Jeroboam Appoints False Priests
14 For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the Lord. 15 He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and for the calves which he had made. 16 Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel [b]followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years, for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.
18 Then Rehoboam took as a wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse, 19 and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of [c]Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. For he had taken eighteen wives and sixty concubines and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. 22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as head and leader among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23 He acted wisely and distributed [d]some of his sons through all the territories of Judah and Benjamin to all the fortified cities, and he gave them food in abundance. And he sought many wives for them.
The first section starts off sad with folks being pushed into idol worship. But then we see the Levites and those who want to remain true to God finding refuge in Judah and things are looking okay.
Then we start delving into Rehoboam’s family, and we see some classic intermarriage as he marries a couple cousins and we find out he has eighteen wives and a pile of concubines. No doubt he was making his small attempt to look as grand as his father. But the vast number of Solomon’s wives wasn’t what made him great or famous.
That only came from the wisdom God gave him and from following God’s commands. I’m going to take a wild guess that Rehoboam chasing after women was not going to end any better than his father. For Solomon in his old age was turned away from God, and that may be why he failed to pass down any good lessons to Rehoboam.
A lot of our misery in this life comes when we try to chase after physical cravings. When we can put those aside, and strive for wisdom, and seek after the things of God, it’s amazing how things change. If we can keep our focus on God, and follow His will, he will make our path straight. It’s a tall task, and none of us can do that to perfection, but it should be our goal regardless. For the fruit of following God’s ways far surpasses any worldly gain. God’s gain does not wither or pass away. As Solomon knew well, we should store up our treasures in heaven, everything else is chasing after the wind.