|King of Judah|
|Reign||c. 931 to 913 BC (17 years)|
|Hebrew name||רחבעם בן-שלמה
Rehav’am ben Shlomoh
|Birthplace||The woodlands, Jerusalem|
|Place of death||possibly Jerusalem|
|Predecessor||Solomon, his father|
|Successor||Abijam, his son|
|Consort||18 wives, including Maacah, daughter of Absalom, David's son, and 60 concubines|
|Issue||28 sons and 60 daughters|
|Royal House||House of David|
|Mother||Naamah the Ammonite|
|Rulers of Judah|
Rehoboam (pronounced //; Hebrew: רְחַבְעָם, Modern Reẖav'am Tiberian Rəḥaḇʻām ; meaning "he who enlarges the people"; Greek: Ροβοαμ; Latin: Roboam) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, initially king of the United Monarchy of Israel but after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BC to form the independent Kingdom of Israel he was king of the Kingdom of Judah, or southern kingdom. 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 In the Hebrew Bible, Rehoboam was 41 years old when he ascended the throne.
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). However, the new king sought the advice from the people he had grown up with, who advised the king 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 rebelled, with the ten northern tribes breaking away and forming a separate kingdom. The new breakaway kingdom continued to be called Kingdom of Israel, and was also known as Samaria, or Ephraim or the northern Kingdom. The realm Rehoboam was left with was called Kingdom of Judah.
Rehoboam went to war against the new Kingdom of Israel with a force of 180,000 soldiers. 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 17 year reign.
In the 5th 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 Shishaq all of the treasures out of the temple as a tribute. Judah became a vassal state of Egypt.
Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. They bore him 28 sons and 60 daughters. His wives included Mahalath, the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and Abihail, the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse. His sons with Abihail were Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. After Abihail he married Maacah, daughter of Absalom, David's son. His sons with Maacah were Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. The names of his other wives, sons and all his daughters are not given.
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.
|King of Judah
932 – 915 BC