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.
Verse 1. - When Rehoboam had established the kingdom... strengthened himself; i.e. while insecure and full of apprehensions, Rehoboam walked humbly and surely, but when he thought his object, simply safety, was gained, his true and worse self appeared or reappeared, and, clothed with self-confidence, he forsakes the "Law," to bring sure retribution on himself. All Israel with him. When we turn to the fuller statements of the parallel (1 Kings 14:22-24), we see that the sins that were at work were not those of king merely, but of people, especially in abominations such as those of sodomy and the immoral practices of the "groves," as well as the ecclesiastical and irreligious iniquities of "high places" and "image" worship!
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,
Verse 2. - Shishak; Hebrew, שִׁישַׁק; Septuagint, Σουσάκιμ; Shishak, Sheshonk, Sesonchis, the Sheshenk I. or Shashank I. of the monuments, son of an Assyrian king called Nimrod or Nemaruth, became King of Egypt as first of six kings who lasted in all a hundred and seventy years, of the twenty-second dynasty of Manetho, reigning in Bubastis. To him Jeroboam had fled for refuge from Solomon (1 Kings 11:40). He reigned An. Sac. 3830 ( B.C. 980) to 3851 or 3863. This makes Solomon's reign A.S. 3799 ( B.C. 1011) to 3839 ( B.C. 971). Shishak's invasion, therefore, in aid of Jeroboam, was A.S. 3844 ( B.C. 966). A representation of it exists in relief sculptured on the south external wall of the temple of Amen, at Karnak, Thebes; and, together with this, an elaborate list of countries, cities, tribes, conquered by Sheshenk or tributary to him, a hundred and thirty-three in number. Among these are some of the very fifteen fenced cities (see our ver. 4) which Rehoboam built or fortified, viz. the three, Shoco, Adoraim, and Aijalon, while the erasure of fourteen names just where these are found accounts, no doubt, for the non-appearance of others of them. There are also the names of Levitical and Canaanite cities, situated in the kingdoms of the ten tribes, but belonging to the Levites who had been compelled to migrate into Judah. The dates given above are those accepted by Conder, in his 'Handbook to the Bible' (see pp. 28-34), and do not quite agree with those adopted in Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 3:1287-1294. Both of these most interesting articles will well repay perusal, as well as the article "Thebes" in the latter work, 3:1471-1475. (The name and word Shishak has no relation whatever with the Sheshach of Jeremiah 25:26; It. 41, שֵׁשַׁך, a word which, possibly spelling Babel or even Ur, marks the name of a place, and is evidently used by Jeremiah for Babylon or Babylonia.)
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.
Verse 3. - Twelve hundred chariots. The parallel does not give the numbers. These are large, but not inconsistent with those mentioned in other connections, whether those of Solomon, or, going further back, of Pharaoh. Lubims. The letter s is orthographically redundant in this, as also in the following names, the forms being already plural. The Lubim mean the Libyans, west of Egypt. They are probably the people represented on the Egyptian monuments as Lebu, of Semitic type, subjugated by Egypt's kings in the thirteenth century B.C. They were among the oldest of colonists, that drifted along the coast of Africa, north of the Great Desert, from the East, and are perhaps the same as the Lehabim (Genesis 10:13; 2 Chronicles 16:8; Nahum 3:9; Daniel 11:43; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 38:5). Sukkiims. Probably an Arab tribe, though the Septuagint Version gives Τρωγοδύται, as though taking them for Troglodytes in the hills west of the Red Sea; so, too, the Vulgate. Gesenius at once renders the סֻכִּיִּים tent-dwellers, and sets the people in question down for some African tribe. They are not mentioned elsewhere so as to be recognized. Ethiopians. These were ethnically Cushites, but the territorial application of the term was confined to the African Cushite settlers. It is remarkable that, in 2 Chronicles 21:16, Ethiopians are classed with Arabians, but otherwise with African peoples, and in particular Egypt (Psalm 68:31; Isaiah 20:3, 4; Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5; Ezekiel 38:5). They were many-tribed, and the Sabaeans were a leading tribe of them. It is evident that Shishak could draw from a large and varied dominion subject to his dynasty at this time.
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.
Verse 5. - Shemaiah (see Exposition, 2 Chronicles 11:2). The princes. These seem to have been a fruit of some original organization with Solomon, as they are not found with David (1 Kings 4:2-6). Ye have forsaken me... therefore have I also left you. The same Hebrew verb is employed in both members of this sentence, and the rendering should follow in like manner (see 2 Chronicles 7:19-22).
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.
Verse 7. - Some deliverance. The Hebrew for "some" here is כִּמְעַט. There is plain authority (Ruth 2:7; Psalm 38:10) for translating this word as of time, and the rendering "a little while" of the margin, will, therefore, seem preferable. But see next note, and the" altogether" of ver. 12. It has often been most justly remarked what grateful note should be taken of the fact that God always is recorded as turning such a wistful, loving eye to any symptom of repentance (1 Kings 21:27-29; Jonah 2:5-9). Who can estimate the loss of men, that the symptoms have been so frequent, so comparatively easily found as compared with the reality of lastingness?
Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
Verse 8. - The genius of this verse, nevertheless, will quite admit of the Authorized Version rendering, proposed to be superseded in the last verse. This says life shall be spared, but still severe moral reckoning (that of servitude in a sense and tributariness) shall be taken with the transgressors and forsakers of the Lord! The contrast of God's service and that of men and the world again touchingly recalls the words of Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
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 all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
Verse 9. - Words do not tell in this verse the "humbled service" of Rehoboam and the princes; but the position speaks, speaks volumes of itself. Where did Rehoboam hide himself, where would he not have been glad to hide himself, while the treasures of the house of the Lord, and those of his own house, were coolly taken by the foreign soldiery, none forbidding them, nor resisting, nor even making afraid?
