filio idololatriae ansam
dedisse videtur;” Keil and Bertheau think that, though there was evidence
of this in the case of the mention of Asa’s mother (I Kings 15:13), the
explanation here is that Naamah “appears” to have had, as queen-mother,
considerable influence in the government. They do not specify where they
find this to “appear” with any marked plainness. It is quite true that, in the
successive accounts of the Jewish kings, the name of each mother is
mentioned (I Kings 15:2; 22:42; here v. 2 and ch. 20:31, etc.) We should say
it is like the book, so Divine and human, called the Bible, to do so far-seeing
and far-reaching a thing as to give the mother’s name; and practically to say
that Solomon and Naamah were (in special sense for
Adam and Eve. How far
they were answerable for “death and all our woe,” the sacred historians say
(I Kings 11:4, 9-11, 14, 23, 26, 31, 33, 36; 12:24; and in our previous chapter,
14 "And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD."
These summarizing moral estimates of the character of the
succeeding kings are, indeed, common to the compilers of both Chronicles
and Kings, though absent, in the case of Rehoboam, from the parallel.
15 "Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in
the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning
genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam
continually." The authority quoted by the writer of Kings (I Kings 14:29-30)
is “the book of the Chronicles [literally, the book of the acts of the days, i.q. the
title of our ‘Chronicles’] of the kings of
next verse the substantive statement, “And there was war between
Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.” The authorities quoted here are
the works of Shemaiah and of Iddo, and it is possible that the following
words touching the continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam,
which have not the substantive verb among them, may have been part of
the title of Iddo’s work, although it is more probable that his work on
‘Genealogies’ would retain the character of a specialty. We subjoin for
English readers a literal translation of this verse: “And the words (acts) of
Jeroboam first and last, are they not written in the words (acts) of
Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer touching genealogies” [but
Gesenius, sub voce,” in the manner of a genealogical table”] “and wars of
Rehoboam and Jeroboam perpetual.” We think that neither our Authorized
Version nor Gesenius’s rendering probably convey the correct meaning.
The hithp, of יַחַשׁ would be better satisfied by the rendering, “to make a
register,” i.e. “to preserve a continued register of David’s genealogy.”
16 "And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of
David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead." In the city of David; i.e on
burying-place of the kings, chambers with recesses for the successive kings.
To this place of royal sepulture some of the kings were not permitted to be
brought (ch. 21:20; 24:25; 28:27; II Kings 15:7). The chief cemetery of
the city was on the slopes of the valley of the Kidron (I Kings 15:13;
II Kings 23:6; here ch. 29:5, 16); another, probably, was south of
the city on the sides of the ravine of Hinnom (Jeremiah 7:32). In the
king’s sepulchers eleven out of
David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah, Amaziah,
Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah. For Asa (ch. 16:14) and Hezekiah (ch. 32:33) places
of special honor were found. The good priest Jehoiada also had burial in the
king’s burial-place (ch. 24:16). Kings Jehoram (ch. 21:20) and Joash (ch. 24:25)
were buried in the “city of
Uzziah, because a leper, was buried in the “field of the burial of the kings”
(ch. 26:23). It is all but certain that these royal sepulchers were in the enclosure
now called the “Haram area.” (For other interesting and important references,
see Nehemiah 3:16; Ezekiel 43:7, 9; here ch. 33:20; 28:27.) While Rehoboam
was laid thus to sleep with his fathers, Jeroboam’s reign had yet four years to run.
Instance of Divine Goodness and
Who Annulled All, and Vitiated Every Highest Privilege Vouchsafed to Him,
by the One Fact of His Own Infidelity of Heart (vs. 1-16)
We are strikingly taught, and we vividly recall from the contents of this
chapter, the following lessons and facts.
