The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 12—The Prophets of Judah

Having traced the sad history of Israel down to the time of their captivity,—a judgment from heaven because of their persistent rejection of the messages of the prophets,—we turn to the record of the southern kingdom, whose regal line descended unbroken from the great rulers, David and Solomon. Here, too, we shall find that the tender heart of God yearned over His people, whose rulers sat in the palace at Jerusalem, the city which He “had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there.” 2 Chronicles 12:13. AGP 126.1

Boldly and fearlessly did divinely appointed prophets bear messages of stern reproof and warn of impending judgments in times of apostasy. Faithfully and tenderly did they encourage and support the efforts of some of Judah’s noble kings who sought to turn the people back to the worship of Jehovah. These royal reformers, by retarding the strong current of apostasy, prolonged the life and independence of the kingdom of Judah, which outlasted the northern kingdom by one hundred thirty-five years. AGP 126.2

To Rehoboam of Judah, as to Jeroboam of Israel, prophetic messages were borne. In marked contrast, however, to the anger manifested by Jeroboam against the prophet who bore his testimony at Bethel was the obedient submission of Rehoboam early in his reign. AGP 126.3

With a natural heritage of martial courage and skill, and assured of an unbroken dynasty by the divine promises to his grandfather David, it is not strange that Rehoboam confidently expected that he could, by force of arms, reduce the rebellious ten tribes to submission. His first act, therefore, was to muster an army of one hundred eighty thousand men of war. He was about to lead them forth against the ten tribes, when there came to him “Shemaiah the man of God,” who addressed him and the assembled army, saying: AGP 126.4

“Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren [the children of Israel]: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of Me.” 2 Chronicles 11:4.

So fully did the king and his followers accept this as counsel from God that, without demur or hesitation, “they hearkened therefore to the word of the Lord, and returned to depart, according to the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 12:24. AGP 127.1

Rehoboam did not, however, always maintain this attitude of loyalty to God. He became inflated by success. Despite the wars initiated against him by Jeroboam, he was able to establish and strengthen himself. But he then fell beneath the subtle temptation to pride and self-exaltation, and “he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.” 2 Chronicles 12:1. AGP 127.2

At length, a great Egyptian army, under Shishak, appeared before the walls of Jerusalem. Flushed with his success in having captured a number of fortified cities in Judah, he confidently expected to take the capital also. AGP 127.3