Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 14

The life and death of Rehoboam

1 Kings 14:29-31

Every king of Judah or Israel was a very great man during his life. These kings were much more powerful than modern rulers. They organised the government of their country and they appointed all its chief officials, often for many years. The kings were also the chief army commanders, and they led vast armies into battle. In addition, the kings were the chief judges of their nations; their judgments had the power of life or death.

After their deaths, so little seemed to remain of that greatness. There were the official records. For King Rehoboam, they recorded how he had led Judah, in the south of Israel, for 17 years. He ruined the unity of Israel as a nation; and afterwards, he was constantly at war with Jeroboam, the king of the rest of Israel. He also fought, and lost, a war against Egypt. His rule was not a happy, comfortable or wealthy period in which to live.

Still, Rehoboam was a truly great man, who received the greatest possible honour at his funeral. The place of his grave was near to the graves of his grandfather, David, and his father Solomon, in Jerusalem. They had brought peace and success to the nation; Rehoboam brought war. David was a good and holy man. Solomon was a good man who, later in life, turned away from God.

Rehoboam did evil things because he did not really want to serve the real God (2 Chronicles 12:14). Although sometimes he was humble in front of God (2 Chronicles 12:12), he also led the people to serve false gods (14:22-24). His mother, Naamah, was among the women who persuaded Solomon to serve false gods (11:1-8). It seems that she had the same effect on her son too.

Next part: King Abijah of Judah (1 Kings 15:1-2)


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