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EGYPT ATTACKS JUDAH
Rehoboam's prosperity however became his downfall. When he strengthened himself in his kingdom sufficiently to think himself secure, he gave up any regard he had for the law of the Lord, and the people willingly followed in his steps. How often this kind of folly has been repeated in the history of the people of God! Prominence and popularity can be a dreadful snare, for we dare to think more of our reputation than of the Lord's honour! But God was not merely a disinterested bystander. In the fifth year of Jereboam, because of his transgression God allowed Shishak king of Egypt to attack Jerusalem with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen and people without number (vv.2-3). These included not only Egyptians, but Lubim, Sukkim and Ethiopians. These evidently had no inclination to attack Israel while Solomon was reigning, but they knew that Rehoboam did not have the strength of Solomon, and if God's people are not walking with Him, they become vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.
This formidable army had no difficulty in capturing the fortified cities of Judah, and came to Jerusalem with the object of capturing it also (v.4). The Lord then graciously sent the prophet Shemaiah to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who told them that they were exposed to the threat of Shishak because they had forsaken the Lord.
This word from the Lord took some effect, and the king and his officials humbled themselves before the Lord, acknowledging that the Lord was righteous in allowing the attack of Egypt. The Lord will always take full account of the attitude His people take, and His word came to Shemaiah again that because the people had humbled themselves He would grant them some deliverance, so that He would not pour out His wrath on Judah by the attack of Shishak. Yet He would put Judah into subjection to Shishak in order to learn the pain of subservience to a Gentile nation in contrast to the pleasure of obedience to God (vv.7-8).
Thus God restrained Shishak from shedding blood in Jerusalem, but allowed him to treat Judah as slaves by taking away the king's house and the golden shields Solomon had made (v.9). How strikingly significant it is that Rehoboam made copper shields to replace the golden ones! (v.10). Gold speaks of the glory of God, but copper pictures holiness. This same type of thing has certainly taken place in the professing church of God today. Rather than God's glory being emphasised in the testimony of the church. people are content to forget about God's honour and to concentrate on personal holiness. Of course holiness is commendable, but if it takes the place of God's glory, it becomes insipid and counterfeit.
The copper shields that replaced those of gold were committed to the care of the captain of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king's house. When the king entered the house of the Lord the guard brought the shields out, and returned them afterward to the guardroom. This was evidently a formality, the shields indicating the protection of the king, but his dependence was on his holiness (of which copper speaks), not on the God of glory, as gold symbolises.
Though Rehoboam did not walk with the Lord, yet when he humbled himself he averted the wrath of God to some decided extent, so that conditions continued relatively well in Judah (v.12). Rehoboam took advantage of favourable conditions to strengthen himself, and reigned 17 years in Jerusalem, less than half of the length of his father's reign. We are reminded that his mother was an Ammonitess (v.13), whose influence would not likely encourage him to prepare his heart to seek the Lord, and he was left in this unholy condition till the day of his death (v.14).
Other acts of Rehoboam were recorded in a book of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer, but these were not scripture and have not been preserved. Yet sadly we are told that wars continued between Rehoboam and Jereboam all their days (v.15). The same strife between brethren persisted afterwards also, just as strife has permeated the condition of the professing church since its early years. What marvellous relief it will be for Israel to be brought together at the end of the Great Tribulation! What relief also for believers of the Church of God to be united in the Lord's presence when He comes!
At his death Rehoboam was at least buried in Jerusalem. Then His son Abijah took the throne of Judah.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 12". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17