The son and successor of Solomon, by Naamah, an Ammonitess, 1Ki 12; 14:21-31; 2Ch 10-12. He was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and was therefore born at the beginning of his father's reign. He ascended the throne about 975 B.C., and reigned seventeen years at Jerusalem. Under his reign the ten tribes revolted, and formed the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam. The immediate cause of this schism was Rehoboam's headstrong folly in rejecting experienced counselors, and claiming tyrannical power. He at once sought to recover the revolted tribes by force; and though directed by God not to make war, he did not long delay hostilities, and these continued during his whole reign. The people also fell into idolatry, and were punished in the fifth year of Rehoboam by an Egyptian army, which subjected them to a heavy tribute. See SHISHAK. Scripture leads us to trace the sins and misfortunes of Rehoboam in part to the influence of his heathen mother, 2Ch 12:13. The latter portion of his reign seems to have passed more quietly.
he enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne, and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah "the Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1Ki 14:21; 2Ch 12:13). He was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne, yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1Ki 12:4). After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (1Ki 6-15). "The king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord" (comp. 1Ki 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis. The terrible cry was heard (comp. 2Sa 20:1):
What portion have we in David?
Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
To your tents, O Israel:
Now see to thine own house, David" (1Ki 12:16).
And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2Ch 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See Jeroboam.)
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him. Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of Egypt (1Ki 14:25-26; 2Ch 12:5-9). A remarkable memorial of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt, in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there. These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had fortified (2Ch 11:5-12). Illustration: Stone from the Wall at Karnac
The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David" (1Ki 14:31). He was succeeded by his son Abijah. (See Egypt.)
Solomon's son by the Ammonite Naamah (1Ki 14:21,13; 11:43; 2Ch 12:13). Succeeded his father in his 41st year. In 2Ch 13:7 "young and tender hearted" means inexperienced (for he was not young in years then) and faint-hearted, not energetic in making a stand against those who insolently rose against him. In his reign Ephraim's gathering jealousy of a rival (Jg 8:1; 12:1) came to a crisis, the steps to which were the severance of Israel under Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2) from Judah under David; the removal of the political capital from Shechem, and the seat of national worship from Shiloh to Jerusalem; and finally Solomon's heavy taxation for great national and monarchical buildings, and Rehoboam's injudicious reply to the petition for lightening the burden. The maschil (Psalm 78) of Asaph is a warning to Ephraim not to incur a fresh judgment by rebelling against God's appointment which transferred Ephraim's prerogative, for its sins, to Judah; he delicately avoids wounding Ephraim's sensitiveness by not naming revolt as likely (compare 2Sa 20:2).
He leaves the application to themselves. Rehoboam selected Shechem as his place of coronation, probably to conciliate Ephraim. But Ephraim's reason for desiring Shechem for the place of coronation was their intention to rebel; so they made Jeroboam the spokesman of their complaints. (See JEROBOAM.) It would have saved Rehoboam the loss of the majority of his kingdom, had he heeded his father's wise old counselors (Pr 27:10), and shown the same conciliatory spirit in reply to Israel's embassy; but he forgot his father's proverb (Pr 15:1). In the three days' interval between their mission and his reply he preferred the counsel of the inexperienced young men, his compeers, who had been reared in the time of Solomon's degeneracy, "my father chastised you with whips, I will chastise you with scorpions," i.e. scourges armed with sharp points. Solomon in Ec 2:19 expresses his misgiving as to Rehoboam, "who knoweth whether the man after me shall be a wise man or a fool?" His folly was overruled by Jehovah to perform His prophecy by Ahijar unto Jeroboam. (See AHIJAR; JEROBOAM.)
With the same watchword of revolt as under Sheba (2Sa 19:43; 20:1), Israel forsook Rehoboam (1Ki 12:16), "what portion have we in David? To your tents, O Israel." They then stoned Adoram who was over the tribute, Rehoboam retained, besides Judah, Levi, Simeon, Dan, and parts of Benjamin. (See ADORAM; ISRAEL.) Rehoboam with 180,000 sought to regain Israel; but Jehovah by Shemaiah forbade it (1Ki 12:21-24). Still a state of war between the two kingdoms lasted all his reign (1Ki 14:30). Rehoboam built fortresses round on the S. side of Jerusalem, apprehending most danger from the quarter of Egypt (2Ch 11:1,12-13,16-17). Moreover, the calf worship in northern Israel drove the Levites and many pious Israelites to the southern kingdom where Jehovah's pure worship was maintained.
Thus, Rehoboam became strengthened in his kingdom, but after three years' faithfulness and consequent prosperity from God the tendency to apostasy inherited from his mother Naamah the Ammonitess, and her bad early training, led him to connive at, and like Solomon join in, the abominations of idolatry, the "high places, standing images, and groves on every high hill and under every green tree" (1Ki 14:22-24). Rehoboam "forsook the law of Jehovah, and all Israel with him." So God sent Shishak, Jeroboam's ally, with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen, to punish him, in the fifth year of his reign (1Ki 11:40; 14:25-28; 2Ch 12:2-4, etc.). (See JEROBOAM.) Shemaiah explained the cause from Jehovah; "ye have forsaken Me, therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak" (Shishak was first of the 22nd or Bubastite dynasty; whereas his predecessor, the Pharaoh whose daughter Solomon married, was the last of the 22nd or Tanite dynasty). Rehoboam and the princes thereupon humbly accepted their punishment, and justified Jehovah (Jas 4:10; Ex 9:27; Ps 51:4; Le 26:41-42).
