The Rest of the Story -

A Kingdom Torn in Two

1 Kings 11:26-40, Jeroboam, son of Nebat
1 Kings 12:1-11, The Request to Rehoboam
1 Kings 12:12-19, Rehoboam's Answer
1 Kings 12:20-25, King Jeroboam of Israel
1 Kings 12:26-33, The Sin of Jeroboam

More of The Rest of the Story

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The Division of Solomon's Empire. See below for provenance.
1 Kings 11:26-40, Jeroboam, son of Nebat (11/19/12)

If the history of Israel were a play, the next line would be “Enter Jeroboam, son of Nebat.” God has decided to divide the kingdom, retaining only a small part for the house of David. The rest God is going to give to Jeroboam, “an able and responsible man” who works for Solomon. God tells Jeroboam almost exactly what he told Saul, David, and Solomon: “Keep my laws, and I will give you a dynasty.”

1 Kings 12:1-11, The Request to Rehoboam (11/20/12)

There’s a saying that old and canny beats young and stupid every time. It’s also true that young and canny beats old and stupid every time.

Gifts and trade agreements weren’t the only things that made Solomon rich – he also instituted high taxes (1 Kings 9:15) and both civilian and military drafts (1 Kings 5:13-16). When his son Rehoboam came to the throne, the populace asked him to ease up a little. He questioned both his old advisors and his young advisors, and they gave him two very different answers. Tomorrow we’ll see which group was canny and which was stupid.

1 Kings 12:12-19, Rehoboam's Answer (11/21/12)

By the time of Rehoboam, Israel had a relatively short history of rule by kings, roughly 120 years. When he took the advice of his hotheaded young advisors and threatened to increase the burdens the monarchy on the people, the people decided they didn’t have to be part of that monarchy. Ten tribes withdrew.

Astute fellow-reader Ginger J. noticed the other day that back in 1 Kings 11:31-32, ten tribes were promised to Jeroboam, and one tribe was left for Solomon’s son. She asked what happened to the missing tribe. It seems to me that the basic rule of thumb is this: There are always 12 tribes, even though sometimes when you count, you get 11 or 13. The counting problem apparently arises from the division of Joseph into two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh; the withdrawal of Levi to be God’s; and the assimilation of Benjamin or Simeon into Judah. Presumably the missing tribe here in today’s reading is Levi, which only has cities and not lands, and which therefore went into both kingdoms.

1 Kings 12:20-25, King Jeroboam of Israel (11/22/12)

After ten of the tribes withdrew from Rehoboam’s kingdom, they made Jeroboam king over a separate kingdom, Israel, as arranged by God beforehand. Rehoboam decided to bring them back by force, but the prophet Shemaiah brought him word that his war was contrary to God’s will. Everybody went home; however, Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) engaged in an on-again, off-again civil war for the next 40 years.

1 Kings 12:26-33, The Sin of Jeroboam (11/23/12)

Back in 1 Kings 11:38, God promised Jeroboam, “if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” Apparently Jeroboam didn’t trust God to deliver on his promise, because shortly after he was made king, he set up false places of worship, which led his kingdom into sin and ultimately led to the destruction of the ten tribes.

More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
Apocalyptic writings in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time

Copyright 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

The map showing the division of King Solomon's empire is from the Thomas family Bible, now in a private collection of a family member.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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