People - Ancient Near East: Rehoboam
Ancient Near East
Rehoboam in Wikipedia
According to the Hebrew Bible, Rehoboam (Hebrew: רְחַבְעָם, Rehav'am, meaning "he who enlarges the people"; Greek: Ροβοαμ; Latin: Roboam) was a king of the United Monarchy of Israel and later of the Kingdom of Judah after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BC to form the independent Kingdom of Israel.
He was a son of Solomon and a grandson of David. His mother was Naamah the Ammonite.
Conventional Bible chronology dates the start of Rehoboam's reign to the mid 10th century BC. His reign is described in 1 Kings 12 and 14:21-31 and in 2 Chronicles 10-12
See: 10th century BC; Shishaq; Shishaq Relief
According to the Hebrew Bible, Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned for seventeen years. The people, led by Jeroboam, feared that Rehoboam would continue to tax them heavily - as had his father Solomon. Jeroboam and the people promised their loyalty in return for lesser burdens. The older men counseled Rehoboam at least to speak to the people in a civil manner (it is not clear whether they counseled him to accept the demands), but the king sought advice from the people he had grown up with; they advised him to show no weakness to the people, and to tax them even more, which Rehoboam did. He proclaimed to the people,
"Whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, so shall I add tenfold thereto. Whereas my father chastised (tortured) you with whips, so shall I chastise you with scorpions. For my littlest finger is thicker than my father's loins; and your backs, which bent like reeds at my father's touch, shall break like straws at my own touch."
Jeroboam and the people angrily rebelled; the ten northern tribes broke away and formed a separate kingdom, Israel, which was also known as Samaria, or Ephraim. The realm Rehoboam was left with was called Judah, after the Tribe of Judah that formed the largest part of the population.
Rehoboam organized his armies and went to war against the new kingdom of Israel. However, he was advised against fighting his brethren, and so returned to Jerusalem. He built elaborate defenses and strongholds, along with fortified cities. The text reports that Israel and Judah were in a state of war throughout his seventeen year reign.
Shishaq Relief showing cartouches of Sheshonq I mentioning the invasion from the Egyptian perspective.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign Shishaq, king of Egypt, brought a huge army and took many cities. When they laid siege to Jerusalem, Rehoboam gave them all of the treasures out of the temple as a tribute. Judah became a vassal state of Egypt. The account of this invasion from the Egyptian perspective can be found in the Shishaq Relief at the Bubastis Portal near the Temple of Amun at Karnak.
Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, who bore him eighty-eight children. When he died he was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son Abijah.
The United Kingdom of Solomon breaks up, with Jeroboam ruling over the Northern Kingdom of Israel (in green on the map).
Main article: Edwin R. Thiele
Using the information in Kings and Chronicles Edwin Thiele has calculated the date for the division of the kingdom is 931-930 BC. Thiele noticed that for the first seven kings of Israel (ignoring Zimri's inconsequential seven-day reign), the synchronisms to Judean kings fell progressively behind by one year for each king. Thiele saw this as evidence that the northern kingdom was measuring the years by a non-accession system (first partial year of reign was counted as year one), whereas the southern kingdom was using the accession method (it was counted as year zero). Once this was understood, the various reign lengths and cross-synchronisms for these kings was worked out, and the sum of reigns for both kingdoms produced 931/930 BC for the division of the kingdom when working backwards from the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC.
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