2 Chronicles 11:23
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.
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(23) And he dealt wisely.—Rehoboam showed his sagacity by providing each of his sons with an independent position and royal establishment in accordance with the notions of the time. In this way he secured their contentment and obviated quarrels for precedence, and intrigues against his destined successor. (Comp. Genesis 25:6; and 2Chronicles 21:2-3.) As resident prefects of the fortresses of the kingdom the princes were usefully employed. Ewald compares Ps. 14:16.

The countries.Districts, or territories.

He gave them victual in abundance.—No doubt by assigning to each a district which was bound to supply his wants, as was the manner of the later kings of Persia.

And he desired many wives.And asked (for them) a multitude of wives. This is mentioned, along with the abundant maintenance, as proof of the princely state which he conferred on his sons, a numerous harem being one of the marks of royalty.

2 Chronicles 11:23. He dealt wisely, and dispersed his children, &c. — Either, 1st, Lest his other sons should, after his death, unite together against Abijah; or rather, 2d, Because he could repose confidence in them, for the preservation of the public peace and safety, and could trust them with the fenced cities, which he took care to have well victualled, that they might be a defence to the country in case of an invasion. Thus he that dealt foolishly at first, dealt wisely afterward in his affairs.

11:13-23 When the priests and Levites came to Jerusalem, the devout, pious Israelites followed them. Such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, left the inheritance of their fathers, and went to Jerusalem, that they might have free access to the altar of God, and be out of the temptation to worship the calves. That is best for us, which is best for our souls; in all our choices, religious advantages must be sought before all outward conveniences. Where God's faithful priests are, his faithful people should be. And when it has been proved that we are willing to renounce our worldly interests, so far as we are called to do so for the sake of Christ and his gospel, we have good evidence that we are truly his disciples. And it is the interest of a nation to protect religion and religious people.Rehoboam's wisdom was shown:

(1) In dispersing his other sons instead of allowing them to remain together in Jerusalem, where they might have joined in a plot against Abijah, as Adonijah and his brothers had done against Solomon 1 Kings 1:5-10;

(2) In giving his sons positions which might well content them and prevent them from being jealous of Abijah.

He desired many wives - (Compare 2 Chronicles 11:21). Some prefer to connect the words with the preceding words. If so, they denote another point in which Rehoboam was careful to please his sons.

23. he dealt wisely—that is, with deep and calculating policy (Ex 1:10).

and dispersed of all his children … unto every fenced city—The circumstance of twenty-eight sons of the king being made governors of fortresses would, in our quarter of the world, produce jealousy and dissatisfaction. But Eastern monarchs ensure peace and tranquillity to their kingdom by bestowing government offices on their sons and grandsons. They obtain an independent provision, and being kept apart, are not likely to cabal in their father's lifetime. Rehoboam acted thus, and his sagacity will appear still greater if the wives he desired for them belonged to the cities where each son was located. These connections would bind them more closely to their respective places. In the modern countries of the East, particularly Persia and Turkey, younger princes were, till very lately, shut up in the harem during their father's lifetime; and, to prevent competition, they were blinded or killed when their brother ascended the throne. In the former country the old practice of dispersing them through the country as Rehoboam did, has been again revived.

Dispersed of all his children: lest his other sons should after his death unite their counsels and forces together against Abijah, he wisely dispersed them into several and distant places, and under pretence of honouring them with the government of them, he made them prisoners in a sort, appointing several persons to observe their motions, and prevent their combinations.

Unto every fenced city, agreeable to their quality, that their restraint might be more easy to them.

Desired many wives; either,

1. For his children; or rather,

2. For himself, by comparing this with 2 Chronicles 11:21.

And he dealt wisely,.... Acted a prudent part, in order to execute his scheme, and particularly by disposing of his other sons in different parts of his kingdom, as follows: or "he made him his son Abijah to understand" (e); he taught and instructed him in the art of government, took a particular care of his education, that he might be fitted for it; and he might instruct him how to behave towards his brethren, for the present and hereafter, as well as towards all the people in general: or "he (Abijah) understood" (f); had more understanding and wisdom than all the children of Rehoboam; though it seems best to interpret it of Rehoboam himself, since it follows:

and disposed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city; to be governors thereof, in whose hands he could better trust them than in any other; or else, by thus separating them, they would not be able to enter into combination against Abijah; but then he must at the same time appoint some persons to watch and observe them; or otherwise, having such, strong places in their possession, they might rebel against him; the Targum is,"he built and repaired the cities, and appointed of all his children throughout all the countries of the house of Judah, to all the fortified cities;''that is, to have the command of them:

and he gave them victual in abundance; that they might have no reason to complain, and might be able to hold out a siege against an enemy, should they be attacked:

and he desired many wives; either for himself, or rather for his son, since he himself had many; or "Abijah desired, or asked (g) many wives" of their parents, or of those who had the dispose of them, in imitation of his father.

(e) "erudire faciebat", Pagninus, Grotius; "docuit", Vatablus. (f) "lntellexit", Piscator. (g) "petivit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "postulavit", Piscator.

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 {h} desired many wives.

(h) He gave himself to have many wives.

23. his children throughout all the countries] R.V. his sons throughout all the lands, i.e. the territory of Judah; cp. 1 Chronicles 13:2 (R.V. mg.).

And he desired many wives] Render (with R.V. mg.), And he sought a multitude of wives. It is difficult to say whether or no the Chronicler has Deuteronomy 17:17 in his mind and is implicitly blaming the king. In any case he goes on in the next verse to say that Rehoboam forsook the law of the Lord. It is however probable that a word has fallen out of the Hebrew text and that the text ran originally thus, And he sought for them (i.e. for his sons) a multitude of wives. Rehoboam’s own conjugal matters have been already described in 2 Chronicles 11:21.

Verse 23. - The wise dealing of Rehoboam, fourfold (weakening his children by division, giving them each employment, giving them also abundance of victual, and - as is probably the meaning, though not said so either here or in the Septuagint - finding for them many wives), will not, though it were forty-fold, avail to cover his "despising" of the "Law." Rather his wise dealing is an indication that his conscience was not quite at ease, and that he knew he was wrong. Nothing is so liable to blind judgment as personal affection.

2 Chronicles 11:23And he did wisely, and dispersed of all his sons in all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, i.e., dispersed all his sons so, that they were placed in all parts of Judah and Benjamin in the fenced cities, and he gave them victual in abundance, and he sought (for them) a multitude of wives. שׁאל, to ask for, for the father brought about the marriage of his sons. He therefore took care that his sons, by being thus scattered in the fenced cities of the country as their governors, were separated from each other, but also that they received the necessary means for living in a way befitting their princely rank, in the shape of an abundant maintenance and a considerable number of wives. They were thus kept in a state of contentment, so that they might not make any attempt to gain the crown, which he had reserved for Abijah; and in this lay the wisdom of his conduct.
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