Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1998
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 2: The Kingdom Divided: The Discipline of Lost Blessing
Lesson 76 – Davidic Dynasty Rejected by Tribes of Israel
22 Jan 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
We’re going to go through the events of the destruction of the kingdom, the separation, the great rift that happened. This is a phase of Israel’s history that used to be well known, but since we have a generation and a half of New Testament preaching and nothing out of the Old Testament, largely, I think a lot of Christians fail to understand it, or are even acquainted it, let alone fail to understand it. As we move down through these events we want to start looking at what happened in this period in history. I’m going to put some maps on the overhead projector and I want to look at some basic terrain and a geographic breakdown of the nation.
One of the things that concerns a lot of scholars is that the nation was scattered, very much so. We get the image from the Scripture that this was a country that was all nice and small, and didn’t have any kind of diversity geographically. Looking at this map base, certain things hit your eye and there are certain large scale boundaries in the land. One of them is the land has its eastern boundary, it’s a rift valley, quite deep, quite pronounced, and it’s a natural eastern boundary for Israel. It’s bounded by the Sea of Galilee in the north, the Dead Sea in the south. Then we have the western boundary, the southern boundary is the wilderness and the northern boundary up in Lebanon.
What happened as the tribes went into the land was that they spread out, there’s a whole set of stories about these tribes, and the nuances of those stories are embedded in these events. For example, the set of notes I handed out has behind it a whole nuance about the tribe of Dan. Because we’re not studying verse by verse per se I don’t have time to go into why Dan figures so prominently in some of these narratives. Notice on the map there’s a little group up in the north and that plays a big role in Israel’s history at certain points in time. Get familiar with some basics on this map, some of the narrative we’re going to study won’t make sense to you if you don’t have the map. In the south you have Judah. Just to the north of Judah’s boundary is Benjamin. Those are two key tribes; those are two anchor tribes that you want to in your mind’s eye realize—Judah in the south, on the north side of Judah is Benjamin. These are the other tribes scattered all over the place.
What happened in David’s day, David’s reign had some peculiar features to it, we’ll cover those a little bit. David expanded that tribal area out internationally so that as king of Judah, he reigned in this area. I must comment on the previous map I showed. This is a very optimistic map in the sense that this map presupposes that the tribes conquered the area. This map depicts the tribal areas, if they could control it, and they never controlled it. You can see that even in David’s day, on the next map, look how big Judah is. On the next chart with David as king conquering all that he conquered, and see how small Judah is. So we have Judah, after David assumed the throne there was a progression and this is important. David did not assume the throne over all the nation at once. He began to reign in his own tribe, Judah; then he began to have overtures from the other tribes. And then we have David’s realm of rule over the other tribes who asked him to be their king. Then David conquered and had his zones of political power and influence over all this area.
So David’s kingdom started with his own tribe, moved out to the other tribes, and then he had international relations and dominations with the others. What’s we’re going to see tonight is the fracturing of that kingdom. The marks of this fracture are left in the pages of Scripture all the way down through the corridors of time. This is what’s going to happen. The nation is going to split, and from this point on the word “Israel” doesn’t mean what it used to mean. When we first started “Israel” was a man’s name, another alternate name of Jacob. Then we think of “Israel” as Israel the nation, but be careful, because as you go into the Old Testament text, starting tonight “Israel” doesn’t mean the whole nation, “Israel” means the ten tribes that broke away from David. And “Judah” is a technical term that refers both to Judah and to Benjamin. So now the nation is known by the north and the south, and those are the terms.
Just looking at the big picture, visualize the boundary, there’s Jerusalem. It was just ten or fifteen miles north of Jerusalem that the boundary happened. Notice also, here’s Jerusalem and terrain wise and geographically Jerusalem is pretty centered, it’s up on the north boundary and it’s pretty centered as far as access from the tribes to the north. That’s general geography and terrain.
