5.56 1 Kings -- The Sins of Rehoboam
Rehoboam was no improvement on his northern rival. They were as alike as Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Rehoboam had the added disadvantage of having an Ammonite mother. Whatever evil he did not learn from his father, he copied from her. In addition to the sins practiced in Israel, Judah added male cult prostitutes (1 Kings 14:24). So there was no qualitative difference between the two kingdoms. The only reason that Rehoboam was not judged like Jeroboam was because of God's promise to David that He would not utterly destroy his heirs when they sinned. Nevertheless, God allowed Judah to be attacked. Egypt was the first country to come against Judah as an instrument of God's punishment:
In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made (1 Kings 14:25-26).
The prophet Shemaiah informed Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah that since they had abandoned God, He was abandoning them to Pharaoh (2 Chron 12:5). This caused Rehoboam to humble himself and to repent (at least temporarily). However, he comforted himself by crafting bronze shields to replace the gold ones. This is symbolic of the condition of Judah: the true value had departed from the country, and only an appearance of health and wealth remained. Note the progression of Egypt's role in two generations:
1. being an ally through the marriage of Solomon to Pharaoh's daughter.
2. being a place of safety for Solomon's enemies: Hadad, Jeroboam.
3. making war upon Rehoboam and looting Jerusalem of its treasures (the first of many invaders to do so).