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.
Verse 10. - Instead of which King Rehoboam made shields of brass. A most humbling reversal of the glowing promise afterwards given, "For brass I will bring gold" (Isaiah 9:17).
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.
Verse 12. - This verse is not in the parallel, but is particularly proper to Chronicles and its uniform tenor. And also in Judah things went well. The obvious meaning, "and still some good was left in Judah." There was some hopefulness in the situation, and reason for striving mightily "to be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die" (Revelation 3:2). The occurrence of לְכָלָה is somewhat against the rendering of "some" in ver. 7 as an adverb of time.
So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for 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.
Verse 13. - The parallel to the remaining verses of this chapter is found in 1 Kings 14:21, 22, 29-31. In Jerusalem. Possibly, considering the words of 2 Chronicles 11:5-12, 17, this may indicate that Rehoboam was brought down to thinking almost more of the safety of Jerusalem and himself than of the kingdom in its length and breadth. One and forty years old (see our note, 2 Chronicles 10:8, towards the end, and compare our 2 Chronicles 13:7, as well as the parallel places, 1 Kings 12:8 and 1 Kings 14:21). It cannot be held as conclusively shown that the age of forty-one is incorrect. An Ammonitess (see 1 Kings 11:1-9). Rehoboam's mother's name and nationality are noted also, and twice in the parallel (1 Kings 14:21, 31). Naamah was possibly the daughter of Nahash (1 Chronicles 19:1-20:3). The briefness but decidedness of the notifications made as to this mother of Rehoboam leaves us without doubt that there is not lacking significance in them. Schulz (in his ' Scholia in Ver. Test.,' vol. 3.) says the reason is "quia ca filio idololatriae ansam dedisse videtur;" Keil and Bertheau think that, though there was evidence of this in the case of the mention of Asa's mother (1 Kings 15:13), the explanation here is that Naamah "appears" to have had, as queen-mother, considerable influence in the government. They do not specify where they find this to "appear" with any marked plainness. It is quite true that, in the successive accounts of the Jewish kings, the name of each mother is mentioned (1 Kings 15:2; 2 Chronicles 13:2; 1 Kings 22:42; 2 Chronicles 20:32, etc.). We should say it is like the book, so Divine and human, called the Bible, to do so far-seeing and far-reaching a thing as to give the mother's name; and practically to say that Solomon and Naamah were (in special sense for Judah) a repetition of Adam and Eve. How far Judah and her line of kings may have correctly said, they were answerable for "death and all our woe," the sacred historians say (1 Kings 11:4, 9-11, 14, 23, 26, 31, 33, 36; 1 Kings 12:24; 2 Chronicles 11:4).
And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
Verse 14. - These summarizing moral estimates of the character of the succeeding kings are, indeed, common to the compilers of both Chronicles and Kings, though absent, in the case of Rehoboam, from the parallel.
Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
Verse 15. - The authority quoted by the writer of Kings (1 Kings 14:29, 30) is "the book of the Chronicles [literally, the book of the acts of the days, i.q. the title of our 'Chronicles'] of the kings of Judah," on which follows in the next verse the substantive statement, "And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days." The authorities quoted here are the works of Shemaiah and of Iddo, and it is possible that the following words touching the continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, which have not the substantive verb among them, may have been part of the title of Iddo's work, although it is more probable that his work on 'Genealogies' would retain the character of a specialty. We subjoin for English readers a literal translation of this verse: "And the words (acts) of Jeroboam first and last, are they not written in the words (acts) of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer touching genealogies" [but Gesenius, sub voce," in the manner of a genealogical table"] "and wars of Rehoboam and Jeroboam perpetual." We think that neither our Authorized Version nor Gesenius's rendering probably convey the correct meaning. The hithp, of יַחַשׁ would be better satisfied by the rendering, "to make a register," i.e. "to preserve a continued register of David's genealogy."
And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
Verse 16. - In the city of David; i.e on Mount Zion, an eminence on the northern part of Mount Moriah. Here was the bury-lug-place of the kings, chambers with recesses for the successive kings. To this place of royal sepulture some of the kings were not permitted to be brought (2 Chronicles 21:20; 2 Chronicles 24:25; 2 Chronicles 28:27; 2 Kings 15:7). The chief cemetery of the city was on the slopes of the valley of the Kidron (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 23:6; 2 Chronicles 29:5, 16); another, probably, was south of the city on the sides of the ravine of Hinnom (Jeremiah 7:32). In the king's sepulchres eleven out of Judah's twenty-two kings were laid - David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah, Amaziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah. For Asa (2 Chronicles 16:14) and Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:33) places of special honour were found. The good priest Jehoiada also had burial in the king's burial-place (2 Chronicles 24:16). Kings Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:20) and Joash (2 Chronicles 24:25) were buried in the "city of David," but not in the above sepulchres Uzziah, because a leper, was buried in the "field of the burial of the kings" (2 Chronicles 26:23). It is all but certain that these royal sepulchres were in the enclosure now called the "Haram area." (For other interesting and important references, see Nehemiah 3:16; Ezekiel 43:7, 9; 2 Kings 21:18, 26; 2 Chronicles 33:20; 2 Chronicles 28:27.) While Rehoboam was laid thus to sleep with his fathers, Jeroboam's reign had yet four years to run.