We want to study the strange set of events that happened that led to this split. Let’s review. God is the King, really the King of Israel. Where did God lay out His policies as King? Where did He lay out what His rules were for His kingdom? Mount Sinai. So the law controlled God’s will for the nation. Besides God’s will for the nation in a direct sense, in a legislative sense, in a policy sense, where do we get information on God’s election and destiny of the nation? We don’t go to Sinai as much as we go to Abraham. We have these covenants, the Abrahamic Covenant that outlines and specifies the role of the Hebrew in history. Then you come to the Mosaic Law Code that says you shall do this, you shall not do this, you shall do this, your national policy and economics is this, your national policy in bank loans is this, your national policy in real estate is this, your national policy on taxes and taxation is this, etc. etc. etc., one area after another.
Turn to page 19 of the notes. We’re going through a down cycle in Israel’s history, and one of the lessons to learn from this Framework series, as I’ve said from the beginning, learn to catch hold of the big l ideas of Scripture. We’re going through a lot of details but hang on to some of the big ideas. One of the big ideas is that you can study history and analyze it. When you learn a history course in school, generally speaking, the brief that you get in the classroom is that history began when history was written, when you had historians studying history. The first people to study history, you were told in the classroom, were the Greeks, Herodotus, Thucydides, etc. That’s where history writing, according to the classroom, originally began. But biblically we have to disagree with that. We say that history writing; real history analysis began with the prophets.
We said that the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, is divided into three parts, the law, the prophets and the writings. The book of Joshua is the first prophetic book; the first book that is considered to be part of the prophets. We’ve studied the events of Joshua, the events of Judges, Samuel and now we’re in Kings, all these are prophetic books; they’re all about history. Look at the dates, we’re talking 1000 BC. Thucydides and Herodotus and the people you learn about in the classroom aren’t living until the 4th century. So how do you explain the fact that six, eight, ten centuries earlier than the Greeks the Hebrews were already writing history?
What motivated them to write history? Here’s a major idea. History doesn’t appeal to the average student because there’s no goal in it. What’s the goal, why bother with it? Why did the prophets bother with it? What was the motivation of the prophets to write Samuel, Kings, Joshua, and Judges? Why did they bother with it at all, on the human level? What proceeded this period? God made covenants with the nation. What does a contract do? A contract specifies behavior, it says that between party A and party B there’s going to be a relationship. What do we usually write in contracts? We say somebody broke the contract, what do we mean by that? They promised a certain behavior and they didn’t come through on it. So there’s always a monitoring of a contract, there’s always an evidence of whether there was conformity to the contract or violation of the contract. In the Bible the prophets were writing to substantiate that God adhered to His terms of the contract and man departed from his terms in the contract. It’s an indictment, and it’s not just an indictment, it’s not just to point out man’s sin, it’s also to show God and His works on behalf of His people.
So history writing in the Bible has a powerful motive. The secular teacher has cut off the limb of the tree in which they’re sitting, because once you secularize history and you say we have to be religiously neutral, you’ve just eliminated the whole basis for studying it in the first place. Then you turn around and wonder why nobody’s motivated to learn it. Why should they be, you haven’t given them a big enough reason. History in the Scripture is His story. So as we go into this history we want to remember we’re looking for things in this history, this is not just burping out 1215 different facts about Israel. These are carefully selected facts about this point, this point, this point and this point, etc. by men who were led by the Holy Spirit, men who had other sources.
In Kings you’ll see this phrase, something like “what other were the acts of Solomon, are they not written in the Chronicles of the kings.” That’s not talking about Chronicles, that’s talking about whatever these source materials were that the prophets had. We know they had access to royal diaries; they had access to documents that have long since disappeared. When you read Kings, Samuel, Joshua, and Judges, always ask yourself, of all the thousands of events that could have been recorded, why do you suppose the prophetic schools that wrote this text wanted to include this event. You’ll see that they have a reason behind all that. There’s a reason for the selection.
