the Fifth Week of Lent
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
REHOBOAM , son of Solomon, is said to have reigned seventeen years. The statement that his mother was Naamah, the Ammonitess ( 1 Kings 14:21 ), has nothing improbable about it. The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] may even be right in calling her a daughter of Nahash, the Ammonite king. In the history of Rehoboam the chief point is his indiscreet treatment of the tribes at his accession treatment which resulted in the revolt of the best part of the nation and the establishment of a rival kingdom ( 1 Kings 12:1-33 ). The coherence of the tribes was evidently imperfect under Solomon. Ephraim, which had always been conscious of its own strength, was not minded to recognize the young king without some concessions on his part. For this reason Rehoboam went to Shechem to be crowned. Here the hereditary chiefs demanded that he should lighten the yoke. In this they had reference particularly to the forced labour exacted by Solomon. Rehoboam’s arrogant answer is well known, and the result.
It was natural that an effort should be made to reduce the rebel tribes to subjection. But Rehoboam seems not to have had either adequate resources or military capacity. The brief notice that there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually is all that we are told. Besides this, the Biblical author describes the religious condition of the people in this reign in dark colours. This condition, however, is no more than prevailed under Solomon. The chief event in the secular history of the time was the invasion of the country by Shishak, king of Egypt. This monarch claims to have reduced the whole country to subjection, probably reviving ancient claims to suzerainty. The author of our Books of Kings is chiefly concerned at the Egyptian’s plundering the Temple (1 Kings 14:26 ), while the Chronicler ( 2 Chronicles 12:1-16 ) as usual is ready to make an edifying story out of the incident. It would interest us to know whether Egypt maintained its claims on the successors of Rehoboam, but on this point we are left in the dark.
H. P. Smith.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Rehoboam'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdb/​r/rehoboam.html. 1909.