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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 11

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.

Rehoboam ... gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin ... to fight against Israel - (see the notes at 1 Kings 12:21-24.)

Verses 2-4

But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 5

And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.

Built cities for defense in Judah, [ wayiben (H1129) `aariym (H5892) lªmaatsowr (H4692)] - and fortified cities (see 2 Chronicles 11:6, where baanaah (H1129) is used alone in this sense). This verb is frequently used to denote the fortification of a city (cf. Joshua 6:5); and the reason, as Hengstenberg remarks, ('Christology,' 3:, p. 132), is 'partly because in the case existence the building must necessarily have been restricted to the fortification of it, and partly became the term city, in its fullest extent, involves the idea of fortification.' In corroboration of this view, it may be added that Moslem princes rarely build towns but on old sites, and out of old materials, so that there is not in all Palestine a town which is certainly known to have been rounded by them. This is evidently used as the name of the southern kingdom. Rehoboam having now a bitter enemy in Israel, deemed it prudent to lose no time in fortifying several cities that lay along the frontier of his kingdom. Jeroboam, on his side, took a similar precaution (1 Kings 12:25). Of the 15 cities named, Aijalon, now Yalo, and Zorah, now Surah, between Jerusalem and Jabneh, lay within the province of Benjamin. Gath, though a Philistine city, had been subject to Solomon. And Etbam, which was on the border of Simeon, now incorporated with the kingdom of Israel, was fortified to repel danger from that quarter. These fortresses Rehoboam placed under able commanders, and stocked them with provisions and military stores sufficient, if necessary, to stand a siege.

Verses 6-10

He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.

Store of victual, and of oil and wine. Odoriferous oil and sweet wine were used by the ancient Jews as much as by the modern Arabs and Orientals generally (cf. Psalms 104:15; Odyssey, 2:, 339). In the crippled state of his kingdom, he seems to have been afraid lest it might be made the prey of some powerful neighbours.

Verse 12

And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.

The priests and the Levites ... resorted to him out of all their coasts. This was an accession of moral power, for the maintenance of the true religion is the best support and safeguard of any nation; and as it was peculiarly the grand source of the strength and prosperity of the Hebrew monarchy, the great numbers of good and pious people who sought an asylum within the territories of Judah contributed greatly to consolidate date the throne of Rehoboam. The cause of so extensive an emigration from the kingdom of Israel was the deep and daring policy of Jeroboam, who set himself break the national unity by entirely abolishing, within his dominions, the religious institutions of Judaism. He dreaded an eventual re-union of the tribes, if the people continued to repair thrice a year to worship in Jerusalem, as they were obliged by law to do; and accordingly, on pretence that the distance of that city was too great for multitudes of his subjects, he fixed upon two more convenient places, where he established a new mode of worshipping God under gross and prohibited symbols. The priests and Levites, refusing to take part in the idolatrous ceremonies, were ejected from their livings; and along with them a large body of the people who faithfully adhered to the instituted worship of God, offended and shocked by the impious innovations, departed from the kingdom.

Verse 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:

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 15

And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.

He ordained him priests. The persons he appointed to the priesthood were low and worthless creatures (see the notes at 1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:33); any were consecrated who brought a bullock and seven rams (Exodus 29:37; 2 Chronicles 13:9). Thus Jeroboam transferred not only the kingdom from the house of David, but the priesthood from the house of Aaron.

For the high places. Those favourite places of religious worship were encouraged throughout the country.

For the devils - a term sometimes used for idols in general (Leviticus 17:7), but here applied distinctively to [ las`iyriym (H8163) (cf. Leviticus 4:24; Leviticus 16:9; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14)] the goat-deities, which were probably worshipped chiefly in the northern parts of his kingdom, where the pagan Canaanites still abounded.

And for the calves, [ laa`agaaliym (H5695)] - figures of the ox-gods Apis and Mnevis, with which Jeroboam's residence in Egypt had familiarized him (see the notes at 1 Kings 12:26-33); or the expression may be considered, as Hengstenberg takes it ('Pentateuch,' 1:, p. 201), equivalent to 'the calves he had made, which are devils'-i.e, of the same quality with the former adoration of the goat in the wilderness, which Moses stigmatizes as whoredom-a heinous transgression.

Verse 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 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.

They strengthened the kingdom of Judah. The innovating measures of Jeroboam were not introduced all at once. But as the were developed, the secession of the most excellent of his subjects began, and continuing to increase for three years, lowered the tone of religion its his kingdom, while it proportionally quickened its life and extended its influence in that of Judah.

Verse 18

And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;

Rehoboam took him Mahalath. The names of her father and mother are given. Jerimoth, the father, must have been the son of one of David's concubines (1 Chronicles 3:9). Abihail was, of course, his cousin, previous to their marriage.

Verse 19

Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 20

And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.

After her he took Maachah the daughter - i:e., grand-daughter (2 Samuel 14:27) of Absalom, Tamar being, according to Josephus, her mother (cf. 2 Samuel 18:18).

Verse 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 threescore daughters.)

He took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines. This royal harem, though far inferior to his father's, was equally in violation of the law, which forbade a king to" multiply wives unto himself."

Verse 22

And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.

Made Abijah ... chief ... ruler among his brethren. This preference seems to have been given to Abijah solely from the king's doting fondness for his mother, and through her influence over him. It is plainly implied that Abijah was not the oldest of the family; and in destining a younger son for the kingdom, without a divine warrant, as in Solomon's case, Rehoboam acted in violation of the law (Deuteronomy 21:15).

Verse 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.

He dealt wisely - i:e., with deep and calculating policy (Exodus 1:10).

And dispersed of all his children ... unto every fenced city. The circumstance of 28 sons of the king being made governors of fortresses would, in our quarter of the world, produce jealousy and dissatisfaction. But Eastern monarchs ensure peace and tranquillity to their kingdom by bestowing government offices on their sons and grandsons. They obtain an independent provision, and being kept apart, are not likely to cabal in their father's lifetime. Rehoboam acted thus: and his sagacity will appear still greater if the wives he desired for them belonged to the cities where each son was located, These connections would bind them more closely to their respective places. In the modern countries of the East, particularly Persia and Turkey, younger princes were, until very lately, shut up in the harem during their fathers lifetime; and to prevent competition were blinded or killed when their brother ascended the throne. In the former country the old practice of dispersing them through the country, like Rehoboam, has been again revived.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-chronicles-11.html. 1871-8.
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