2 Chronicles 12
This chapter gives us a more full account of the reign of Rehoboam than
we had before in Kings and it is a very melancholy account. Methinks we
are in the book of Judges again; for,
I. Rehoboam and his people did evil in the sight of the Lord,
2 Chronicles 12:1.
II. God thereupon sold them into the hands of Shishak, king of Egypt,
who greatly oppressed them,
2 Chronicles 12:2-4.
III. God sent a prophet to them, to expound to them the judgment and to
call them to repentance,
2 Chronicles 12:5.
IV. They thereupon humbled themselves,
2 Chronicles 12:6.
V. God, upon their repentance, turned from his anger
(2 Chronicles 12:7,12)
and yet left them under the marks of his displeasure,
2 Chronicles 12:8-11.
Lastly, Here is a general character of Rehoboam and his reign, with the
conclusion of it,
2 Chronicles 12:13-16.
|Abijah's Reign over Judah.
||B. C. 970.|
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.
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,
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.
4 And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and
came to Jerusalem.
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
6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled
themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
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.
8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know
my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
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.
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.
11 And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the
guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the
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.
Israel was very much disgraced and weakened by being divided into two
kingdoms; yet the kingdom of Judah, having both the temple and the
royal city, both the house of David and the house of Aaron, might have
done very well if they had continued in the way of their duty; but here
we have all out of order there.
I. Rehoboam and his people left God: He forsook the law of the
Lord, and so in effect forsook God, and all Israel with him,
2 Chronicles 12:1.
He had his happy triennium, when he walked in the way of David and
(2 Chronicles 11:17),
but it expired, and he grew remiss in the worship of God; in what
instances we are not told, but he fell off, and Judah with him, here
called Israel, because they walked in the evil ways into which
Jeroboam had drawn the kingdom of Israel. Thus he did when he had
established the kingdom and strengthened himself. As long as he
thought his throne tottered he kept to his duty, that he might make God
his friend; but, when he found it stood pretty firmly, he thought he
had no more occasion for religion; he was safe enough without it. Thus
the prosperity of fools destroys them. Jeshurun waxed fat and
kicked. When men prosper, and are in no apprehension of troubles,
they are ready to say to God, Depart from us.
II. God quickly brought troubles upon them, to awaken them, and recover
them to repentance, before their hearts were hardened. It was but in
the fourth year of Rehoboam that they began to corrupt themselves, and
in the fifth year the king of Egypt came up against them with a vast
army, took the fenced cities of Judah, and came against
2 Chronicles 12:2,3,4.
This great calamity coming upon them so soon after they began to desert
the worship of God, by a hand they had little reason to suspect (having
had a great deal of friendly correspondence with Egypt in the last
reign), and coming with so much violence that all the fenced cities
of Judah, which Rehoboam had lately fortified and garrisoned and on
which he relied much for the safety of his kingdom, fell immediately
into the hands of the enemy, without making any resistance, plainly
showed that it was from the Lord, because they had transgressed against
III. Lest they should not readily or not rightly understand the meaning
of this providence, God by the word explains the rod,
2 Chronicles 12:5.
When the princes of Judah had all met at Jerusalem, probably in a great
council of war, to concert measures for their own safety in this
critical juncture, he sent a prophet to them, the same that had brought
them an injunction from God not to fight against the ten tribes
(2 Chronicles 11:2),
Shemaiah by name; he told them plainly that the reason why Shishak
prevailed against them was not because they had been impolitic in the
management of their affairs (which perhaps the princes in this congress
were at this time scrutinizing), but because they had forsaken God. God
never leaves any till they first leave him.
IV. The rebukes both of the word and of the rod being thus joined, the
king and princes humbled themselves before God for their iniquity,
penitently acknowledged the sin, and patiently accepted the punishment
of it, saying, The Lord is righteous,
2 Chronicles 12:6.
"We have none to blame but ourselves; let God be clear when he
judgeth." Thus it becomes us, when we are under the rebukes of
Providence, to justify God and judge ourselves. Even kings and princes
must either bend or break before God, either be humbled or be
V. Upon the profession they made of repentance God showed them some
favour, saved them from ruin, and yet left them under some remaining
fears of the judgment, to prevent their revolt again.
1. God, in mercy, prevented the destruction they were now upon the
brink of. Such a vast and now victorious army as Shishak had, having
made themselves masters of all the fenced cities, what could be
expected but that the whole country, and even Jerusalem itself, would
in a little time be theirs? But when God saith, Here shall the proud
waves be stayed, the most threatening force strangely dwindles and
becomes impotent. Here again the destroying angel, when he comes to
Jerusalem, is forbidden to destroy it: "My wrath shall not be poured
out upon Jerusalem; not at this time, not by this hand, not utterly
to destroy it,"
2 Chronicles 12:7,12.
Note, Those that acknowledge God righteous in afflicting them shall
find him gracious. Those that humble themselves before him shall find
favour with him. So ready is the God of mercy to take the first
occasion to show mercy. If we have humbled hearts under humbling
providences, the affliction has done its work, and it shall either be
removed or the property of it altered.
