DEVOTIONAL – AUG 12
SOLOMON’S KINGDOM DIVIDED
Leslie M. John
”Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God”. (Leviticus 19:4)
Throughout Bible it is seen how the LORD God of Israel, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was against worshipping His creation rather than the creator. The LORD called the children of Israel as fornicators when they worshiped idols. He chastised them several times and yet they repeatedly fell into this Sin.
Solomon, who was the wisest king over Israel was no exception, and therefore, had to pay very dearly. He died after reigning as King over Israel for forty years and was buried with his fathers. In his last days Solomon wrote: ”And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)
It was the turn of Solomon’s son Rehoboam to take over as King over Israel. Rehoboam went to Shechem where all Israel gathered to make him king. Jeroboam, who was an official in Solomon’s kingdom, was given the authority by the King over the House of Joseph and he fled to Egypt from Solomon’s presence after he became adversary to Solomon in fulfillment of the LORD’s prophecy. He heard the news that Israel was gathering at Shechem to make Rehoboam king over Israel and not losing much time he along with the rest of the congregation of Israel came to Shechem.
Jeroboam spoke to Rehoboam and said that Solomon taxed the house of Joseph too much. He was pleading for tax relief because he was made in-charge by Solomon over the house of Joseph. He said if the yoke of tax is made easy on them they will serve Rehoboam for ever. Rehoboam was unable to take decision immediately and gave a rash reply to Jeroboam to get back to him after three days. Jeroboam agreed and went back. In the meanwhile Rehoboam consulted the old men who gave counsel to his father in his time.
The Old men said to Rehoboam that they will be his servants for ever if he answered them well and spoke good words. The counsel of Old men did not seem good to Rehoboam and, therefore, he sought the counsel of young men of his age who grew up with him. The counsel from the reprobate young men was so harsh and rough that their very tone was disgusting and the depraved Rehoboam accepted the young men’s counsel and thwarted away the counsel from matured old men who gave counsel to his father, who was himself a wise king.
The young counselors said to Rehoboam to tell Jeroboam that his little finger shall be thicker than his father’s loins and that he will chastise them with scorpions whereas, according to them, his father chastised them with whips. (Ref. 1 Kings 12:10b, 11a) The people of Israel rebelled mightily against Rehoboam and made Jeroboam king over Northern Province. Jeroboam and the ten tribes went back with much resentment and formed their own Kingdom.
As for the tribe of Judah and Benjamin they stayed with Rehoboam. Thus it was the beginning of a strong marked phase in the lives of the children of Israel. Israel was split into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom was formed with Jeroboam as their King with ten tribes which was called the ”House of Israel”. Rehoboam became the King of the Southern province which was called ”House of Judah”. The tribe of Levi, who were priests, mixed up on both the sides and both the houses lived at loggerheads until they were taken captive.
Northern kingdom was taken captive by the Assyrians and southern Kingdom was taken captive by the Babylonians, who later took hold of Northern Kingdom also, and thus the history of Israel is written in bloodshed.