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2 Chronicles 10-12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Some of the People Rebel against Rehoboam

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem where everyone was waiting to crown him king.

Jeroboam son of Nebat heard what was happening, and he returned from Egypt, where he had gone to hide from Solomon. The people from the northern tribes of Israel sent for him. Then together they went to Rehoboam and said, “Your father Solomon forced us to work very hard. But if you make our work easier, we will serve you and do whatever you ask.”

Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people left.

Rehoboam went to some leaders who had been his father’s senior officials, and he asked them, “What should I tell these people?”

They answered, “If you want them to serve and obey you, then you should be kind and promise to make their work easier.”

But Rehoboam refused their advice and went to the younger men who had grown up with him and were now his officials. He asked, “What do you think I should say to these people who asked me to make their work easier?”

10 His younger advisors said:

Here’s what we think you should say to them: “Compared to me, my father was weak.[a] 11 He made you work hard, but I’ll make you work even harder. He punished you with whips, but I’ll use whips with pieces of sharp metal!”

12 Three days later, Jeroboam and the others came back. 13 Rehoboam ignored the advice of the older advisors. He spoke bluntly 14 and told them exactly what his own advisors had suggested. He said: “My father made you work hard, but I’ll make you work even harder. He punished you with whips, but I’ll use whips with pieces of sharp metal!”

15-19 When the people realized that Rehoboam would not listen to them, they shouted: “We don’t have to be loyal to David’s family. We can do what we want. Come on, people of Israel, let’s go home! Rehoboam can rule his own people.”

Adoniram[b] was in charge of the work force, and Rehoboam sent him to talk to the people. But they stoned him to death. Then Rehoboam ran to his chariot and hurried back to Jerusalem.

Everyone from Israel’s northern tribes went home, leaving Rehoboam to rule only the people from Judah. And since that day, the people of Israel have been opposed to David’s descendants in Judah.[c] All of this happened just as Ahijah the Lord’s prophet from Shiloh had told Jeroboam.

Shemaiah the Prophet Warns Rehoboam

11 After Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem, he decided to attack Israel and regain control of the whole country. So he called together one hundred eighty thousand soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Meanwhile, the Lord had told Shemaiah the prophet to tell Rehoboam and everyone from Judah and Benjamin, “The Lord warns you not to go to war against the people from the northern tribes—they are your relatives. Go home! The Lord is the one who made these things happen.”

Rehoboam and his army obeyed the Lord’s message and did not attack Jeroboam and his troops.

Rehoboam Fortifies Cities in Judah

Rehoboam ruled from Jerusalem, and he had several cities in Judah turned into fortresses so he could use them to defend his country. These cities included Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-Zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. After he had fortified these cities in the territories of Judah and Benjamin, 11 he assigned an army commander to each of them and stocked them with supplies of food, olive oil, and wine, 12 as well as with shields and spears. He used these fortified cities to keep control of Judah and Benjamin.

The Priests and the Levites Support Rehoboam

13 The priests and Levites from the northern tribes of Israel gave their support to King Rehoboam. 14 And since Jeroboam and the kings of Israel that followed him would not allow any Levites to serve as priests, most Levites left their towns and pasturelands in Israel and moved to Jerusalem and other towns in Judah. 15 Jeroboam chose his own priests to serve at the local shrines[d] in Israel and at the places of worship where he had set up statues of goat-demons and of calves.

16 But some of the people from Israel wanted to worship the Lord God, just as their ancestors had done. So they followed the priests and Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord. 17 For the next three years, they lived in Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam and his kingdom, just as they had been loyal to David and Solomon.

Rehoboam’s Family

18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19 Rehoboam and Mahalath had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 Then Rehoboam married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. Their sons were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.

21 Rehoboam had eighteen wives, but he also married sixty other women,[e] and he was the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Rehoboam loved his wife Maacah the most, 22 so he chose their oldest son Abijah to be the next king. 23 Rehoboam was wise enough to put one of his sons in charge of each fortified city in his kingdom. He gave them all the supplies they needed and found wives for every one of them.

