A Divided Kingdom

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”

Proverbs 12:15

The following is an excerpt from “The Biblical Path of Life” Year Two, Quarter One – Lesson 1:

“… We must remember what God had told King Solomon before he died: because he had allowed his heart to be turned from God to idols, God would rend the kingdom away from his son – all but two tribes. His son would only be allowed to rule two tribes because of the promise God had made to David. “13b. … I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 15. But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13b, 15–16). Even before King Solomon died, he knew and understood that his son would only be allowed to rule over two tribes. God had already chosen Jeroboam to rule the other ten tribes (see 1 Kings 11:29–37).

“When the people came together to make Rehoboam king, Jeroboam and all of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam. They wanted Rehoboam to lighten the burden that King Solomon had placed upon the people. If he would lighten that burden, the people would serve him. Rehoboam sought counsel; first from the old men who had advised King Solomon, and then with the young men he had grown up with — his friends. The old men’s counsel was to lighten the burden upon the people. The young men’s advice was to make the people’s burden much heavier. Read 1 Kings 12:3–19 for the complete events. Especially take not of 1 Kings 12:19: “Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying….” From that verse, we understand this was God’s plan — the people would revolt against Rehoboam, but we can also understand that is was because of the foolishness of Rehoboam’s decision. “So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day” (1 Kings 12:19).

“It was at this time in history that the kingdom divided becoming two separate kingdoms — the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). Rehoboam ruled over the Southern Kingdom, Judah (containing only two tribes) because that was the tribe from which Rehoboam, Solomon, and David came. Jeroboam ruled over the Northern Kingdom, Israel, which were the remaining ten tribes.

“In the New Testament Jesus tells us, “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand” (Mark 3:24).

“A Deeper Path: After learning of King Rehoboam, we can see that one of the foolish things he did that cost him the majority of his kingdom was taking the wrong counsel. He chose the counsel of his friends instead of the counsel from the older, wiser men who had counseled his father. Read some of the words his father had written before Rehoboam even became king — words Rehoboam had probably read, or at the very least, had heard:

  • Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Do you think Rehoboam would have lost most of his kingdom if he had taken the older men and the people’s counsel?
    • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15).
    • Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” (Proverbs 19:20).
    • Do you remember what we learned in Psalm 1:1a? “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly …

“… We continue learning about King Rehoboam in 1 Kings 14:21-31. King Rehoboam began to reign when he was 41 years old, and he reigned 17 years in Jerusalem “… the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there …” (1 Kings 14:21). And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord. They continued worshiping idols and “… they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel” (1 Kings 14:24b). In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign, Shishak, king of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem and stole the treasures of the king’s house and all of the shields of gold that King Solomon had made. Another interesting thing to note: “And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days” (1 Kings 14:30). King Rehoboam died, and his son, Abijam, reigned in his stead. Abijam ruled Judah for three years. The next king was Abijam’s son, Asa (see 1 Kings 15:8).

“A Deeper Path: See the fool Rehoboam became in disregarding his father’s teachings. Remember that we learned that much of the Proverbs was written from a father (King Solomon) as instruction to his son (Rehoboam). “7. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9. For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:7-9).”

Do you learn from history, recognizing the importance of seeking counsel from God’s Word?

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