2 Chronicles 11 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

The Kingdom of Israel
From Splendor to Disaster
Splendor Disaster
King Solomon
of Judah
2 Chronicles 1-9
Successive Kings
of Judah
2Chr 10-36
2Chr 10:1-19
Rulers of the Southern
Kingdom of Judah
After the Split
The Exile
of Judah
2Chr 36:17-23

2Chr 1:1-17

2Chr 2:1-7:22
2Chr 8:1-9:31
of the Temple
Decline & Destruction
of the Temple
~40 Years ~393 Years

Click chart to enlarge
Chart from Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Click Chart from Charles Swindoll









1Samuel 2 Samuel 1Kings 1Kings 2 Kings


1-4 5-10 11-20 21-24 1-11 12-22 1-17 18-25

1 Chronicles 10



2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Legend: B.C. dates at top of timeline are approximate. Note that 931BC marks the division of the Kingdom into Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and Ten Northern Tribes. To avoid confusion be aware that after the division of the Kingdom in 931BC, the Southern Kingdom is most often designated in Scripture as "Judah" and the Northern Kingdom as "Israel." Finally, note that 1 Chronicles 1-9 is not identified on the timeline because these chapters are records of genealogy.



2 Chronicles 11:1 Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.

Related Passages:

1 Kings 12:21-24 Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, 24 ‘Thus says the LORD, “You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.”’” So they listened to the word of the LORD, and returned and went their way according to the word of the LORD.


Pulpit Commentary: The first four verses of this chapter would have been better placed as the conclusion of the previous chapter. They correspond with . . . 1 Kings 12:21-24; and they tell how Rehoboam was restrained from making bad worse, in a hopeless attempt to recover the seceding ten tribes, by war that would have been as bloody as foredoomed to failure.

Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam - This was the Revengeful Reaction of Rehoboam (Paul Apple). 

Ron Daniel - Once Rehoboam realized that this rebellion and rejection was for real, he gathered his remaining armies in Jerusalem. He was going to rule this nation by right or by might.

QUESTION - Who was King Rehoboam in the Bible?

ANSWER - Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon and king of Judah for seventeen years (931–913 BC). Solomon had turned away from God, and God told Solomon that He would tear the kingdom from him yet leave him one tribe. God also promised, for the sake of David, not to tear the kingdom away during Solomon’s lifetime but during that of his son (1 Kings 11:9–13). Shortly after Rehoboam became king, a rebellion placed the ten northern tribes under the rule of Jeroboam and left Rehoboam with his own tribe (Judah) and the tribe of Benjamin.

Jeroboam started out as a servant of Solomon in charge of forced labor (1 Kings 11:28). A prophet told Jeroboam that he would be king over Israel (1 Kings 11:26–40). At some point, Jeroboam fled from Solomon to Egypt. But when Rehoboam went to Shechem to be installed as king of Israel, Jeroboam returned. The people sent Jeroboam to the new king to ask him to lighten the heavy load of labor and taxes that Solomon had laid on them (1 Kings 12:1–4; 2 Chronicles 10:3–4). The older advisers gave King Rehoboam the wise counsel to honor the people’s request and thus win their loyalty (1 Kings 12:6–7; 2 Chronicles 10:6–7). King Rehoboam asked the young men who had grown up with him for advice as well. They foolishly told the new king to threaten even harsher conditions. Rehoboam took the young men’s advice, and the people rebelled, abandoning the house of David and ultimately making Jeroboam their king (1 Kings 12:8–20; 2 Chronicles 10:8–19). Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:18; 2 Chronicles 10:18), where he mustered 180,000 warriors from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to mount an attack. But Shemaiah, a prophet of God, delivered God’s message to Rehoboam: the troops should go home because the divided kingdom had come from the Lord. The people of Judah wisely listened and did not invade Israel (1 Kings 12:21–24; 2 Chronicles 11:1–4). However, there continued to be warfare between Jeroboam and Rehoboam throughout Rehoboam’s reign (1 Kings 14:30; 2 Chronicles 12:15).

In the northern kingdom, Jeroboam promoted idolatry and removed the Levites from service, so the priests and Levites came to Rehoboam and served at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 11:13–15), along with all those who wanted to seek the one true God (2 Chronicles 11:16). Second Chronicles 11:17 says, “They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.” Rehoboam also built multiple cities for defense, with strong fortresses, commanders, and supplies (2 Chronicles 11:5–12). King Rehoboam “acted wisely” by placing his sons throughout the districts of Judah and Benjamin, supplied ample provisions, and found them wives (2 Chronicles 11:23).

Unfortunately, after King Rehoboam became established in the southern kingdom, he abandoned the ways of God (2 Chronicles 12:1). In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, Shishak king of Egypt captured the fortified cities in Judah and set out against Jerusalem. Shemaiah the prophet told Rehoboam, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak” (2 Chronicles 12:5). “The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is just’” (verse 6). Seeing their humility, God said He would not destroy them but would allow them to become subjects of Shishak. The Pharaoh attacked Jerusalem and removed all the treasures from the temple and the palace (1 Kings 14:26; 2 Chronicles 12:9). Rehoboam did make bronze shields to replace the gold ones his father had made (1 Kings 14:27; 2 Chronicles 12:10–11).

Second Chronicles 12:12 says, “Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.” “Some good in Judah” seems a fitting way to characterize the reign of Rehoboam. He was unwise and perhaps brash in his treatment of the forced laborers, thus leading to his loss of the kingdom. However, that loss was God-ordained, and Rehoboam proceeded to follow the ways of the Lord for some time. But then he turned from God, and the nation slid into moral and spiritual decay. “Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than those who were before them had done” (1 Kings 14:22). They set up high places and had male shrine prostitutes in the land, which King Asa, Rehoboam’s grandson, would later remove.

From King Rehoboam we learn the importance of wise counselors and maintaining faithfulness to God. When Rehoboam went his own way, things did not go well for his kingdom. When he listened to God, Judah was secure.GotQuestions.org

Related Resource:

2 Chronicles 11:2 But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,

  • to Shemaiah (KJV): 2Ch 12:5,7,15 1Ki 12:22-24 
  • the man (KJV): 2Ch 8:14 De 33:1 1Sa 2:27 1Ti 6:11 


But - Term of contrast - And this contrast (like many of them) is very strategic, very timely and marks an "about face" in what could have been a disastrous situation!

The word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying - Prophetic Restraint Based on Divine Discipline (Apple). Shemaiah = "heard by Jehovah"

THOUGHT - Oh, to have ears to hear the Word of the LORD, when we are on the verge of taking some action which will prove very costly and painful! Let him who has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying! Amen! 

John Barry - When Words Are Enough 2 Chronicles 11:1–13:22; Titus 2:9–2:15; Psalm 96:1–13

It’s not often that words change the course of history. But Shemaiah, a little-known prophet, was given such an opportunity. We can easily pass over these life-altering moments if we’re not looking for them.

Rehoboam had assembled 180,000 chosen “makers of war” to fight against Israel in hopes of restoring his kingdom. He was prepared to destroy a portion of God’s people in order to gain a temporary victory. Then Shemaiah—a “man of God”—came along (2 Chr 11:2).

When Shemaiah spoke for Yahweh, Rehoboam backed down; he sent the 180,000 men home (2 Chr 11:1–4). You can imagine Rehoboam trembling in fear as he told this enormous number of warriors, “Thanks for coming out today, but Shemaiah just told me that Yahweh doesn’t approve, so we can start fortifying this city instead (see 2 Chr 11:5–12), or you can just go home if you want.”

Trust goes both ways in this story. Rehoboam trusted that Shemaiah spoke the true word of Yahweh, and Rehoboam had the trust of his men, who chose to listen to him instead of independently heading into battle. All of the parties decided to trust Yahweh, whether directly through His oracle or indirectly through following the words of their leaders.

When things seem out of control, we expect God to show up. But we often make that request without regard for the foundation we should have laid before—when things were calm. Times of rest and waiting are not times to be stagnant; instead, they are times to get to know God better so that we are prepared for what’s next. Shemaiah prepared for this situation by knowing God—the best kind of preparation.

How can you establish the foundation for your future ministry experiences now? (Connect the Testaments)

Ron Daniel Before Rehoboam could lead his army to march into the north, Shem-aw-YAW the prophet brought in the word of the Lord: "Stop this immediately. These are your relatives."

"These 'enemies' are your brothers." How we need to hear this today! I am sickened and disgusted by the infighting and factiousness that Christians demonstrate towards one another. Going to war with their own brothers. Isn't this what our enemy does?

In the days of Gideon, the Midianites and the Amalekites were thrown into confusion and turned their swords against each other (Jdg. 7:22).

In the days of Jonathan, the Philistines were thrown into confusion and turned their swords against each other (1Sam. 14:20).

But today it is the church who is thrown into confusion and turns their swords against one another! Saints, these are our brethren. We are on the same side, opposing the same enemy.

On March 23, 2003, a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division stationed in Kuwait threw fragmentation grenades into tents, killing two officers, and wounding 14 other fellow soldiers. His treasonous actions mean that he will be facing the death penalty in a trial to begin this summer.

If this sickens your stomach, imagine how your behavior of faultfinding, gossip, and character attacks against your fellow Christians make God feel?

As the acting commander in this camp, I will not tolerate this behavior here. Factions and divisions, gossip and faultfinding, attacks against your brothers - why not just frag them with a grenade? It's faster and does less damage than this sort of behavior.

Hear this now: point your arrows at the enemy, or you will be charged with treason and removed from the camp.

Don't be dumber than Rehoboam. Even he received this warning:

2Chr. 11:4 ...So they listened to the words of the LORD and returned from going against Jeroboam.

Shemaiah is a frequent name in the OT. Here is the ISBE note  on Shemaiah - A prophet who, together with Ahijah, protested against Rehoboam's contemplated war against the ten revolted tribes (1 Ki 12:22-24 = 2 Ch 11:2-4). He declared that the rebellion had divine sanction. The second Greek account knows nothing of Ahijah in this connection and introduces Shemaiah at the gathering at Shechem where both Jeroboam and Rehoboam were present; it narrates that on this occasion Shemaiah (not Ahijah) rent his garment and gave ten parts to Jeroboam to signify the ten tribes over which he was to become king. (This version, however, is not taken very seriously, because of its numerous inconsistencies.) Shemaiah also prophesied at the invasion of Judah by Shishak (2 Ch 12:5-7). His message was to the effect that as the princes of Israel had humbled themselves, God's wrath against their idolatrous practices would not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak (2 Ch 13:7). He is mentioned as the author of a history of Rehoboam (2 Ch 12:15).

Walter Kaiser - 2Ch 11:2–4  This Is the Lord’s Doing? (see Hard Sayings of the Bible)
After the ten northern tribes had renounced their allegiance to King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Rehoboam decided that he would force these renegades to submit to his sovereignty and to pay the taxes which were their reason for leaving. This would have pitted brother against brother in open civil war.

But God sent his prophet Shemaiah to intervene. Rehoboam was commanded in the Lord’s name to abandon his attempt at a military solution. Shemaiah’s surprising announcement seemed to oppose all God’s previous promises. The prophet’s assurance that God had permitted the incident sealed the revolt but left us with a dilemma: How could the division of a nation be God’s doing if he had previously promised otherwise?

Having David’s glorious kingdom divided into ten northern tribes and two southern tribes seemed contrary to every provision that God had so graciously given from the time of the patriarchs on. How could God apparently aid a cause that contravened his plan for Israel?