King Shishak of Egypt Invades Judah

12 Soon after Rehoboam had control of his kingdom, he and everyone in Judah stopped obeying the Lord. So in the fifth year of Rehoboam’s rule, the Lord punished them for their unfaithfulness and allowed King Shishak of Egypt to invade Judah. Shishak attacked with his army of one thousand two hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry troops, as well as Egyptian soldiers from Libya, Sukkoth, and Ethiopia.[f] He captured every one of the fortified cities in Judah and then marched to Jerusalem.

Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah had gone to Jerusalem to escape Shishak’s invasion. And while they were there, Shemaiah the prophet told them, “The Lord says that because you have disobeyed him, he has now abandoned you. The Lord will not help you against Shishak!”

Rehoboam and the leaders were sorry for what they had done and admitted, “The Lord is right. We have deserted him.”

When the Lord heard this, he told Shemaiah:

The people of Judah are truly sorry for their sins, and so I won’t let Shishak completely destroy them. But because I am still angry, he will conquer and rule them.

Then my people will know what it’s like to serve a foreign king instead of serving me.

Shishak attacked Jerusalem and took all the valuable things from the temple and from the palace, including Solomon’s gold shields.

10 Rehoboam had bronze shields made to replace the gold ones, and he ordered the guards at the city gates to keep them safe. 11 Whenever Rehoboam went to the Lord’s temple, the guards carried the shields. But they always took them back to the guardroom as soon as he had finished worshiping.

12 Rehoboam turned back to the Lord, and so the Lord did not let Judah be completely destroyed, and Judah was prosperous again.

Rehoboam’s Rule in Judah

13 Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled seventeen years from Jerusalem, the city where the Lord had chosen to be worshiped. His mother Naamah was from Ammon. Rehoboam was a powerful king, 14 but he still did wrong and refused to obey the Lord.

15 Everything else Rehoboam did while he was king, including a history of his family, is written in the records of the two prophets, Shemaiah and Iddo. During Rehoboam’s rule, he and King Jeroboam of Israel were constantly at war. 16 When Rehoboam died, he was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Abijah became king.

Footnotes:

  1. 10.10 Compared. . . weak: Hebrew “My little finger is bigger than my father’s waist.”
  2. 10.15-19 Adoniram: The Hebrew text has “Hadoram,” another spelling of the name.
  3. 10.15-19 the people of Israel have been opposed. . . Judah: From this time on, “Israel” usually refers only to the northern kingdom. The southern kingdom is called “Judah.”
  4. 11.15 local shrines: The Hebrew text has “high places,” which were local places to worship foreign gods.
  5. 11.21 other women: This translates a Hebrew word for women who were legally bound to a man, but without the full privileges of a wife.
  6. 12.3 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.

2 Chronicles 10-12 New International Version (NIV)

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,
    what part in Jesse’s son?
To your tents, Israel!
    Look after your own house, David!”

So all the Israelites went home. 17 But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.

18 King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram,[a] who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

11 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered Judah and Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.

But this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your fellow Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the words of the Lord and turned back from marching against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam Fortifies Judah

Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built up towns for defense in Judah: Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth Zur, Soko, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. These were fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11 He strengthened their defenses and put commanders in them, with supplies of food, olive oil and wine. 12 He put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.

13 The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him. 14 The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord 15 when he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made. 16 Those from every tribe of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time.

Rehoboam’s Family

18 Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20 Then he married Maakah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maakah daughter of Absalom more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maakah as crown prince among his brothers, in order to make him king. 23 He acted wisely, dispersing some of his sons throughout the districts of Judah and Benjamin, and to all the fortified cities. He gave them abundant provisions and took many wives for them.

Shishak Attacks Jerusalem

12 After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel[b] with him abandoned the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites[c] that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.

Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’”

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.”

When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”

When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.

13 King Rehoboam established himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. 14 He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.

15 As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 10:18 Hebrew Hadoram, a variant of Adoniram
  2. 2 Chronicles 12:1 That is, Judah, as frequently in 2 Chronicles
  3. 2 Chronicles 12:3 That is, people from the upper Nile region
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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