We’ve already studied the origin of civilization under Nimrod and we saw it secularized; we saw it paganized. God set up the civilization. Civilization as we know it began with all believers, just like the Millennial Kingdom one day will begin a new civilization with all believers. And like our civilization will end with both believers and unbelievers, the Millennial Kingdom will end with both believers and unbelievers. It’s the same cycle repeated and repeated. The historians want to explain these cycles in terms of economics, in terms of geography, in terms of sociology, etc. Those things exist, but what I point out is that the Bible doesn’t use those things to explain history. The ultimate explanation history is the hand of God. God does it, and that’s what they’re looking for. The prophetic writers peel apart all the data of history and they say there’s the work of God in a mighty way, we want to record that. We have to learn a lesson here. So that’s the selecting device and that’s how we, biblically speaking, that’s our whole view of history. That’s the way a Bible-believing Christian should view history.
It goes back to presuppositions, what we started this whole thing with. It starts of with your presupposition and once you lock into the Scripture, you find yourself in total disagreement, at the most profound level, with the unbelieving world. The unbelieving world refuses to agree with us that the ultimate cause of history is the Triune God of Scripture. There’s a major, MAJOR collision right there. Our history cannot look like their history; we necessarily are writing two different stories, grounded on two different presuppositions, with two different kinds of authority.
As we come to the first event of three that we’re going to study is the rejection of the Davidic dynasty. Turn to 2 Samuel 7 and review something about the Davidic dynasty. God called David to replace Saul. In the Davidic Covenant David is promised certain things. 2 Samuel 7:16 is the word from God concerning the destiny of the house of Israel, the destiny of the king. In that covenant or contract, verse 16, “And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” Notice “forever … forever.” What’s the major idea behind 2 Samuel 7 and the Davidic Covenant? The Davidic Covenant promises that there will always be a kingdom of David and there will be a descendant of David in control. David’s genes, a physical descendant from David must always reign in history. This is something that God started.
Solomon, the individual who followed David, did not follow his fathers. If you go back a few verses, verses 12, 13, 14 concern Solomon and ultimately all the other descendants of David. “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me, when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men.” There will be discipline and chastisement for this king.
Verse 15, “But,” God says, “My lovingkindness,” and there’s that word we’ve looked at again and again, lovingkindness, chesed is the Hebrew word, so remember that one. Whenever you have covenants you’ll see this word lurking somewhere in the text, chesed, that means lovingkindness, it means a love that is anchored to a covenantal agreement. “But My lovingkindness,” or My covenant love, “shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” What is verse 15 promising? Verse 15 is saying that the sons of David will be disciplined for their sin, but the house of David, the lineage of David shall go on forever.
What do you suppose this means as far as Israel’s history is concerned. Let’s try to draw some conclusions without studying anything else. If God really means what He says here, then it means that even today there’s a son of David qualified for the throne. We know who He is. Does this connect why the New Testament Gospels begin with the genealogies? They don’t begin with the Christmas story, Matthew begins with the genealogies and that is to show continuity with what? That God is a God who keeps His Word. Jesus has got to have the genes of David or He’s not qualified to reign. He’s got to have them! Joseph and Mary are both related to David. That has to be because if that isn’t true then the whole Davidic Covenant goes down the drain. The reason is because the lineage is lost. If Jesus isn’t the son of David, nobody else can be because nobody knows the lineage. God knows the lineage, but the records are all lost, who’s the son of David today. Only one Hebrew tribe exists today, in sort of a way, and that’s the Levites. Everybody with Levi and Cohen belongs to that tribe or is named from that tribe, other than that the identities are all lost.
2 Samuel 7 controls what’s going to happen now. There’s another passage that goes further back, Deuteronomy 28, because embedded in the Sinaitic Law Code are the blessings and the cursings. We’ll see a lot of this. It’s always interesting, we have historically in the Christian faith a debate between what we now call covenant theologians and dispensationalists. The covenant theologians are the guys that are always trying to make the Church the greater Israel; they’re always trying to identify the Church with Israel. The problem with that is they always love to take the blessings of Israel unto the Church, but they never pay attention to the cursings. Here’s the blessings and the cursings. We’ve gone over them a little bit before but I want to refresh your mind about some of the content of these blessings and cursings.
Deuteronomy 28:12, “The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” Here we have economic prosperity. “The LORD shall make you the head and not the tail, and you only shall be above, and you shall not be underneath, if you will listen to the commandments of the LORD,” that’s military supremacy. Look further down in the cursings, verse 23, now God says, “And the heaven which is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you, iron.  The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.  The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, but you shall flee seven ways before them, and you shall be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.”
