After the death of Solomon in 930 B.C., the kingdom divided. The northern
tribes rebelled against the house of David and established a new nation
which continued to be called “Israel”. The southern kingdom continued to
acknowledge the authority of the house of David; they were called “Judah”.
It all happened during the reign of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. The split
of the nation into two smaller nations left both much weaker. We often refer
to Rehoboam's bad decision to follow the counsel of his young friends rather
than that of the wiser counselors of his father as the reason for the
division of the nation. And it is true that Rehoboam is responsible for his
decision and the consequences of it, but it was not there that the division
had begun. The wheels had been set in motion during the reign of his father,
The Division of the Kingdom Had Been
God had spoken to Solomon and told him of consequences that would result if
he became an unfaithful king. The Lord said, "As for you, if you walk before
Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have
commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will
establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying,
"You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.' But if you turn away and
forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go
and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot you from My land
which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name
I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among
all peoples.” (2 Chronicles 7:17-20).
Also, the prophet Ahijah had prophesied to Jeroboam “He said to Jeroboam,
'Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
"Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give you ten
tribes (but he will have one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for
the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of
Israel), because they have forsaken Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the
goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the
sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, doing what is right in
My sight and observing My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David
did. Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I
will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of My servant
David whom I chose, who observed My commandments and My statutes; but I will
take the kingdom from his son's hand and give it to you, even ten tribes. (1
The Ultimate Cause of the Division Was
Two independent kingdoms were formed. Jeroboam was king over Israel (10
tribes) in the North (1 Kings 12:20) and Rehoboam was king over Judah and
Benjamin in the South (1 Kings 12:21).
While we understand that Rehoboam was not simply an innocent bystander, we
see that his reign is adversely effected by his father's spiritual failures.
This did not make Rehoboam not responsible for his own decisions, he was (1
Kings 11:9-13). But the actions and attitudes of his father adversely
Solomon was a very wise man. He was a good governor and the nation prospered
under him. But during the middle of his reign, he began to compromise his
faith and convictions. His many political marriages undertaken to cement
alliances with other nations brought great influence upon him from his pagan
wives, and they influenced him to turn to idolatry. It was in that failure
that the seeds of division had been sown.
Parents will effect their children's future, and Rehoboam, though
responsible for his own errors, needed faithful parents to look up to.
Rehoboam did not get that from his father Solomon. I do not know how to make
the message any plainer than that.
Will We Effect Our Children As Badly as
Solomon Effected His?
I doubt that Solomon planned on having such an adverse effect on his son.
His moral and spiritual failures slipped up on him. That happens when proper
attention is not given to the Lord and his will in our lives. Solomon had
given such matters their proper place at one time, but somewhere along the
he had lost his way (1 Kings 11:9-13).
Why did Rehoboam listen to the unwise counsel of his friends to increase the
tax burdens of the people (1 Kings 12:9-11) instead of the wise counsel of
his father's counselors and decrease the tax burden (1 Kings 12:6-8) (any
similarity between this and modern day political issues in our own nation
are purely coincidental). Was it pride? Was it a lack of respect of his
father, perhaps due to his father's own spiritual failures? Whatever it was,
the end result was the same. National disaster and civil war.
So that was then, and now is now. We fill the roles of parents and children.
We are now the ones living our lives before God. It is our children who are
being influenced by us. They are seeing in us examples of strong faith and
commitment, or spiritual weakness and failure. The Bible says, “For He
established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He
commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children, that
the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that
they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their
confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His
commandments.” (Psalm 78:5-7).
In the New Testament we read, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to
anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
(Ephesians 6:4). We also read of the good effect godly parents (and
grandparents) can have on their offspring. Paul wrote to Timothy, “You,
however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of,
knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have
known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads
to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.: (2 Timothy 3:14,15;
cf. 2 Timothy 1:5).
Parents! Will we live for the Lord as the examples of faith we ought to be
before our children and all, or will we conceal the wonderful things God's
grace has provided us in compromise and neglect? “We will not conceal them
from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the
LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” (Psalm
78:4). Let us prepare our hearts and be faithful to our God! “And not be
like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that
did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm
78:8). It does not take a “Solomon” to clearly see what our choice ought to
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 11.10; October 2004