Therefore, the Lord "granted them some deliverance," at the same time that He gave them up to Shishak's service, who took the Jews' fenced cities and came to Jerusalem, that they might know to their sorrow its contrast to "His service" (De 28:47-48; Isa 47:13; 1Jo 5:3; Ho 2:7). So Shishak took away the temple and the palace treasures, and the golden shields (200 larger and 300 smaller, 1Ki 10:16-17), for which Rehoboam substituted brazen shields, to be borne by the bodyguard before him in state processions, characteristic of his vanity which comforted itself with a sham after losing the reality; but the Lord did not let Shishak destroy Rehoboam altogether, for He saw, amidst abounding evil, with His tender compassion, some "good things in Judah."
Shishak's success against the kingdom of Judah (malchi Judah) is found commemorated outside of the Karnak temple, the very features of the Jews being characteristically represented. Rehoboam reigned for 17 years; his acts were recorded in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies. His doing evil is traced to his "not preparing (fixing) his heart to seek Jehovah." His polygamy ("desiring many wives," 2Ch 11:23) is another blot on his character. Besides Mahalath and Maacbah, granddaughters of David, and Abihail descended from Jesse, he had 18 wives and 60 concubines; his sons, with worldly wisdom, he dispersed through the fenced cities as their governors, and made Abijah, son of his favorite wife Maachah, his successor on the throne.
Son of Solomon and Naamah an Ammonitess: he succeeded his father. On the tribes seeking relief from some of the burdens laid upon them by Solomon, Rehoboam unwisely turned from the counsellors of his father, and followed the advice of his young companions. He proudly boasted that he would augment their burdens and treat them with increased rigour. The ten tribes then revolted from Rehoboam and chose Jeroboam as their king. This had been prophesied of, and the folly of Rehoboam brought it thus to pass. He raised an army to punish the rebels, but was forbidden by the prophet Shemaiah to fight against them, and he had to hear that the separation of the ten tribes was of God. It was because of the sin of Solomon. Though a civil war was at that time averted, there were continual conflicts between the two nations, as they must now be called.
The outward worship of Jehovah was maintained in Judah, but Rehoboam did not check the introduction of heathen abominations into the land, and the wickedness of the people became very great. Shemaiah rebuked them, and said the Lord would deliver them into the hand of Shishak, king of Egypt. The king and the princes humbled themselves, and God granted them some deliverance; nevertheless they were made tributary to the king of Egypt. Shishak took away the treasures of the temple and of the king's house, and the shields of gold that Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced the latter with shields of brass. Thus the glory of Solomon soon passed away! Rehoboam reigned over Judah and Benjamin, under the title of JUDAH, seventeen years, from B.C. 975 to 958. 1Ki 11:43; 12:1-27; 14:21-31; 15:6; 2Ch 10:1-18; 11:1-22; 12; 13:7. He is called ROBOAM in Mt 1:7.
(enlarger of the people), son of Solomon by the Ammonite princess Naamah,
and his successor.
Rehoboam selected Shechem as the place of his coronation (B.C. 975), probably as an act of concession to the Ephraimites. The people demanded a remission of the severe burdens imposed by Solomon, and Rehoboam, rejecting the advice of his father's counsellors, followed that of his young courtiers, and returned an insulting answer, which led to an open rebellion among the tribes, and he was compelled to fly to Jerusalem, Judah and Benjamin alone remaining true to him. Jeroboam was made king of the northern tribes. [JEROBOAM] An expedition to reconquer Israel was forbidden by the prophet Shemaiah,
still during Rehoboam's lifetime peaceful relations between Israel and Judah were never restored.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign the country was invaded by a host of Egyptians and other African nations under Shishak. Jerusalem itself was taken and Rehoboam had to purchase an ignominious peace by delivering up the treasures with which Solomon had adorned the temple and palace. The rest of Rehoboam's life was unmarked by any events of importance. He died B.C. 958, after a reign of 17 years, having ascended the throne B.C. 975, at the age of 41.
He had 18 wives, 60 concubines, 28 sons and 60 daughters.
REHOBOAM, the son and successor of Solomon; his mother was Naamah, an Ammonitish woman, whom Solomon had married, 1Ki 14:20-21. He was forty-one years of age when he began to reign, and, consequently, was born in the first year of his father's reign, A.M. 2990, or the year before. This prince reigned seventeen years at Jerusalem, and died A.M. 3046. After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam came to Shechem, because all Israel was there assembled to make him king, 1 Kings 12. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who had headed a sedition against Solomon, and had been compelled, toward the close of his reign, to take refuge in Egypt, as soon as he heard that this prince was dead, returned into Judea, and came to the assembly of the people of Shechem. The Israelites would have made terms with Rehoboam; but, being a poor politician, and following the advice of some junior counsellors, he managed his business so imprudently that he lost the whole house of Israel, save the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.