2 Chronicles 11:5
And Rehoboam dwelled in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah.
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This section is peculiar to the chronicler.

(5) Dwelt in Jerusalem.—As the capital.

Cities for defence.—(‘Arîm l’māçôr = ‘arê māçōr; 2Chronicles 8:5),embattled cities; “LXX., πόλεις τειχήρεις.

In Judah.—Not the territory of the tribe, but the kingdom is intended, for some of the fortresses were in Benjamin (2Chronicles 11:10).

2 Chronicles 11:5. Rehoboam built cities for defence in Judah — That is, repaired, enlarged, and fortified them: for these cities, or divers of them, were built before, as appears from Joshua 10:10; Joshua 12:15; Joshua 15:24; Joshua 15:33-58; Joshua 19:42.11:1-12 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.Rehoboam was between two dangers: on the north he might be attacked by Jeroboam, on the south by Jeroboam's ally, Egypt. From this side was the greater peril, and therefore out of the 15 cities fortified, all but three were on the southern or western frontier, where Egypt would be most likely to attack. 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. Built cities, i.e. repaired, and enlarged, and fortified them; as building is oft used in Scripture, as hath been formerly proved; for these cities, or divers of them, were built before, as appears from Joshua 10:10 12:15 15:21,33,35,58 19:42. 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.

And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and {c} built cities for defence in Judah.

(c) Or, repaired them and made them strong to be more able to resist Jeroboam.

5. built cities for defence] This does not mean that all these cities were then built for the first time; certainly Beth-lehem, Tekoa, and Hebron were ancient places. Rebuilding, strengthening, and fortifying are included in the meaning of the Hebrew verb bânâh = build. The cities mentioned were situated some in the Hill Country of Judah, some in the Shephelah.

5–23. The Prosperity of Rehoboam

This section has no corresponding section in 1 Kin. On the other hand the Chronicler omits three important sections of 1 Kings 12:25-33 (the setting up of the golden calves), 2 Chronicles 13:1-22 (the episode of the prophet who cried against the altar in Beth-el) and 2 Chronicles 14:1-15 (the death of the son of Jeroboam).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. This event is narrated in our chapter, except in so far as a few unessential differences in form are concerned, exactly as we have it in 1 Kings 12:1-19; so that we may refer for the exposition of it to the commentary on 1 Kings 12, where we have both treated the contents of this chapter, and have also discussed the deeper and more latent causes of this event, so important in its consequences.
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