The Lord approved the revolt not as the author of evil or as the instigator of the rebellion but as the one who must chastise the house of David which had refused to walk in his ways. Solomon had flouted the will and law of God by taking scores of foreign wives. These wives had turned him from the Lord and exposed him to divine anger.

Rehoboam had only increased the guilt of the house of David. The tribes were already overwhelmed by taxation and unsatisfying treatment of their complaints. They had demanded that the burdens Solomon had placed on them be lightened, not increased. Instead, Rehoboam exacerbated the situation by deciding to tax them further.

The ten northern tribes already disliked and resisted the theocratic rule of the house of David. While they correctly detected Rehoboam’s wrong attitudes toward his responsibilities as king, Rehoboam’s treatment did not justify their actions. They chiefly rebelled against the God who had selected the dynasty of David and the tribe of Judah as the royal tribe. Apparently they felt such rule did not represent enough of their northern interests; the taxation issue was as good a reason as any for seceding (see 1 Kings 12:19–24).

Here we meet another passage where human freedom and divine sovereignty seem opposed. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in Chronicles. Once again we must note that the biblical writers did not always take time to spell out secondary causes; for what God permits, he is often said to do directly since he is ultimately in charge. What the North intended as a revolt against the South, and thereby against the plan of God, God used first to punish the house of David for its sin and second to reveal the North’s sinful tendencies and spiritual bankruptcy. This latter fact is underscored by the number of northern priests and Levites who abandoned their pasturelands and property to come to Judah and Jerusalem. The northern king, Jeroboam, had rejected their priesthood! With them came all those who “set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel” (2 Chron 11:16).
See also comment on GENESIS 50:19–21.

2 Chronicles 11:3 “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,

  • to all Israel: Ge 49:28 Ex 24:4 2Ki 17:34 Php 3:5 Rev 7:4-8 


“Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying - This prophet is not foretelling but is forth telling, like preachers do from their pulpits every Sunday. 

2 Chronicles 11:4 ‘Thus says the LORD, “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” So they listened to the words of the LORD and returned from going against Jeroboam.  

  • against (KJV): Ge 13:8 2Sa 2:26 Ac 7:26 1Co 6:5-8 Heb 13:1 1Pe 3:8 1Jn 3:11-13 
  • return (KJV): 2Ch 10:16 1Ki 22:36 
  • for this thing (KJV): 2Ch 10:15 Ge 50:20 1Ki 11:29-38 Ps 33:11 Ho 8:4 
  • they obeyed (KJV): 2Ch 25:7-10 28:9-15 


‘Thus says the LORD, “You shall not go up or fight against your relatives; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me.”’” So they listened to the words of the LORD and returned from going against Jeroboam.

Andrew Hill: This time Rehoboam heeds the advice offered, without asking for a “second opinion.” It is unclear what motivates his receptivity to the prophetic message—whether the ominous threat of Egyptian invasion prompting his fortification of strategic cities in Judah (11:5), the pang of conscience in the admonition not to wage war against “brothers” (11:4; cf. 28:11), or, most likely, the realization that the split of the united monarchy is the Lord’s “doing” (11:4; cf. 10:15). The kingdom is God’s to grant to whom he wills, not Rehoboam’s to regain by force. Clearly God’s will for the divided kingdom is peace because the northern tribes are as capable of repentance as the southern tribes are of apostasy. Rehoboam’s impetuous response to muster troops and wage war to counter Jeroboam’s coup calls to mind nuggets of Solomonic wisdom. Earlier Rehoboam sought advice but listened to foolish counsel (10:5–11). Here Rehoboam seeks no advice but plans his own course—only to have the Lord “determine his steps” (Prov. 16:9). But in heeding Shemaiah’s word, Rehoboam begins to act wisely by listening to advice and accepting instruction (Prov. 12:15; 19:20).

Spurgeon: Here is one Shemaiah, – some of you never heard of him before, perhaps you will never hear of him again; he appears once in this history, and then he vanishes; he comes, and he goes, – only fancy this one man constraining to peace a hundred and eighty thousand chosen men, warriors ready to fight against the house of Israel, by giving to them in very plain, unpolished words, the simple command of God….Why have we not such power? Peradventure, brethren, we do not always speak in the name of the Lord, or speak God’s Word as God’s Word. If we are simply tellers out of our own thoughts, why should men mind us?

Iain Duguid: Rulers commonly seek to exercise control through military might, and this was the path adopted by Rehoboam, seeking to put into action his boastful words (10:14). The people may have stoned his taskmaster to death (10:18), but a show of armed force would surely end the rebellion, or so Rehoboam thought. This was not, however, to be God’s way: they were not to fight against “your relatives” (“brothers” and wider family members; common in Deuteronomy for fellow Israelites). Such kinship is important for the Chronicler and his major concern for “all Israel”; it appears again as the northern kingdom is nearing its end, then reminding the people of the north that the people of Judah are “their/your relatives” (28:8, 11). The political division may be “from [God],” but this does not mean family division; there is opportunity for any to come willingly to Jerusalem (as in 11:13–14, 15). Unexpectedly, given Rehoboam’s behavior thus far, king and people “listened to the word of the Lord.” Was this because the word was spoken by Shemaiah, recognized and respected as a “man of God”? He appears again in 12:5–8, and his “chronicles” are included in the official records (12:15). The disastrous confrontation led to division, but the tension ended in hope as there was willingness to “listen” to God, accept the new situation as “of God,” and move ahead. The people, whether in the north or in Judah and Benjamin, remained “all Israel.”

Spurgeon - So far, so good. There was some degree of the fear of God in the minds of men when, at the bidding of a single prophet, a king would disband his troops, and cease from war.

Paul Apple - DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS: on verses 1-4

1) Is the Chronicler more favorable towards Jeroboam or Rehoboam in this account?

2) How powerful is the Word of the Lord communicate here via Shemaiah, the man of God?

3) How can we avoid the danger of evaluating counsel from the worldly perspective of personal preference and foolish impulsiveness?

4) Why does the Lord want to make it clear that this division ultimately falls under His initiative and divine sovereign control? (e.g. “this thing is from Me”)


August Konkel: Under Solomon, Jeroboam had become a very capable leader. He was made supervisor over the compulsory state service, but conflict later forced him to flee to Egypt (1 Kings 11:40). Jeroboam was affirmed by the prophet Ahijah, who declared him to be a true successor of David (v. 38). The promise of dynasty applied to Jeroboam as it had to David, but it was not promised in perpetuity. In Chronicles, Jeroboam appears as a leader of the revolting northern tribes without introduction. When the rebellion broke out, he returned from Egypt as a champion of relief from the hated levy. In response, Rehoboam dispatched Adoniram, the senior officer in charge of the hated corvée, to force the recalcitrant subjects back into line (2 Chron 10:18). The rebels had come to respect Jeroboam as an able administrator. Even if those serving in the levy were resident aliens, their overseers in the lower and higher echelons were Israelites. They were very capable of assessing the labor regulations and operations. Adoniram may have been an excellent civil servant, but he represented a bureau of the government that could hardly have had respect of Israelite citizens. It was as if the new young king was seeking to reduce the entire population to corvée status (Rainey 1970: 202). It is small wonder that the Israelite notables stoned hapless Adoniram to death. The Chronicler reports all this as he finds it in Kings. He has considerable sympathy with the sentiments of the northern tribes. Theirs was not an enviable situation; it could not be expected that they would accept this tyranny without resistance. (Multipart Video Series on 1-2 Chronicles)

J.A. Thompson: Rehoboam's folly and its consequences illustrate the point that the Chronicler was no narrow Davidic nationalist who believed that in order to prosper Israel only needed a true son of David on the throne. Rehoboam, though in every sense the legitimate Davidic king, did considerable damage to the kingdom. Pedigree is not enough. In fact, it is of no value without the wisdom that comes from the fear of the Lord. On the other hand, the Chronicler's portrait of the schism lays more blame on Jeroboam than Rehoboam. While Rehoboam is not exonerated, the total picture of this monarch is not altogether negative, and the text speaks of him more as young and foolish than as wicked (2 Chr 13:7). The point is that the Chronicler never regarded the northern monarchy as anything but illegitimate and a rebellion against God's chosen dynasty. As far as he was concerned, all Israel had one and only one ruling family.

Raymond Dillard: Any historical event is ordinarily the product of a complex of factors such that a single explanation is not sufficient; the schism was such an event. The biblical text alludes to the sociopolitical ills that attended the splendor of the Solomonic empire; the hated corvée and heavy taxation are undoubted factors that fanned the dissatisfaction in the North. Not so apparent as a factor is the kingdom typology itself: the united monarchy was a personal union around the persons of Saul, David, and Solomon of two distinct entities. The Northern ten tribes and the Southern two were heirs of a long history of independent action and self-perception reaching back to the conquest period. Israel and Judah remained identifiable entities under Saul (1 Sam 11:8), David (2 Sam 2:4–8; 3:10; 5:5; 24:9), and Solomon (1 Kgs 1:35). It should not come as a surprise then that these two entities should separate after a period of social/political turmoil and during a time of dynastic crisis; Ahijah’s prophecy of a division into ten and two was quite probable (1 Kgs 11:29–33).

The Bible does not come to us as socioeconomic or geopolitical history, however. The biblical authors were concerned to record a divine, moral judgment about the kingdom of Yahweh. But even here no simple answer is given; rather, answers are offered that show an awareness of the multiplicity of factors. For the author of Kings, the schism is above all the product of the sinfulness of Solomon, particularly his involvement with the idol worship of his numerous wives who led him astray (1 Kgs 11:1–13); judgment for wrongdoing was the cause par excellence. A subsidiary theme in Kings is the fulfillment of prophecy: the compiler’s concern with the efficacy of the prophetic word is shown in his recounting the realization of Ahijah’s utterances (1 Kgs 11:19–39; 12:15). Rehoboam’s folly is an attendant factor.

For the Chronicler, however, things must be a bit different. He had presented the reign of Solomon as blameless, a rule enjoying the undivided support and allegiance of the people. Certainly the chapter shows an awareness of the social and political ills left from Solomon’s reign, but where does the blame go for the schism if the Chronicler will not tarnish Solomon? His answer was twofold: (1) Jeroboam’s lust for power, and (2) Rehoboam’s folly.

While 13:7 is pivotal in deciding the relative weight of these two factors, neither can be excised. In Kings Jeroboam appears more the beneficiary of divine prophecy; but in Chronicles the omission of the prophecy of Ahijah puts Jeroboam’s actions more to the fore as leader and instigator. The note of prophetic fulfillment is present, but in a more subdued fashion (10:15). In the absence of direct accusation toward Solomon’s conduct, the folly of Rehoboam (“young and indecisive,” 13:7) is the more prominent.

Isaiah had bemoaned the day when, as judgment on Judah and Jerusalem, Yahweh would make “boys their officials, mere children to govern them,” when “the young would rise against the old, the base against the honorable” (Isa 3:4–5). Israel had already experienced this at least once by Isaiah’s day. But Isaiah was also the one who spoke of Israel’s hope as “a child born to us . . . and the government shall be upon his shoulders.” For that child there would be none of the folly of Rehoboam, but he “will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isa 9:6–7). The yoke of Solomon had been burdensome, and in haughty arrogance Rehoboam would make it yet heavier; what a contrast to another son of David, one who was gentle and humble, and invited the weary and burdened to “take my yoke upon you and learn of me . . . for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28–29). . .

