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Shishak King Of Egypt

Shishak in the Bible

It was only after the tenth century that the name of the Pharaoh was included in the way Egyptian kings were called. With the new customary practice, the Bible followed suit as well. Shishak is known to be the first Egyptian king that was given a personal name in the Bible. His rule coincided with King Solomon and also of his son, Rehoboam, which is where he is found on the Bible Timeline. He is most known for his crusade all throughout Israel and Judah as stated in the Hebrew Bible. He was also the Egyptian king who granted Jeroboam refuge from Solomon’s wrath.

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Shishak_King_Of_Egypt
The Bubastite Portal at Karnak, showing the cartouches of Sheshonk I. (Shishak )

Shishak’s Role

Shishak is mentioned in the book of 1 Kings about Solomon’s idolatry. Because of Solomon’s sins, God made it known through a prophet named Ahijah His plans to take away ten tribes from Solomon. The prophet also foretold that the ten tribes were then to be given to one of Solomon’s court officials named Jeroboam. Angered by this prophecy, Solomon plotted to kill Jeroboam. It is this time that Jeroboam left Solomon’s court and sought refuge in Egypt. Shishak allowed Jeroboam to stay in Egypt while Solomon was still king.

When Solomon died, Jeroboam went back to his home. With the kingdom divided into two, Jeroboam became king and ruled over the tribes in the northern part while Rehoboam became the leader of the Southern tribes. This was seen by Shishak as an opportune time to launch a campaign to capture the weakened and divided kingdoms. During the fifth year that Rehoboam was king, Shishak came with his great army of Egyptian troops and took over much of Israel. This event is dated to 926 and 917 BC. He was believed to have the support of the Sukkites, Kushites and the Libyans from Egypt. With thousands of chariots and horsemen, he was able to seize the cities of Judah and even reached Jerusalem. As stated in the Bible, Shishak was said to have taken away many of the treasures of the holy temple and those from the royal palace including the gold shields made by Solomon. This was in exchange for sparing Jerusalem from his attacks.

The Lord’s plan

Once Rehoboam had inherited his Kingdom, he stayed in Jerusalem and fortified towns for defense all around Judea. When he gained control over the Kingdom, he, along with everyone else in Judah no longer obeyed the Lord. As punishment, the Lord allowed Shishak to enter and attack the Kingdom. He was able to capture all the cities in Judah and was soon heading to Jerusalem. Rehoboam and the other leaders of the city were told by the prophet, Shemaiah that because of their disobedience, the Lord has also abandoned them. They then felt that indeed the Lord was right, and they all became repentant for their sins. As the leaders of Judah returned to the Lord, Jerusalem was spared from Shishak’s attacks. Nonetheless, the Lord was still angered by their sins that he allowed Shishak to rule over the people. For them to feel how it is to serve a foreign king and not their God (2 Chronicles). However, as Rehoboam returned to the Lord, Judah was not completely destroyed and eventually became prosperous once more.

Bible References:

  • 1 Kings 11:40- Shishak was first introduced in the bible when he granted Jeroboam refuge in Israel
  • 1 Kings 14:25-26- Shishak attacks Rehoboam’s kingdom in Judea and taking away treasures
  • 2 Chronicles 12:3-4- Shishak’s attack in Jerusalem as the Lord’s punishment
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