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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
2 Chronicles 12

 

 

Introduction

XII.

THE EGYPTIAN CONQUEST.

(a) SHISHAK’S INVASION OF JUDAH, AND THE PREACHING OF SHEMAIAH (2 Chronicles 12:1-12).

The parallel in Kings is much briefer. (See 1 Kings 14:25-28.)


Verse 1

(1) When Rehoboam had established the kingdom.—Rather, when Rehoboam’s kingdom had been established. The construction is impersonal: when one had established Rehoboam’s kingdom. The narrative is resumed from 2 Chronicles 11:17.

And had strengthened himself.—And when he had become strong (hezqâh, an infinitive, used again at 2 Chronicles 26:16; Daniel 11:2, and nowhere else).

He forsook the law of the Lord—i.e., lapsed into idolatry. (See 1 Kings 14:22-24, where the offence is more precisely described.)

All Israel.—The southern kingdom being regarded as the true Israel. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 12:6.)


Verse 2

(2) And it came to pass.—See 1 Kings 14:25, with which this verse literally coincides, except that the last clause, “because they had transgressed,” is added by the chronicler.

In the fifth year of king Rehoboam.—The order of events is thus given: For three years Rehoboam and his people continued faithful to the Lord (2 Chronicles 11:17); in the fourth year they fell away; and in the fifth their apostacy was punished.

Shishak.—The Sesonchis of Manetho, and the sh-sh-nk of the hieroglyphs, was the first king of the 22nd dynasty. “His name,” says Ebers, “and those of his successors, Osorkon (Zerah) and Takelot, are Semitic, a fact which explains the Biblical notice that Solomon took a princess of this dynasty for his consort, and stood in close commercial relations with Egypt, as well as, on the other hand, that Hadad the Edomite received the sister of Tahpenes the queen to wife (1 Kings 11:19). In the year 949 B.C. Shishak, at the instigation of Jeroboam, took the field against Rehoboam, besieged Jerusalem, captured it, and carried off a rich booty to Thebes. On a southern wall of the Temple of Karnak, all Palestinian towns which the Egyptians took in this expedition are enumerated” (Riehm’s Handwort. Bibl. Alterth., p. 333).

Because they had transgressed.—For they had been faithless to Jehovah. This is the chronicler’s own parenthetic explanation of the event, and expresses in one word his whole philosophy of Israelite history. Of course it is not meant that Shishak had any consciousness of the providential ground of his invasion of Judah.


Verse 3

(3) With twelve hundred chariots.—The short account in Kings says nothing of the numbers or constituents of the invading host. The totals here assigned are probably round numbers founded on a rough estimate. The cavalry are exactly fifty times as many as the chariots. Thenius finds the numbers “not in credible.”

The Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethi-opians.—Rather, Lybians, Sukkîyans, and Cushites (without the definite article). These were “the people”—i.e., the footmen. The Lybians and Cushites are mentioned together as auxiliaries of Egypt in Nahum 3:9. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 16:8.) The Sukkîyans are unknown, but the LXX. and Vulg. render Troglodytes, or cave-dwellers, meaning, it would seem, the Ethiopian Troglodytes of the mountains on the western shore of the Arabian Gulf. (Comp. sukkô, “his lair,” Psalms 10:9.)


Verse 4

(4) He took the fenced cities.—Those very cities which Rehoboam had fortified as bulwarks against Egypt (2 Chronicles 11:5-12). Fourteen names of cities have disappeared from the Karnak inscription, but Socho, Adoraim, and Ajalon, are still read there.

Came to (so far as to) Jerusalem.—Comp. Isaiah 36:1-2. The verse is not in Kings. Thenius (on 1 Kings 14:26) says that the chronicler has here made use of “really historical notices.” It is self-evident.


Verse 5

(5) Then.—And.

Shemaiah the prophet.—The section relating to his mission and its results (2 Chronicles 12:5-8) is peculiar to the chronicle.

The princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem.—Repulsed by the Egyptian arms, they had fallen back upon Jerusalem, to defend the capital. While the invading host lay before the city, Shemaiah addressed the king and princes.

Ye have forsaken.—There is emphasis on the pronoun. Literally, Ye have forsaken me, and I also have forsaken you, in (into) the hand of Shishak. The phrase “to leave into the hand” of a foe occurs Nehemiah 9:28. (Comp. also 2 Chronicles 15:2; 2 Chronicles 24:20; and Deuteronomy 31:16-17.) Here the words amount to a menace of utter destruction. (Comp. Jonah 3:4.)


Verse 6

(6) Whereupon.—And.

The princes of Israel.—See Note on 2 Chronicles 12:1. “princes of Judah “. (2 Chronicles 12:5) is the meaning.

Humbled themselves.—Literally, bowed (2 Chronicles 7:14). (Comp. Jonah 3:5-6.)

The Lord is righteous.—Comp. Exodus 9:27 (the exclamation of Pharaoh); and Ezra 9:15.


Verse 7

(7) But I will grant them some deliverance.—Rather, and I will give them a few for a remnant. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 12:12, “that he would not destroy him altogether.”) For the phrase “to give a remnant,” see Ezra 9:13. The word rendered “few” is kim‘at. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 16:19 : Isaiah 1:9.) The pointing kim‘ât is peculiar to this passage.

My wrath shall not be poured out.—Or, pour itself out, wreak itself. The phrase denotes a judgment of extermination. (Comp. its use in 2 Chronicles 34:25.)

By the hand of Shishak.—The destruction of Jerusalem was reserved for the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.


Verse 8

(8) Nevertheless they shall be.—For they shall become servants (i.e., tributaries) to him; scil., for a while.

That they may know (or, discern) my service, and the service of the kingdoms.—That they may learn by experience the difference between the easy yoke of their God, and the heavy burden of foreign tyranny, which was entailed upon them by deserting Him.

Kingdoms of the countries.—See 1 Chronicles 29:30.


Verse 9

(9) So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.—The narrative is resumed after the parenthesis relating to Shemaiah by repeating the statement of 2 Chronicles 12:2.

And took away the treasures of the house of the Lord.—See 1 Kings 14:26, with which the rest of this verse is identical.


Verse 10

(10) Instead of which king Rehoboam made.—See Note on 1 Kings 14:27, with which this verse coincides.

Chief of the guard.—Literally, captains of the runners, or couriers.


Verse 11

(11) And when.—And as often as.

The guard came and fetched . . .—The runners came and bare them; and they (after the royal procession) restored them to the guard room of the runners. (See on 1 Kings 14:28, which reads, “the runners used to bear them.”)

Solomon’s golden shields had been kept in “the house of the forest of Lebanon” (2 Chronicles 9:16).


Verse 12

(12) And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him.—In fulfilment of the promise of 2 Chronicles 12:7. This remark, the tone of which is in perfect accord with the chronicler’s conception of the real import of Shishak’s invasion, is wanting in Kings.

That he would not destroy him.—Literally, and not to destroy. The infinitive is used as in 2 Chronicles 11:22.

Altogether.—Unto consumption, a phrase only found here and in Ezekiel 13:13.

Omit him. A general destruction of the country is meant.

And also in Judah things went well.—Moreover in Judah there were good things. Vulg., “siquidem et in Judah inventa sunt opera bona.” The fact that faithfulness to Jehovah was still to be found in Judah is alleged as an additional reason why the Lord spared the land. The same phrase, “good things,” recurs in a similar sense 2 Chronicles 19:3.


Verse 13

(b) SUMMING UP OF THE REIGN (2 Chronicles 12:13-16).
(Comp. 1 Kings 14:21-22; 1 Kings 14:29; 1 Kings 14:31.)

The Syriac and Arabic contain this section.

(13) So king Rehoboam strengthened himself.—After the withdrawal of Shishak. In other words, he regained strength after the crushing blow inflicted by the Egyptian invasion. (Comp. the same word in 2 Chronicles 13:21; 2 Chronicles 1:1.)

And reigned—i.e., reigned on for twelve years longer; for he reigned altogether seventeen years.

Rehoboam was one and forty . . . Naamah an Ammonitess.—Word for word as in 1 Kings 14:21. (See the Notes there).


Verse 14

(14) And he did evil.—Syriac adds “before the Lord.” The nature of his evil-doing is explained immediately: “for he directed not his heart to seek Jehovah.” This estimate of Rehoboam’s conduct seems to refer to the early years of his reign, which ended in the catastrophe of Shishak’s invasion. 1 Kings 14:22, says, “And Judah did evil in the eyes of Jehovah “; and then goes on to tell of the acts of apostacy which brought that judgment upon the nation.

The phrase “direct or prepare the heart to seek the Lord,” recurs 2 Chronicles 19:3; 2 Chronicles 30:19; Ezra 7:10.

The book.—History.

Concerning genealogies.—For registration (lehithyahçsh). On the authorities here named, see the Introduction. The important particulars about the reign which are not given in Kings, e.g., the fortification of the southern cities, the migration of the priests, and Rehoboam’s private relations, were probably drawn by the chronicler from these sources.

First and last.—The former and the latter. (See on, 2 Chronicles 17:3.)

And there were wars.—And the wars of Rehoboam and Jeroboam [continued] all the days, i.e., throughout the reign. So 1 Kings 14:30, “Now there had been war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days.” Reuss is wrong in regarding this as “a contradiction” of 2 Chronicles 11:4. What Shemaiah forbade was a particular attempt to recover the obedience of the northern kingdom by force of arms. The permanent attitude of the rival kings could hardly be other than hostile, especially as Jeroboam appears to have instigated the Egyptian invasion of Judah; and this hostility must often have broken out into active injuries.


Verse 16

(16) And Rehoboam slept with his fathers.—Abridged from 1 Kings 14:31, which see.

Abijah.—2 Chronicles 11:22. Abijam, the spelling of Kings, is probably due to an accident of transcription.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 12:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-chronicles-12.html. 1905.

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Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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