Though the history of research in Chronicles has been characterized by vigorous debate surrounding the author's theology, date, and purpose, on one theme of his historiography there is a near consensus. The Chronicler's adherence to a 'theology of immediate retribution' provides his dominant compositional technique, particularly formative in his approach to the history of Judah after the schism. 'Retribution theology' refers to the author's apparent conviction that reward and punishment are not deferred, but rather follow immediately on the heels of the precipitating events. For the Chronicler sin always brings judgment and disaster, while obedience and righteousness yield the fruit of peace and prosperity. Even a cursory reading of the text reveals the contours of the writer's convictions; they are both (1) specifically articulated [cf. 1 Chron. 28:8b-9; 2 Chron. 7:14; 12:5; 20:20] and (2) demonstrated in his reshaping of narratives.

Thus says the LORD - this important phrase occurs 419x in 417v all in the Old Testament - Oh to have ears to hear! - Exod. 4:22; Exod. 5:1; Exod. 7:17; Exod. 8:1; Exod. 8:20; Exod. 9:1; Exod. 9:13; Exod. 10:3; Exod. 11:4; Exod. 32:27; Jos. 24:2; Jdg. 6:8; 1 Sam. 2:27; 1 Sam. 10:18; 1 Sam. 15:2; 2 Sam. 7:5; 2 Sam. 7:8; 2 Sam. 12:7; 2 Sam. 12:11; 1 Ki. 11:31; 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 13:2; 1 Ki. 13:21; 1 Ki. 14:7; 1 Ki. 17:14; 1 Ki. 20:13; 1 Ki. 20:14; 1 Ki. 20:28; 1 Ki. 20:42; 1 Ki. 21:19; 1 Ki. 22:11; 2 Ki. 1:4; 2 Ki. 1:6; 2 Ki. 1:16; 2 Ki. 2:21; 2 Ki. 3:16; 2 Ki. 3:17; 2 Ki. 4:43; 2 Ki. 7:1; 2 Ki. 9:3; 2 Ki. 9:6; 2 Ki. 9:12; 2 Ki. 19:6; 2 Ki. 19:20; 2 Ki. 19:32; 2 Ki. 20:1; 2 Ki. 20:5; 2 Ki. 21:12; 2 Ki. 22:15; 2 Ki. 22:16; 2 Ki. 22:18; 1 Chr. 17:4; 1 Chr. 17:7; 1 Chr. 21:10; 1 Chr. 21:11; 2 Chr. 11:4; 2 Chr. 12:5; 2 Chr. 18:10; 2 Chr. 20:15; 2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Chr. 34:23; 2 Chr. 34:24; 2 Chr. 34:26; Isa. 7:7; Isa. 10:24; Isa. 22:15; Isa. 28:16; Isa. 29:22; Isa. 31:4; Isa. 37:6; Isa. 37:21; Isa. 37:33; Isa. 38:1; Isa. 38:5; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:14; Isa. 43:16; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 44:6; Isa. 44:24; Isa. 45:1; Isa. 45:11; Isa. 45:14; Isa. 45:18; Isa. 48:17; Isa. 49:7; Isa. 49:8; Isa. 49:22; Isa. 49:25; Isa. 50:1; Isa. 52:3; Isa. 52:4; Isa. 56:1; Isa. 56:4; Isa. 65:8; Isa. 65:13; Isa. 66:1; Isa. 66:12; Jer. 2:2; Jer. 2:5; Jer. 4:3; Jer. 4:27; Jer. 5:14; Jer. 6:6; Jer. 6:9; Jer. 6:16; Jer. 6:21; Jer. 6:22; Jer. 7:3; Jer. 7:20; Jer. 7:21; Jer. 8:4; Jer. 9:7; Jer. 9:15; Jer. 9:17; Jer. 9:22; Jer. 9:23; Jer. 10:2; Jer. 10:18; Jer. 11:3; Jer. 11:11; Jer. 11:21; Jer. 11:22; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 13:9; Jer. 13:12; Jer. 13:13; Jer. 14:10; Jer. 14:15; Jer. 15:2; Jer. 15:19; Jer. 16:3; Jer. 16:5; Jer. 16:9; Jer. 17:5; Jer. 17:21; Jer. 18:11; Jer. 18:13; Jer. 19:1; Jer. 19:3; Jer. 19:11; Jer. 19:15; Jer. 20:4; Jer. 21:4; Jer. 21:8; Jer. 21:12; Jer. 22:1; Jer. 22:3; Jer. 22:6; Jer. 22:11; Jer. 22:18; Jer. 22:30; Jer. 23:2; Jer. 23:15; Jer. 23:16; Jer. 23:38; Jer. 24:5; Jer. 24:8; Jer. 25:8; Jer. 25:27; Jer. 25:28; Jer. 25:32; Jer. 26:2; Jer. 26:4; Jer. 27:2; Jer. 27:4; Jer. 27:16; Jer. 27:19; Jer. 27:21; Jer. 28:2; Jer. 28:11; Jer. 28:13; Jer. 28:14; Jer. 28:16; Jer. 29:4; Jer. 29:8; Jer. 29:10; Jer. 29:16; Jer. 29:17; Jer. 29:21; Jer. 29:25; Jer. 29:31; Jer. 29:32; Jer. 30:2; Jer. 30:5; Jer. 30:12; Jer. 30:18; Jer. 31:2; Jer. 31:7; Jer. 31:15; Jer. 31:16; Jer. 31:23; Jer. 31:35; Jer. 31:37; Jer. 32:3; Jer. 32:14; Jer. 32:15; Jer. 32:28; Jer. 32:36; Jer. 32:42; Jer. 33:2; Jer. 33:4; Jer. 33:10; Jer. 33:12; Jer. 33:17; Jer. 33:20; Jer. 33:25; Jer. 34:2; Jer. 34:4; Jer. 34:13; Jer. 34:17; Jer. 35:13; Jer. 35:17; Jer. 35:18; Jer. 35:19; Jer. 36:29; Jer. 36:30; Jer. 37:7; Jer. 37:9; Jer. 38:2; Jer. 38:3; Jer. 38:17; Jer. 39:16; Jer. 42:9; Jer. 42:15; Jer. 42:18; Jer. 43:10; Jer. 44:2; Jer. 44:7; Jer. 44:11; Jer. 44:25; Jer. 44:30; Jer. 45:2; Jer. 45:4; Jer. 47:2; Jer. 48:1; Jer. 48:40; Jer. 49:1; Jer. 49:7; Jer. 49:12; Jer. 49:28; Jer. 49:35; Jer. 50:18; Jer. 50:33; Jer. 51:1; Jer. 51:33; Jer. 51:36; Jer. 51:58; Ezek. 2:4; Ezek. 3:11; Ezek. 3:27; Ezek. 5:5; Ezek. 5:7; Ezek. 5:8; Ezek. 6:3; Ezek. 6:11; Ezek. 7:2; Ezek. 7:5; Ezek. 11:5; Ezek. 11:7; Ezek. 11:16; Ezek. 11:17; Ezek. 12:10; Ezek. 12:19; Ezek. 12:23; Ezek. 12:28; Ezek. 13:3; Ezek. 13:8; Ezek. 13:13; Ezek. 13:18; Ezek. 13:20; Ezek. 14:4; Ezek. 14:6; Ezek. 14:21; Ezek. 15:6; Ezek. 16:3; Ezek. 16:36; Ezek. 16:59; Ezek. 17:3; Ezek. 17:9; Ezek. 17:19; Ezek. 17:22; Ezek. 20:3; Ezek. 20:5; Ezek. 20:27; Ezek. 20:30; Ezek. 20:39; Ezek. 20:47; Ezek. 21:3; Ezek. 21:9; Ezek. 21:24; Ezek. 21:26; Ezek. 21:28; Ezek. 22:3; Ezek. 22:19; Ezek. 22:28; Ezek. 23:22; Ezek. 23:28; Ezek. 23:32; Ezek. 23:35; Ezek. 23:46; Ezek. 24:3; Ezek. 24:6; Ezek. 24:9; Ezek. 24:21; Ezek. 25:3; Ezek. 25:6; Ezek. 25:8; Ezek. 25:12; Ezek. 25:13; Ezek. 25:15; Ezek. 25:16; Ezek. 26:3; Ezek. 26:7; Ezek. 26:15; Ezek. 26:19; Ezek. 27:3; Ezek. 28:2; Ezek. 28:6; Ezek. 28:12; Ezek. 28:22; Ezek. 28:25; Ezek. 29:3; Ezek. 29:8; Ezek. 29:13; Ezek. 29:19; Ezek. 30:2; Ezek. 30:6; Ezek. 30:10; Ezek. 30:13; Ezek. 30:22; Ezek. 31:10; Ezek. 31:15; Ezek. 32:3; Ezek. 32:11; Ezek. 33:25; Ezek. 33:27; Ezek. 34:2; Ezek. 34:10; Ezek. 34:11; Ezek. 34:17; Ezek. 34:20; Ezek. 35:3; Ezek. 35:14; Ezek. 36:2; Ezek. 36:3; Ezek. 36:4; Ezek. 36:5; Ezek. 36:6; Ezek. 36:7; Ezek. 36:13; Ezek. 36:22; Ezek. 36:33; Ezek. 36:37; Ezek. 37:5; Ezek. 37:9; Ezek. 37:12; Ezek. 37:19; Ezek. 37:21; Ezek. 38:3; Ezek. 38:10; Ezek. 38:14; Ezek. 38:17; Ezek. 39:1; Ezek. 39:17; Ezek. 39:25; Ezek. 43:18; Ezek. 44:6; Ezek. 44:9; Ezek. 45:9; Ezek. 45:18; Ezek. 46:1; Ezek. 46:16; Ezek. 47:13; Amos 1:3; Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9; Amos 1:11; Amos 1:13; Amos 2:1; Amos 2:4; Amos 2:6; Amos 3:11; Amos 3:12; Amos 5:3; Amos 5:4; Amos 5:16; Amos 7:17; Obad. 1:1; Mic. 2:3; Mic. 3:5; Nah. 1:12; Hag. 1:2; Hag. 1:5; Hag. 1:7; Hag. 2:6; Hag. 2:11; Zech. 1:3; Zech. 1:4; Zech. 1:14; Zech. 1:16; Zech. 1:17; Zech. 2:8; Zech. 3:7; Zech. 6:12; Zech. 8:2; Zech. 8:3; Zech. 8:4; Zech. 8:6; Zech. 8:7; Zech. 8:9; Zech. 8:14; Zech. 8:19; Zech. 8:20; Zech. 8:23; Zech. 11:4; Mal. 1:4

2 Chronicles 11:5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built cities for defense in Judah.

  • built : 2Ch 8:2-6 14:6,7 16:6 17:12 26:6 27:4 Isa 22:8-11 


Andrew Hill: The passage [2Ch 11:5-17] divides neatly into two sections, a summary of Rehoboam’s defensive measures against foreign invasion (2Ch 11:5–12) and the support Rehoboam received from the northern tribes after the split of the united monarchy (2Ch 11:13–17). The unit continues the emphasis on God’s reward for faithfulness and introduces for the first time the religious apostasy of Jeroboam (perpetuated by all the rulers of the northern kingdom).

H. L. Ellison: As soon as Jeroboam could organize the north it was bound to be stronger than Judah both in its population and natural resources. Jeroboam was an ambitious man not likely to be content with what God had given him, and so Rehoboam did his best to strengthen his diminished kingdom.

Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built cities for defense in Judah - This next section 1Ch 1:5-12 is not in 1 Kings and is Rehoboam's fortification of cities in the southern and western  because of danger from Egypt (2 Chr 12:2-4). 

Payne - “The fifteen cities that Ezra lists lie towards Judah’s southern and western borders. Their choice seems to have been dictated by threat from Egypt (2Ch 12:2–4).”

Frederick Mabie: Rehoboam’s fortified cities address the strategic threats to the southern kingdom from not only the northern kingdom but also foes to the east (e.g., Moab, Ammon), west (e.g., Philistines), and south (e.g. Egypt). The list of fifteen towns (vv. 6-10) focuses on three main lines of fortification that are for the most part grouped accordingly: along the east/southeastern edge of the Judean hill country (e.g., Bethlehem); along the western edge of the Shephelah (e.g., Lachish); and along the southwestern edge of the Judean hill country (e.g., Hebron). In addition, Aijalon would protect from threats to the north via the Beth Horon Ridge (northern kingdom Aram). All told, the focal point of Rehoboam’s fortifications is the defense of access points to the capital city of Jerusalem.

August Konkel: The blessing of the Lord on Rehoboam is demonstrated in his building activities. The fortified cities provided defense from east, south, and west. Valleys leading into the Judean hill country and important road junctions all appear to be covered. Fortifications to the north were not as necessary. Rehoboam’s first task was to fortify a minimal but more securely defensible position. The northern towns available to Rehoboam did not meet this criterion. The defensive lines make strategic sense for protection against an Egyptian attack and likely began before the invasion of Shishak. The boundaries are conformable to Rehoboam’s reign. Lachish formed the pivotal southwestern corner of Rehoboam’s fortifications. It was a junction for the road north to the other fortified cities. Lachish guarded the southern road to Egypt, connected with the coastal highway to the west, and the way eastward through Adoraim to Hebron. The watershed toward the east was protected by Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, and Ziph. North of Lachish the cities of Mareshah (Moresheth), Gath, Azekah, Zorah, and Aijalon provided security from the west. Socoh and Adoraim monitored internal movement. The Levitical cities and some key centers were previously fortified. (Multipart Video Series on 1-2 Chronicles)

Mark Boda: The initial period of success is characterized by Rehoboam’s fortification of the structures, deploying defense personnel, and providing food reserves and weaponry.

Believer's Study Bible -(2Ch 11:5-12) The location of these 15 fortified cities and strongholds to the south and west of Jerusalem suggests that Rehoboam was planning his defense against Egypt rather than against the northern kingdom under Jeroboam, son of Nebat. This precaution was not adequate, however, for Judah was soon invaded and plundered by Shishak I of Egypt (cf. 2Ch 12:1-12).

Henry Morris - Interestingly, the defense cities built at this time, were not in the north against Israel, but in the south against Egypt (2 Chronicles 12:2).

Raymond Dillard: At first glance it is striking how small a territory was embraced by Rehoboam’s defensive perimeter. The line of cities suggests that Rehoboam was confident of holding only the Shephelah and the Judean hills, and that he virtually conceded his inability to maintain sovereignty in the Negev and gulf regions as well as over the coastal plain and its important highway. Shishak’s own account of his invasion shows that he did move up along the coastal highway while protecting his flanks with raids through the Negev. Vassals commonly rebelled at times of dynastic crisis; Edom had already sought to escape Solomon’s yoke with the collusion of the Pharaoh (1 Kgs 11:14–22, 25) and may have been able to make incursions into Israel’s contiguous territory with the encouragement of Egypt in the crisis following Solomon’s death.

2 Chronicles 11:6 Thus he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,

  • Bethlehem (KJV): Bethlehem, called Bethlehem Judah (Judges 17:7,) to distinguish it from another Bethlehem in Zebulun, (Jos 19:15,) and also Ephratah, (i.e., fruitful,) and by the Arabs, Bait-el-lahm, is situated on a rising ground on the southern side of a deep and extensive valley, and reclining from E. to W. not quite six miles S. of Jerusalem. Ge 35:19 1Sa 17:12 Mt 2:5,6 
  • Etam (KJV): Jud 15:8 1Ch 4:32 
  • Tekoa (KJV): 2Ch 20:20 2Sa 14:2 Ne 3:5,27 Jer 6:1 Am 1:1 

Thus he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,

2 Chronicles 11:7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam,

  • Bethzur (KJV): Jos 15:58 
  • Shoco (KJV): Jos 15:35, Socoh
  • Adullam (KJV): Jos 12:15 15:35 1Sa 22:1 2Sa 23:13 Mic 1:15 

Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam,

2 Chronicles 11:8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,

  • Gath (KJV): 1Ch 18:1 
  • Mareshah (KJV): Jos 15:44 
  • Ziph (KJV): Jos 15:24 1Sa 23:14,19 Ps 54:1

Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,

2 Chronicles 11:9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,

  • Lachish (KJV): 2Ch 32:9 Jos 10:5,11 15:35,39 

Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,

2 Chronicles 11:10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron, which are fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin.

  • Zorah: Jos 15:33, Zoreah, Jos 19:41,42, Ajalon
  • Hebron: Ge 23:2 Nu 13:22 Jos 14:14 20:7 2Sa 2:11 

Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron, which are fortified cities in Judah and in Benjamin.

Related Resources:

2 Chronicles 11:11 He also strengthened the fortresses and put officers in them and stores of food, oil and wine.

  • he fortified (KJV): Isa 22:10,11 
  • captains (KJV): 2Ch 11:23 17:19 

He also strengthened the fortresses and put officers in them and stores of food, oil and wine - What Rehoboam was doing was not wrong in itself, but it is wrong if he did depending on his human strength! Psalm 20:7 is a good reminder declaring "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God."

D A Carson - THE CHRONICLER PROVIDES SOME fascinating insights into the reign of Rehoboam, the first king of Judah after the end of the united monarchy (2 Chron. 11–12). We note two of them.

(1) Predictably, many of the Levites who lived in the north drifted south (2Ch 11:11–17). Their entire life centered on the temple, and this was the connection that Jeroboam, king over the northern ten tribes, wanted to break. Not only therefore did he establish his own idol gods, but he sacked all the Levites. The effect, at least initially, was to strengthen the hand of Rehoboam (2Ch 11:17). Sometimes the principle of “unintended consequences” is quietly used by God’s providence to bring blessings out of what at first appears to be unmitigated disaster. The most stellar example of this, of course, is the cross.

(2) Rehoboam proves to be a mediocre king whose total effect is bad. Certain early elements in Rehoboam’s reign were good. He chose the right son, Abijah, to be his “chief prince” (2Ch 11:22), preparing him for the throne. Learning from the stupidity of the initial decision that had cost him the unified kingdom (2Ch 10:8; cf. 1 Kings 12:8), Rehoboam worked hard at maintaining contact with the people, dispersing his many sons around the districts and fortified cities of Judah. Sadly, once he had become comfortable, once his kingdom was more or less secure, he drifted away from the Law of the Lord, and so did his people (2Ch 12:1). God responded by unleashing Shishak, king of Egypt, against this small nation. The prophet Shemaiah thundered, “This is what the LORD says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak’ ” (2Ch 12:5).

King Rehoboam and the leaders of Israel humble themselves (2Ch 12:6, 12). The result is that God does not permit the Egyptians to destroy Judah. Nevertheless, God says that his people will “become subject to [Shishak], so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands” (2Ch 12:8). This development reminds us of God’s reaction when the people of Israel entered the Promised Land and promptly compromised their faithfulness. The result was that instead of the clean sweep they might have had, they were embroiled in squalid skirmishes for generations.

There is a kind of evil that is not very bad and not very good, not too terribly rebellious yet not hungry for righteousness, a stance that drifts toward idolatry and hastily retreats at the threat of judgment. What it lacks is David’s heart, the heart of a man who, despite failures, sets himself to pursue God with passion and delight. The final verdict on Rehoboam’s reign explains the problem: “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD” (2Ch 12:14).  (BORROW For the Love of God, Combined Edition, Volumes One and Two)

2 Chronicles 11:12 He put shields and spears in every city and strengthened them greatly. So he held Judah and Benjamin.

  • he put shields (KJV): 2Ch 26:14,15 32:5 2Sa 13:19,22 
  • having Judah (KJV): 2Ch 11:1 

He put shields and spears in every city and strengthened them greatly. So he held Judah and Benjamin

2 Chronicles 11:13 Moreover, the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel stood with him from all their districts.

  • resorted to him (KJV): Heb. presented themselves to him, 2Ch 11:13 

Moreover, the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel stood with him from all their districts.

Raymond Dillard: As an additional sign of divine blessing, the faithful priests and Levites of the Northern tribes abandon their common lands and private property (1 Chr 6:54–60; Num 35:1–5; Lev 25:32–34), prompting a similar defection following their example on the part of citizenry whose loyalty to Yahweh and his temple transcended their identification with tribal homelands. Jeroboam’s fear that loyalty to the temple would reunite the kingdom (1 Kgs 12:26–27) apparently had some basis in fact; allegiance to Jerusalem for many, according to the Chronicler, was at great personal expense

The Chronicler’s own hand in shaping this pericope is seen in the use of the theme of “seeking God,” a theme basic to retribution theology, and in his concern with the Levites.

Ryrie - 2Ch 11:13-14  Immigration of faithful priests and Levites from Israel to Judah occurred immediately after Jeroboam's accession (see 1 Kings 12:31) and later (notice "and his sons" in v. 14). 

Frederick Mabie: In the aftermath of the division, priests and Levites found themselves separated from the Jerusalem temple and rejected by the new northern dynasty. Some even opted to sacrifice personal security of land and possessions in order to gain proximity to the place where God caused his Name

J.A. Thompson: Evidently the faithful priests and Levites of the northern tribes abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem. Jeroboam had rejected them as priests of the Lord (1 Kgs 12:25–33). His sons probably held positions of authority like other royal sons (2 Sam 15:1–6; 1 Kgs 1:9). The verb translated “sided with” (from yāṣab) means to “take a stand” (cf. Ps 94:16). It is not clear that these northerners took up permanent residence with Rehoboam though this is not excluded (cf. v. 16). But it is clear that there was a good deal of sympathy in the north with Rehoboam.

Matthew Henry: Where should God’s priests and Levites be, but where his altar was? Thither they came because it was their business to attend at the times appointed.

1.) It was a mercy to them that they had a place of refuge to flee to, and that when Jeroboam cast them off there were those so near that would entertain them, and bid them welcome, and they were not forced into the lands of the heathen.

(2.) It was an evidence that they loved their work better than their maintenance, in that they left their suburbs and possessions in the country (where they might have lived at ease upon their own), because they were restrained from serving God there, and cast themselves upon God’s providence and the charity of their brethren in coming to a place where they might have the free enjoyment of God’s ordinances, according to his institution. Poverty in the way of duty is to be chosen rather than plenty in the way of sin. Better live upon alms, or die in a prison, with a good conscience, than roll in wealth and pleasure with a prostituted one.

(3.) It was the wisdom and praise of Rehoboam and his people that they bade them welcome, though they crowded themselves perhaps to make room for them. Conscientious refugees will bring a blessing along with them to the countries that entertain them, as they leave a curse behind them with those that expel them. Open the gates, that the righteous nation, which keepeth truth, may enter in; it will be good policy. See Isa. 26:1, 2.

