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Deeper Commentary

2Ch 11:1 When Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam-
Benjamin was a small tribe (1 Sam. 9:21; Ps. 68:27). 18 years later, there were 400,000 warriors in Judah (2 Chron. 13:3), so this was a very significant proportion of warriors. 

2Ch 11:2 But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah the man of God saying-
This may be now a quotation from the history written by Shemaiah about Rehoboam (2 Chron. 12:15).

2Ch 11:3 Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin saying-
"The rest of the people" presumably refers to those of the ten tribes who lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam (2 Chron. 10:17). The records dovetail so perfectly, as we would expect of a history written ultimately under Divine inspiration.

2Ch 11:4 Thus says Yahweh, ‘You shall not go up nor fight against your brothers! Return every man to his house; for this thing is of Me’. So they listened to the words of Yahweh, and returned from going against Jeroboam-
This was significant humility, involving a recognition that what had happened was "of God", in judgment for Solomon's sins. To fight against our brothers can never be justified. 1 Kings 14:30 "There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually" would indicate disobedience to this command to Rehoboam not to fight the ten tribes.

At this point, LXX adds to the record: "Roboam his son reigned in his stead in Jerusalem, being sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twelve years... And there was a man of mount Ephraim, a servant to Solomon, and his name was Jeroboam: and the name of his mother was Sarira, a harlot: and Solomon made him head of the levies of the house of Joseph: and he built for Solomon Sarira in mount Ephraim; and he had three hundred chariots of horses: he built the citadel with the levies of the house of Ephraim; he fortified the city of David, and aspired to the kingdom... ".

2Ch 11:5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah-
1 Kings 12:25 fleshes out the detail: "Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived in it; and he went out from there, and built Penuel". Shechem was ideally centrally situated within his territory. Penuel was on the east side of Jordan, and would consolidate his power there, as well as controlling the fords of Jordan.

2Ch 11:6 He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa-
All quite near to each other. The idea is that he rebuilt or fortified them. Etam is the one in Judah, not the town belonging to Simeon (1 Chron. 4:32).

2Ch 11:7 Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam-
These were all strategically positioned to defend the approaches to Jerusalem. But we read in 2 Chron. 12:4 that when he turned away from Yahweh, Shishak "took the fortified cities which pertained to Judah and came to Jerusalem".

2Ch 11:8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph-
This is surely not the Gath in Dan, as this wasn't under Rehoboam's control. If it is the Gath of the Philistines, from which David had won the hearts of several former Philistine enemies, we wonder at how a town once so against David now becomes a core part of God's people of Judah.

2Ch 11:9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah-
Inscriptions on the wall of the temple at Karnak list many cities in Palestine which Shishak of Egypt conquered, including three of the "cities for defence" which Rehoboam had built, Shoco, Adoraim and Aijalon (2 Chron. 11:7-10). The list also includes many cities within the ten tribes, suggesting that if Jeroboam got Shishak to invade Judah, Shishak then turned against his one time protégé Jeroboam and invaded the ten tribes also.

2Ch 11:10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin, fortified cities-
Zorah was in Dan, so it seems there were pockets of support for Judah even within the ten tribes.

2Ch 11:11 He fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, and oil and wine-
This sounds like he expected a siege, and was very much on the defensive, in a kind of bunker mentality. He had inherited a political situation from Solomon which was far from peaceful; Judah faced threats not only from Israel, but from the surrounding nations.

2Ch 11:12 He put shields and spears in every city, and made them exceedingly strong. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him-
The idea seems to be that both tribes were solidly behind him We note that Benjamin, Saul's tribe, had initially been the tribe most disloyal to Judah just a generation before. We see the fickleness of people, and also how people can genuinely change. Just as Philistines of Gath became David's most loyal followers.

2Ch 11:13 The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their border-
This could indeed imply a mass migration of them to Judah (:14). But Heb. "took their stand by him" suggests there may have been individuals within the ten tribes who were loyal to Judah and the Davidic line. Both books of Kings reference several such individuals.

2Ch 11:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons cast them off, that they should not execute the priests’ office to Yahweh-
And yet Jeroboam claimed to be worshipping Yahweh, through worshipping the golden calves. But he changed the priesthood.

