Rehoboam (Hebrew:רחבעם Rehav'am) was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, succeeding his father Solomon. His grandfather was David. He was the third king of the House of David and the first of the Kingdom of Judah. His mother was Naamah "the Ammonitess." His name means "he who enlarges the people".

Early reign

Rehoboam's reign has been dated to 922 BC-915 BC by William F. Albright and 931 BC-913 BC by E. R. Thiele.

He was forty-one years old when he ascended the throne, and he reigned seventeen years. Under his father, Solomon, the people were taxed heavily to pay for all the building projects undertaken during that reign. Solomon's act of building a place over the "Millo", formerly an open area providing convenient access to the Temple for those coming from the north, may have been perceived as apathy for the tribes of the north. Therefore, there was great unease immediately after the death of Solomon-- people were afraid that he would pursue a high-taxation, (supposedly) pro-southern policy like his father. Solomon had also accumulated several prominent enemies during his later reign, notably Hadad, the Egyptian-backed heir to the Edomite throne; Rezon, the son of an Aramean army captain, now the "de facto" ruler of Damascus; and Jeroboam, a rising young Ephraimite who, encouraged by the prophet Ahijah, was increasingly outspoken against Solomonic policy.

The nation demanded that the coronation ceremony be held at Shechem, a decidedly pro-northern stronghold, to crown Rehoboam. The weak Rehoboam complied, and the people immediately demanded relief from heavy tax burdens. Rehoboam asked and was granted three days to receive counsel before announcing his decision to the masses. The elder counselors formerly of Solomon's kingship advised that he lower taxes to gain favor among the people, while the younger counselors, cronies of the new king, exhorted that he raise taxes to express his authority. Rehoboam sided with the young counselors and said to the people, "my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." [bibleverse-lb|1|Kings|12:1-14|HE]

The northerners retracted their recognition of the legitimacy of the rule of the House of David and declared independence. Jeroboam was appointed as king over them, and their breakaway state became known as the Kingdom of Israel.


Rehoboam did not take the northerners seriously, and he dispatched Adoram (possibly identical with the Adoniram of Solomon's reign), the chief tax collector, to collect taxes from the north. Adoram was stoned, and Rehoboam, who had apparently followed him throughout his journey, had to flee in haste to Jerusalem.

Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem and organized a sizeable army to suppress what he still saw as a rebellion against the crown. Its size is given as 180,000 men by I Kings and by II Chronicles. Shemaiah the prophet proclaimed that it was God's will that the United Monarchy be divided, and Rehoboam immediately abandoned his plans. Nevertheless, Rehoboam skirmished against the forces of Jeroboam I throughout the remainder of his reign. A vast majority of the Levites left the Kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of Judah because they were being recruited as pagan priests by Jeroboam I.

In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, in 925 BC, Pharaoh Shishak and his allies, including the Ethiopians, invaded and sacked Jerusalem. The entire Kingdom of Judah (as opposed to the Kingdom of Israel, made up of all except tribes Judah and Benjamin, in the north) was looted, even the Temple and the royal palace, and the decorative gold shields made by Solomon were taken. Rehoboam replaced them with bronze ones. A remarkable memorial of this invasion has been discovered at Karnak, in Upper Egypt, in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there. These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had fortified. [bibleverse-lb|2|Chronicles|11:5-12|HE]

Rehoboam fortified the heart of the kingdom, and thus most of the approaches to Jerusalem were flanked by major fortresses. However, the ascents from the Judean Desert in the east and from the Kingdom of Israel in the north were not covered by the defensive works. The Judean Desert was a ground to which enemies were to be lured and ambushed, and the Judah-Israel border was not guarded because Rehoboam did not recognize the Kingdom of Israel as an independent state.


Rehoboam's eighteen wives and sixty concubines bore him eighty-eight children, but he had the insight to prevent court power struggles by appointing his numerous children to important posts across the country, predominantly away from the capital. He died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son Abijah.

As a given name

"Rehavam" is used, though not very commonly, as a given name in contemporary Israel, the most well-known holder being the controversial ex-general and extreme-right leader Rehavam Ze'evi.


*I Kings 11-12
*II Chronicles 10-12
*Battles of the Bible, 1978

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  • REHOBOAM — (Heb. רְחַבְעָם; the (divine) kinsman has been generous or the people has expanded ), king of Judah for 17 years (c. 928–911 B.C.E.); son of Solomon by Naamah the Ammonitess (I Kings 14:21; II Chron. 12:13). Rehoboam s name is connected with one… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • réhoboam — [ reɔbɔam ] n. m. • déb. XXe ; angl. Rehoboam, n. d un fils de Salomon → jéroboam ♦ Grosse bouteille de champagne d une contenance de six bouteilles ordinaires. ● réhoboam nom masculin Grosse bouteille de champagne, d une contenance de six… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Rehoboam — Réhoboam Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Théologie Réhoboam est une des transcriptions du nom de Roboam Ier, roi de Juda et fils du roi Salomon selon la Bible. Œnologie Le réhoboam est… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rehoboam — [rē΄hə bō′əm] n. [Heb rechavam, lit., prob., enlarger of the people] 1. Bible the first king of Judah: 2 Chron. 9:31 12:16 2. [usually r ] Winemaking a wine bottle, esp. one for champagne, holding about 4.5 liters, about three times as much as a… …   English World dictionary

  • Rehoboam —    He enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne, and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah the Ammonitess, some well known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 12:13). He was forty one years old when he… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

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  • Rehoboam — (fl. 10th cent, BCE)    King of Judah (930 908 BCE). He was the son of Solomon by his wife Naamah. When he refused to moderate his policy of taxation, the country split into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; only the tribes of Judah, Simeon and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Rehoboam — Son of Solomon. He succeeded to the throne but of Judah only because the northern tribes rejected Rehoboam s proposed tax increases and accepted Jeroboam as king. He reigned probably from 926 to 910 BCE, and in 920 failed to repel an Egyptian… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • rehoboam — noun a wine bottle of about six times the standard size. Origin C19: from Rehoboam, a king of ancient Israel …   English new terms dictionary

  • rehoboam — /riəˈboʊəm/ (say reeuh bohuhm) noun a large wine bottle with a capacity equal to six 750 ml bottles, i.e. 4.5 litres. {named after Rehoboam, reigned ? 922–? 915 BC, first king of Judah; term used in parallel with jeroboam} …  

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