Rehoboam, or Roboam, King of Judah

Rehoboam, son of Solomon and Naamah the Ammonitess, became the first ruler of the Southern Kingdom of Judah at age 41. Rehoboam refused to alleviate the burdens of taxation and forced labor, which Solomon had laid upon them, and the northern tribes seceded from the state, proclaiming Jeroboam as their king.

Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained under Rehoboam's rule. Rehoboam tried to force the northern tribes to acknowledge him as their king, but God sent the prophet Shemaiah to stop the war before it started. Rehoboam, at the height of his power, abandoned the lord.

As a result, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign. The Egyptians conquered Jerusalem and took away all of the treasures of the Temple and palace, including Solomon's gold shields, and Judah was forced to pay annual tribute to Shishak. But the economy of Judah remained strong even after the invasion.

There were constant battles between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, and after 17 years of reign Rehoboam died. He was buried in Jerusalem and his son, Abijah, became the new king. Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines, who together bore him 28 sons and 60 daughters.

His story is found in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. The name Rehoboam means "may the people be enlarged."

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