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1 KINGS 11:42 – 12:24 — THE KINGDOM IS SPLIT

Under Solomon things were not as they should be in Israel because of the foolish actions of that wise man. He acted more like an Oriental Despot than as a Vassal-King under YAHWEH, the Lord God. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He was also a great builder, not only of the Temple to the LORD, but also of his own home – and shrines to the gods of his foreign wives. He built stables for his large number of horses and accumulated many chariots as well.

This put great demands on his subjects, so much that when he died, the people said to his son, Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 12:4). This was when they had gathered for a coronation; instead, they fomented a revolution.

Rehoboam asked the older men what he should do. They said accept what the people said. He then asked the young men; they said tell them:

My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs. And 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. (1 Kings 12:10-11)

At this, the 10 tribes of the North left Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king. Out of faithfulness to the promise He gave to David, God allowed Rehoboam to continue as king over 2 tribes.

Why did the powerful kingdom of David followed by the glorious kingdom of Solomon fail? The fault was Solomon’s. The wisdom God gave him could not keep the nation safe when he turned from God in particulars that Moses had warned against centuries before:

When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)

God put Solomon on the throne, but he did everything God had warned kings not to do with dire consequences for the STORY. Yet, God was faithful to His promises, working things out for good.


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