|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:1-12 A few good words might have prevented the rebellion of Rehoboam's subjects; but all the force of his kingdom cannot bring them back. And it is in vain to contend with the purpose of God, when it is made known to us. Even those who are destitute of true faith, will at times pay some regard to the word of God, and be kept by it from wrong actions, to which they are prone by nature.
Verses 5-12. - These eight verses tell how Rehoboam, relieved of the responsibility of attempting to reconquer the revolted, wisely betakes himself to strengthening and defending what was left to him. He builds fifteen "fenced cities," or "cities for defence," twelve of them south and west of Jerusalem, for lear of Egypt; he fortifies certain strongholds, officering them, provisioning them, and supplying to them and "every several city" the necessary weapons of warfare and shields.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem,.... The metropolis of Judah, and the capital city of his kingdom:
and built cities for defence in Judah; that is, rebuilt, enlarged, and fortified them; for otherwise they were built before, though neglected before the revolt of the ten tribes; but now it became necessary to make them more capacious and strong, to protect his people, and defend himself against Israel; for though he was forbid to act offensively, and therefore contented himself to abide in Jerusalem, and not go forth to war; yet he might lawfully put himself into a condition of defence.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5-11. built cities for defence in Judah—This is evidently used as the name of the southern kingdom. Rehoboam, having now a bitter enemy in Israel, deemed it prudent to lose no time in fortifying several cities that lay along the frontier of his kingdom. Jeroboam, on his side, took a similar precaution (1Ki 12:25). Of the fifteen cities named, Aijalon, now Yalo, and Zorah, now Surah, between Jerusalem and Jabneh [Robinson], lay within the province of Benjamin. Gath, though a Philistine city, had been subject to Solomon. And Etham, which was on the border of Simeon, now incorporated with the kingdom of Israel, was fortified to repel danger from that quarter. These fortresses Rehoboam placed under able commanders and stocked them with provisions and military stores, sufficient, if necessary, to stand a siege. In the crippled state of his kingdom, he seems to have been afraid lest it might be made the prey of some powerful neighbors.
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