2 Chronicles 11
We are here going on with the history of Rehoboam.
I. His attempt to recover the ten tribes he has lost, and the letting
fall of that attempt in obedience to the divine command,
2 Chronicles 11:1-4.
II. His successful endeavours to preserve the two tribes that remained,
2 Chronicles 11:5-12.
III. The resort of the priests and Levites to him,
2 Chronicles 11:13-17.
IV. An account of his wives and children,
2 Chronicles 11:18-23.
|Rehoboam Forbidden to Make War.
||B. C. 975.|
1 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the
house of Judah and Benjamin a hundred and fourscore thousand
chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that
he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God,
3 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to
all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
4 Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against
your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is
done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned
from going against Jeroboam.
5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence
6 He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
7 And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
8 And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
9 And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
10 And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and
in Benjamin fenced cities.
11 And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them,
and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
12 And in every several city he put shields and spears, and
made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his
How the ten tribes deserted the house of David we read in the foregoing
chapter. They had formerly sat loose to that family
(2 Samuel 20:1,2),
and now they quite threw it off, not considering how much it would
weaken the common interest and take Israel down from that pitch of
glory at which it had arrived in the last reign. But thus the
kingdom must be corrected as well as the house of David.
1. Rehoboam at length, like a bold man, raises an army, with a design
to reduce the revolters,
2 Chronicles 11:1.
Judah and Benjamin were not only resolved to continue their allegiance
to him, but ready to give him the best assistance they could for the
recovery of his right. Judah was his own tribe, that owned him some
years before the rest did; Benjamin was the tribe in which Jerusalem,
or the greatest part of it, stood, which perhaps was one reason why
that tribe clave to him.
2. Yet, like a conscientious man, when God forbade him to prosecute
this design, in obedience to him he let it fall, either because he
reverenced the divine authority or because he knew that he should not
prosper if he should go contrary to God's command, but instead of
retrieving what was lost would be in danger of losing what he had. It
is dangerous undertaking any thing, but especially undertaking a war,
contrary to the will of God. God calls him
(2 Chronicles 11:3),
Rehoboam the son of Solomon, to intimate that this was
determined for the sin of Solomon, and it would be to no purpose to
oppose a decree that had gone forth. They obeyed the words of the
Lord; and though it looked mean, and would turn to their reproach
among their neighbours, yet, because God would have it so, they laid
down their arms.
3. Like a discreet man, he fortified his own country. He saw it was to
no purpose to think of reducing those that had revolted. A few good
words might have prevented their defection, but now all the forces of
his kingdom cannot bring them back. The think is done, and so it must
rest; it is his wisdom to make the best of it. Perhaps the same young
counsellors that had advised him to answer them roughly urged him to
fight them, notwithstanding the divine inhibition; but he had paid
dearly enough for being advised by them, and therefore now, we may
suppose, his aged and experienced counsellors were hearkened to, and
they advised him to submit to the will of God concerning what was lost,
and to make it his business to keep what he had. It was probably by
their advice that,
(1.) He fortified his frontiers, and many of the principal cities of
his kingdom, which, in Solomon's peaceable reign, no care had been
taken for the defence of.
(2.) He furnished them with good stores of victuals and arms,
2 Chronicles 11:11,12.
Because God forbade him to fight, he did not therefore sit down
sullenly, and say that he would do nothing for the public safety if he
might not do that, but prudently provided against an attack. Those that
may not be conquerors, yet may be builders.
|The Priests Adhere to Rehoboam.
||B. C. 974.|
13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel
resorted to him out of all their coasts.
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and
came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast
them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:
15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the
devils, and for the calves which he had made.
16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set
their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to
sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
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.
18 And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the
son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son
19 Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.
20 And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which
bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all
his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and
threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and
22 And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to
be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
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.
I. How Rehoboam was strengthened by the accession of the priests and
Levites, and all the devout and pious Israelites, to him, even all that
were true to their God and their religion.
1. Jeroboam cast them off, that is, he set up such a way of worship as
he knew they could not in conscience comply with, which obliged them to
withdraw from his altar, and at the same time he would not allow them
to go up to Jerusalem to worship at the altar there; so that he totally
cast them off from executing the priest's office,
2 Chronicles 11:14.
And very willing he was that they should turn themselves out of their
places, that room might be made for those mean and scandalous persons
whom he ordained priests for the high places,
2 Chronicles 11:15.
1 Kings 12:31.
No marvel if he that cast off God cast off his ministers; they were not
for his purpose, would not do whatever he might bid them do, would not
serve his gods, nor worship the golden image which he had set
2. They thereupon left their suburbs and possessions,
2 Chronicles 11:14.
Out of the lot of each tribe the Levites had cities allowed them, where
they were comfortable provided for and had opportunity of doing much
good. But now they were driven out of all their cities except those in
Judah and Benjamin. One would think their maintenance well settled, and
yet they lost it. It was a comfort to them that the law so often
reminded them that the Lord was their inheritance, and so they
should find him when they were turned out of their house and
possessions. But why did they leave their possessions?
