Egypt Attacks Judah
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 As a consequence, the protecting hand of God was withdrawn from Judah and the cruel hand of Egypt was stretched out against Rehoboam.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 2 Chronicles 12:6Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.
American King James Version×), 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 2 Chronicles 35:3And said to the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy to the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden on your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,
American King James Version×).
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” (2 Chronicles 12:14 2 Chronicles 12:14And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
American King James Version×). What a pity—so much tragedy could have been avoided had he only devoted himself to seeking God.