The Kingdom Splits

Part I

I Kings 11:14-25

Check a map of the region to get an idea of the locations mentioned (Edom, Egypt, Judah/Jerusalem).

We were told that Pharaoh gave his daughter to Solomon in marriage (apparently an unusual event.)  Here we are told of another connection by marriage to the Egyptian royal house.  What is Egypt trying to do?

Where does Hadad settle down?  How will this effect the kingdom?

I Kings 11:26-40

What tribe is Jeroboam from?  Where is his tribe located?

What was the cause about which Jeroboam rallied the people against Solomon?  (The Milloh and the breach are understood by many to mean an open public area created by David in the capital, a town’s square of sort, but blocked by Solomon in favor of building a palace for Pharaoh’s daughter.  I Kings 9:24)

The prophet that promises God’s support to Jeroboam is Ahijah of Shilo.  Where is Shilo and what was its biblical time significance?  Could this have effected the loyalty of Ahijah?

Does Jeroboam have a chance from God at emulating the success of the Davidic dynasty?

Jeroboam has to flee from Solomon, where does he go?  Does the relationship of the young Jeroboam with the established king remind you of another biblical story?

Part II

I Kings 12:1-5

What is strange about the coronation of Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) in Shechem?  (Think back to Solomon’s coronation in chapter 1.)  Try to give an explanation for the situation.

How spontaneous was the people’s request for lightening the tax load?  Prove your opinion from the story?

How do you explain Rehoboam’s reaction?  (Was he showing potential to be a king of the masses, or was he prepared for this request?)

What had changed since the happy days described at the beginning of Solomon’s reign that created such widespread discord?

I Kings 12:6-15

The answer of the elder (v.7):  Notice how they try to point Rehoboam in the direction of mutual respect between him and the people.  Their advice is also a thinly veiled criticism of Solomon’s practices.

Who are Rehoboam’s preferred advisors? (Note how the narrator refers to them – the Hebrew literally means ‘children’.) At what point do we find out whose advice Rehoboam plans to follow?

When the biblical narrator repeats something that we were already told (such as the people’s request) it should call our attention to the fine details of how it is repeated.  Compare Rehoboam’s presentation of the request to the elders and to his young advisors.  What have you noticed?

Along the same line: Compare what his young friends suggest that he tell the people, and what Rehoboam actually tells them.

Do you know how old Rehoboam was when he ascended the throne? (I Kings 14:21)  Any thoughts?

I Kings 12:16-20

What was the response of the people to the words of Rehoboam?

Look up II Sam 20:1.  Who coined the phrase used by the people?  What might this point to?

What do you think that Rehoboam hoped that Adoram (in charge of the forced labor) would achieve?

Notice who is involved in the coronation of Jeroboam (v.20).  How do you explain that after 12:1?

Bringing it all together:

After 2 generations David’s grand dream of a dynasty ruling a kingdom that unites all the tribes of Israel both politically and religiously, is shattered.  What went wrong?  Could the dream have succeeded?  Was the nation indeed ever truly united? As David was creating a dynasty (and making the system of ruling by the local elders obsolete,) we should take a hard look at the dangerous pit falls of a dynasty.  Is a child always suited to follow his parent?  What kind of education is required for the system to succeed?  Can future generation of a privileged family indeed be raised to the challenge? Can a parent truly evaluate his own child’s fitness for the job?  Where were the mistakes made in the Davidic dynasty?

Part III

Recommendation:  From this point you will need to keep track of (even more) people.  To ease the task, I suggest that you keep a chart that you can refer to when things get confusing.  The beginning of such a chart is attached here, you can add to it as we progress through the next classes.

United Kingdom (from David): (start at c.1000bce)


Rebels and attempting usurpers

David (of the tribe of Judah) comes to the throne after battle against the house of Saul (tribe of Benjamin)

1) Absalom David’s son

2) Sheva son of Bichri of the tribe of Benjamin

3) (Adonijah son of David, in David’s old age)

Solomon (son of David and Bath Sheba)

1) Adonijah son of David and Hagit

2) Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim (Joseph)


Divided Kingdom: (starts at c.930bce)

King of Judah

Length of reign, synchronized to Israel

King of Northern Kingdom (Israel)

Length of reign, synchronized to Israel

Rehoboam son of Solomon

Start at year 1 of Jeroboam

Jeroboam son of Nebat

Start at year 1 of Rehoboam

Go to Next Class – Beth El: The Northern Kingdom’s Cultic Center