King Rehoboam was the son and successor of King Solomon in the Bible. He is mentioned in 1 Kings chapters 11-14 and 2 Chronicles chapters 9-12. Rehoboam was born to Solomon and the Ammonite princess Naamah (1 Kings 14:21). He reigned as king over the united kingdom of Israel for 17 years, from around 930-913 BC.
When Solomon died, Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made king. The people asked Rehoboam to lighten the harsh labor and taxes that Solomon had placed on them. Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father, and they advised him to listen to the people’s concerns. But Rehoboam also consulted his own peers, and they advised him to be even harsher than Solomon. Rehoboam ignored the elders’ advice and followed the counsel of his peers. He told the people he would be even harder on them than his father was (1 Kings 12:1-15).
This caused all the tribes except Judah to rebel against Rehoboam’s rule. The ten northern tribes made Jeroboam their king and formed the northern kingdom of Israel. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam, forming the southern kingdom of Judah with Jerusalem as its capital (1 Kings 12:16-24).
Throughout his reign, Rehoboam continued in the idolatry and false worship that Solomon allowed to spread in the kingdom. The Bible condemns both Solomon and Rehoboam for leading the people into idolatry and sin (1 Kings 14:22-24). Rehoboam did not seek the Lord or walk in His ways.
Rehoboam frequently fought against the northern kingdom of Israel during his reign. There were occasional periods of peace, but much of the time the two kingdoms were at war with each other. In the 5th year of Rehoboam’s reign, the Egyptian king Shishak invaded Judah and captured many cities. He even took treasures from the temple in Jerusalem. This attack happened because Rehoboam and the people were unfaithful to God (1 Kings 14:25-28; 2 Chronicles 12:1-12).
The Bible judges Rehoboam as an evil, unwise king who led the people into idolatry and immorality. Yet it does mention a few bright spots during his reign. In the early years he strengthened Judah’s national security and defenses. The priests and Levites from all the tribes who remained loyal to God left Israel and came to Judah to serve in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 11:5-17). Rehoboam also humbled himself before God after the invasion of Shishak. The Lord spared Jerusalem from total destruction because Rehoboam and the leaders repented (2 Chronicles 12:5-8, 12).
Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. He fathered 28 sons and 60 daughters (2 Chronicles 11:18-23). His favorite wife was Maacah, the daughter of Absalom. Rehoboam appointed his son Abijah as the leader over his other sons, intending for him to become the next king (2 Chronicles 11:20-22).
After reigning 17 years in Jerusalem, Rehoboam died and was buried in the City of David. His son Abijah succeeded him as king over Judah (1 Kings 14:31; 2 Chronicles 12:16). Despite a few brief bright spots, Rehoboam is remembered in Scripture as a king who did evil, forsook the Lord, and led Judah into idolatry and sin.
Here are some key verses that mention Rehoboam in the Bible:
– 1 Kings 11:43 – Solomon rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
– 1 Kings 12:1-24 – Rehoboam rejects the elders’ counsel and the ten tribes rebel.
– 1 Kings 14:21-24 – Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord during Rehoboam’s reign.
– 2 Chronicles 10:1-15 – Rehoboam forsakes the counsel of the elders.
– 2 Chronicles 11:13-17 – Priests and Levites come to Judah from Israel.
– 2 Chronicles 12:1-12 – Shishak king of Egypt invades Judah.
– 2 Chronicles 12:13 – Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign.
In summary, Rehoboam was the son and successor of Solomon who ruled over the united kingdom of Israel early in its history. Due to his harsh leadership, ten tribes rebelled, and he was left ruling only Judah and Benjamin from Jerusalem. He continued the idolatry Solomon allowed and did much evil in God’s sight. After repeated attacks and invasions from Egypt, he humbled himself and experienced a brief period of repentance before God. Yet overall he is remembered as an unwise king who forsook the Lord and led Judah into idolatry, immorality, and unfaithfulness.
Rehoboam teaches us the importance of seeking wise counsel, especially from godly elders. His story is a warning about forsaking God’s ways and leading others into unfaithfulness and sin. Even when given wisdom and prosperity, many kings of Israel and Judah turned away from the Lord. Rehoboam was one of the wicked kings who did evil in God’s sight, failed to walk in His ways, and brought judgment on himself and the nation of Judah.
Though Rehoboam’s reign ended in failure and idolatry, God in His mercy preserved the line of David and raised up some good and godly kings later in Judah’s history. God ultimately brought forth the Messiah and Savior Jesus Christ through this line. Jesus now sits on the throne of David for eternity as the true King over God’s people (Luke 1:32-33).