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So 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.
And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.
And 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.
And it came to pass that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, (because they had transgressed against the LORD) with twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt, the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.
And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves: and they said, The LORD is righteous.
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 Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
. Nevertheless, they shall be his servants: that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
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
he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made,
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.
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.
And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether and also in Judah things went well.
So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusa lem, and reigned. Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.
And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The young men whom Rehoboam consulted, were persons who had been educated with him, and who were
quite unskilled in state affairs. Rehoboam seems to have been a very imprudent prince, or he would not have preferred the advice of such ignorant persons to the counsel of those, whom age and experience had taught.wisdom; besides, if he had taken a little time for reflection, his own reason would have suggested, that such kind of threatenings as he made use of, were more likely to aggravate than to appease the discontent of the people. Of what nature the grievances they complained of were, we cannot exactly tell; but it is likely, that Solomon had demanded contributions of them, towards his unbounded expences, which they murmured to pay.
Rehoboam did not endeavour to procure the favour of the LORD; instead of that, he left JERUSALEM, where the TEMPLE was, and repaired to Shechem; this shows, that he was not a religious prince. The people, it is likely, sent for Jeroboam from Egypt, to intimidate Rehoboam. When his subjects revolted, the king employed a very unpromising method to conciliate them; for Adoram, as collector of the tribute, was the most obnoxious person he could send; because it appeared that he came to demand what they had already refused to pay; so that it was natural to expect he would fall a victim to their rage.
In mercy to the house of David, and in remembrance of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the LORD did not utterly forsake his people, but from this time frequently made known his will by means of his OWN PROPHETS; and on the present occasion the LORD graciously sent Shemaiah to prevent any further contests between the tribes, as it was in vain for Judah to strive against the DIVINE WILL; neither would GoD permit Israel to cut off the branch of DAVID.
We must not suppose, that JEROBOAM's ambition, or REHOBOAM's imprudence, were from the LORD, the ori L 2
ginal cause of this unhappy revolution was the introduction of IDOLATRY into the land. While the king of Israel was careful of preserving the worship of God pure and undefiled, he was considered as the LORD'S vicegerent; and according to the covenant which the LORD had graciously made, he had reason in all important affairs to expect direction from God, by which he was bound to act. The SUPREME BEING certainly knoweth beforehand what every person will do, but he does not incline any one to evil; on the contrary, God has taught men the consequences of good and evil. If they are objects of mercy, His Providence interposes for their happiness; but if, on the contrary, they are impious and oppressive, and reject the warning He has caused to be given, GoD leaves them at last to fall into destruction. The son of Solomon was disgraced, not only on account of his father's apostacy, but for neglecting to destroy the idols which had been set up in Israel, and for omitting to solicit for himself the favour of God; and Jeroboam's ambition was suffered to succeed, because the ten tribes were unworthy of a better king.
Temporal rewards and punishments are not perhaps so equally dispensed as formerly, either towards kingdoms or particular individuals, for we are now taught to look for retribution in a future state; but the kingdom of Israel had peculiar promises, that no wickedness should succeed against them whilst they continued to shew forth the glory of GoD; and they had also threatenings of severe temporal punishments, if they brought dishonour upon His HOLY NAME, by putting idols in competition with the LORD GOD.
Instead of removing the abominations, which provoked the LORD to withdraw His glorious PRESENCE, Rehoboam was intent only upon strengthening his kingdom by human means, and both he and his people in
ereased in wickedness; but the LORD was still mindfu of His covenant with David, and for his sake prevented the ruin which threatened Judah, by restraining Shishak from destroying them; and, that they might know that it was the power of the LORD that delivered them, the prophet was sent beforehand to bring them to repentance. Happily for Judah they listened to his remonstrances. Shishak was however permitted to take the golden shields, which had been the pride of Solomon and Rehoboam: and also to despoil the Temple, which had already lost its greatest GLORY.
Rehoboam seems to have been affected with this deliverance, and to have frequented the Temple after
wards; but still his service was deficient, for he prepar ed not his heart to do the will of the LORD.
As we lately read that Solomon was married to Pharaoh's daughter, it appears strange that Shishak, king of Egypt, should come against his son; but about this time there happened a revolution in Egypt, when that race of kings, from whom Solomon's father-in-law descended was dispossessed of the throne, and was succeeded by another, of whom Shishak was the first monarch.
How was the glory of Israel eclipsed by the division of the kingdom! Yet it was perfectly consistent with Divine justice that it should be so, for both Rehoboam and the people had forfeited Gov's favour.
After the death of Solomon we read no more of the GLORY of the LORD appearing in the Tabernacle. From the time of this king's apostasy the will of the LORD was made known by Prophets, to whom, it is said, the WORD of the LORD came. The exact meaning of this expression cannot be known, but it is understood to signify, that, on particular occasions, the WORD OF THE LORD, or the LORD GOD, was so immediately present with the Prophets, as to speak by them, or employ their organs