Lesson 1 – The Kingdom Divides
Read 1 Kings 12:1-30. Identify what is happening in this story by use of some or all of these questions:
At the beginning of the story,
Find the town on the Bible map.
What did they plan to do?
Compare and contrast the different advice that Rehoboam
What are the similarities and differences in the content? the reasoning? the motivation?
What caused the revolt of
• What verses use the phrase "house of David" ? What is being said there by the phrase?
Why does Jeroboam build a sanctuary at
• What are the underlying causes of the division of the kingdom?
Read the additional interpretation of the story from the "Bible Background," beginning at paragraph 4. What new insights do you gain about the story?
Ø Solomon worshipped other gods. How can we protect ourselves from worshipping other things in a world where so many things compete for our loyalty?
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.”
Solomon's enterprises were very costly, and the people had to pay for all his luxury. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam came to the throne. That would have been a perfect time for Rehoboam to ease the tax burden of both the northern tribes and the tribes of Benjamin and Judah in the south. If Rehoboam had done so, then the kingdom may have been secure for some time.
2It appears that Rehoboam had
intended to take seriously the concerns of
the northern tribes, since he had
accepted the idea of being designated king
in the old tribal center of the north, the city of
3From this point in
the books of 1 and 2 Kings, the historian responsible for the story of Israel's
the time of the divided kingdom works out a system of helping readers to see how
unfortunate and destructive this division- of the kingdom actually was. The
historian keeps the life of the people of
to hear the just complaints of the people, and his kingdom is soon aflame with dissension. Jeroboam is clearly a very
talented leader. He has to find some way to
keep the northern tribes from still going for worship to
it a rival place of
5Jeroboam may have
intended that the worship of the God of Israel at
6It is for this
reason that the historian who tells us the story of the two kingdoms makes it
clear that none of the kings of the north act faithfully to God. What Jeroboam
began with the house of worship at
7It was a fateful
day when Rehoboam turned his back upon the
advisers who urged him to be fair and just in his dealings with the people. And
it was a
fateful day when Jeroboam, in the north, chose the dangerous emblem of the young
bull or calf to represent
God in the place of worship. It was a terrible
day when the people of
1 Kings 11-13 1 Kings 12:1-30 below in yellow
1 King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh:
Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,
2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the Israelites, "You
shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they
will surely incline your heart to follow their gods"; Solomon clung to these in
3 Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines;
and his wives turned away his heart.
4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods;
and his heart was not true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father
5 For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the
abomination of the Ammonites.
6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not completely
follow the LORD, as his father David had done.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh
the abomination of
Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of
8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed
to their gods.
9 Then the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from
the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
10 and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other
gods; but he did not observe what the LORD commanded.
11 Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this has been your mind and you
have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will
surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant.
12 Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I
will tear it out of the hand of your son.
13 I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to
your son, for the sake of my
servant David and for the sake of
I have chosen."
14 Then the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he
was of the royal house in
15 For when David was in
bury the dead, he killed every
16 (for Joab and all
every male in
17 but Hadad fled to
He was a young boy at that time.
18 They set out from Midian and came to Paran; they took people with them from
Paran and came to
assigned him an allowance of food, and gave him land.
19 Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him his
sister-in-law for a wife, the sister of Queen Tahpenes.
20 The sister of Tahpenes gave birth by him to his son Genubath, whom Tahpenes
weaned in Pharaoh's house; Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the children of
21 When Hadad heard in
the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, "Let me depart, that
I may go to my own country."
22 But Pharaoh said to him, "What do you lack with me that you now seek to go to
your own country?" And he said, "No, do let me go."
23 God raised up another adversary against Solomon, Rezon son of Eliada, who had
fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah.
24 He gathered followers around him and became leader of a marauding band, after
the slaughter by David; they
25 He was an adversary of
Hadad did; he despised
26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose
mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, rebelled against the king.
27 The following was the reason he rebelled against the king. Solomon built the
Millo, and closed up the gap in the wall of the city of his father David.
28 The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was
industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph.
29 About that time, when Jeroboam was leaving
Shilonite found him on the road. Ahijah had clothed himself with a new garment.
The two of them were alone in the open country
30 when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into
31 He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the
LORD, the God of Israel, "See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of
Solomon, and will give you ten tribes.
32 One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake
33 This is because he has forsaken me, worshiped Astarte the goddess of the
the god of
not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes
and my ordinances, as his father David did.
34 Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom away from him but will make
him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I
chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes;
35 but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you--that is,
the ten tribes.
36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always
have a lamp before me in
37 I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires; you
shall be king over
38 If you will listen to all that I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is
right in my sight by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my
servant did, I will be with you, and will build you an enduring house, as I
built for David, and I will give
39 For this reason I will punish the descendants of David, but not forever."
40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam promptly fled to
41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did as well as his wisdom,
are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon?
42 The time that Solomon reigned in
43 Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father
David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.
(1 Kings 12:1-33)
1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all
Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still
had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from
And they sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all the assembly of
and said to Rehoboam,
4 "Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of
your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you."
