January 8, 2018

Holy Prophet Shemaiah

Prophet Shemaiah (Feast Day - January 8)


On earth you no longer proclaim the future Shemaiah,
For the prophetic tripod is above.

Shemaiah (Samea in the Septuagint) was a prophet in the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:22-24; 2 Chronicles 11:2-4). According to 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, the intervention of Shemaiah prevented a war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam after the latter had led the northern tribes of Israel to separate from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. King Rehoboam had assembled 180,000 troops to forcefully bring back the ten rebellious tribes. Shemaiah was known as a "man of God", and he prophesied in God's words, "You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me." Shemaiah's words were obeyed and the army stood down. This was a timely reminder of the unity of the Hebrew race, notwithstanding the division of the kingdom.

2 Chronicles 12 further states that Shemaiah prophesied the punishment of Rehoboam by Shishak, king of Egypt. After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. Then the Prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’” The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”

We also read that the Prophet Shemaiah wrote his own book, but it has been lost to us. As it says in 2 Chronicles 12:15, "As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies?"

Furthermore, this Prophet should not be confused with Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Jeremiah 29:24, who was a false prophet. This confusion is often made when the Prophet Shemaiah is referred to as "the Elamite". In fact, there are eighteen others in the Old Testament that carry this name.