Until Rehoboam ascends the throne in 2 Chronicles 10, the only clouds darkening the skies above Israel have been David’s census and the LORD’s warning to Solomon of the consequences of forsaking Him. The trajectory has been of continuous ascent, even as those opening genealogies, and their implications, have hung in the background. This is the tension in which the Chronicler resides.
The tension opens on at least three fronts today. First, we’re introduced to Jeroboam, who returned from Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon, and seeks an audience with Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Jeroboam apparently has a following – it says that “all Israel” came with him – and he offers allegiance in exchange for one demand: “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now lighten the hard service of your father…” I’ll let you read how this unfolds, but in chapter 11 we see Rehoboam shoring up his defenses in Judah and Benjamin alone, and in Rehoboam’s epitaph we learn that there were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
No sooner does Rehoboam settle in than Shishak, king of Egypt, leads an army of chariots and horsemen and sacks Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house. Moreover, the LORD gives Judah over to the service of Egypt, that they may know My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries. It’s hard to believe that five short years after Solomon’s death, the gold shields that had furnished the Temple have been carried to Egypt.
All of this came about, though, because Rehoboam had abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. Even after the LORD spared Jerusalem from total destruction, Rehoboam did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD. Given the Chronicler’s connection between Israel’s prosperity and the faithfulness of her leaders, we’ll watch now as the strength of this theme, and the LORD’s patience, are tested.
Our verse for this week is Matthew 25:40: And the king will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me.”
2 Chronicles 10 through 12. Now let’s read it!
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’