Ron Daniel - 11:13-17 The Priesthood Divided

Jeroboam was not a godly leader. He was worried that people would leave his team and join the other team. 1Kings tells us,

1Kings 12:26-27 Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah."

The Jews had a mandate from God to worship at the place He'd established His name. This was Jerusalem. Jeroboam was afraid that if he let the people go to Jerusalem, they would want to stay there. He had to find a way to prevent them from leaving his territory.

1Kings 12:28-31 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." He set one in Bayth-ALE, and the other he put in Dan.

Every time I read this, I can't help but think of those pastors who are so territorial and afraid of losing their people to another church, that they will do anything and everything to keep the people in their church from going anywhere else.

I ran into a person at a function the other night who expressed regret to me that her pastor had forbidden her from attending our Thursday night studies. Others have told me that their pastors won't let the teens in the church attend any other church's youth group. All they're doing is building golden calves to keep the people penned in, and it's a sin. This became a sin to the people of Israel in the north:

1Kings 12:30-31 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi.

As a result, we read here in 2Chronicles that the priests and Levites who were faithful to the Lord moved down south to Judah and Jerusalem. The rest of the people who were faithful also followed their example, and moved south as well.

By the way, this is the answer to those who claim that there are "lost tribes of Israel." When the Assyrians came in and attacked the Northern Kingdom, the people were killed, others were carried away and died in captivity. God said through Amos regarding the Assyrian Captivity,

Amos 9:4 "And though they go into captivity before their enemies, from there I will command the sword that it slay them, and I will set My eyes against them for evil and not for good."

Those who stayed in the north would eventually die. God's preservation of the twelve tribes of Israel would be through those who moved south during the days of Jeroboam's apostasy.

2 Chronicles 11:14 For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the LORD.

  • suburbs (KJV): Nu 35:2-5 Jos 21:20-42 1Ch 6:66-81 
  • their possession (KJV): Lev 27:30-34 Nu 18:21-28 
  • Jeroboam (KJV): 2Ch 13:9 1Ki 12:28-33 13:33 


For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the LORD

Guzik makes an excellent point about the northern kingdom - Spiritually speaking, Israel was struck twice—by the ungodly religion of Jeroboam and by the departure of the godly and faithful. There were few godly people left in the northern kingdom.

Knapp - Viewed even as a stroke of policy, this ejection of the Lord’s priests and Levites was a blunder. They went over in a body, almost, to Jeroboam’s rival, and thereby ‘strengthened the kingdom of Judah.’ ”

Payne - “The expression ‘Jeroboam and his sons,’ i.e., his successors, indicates that migrations by the faithful to Judah was a process that continued down through the years.” 

G Campbell Morgan - This remnant of loyal souls, gathered out of all the tribes, left their own country and went to Judah.… Exodus and emigration have very often been the ways of God’s advance in the course of time. Such movements have always been sacrificial, but they have been deliverances.”

Matthew Poole - “They would not suffer them to instruct and assist the Israelites in the worship and service of God, nor to go up to Jerusalem to worship in their courses; and these priests would not join with them in the worship of calves, as they were desired and commanded to do; and therefore they willingly forsook all their patrimonies and possessions for God’s sake.”

John Whitcomb - Just as the forced exile of hundreds of thousands of godly French Huguenots brought incalculable blessing to surrounding nations in the seventeenth century A.D., so this influx of spiritually-minded Israelites ‘strengthened the kingdom of Judah and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years’ (II Chron. 11:17) and modified God’s otherwise negative evaluation of his entire reign: ‘in Judah there were good things found’ (II Chron. 12:12).” (BORROW the excellent work - Israel : from conquest to exile : a commentary on Joshua-2 Kings)

2 Chronicles 11:15 He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and for the calves which he had made.

  • for the devils (KJV): The word, {seirim} literally signifies hairy ones, or goats: see Note on Lev 17:7. De 32:17 1Co 10:20,21 1Ti 4:1 Rev 16:14 
  • for the calves (KJV): Ex 32:4-8,31 1Ki 12:28 14:9 Ps 106:19,20 Ho 8:5,6 13:2 

Related Passages:

Leviticus 17:7+ “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons (Heb - sair = only here and 2Ch 11:15) with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.”’ 


He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and for the calves which he had made - Jeroboam immediately jumps into idol worship! Amazing!

THOUGHT- Beloved, watch out for idols as they are subtle and seductive! 

McConville - After three years of stability, Rehoboam led Judah into apostasy. There are conscious parallels with Saul. The ‘unfaithfulness’ of 2Ch 11:2 is the same term as that which was applied to Israel’s first king (1 Chr. 10:13). Rehoboam, therefore, has entered upon what might be termed a ‘Saul’ period in his reign, which contrasts with the early phase, in which he ‘walked … in the way of David and Solomon’ [2Ch 11:17]. (BORROW I & II Chronicles)

Believer's Study Bible - Jeroboam appointed his own priestly order to carry out the religious services of idolatry (cf. 1 Kin. 12:31-33) devoted to the "demons" (lit. "hairy ones," possibly identified as "satyrs" in ancient mythology -- cf. Isa. 13:21; 34:14 in KJV) and "calf idols" which he set up at Bethel and Dan (1 Kin. 12:26-30; cf. Deut. 9:7-21; Jdg. 18:1-31; 1 Kin. 12:28-30; 2 Kin. 10:28-31; Ps. 106:19-23; Hos. 8:4-6; 10:5-8; 13:2). This activity was against the directive of God from earliest times (cf. Ex. 34:16, 17). The calves were doubtless related in form to Aaron's calf and to Apis the sacred bull of Egypt.

H. L. Ellison: Satyrs are the demons or jinn believed to inhabit desert and waste places; they were looked on as hairy, or of animal shape; hence RV “he-goats” (cf. Lv. 17:7). The return to nature worship meant a return to old superstitions.

Frederick Mabie: In the northern kingdom, the division of the kingdom necessitated the development of political centers for the north (Shechem and Penuel) and alternative religious centers. Jeroboam’s concern for the fidelity of his new subjects leads to his establishment of the infamous golden calf shrines in the northern region of the northern kingdom (the city of Dan) and at the southern region of the northern kingdom (the city of Bethel) . . . Jeroboam’s choice of calf (bull) idols reflects the fact that bovines were commonly associated with divinity across the ancient Near East, given the bull’s association with strength, power, and fertility. Thus Jeroboam’s calves (like those of Aaron in Ex 32) may reflect syncretism with prevailing notions of expressing deity (namely, via bovines) in neighboring cultures. In any case, Jeroboam’s idols may be primarily a violation of the second commandment (attempting to make an image of God).

J.A. Thompson: There were several indications of the apostasy of Jeroboam. He appointed his own priests for the high places, which were not acceptable to official Yahweh worshipers. At these places there were goat and calf idols in violation of Lev 17:7. These “goats,” or “hairy ones,” were demons or satyrs, idols of some kind. The calf idols are reminiscent of the golden calf of the exodus period (Exod 32:1–10; Deut 9:11; cf. Hos 8:5–6).

Andrew Hill: The goat idols are probably demons or satyrs in the form of male goats; such worship was expressly forbidden in the law of Moses (Lev. 17:7; cf. Deut. 32:16– 17).

Matthew Henry: Jeroboam cast them off, that is, he set up such a way of worship as he knew they could not in conscience comply with, which obliged them to withdraw from his altar, and at the same time he would not allow them to go up to Jerusalem to worship at the altar there; so that he totally cast them off from executing the priest’s office, 2 Chron. 11:14. And very willing he was that they should turn themselves out of their places, that room might be made for those mean and scandalous persons whom he ordained priests for the high places, 2 Chron. 11:15. Compare 1 Kgs. 12:31. No marvel if he that cast off God cast off his ministers; they were not for his purpose, would not do whatever he might bid them do, would not serve his gods, nor worship the golden image which he had set up.

High places (01116bamah Six activities seem to be related to high places -- burning of incense, sacrificing, eating of sacrificial meals, praying, prostitution, child sacrifice (cf. bama in the valley, Je 7:31). The first use in Lev 26:30 is God's declaration to Israel "I will destroy your high places." In Dt 32:13 speaking of Jacob (Israel) He declared "He made him ride on the high places of the earth," so clearly some uses of bamah are not negative. In a similar use God says Israel "you will tread upon their (Israel's enemies') high places." Another positive use is Psalm 18:33 where David declared Jehovah "makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me upon my high places." (cp Hab 3:19 - NET Note = David "compares his agility in battle to the ability of a deer to negotiate rugged, high terrain without falling or being injured.", cp Isa 58:14) We see he effect of Israel's high places on Jehovah in Ps 78:58 = "For they provoked Him with their high places and aroused His jealousy with their graven images."

A sad phrase that is repeated again and again (speaking of Israel) is "the high places were not taken away" (1Ki 15:14, 2Chr 15:17 = King Asa but notice he did remove some of them - 2Chr 14:3, 5, 1Ki 22:43, 2Chr 20:33 = King Jehoshaphat, 2Ki 12:3 = King Jehoash, 2Ki 14:4 = King Amaziah, 2Ki 15:4 = King Azariah, 2Ki 15:35 = King Jotham son of Uzziah and look what his son did in 2Ki 16:1-4!, 2Chr 20:33). In many of these passages the context was of a king doing "spiritual house cleaning" so to speak and yet still failing to remove the high places. Isn't sin that way? We confess one or two sins but we have a little pet sin (better a "venomous viper") that we just don't have the heart to kill! God grant us spiritual eyes and hearts to learn from Israel's mistakes. Amen! Some kings like Hezekiah (1Ki 18:4, 2Chr 31:1, Isa 36:7) and Josiah (2Ki 23:4,8, 13, 15, 19-20, 2Chr 34:3 cp prophecy about Josiah 300 years earlier = 1Ki 13:2) did destroy the high places, but in Hezekiah's case his own son Manasseh rebuilt them (2Ki 21:1-2, 3, 2Chr 33:3) and in Josiah's case the people rebuilt them!

We see the spiritual effect of high places on the people when King Jehoram (2Chr 21:5-10) "made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray." (2Chr 21:11)

One of the most incredible (and saddest) verses in the OT (in my opinion) is "Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon." (1Ki 11:7, cp 1Ki 3:3 = Solomon had "half a heart" for God!) This was too much for Jehovah and He declared that the 12 tribes would be split as a result of Solomon's sin! Sin is costly. You may think you are getting away with it, but you are not! You may think you are the wisest man in the world (like Solomon) but you are really the most foolish (as Solomon was)! There was one high place that was not idolatrous (at least not at the outset) - "Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place which was at Gibeon; for God's tent of meeting was there, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness." (2Chr 1:3, cp 1Chr 16:39-40, 21:29).

GOTQUESTIONS.ORGSatyrs In Isaiah 13:21 and Isa 34:14, the KJV and RSV translate the Hebrew sa`iyr as “satyr.” The Hebrew word is translated 55 times in the KJV as “he-goat” or “hairy.” However, the word was also thought to imply demon-worship associated with goats, and so we find the word translated “devil” twice and “satyr” in the aforementioned verses. However, based on the context of each passage in Isaiah, it is almost certain that wild goats are intended by the Hebrew sa`iyr, not the goat-man creature of legend, and certainly not the faun of classical myth.