5 He said to them, "Go away for three days, then come again to me." So the
people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father
Solomon while he was still alive, saying, "How do you advise me to answer this
7 They answered him, "If you will be a servant to this people today and serve
them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your
8 But he disregarded the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted with
the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him.
9 He said to them, "What do you advise that we answer this people who have said
to me, 'Lighten the yoke that your father put on us'?"
10 The young men who had grown up with him said to him, "Thus you should say to
this people who spoke to you, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must
lighten it for us'; thus you should say to them, 'My little finger is thicker
than my father's loins.
11 Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My
father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king
had said, "Come to me again the third day."
13 The king answered the people harshly. He disregarded the advice that the
older men had given him
14 and spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, "My father made
your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with
whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions."
15 So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs
brought about by the LORD that he might fulfill his word, which the LORD had
spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.
answered the king, "What share do we have in David? We have no inheritance in
the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, O David."
17 But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who were living in the towns of
18 When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, all
the assembly and made him king over all
the house of David, except the tribe of
When Rehoboam came to
tribe of Benjamin, one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops to fight against
the house of
22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God:
Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to
all the house of
and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,
24 "Thus says the LORD, You shall not go up or fight against your kindred the
heeded the word of the LORD and went home again, according to the word of the
25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and resided
there; he went out from there and built Penuel.
26 Then Jeroboam said to himself, "Now the kingdom may well revert to the house
27 If this people continues to go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the
28 So the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold. He said to the people,
have gone up to
brought you up out of the
He set one in
30 And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one at
31 He also made houses on high places, and appointed priests from among all the
people, who were not Levites.
32 Jeroboam appointed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month like
the festival that was in
33 He went up to the altar that he had made in
the eighth month, in the month that he alone had devised; he appointed a
festival for the people of
(1 Kings 13:1-34)
1 While Jeroboam was standing by the altar to offer incense, a man of God came
2 and proclaimed against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar,
altar, thus says the LORD: 'A son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by
name; and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer
incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.'"
3 He gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign that the LORD has
spoken: 'The altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be
4 When the king heard what the man of God cried out
against the altar at
Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Seize him!" But the
hand that he stretched out against him withered so that he could not draw it
back to himself.
5 The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar,
according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
6 The king said to the man of God, "Entreat now the favor of the LORD your God,
and pray for me, so that my hand may be restored to me. " So the man of God
entreated the LORD; and the king's hand was restored to him, and became as it
7 Then the king said to the man of God, "Come home with me and dine, and I will
give you a gift."
8 But the man of God said to the king, "If you give me half your kingdom, I will
not go in with you; nor will I eat food or drink water in this place.
9 For thus I was commanded by the word of the LORD: You shall not eat food, or
drink water, or return by the way that you came."
10 So he went another way, and did not return by the way that he had come to
11 Now there lived an old prophet in
all that the man of God had done
that day in
spoken to the king, they told to their father.
12 Their father said to them, "Which way did he go?" And his sons showed him the
way that the man of God who came
13 Then he said to his sons, "Saddle a donkey for me." So they saddled a donkey
for him, and he mounted it.
14 He went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak tree. He
said to him, "Are you the
man of God who came from
15 Then he said to him, "Come home with me and eat some food."
16 But he said, "I cannot return with you, or go in with you; nor will I eat
food or drink water with you in this place;
17 for it was said to me by the word of the LORD: You shall not eat food or
drink water there, or return by the way that you came."
18 Then the other said to him, "I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel
spoke to me by the word of the LORD: Bring him back with you into your house so
that he may eat food and drink water." But he was deceiving him.
19 Then the man of God went back with him, and ate food and drank water in his
20 As they were sitting at the table, the word of the LORD came to the prophet
who had brought him back;
21 and he proclaimed to the man of God who came from
Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the
commandment that the LORD your God commanded you,
22 but have come back and have eaten food and drunk water in the place of which
he said to you, 'Eat no food, and drink no water,' your body shall not come to
your ancestral tomb."
23 After the man of God had eaten food and had drunk, they saddled for him a
donkey belonging to the prophet who had brought him back.
24 Then as he went away, a lion met him on the road and killed him. His body was
thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside
25 People passed by and saw the body thrown in the road, with the lion standing
by the body. And they came and told it in the town where the old prophet lived.
26 When the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said,
"It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the LORD; therefore the LORD
has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him according to the
word that the LORD spoke to him."
27 Then he said to his sons, "Saddle a donkey for me." So they saddled one,
28 and he went and found the body thrown in the road, with the donkey and the
lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or attacked the
29 The prophet took up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and
brought it back to the city, to mourn and to bury him.
30 He laid the body in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, "Alas,
31 After he had buried him, he said to his sons, "When I die, bury me in the
grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones.
32 For the saying that he proclaimed by the word of the LORD against the altar
33 Even after this event Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made
priests for the high places again from among all the people; any who wanted to
be priests he consecrated for the high places.
34 This matter became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to
destroy it from the face of the earth.