Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king.
When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt.
So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him:
"Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you."
Rehoboam answered, "Come back to me in three days." So the people went away.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked.
They replied, "If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants."
But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, 'Lighten the yoke your father put on us'?"
The young men who had grown up with him replied, "Tell the people who have said to you, 'Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter'--tell them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.
My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.' "
Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days."
The king answered them harshly. Rejecting the advice of the elders,
he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions."
So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!" So all the Israelites went home.
But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.
So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered the house of Judah and Benjamin--a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men--to make war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.
But this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God:
"Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin,
'This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.' " So they obeyed the words of the LORD and turned back from marching against Jeroboam.
Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built up towns for defense in Judah:
Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam,
Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. These were fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin.
He strengthened their defenses and put commanders in them, with supplies of food, olive oil and wine.
He put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.
The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him.
The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property, and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD.
And he appointed his own priests for the high places and for the goat and calf idols he had made.
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 fathers.
They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.
Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of David's son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse's son Eliab.
She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.
Then he married Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.
Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah to be the chief prince among his brothers, in order to make him king.
He acted wisely, dispersing some of his sons throughout the districts of Judah and Benjamin, and to all the fortified cities. He gave them abundant provisions and took many wives for them.
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.
Because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.
With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt,
he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.
Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, "This is what the LORD says, 'You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.' "
The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, "The LORD is just."
When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: "Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.
They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands."
When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made.
So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace.