May 13, 2007
II Chronicles 9-12
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- And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
- And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.
- And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
- And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
- And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:
- Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: thou exceedest the fame that I heard.
- Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.
- Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.
- And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.
- And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.
- And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king's palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.
- And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants.
- Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold;
- Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
- And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target.
- And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
- Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
- And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:
- And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.
- And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
- For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
- And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
- And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.
- And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.
- And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
- And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.
- And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance.
- And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.
- Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
- And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
- And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
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- And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.
- And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
- And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,
- Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.
- And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
- And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
- And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
- But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.
- And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
- And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.
- For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
- So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
- And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
- And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
- So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
- And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
- But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
- Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
- And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.
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- And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
- But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
- Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
- Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.
- And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
- He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
- And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
- And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
- And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
- And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
- And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
- And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
- And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.
- For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:
- And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.
- And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.
- So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
- And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;
- Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.
- And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
- And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)
- And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
- And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.
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- And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.
- And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,
- With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.
- And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.
- Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
- Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
- And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
- Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
- So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
- Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king's house.
- And when the king entered into the house of the LORD, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber.
- And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.
- So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
- And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
- Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
- And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.
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Thought for the day:
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Chapter 9 concludes with the statement that Rehoboam took over the leadership of Israel following the death of his father Solomon. As we have seen previously, he did not get off to a good start because he chose to reject the wisdom of his more mature advisors and instead followed the foolish advice of his young companions (
10:8). This resulted in the split which took place between the ten tribes of Israel, which formed the northern kingdom, and the two tribes of Judah, which formed the southern kingdom. Rehoboam desired to reunite the kingdom by force (
11:1), but God did not allow him to do it. Aside from this, Rehoboam got off to a pretty good start. He built cities and fortified them, and he stored up food for the future. In addition, he continued to establish Judah spiritually. The priests and the Levites, who were not welcome in the northern kingdom of Jeroboam, came to Judah to practice their worship of Jehovah. This led to a wholesale migration of Jews who wanted to serve God coming to Jerusalem.
Chapter 11, verse 16 puts it this way,
"And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers."
The best and brightest, and those who loved the Lord, were flocking to Jerusalem. This then "strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, " (
11:17). For three years this continued, and Rehoboam led Israel to follow God just as David and Solomon had. Things were looking up, God was blessing, and Rehoboam's kingship was a success.
chapter 12, a tragic event takes place that happens all too often in the life of a successful believer. The Bible records for us that
"it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him."
It seems to happen with alarming regularity that men who have little trust God until they have much, and then they abandon the One Who has brought them their success. Many a pastor has taken a small church, and with great humility has attempted to lead this congregation forward in their service to the Lord. The church begins to grow spiritually, numerically, and financially, and suddenly the pastor finds himself much better off personally than he was when he started. He is getting offers to preach in other churches, and people are coming to him to find out "how to do it". He begins to think of himself more highly than he should, and starts trusting in his own abilities rather than the power of the Lord. As his ego grows and his focus on Christ fades, he finds himself doing some things that he never dreamed of doing in the early days of his ministry. He attempts to justify himself by thinking that his behavior must be acceptable because his church is still growing, and he is still well respected. Yet as he moves further from the Lord spiritually, his actions become worse, until one day he commits an act that disgraces his family and disqualifies him from the ministry. Or perhaps he never officially disqualifies himself, but he begins to lead his congregation away from the old fundamentals of doctrine and practice. His views change, and he takes his church in a liberal direction with him. Note that this is what happened to Rehoboam. God allowed him to establish the kingdom and strengthen his position there. Because of his faithfulness, believers came to help him. Yet once he had "arrived", he abandoned the principles that got him there, and took the nation down with him.
Be warned. Do not abandon the God who brought you success. Never become so full of yourself that you forget Who it was that brought you to your current status, because when you do, you are going to fall, and you are going to take others with you. God was our focus in the lean days, and may He continue to be our focus in the days of plenty.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery