2Ch 12:1-12. Rehoboam,
Forsaking God, Is Punished by
1. when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and
had strengthened himself—(See on 2Ch
11:17). During the first three years of his reign his royal
influence was exerted in the encouragement of the true religion.
Security and ease led to religious decline, which, in the fourth year,
ended in open apostasy. The example of the court was speedily followed
by his subjects, for "all Israel was with him," that is, the people in
his own kingdom. The very next year, the fifth of his reign, punishment
was inflicted by the invasion of Shishak.
2. Shishak king of Egypt came up against
Jerusalem—He was the first king of the twenty-second or
Bubastic Dynasty. What was the immediate cause of this invasion?
Whether it was in resentment for some provocation from the king of
Judah, or in pursuance of ambitious views of conquest, is not said. But
the invading army was a vast horde, for Shishak brought along with his
native Egyptians an immense number of foreign auxiliaries.
3-5. the Lubims—the Libyans of
the Sukkiims—Some think these were the
Kenite Arabs, dwellers in tents, but others maintain more justly that
these were Arab troglodytes, who inhabited the caverns of a mountain
range on the western coast of the Red Sea.
and the Ethiopians—from the regions
south of Egypt. By the overwhelming force of numbers, they took the
fortresses of Judah which had been recently put in a state of defense,
and marched to lay siege to the capital. While Shishak and his army was
before Jerusalem, the prophet Shemaiah addressed Rehoboam and the
princes, tracing this calamity to the national apostasy and threatening
them with utter destruction in consequence of having forsaken God
6. the princes of Israel—(compare 2Ch 12:5, "the princes of Judah").
7, 8. when the Lord saw that they humbled
themselves—Their repentance and contrition was followed by
the best effects; for Shemaiah was commissioned to announce that the
phial of divine judgment would not be fully poured out on
them—that the entire overthrow of the kingdom of Judah would not
take place at that time, nor through the agency of Shishak; and yet,
although it should enjoy a respite from total subversion, [Judah]
should become a tributary province of Egypt in order that the people
might learn how much lighter and better is the service of God than that
of idolatrous foreign despots.
9. So Shishak … came up against
Jerusalem—After the parenthetical clause (2Ch 12:5-8) describing the feelings and state
of the beleaguered court, the historian resumes his narrative of the
attack upon Jerusalem, and the consequent pillage both of the temple
and the palace.
he took all—that is, everything
valuable he found. The cost of the targets and shields has been
estimated at about £239,000 [Napier, Ancient Workers in Metal].
the shields of gold—made by Solomon,
were kept in the house of the forest of Lebanon (2Ch 9:16). They seem to have been borne, like
maces, by the guards of the palace, when they attended the king to the
temple or on other public processions. Those splendid insignia having
been plundered by the Egyptian conqueror, others were made of inferior
metal and kept in the guard room of the palace, to be ready for use;
as, notwithstanding the tarnished glory of the court, the old state
etiquette was kept up on public and solemn occasions. An account of
this conquest of Judah, with the name of "king of Judah" in the
cartouche of the principal captive, according to the interpreters, is
carved and written in hieroglyphics on the walls of the great palace of
Karnak, where it may be seen at the present day. This sculpture is
about twenty-seven hundred years old, and is of peculiar interest as a
striking testimony from Egypt to the truth of Scripture history.
12. when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord
turned from him—The promise (2Ch 12:7) was verified. Divine providence
preserved the kingdom in existence, a reformation was made in the
court, while true religion and piety were diffused throughout the
2Ch 12:13-16. His Reign and
13, 14. Rehoboam strengthened … and
reigned—The Egyptian invasion had been a mere predatory
expedition, not extending beyond the limits of Judah, and probably, ere
long, repelled by the invaded. Rehoboam's government acquired new life
and vigor by the general revival of true religion, and his reign
continued many years after the departure of Shishak. But
he prepared not his heart to seek the
Lord—that is, he did not adhere firmly to the good course of
reformation he had begun, "and he did evil," for through the unhappy
influence of his mother, a heathen foreigner, he had no doubt received
in his youth a strong bias towards idolatry (see on 1Ki 14:21).