Matthew Poole's Commentary
And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.Rehoboam raising an army to subdue Israel, is forbidden by Shemaiah, 1 Chronicles 11:1-4. He strengtheneth his kingdom with forts and provision, 2 Chronicles 11:5-12. The priests and Levites, and such as feared God, forsaken by Jeroboam, who turneth idolater, strengthen the kingdom of Judah, 2 Chronicles 11:13-17. The wives and children of Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:18-23.
Of this verse, and verses 2-4, See Poole "1 Kings 12:21".
But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,No text from Poole on this verse.
Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,No text from Poole on this verse.
Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the LORD, and returned from going against Jeroboam.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.Built cities, i.e. repaired, and enlarged, and fortified them; as building is oft used in Scripture, as hath been formerly proved; for these cities, or divers of them, were built before, as appears from Joshua 10:10 12:15 15:21,33,35,58 19:42.
He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,No text from Poole on this verse.
And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.No text from Poole on this verse.
And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.In every several city, to wit, so fortified, as he said, 2 Chronicles 11:11
And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.No text from Poole on this verse.
For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:They would not suffer them to instruct and assist the Israelites in the worship and service of God, nor to go up to Jerusalem to worship in their courses; and these priests would not join with them in the worship of the calves, as they were desired and commanded to do; and therefore they willingly forsook all their patrimonies and possessions for God’s sake.
And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.Or,
for the high places, both for the devils (i.e. the Baals, or false gods, which divers of his people worshipped, whom he permitted and encouraged to do so, giving them liberty to do any thing but to serve God at Jerusalem)
and for the calves. So he erected two sorts of high places, some for Baal, and some for the true God, whom he pretended and would be thought to worship in and by the calves.
And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.Such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel; such as loved and feared God in truth, and with their whole heart.
So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.This honourable mention of Solomon, as a pattern of piety, is a considerable evidence of his true repentance before his death; of which See Poole "1 Kings 11:43".
And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;No text from Poole on this verse.
Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.No text from Poole on this verse.
And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)No text from Poole on this verse.
And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.To be ruler among his brethren; he declared him his successor, and gave him the dominion over his brethren; wherein (if he was not the first-born, as it seems to be implied, because this is mentioned as an effect of his superlative love to his mother) he transgressed that law, Deu 21:15,16, unless God was pleased to dispense with it at this time.
And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.Dispersed of all his children: lest his other sons should after his death unite their counsels and forces together against Abijah, he wisely dispersed them into several and distant places, and under pretence of honouring them with the government of them, he made them prisoners in a sort, appointing several persons to observe their motions, and prevent their combinations.
Unto every fenced city, agreeable to their quality, that their restraint might be more easy to them.
Desired many wives; either,
1. For his children; or rather,
2. For himself, by comparing this with 2 Chronicles 11:21.