TO FOLLOW WITH SWIFT RAPIDITY ON PRESENT RESPITE
FROM FEAR, RELIEF FROM SUFFERING, REMISSION OF
PUNISHMENT, RESTORATION OF OUR FORMER STATUS, IN
WHATSOEVER KIND! Yet retentive memory of that sin would
constitute our duty, our best wisdom, one of our surest cautions for the
future, one of the likeliest producer of penitence, and springs of humble
SELF, AND THE SPIRIT OF EITHER
DISREGARD TOWARDS WHAT MAY AGAIN INVADE, IN FEAR,
IN PAIN, IN PUNISHMENT, IN LOSS OF EVEN THE EARTHLY
POSITION WE LOVE SO WELL, ARE TO FOLLOW QUICKLY ON
PRESENT RELIEF! Too often, when the deeply useful memory of the sin
is put far away out of sight and out of memory, it is but the precursor of
the springing up of a very crop of positively harmful growth. The ground
that is unoccupied by sweet pasture will be sure to seed itself, of all
floating ill weeds; and to bring forth even of its own self, and own
emptiness, or own depravity, the baneful, the noxious, the poisonous herb!
essentially so. Their intent is to:
Ø reform, and
With lesson in them, with suggestion in them, with caution and warning in
them, with course and system of discipline, they offer exactly what it were
impossible to get of self, or to get of others, or to get from anywhere
except from the touch of the hand or the finger, or the rod of that tenderest
to smite, THE ALL-KNOWING FATHER of us all! So v. 8 says deliberately,
distinctly, that God would teach Rehoboam and condescendingly wait near
him some while, to teach him, the comparison of services, the difference by
experience of his yoke, burden, and service most ennobling, and those of
such a one as Shishak King of
difference between the two than that of his own well-known figurative
language, the “whip” and the “scorpion.” (I recommend – Proverbs ch.14 v14 –
Spurgeon Sermon – How a Man’s Conduct Comes Home to Him - #1246 –
this website – CY – 2016) In tenderer connection, equally truly and sweet,
did Caroline Fry, once on a time, teach every chastened
child of God, and of sorrow, and of smart, and of even woe, to sing:
“Often the clouds of deepest woe
So sweet a message bear,
Dark though they seem, ‘twere hard to find
One frown of anger there!
“It needs our hearts be weaned from earth,
It needs that we be driven,
By loss of every earthly stay,
To find our hope in heaven!”
FURLOUGH, TO GIVE “ROOM AND SPACE FOR REPENTANCE,”
THE LORD GOD OF US ALL IS! Fully thirteen years, as it appears, did
such manner of long-suffering, of forgivingness, even when it could not be
precipitated into objective forgiveness, hold out — sparing, pitying,
prolonging probation, repeating trial, accepting the words, the posture, the
fastings, the tears, the petitions of humiliation, the partial and transient
amendments of life and conduct, in case anything real, deep, lasting, might
haply come of them. Fully thirteen years (see vs. 2, 13) was Rehoboam
kept on the throne, and all this long-suffering, considerate mercy shown to
him, as though for him alone, or for him first, or for him chiefly, it had been
written, “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust”
(Psalm 103:14) who all the while was neutralizing and canceling Divine
goodness, gift, opportunity, by the one damning vice that wrote itself as
his epitaph, itself history’s last memorandum of him, the lamentable
summary in a sentence, “And he did evil because he fixed not his heart
to seek the Lord!”
The Biography of Rehoboam (vs. 13-16)
Ø The son of Solomon, the son of David.
Ø The son of Naamah the Ammonitess, the daughter of Hanun the
son of Nahash (ch. 10:1).
Ø The beginning of it. When he was forty years of age.
Ø The length of it. Seventeen years; short in comparison with that of
Ø The character of it.
o Vigorous: “he strengthened himself” (v. 13).
o Idolatrous: “he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to
seek the Lord” (v. 14).
o Troubled: “there were wars continually between him and
Jeroboam” (v. 15).
o The end of it. Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was
buried in the city of
Ø All written. From first to last (v. 15). What a calamity to any man it
would be to have all his deeds recorded on the page of history! Yet first
and last every action of every man is being engrossed upon the page of
God’s book of remembrance. (Malachi 3:16)
Ø Where written? In the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and in that of Iddo
concerning genealogies. A small honor compared to being written in the
book of life. Not so serious a matter to have one’s deeds inscribed upon a
perishing page by a human biographer as to have them graven “as with a
pen of iron in the rock for ever” (Job 19:24), by the hand of God’s
recording angel upon the tablets of eternity.
Ø His name. Abijah, or Abijam (ch.13:1).
Ø His reign. In Rehoboam’s stead. An honor to Rehoboam that he had a
son like Abijah; a mercy to
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