Here we have the blessings and the cursings upon the nation. Are these promises? Yes. These are promises. What, therefore, do you suppose the prophets who were writing Samuel and Kings are watching? They’re tracking the role of the covenant. So all through Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles listen for that theme; the prophets are investigating, they’re bearing record to, is God ruling the way He said He is going to rule.
Now we come to the chapter where it all happened, 1 Kings 11. This is one of those central Old Testament passages. So far we have studied key events with key chapters: creation, Genesis 1-2; the fall, Genesis 3; the flood, Genesis 6, 7 and 8; the Noahic Covenant, Genesis 9; the call of Abraham, Genesis 12; the Law Code, Exodus 20; the invasion of the land, basically the book of Judges; the rise and ascendancy of David, he’s picked out, 1 Samuel 17, he comes to reign in 2 Samuel, in 2 Samuel 7 he becomes the covenant ruler; Solomon in 1 Kings 4, a description of his reign. We spent time on 1 Samuel 8 because 1 Samuel 8 was a prophetic analysis of the monarchy, it could still be an analysis of centralized power. It’s an eloquent statement about limiting government. Here’s 1 Kings 11 and 12; this is a central passage.
Look at the text in 1 Kings 11 because this is the setup for what happens. “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,  from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, ‘You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.’ Solomon held fast to these in love.” What has happened besides collecting his harem is he’s collecting unbelief as he’s collecting his harem. Inside marriage you have to have a certain common ground. The question is what values set up the common ground. Young people never think of this, they just run off and get married and then later, oh gee, did I marry an unbeliever. So you always hear these sad stories about somebody who let their emotions lead their common sense, and wind up in a mess, which is a mixed marriage which God forbids. “Be not unequally yoked together.”
This is a key in marriage because the common ground is either going to be biblical principles and the Word of God or it is not going to be the Word of God. We can see this here with Solomon. The wisest man on earth entered into these marriages and every one, this lady was after the god of the Moabites, this one was the god of the Edomites, this one was the god of something else, he collected a menagerie. Not only did he have women coming out all over, he had the gods and goddesses all over. What he’s got is one big ecumenical religion going on here, all mixed up. And it destroyed the country, absolutely destroyed the nation. What he thought was a customary way kings should act destroyed the country that he was called to reign. One of the reasons he did this and it’s clear in the ensuing politics that this was behind it, is the need to secure the peace of Israel, he thought. I want to note this because we’re going to deal with a man who repeated the same mistake and doomed the northern kingdom to horrible suffering.
Solomon did these marriages because he thought it would bring security. His answer to the problem of maintaining the prosperity of his nation was to interlock with treaties with other powers, and in that day and age women were used in the royal families as sort of hostages. So if he wanted to make sure, say Pharaoh wanted to make sure that Solomon didn’t invade Egypt, or vice versa, then he gave Solomon his daughter. She probably was an intelligence agent passing all kinds of stuff to her dad, so right away he’s compromised his intel. The second thing is that she acted as a hostage so that if Solomon decided that maybe the Pharaoh was out of line he had the Pharaoh’s daughter. You can see these things worked out on a human scale, it was a so-called wise thing to do. The problem with this is who is the final King of Israel? Israel wasn’t supposed to be like the other nations. Why did God even have Israel? He didn’t have to; He had plenty of other countries. Why did He even call Israel into existence? To be a nation that would be set apart for His purposes, thorough whom He could reveal His character, His workings, His destinies.
The security belonged in the hands of God, God was the security. But Solomon thought that man was the security. So he came up with these gimmicks, and the entire history of the nation is, unfortunately, going to track with this business. From now on we’re going to see one human gimmick after another that these brilliant men, these leaders, these managers conceived of to secure themselves and their country. It just totally reverses everything.
In 1 Kings 19:9 you have how the Lord is intensely angry about this. “Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” Why do you suppose verse 9 has that clause in it, “who had appeared to him twice”? It’s because God is saying look Solomon, I didn’t remote control this thing, you and I had a face-to-face… it was a Theophany, it was an appearance of God, I appeared to you trice, what is your problem fellow! You have seen My glory. Most people never get to see that in this life, you have, you’ve seen it twice, so there’s no excuse for you thinking that Pharaoh is bigger than I am, or Pharaoh represents a threat, or that you can’t trust me to take care of Pharaoh.
Verse 10, “And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded.” Keep in mind going after other gods has a political note to it. The reasons you go after other gods is to share the values of the other people; gods represent values. Idolatry is actually submitting, or creating, an ultimate value for yourself. Nimrod did that, remember the phrase, “let us make a name for ourselves,” and then God answers Nimrod by calling Abraham and saying “I will make the name,” not men. Verse 11 prophesies the rupture of the kingdom. “So the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.” Now we have set in motion the suffering that Solomon is going to bring upon his people. They are going to know the horrors of civil war; thousands are going to die because of this gimmick business.
In the rest of chapter 11 three men are depicted. Watch the story, pretend you’re the historical analyst, you’re analyzing certain historic events, and you’re picking these out to show something. Verses 14-23, “Then the LORD raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal line in Edom.” Look at the map, Edom is in the southeast corner of the map. So right on the boundary we’ve got a problem. What was Solomon’s problem? He wanted international security. Let’s see how much security he gets. It gives you history in verse 15, going back a generation to David’s father; these are just sort of loose ends that were floating around in the flux of history. Verse 17 records the fact that “Hadad fled to Egypt,” of all places, notice the role that Egypt is going to play in all of this, “he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, while Hadad was a young boy.  And they arose from Midian and came to Paran,” etc., and they went down to Egypt.
Verse 19, “Now Hadad found great favor before Pharaoh, so that he gave him in marriage the sister of his own wife, the sister of Taphenes the queen.  And the sister of Taphenes bore his son…  But when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, ‘Send me away, that I may go to my own country.’” Now we have a hostile power that has a grudge against the house of David, located on the boundary.
Verses 23, 24, and 25, notice how each of these sections begin. Notice how verse 14 begins, who raises up the adversary? The Lord raises up the adversary. This is not ooh gee, we got a political hot potato here that just happened, I just saw it on the news last night, this is all economics. No it isn’t, God is raising it up. Ask a bigger question now: why is God raising it up? What have we already prepared for, what did we say was happening in 2 Samuel 7, when he disobeys how is he going to be chastened? He’s going to be chastened with the hand of men. So here you have these men “watching the news,” looking at the nations, and saying the 2 Samuel 7 clause has got to happen, therefore that gives us a tool to interpret the news, so this is the interpretation.
Verse 23, “God also raised up another adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah.” Verse 25, “So he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, along with the evil that Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel and reigned over Aram.” Aram is what is now called Syria. Israel from this point has always had a problem with Syria; they still have a problem with Syria. Just this month we’ve got the Syrians massing armies along the Golan Heights again. This has been going on all my life, I can remember as a boy listening and seeing the artillery in the 1950s blasting away at all the Jewish settlements in northern Israel. This goes on and on and on. Here it is. But who raised up Syria? And why? Verse 23.
But of all the three men the key guy is in verse 26. Verse 26 and following is the section that spells the background for the rupture. So pay attention. We’re now going to study a man by the name of Jeroboam. There’s going to be two characters that dominate this historical moment, two men in a face off. In the south is Rehoboam; in the north is Jeroboam. Actually he’s called Jeroboam I because there are two Jeroboams. These are the men that will now decide the destiny of the country. “Then Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, also rebelled against the king.”
If you just stopped at verse 26 you would expect verse 27 to tell you how he rebelled, and when you read this you say huh? How do verses 27, 28 and 29 follow verse 26? It’s because the entire section, from verse 27 all the way to the end of the chapter expands how he rebelled against the king. So don’t think that this is just sequential, it’s not that verses 27 and 28 are initially going to tell us about the rebellion, they set up for it. “Now this was the reason why he rebelled against the king:” this doesn’t sound like a reason, because “Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of his father David.” What does that have to do with the reason why he rebelled against the king? The way you have to understand this is that in verse 27 the first clause, “this was the reason why he rebelled against the king” says let me tell you, verse 27b is the first step, verse 28 is the second step, 29 is the third step, so visualize all the others as pieces in this puzzle.