SATYR [ISBE] - sat'-er, sa'-ter (sa`ir, literally "he-goat"; sa`ir, "hairy" (Gen 27:11, of Esau), and Arabic sha'r, "hair"; plural se`irim): For se`irim in Lev 17:7 and 2 Ch 11:15, the King James Version has "devils," the Revised Version (British and American) "he-goats," the English Revised Version margin "satyrs," the Septuagint has tois mataiois, "vain things." For se`irim in Isa 13:21, the King James Version and the English Revised Version have "satyrs," the English Revised Version margin "he-goats," the American Standard Revised Version "wild goats," Septuagint daimonia, "demons." For sa`ir in Isa 34:14, the King James Version and the English Revised Version have "satyr," the English Revised Version margin "he-goat," the American Standard Revised Version "wild goat." Septuagint has heteros pros ton heteron, "one to another," referring to daimonia, which here stands for ciyim, "wild beasts of the desert."

The text of the American Standard Revised Version in these passages is as follows: Lev 17:7, "And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the he-goats, after which they play the harlot"; 2 Ch 11:15, "And he (Jeroboam) appointed him priests for the high places, and for the he-goats, and for the calves which he had made"; Isa 13:21 f (of Babylon), "But wild beasts of the desert (tsiyim) shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures ('ochim); and ostriches (benoth ya`anah) shall dwell there, and wild goats (se`irim) shall dance there And wolves ('iyim) shall cry in their castles, and jackals (tannim) in the pleasant palaces"; Isa 34:11,13,14,15 (of Edom), "But the pelican (qa'ath) and the porcupine (kippodh) shall possess it; and the owl (yanshoph) and the raven (`orebh) shall dwell therein: .... and it shall be a habitation of jackals (tannim), a court for ostriches (benoth ya`anah). And the wild beasts of the desert (tsiyim) shall meet with the wolves ('iyim), and the wild goat (sa`ir) shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night monster (lilith) shall settle there ..... There shall the dart-snake (qippoz) make her nest .... there shall the kites (dayyoth) be gathered, every one with her mate."

The question is whether sa`ir and se`irim in these passages stand for real or for fabulous animals. In Lev 17:7 and 2 Ch 11:15, it is clear that they are objects of worship, but that still leaves open the question of their nature, though it may to many minds make "devils" or "demons" or "satyrs" seem preferable to "he-goats." In Isa 13:20 we read, "neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there." This may very likely have influenced the American Committee of Revisers to use "wild goat" in Isa 13:21 and 34:14 instead of the "he-goat" of the other passages. In the American Standard Revised Version, no fabulous creatures (except perhaps "night-monster") are mentioned here, but the Septuagint employs daimonia, "demons" in Isa 13:21 for se`irim and in 34:14 for tsiyim; onokentauroi, from "centaur," in Isa 13:22 and 34:14 for 'iyim, and again in 34:14 for lilith; seirenes, "sirens," in Isa 13:21 for benoth ya`anah, and in 34:13 for tannim. We must bear in mind the uncertainty regarding the identity of tsiyim, 'iyim, 'ochim and tannim, as well as of some of the other names, and we must recall the tales that are hung about the name lilith (the King James Version "screech owl," the King James Version margin and the Revised Version (British and American) "night-monster," the Revised Version margin "Lilith"). While sa`ir is almost alone among these words in having ordinarily a well-understood meaning, i.e. "he-goat," there is good reason for considering that here it is used in an exceptional sense. The translation "satyr" has certainly much to be said for it. Alfred Ely Day

SATYR In Greek and Roman mythology, satyrs were sylvan gods associated with drunkenness and sexual licentiousness and characterized by a mixture of human and goatlike (or equine) features. Following the LXX and the Vulgate, some older English translations of the Bible rendered the noun sa’ir (“he-goat”) as “satyr” or “demon.” In several cases, the context suggests the translation “goat,” without connotations of the mythological entity (Isa. 13:21; 34:14). In two cases, the context does involve the worship of false deities (Lev. 17:7; 2 Chron. 11:15; and, with a minor textual emendation, possibly 2 Kings 23:8). In such cases, the translation “goat-idol” may be an appropriate way of avoiding the anachronism introduced by using the Greek-derived terms “satyr” and “demon” in the translation of the Hebrew text. (BORROW The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (BORROW) -  SATYRS שׂעירים
I.      The word śĕʿîrîm, the plural of śăʿîr ‘hairy’ (Gen 27:11 and often), i.e. ‘(hairy) he-goat’ (over 50 examples, in addition to its synonyms ʿattûd ‘he-goat’, ṣāpîr and tayiš), describes a group of creatures which are usually identified as ‘hairy demons, satyrs’ (Lev 17:7; Isa 13:21; 34:14; 2 Chr 11:15; HALAT 1250; for older translations see SNAITH 1975). The conjectured reading śĕʿîrîm for MT šĕʿārîm ‘gates’ in 2 Kgs 23:8 is old (BHS), but is to be rejected on the basis of current knowledge (SCHROER 1987: 133 with n. 292). On śĕʿîrîm in Deut 32:2 (‘May my discourse come down as the rain, My speech distil as the dew, Like showers [śeʿîrîm] on young growth, Like droplets on the grass.’) see HALAT 1250–1251, s.v. śāʿîr IV and M. DIETRICH & O. LORETZ, UF 21 (1989) 113–121, esp. 116–117.

II.      KEEL’s opinion that we do not know enough about →demons in the Syro-Palestinian region (1984) is to be reevaluated on the basis of more recent examinations. Nonetheless we do not possess clear iconographic witnesses to flesh out our conceptions of demonic ‘desert beings’, as the śĕʿîrîm must have been. The engraved scene on a Late Bronze Age ivory plaque from Megiddo (G. LOUD, The Megiddo Ivories, [OIP 52; Chicago 1939] Pl. 5:4.5), which has been discussed in this context (KEEL 1984:73 fig. 97), could hardly represent such a being (→Azazel). It belongs rather to the group of scenes of fighting animals, as they are known from Mesopotamia in Middle Assyrian glyptic art: a (male) sphinx in battle against a capride/bovide which he overcomes.

III.      According to 2 Chr 11:15 a special cult was established for the śĕʿîrîm of Jeroboam I (‘having appointed his own priests for the shrines, goat-demons [śeʿîrîm], and calves which he [Jeroboam] had made’), although their veneration had been expressly forbidden according to Lev 17:7: ‘and that they [the Israelites] may offer their sacrifices no more to the goat-demons [śĕʿîrîm] after whom they stray’. In this case the demonic intermediate creatures are employed in an ex post facto critique of the worship of foreign deities. It is possible that behind 2 Chr 11:15 are pictorial representations of śĕʿîrîm.

W. R. Smith, J. Wellhausen and others have compared the śĕʿîrîm with Arabic ǧinn (hairy demons in animal form, who can transform themselves into various shapes, including human form). On the other hand SNAITH considered the śĕʿîrîm of Lev 17:7; Deut 32:2 [sic!] and 2 Chr 11:15 storm demons (‘the rain-gods, the fertility deities, the →Baals of the rain-storms’ [1975:118]), while those of Isa 13:21 and 34:14 were simply animals (‘he-goats’) without any religious connotation (1975:115). Although this theory is not convincing in light of the inclusion of Deut 32:2, it is still difficult to say what manner of being the śĕʿîrîm were.

The following considerations are to be included in determining their function: The appearance of the śĕʿîrîm is nowhere described. Yet the image of a hairy (cf. śāʿîr ‘hairy’), goat-like (cf. śāʿîr ‘he-goat’) creature is probably not far off the mark; the śĕʿîrîm appear in uninhabited and devastated surroundings (Isa 13:19–22; 34:9–15; cf. Lev 17:5 ‘in the open’), which they haunt; they appear in the company of other sinister creatures (Isa 13:21–22: ṣiyyîm, ʾōḥîm [owls, hyenas or demons?], bĕnôt yaʿănâ [ostriches], *ʾiyyîm, tannîm [jackals, wolves?]; 34:13–15: tannîm, bĕnôt yaʿānâ, *ṣiyyîm, *ʾiyyîm, →Lilith [cf. Akkadian lilı̄tu], qippôz [a type of bird?], dayyôt [vultures?]), with whom they ‘meet’ (Isa 34:14); there they hold a (hopping/stamping) dance (rāqad pi. Isa 13:21, M. J. MULDER, TWAT 7 [1992] 665–668, esp. 666–667); finally for their negative connotation it is significant that the śĕʿîrîm appear in oracles of doom against Babylon (Isa 13:19–22) and Edom (Isa 34:9–15).

Thus the enigmatic śĕʿîrîm could have been beings of mixed form (he-goat/demon), who according to Isa 13:21; 34:14 inhabitated and symbolized an inhospitable world of derelict habitations. They were—illicitly—venerated (Lev 17:7; 2 Chr 11:15). The prohibition to worship the śĕʿîrîm is an expression of post-exilic polemic against foreign gods.

Various factors, including the development of the Jewish religion and Persian and Egyptian influences, led to pronounced but variant demonic conceptions in early Judaism (RAC 9 [1976] 627–631, 636). Belief in demons is widely attested not only in the Midrashim, but especially in the Babylonian Talmud (names and taxonomy in RAC 9 [1976] 669–674, 679–680). As dwelling places they preferred devastated areas, graveyards, ruins and the like, but also trees such as the palm. They surround human beings in vast numbers, attack them at night and steal whatever is not fastened or sealed. In regard to the śĕʿîrîm, SifreLev 17:7 gives the following definition: ‘śĕʿîrîm ‘the goat-like ones’ (Lev 17:7) means nothing other than demons šdym, as it is written: And śʿyrym (= demons) shall dance there (Isa 13:21).’ In a comparable way the Targums translate śʿyrym in Lev 17:7; Isa 13:21; 34:14 (śʿyr); 2 Chr 11:15 as šdym ‘demons’, cf. also GenR 65:10; LevR 22:5; b. Ber. 62b; b. BabBat. 25a; etc. (RAC 9 [1976] 670).

IV.      Bibliography
C. FREVEL, *תַּן, TWAT 8 (1995) 701–709; M. GÖRG, Dämonen, Neues Bibellexikon 1 (1991) 375–377; B. JANOWSKI & U. NEUMANN-GORSOLKE, Das Tier als Exponent dämonischer Mächte, Gefährten und Feinde des Menschen. Das Tier in der Lebenswelt des alten Israel (ed. B. Janowski et al.; Neukirchen-Vluyn 1993) 278–282 [& lit.]; O. KEEL, Die Welt der altorientalischen Bildsymbolik und das Alte Testament. Am Beispiel der Psalmen (Zürich, Einsiedeln, Köln & Neukirchen-Vluyn 41984) 68–74; J. C. DE MOOR, Demons in Canaan, JEOL 27 (1981–1982) 106–119; *S. SCHROER, In Israel gab es Bilder. Nachrichten von darstellender Kunst im Alten Testament (OBO 74; Fribourg & Göttingen 1987) 133–135; N. H. SNAITH, The Meaning of שְׂעִירִים, VT 25 (1975) 115–118; T. STAUBLI, Das Image der Nomaden im alten Israel und in der Ikonographie seiner seßhaften Nachbarn (OBO 107; Fribourg [CH] & Göttingen 1991) 177–179, 259–268; G. STEMBERGER, Dämonen III, TRE 8 (1981) 277–279; *G. WANKE, Dämonen II, TRE 8 (1991) 275–277 [& lit.]; H. WILDBERGER, Jesaja 13–27 (BKAT X/2; 1978) 523–524; H. WOHLSTEIN, Zur Tier-Dämonologie der Bibel, ZDMG 113 (1963) 483–492, esp. 487–489; D. P. WRIGHT, The Disposal of Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature (SBLDS 101; Atlanta 1987) 22–23, 27–28. 


