Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
But the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
11:3 Son of Solomon - Intimating, that this was determined for the sin of Solomon, and therefore could not be reversed.
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.
And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
11:5 Built - Repaired, enlarged, and fortified them. They were built before.
He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.
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:
11:14 Cast them off - They would not suffer them to instruct the Israelites in the worship 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 commanded to do; and therefore they, willingly forsook all their patrimonies and possessions for God's sake. No secular advantages whatsoever should detain us there, where we are in danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.
And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.
11:15 High places - Or, for the high places, both for the devils (the Baals, or false gods, which divers of his people worshipped, whom he encouraged to do so, giving them liberty to do anything 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 be pretended 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.
11:16 Set their heart - Such as loved and feared God in truth.
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.
11:17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah - Not only by the addition of so many persons to it: but by their piety and prayers they procured a blessing upon the kingdom which was a sanctuary to them. They made him strong three years; for so long he served God; but when he forsook God, none could strengthen him. We retain our strength as long as we cleave to God and our duty, and no longer. And Solomon - This honourable mention of Solomon, as a pattern of piety, is a considerable evidence of his true repentance before his death.
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;
Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.
And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
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.)
And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
11:22 Ruler - He declared him his successor, and gave him the dominion over, his brethren.
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.
11:23 Dispersed - Lest his other sons should after his death unite together against Abijah, he wisely dispersed them into distant places.