(Heb. Rechabdmn, רחִבעָם, enlarger of the people [see Ex 34:24, and comp. the name Εὐρύδημος]; Sept. ῾Ροβοάμ; Josephus, ῾Ροβόαμος, Ant. 8:8,1), the only son of Solomon, by the Ammonitish princess Naamah (1Ki 14:21,31), and his successor (1Ki 11:43). — Rehoboam's mother is distinguished by the title "the (not 'an,' as in the A.V.) Ammonite." She was therefore one of the foreign women whom Solomon took into his establishment (11:1). In the Sept. (1Ki 12:24, answering to 1Ki 14:31 of the Hebrew text) she is stated to have been the "daughter of Ana (i.e. Hanun) the son of Nahash." If this is a translation of a statement which once formed part of the Hebrew text, and may be taken as authentic history, it follows that the Ammonitish war into which Hanun's insults had provoked David was terminated by a realliance. Rehoboam was born B.C. 1014, when Solomon was but twenty years old, and as yet unanointed to the throne. His reign was noted for the great political schism which he occasioned, and which continuled to the end of both lines of monarchy. From the earliest period of Jewish history we perceive symptoms that the confederation of thettribes was but imperfectly cemented. The powerful Ephraim could never brook a position of inferiority. Throughout the book of Judges (Jg 8:1; Jg 12:1) the Ephraimites show a spirit of resentful jealousy when any enterprise. is undertaken without their concurrence and active participation. From them had sprung Joshua, and afterwards (by his place of birth) Samuel might be considered theirs; and though the tribe of Benjamin gave to Israel its first king, yet it was allied by hereditary ties to the house of Joseph, and by geographical position to the territory of Ephraim, so that up to David's accession the leadership was practically in the hands of the latter tribe. SEE EPHRAIM, TRIBE OF. But Judah always threatened to be a formidable rival. During the earlier history, partly from the physical structure and situation of its territory (Stanley, Syr. and Palest. p. 162), which secluded it from Palestine just as Palestine by its geographical character was secluded from the world, it had stood very much aloof from the nation SEE JUDAH, TRIBE OF, and even after Saul's death, apparently without waiting to consult their brethren, "the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah" (2Sa 2:4), while the other tribes adhered to Saul's family, thereby anticipating the final disruption which was afterwards to rend the nation permanently into two kingdoms. But after seven years of disaster a reconciliation was forced upon the contending parties; David was acknowledged as king of Israel, and soon after, by fixing his court at Jerusalem and bringing the tabernacle there, he transferred from Ephraim the greatness which had attached to Shechem as the ancient capital and to Shiloh as the seat of the national worship. In spite of this he seems to have enjoyed great personal popularity among the Ephraimites, and to have treated many of them with special favor (1Ch 12:30; 1Ch 27:10,14), yet this roused the jealousy of Judah, and probably led to the revolt of Absalom (q.v.). Even after that perilous crisis was passed, the old rivalry broke out afresh and almost led to another insurrection (2Sa 20:1, etc. [comp. Ps 78:60,67, etc., in illustration of these remarks]). Solomon's reign, from its severe taxes and other oppressions, aggravated the disecntent, and latterly, from its irreligious character, alienated the prophets and provoked the displeasure of God. When Solomon's strong hand was withdrawn, the crisis came (B.C. 973). Rehoboam selected Shechem as the place of his coronation, probably as an act of concession to the Ephraimites, and perhaps in deference to the suggestions of those old and wise counsellors of his father whose advice he afterwards unhappily rejected. From the present Hebrew text of 1 Kings 12 the exact details of the transactions at Shechem are involved in a little uncertainty. The general facts, indeed, are clear. The people demanded a remission of the severe burdens imposed by Solomon, and Rehoboam promised them an answer in three days, during which time he consulted first his father's counsellors, and then the young men "that were grown up with him and which stood before him," whose answer shows how greatly during Solomon's later years the character of the Jewish court had degenerated. Rejecting the advice of the elders to conciliate the people at the beginning of his reign, and so make them "his servants forever," he returned as his reply, in the true spirit of an Eastern despot, the frantic bravado of his contemporaries, "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. . . I will add to your yoke; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions" (i.e. scourges furnished with sharp points; so in Latin, scorpio, according to Isidore Origg. v, 27], is "virga nodosa et aculeata, quia arcuato vulnere in corpus infligitur?' [Facciolati, s.v.]). Thereupon arose the formidable song of insurrection, heard once before when the tribes quarrelled after David's return from the war with Absalom:
"What portion have we in David? What inheritance in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel? Now see to thy own house, O David!"