QUESTION - What is the significance of high places in the Bible?

ANSWER - High places, very simply, were places of worship on elevated pieces of ground. High places were originally dedicated to idol worship (Numbers 33:52; Leviticus 26:30), especially among the Moabites (Isaiah 16:12). These shrines often included an altar and a sacred object such as a stone pillar or wooden pole in various shapes identified with the object of worship (animals, constellations, goddesses, and fertility deities). It seems that, at times, high places were set up in a spot that had been artificially elevated; 2 Kings 16:4 seems to differentiate the “high places” from the “hills.”

The Israelites, forever turning away from God, practiced Molech worship and built high places for Baal (Jeremiah 32:35). Although Solomon built the temple of God in Jerusalem, he later established idolatrous high places for his foreign wives outside of Jerusalem and worshiped with them, causing him the loss of the kingdom (1 Kings 11:11). The people were still sacrificing at the pagan high places before the temple was built, and Solomon joined them. After the Lord appeared to him in a dream at Gibeon, the king returned to Jerusalem and sacrificed offerings; however, he continued to waver between the two places of worship.

Not all high places were dedicated to idol worship. They played a major role in Israelite worship, and the earliest biblical mention of a site of worship, later called a “high place,” is found in Genesis 12:6–8 where Abram built altars to the Lord at Shechem and Hebron. Abraham built an altar in the region of Moriah and was willing to sacrifice his son there (Genesis 22:1–2). This site is traditionally believed to be the same high place where the temple of Jerusalem was built. Jacob set up a stone pillar to the Lord at Bethel (Genesis 28:18–19), and Moses met God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1–3).

Joshua set up stone pillars after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 4:20) and considered this a high place of worship because the Israelites “came up from” the Jordan onto higher ground. The high places were visited regularly by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 7:16). High places as sites of Canaanite idol worship (Judges 3:19) extended into the period of Elijah (1 Kings 18:16–40). God would name only one high place where sacrifice was authorized, and that was the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). God commanded that all other high places be destroyed. King Josiah destroyed them in 2 Kings 22—23.GotQuestions.org

2 Chronicles 11:16 Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers.

  • And after (KJV): 2Ch 15:9 30:11,18,19 Jos 22:19 Ps 84:5-7 
  • set (KJV): Ex 9:21 *marg: De 32:46 1Sa 7:3,4 1Ch 22:19 Job 34:14 Ps 62:10 108:1 Da 6:14 Ho 4:8 Hag 1:5 *marg: Ac 11:23 
  • to sacrifice (KJV): De 12:5,6,11,13,14 1Ch 16:29 22:1 

Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the LORD God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers

Geoffrey Kirkland: In Chronicles, to seek God marries 3 elements together: 1. Earnestness (with your passion/desiring/hungry/passionate) 2. Constancy (at all times) 3. Genuinely (from the heart)

Andrew Hill: The phrase “the God of their fathers” (2Ch 11:16) is suggestive, almost an implicit censure of Jeroboam’s gods because they have no standing in Israel’s history. The influx of loyal priests and Levites and faithful Israelites from the northern tribal districts strengthens Rehoboam’s rule and bolsters morale in Judah (2Ch 11:17a).

C H Spurgeon - “Birds of a feather flock together,” so those in Israel who feared the Lord went where their ministers had gone; this movement would bring about an emigration of some of the best of the population, to reside near to the sacred shrine where Jehovah was worshipped; and it must have tended still further to the strengthening of Rehoboam’s little kingdom.

G Campbell Morgan - 2Ch 11:16-17 - Whatever there may have been of right in the revolt of the ten tribes from the despotism of Rehoboam, that movement was misdirected from the first. Jeroboam was a strong man, but actuated by policy on the low level of human cleverness, rather than by faith. He commenced his reign over the Northern Kingdom by setting up a new centre of worship and a new order of priests. He attempted to adapt religion in the interest of the State, and thus destroyed both. One of his acts was that of casting the Levites out of the land. They passed down into Judah. Then the thing happened recorded in these words, In all those northern tribes there were those to whom the deepest things of the national life, those, namely, of its relation to Jehovah, were of most importance. This remnant of loyal souls, gathered out of all the tribes, left their own country and went to Judah. Thus the Southern Kingdom was strengthened in the best way by the accession of faithful souls. These are the people who, in every age, have been the real strength of human history, and through whom God has continued His onward march toward the realization of His purposes; the people who count their relation to Him, and loyalty to His will, more than kith or kin or country. Exodus and emigration have very often been the ways of God's advance in the course of time. Such movements have always been sacrificial, but they have been deliverances.

F B Meyer - All the tribes were represented in those great convocations around the Temple and Ark of God. The territory of the northern tribes was now under Jeroboam; the gulf between the two kingdoms was marked and distinct. Everything was done by the son of Nebat to make it difficult for his people to cross the frontier; but their spiritual affinities prevailed. They were stronger than the antipathy which Rehoboam’s haughty behavior had excited; stronger than the fear of incurring odium with their own king; stronger than the inconvenience of the long journey. In spite of everything, those whose hearts were set on seeking the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers.

Does not this foreshadow the unity of the Church of Christ? Territorial distinctions, the risk of incurring disfavor, the necessity of making a sacrifice, these things are as nothing compared with the attraction of our common Lord. Amid wide disunion and disparity of every kind, there is one mighty bond which draws believers of every nation, kindred, tribe, and people together. Each morning we all ascend the steps of the same temple of prayer; each evening we join in one great hymn of praise; at each Lord’s Supper we sit at the same table. Eating of one Bread, we know that we are one Loaf; drinking of one Cup, we profess our indebtedness to the same precious Blood for our hope and ground of acceptance (1 Corinthians 10:17, R. V., marg.).

We must set our hearts, if we desire to execute any great purpose in our life: otherwise we shall be daunted and checkmated by the strong opposition of men and things.

2 Chronicles 11:17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years, for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.

  • strengthened (KJV): 2Ch 12:1 
  • three years (KJV): 2Ch 1:1-12 7:17-19 8:13-16 Ho 6:4 Mt 13:20,21 

They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years, for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.

Ryrie - Three years of obedience brought blessing. In his fourth year Rehoboam forsook God's law (2Ch 12:1), and God punished him the following year (12:2). 

Dillard - “One way the Chronicler demonstrates the cycles of obedience and blessing or sin and punishment that are the basis of retribution theology is by introducing chronological notes [v. 17] into his record. (BORROW 2 Chronicles)

Frederick Mabie: In comparison with the apostasy and syncretism of Jeroboam in the northern kingdom (see 2Ch 11:13-15 above), the influx of the God-seeking people, priests, and Levites seems to stimulate a time of political strength and spiritual fervor in the southern kingdom. Unfortunately, this time of righteousness lasts only three years. . . the political strength attained in the southern kingdom facilitated the perilous step away from complete dependency on God and obedience to his ways (cf. 1Co 10:12).

Spurgeon -  No wonder, therefore, that Rehoboam’s kingdom was strengthened by the advent of these men, who were, doubtless, the best men in the whole country, men who feared the Lord,-men who knew the law, and who knew how to teach the people what they should do.

J.A. Thompson: For three years after his accession Rehoboam remained true to the faith of Israel, walking in the ways of David and Solomon. In his fourth year he abandoned the law of God (cf. 2Ch 12:1–2). The invasion of Pharaoh Shishak followed. The period when divine blessing accompanied obedience gave way to a period of sin and consequent punishment, thus illustrating the Chronicler's doctrine of divine retribution.

Iain Duguid: Previously Rehoboam had “made the fortresses strong” (2Ch 11:11, 12), but now it is “they,” faithful people, who “strengthened the kingdom of Judah” (v. 17). Security was to be based not on military preparedness but on walking “in the way of David and Solomon” concerning the worship of “the Lord, the God of their fathers.” Sadly this lasted for only three years.

Raymond Dillard: “Ways of David and Solomon.” This phrase is symptomatic of the Chronicler’s idealization of Solomon; considering the portrait of Solomon in Kings, one would not expect that author to make such a statement. Contrast his evaluation that Solomon’s “heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh his God as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kgs 11:4) with the Chronicler’s favorable assessment of Rehoboam’s “walking in the ways of David and Solomon.”

2 Chronicles 11:18 Then Rehoboam took as a wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse,

  • daughter (KJV): Eliab was David's eldest brother; and more than eighty years had elapsed since David, at the age of thirty, began to reign: Abigail must therefore have been grand-daughter to Eliab; and this shows the latitude in which the words son and daughter are used in Scripture.
  • Eliab (KJV): 1Sa 16:6 17:13,28 1Ch 2:13 27:18, Elihu

hen Rehoboam took as a wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse,

August Konkel: A large family was the third sign of divine blessing. The number of wives and children of Rehoboam are probably the total of his reign rather than those accumulated by his fifth year. The genealogy may explain why the eldest son did not receive the kingdom. It was a violation to transfer the privilege of firstborn because of a greater love for one wife (Deut 21:15–17), but rights of primogeniture were not always followed. The appointment of Abijah may have been as coregent to provide for orderly succession. Rehoboam’s dispersal of the royal princes extended control of the royal family into the outlying districts and provided for a smooth transition of power. It made the chance of a revolt or attempted coup less likely. (Multipart Video Series on 1-2 Chronicles)

J. Barton Payne: Abihail was the wife of Jerimoth and mother of Mahalath, not a second wife of Rehoboam (cf. ASV). Manchah (Michaiah,2Ch 13:2) must have been Absalom’s grand-daughter, through his daughter Tamar, the wife of Uriel (2Ch 13:2; cf. II Sam 14:27; 18:18).

Ron Daniel - (2Ch 11:18-22) Rehoboam's Wives And Sons - These verses give us Rehoboam's family situation. He ended up with 18 wives and 60 concubines, and fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters. His favorite wife was Mah-ak-AW (a cousin through his uncle Absalom). Their son Abijah was Rehoboam's choice for his successor.

2 Chronicles 11:19 and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.

and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.

2 Chronicles 11:20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.

  • Maachah (KJV): 2Ch 11:21 13:2, Michaiah the daughter of Uriel
  • Absalom (KJV): 1Ki 15:2, Abishalom
  • Abijah (KJV): 2Ch 12:16 1Ki 15:1, Abijam, Mt 1:7, Abia

After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.

Morris - According to 2 Samuel 14:27, Absalom's only daughter was named Tamar. It is possible that Maachah was another name for Tamar. More likely, Maachah was the granddaughter of Absalom (the Hebrew word "daughter," bath, is sufficiently flexible to allow this meaning).

Walter Kaiser - 2Ch 11:20  Who Was Absalom’s Daughter?

In 2 Samuel 14:27 Tamar is spoken of as the only daughter of Absalom. Why, then, is Maacah also called Absalom’s daughter?

Tamar was named after Absalom’s sister, whom Absalom’s half brother, Amnon, had raped, but whom Absalom avenged by killing him. Later Tamar married Uriel of Gibeah. Their daughter was Maacah, who married King Rehoboam, and was the mother of the next king, Abijam. Thus Rehoboam’s wife Maacah was actually the granddaughter of Absalom, through Absalom’s immediate daughter Tamar.

