Excerpts from the story of Rehoboam
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. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, following the ways of David and Solomon during this time.
– 2 Chronicles 11:16-17
After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the LORD.
– 2 Chronicles 12:1
Rehoboam was the son of the great and wise King Solomon, but he began his reign by following the advice of the young men he hung out with, and the infamous words: “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” (2 Chron. 10:14)
This did not go over well, and before long Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, is stoned to death by the Israelites, and Rehoboam barely escapes with his life. This seems to have shaken him up a bit and angered him because in response he quickly musters an army from Judah and Benjamin to go to war against Israel. He thinks better of it after he hears the word of the LORD from the prophet Shemaiah advising him otherwise. Instead, he begins a major project of fortifying a number of cities, building up defenses, installing commanders, provisions and weapons in them, and generally strengthening the nation and himself.
In summary, Rehoboam seems to have listened to the Lord when it suited him, but otherwise looked after things himself. Although, overall, he turned out to be a successful leader in many ways, his life was summed up with the following:
He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.
- – 2 Chronicles 13:14