Verse 28, “Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph.  And it came about at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem,” in other words, Jeroboam had been absorbed into the administration of the king. Here he is, he’s in the administration in verse 28. What was the administration doing? The administration was administrating districts all over the land, eleven of the twelve tribes, once a month, it was sequential throughout, there were eleven tribes and a mix-match over in Transjordania, and Solomon expected every month that one of these twelve groups would pay him, with labor, men, women, food, sheep, oxen, that’s where all his tribute came from. One month of every year one of these tribes is pretty stressed economically, because they had to feed this mess that was going on in Jerusalem. A word about centralized government, they always call it Robin Hood government, because Robin Hood government steals from the rich to pay the poor, and then finally Robin Hood steals from both rich and poor to pay Robin Hood. This is what Solomon finally did. Embedded in this administration was Jeroboam. So Jeroboam is intimate to the administration, that’s crucial for what he’s going to pull off.
Verse 29, he’s walking down the road one day, and lo and behold, here comes this prophet, Ahijah. “…the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had clothed himself with a new cloak; and both of them were alone in the field.  Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces.” These guys had really powerful sermons, good audio-visual materials. He tore up his coat in twelve pieces, verse 31, “And 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).” Why is verse 32 in there? Think, why in the middle of this cursing is the announcement of destruction cushioned with verse 32? 2 Samuel 7 has got to come to pass. The kingdom of David will not be destroyed; it will suffer but it will not be destroyed.
Then he goes on in verse 33 with a litany of what’s going on, “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.” Verses 34-35 gives you a time prediction, it says to Jeroboam I’m not going to take it out of Solomon’s hand, I’ll take it out of his son’s hand. [v. 34, “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.  But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.”]
Verse 37, “And I will take you, and you shall reign over whatever you desire, and you shall be king over Israel.” Now look at verse 38, watch the language carefully, this figures prominently in what’s going to happen. There’s a little two-letter word there, “if,” same thing that He gave Saul, “Then it will be, that IF you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways,” where is he going to listen, Ahijah is not going to be there to give him twenty-four hour teaching. Where’s he going to listen to what God has commanded? By going back to the Torah, the guy is supposed to study the Scripture. What is the king in Deuteronomy 17 supposed to do every day of his life? Meditate in the law. So he says to Jeroboam, “IF you listen,” if you study the Scripture every day, and pattern your administration after the principles that I’m telling you in the Word of God, [and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did,] THEN I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” Verse 39, “Thus I will afflict the descendants of David for this, but not always.”
Verse 40, “Solomon sought therefore to put Jeroboam to death; but Jeroboam arose and fled to Egypt to Shishak king of Egypt, and he was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.” So obviously word of this whole prophecy got out. Solomon, instead of respecting the prophecy as a word from God said okay, I’m going to solve that problem. See, once you get in a habit as a Christian, once we get in the habit that we’re going to solve our problems, our way, we’re going to rely on our devices, and we’re going to solve it with our brains, one of these things leads to another and it just keeps on escalating till the Lord finally knocks you flat on your back. So here he is; he’s already decided he’s going to solve the international security problem by intermarriage, now in verse 40 he has clear evidence that God has disapproved of him so profoundly that he’s calling into existence a competitor, so he tries to knock off the competitor. [blank spot]
… that little verse, verse 40, shows you that Solomon by this time has become a carnal mad man. He is a man who is determined to have his own way, period, come hell or high water it’s going to be done his way. If he has to send assassination teams out, I don’t care whether God called this guy, I’m going to take him out. In other words, I am so great that I am going to thwart the plan of God. See the friction that’s developing. This is why the Old Testament is so neat; these stories show us our sin. And they show it in such graphical, easy to see ways, because we can easily identify with this. That’s the benefit to me of all these stories. Verse 41 is one of those verses that you see repeated in the Old Testament text and that’s why I say, don’t think when you read Kings and Samuel you’re reading the history of Israel. The history of Israel has never been written. What we’re reading is an abbreviated history of Israel by prophetic analysts who are merely taking the high points to show us how God’s working.