The use of the word daughter to fit the concept of granddaughter is a phenomenon not unknown in Hebrew. See the similar usage in Genesis 46:15, where the “sons” of Leah includes grandsons. (see Hard Sayings of the Bible)

2 Chronicles 11:21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. For he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

  • eighteen wives (KJV): 2Ch 11:23 De 17:17 Jud 8:30 2Sa 3:2-5 5:13 1Ki 11:3 1Ch 3:1-9 Song 6:8,9 


Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. For he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

Andrew Hill: The Chronicler reports the practice of polygamy in the Davidic dynasty as a matter of fact—apparently accepting the cultural convention (despite the Mosaic prohibition against kings taking many wives, Deut. 17:17). Thompson appropriately reminds us of the tragic aspect of polygamy in the inevitable favoritism shown to a particular wife in the harem. Typically in such marriages in the Old Testament, favoritism bred jealousy, jealousy hatred, and hatred too often resulted in destructive behavior patterns.

It should be noted, in addition to his own eighteen wives and sixty concubines (11:21), Rehoboam is responsible for supporting his father Solomon’s harem (since royal women were “property” of the state in perpetuity). This obligation may have had something to do with his decision to levy a tax hike on his subjects.

Payne - “By taking ‘eighteen wives’ Rehoboam willfully disregarded the law of God, both in respect to kingly abuse (Deuteronomy 17:17) and in respect to polygamous marriage … not to mention his disregard of the disastrous precedent set by his father, Solomon, from which he should have learned caution.” 

G Campbell Morgan - “He was, however, the son of his father; and, even in the years of peace and prosperity, the animal nature came out in the multiplicity of wives and concubines, until he had practically established, as did his father, a harem on the pattern of the corrupt kings around him.”

2 Chronicles 11:22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as head and leader among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.

  • made Abijah (KJV): De 21:15-17 1Ch 5:1,2 29:1 

Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as head and leader among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.

Iain Duguid: Again a striking contrast with Jeroboam is seen: while Rehoboam is able to appoint his son “Abijah” as his successor (cf. 2 Chron. 12:16), Jeroboam’s favorite son, also “Abijah,” dies as evidence that God is bringing Jeroboam’s line to an end (1 Kings 14:1–17).The Chronicler’s addition of this chapter has pointedly illustrated what can happen when king and people follow God faithfully. The mention, however, of “three years” (2 Chron. 11:17) is ominous; present behavior is no guarantee of the future.

Adam Clarke - Abijah certainly was not the first-born of Rehoboam; but as he loved Maachah more than any of his wives, so he preferred her son, probably through his mother’s influence.”

Martin Selman: Rehoboam’s growing family is the final symbol of blessing (cf. 1 Ch. 26:5; cf. 25:5) and of strength (2 Ch. 13:21). Again, however, there are signs that this was not an unmixed blessing. While Rehoboam’s father’s wives had led him astray (1 Ki. 11:3), his own preference for a later wife, Maacah (vv. 20-21); note “After her,” v. 20, NRSV, RSV, JB; then, NIV), and the promotion of her son Abijah as his successor (vv. 22), directly contravened the Deuteronomic law (Dt. 21:15-17). (BORROW 2 Chronicles : a commentary)

Andrew Hill: The concluding verse of the regnal résumé lauds Rehoboam’s wisdom in “dispersing some of his sons throughout the districts of Judah” (11:23). Rehoboam apparently imitates his father’s practice of delegation of royal authority by means of district governors (cf. 1 Kings 4:7–19), but he makes those appointments from princes within the royal household rather than from tribal leaders. The policy yields practical benefits: preventing the infighting experienced in David’s royal household by prospective successors to the throne, solidifying the king’s position, guarding against disloyalty in the form of an Absalom-like coup, ensuring an heir for the continuation of the dynasty (since housing the royal family in one location makes it easier for a usurper to execute all rivals), and extending the influence of the royal family to outlying districts

J. Barton Payne: He dealt wisely by delegating to his sons authority in the national defense, and be providing them with substance and with wives (ASV); but also by dispersing them, to insure the undisputed succession of Abijah, the designated heir (v. 22).

2 Chronicles 11:23 He acted wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities, and he gave them food in abundance. And he sought many wives for them.

  • he dealt (KJV): 2Ch 10:8-15 Lu 16:8 
  • dispersed (KJV): 2Ch 21:3 Ge 25:6 1Ki 1:5,6 
  • every fenced city (KJV): 2Ch 11:11 
  • many wives (KJV): Heb. a multitude of wives, 2Ch 11:21 

He acted wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities, and he gave them food in abundance. And he sought many wives for them.

Ryrie - The meaning is this: Rehoboam made his sons deputies throughout the kingdom and sought wives for them. 

Ron Daniel - 2Ch 11:23-12:1 Rehoboam Acts Wisely, Then Forsakes The Lord - Rehoboam is a guy that I just can't figure out. He foolishly responds to the people's request, but then wisely heeds the warning against attacking his relatives. Now, he wisely distributes his sons throughout Judah, but then foolishly forsakes the Law of God. I think that Rehoboam is a good example of the "double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). This is a dangerous man. His wise leadership causes people to follow after him, but then his departure from the Word makes people fall with him. Beware of people who are wise in their actions, but walk in defiance of God's commands.

Paul Apple - DEVOTIONAL QUESTIONS: 1) What type of attacks did Rehoboam fear that caused him to put such an emphasis on strengthening his defenses around the territory of Judah and Benjamin? 2) What type of financial sacrifices are we prepared to make to hold fast to our biblical convictions? 3) Why did the passion for following in the covenant ways of David and Solomon start to dissipate after only three years? 4) Why doesn’t the OT speak out more forcefully against polygamy?


Raymond Dillard: Goldingay (BTB 5 [1975] 102–4) suggests that the Chronicler’s account of Rehoboam was structured around the narratives concerning Jeroboam in 1 Kgs 12:25—14:20 such that each section in the deuteronomic account has an equivalent in Chronicles:

1. Jeroboam fortifies cities (12:25); so does Rehoboam (11:5–12).

2. Jeroboam seeks strength through religious policies (12:26–33); Rehoboam finds strength through Jeroboam’s religious policies (11:13–17).

a. Jeroboam fears loss of people (12:26–27); Rehoboam gains people (11:16–17a).

b. Jeroboam founds sinful cult (12:28–30); Rehoboam practices correct cult (11:17b).

c. Jeroboam ignores priests and Levites (12:31–33); Rehoboam gains priests and Levites (11:13–15).

3. The consequences of Jeroboam’s actions are trouble for him (13:1–32), whereas Rehoboam’s actions produce blessing (11:18–21).

4. Jeroboam’s son Abijah is prevented from succeeding him (13:33—14:20), but Rehoboam’s son Abijah is prepared for succession (11:22–23).

Not all of the parallels Goldingay suggests are that obvious (e.g., 1 Kgs 12:28–30 // 11:17b), nor are the passages in the same sequence. However, at a rhetorical level Rehoboam’s early reign is in sharp contrast to the events in the North.

Mark Boda: [The key to success shown in 11:13-17] Rather than connecting the success directly to Rehoboam, the Chronicler links it to both the infusion of priests and Levites from the north who had been rejected by Jeroboam’s new cult at Bethel and Dan (1 Kgs 12:25-33), as well as to the people from all the northern tribes who “sincerely wanted to worship the Lord, the God of Israel,” here using terminology typical of the Chronicler. Not surprisingly the Chronicler highlights the faithfulness of the sacred personnel, who have played a significant role in his narrative to this point, as well as to the impact that such faithfulness could have on the people as a whole. The standard of faithfulness continues to be David and Solomon, an allusion to the portrait of these kings in 1 Chronicles 10 – 2 Chronicles 9. The role also that northern Israelites play in this scene is a careful reminder that members of these tribes still had a role to play in the remnant of Israel, even if it suggests a wariness about worship practices in the northern territories, possibly even in the Chronicler’s day. In this the Chronicler shows that the values of David and Solomon can endure through the orders they sponsored (priests and Levites) and the community they created, even without the royal house.

Geoffrey Kirkland: The Corrupt Leadership of King Rehoboam

I. THE DOMINATION OF REHOBOAM (:1-4) The point here is: domineering leadership

II. THE DEVOTION OF REHOBOAM (:5-12) The point here is: distracted devotion

III. THE DEFILEMENT OF REHOBOAM (:13-17) The point here is: defiled worship

IV. THE DISOBEDIENCE OF REHOBOAM (:18-23) The point here is: deliberate disobedience

Michael Stark: Making the Pagans Happy (for a While) Summary: Godliness exalts a nation. Ungodliness condemns a nation. A study of the migration of godly people from a nation turning from righteousness and the impact their leaving had on that nation and the nation to which the immigrated. Spiritual leaders from the Northern Kingdom, together with many individuals who wanted to honour the Living God, migrated to the Southern Kingdom. There, their presence “strengthened the kingdom of Judah.” I find it fascinating to note that the Word of God states that their exodus from Israel made Rehoboam “secure.” Migration from the northern kingdom made the southern kingdom secure. I suppose it would have been easy to complain that it was a gentle revolution and that such an influx would threaten the culture. However, the Bible saw matters differently. It is essential that we recognise that this was not an invasion that would alter the culture of Judah; those moving into the kingdom would adopt the culture of their new nation rather than insisting that Judah adapt to them.

You may recall that Jeroboam had compromised the Faith and led the people into gross idolatry. It wasn’t that he meant to dishonour God, but he couldn’t trust God to secure his kingdom, so he took matters into his own hands and made representations of the God of Heaven so that people wouldn’t seek God in His Temple in Jerusalem. The result was that Jeroboam so compromised the Faith that people of conscience could not tolerate what Israel had become.

However, let’s go back to the beginning. God promoted Jeroboam to reign over the northern tribes, tearing those tribes from Solomon’s son because of compromise, Jeroboam was not willing to trust God to keep him on the throne. The Word pointedly states that God exalted this man Jeroboam, elevating him to the throne of what would become the northern kingdom. We read the account in 1 Kings 11:26-32.

Think this through; God chose Jeroboam and promoted him to a position of authority. God did this because of the sin of Solomon. In this same passage, we see God saying of Solomon and of what would become the land of Israel, 1 Kings 11:33-38. . .

Jeroboam chose to dishonour God, pursuing his own religion. However, his actions brought about was an impact he had not anticipated. As result of Jeroboam’s choice, the Levites, God’s chosen servants for duties in the Temple, were presented with their own choice—they could have a secure job in the new religion, or they could honour God. They could not do both! The text before us this day makes it apparent that at considerable cost to themselves and their families, the Levites—en masse— chose to honour the LORD God. They chose to leave their homes, leave the Levitical cities that God had given their families and migrate to the Southern Kingdom; and all who longed to honour God followed these godly Levites in their migration.

The sudden influx of so many godly people strengthened Judah. The Bible says that immediately, Rehoboam was made secure through their exodus. This was because the newcomers chose God over comfort. You see, the presence of the godly is a threat to the wicked. It is not that the godly would ever attack the wicked, but the godly cannot simply “go along to get along.” The godly answer to God, and not to man. The godly are less concerned about the feelings of the wicked than they are concerned to honour Him who redeemed them. https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/making-the-pagans-happy-for-a-whilemichael-stark-sermon-on-christian-life-229880?page=2&wc=800




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