2Ch 11:15 He appointed priests for the high places, and for the male goats, and for the calves which he had made-
Jeroboam allowed the ordinary people to be priests; in Ex. 32 we learn that the ordinary people offered the sacrifices to the golden calf, not the priests. Again, it seems that Jeroboam was trying to consciously mimic the golden calf apostasy, perhaps arguing that Israel were a nation of priests. It is no accident that Josiah stamped his calves to powder, just as Moses did to the golden calf. Now why did Jeroboam so consciously lead Israel into the same apostasy which brought them as it were within a hairs breadth of national rejection in Ex. 32? Jeroboam wasn't ignorant. Perhaps he had gone down a path of contorted exposition which made out that Israel didn't really sin by worshipping the calf. Or perhaps he got so carried away with the idea that he was like Aaron, the priest, that he thought (like some modern Rabbis) that Aaron couldn't have done anything wrong, and therefore he consciously copied Aaron, as he did David, Solomon, Jacob and Samuel. Again, we see Jeroboam having a familiarity with Scripture, but not pausing to really meditate upon his actions or upon the real spirit of the word. We see him failing to analyze why Aaron acted as he did, failing to see that Aaron acted politically, failing to deeply analyze his own motives.  The character of Jeroboam shines through here. Jeroboam named his sons Abijah [Abihu] and Nadab- the very names of Aaron's sons. It seems Jeroboam tried to model himself upon Aaron, and justify the building of the calves by interpreting what Aaron did as a positive, righteous thing (as some Jewish expositors do today). He politely overlooked the fact that Aaron was condemned for making the calf, and that Nadab and Abihu were slain for unacceptable worship (Lev. 10:1,2). We too can justify outright wrong behaviour in the name of superficial allusion to Scripture, willfully failing to see the similarities between our actions and those of men who were condemned for doing in essence the things which we seek to justify.

The "male goats" are AV "devils" or demons (Lev. 17:7). Clearly demons were originally images to idols, and in this context Paul says that idols have no real existence. And therefore, neither do demons.

2Ch 11:16 After them, out of all the tribes of Israel, such as set their hearts to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their fathers-
This suggests there may have been individuals within the ten tribes who were loyal to Judah and the Davidic line. Both books of Kings reference several such individuals.

2Ch 11:17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years; for they walked three years in the way of David and Solomon-
1 Kings 11:4-6 is clear that the way of Solomon was not that of David. So although the record here in inspired in its recording, this doesn't cancel out the bias of the historian, who wishes to whitewash the house of David. Likewise personal preference for various words and images is found in inspired writings; the process of inspiration didn't necessarily destroy the personal perspectives and style of the authors.

2Ch 11:18 Rehoboam took him a wife, Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse-
Contrary to AV, this speaks of only one wife, Mahalath, whose parents were Jerimoth and Abihail. Rehoboam was well connected to the Davidic line.

2Ch 11:19 She bore him sons: Jeush, and Shemariah, and Zaham-
"Zaham", loathing', is surely not the name given to the child at birth. It confirms the suggestion I have often made, that names were given in response to later character and life experience. Sometimes in these genealogies we read the birth names, at others, the names they were given later in life. And therefore the same person can have more than one name.

2Ch 11:20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom. She bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith-
"Daughter" may be grand daughter, as she was the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chron. 13:2  LXX, which gives “Maacah” rather than “Michaiah”). 2 Sam. 18:18 says that Absalom had no son, so presumably he had this daughter who married Uriel and became mother to Maacah. Maachah his beloved wife (2 Chron. 11:20-22) was an idolater (2 Chron. 15:16). 

2Ch 11:21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines. (He took eighteen wives, and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.)-
We note that the sons he had by Maacah had secular names, apart from Abijah. Two of the three sons by his other wife had the Name of God in them. And yet Abijah was chosen by Rehoboam to succeed him.

2Ch 11:22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah to be chief, the prince among his brothers; for he intended to make him king-
This would be another case of the firstborn being replaced by another. For Abijah wasn't the firstborn of Rehoboam. This is such a huge theme, it reflects how passionate God is for the outsiders.

2Ch 11:23 He dealt wisely, and settled some of his sons throughout all the lands of Judah and Benjamin, to every fortified city: and he gave them food in abundance. He sought for them many wives
Rehoboam should have learned from his father Solomon's mistakes but his taking many wives shows that he didn't. “He that loveth silver (as Solomon did, Ecc. 2:8; 1 Kings 10:21-29) shall not be satisfied with silver (as he wasn’t- see Ecc. 2); nor he that loveth abundance (s.w. used about the abundance of Rehoboam's wives, 2 Chron. 11:23) with increase. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them (cp. the large numbers at his table, 1 Kings 4:27)” (Ecc. 5:10,11). The Hebrew word translated “not be satisfied” occurs around 25 times in the Proverbs, with Solomon warning of how the way of the flesh couldn’t satisfy. Solomon said all this with an eye on himself. And Rehoboam surely must have realized his father's hypocrisy. Solomon preached it to others, he felt deeply the truth of it, but he saw no personal way out of it. All he had was the accurate knowledge of his situation, but no real motivation to change- like the alcoholic or drug abuser who knows every aspect of the harm of his habit.