(1.) Because they saw they could do no good among their neighbours, in
whom (now that Jeroboam set up his calves) the old proneness to
(2.) Because they themselves would be in continual temptation to some
base compliances, and in danger of being drawn insensibly to that which
was evil. If we pray, in sincerity, not to be led into temptation, we
shall get and keep as far as we can out of the way of it.
(3.) Because, if they retained their integrity, they had reason to
expect persecution from Jeroboam and his sons. The priests they made
for the devils would not let the Lord's priests be long among them. No
secular advantages whatsoever should draw us thither, or detain us
there, where we are in danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good
3. They came to Judah and Jerusalem
(2 Chronicles 11:14)
and presented themselves to Rehoboam,
2 Chronicles 11:13,
margin. Where should God's priests and Levites be, but where his
altar was? Thither they came because it was their business to attend
at the times appointed.
(1.) It was a mercy to them that they had a place of refuge to flee to,
and that when Jeroboam cast them off there were those so near that
would entertain them, and bid them welcome, and they were not forced
into the lands of the heathen.
(2.) It was an evidence that they loved their work better than their
maintenance, in that they left their suburbs and possessions in the
country (where they might have lived at ease upon their own),
because they were restrained from serving God there, and cast
themselves upon God's providence and the charity of their brethren in
coming to a place where they might have the free enjoyment of God's
ordinances, according to his institution. Poverty in the way of duty is
to be chosen rather than plenty in the way of sin. Better live upon
alms, or die in a prison, with a good conscience, than roll in wealth
and pleasure with a prostituted one.
(3.) It was the wisdom and praise of Rehoboam and his people that they
bade them welcome, though they crowded themselves perhaps to make room
for them. Conscientious refugees will bring a blessing along with them
to the countries that entertain them, as they leave a curse behind them
with those that expel them. Open the gates, that the righteous
nation, which keepeth truth, may enter in; it will be good policy.
4. When the priests and Levites came to Jerusalem all the devout pious
Israelites of every tribe followed them. Such as set their hearts to
seek the Lord God of Israel, that made conscience of their duty to
God and were sincere and resolute in it, left the inheritance of their
fathers and went and took houses in Jerusalem, that they might have
free access to the altar of God and be out of the temptation to worship
2 Chronicles 11:16.
(1.) That is best for us which is best for our souls; and, in all our
choices, advantages for religion must take place of all outward
(2.) Where God's faithful priests are his faithful people should be. If
Jeroboam cast off God's ministers, every true-born Israelite will think
himself obliged to own them and stand by them. Forsake not the
Levite, the out-cast Levite, as long as thou livest. When
the ark removes do you remove and go after it,
5. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah
(2 Chronicles 11:17),
not only by the addition of so many persons to it, who, it is likely,
brought what they could of their effects with them, but by their piety
and their prayers they procured a blessing upon the kingdom which was a
sanctuary to them. See
It is the interest of a nation to protect and encourage religion and
religious people, and adds more than any thing to its strength. They
made him and his people strong three years; for so long they
walked in the way of David and Solomon, their good way.
But when they forsook that, and so threw themselves out of God's favour
and protection, the best friends they had could no longer help to
strengthen them. We retain our strength while we cleave to God and our
duty, and no longer.
II. How Rehoboam was weakened by indulging himself in his pleasures. He
desired many wives, as his father did
(2 Chronicles 11:23),
1. In this he was more wise than his father, that he does not
appear to have married strange wives. The wives mentioned here were not
only daughters of Israel, but of the family of David; one was a
descendant from Eliab, David's brother
(2 Chronicles 11:18),
another from Absalom, probably that Absalom who was David's son
(2 Chronicles 11:20),
another from Jerimoth, David's son.
2. In this he was more happy than his father, that he had many
sons and daughters; whereas we read not of more than one son that his
father had. One can scarcely imagine that he had no more; but, if he
had, they were not worth mentioning; whereas several of Rehoboam's sons
are here named
(2 Chronicles 11:19,20)
as men of note, and such active men that he thought it his wisdom to
disperse them throughout the countries of Judah and Benjamin
(2 Chronicles 11:23),
(1.) That they might not be rivals with his son Abijah, whom he
designed for his successor, or rather,
(2.) Because he could repose a confidence in them for the preserving of
the public peace and safety, could trust them with fenced cities, which
he took care to have well victualled, that they might stand him in
stead in case of an invasion. After-wisdom is better than none at all;
nay, they say, "Wit is never good till it is bought;" though he was
dearly bought with the loss of a kingdom.