Following the death of King Solomon, his kingdom was divided into two. Read: 1 Kings 11:41-12:24 and 2 Chronicles 9:31-12:16.
The southern kingdom was called the House of Judah and, in 931BC, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam became their king, reigning for 18 years. Rehoboam in Hebrew means: Free of the people.
The tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon formed the southern kingdom and many of the Levites and others from other tribes that were faithful to God moved to this southern kingdom from the rebelling northern kingdom.
King Rehoboam died in 913BC.
41 Now the rest of Solomon’s accomplishments, including everything else he did, as well as records of his wisdom, are recorded in the Book of the Acts of Solomon, are they not? 42 Solomon reigned over all of Israel from Jerusalem for a total of 40 years. 43 Then Solomon died, as had his ancestors, and he was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam reigned in his place.
Secession of the Northern Tribes – they Rebel against Rehoboam
1 Rehoboam traveled to Shechem because all of Israel went there to install him as king. 2 Nebat’s son Jeroboam heard about it while he was still in Egypt, where he had fled to get away from King Solomon. Jeroboam returned from Egypt 3 after being summoned. When Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel arrived, they spoke to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our burdens unbearable. Therefore lighten your father’s requirements and his heavy burdens that he placed on us, and we’ll serve you.”
5 “Come again in three days,” Rehoboam told them. So the people left 6 while King Rehoboam conferred with his advisors who had worked for his father Solomon during his administration. He asked them, “What is your advice as to how I should respond to these people?”
7 They advised him, “If today you are a servant, you will serve this people by answering them and speaking kindly to them. Then they will serve you forever.”
8 But Rehoboam ignored the counsel that his elder advisors had given him. Instead, he consulted the younger men who had grown up with him and who worked for him. 9 As a result, he asked them, “What’s your advice so that we can give an answer to these people who have asked me, ‘Please lighten the burden that your father put on us.’?”
10 “This is what you should tell these people who asked you ‘Your father made our burden heavy, but you must make it lighter for us!’” the young men who grew up with Rehoboam replied. “Tell them, ‘My little finger will be thicker than my father’s whole body! 11 Not only that, but since my father loaded you down heavily, I’m going to add to that burden. My father disciplined you with whips, but I’m going to discipline you with scorpions!’”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people went back to Rehoboam on the third day, just as they had been directed when the king said, “Come back again in three days.” 13 But the king gave the people a harsh response, because he was ignoring the counsel that his elders had given him. 14 Instead, Rehoboam spoke to them along the lines of what the younger men suggested. He told them “My father burdened you heavily, but I will add to that burden. If my father disciplined you with whips, I’m going to discipline you with scorpions!”
15 The king would not listen to the people, because the turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill his prediction that the LORD spoke by means of Ahijah the Shilonite to Nebat’s son Jeroboam 16 When all of Israel saw that the king wasn’t listening to them, the people responded to the king’s message, “What’s the point in following David? We have no inheritance in the descendants of Jesse. Let’s go home, Israel! David, take care of your own household!’ So Israel left for home. 17 And so Rehoboam ruled over the Israelis who lived in the cities of Judah.
18 King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was in charge of conscripted labor, but all of Israel stoned him to death, and King Rehoboam had to jump in his chariot and flee back in a hurry to Jerusalem. 19 That’s how Israel came to be in rebellion against David’s dynasty to this day.
Jeroboam Reigns over Israel
20 Now when all of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent for him and invited him to visit their assembly, where they installed him as king over all of Israel. Nobody (with the sole exception of the tribe of Judah) would align with David’s dynasty. 21 As soon as Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he assembled 180,000 elite soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, intending to attack the dynasty of Israel and restore the kingdom to Solomon’s son Rehoboam. 22 But a message from God came to Shemaiah, a man of God: 23 “Tell Solomon’s son Rehoboam, king of Judah, all the dynasty of Judah, Benjamin, and the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what the LORD says: “You are not to fight or even approach your fellow Israelis in battle. Every soldier is to return to his own home, because this development comes from me.”’” So they listened to what the LORD had to say and returned home, just as the LORD had directed.
Rehoboam King of Judah
14:21 Meanwhile, Solomon’s son Rehoboam reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king, and he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city where the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to place his Name. His mother was an Ammonite named Naamah. 22 Judah practiced what the LORD considered to be evil. They did more to provoke him to jealousy than their ancestors had ever done by committing the sins that they committed. 23 They erected high places, sacred pillars, and Asherim for themselves on every high hill and under every green tree. 24 They even maintained male shrine prostitutes throughout the land, and imitated every detestable practice that the nations practiced whom the LORD had expelled in front of the Israelis.
25 As a result, during the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt invaded and attacked Jerusalem. 26 He stripped the LORD’s Temple and the royal palace of their treasures. He took everything, even the gold shields that Solomon had made. 27 King Rehoboam made shields out of bronze to take their place, and then committed them to the care and custody of the commanders of those who guarded the entrance to the royal palace. 28 Whenever the king entered the LORD’s Temple, the guards would carry them to and from the guard’s quarters.
29 As to the rest of Rehoboam’s accomplishments, and everything else that he undertook, they are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, aren’t they? 30 There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, 31 but eventually Rehoboam died, as had his ancestors, and he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother’s name had been Naamah the Ammonite, and his son Abijah became king to replace him.
1 Kings 14:21-31
Also read 2nd Chronicles 9:31-12:16.
Other modules in this unit:
- King Rehoboam the 1st king of Judah
- King Abijah or Abijam the 2nd king of Judah
- King Asa the 3rd and a Good King of Judah
- King Jehoshaphat the 4th and a Good King of Judah
- King Jehoram the 5th King of Judah
- King Ahaziah the 6th King of Judah
- Queen Athaliah the 7th King of Judah
- Joash the 8th King of Judah
- King Amaziah the 9th and a Good King of Judah
- King Azariah the 10th and a good King of Judah
- King Jotham the 11th and a good King of Judah
- King Ahaz the 12th King of Judah
- King Hezekiah was the 13th and a Good King of Judah
- King Manasseh the 14th King of Judah
- King Amon the 15th King of Judah
- King Josiah the 16th and a good King of Judah
- King Jehoahaz the 17th King of Judah
- King Jehoiakim the 18th King of Judah
- King Jehoiachin the 19th King of Judah
- King Zedekiah the 20th and last King of Judah
- The 20 Kings of Judah who ruled between – 931BC-586BC=345 years
- Timeline of the Kings of Judah
- Next Module – Kings of Israel