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Rehoboam’s Foolish Leadership

King Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam when the prophet Ahijah predicted that Israel would divide into two countries with Jeroboam leading the Northern Kingdom.

The Israelites requested that Jeroboam meet them in Shechem at the coronation. Together, they made a request of Rehoboam, who would be their new king.

This next conversation between Rehoboam and the tribes is pivotal for the nation of Israel and the twelve tribes. The prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite in the 1 Kings 11story foreshadows that God is going to give Judah—and neighboring Benjamin—to Rehoboam, but Jeroboam in the north gets ten tribes. The story is ironic since it appears that the Eternal favors Jeroboam by giving him most of the Israelite tribes and territory, and Rehoboam is portrayed as a despotic fool. In the end, the Davidic offspring, King Rehoboam, has a disastrous reign, and Jeroboam sets up Dan and Bethel as temple sites to worship the Eternal One. It seems that a king, whether in the Northern or Southern Kingdom, is a bad deal for the people.

Israelites (to Rehoboam): Your father made us work very hard for the building of Israel.We built cities and palaces and temples and roads for him. We are tired of this constant work which your father required. If you will reduce the amount of work we are required to perform for the nation, then we will coronate you as king and serve you as your people.

Rehoboam: Let me think about this for three days. Then I will give you an answer.

As the Israelites left, King Rehoboam asked older men who were his father Solomon’s advisors for advice about the situation.

Rehoboam: What do you think I should tell the people?

Solomon’s Advisors: Listen to their concerns, show them kindness, and please them. Then they will be your subjects and will always respect you.

But Rehoboam did not listen to the advisors’ recommendation. Instead he asked the opinions of his childhood friends who were more likely to give him the advice that he wanted to hear.

Rehoboam: How do you think I should answer these people’s request that I reduce the amount of work my father required of them?

These younger childhood “counselors” encourage Rehoboam to be a stronger, more dominant ruler instead of a kinder, more respected ruler.

Rehoboam’s Friends: Tell those who want a reduced workload, “I am stronger and more virile than my father ever was! You will long for my father’s leniency. He made you work hard, but I will make you work even harder. He disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with the sting of scorpions.”

On the third day, Jeroboam and the Israelites returned to Rehoboam as the king had requested. The king followed the advice of his young friends, answering harshly and ignoring the advice of his father’s advisors.

Rehoboam: You will long for my father’s leniency. He made you work hard, but I will make you work even harder. He disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you withthe sting of scorpions.

By ignoring the Israelites’ desires, the king fulfilled the Eternal God’s prophecy that was spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam, son of Nebat (2 Chronicles 10:3-15).

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Diligence

Be very careful always to follow the commandments and teachings of Moses, the Eternal’s servant: love the Eternal your God; walk in His pathways, keep His commandments, be faithful to Him, and serve Him with diligence and devotion.

There, the king and the entire assembly in Jerusalem, people from Benjamin and Judah, stood and renewedIsrael’s covenant with the Eternal, promising to follow His ways, obey His laws with all diligence, and perform the duties of the covenant described in the book. Then all the people in Jerusalem respected their covenant with the True God, the God of their ancestors,

If anyone attempts to change my command or destroy the True God’s temple in Jerusalem, may the God whose reputation lives there destroy that king or nation. I, Darius, command this. May it be done with diligence. (The Voice translation)

Like Father, Like Son

Just as his father had done when he moved the covenant chest to Jerusalem, Solomon assembled all of Israel (the generals, the judges, and every tribal leader) to move the covenant chest of the Eternal from the city of David (also called Zion) into the new temple in the seventh month. First all the men of Israel celebrated a feast with the king, and when the elders of Israel arrived, the Levites who were priests carried the covenant chest, the congregation tent, and all the holy utensils in the tent to the temple (vv. 2-5).

Categories: 2 Chronicles, Solomon

Solomon’s Dedication

When all this work was completed for the Eternal’s house, Solomon brought in the silver, gold, and utensils, which his father, David, had dedicated for use in His temple. These things were stored in the True God’s temple treasuries,where they would be guarded by the Levites (v. 1 ).

Categories: 2 Chronicles, Solomon

Outline of 2 Corinthians 5

  1. The Body Is A Tent
  2. Live Passionately
  3. God’s Love Brings A New Perspective
  4. Be A Representative
Categories: 2 Chronicles, outline

2 Chronicles 33:1-5

Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, and he reigned 55 years in Jerusalem, the longest of any king in Israel. 2 He behaved wickedly before the Eternal, acting with the same abominations as the previous nations did before the Eternal gave their land to Israel. 3 He reversed the good deeds of Hezekiah, rebuilding the high places and altars for the Baals and hoisting carved images of Asherah into the skies. He worshiped all the celestial bodies as false deities. 4-5 He even desecrated the Eternal’s temple, the place honoring His reputation which was to remain in Jerusalem forever, by building pagan altars in two courts there (The Voice).

2 Chronicles 32

Typically, kings’ good and faithful works before God are rewarded with peace and prosperity. But not Hezekiah’s. His devotion to God is tested with an invasion by the most powerful army in the world—the Assyrian Empire, led by Sennacherib. Sennacherib is not just another bully coming to take the temple treasures; he intends to conquer the world, and Israel is a bump on his road to Egypt. Sennacherib is ample temptation for Hezekiah to abandon God and surrender Jerusalem in return for his own life. But Hezekiah is more faithful than that.

