2 Chronicles 12 (NLT)
Egypt Invades Judah
1 But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.
Yes, we have seen this before! First Jeroboam in the Northern Kingdom, now Rehoboam in the Southern Kingdom. Rehoboam did this when he was strong and secure. He trusted in God so long as he felt he needed Him, but he grew independent of God instead of more dependent on Him.
2 Because they were unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign. 3 He came with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horses, and a countless army of foot soldiers, including Libyans, Sukkites, and Ethiopians. 4Shishak conquered Judah’s fortified towns and then advanced to attack Jerusalem.
“Known in Egyptian history as Sheshonk I, he was the founder of the Twenty-Second Dynasty and its most energetic Pharaoh. This particular campaign is documented by a list of conquered Palestinian cities that stands to this day carved on the wall of his temple of Amon at Karnak, Thebes.”
–David F. Payne (Senior Lecturer in Semitic Studies at Queen’s University of Belfast and Academic Dean of London Bible College)
5 The prophet Shemaiah then met with Rehoboam and Judah’s leaders, who had all fled to Jerusalem because of Shishak. Shemaiah told them, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak.”
6 Then the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is right in doing this to us!”
7 When the Lord saw their change of heart, he gave this message to Shemaiah: “Since the people have humbled themselves, I will not completely destroy them and will soon give them some relief. I will not use Shishak to pour out my anger on Jerusalem.
Psalm 78:38 (NIV)
Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath.
8 But they will become his subjects, so they will know the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”
9 So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields (500 in all — 200 large and 300 small) Solomon had made.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Silver was ordinary in King Solomon’s time — “as common as stones” (2 Chronicles 9:26). That is because he had tons and tons of gold! But his son’s court had to be careful to guard the bronze.
10 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom. 12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger was turned away, and he did not destroy him completely. There were still some good things in the land of Judah.
A reign in which there had been a limited measure of faithfulness is rewarded by a limited measure of blessing. The case of Rehoboam has shown particularly clearly how much the Chronicler is concerned to show that obedience and blessing, disobedience and impoverishment are closely linked. The problem for the modern reader is that this presentation of human experience neither rings true, nor is it a view uniformly taken by the Bible. The authors of Job and Psalm 73, for example, knew that there was not always a direct connection between righteousness and blessing.
Christian readers know from the New Testament that the equations of righteousness and blessing, sin and punishment are only finally worked out beyond the present life in a great universal judgment. The Chronicler did not know this. (Nor, by and large, did the other OT authors—hence the perplexity of Job and Psalm 73.) God does look for faithfulness in people, but the only righteousness that can ever be acceptable to God is that of Jesus Christ.
–J. G. McConville
Summary of Rehoboam’s Reign
13 King Rehoboam firmly established himself in Jerusalem and continued to rule. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen from among all the tribes of Israel as the place to honor his name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, a woman from Ammon. 14But he was an evil king, for he did not seek the Lord with all his heart.
“You see how readily Rehoboam went, first towards God, then towards idols, and then back again, towards God; he was always ready to shift and change, he wrought no great reforms in the land; we do not read that, he held a great passover, as Hezekiah did, or that the high places were taken away; but, as soon as Shishak was gone, he felt perfectly content. There was not anything real and permanent in his religion; it did not hold him. He held it sometimes, but it never held him.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
15 The rest of the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Shemaiah the Prophet and The Record of Iddo the Seer, which are part of the genealogical record. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were continually at war with each other. 16 When Rehoboam died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Abijah became the next king.
“Simple Gifts” performed beautifully HERE by Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss.
. . . by turning, turning, we come ’round right. (Are you listening, Rehoboam? Are you listening, Self?)
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.