2 Chronicles 10-12: Rehoboam & The Division of Israel

A look at the division of Israel and the rule of Rehoboam. Also covered in 1 Kings 12.

Introduction

Photocredit: Holy Spirit Interactive
Rehoboam takes the throne after Solomon, and shortly after, he is confronted by the tribes of the north. The tribes from the north were unhappy with how Solomon had treated them, likely during the building of the Temple. Instead of following the wise council of the elders to heed the tribes' request, Rehoboam decides to make it even harder for them. This prompts the splitting of the kingdom. God allowed Rehoboam to do this because he had already foretold that the kingdom would split and Jeroboam would be king of the north. This was punishment for Solomon's fall into idolatry and a consequence of Rehoboam's lack of a relationship with God.
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Battling the North

When the people of the north disassociate themselves from Rehoboam's rule, he tries to reign them back in using his chief overseer, Adoram. The northern tribes confirm this dissatisfaction and reinforce the split by killing the man. Following this, Rehoboam sets up a an army consisting of the men of Judah and the men of Benjamin, numbering 180,000. These men were to fight the rebelling tribes of the north, but before they go into battle, God speaks to the prophet Shemaiah and stops them from going forth. This is recounted in 1 Kings 12, as well. Although the army retreats, Rehoboam continues to build cities of defense (a way of listening to God without really listening to God).
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A Turning Point

Meanwhile, in the north, Jeroboam turns the people against the service of the Levites in fear that they will return to Jerusalem, which naturally leads to idolatry. Since the Levites are no longer of use in those territories, they leave their cities to live in Jerusalem. This placed them under Rehoboam's control and gave the southern kingdom an advantage. For 3 years, the southern kingdom of Judah followed the ways of God and were strong because of this.
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Wives

Like Solomon, Rehoboam had many wives. His wives were quite closely related to him (though not close enough to be considered incest) and bore him 28 sons and 60 daughters. Of his wives he loved Maachah most. Maacah is described as the daughter of Absalom, though this likely means granddaughter since the 2 Chronicles 13:12 refers to her as the daughter of Uriel (note that Michaiah is an alternate form of the name)[1]. Her son Abijah (also called Abia and Abijam) would inherit the throne. It is interesting that the granddaughter of the man who attempt a coup to subvert power from Solomon; had Absalom succeeded, Rehoboam would never have inherited the throne.
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Shishak of Egypt

Once Rehoboam found his footing and was confident in his leadership, he turned away from God, thinking he could take care of everything himself. As punishment for turning away from God, God allows a pharaoh from Egypt (Shishak) to attack Jerusalem. As usual, God sends a message through His prophet warning Rehoboam and his generals of their evils. When they repent, God grants them reprieve, but that doesn't mean everything ends perfectly as though Rehoboam never rebelled. Shishak steals everything from the Temple.

The same is true today, God may welcome us back, and spare our lives, but we still have to pay the price for our actions. Unfortunately, in Rehoboam's case, this does not bring Rehoboam back to God permanently. One in the clear, he continues to live in sin.
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References

  1. Zondervan. "Michaiah". via Bible Gateway. 1988

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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