After his acts of faithfulness toward God, Hezekiah faced the greatest challenge of his reign. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities intending to conquer them for himself. Realizing that Sennacherib would eventually reach Jerusalem, Hezekiah prepared the city for a long siege. First, the king’s officers and warriors with a large number of the people dammed the water sources, both springs and rivers, outside the city so that when the Assyrians came they could not readily use the water sources. Second, Hezekiah reinforced the city by repairing the existing wall structure which surrounded the city, building towers for offensive position, and erecting another wall far outside the main city wall. Between the two walls, he strengthened the city’s millo.

This millo is an immense earthen rampart that supports the structure of the main city wall and prevents the attackers from tunneling under it to attack the city from the inside, should they destroy the new outer wall.

Third he cast new weapons and shields in abundance. Finally he appointed the military leaders over the people and commissioned them at the city gate.

Hezekiah: We can be strong and courageous because of the One who fights with us. Don’t be discouraged or fearful of the Assyrian king and the multitude of his people, for greatness is with us more than with them. Sennacherib will fight with an arm of flesh and bone, but we will fight with the Eternal God’s help and His warfare.

The people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah.

While Sennacherib, with his forces, was busy besieging Lachish in a bloody battle, the king of Assyria sent messengers to Jerusalem to persuade Hezekiah and all the Judahites to surrender.

Sennacherib’s Message: Why are you remaining in Jerusalem when you know I am about to come destroy your city? What could you possibly be trusting that could save you from my army? Hezekiah must be entertaining you with lies, telling you how the Eternal God will save you from my conquest. If you listen to him, we will certainly conquer you while you die of hunger and thirst inside those walls.

Sennacherib cleverly poses the question to those inside the walls of Jerusalem: Do you really think your God will defend a king who has made it harder for His people to worship Him?

Sennacherib’s Message: Hezekiah removed His high places and altars from all over the country, forcing everyone to come to Jerusalem to worship. Haven’t you heard how my empire’s army has destroyed peoples and nations for years? We even conquered your own brothers in the Northern Kingdom. Where were their gods when their nations needed defending? Where will your True God be when you are being tortured and murdered? Stop listening and being deceived by Hezekiah. He is only giving you false hope. No god has ever rescued his people from me or my royal fathers before me, so what makes you think your God will?

Of course, Sennacherib completely misunderstands the nature of God and the reforms of Hezekiah. Hezekiah is only ingratiating himself to God when he consolidates the religion in Jerusalem. Sennacherib’s taunting of God, saying that He could never save His people, leaves the Assyrian king wide open for a display of God’s power.

Sennacherib’s servants continued blaspheming Hezekiah and the Eternal God. The Assyrian king himself wrote additional letters insulting the Eternal God of Israel, reminding the people that no god had ever saved his people from the Assyrians, and Israel’s God couldn’t either. Furthermore, Sennacherib wrote that God was a creation of humans, just as all the other pagan gods are. These letters were shouted in the common Judahite language of Hebrew as the people of Jerusalem stood on the city wall listening. The messengers thought their words would terrify and disturb the people into surrendering the city.

But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz, were not threatened by the Assyrians’ words. They relied on their God and called to heaven for help. The Eternal responded quickly, sending a heavenly messenger to slaughter every Assyrian soldier, commander, and officer. Having been decidedly defeated by the very God he had taunted, Sennacherib, in shame, journeyed back to Assyria. In the security of his own god’s temple, Sennacherib was stabbed to death by his own children. In this decisive way, the Eternal saved Hezekiah and Jerusalem from Sennacherib’s attempted conquest and any other nation’s imperial intentions. So God provided for His people by those around Judah. Many people brought gifts to the Eternal and Hezekiah in Jerusalem, so that other nations recognized the king’s authority.

Hezekiah became proud and neglected to appreciate the gifts he received. So the Eternal was angry with him and all of Jerusalem and Judah. When Hezekiah became deathly ill, he realized what he had done wrong. He humbled himself and prayed to the Eternal, who answered the prayer and healed him as a sign. The people of Jerusalem and Judah also humbled themselves so that He was no longer angry with His people during Hezekiah’s days. In fact, the True God blessed them with great wealth and honor. Hezekiah filled his treasuries with silver, gold, gems, spices, shields, and other valuables. He filled his storehouses with grain, wine, and oil. His stables contained all kinds of cattle and flocks. Then Hezekiah built more cities and acquired more flocks and herds. He also dammed the Gihon River and diverted its waters to the west side of Jerusalem. Hezekiah was successful at all his endeavors.

Later, when the rulers of Babylon sent diplomats to learn about the miraculous sign given at Hezekiah’s healing when the sun moved backwards, the True God left Hezekiah and tested the king’s heart and devotion to Him.

Near the end of Hezekiah’s reign, Mesopotamia is in turmoil. The Assyrian Empire is weakening due to internal struggles and a string of impotent kings. But the Babylonians are slowly gaining power and testing the strength of their surrounding nations. Soon Babylonian leaders will come to Jerusalem again. But the next time will not be a friendly visit.

The other actions and devotion of King Hezekiah, from his birth to his death, are recorded in the vision of Isaiah the prophet (son of Amoz) in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Hezekiah joined his ancestors in death and was laid in an upper tomb, a place of honor, with the descendants of David. He was mourned by all Judah and all Jerusalem. Hezekiah’s son Manasseh reigned in his place (The Voice).

Categories: 2 Chronicles, hezekiah
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