Israel’s Choice, Pt. 9 – Divided Kingdom

BC 931 The Nation Divided.

After Solomon’s reign the nation (12 tribes) of Israel was divided into two separate kingdoms:

ISRAEL: consisting of the 10 Northern Tribes, and

JUDAH: consisting of the 2 Southern Tribes.

Why was the kingdom divided? Was this blessing or curse?

1 Kings 11:28-33 “And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. 29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.”

These verses are telling us that the rending or dividing of the kingdom was a direct result of Israel not doing right and keeping the “statutes and judgments” of God’s law. They did not keep the covenant and thus incurred division as a consequence for disobedience against God and unfaithfulness to the covenant. Notice the mention of David in verse 32. That is a reference to the promise I mentioned in the previous blog article.

Solomon’s son, Rehoboam had planned to take his father’s throne and to rule the people sternly. For a long time the people had already “suffered grievous wrongs under the oppressive measures of their former ruler” Solomon (see Prophets and Kings, p. 88). Rehoboam decided his course of action contrary to the more gracious guidance of the older advisers, who said he should not further oppress the people. Instead, Rehoboam decided to listen to the younger advisors whose counsel was more flattering to his desire for supreme authority. (1 Kings 12:2-11) This was the mistake that caused the nation to divide.

“The Lord did not allow Rehoboam to carry out the policy he had outlined. Among the tribes were many thousands who had become thoroughly aroused over the oppressive measures of Solomon’s reign, and these now felt that they could not do otherwise than rebel against the house of David. ‘When all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.’ Verse 16.

“The breach created by the rash speech of Rehoboam proved irreparable. Thenceforth the twelve tribes of Israel were divided, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin composing the lower or southern kingdom of Judah, under the rulership of Rehoboam; while the ten northern tribes formed and maintained a separate government, known as the kingdom of Israel, with Jeroboam as their ruler. Thus was fulfilled the prediction of the prophet concerning the rending of the kingdom. ‘The cause was from the Lord.’ Verse 15.”

-Prophets and Kings, p. 90-91 {PK 90.2-91.1}

So, the story of the divided kingdom starts with Rehoboam as king of Judah and Jeroboam as king of Israel.

Did this division lead Israel and Judah toward blessings? Based on the pattern of rebellion and disobedience up to this point, you may be able to guess the answer. We will find out more as the study continues…

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