1 Kings 12:1-24

At Solomon’s death, the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms. Before Solomon died, God had told him this would happen (1 Kings 11:11-13). God had spoken this word to the prophet Ahijah as well, who, in turn, revealed to Jeroboam that he would be the new king over ten of the twelve tribes of Israel.

As the reader, we have the ability to see this course of events unfold in just two chapters of the Bible. If we were an Israelite at this moment in time, the events might not seem so clear or easy to understand. Yet, God knew the course of events that would take place. God knew the heart of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. He knew Rehoboam would respond harshly to the people when they asked for a lighter tax burden, and so, God brought about the division of His people. The existence of two nations was designed by Him.  Why?
                1. This was part of the punishment for Solomon’s idolatry. God is always faithful to keep His Word in all matters. He is just. Though Solomon would not see the consequences of his disobedience in his lifetime, God would bring them about just as He said. While Solomon was responsible for allowing idolatry to take place in the kingdom, the Israelites embraced it. They were also reaping the consequences for their idolatry.

                2. God was preserving a faithful remnant of people through the tribe of Judah. Though Israel as a whole departed from God, a remnant in Judah remained faithful to the covenant, and through them God would fulfill His promises to David of a future Messiah and a coming redemption. The tribe of Judah would remain its own nation in the south under Rehoboam and David’s future descendants. God had promised to David that his line would always have a descendant on the throne, and through his line the Messiah would come. By separating the nation, God was preserving Judah.


The northern kingdom was called Israel and was first ruled by Jeroboam. The southern kingdom was called Judah and was first ruled by Rehoboam. This division took place around 930 BC. The division would last for about two hundred years while different kings would come to the throne in both divisions. The northern ten tribes would be taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 BC. The southern kingdom was carried into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

The account of Israel reveals the core problem in all of us: sin. The story of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom focuses on the kings failure to keep God’s covenant. As we will see, all of the kings of the northern kingdom will do “evil in the eyes of the Lord.” And, a majority of the kings of Judah will also break the covenant. We will highlight a few of the kings of Judah who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”

As we read through the accounts of the kings of Israel and Judah, the big picture reminds us of the need of a Savior. A Savior who is also a King. The human kings of Israel and Judah could not fulfill the covenant requirements. Many of them failed miserably. There would be a King in the future, who would not only fulfill the requirements perfectly, He would make a way for all of us to be able to fulfill them as well.

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