Rehoboam sent Adoram or Adoniram, who had been chief receiver of the tribute during the reigns of his father and his grandfather (1Ki 4:6; 2Sa 20:24), to reduce the rebels to reason, but he was stoned to death by them, whereupon the king and his attendants fled in hot haste to Jerusalem. So far all is plain, but there is a doubt as to the part which Jeroboam took in these transactions. According to 1Ki 12:3 he was summoned by the Ephraimites from Egypt (to which country he had fled from the anger of Solomon) to be their spokesman at Rehoboam's coronation, and actually made the speech in which a remission of burdens was requested. There is no real contradiction to this when we read in ver. 20 of the same chapter that after the success of the insurrection and Rehoboam's flight, "when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, they sent and called him unto the congregation and made him king." We find in the Sept. a long supplement to this, 12th chapter, possibly ancient, containing-fuller details of Jeroboam's biography than the Hebrew. SEE JEROBOAM. In this we read that after Solomon's death he returned to his native place, Sarira in Ephraim, which he fortified, and lived there quietly, watching the turn of events until the long-expected rebellion broke out, when the Ephraimites heard (doubtless through his own agency) that he had returned, and invited him to Shechem to assume the crown. From the same supplementary narrative of the Sept. we might infer that more than a year must have elapsed between Solomon's death and Rehoboam's visit to Shechem, for, on receiving the news of the former event, Jeroboam requested from the king of Egypt leave to return to his native country. This the king tried to prevent by giving him his sisterin-law in marriage; but on the birth of his child Abijah, Jeroboam renewed his request, which was then granted. It is probable that during this year the discontent of the northern tribes was making itself more and more manifest, and that this led to Rehoboam's visit and intended inauguration. The comparative chronology of the reigns determines them both as beginning in this year.
On Rehoboam's return to Jerusalem he assembled an army of 180,000 men from the two faithful tribes of Judah and Benjamin (the latter transferred from the side of Joseph to that of Judah in consequence of the position of David's capital within its borders), in the hope of reconquering Israel. The expedition, however, was forbidden by the prophet Shemaiah, who assured them that the separation of the kingdoms was in accordance with God's will (1Ki 12:24). Still, during Rehoboam's lifetime peaceful relations between Israel and Judah were never restored (2Ch 12:15; 1Ki 14:30). Rehoboam now occupied himself in strengthening the territories which remained to him by building a number of fortresses of which the names are given in 2Ch 11:6-10, forming a girdle of "fenced cities" round Jerusalem. The pure worship of God was maintained in Judah, and the Levites and many pious Israelites from the North, vexed at the calf-idolatry introduced by Jeroboam at Dan and Bethel, in imitation of the Egyptian worship of Mnevis, came and settled in the southern kingdom and added to its power. But Rehoboam did not check the introduction of heathen abominations into his capital. The lascivious worship of Ashtoreth was allowed to exist by the side of the true religion (an inheritance of evil doubtless left by Solomon), "images" (of Baal and his fellow-divinities) were set up, and the worst immoralities were tolerated (1Ki 14:22-24). These evils were punished and put down by the terrible calamity of an Egyptian invasion. Shortly before this time a change in the ruling house had occurred in Egypt. The twenty-first dynasty of Tanites, whose last king, Pisham or Psusennes, had been a close ally of Solomon (3:1; 7:8; 9:16; 10:28, 29), was succeeded by the twenty-second of Bubastites, whose first sovereign, Shishak (Sheshonk, Sesonchis, Sovuarmci), was himself connected, as we have seen, with Jeroboam. That he was incited by him to attack Judah is very probable. At all events, in the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign the country was invaded by a host of Egyptians and other African nations, numbering 1200 chariots, 60,000 cavalry, and a vast miscellaneous multitude of infantry (B.C. 969). The line of fortresses which protected Jerusalem to the west and south was forced, Jerusalem itself was taken, and Rehoboam had to purchase an ignominious peace by delivering up all the treasures with which Solomon had adorned the Temple and palace, including his golden shields, 200 of the larger and 300 of the smaller size (10:16, 17), which were carried before him when he visited the Temple in state. We are told that after the Egyptians had retired, his vain and foolish successor comforted himself by substituting shields of brass, which were solemnly borne before him in procession by the body- guard, as if nothing had been changed since his father's time (Ewald: Geschichte des Volkes Israel, 3:348, 464). Shishak's success is commemorated by sculptures discovered bv Champollion on the outside of the great temple at Karnak, where among a long list of captured towns and provinces occurs the name Judah Malkah (kingdom of Judah). It is said that the features of the captives in these sculptures are unmistakably Jewish (Rawlinson, Herodotus, 2, 376, and Bamton Lectures, p. 126; Bunsen, Egypt, 3:242). After this great humiliation tle moral condition of Judah seems to have improved (2Ch 12:12), and the rest of Rehoboam's life to have been unmarked by any events of importance. He died B.C. 956, after a reign of seventeen years, having ascended the throne at the age of forty-one (1Ki 14:21: 2Ch 12:13). In the addition to the Sept. already mentioned (inserted after 1Ki 12:24) we read that he was sixteen years old at his accession-a misstatement probably founded on a wrong interpretation of 2Ch 13:7 where he is called "young" (i. e new to his work, inexperienced) and "tender- hearted" (רִךאּלֵבָב, wanting in resolution and spirit). He had eighteen wives, sixty concubines, twenty-eight sons, and sixty daughters. The wisest thing recorded of him in Scripture is that he refused to waste away his sons' energies in the wretched existence of an Eastern zenana, in which we may infer, from his helplessness at the age of forty-one, that he had himself been educated, but dispersed them in command of the new fortresses which he had built about the country. Of his wives, Mahalath, Abihail, and Maachah were all of the royal house of Jesse. Maachah he loved best of all, and to her son Abijah he bequeathed his kingdom. See Kiesling, Hist. Rehabeami (Jena, 1753). SEE JUDAH, KINGDOM OF.