Rehoboam: 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 (1 Kings 14:21;
2 Chr. 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 (1 Kings 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 (6-15). "The
king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the
Lord" (compare 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis.
The terrible cry was heard (compare 2 Sam. 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" (1 Kings 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; 2
Chr. 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 (1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chr. 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 (2 Chr. 11:5-12).
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" (1 Kings 14:31). He was
succeeded by his son Abijah. (See EGYPT T0001137.)