2. He granted them some deliverance, not complete, but in part; he gave
them some advantages against the enemy, so that they recruited a
little; he gave them deliverance for a little while, so some.
They reformed but partially, and for a little while, soon relapsing
again; and, as their reformation was, so was their deliverance. Yet it
(2 Chronicles 12:12),
in Judah things went well, and began to look with a better face.
(1.) In respect of piety. There were good things in Judah (so it
is in the margin), good ministers, good people, good families, who were
made better by the calamities of their country. Note, In times of
great corruption and degeneracy it is some comfort if there be a
remnant among whom good things ar found; this is a ground of hope in
(2.) In respect of prosperity. In Judah things went ill when all the
fenced cities were taken
(2 Chronicles 12:4),
but when they repented the posture of their affairs altered, and things
went well. Note, If things do not go so well as we could wish, yet we
have reason to take notice of it with thankfulness if they go better
than was to have been expected, better than formerly, and better than
we deserved. We should own God's goodness if he do but grant us some
3. Yet he left them to smart sorely by the hand of Shishak, both in
their liberty and in their wealth.
(1.) In their liberty
(2 Chronicles 12:8):
They shall be his servants (that is, they shall lie much at his
mercy and be put under contribution by him, and some of them perhaps be
taken prisoners and held in captivity by him), that they may know my
service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. They
complained, it may be, of the strictness of their religion, and
forsook the law of the Lord
(2 Chronicles 12:1)
because they thought it a yoke to hard, too heavy, upon them. "Well,"
saith God, "let them better themselves if they can; let the
neighbouring princes rule them awhile, since they are not willing that
I should rule them, and let them try how they like that. They might
have served God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, and would
not; let them serve their enemies then in hunger and thirst
till they think of returning to their first Master, for then it was
better with them,"
This, some think, is the meaning of
Because they despised my statutes, I gave them statutes that were
not good. Note,
[1.] The more God's service is compared with other services the more
reasonable and easy it will appear.
[2.] Whatever difficulties or hardships we may imagine there are in the
way of obedience, it is better a thousand times to go through them than
to expose ourselves to the punishment of disobedience. Are the laws of
temperance thought hard? The effects of intemperance will be much
harder. The service of virtue is perfect liberty; the service of lust
is perfect slavery.
(2.) In their wealth. The king of Egypt plundered both the temple and
the exchequer, the treasuries of both which Solomon left very full; but
he took them away; yea, he took all, all he could lay his
2 Chronicles 12:9.
This was what he came for. David and Solomon, who walked in the way of
God, filled the treasuries, one by war and the other by merchandise;
but Rehoboam, who forsook the law of God, emptied them. The taking away
of the golden shields, and the substituting of brazen ones in their
(2 Chronicles 12:9-11),
we had an account of before,
1 Kings 14:25-28.
|Jeroboam Defeated by Abijah.
||B. C. 965.|
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.
14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek
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.
16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the
city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
The story of Rehoboam's reign is here concluded, much as the story of
the other reigns concludes. Two things especially are observable
1. That he was at length pretty well fixed in his kingdom,
2 Chronicles 12:13.
His fenced cities in Judah did not answer his expectation, so he now
strengthened himself in Jerusalem, which he made it his business
to fortify, and there he reigned seventeen years, in the city which
the Lord had chosen to put his name there. This intimates his
honour and privilege, that he had his royal seat in the holy city,
which yet was but an aggravation of his impiety--near the temple, but
far from God. Frequent skirmishes there were between his subjects and
Jeroboam's, such as amounted to continual wars,
(2 Chronicles 12:15),
but he held his own, and reigned, and, as it should seem, did not so
grossly forsake the law of God as he had done
(2 Chronicles 12:1)
in his fourth year.
2. That he was never rightly fixed in his religion,
2 Chronicles 12:14.
He never quite cast off God; and yet in this he did evil, that he
prepared not, he engaged not, his heart to seek the Lord. See
what the fault is laid upon.
(1.) He did not serve the Lord because he did not seek the Lord. He did
not pray, as Solomon did, for wisdom and grace. If we prayed better, we
should be every way better. Or he did not consult the word of God, did
not seek to that as his oracle, nor take directions from it.
(2.) He made nothing of his religion because he did not set his heart
to it, never minded it with any closeness of application, and never any
hearty disposition to it, nor ever came up to a steady resolution in
it. What little goodness he had was transient and passed away like the
morning cloud. He did evil because he was never determined for that
which is good. Those are easily drawn by Satan to any evil who are
wavering and inconstant in that which is good and are never persuaded
to make religion their business.