Solomon dies and in his place rises this character, Rehoboam. Rehoboam will go down in history as probably one of the most stupid individuals that ever sat on the throne of Judah. This man couldn’t help but make stupid decisions, almost every day of his life. All it took was two or three days and he totally destroyed everything his dad had built up. Amazing! This is one of these guys… I once heard an investment counselor say, speaking of another person who had go into this stock, go into this mutual fund, he was wrong all the time, and the comment was he is a very useful person, he really is, because he has negative genius, all you have to do is to do exactly opposite of what he does and you win, because he’s consistently wrong. So if he’s consistently wrong that’s good, at least you know where things are going.
Here’s Rehoboam, 1 Kings 12:1, “Then Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.” Let’s go back to the map and see what happened. Shechem is just north of Jerusalem, it’s up in the territory that’s more central, it’s out of Judah’s tribe. We have a conference called. Verse 2, “Now it came about when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon while he was living in Egypt,” see how Egypt plays the theme here, notice this for what’s going to happen next week, they come to an appeal. Notice in verse 3,”they sent and called him) that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,” now when it says “Israel” in verse 3 it means the ten tribes are coming, not the nation, just the ten tribes, Judah is not coming making this complaint, it’s the ten tribes that are coming making this complaint.
Verse 4, “Your father made our yoke hard; therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” So he calls a conference. This is a classic instance of mismanagement. Watch the text because obviously the prophets were intimate to these conferences, maybe they attended the conferences; after the conference was over some of the elders may have shared this information with the prophets, but here you have an examination of the inner councils of political power. Here’s sort of an inner sanctum of decision making.
Verse 6, “And King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, ‘How do you counsel me to answer this people?’  Then they spoke to him, saying, ‘If you will be a servant to this people today, will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.  But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him.”
Here’s you see something that we have seen in our own country again and again; people ride into public office and who do they bring with them. It’s kind of understandable, it’s their political cronies, it’s the people they grew up with. There’s a trust and a bond between them so you can understand why they bring these people. The problem with that kind of thing is that the cronies don’t understand the office any more than the guy that’s going into the office. You need people who have the wisdom of experience. So these young guys thought they were hotshots, and we’ll see what hotshots they were.
Verse 9, “So he said to them, What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us?’  And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him saying, ‘Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you, saying, and ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us!’ But you shall speak to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins!’  Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’” What a great thing, when a nation is rocking under oppression, economic taxation, they’re exhausted; these people are exhausted, they’ve built the nation and this is the reward they get, by a young guy that assumes public office with a bunch of his young cronies and decides he’s going to show himself, I’m a big man now.
In fact, Hebrew scholars have argued about the last clause in verse 10, nobody really knows how to translate that, but it could refer to a very obscene remark, because in the Hebrew what it says is “My little is bigger than my father’s loins.” I leave it to your imagination what that possibly could refer to. This is his answer to the people who are suffering. It’s not only insolent, stupid, but it is obviously hateful and it shows total lack of fellowship with the Lord, total lack of sensitivity to people, and is just generally obnoxious. It’s no guess what’s going to happen.
So in verses 12-13 Jeroboam comes to the people, [“Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had directed, saying, ‘Return to me on the third day,  And the king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given them.] Verse 15, “So the king did not listen to the people,” and what do you have cushioned right in the middle of verse 15? Remember, this is a prophetic analysis of what’s going on here. There’s a little phrase that says “for it was a turn … from the LORD,” literally, in other words, who is still sovereign? In spite of the chaos, and you’re sitting here oh man, we just blew it, the whole thing is out of control, from the human point of view it is out of control, that’s just the point because you had a group of people who decided they were going to maintain control and it’s precisely the debate over who is finally in control, God or man. So God says okay you guys, you think you’re so smart, you are going to create chaos to the point where nobody is going to be in control except Me, and then you’ll understand, I’m in control.
