Divided Kingdom: Israel (northern) and Judah (Southern)
The United Kingdom of Israel was divided into two as it was prophesized by the prophet of the LORD in chapter 11 creating Judah and Israel ruled by Rehoboam (Israel) and Jeroboam (Judah)
Rehoboam’s accession, The people’s petition, His rough answer. (1-15)
V. 3…Revolt under Jeroboam.
V.4…People complaints about hardship and higher tax under Solomon and demanded relaxation.
Vs. 5-14…Rehoboam denied elders counsel and heeded younger ones evil counsel to suffer and tax them more.
V. 15… turn of events was from the LORD… It was not God made Rehoboam to reject people’s plea to split the nation, but God used the pride, dictatorship, and arrogance to fulfil HIS purposes.
Ten tribes revolt. (16-24)
V. 16… What share have we in David….now, see you own house of David… The people speak unbecomingly of David. How soon are good men, and their good services to the public are forgotten!
V. 17…Rehoboam reigned over…Israel…Jeroboam was not made the king yet.
V. 18 Adoram… It was a futile effort for Rehoboam to enforce his oppressive tactics on Israel which became fatal for his Revenue officer Adoram who was killed by Israelites. Now Rehoboam has to flee to Jerusalem from Shechem.
V. 20…made him king over all Israel…From now on the kingdom remained divided until the fall of Israel in 722 B.C. The northern kingdom was called Israel with 10 tribes and the southern kingdom called Judah which was later supplemented by Levites, Benjamites, and others of the 10 tribes.
V. 21…Rehoboam…to fight against Israel…Rehoboam, upon return to Jerusalem gathered his army to fight against the Israel to bring them back as united kingdom.
Vs. 22-24…Word of God came to Shemaiah… Rehoboam and his people listened to the word of the Lord. When we know God’s mind, we must submit. Eventhough the initial war was averted, we will come across the continual war between north and south till the fall of Israel.
Jeroboam’s capital city. (25)
V. 25…Jeroboam built Shechem…It is possible that Jeroboam took Shechem as his capital because Rehoboam was crowned as king in that city.
Jeroboam’s idolatry. (25-33)Instead of trusting the LORD to establish his reign as HE promised to Jeroboam in 11:38 & 39, he became fearful that the people would follow Rahoboam later, and resorted sinful & ungodly manipulation. So, he
1. Made his own idols of 2 golden calves (28)
2. set up new worship centers in Dan (Northern border) and Bethel (southern border) to rival Jerusalem (29),
3. Ordained his own priests, not Levites (31 & 32), and
4. Instituted new festivals as a counterfeit of the festivals given by God.
V. 28 …brought you up from the Land of Egypt… Jeroboam is quoting the words from the mouth of Aaron in Exodus 32:4
In 1 Kings 13:1-6, we read about the prophet rebuking Jeroboam and prophecy against the altar in Bethel. King’s hand got frozen when he raised his hand to hit the prophet and requested prophet to pray for his healing.
Observation for our spiritual life:
1. People did not complain about idolatry of Solomon but only his taxation…..
1. When Jeroboam made Idols, Israelites did not oppose. As long as their desire is fulfilled, they are happy.
2. Jeroboam did not repent of his sin of idolatry but concerned about his well-being (healing of hand) 1 Ki. 13.