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Rehoboam's Army and Forts
v. 1. And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, after fleeing from Shechem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, veteran soldiers, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam, he wanted to make the rebels submit to his authority by force of arms.
v. 2. But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, the man of God, saying,
v. 3. Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, that is, the entire assembled army, saying,
v. 4. Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up nor fight against your brethren, for such they were, in spite of their rebellion. Return every man to his house; for this thing is done of Me, the rebellion had been accomplished by His express permission. And they obeyed the words of the Lord, and returned from going against Jeroboam. The army, fearing the divine prohibition, dispersed, and the king was obliged to submit.
v. 5. And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, which continued to be the capital of the southern nation, and built cities for defense in Judah, since he, in the present weakened state of his kingdom, feared both the northern tribes and other powerful neighbors.
v. 6. He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, as outposts of Jerusalem toward the south,
v. 7. and Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
v. 8. and Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
v. 9. and Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, all these cities being toward the south. west, toward Egypt, and in the west, toward Philistia,
v. 10. and Zorah, and Aijalon, cities originally belonging to Dan, but now to Benjamin, near the northern border of his dominion, and Hebron, the ancient city in the south central part of the Judean country, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
v. 11. And he fortified the strong holds, making use of their natural location in making them strong fortresses, and put captains in them, experienced commanders, and store of victual, and of oil and wine, military stores sufficient to enable the garrison to withstand a siege.
v. 12. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, able to withstand the offensive of a strong attacking force, having Judah and Benjamin on his side, these two tribes, as a political division, forming his nation. In all this the promise of God to David was fulfilled; for He had assured him the continuation of his dynasty on the throne of Judah.
Rehoboam's Worship, Idolatry, and Family
v. 13. And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts, thus giving Rehoboam a great increase of moral power, for they placed themselves at his disposal.
v. 14. For the Levites left their suburbs, the commons or pasture-grounds assigned to them, and their possession, namely, those in the cities set apart for them in the various northern tribes, and came to Judah and Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the Lord, since he, for reasons of policy, wanted to keep the members of the northern tribes from journeying to Jerusalem, especially for the three great festivals, 1 Kings 12:26-30;
v. 15. and he, Jeroboam, ordained him priests for the high places, such as were not of the tribe of Levi, 1 Kings 12:31, and for the devils, a term sometimes used for idols in general, Leviticus 17:7, and for the calves which he had made, 1 Kings 12:28, the abominable idols of Bethel and Dan which caused Israel to sin.
v. 16. And after them, namely, the priests and Levites who remained faithful to the true God, 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; being forbidden to do so in their own country, in the midst of their native tribe, they emigrated and settled in Jerusalem, where the true worship was still practiced until Rehoboam. too, forsook the Lord, 2 Chronicles 12:1.
v. 17. So they, coming in considerable numbers, strengthened the kingdom of Judah, both numerically and morally, and made Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, strong three years; for three years they, all the people of the southern nation, including the newcomers, walked in the way of David and Solomon. Afterwards, when foreign and idolatrous customs were encouraged by Rehoboam, the accession of pious Israelites from the neighboring kingdom ceased.
v. 18. And Rehoboam took him Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth, the son of David, to wife, apparently the daughter of a concubine's son, and Abihail, the daughter of Eliab, the son of Jesse, his cousin;
v. 19. which bare him children: Jeush and Shamariah and Zaham.
v. 20. And after her he took Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, in the wider sense, for she was Absalom's granddaughter, by his daughter Tamar, 2 Samuel 14:27; which bare him Abijah and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
v. 21. And Rehoboam loved Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, above all his wives and his concubines (for he took eighteen wives and threescore concubines, having a full harem according to Oriental custom, and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters).
v. 22. And Rehoboam made Abijah, the son of Maachah, his most beloved wife, the chief, to be ruler among his brethren, he designated him as his successor; for he thought to make him king.
v. 23. And he dealt wisely, with prudent foresight, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city, making them officers of fortresses, laying responsibility upon them and keeping them out of mischief, into which they might have fallen If they had been idle in Jerusalem; and he gave them victual in abundance, thus providing for them also in this respect and obviating dissatisfaction. And he desired many wives, namely, for his sons, he arranged marriages for them with the daughters of the land, thus making them contented and establishing firmer connections between his house and the people of the country. In a way, at least, Rehoboam hereby redeemed the mistake made at the beginning of his reign.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 11". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent