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2 Chronicles 12


(LXX versing)
Shishak of Egypt Invades Judah Egypt Attacks Judah Rehoboam's Sin; His Punishment and Death An Egyptian Invasion of Judah Rehoboam's Unfaithfulness
12:1-8 12:1-8 12:1-8 12:1-4 12:1-8
Plunder Impoverishes Judah 12:7-8
12:9-12 12:9-12 12:9-12 12:9-12 12:9-11
Summary of the Reign
The End of Rehoboam's Reign Summary of Rehoboam's Reign 12:12-14
12:13-14 12:13-14 12:13-14 12:13-14
12:15-16 12:15-16 12:15-16 12:15-16 12:15-16

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1When the kingdom of Rehoboam was established and strong, he and all Israel with him forsook the law of the Lord. 2And it came about in King Rehoboam's fifth year, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people who came with him from Egypt were without number: the Lubim, the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians. 4He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the princes of Judah who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and he said to them, "Thus says the Lord, 'You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you to Shishak.'" 6So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, "The Lord is righteous." 7When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, "They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak. 8But they will become his slaves so that they may learn the difference between My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries."

12:1 Apparently Rehoboam, for a brief period of three years, was faithful to YHWH (cf. 2 Chr. 11:1-4,17). YHWH's blessing, seen in his large family (2 Chr. 11:18-21), may have become a temptation (like Solomon). The "he did evil" of 2 Chr. 12:14 usually denotes idolatry (cf. 1 Kgs. 14:25).

"and all Israel" Here is the tragedy of unfaithful leadership. It causes an unfaithful populace! This "all Israel" may involve the once faithful of 2 Chr. 11:16.

The Chronicler used "all Israel" in several senses (NASB Study Bible, p. 601).

  1. for both kingdoms ‒ 2 Chr. 9:30; 11:16
  2. for the northern tribes who followed Jeroboam I ‒ 2 Chr. 10:16; 11:13
  3. for Judah ‒ here and 2 Chr. 11:3

12:2 The nature of Rehoboam's unfaithfulness is not stated, but what a contrast occurred.

  1. "established and strong" (2 Chr. 12:1; aspect of the covenant blessings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28)
  2. "forsook the law. . .," "they had been unfaithful to the Lord" (notice 2 Chr. 12:5)

Some violations of the covenant resulted in the invasion of Egypt. YHWH allowed the temple and palace treasures to be taken as booty. This strongly implies idolatry on Israel's part, which polluted the temple. As #1 above was part of the "blessings" of Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; the invasion and ruin were part of the "curses."

"in the fifth year" The NASB Study Bible, p. 601, mentions that Chronicles often inserts time elements, which are not found in Kings (i.e., 2 Chr. 11:17; 15:10,19; 16:1,12-13; 17:7; 21:20; 25:15,17,23; 26:16; 27:5,8; 29:3; 34:3; 36:21). He is obviously using Samuel/Kings and another source. Most of his information came from the writings of prophets (i.e., here, Shemaiah, cf. 2 Chr. 11:2; 12:5,15).

Since this invasion is mentioned in both Scripture and in secular sources, it becomes a crucial chronological marker for dating the events in Judah's history (similar to the battles of Charchemish and Qarqar).

"unfaithful to the Lord" This VERB and NOUN (BDB 591, KB 612) are never used in Samuel or Kings but are crucial theological elements in Chronicles.

  1. 5 times in 1 Chronicles
  2. 12 times in 2 Chronicles
  3. 5 times in Ezra

It is also very common in Ezekiel (13 times). Faithlessness is first a mental issue but quickly becomes an action issue. The covenant was conditional (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; 30; Psalm 1).

"Shishak" This Pharaoh (a Libyan title, like Pharaoh, they ruled Egypt in the 22nd dynasty) protected Jeroboam I from Solomon (cf. 1 Kgs. 11:40). This shows the growing power of Egypt. Earlier Egypt had given a royal daughter to seal a truce with Solomon and now an open act of defiance. Although the biblical account of this invasion is limited (cf. 1 Kgs. 14:25-28), there is an Egyptian inscription at the Temple of Amon at Karnack that describes this invasion. It claims he invaded as far north as Megiddo.


12:3 This was a large multi-national army that invaded Judah from

  1. Lubim ‒ BDB 530, a people of NE Africa, also known as Lydia, cf. Gen. 22:10; 1 Chr. 1:17; Isa. 66:19; Dan. 11:43
  2. Sukkiim ‒ BDB 696, KB 753, paid mercenaries apparently from north Africa, possibly migrant shepherds like the Bedouin of Canaan (i.e., tent-dwellers)
  3. Ehtiopia ‒ BDB 469, a Cushite military force from the area just south of Egypt. During this period a series of five non-Egyptian kings from the south ruled Egypt.

12:4 "the fortified cities of Judah" These are the very cities mentioned in 2 Chr. 11:5-12. These cities also were managed by Rehoboam's sons (cf. 2 Chr. 11:23).

12:5 YHWH revealed to Rehoboam and the leaders of Israel the theological reason for this successful invasion. Israel's covenant disobedience caused the curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 to come into effect! It was not a lack of power on YHWH's part but sin on Israel's part.

"You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you" What a terrible cause and effect. It reminds me of Rom. 1:24,26,28.

This is the direct opposite of "seek" (see 2 Chr. 11:16 vs. 2 Chr. 12:14). The Tyndale OT Commentary by Martin Selman, p. 372, makes this excellent comment that the violation of covenant law mentioned in 2 Chr. 12:1 was in reality a rejection of YHWH Himself (i.e., "Me"). There is always the tension between obedience (i.e., legalism) vs. heart faith (i.e., a circumcised heart; with all their heart, cf. Lev. 26:41; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; 1 Kgs. 8:61; 2 Kgs. 20:3; 1 Chr. 28:9; 29:19; 2 Chr. 12:4; Jer. 4:4). Attitude and motive, not just actions, are crucial in biblical faith. God sees the heart (cf. 1 Chr. 28:9; 2 Chr. 6:30; 12:14; 15:12,15,17; 16:9; 19:3,9; 28:2; 30:19; 34:31).

12:6,7 YHWH desires faithfulness but even after disobedience there is a spiritual remedy (i.e., true repentance and obedience). Both the people and the king "humbled" themselves and prayed (2 Chr. 7:14). Leviticus 26:41 mentions "humble" as the key to forgiveness and restoration, but not without consequences. Even forgiven sin runs its course (cf. 2 Chr. 12:8,9). 2 Chronicles 12:12 is a summary to emphasize the power of repentance (i.e., the people of Nineveh in Jonah's day).


12:6 "the princes of Israel" Obviously the Chronicler believed Judah was the only legitimate covenant nation. The northern tribes may have the name as the descendants of Jacob but Judah has the reality.

"The Lord is righteous" This was a faith affirmation (cf. Neh. 9:8; Ps. 119:137; 129:4) related to the character of YHWH. His judgments are true and fair (cf. Exod. 34:6-7).


NASB, NJB, JPSOA  "some measure of deliverance"
NKJV, NRSV, Peshitta  "some deliverance"
REB  "some measure of relief"
LXX  "a small degree of deliverance"
NET Bible  "I will deliver them soon"
JB, NIV, Barnes' Notes  "for a short space"

The MT has "some deliverance" or "escape" (BDB 812), which is usually used of a remnant. Many Judeans died in this invasion (cf. 2 Chr. 12:4, probably some royal princes, cf. 2 Chr. 11:23). The military menace of Egypt was not removed!


12:8 Historical events involving YHWH's people are an opportunity to teach and reveal YHWH's will and plan. History is in the hand of God. This is the Bible's revelatory worldview.

9So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's palace. He took everything; he even took the golden shields which Solomon had made. 10Then King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the door of the king's house. 11As often as the king entered the house of the Lord, the guards came and carried them and then brought them back into the guards' room. 12And when he humbled himself, the anger of the Lord turned away from him, so as not to destroy him completely; and also conditions were good in Judah.

12:9 All of the treasures accumulated by David and Solomon are taken to Egypt. Shishak is succeeded by his son, Osorkon I. There is an inscription at Bubastis which says he contributed large amounts of gold and silver to the temples of Egypt (ABD, vol. 5, p. 1222). This was probably from Israel!

12:10-11 Rehoboam tried to compensate for the loss by making shields of bronze.

12:12 There is a word play on "turned away." This word (BDB 996, KB 1427) is also commonly used for repentance. Rehoboam "humbled" himself, YHWH "repented" of His judgment and spared Jerusalem but, not without cost.

  1. fortified cities destroyed
  2. royal sons probably died
  3. Jerusalem's temple and royal palace emptied of treasure
  4. Israel served Egypt for a period of time (cf. 2 Chr. 12:8)

YHWH wants to bless His people. He has provided three ways for sinful people in the OT to come into fellowship with Himself and stay in fellowship.

  1. the sacrifice system
  2. the Mosaic regulations (feast days, social laws, etc)
  3. repentance

13So King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. And his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess. 14He did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.

12:13-16 This is a typical summary conclusion to a king's life. It follows a set pattern of information (cf. 1 Kgs. 14:29-31).

12:13 "And his mother's name was Naamah the Ammonitess" This is a subtle hint at the problems caused by Solomon's foreign wives (cf. 1 Kgs. 11:1-8).

12:14 What a terrible recurrent pattern in the line of David. A few good kings, but mostly "evil." Shockingly the earthly representatives of YHWH were unfaithful to the covenant.

15Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer, according to genealogical enrollment? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 16And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah became king in his place.

12:15 "prophet. . .seer" There are two different Hebrew words which denote a person who reveals YHWH's message.


"And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually" What a terrible situation — covenant brothers fighting and killing covenant brothers!

There is no OT evidence of a full war but this probably refers to ongoing border skirmishes and raids (cf. 2 Chr. 13:4-20).

12:16 See note at 2 Chr. 9:31.

"Abijah" This was Rehoboam's favorite son (cf. 2 Chr. 11:21-22). In 1 Kgs. 14:31 he is called "Abijam," possibly the name in Chronicles was his throne name. Often there was a name change at the coronation.

  1. Uzziah ‒ Azariah
  2. Eliakim ‒ Jehoiakim
  3. Shallum ‒ Jehoahaz
  4. Jeconiah ‒ Jehoiachin
  5. Mattaniah ‒ Zedekiah


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. How did the king and the people forsake the Lord?
  2. How is the naming of Shishak historically significant?
  3. What does it mean to "humble" oneself?
  4. Does 2 Chr. 12:12 show that the Chronicler is using two sources?
  5. If Rehoboam did some good things (i.e., 2 Chr. 11:1-4,23; 12:6,7,12), why is he said to be an evil king (2 Chr. 12:14)?
  6. Why is the naming of Rehoboam's mother historically significant?
  7. Does 2 Chr. 12:16 teach "soul sleep" between death and resurrection?

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