2 Chronicles – Chapter 12

2 Chronicles chapter 12

Judah Becomes Weak

Verses 1, 2 – Here “Israel” refers to Judah, the southern kingdom. During Rehoboam’s first three years on the throne, he attempted to obey God and Judah prospered. But, popularity and power became greater and he abandon God after that. Then God allowed Judah to be conquered by Egypt. So often when things are going good in life, people forget who they are and who was the real source of their prosperity. In the tough times, we are moved towards God, but in the good times we become self-sufficient and self-satisfied. When things are going right, guard your faith closely.

A record of this invasion has been found on an Egyptian stone that says Shishak’s army penetrated as far north as the Sea of Galilee. They were not strong enough to conquer both Israel and Judah, but managed to destroy key cities in Judah in an effort to gain control of the trade routes and create dissension among the people.

Verse 4 – In spite of all the work Solomon and Rehoboam had put into fortifying the cities of Judah, these efforts didn’t keep away the pharaoh whom God had sent as punishment for the sins of the kingdom.

Verses 6-8 – God showed mercy when Israel’s leaders repented and humbled themselves. When we start to leave God out of our lives, we lose more spiritually than we ever gain financially.

Verse 9 – Shishak’s army arrived in Jerusalem and helped themselves to all the treasures that David and Solomon had collected. Shishak did not destroy Jerusalem. This unusual action fits with Shishak’s own records of this military excursion. He listed in an inscription 41 cities that he captured and decimated, but Jerusalem was not among them.

Verses 10,11 – This is another humiliation for Rehoboam when he had to replace the golden shields with bronze ones. When God is no longer center in our lives, maintaining the Christian life becomes superficial.

Verses 13, 14 – Despite Rehoboam’s repentance and God’s rescue, Chronicles still listed him “an evil king.” Why? Because he had not “set his heart on seeking the Lord.” God asks us for a firm commitment, and unless we respond by trusting Him completely, we will find only frustrations and self effort in our lives.

2 Chronicles – Chapter 11

2 chronicles chapter 11

Judah is Strengthened

Verse 1 – Rehoboam had made a foolish decision by causing the division of Israel, but now tried to take it back by force. True unity, however, cannot come about by force. It must be the free response of willing hearts.

Verses 2-4 – Shemaiah, God’s prophet, showed up and told Rehoboam that he would not go up against his brothers!

God had foretold of this division, as punishment, but the higher purpose was being exposed. By Judah being pressured, David’s line would keep intact His plan for the Messiah to be a descendant of David. God always wants unity, but when division comes, look for a higher purpose that God has ordained. Rehoboam and all the people followed the advise of Shemaiah and went home to their houses.

Verses 5-12 – Instead of carrying out an invasion Rehoboam fortified cities throughout the territory of Judah and Benjamin. He needed to reestablish a smaller circle around Jerusalem. Cities that had not been that important, such as Bethlehem, now became crucial defensive posts. Not only did he see to it that they were physically reinforced, but each had leaders, a supply of food, oil, and wine, and large shields and spears. Having started off on the wrong foot, he made sure his kingdom did not become vulnerable to attack.

Verses 13, 14 – After the split, Jeroboam, the new king of Israel, saw these priests and Levites as threats to his new government because they remained loyal to Jerusalem, now the capital of Judah. So he appointed his own priest (a no-no with God). He banned the Levites from their duties and forced them to move to the southern Kingdom. Jeroboam’s pagan priests encouraged idol worship. They were seriously abandoning God. We have to watch who we follow. They might just lead you off a cliff.

Verse 17 – During the first three years, the south rallied around the temple and the service of the Lord, while the north focused on the cult of idolatry, instigated by Jeroboam.

Verses 18-21 – Rehoboam had 18 wives, many from  blood relations. Maacah (also called Micaiah), was probable Absalom’s grand-daughter by his son or son-in-law, Uriel (13:2). She would become influential in leading the people into idolatry.

Verses 22, 23 – There was one matter, however, that Rehoboam seemed to be wiser in than both David and Solomon. Both had left their sons in Jerusalem, where they had been given important titles but not much responsibility. Having spent his first 41 years living in limbo, Rehoboam made sure his son’s had a meaningful purpose. He put them in charge of the newly fortified cities and provided them with numerous wives. (I’m not sure all those wives were a good thing).

2 Chronicles – Chapter 10

2 chronicles chapter 10

Some of theses Kings have similar names, so here’s a summary of the first two of the rest of kings mentioned in 2 Chronicles.

Rehoboam: First king of Judah; son of Solomon; the king under who the united Kingdom split into north (Israel) and south (Judah).

Jeroboam: First King of Israel; leader in revolt of 10 northern tribes of Rehoboam; instituted official idol worship in the north; Jeroboam was from the tribe of Ephraim and at one time had been the leader of Solomon’s labor force in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:26-40). One day the prophet Ahijah had approached Jeroboam and told him he would one day become king over 10 northern tribes, Jeroboam fled to Egypt to avoid Solomon’s execution. He had remained there throughout the rest of Solomon’s reign. When he heard of Solomon’s death and Rehoboam would be king, he made his way back from exile to join the assemble.

Verses 1-15 – Following bad advise can cause disaster. Rehoboam lost the chance to rule in  peace because he took the advise of the less experienced and he did not ask God for wisdom. If we only  take the advise from those who hold the same opinion, we are likely headed for a big mess!

Verses 5-7 – King Solomon had been known for his wisdom and his ability to decide difficult questions. Rehoboam, however, was unable to respond to this simple request. Did he not learn anything from his father in the 41 years of watching Solomon reign and rule the Kingdom? We can learn a lot from our parents whether we like to admit it or not, good or bad. Rehoboam should have given the people what they wanted.

Verses 8-10 – Rehoboam’s peers are identified as young men, but they were the same age as Rehoboam because they had grown up with him, which was roughly 40 years. These men had waited a long time to have any influence in the Kingdom. Now they saw an opportunity to assert themselves.

Verse 11 – Scorpions is translated to mean “Barbed whips–a common instrument of discipline in the ancient Near East.

Verse 14  – Solomon had changed during his reign. He had forgotten the wisdom God had given him in the beginning about ruling over the children of Israel. Evidently, Rehoboam had only picked up on the latter years when Solomon became harsh towards God’s people.

Verses 16-19 – In trying to have it all, Rehoboam lost almost everything. He was motivated by power and greed. He ended up dividing the kingdom. His demands were based on selfishness rather than reason or spiritual discernment. He had everything when he inherited the richest kingdom in the world, but greed says, “I want more!” Those who insist on having it all , often end up with little or nothing.

How sad that David had fought so hard to unite Israel, and one little immature whippersnapper came along and destroyed what had been built! Ten of the tribes followed Jeroboam and called their nation Israel, or the northern kingdom. The other two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, remained loyal to David’s line and accepted Rehoboam’s rule. They called their nation Judah, or southern kingdom.