Rehoboam was the successor of King Solomon to the throne of Israel and apparently his only son, born to Naamah, a well known Ammonitish princess. Though he was forty-one years old when he ascended to the throne, neither his age nor the influence of his father, who was famed for his wisdom, seemed to have given him any sense, because his first public act alienated his people so much that they separated from him.
Under the leadership of Jeroboam, they had come to him with a request to reduce the high taxes that Solomon had levied on them. He told them to return in three days so that he could consult with his fathers courtiers, who advised him to give them a favorable answer as that would ensure they loyalty. Foolishly, Rehoboam chose to follow the instructions of his friends, who told him to do the opposite.
My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.' "
(1 Kings 12:4)
That was all Jeroboam and the Israelites needed to hear. Ten of the twelve tribes of Israel rebelled against the king of Judah and formed their own kingdom, with Jeroboam as their ruler. The tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to him. The tribe of Benjamin was reckoned with Judah and together they formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital.
Rehoboam tried to win back the ten lost tribes by going to war with them but was prevented from doing so by the prophet Shemaiah. In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak, one of the kings of Egypt made war against him and virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of vassalage.
By the time Rehoboam died, at 58, the kingdom had sunk into total moral and spiritual decay. Rehoboam was succeeded by his son Abijah.