So here’s the prophetic writer listening to this conference, seeing this obnoxious confrontation, and they put this little clause in there, “for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.” Here we are, the Lord is establishing His word, He’s bringing it to pass. How would you characterize the mentality of the prophets? These are the guys that had to minister the Word of God in this mess. For 200 years they would walk around that country from one mess to another, from one mess of suffering to hunger, to drought, to everything else. But why could they have hope? What was their hope? What made these people so tough that they could stand up to all the suffering that was going on around them? The Lord shall “establish His word,” see God is sovereign, God is omnipotent, and as you read this history, always look as you read down through the text for these little jewels that appear in the text, just to remind us who is in ultimate control.
Then the great break comes in verse 16 in poetic form, this is the official rejection of the Davidic dynasty’s authority over the north, this is the date of the rupture. Here, at this point, we have a two-man face off; we have the northern kingdom under Jeroboam and the southern kingdom under Rehoboam. The issue in verse 16 is the authority of the house of David. Shall the Davidic dynasty reign or shall it not, and the rebellion is on that. We’ve titled this section “The Rejection of the Davidic Covenant.” That’s the first rejection. We’re going to see there are other rejections, ever more profound, ever more widespread, every more anti-God, as we go through this period.
[Verse 16, “When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, ‘What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse; to your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!’ So Israel departed to their tents.  But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.  Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam made haste to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem.”]
You’ll notice another warning, verse 18, Adoram, who was over the forced labor, they stoned him to death. Now we’ve had murder, we have had an official of the government killed. So violence, official violence on the part of the north has taken place. It’s an act of war. So in verse 21 Rehoboam responds, he mobilizes the army. [19 “So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.  And it came about when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the house of David.  Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.”]
Verse 22, another jewel; see how the prophetic analysts lace history. What do you read in verse 22, “But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,  ‘Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying,  Thus says the LORD, ‘You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.” Who is in control of history?
What we want to notice in all this, to sum it up, is we go back to the God of Israel. Biblical history does not end with naming an event. It doesn’t end with dating something. Biblical history is the revelation of God’s faithfulness. That’s what these prophets are all about; we’re going to see that again and again and again. God is sovereign, God is holy, God is omniscient, God is omnipotent, God is omnipresent, God is immutable, God is eternal, and God is love. These attributes are going to shine again and again and again through the text of Scripture. This is the way history should be learned. If we had taught history this way people would be interested in learning history, because now there’s a reason to learn it. I have to encounter the God of history. I have to, in my daily Christian walk, trust the Lord for this detail, I have to trust the Lord for this detail. It sure helps if I can, in my mind’s eye go back in time and think, look, in this chaos, this caldron of thousands of people’s lives torn up in chaos, who was working His will through it all? God was. Then reason from that massive picture of God in His sovereignty and omnipotence down to my little problem. It brackets our problems. This is where you get spiritual power by just simply sitting there, almost passive to this grand history, and letting is soak in and realize who God is and how He works. This plays an important role.
Verse 24 ends the whole story, “… they listened to the word of the LORD, and returned and went their way according to the word of the LORD.” So peace, temporarily, happened between the north and the south.
What you want to look at for next week is we’re going to start studying what happened north of that line. We’re not going to concentrate so much on Judah, we’ll get back to Judah a little bit later, but we want to study what did Jeroboam do up here, what did these people do now they had rebelled successfully against the authority of the throne. There’s Jerusalem, there’s their southern boundary, how are they going to live this way? They’ve created a new nation, basically, as a result of this rupture. It’s just like if the United States in 1865 had split, and we had a north and a south. What would these two parts formerly called the United States, now we would have the divided states. What would these two countries do? That’s the study of what’s coming. For next week read particularly 1 Kings 12:25-33, it’s an extremely critical passage of Scripture. Chapter 13 tells a story that doesn’t appear to be related to the thing at all. If you want a challenge, read the story in chapter 13 that looks totally out to lunch, and see if you can understand why, if you were a prophetic writer, would you have bothered to put chapter 13 in. What does it have to do with the revolt? It does, obviously, the Holy Spirit put it in here. But you have to do some thinking, screw on your thinking cap and think, what’s it doing there.