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Egypt Attacks Judah (2 Chronicles 12; 1 Kings 14:21-31) January 12

As we saw earlier, Solomon likely married the daughter of Pharaoh as the seal of an alliance between Israel and Egypt. But we also saw that Egypt's sheltering of Jeroboam probably indicated the end of that alliance. With the division of Israel and Judah, the little realm of Rehoboam became a tempting target for Egyptian expansion.

Despite his weakened position, Rehoboam foolishly departed from the Lord, and this within five years of assuming the throne. As a consequence, the protecting hand of God was withdrawn from Judah and the cruel hand of Egypt was stretched out against Rehoboam. The Egyptians undertook a massive assault against Judah and the prophet Shemaiah clearly explained the cause. Fortunately Rehoboam and Judah repented, saying, "The LORD is righteous" (2 Chronicles 12:6), thereby confessing they deserved punishment for their idolatry.

God saw this repentance and decided to lighten—not remove—the punishment. As a consequence, Judah became a vassal state of Egypt, and Pharaoh Shishak took all the treasures in the king's house and the temple. "He took everything," states the Scripture (verse 9). It is interesting to note that the Ark of the Covenant was apparently not taken, however, because it was in the possession of the Levites in Josiah's reign (2 Chronicles 35:3).

Rehoboam ended his days after a 17-year reign. Tragically, most of his reign was wasted as a petty vassal king, dominated by Egypt, without much power, and constantly engaged in border skirmishes with Israel to the north. The Scripture closes its history of Rehoboam by noting that "he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD" (12:14). What a pity—so much tragedy could have been avoided had he only devoted himself to seeking God.

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