2Chronicles 12:1 ¶ 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.
Eventually, after Rehoboam had established himself as a strong ruler of the kingdom of Judah, he quit following God’s law after the first three years of his rule. Sadly, the people followed the example of their king.
2 Chronicles 11:17 “So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.”
2Chronicles 12:2 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,
2Chronicles 12:3 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.
2Chronicles 12:4 And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign the king of Egypt attacked. The Chronicler is clear in noting that God allowed this attack because of their rebellion against Him. The enemy forces included 1200 chariots and 60,000 men on horseback; they included not only Egyptians, but also the Lubims, Sukkiims and Ethiopians. They captured the fortified cities in Judah as they closed in on Jerusalem.
I liked Spurgeon’s comment: “That was not Shishak’s reason for coming up against Jerusalem. He had heard of the riches of Solomon; and doubtless, he came for the sake of the spoil which the palace and the temple would yield to him. But God often overrules, for the accomplishment of his own purposes, the lower motives of men. ‘I girded thee,’ said he of Cyrus, ‘though thou hast not known me.’ So did he gird Shishak for the chastisement of Israel, though Shishak knew him not.”
2Chronicles 12:5 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.
2Chronicles 12:6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
The LORD sent a message by the prophet Shemaiah to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah gathered with him in Jerusalem. He declared that God had given them into the hand of Shishak, king of Egypt, because they had forsaken Him. The king and his leaders immediately humbled themselves before the LORD and declared Him to be righteous—in other words, admitted they deserved His judgment.
2Chronicles 12:7 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.
2Chronicles 12:8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
When the LORD saw that they had responded to His message with humility, he gave Shemaiah another message. He promised to provide some deliverance and withhold His wrath upon Jerusalem at the hand of Shishak. However, He was going to make them subservient to the Egyptian king to impress upon them the difference between serving God and serving human kings of other lands.
2Chronicles 12:9 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.
2Chronicles 12:10 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.
So Shishak attacked Jerusalem and took away all the treasures of the temple and the palace, including the shields of gold that Solomon had made. Rehoboam made shields of brass to replace the gold shields and gave them into the care of those that guarded the entry to the palace.
How quickly the wealth of nation or individual can be lost!
JFB provides this interesting note: “An account of this conquest of Judah, with the name of ‘king of Judah’ in the cartouche of the principal captive, according to the interpreters, is carved and written in hieroglyphics on the walls of the great palace of Karnak, where it may be seen at the present day. This sculpture is about twenty-seven hundred years old, and is of peculiar interest as a striking testimony from Egypt to the truth of Scripture history.”
2Chronicles 12:11 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.
2Chronicles 12:12 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.
Whenever the king went to the temple, the guards used the shields to accompany him, returning them to the guardroom afterwards.
The LORD’s anger was turned away from Rehoboam when He saw how the king humbled himself. After that, things went well in Judah.
2Chronicles 12:13 ¶ 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.
2Chronicles 12:14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
King Rehoboam reestablished himself in strength in Jerusalem. He became king at 41 years of age and reigned 17 years in Jerusalem. It is emphasized again that Jerusalem was the one place in Israel with which God chose to associate His name. It is noted that Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite. This king did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD.
That is an important truth. We choose to do what is evil because we do not choose to obey God. To live a good life we must “prepare” our hearts to seek the LORD. The Hebrew includes “…to set up, in a great variety of applications, whether literal (establish, fix, prepare, apply)… confirm, direct, faithfulness….” In other words, we need to choose to establish ourselves before the LORD with a determined heart to be faithful in obedience before Him.
Can people do “good” things apart from knowing God? Yes.
Luke 6:33 “And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.”
Can one live a good life and reject God? No. Only what we do that is in accordance with God’s will can truly be called good.
Romans 3:12 “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Romans 8:5–9 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit….So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work….”
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
Colossians 1:9–10 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work….”
2Chronicles 12:15 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.
2Chronicles 12:16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
The account on Rehoboam closes with a statement that more can be read about him in the book of Shemaiah the prophet and the book of genealogies by Iddo the seer.
It is also noted that there was continual fighting between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
When Rehoboam died, he was buried in the city of David, and his son Abijah became the next king.