King Solomon’s undoing was his 700 wives and 300 concubines. Most of these women were pagan nobility, who Solomon married to increase, sustain, and protect the nation of Israel. Married men out there, can you imagine keeping 1000 wives happy? Solomon’s strategy for marital bliss was to build up the high places, the places of pagan worship for his wives. This made them happy, but Solomon soon found himself doing the very thing he thought he would never do, dividing his loyalty between his women and his God. Solomon began to worship the idols and pagan “gods” in addition to YHWH Elohim. He had a foot in both camps, a divided man.
The Lord told Solomon that because of his idolatry, the nation of Israel would be divided into two separate nations. The Lord did make Solomon a couple of promises, not because Solomon was obedient, but because of the Lord’s respect for King David, a man after God’s own heart.
The nation of Israel would be divided; however,
- The division would NOT happen during Solomon’s reign as King over Israel, but during his son Rehoboam’s reign.
- His son would be permitted to “keep” one tribe of Israel as an ally. The other 10 Tribes of Israel would NOT be allies.
Towards the end of Solomon’s life, the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon, a man named Jeroboam. Solomon initially thought that Jereboam was a valiant warrior, so he had appointed him to be the leader of the forced labor in his household. One day, while on the road, the Prophet Ahijah met Jereboam outside of Jerusalem. Ahijah removed the brand new cloak that he had been wearing, and tore it into 12 pieces representing the 12 Tribes of Israel. Ahijah gave Jereboam 10 pieces of the Cloak. God was giving Jereboam 10 Tribes to rule over because of Solomon’s sin.
1 Kings 11:29: Now Ahijah had clothed himself with a new cloak; and both of them were alone in the field.30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which was on him and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 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 32 (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),
The Lord God delivered a message through Ahijah the prophet, that Jereboam would be “king over Israel” (the northern 10 Tribes). Solomon soon discovered this “secret meeting” between Ahijah the Prophet and Jereboam. Solomon did not accept that this was from the Lord, and saw it as a coup against his Kingdom. Therefore Solomon sought to have Jereboam killed! Jereboam fled to Egypt to seek refuge until King Solomon died. Solomon reigned from Jerusalem over a United Israel for 40 years, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David (Jerusalem).
Following Solomon’s death, Israel made Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, King over Israel. Rehoboam decided to be a “tough guy” and place an extra heavy burden on his servants. Jereboam returned from Egypt after Solomon’s death, and came with “all the people” of Israel to request for King Rehoboam to lighten the work load of his servants. The elders of Israel were in agreement with Jereboam that the burden of the King’s servants should be lightened. But King Rehoboam would not listen, and determined to make the burden even heavier. He was working them hard, perhaps because he mistakenly thought that by so doing, he could nullify the word of the Lord given to Jereboam (that Jereboam would become King over 10 tribes), and therefore establish his own “United Kingdom” over Israel. But, as usual, defiance against the Lord’s edict will be the very thing that will bring that edict to fruition. This means that King Rehoboam’s DEFIANCE against the Lord’s decision to tear 10 Tribes away from him and give them to Jereboam would prove to be the VERY THING that the Lord would use to FULFILL HIS WORD.
1 Kings 12: 13 The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; 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.
The result of King Rehoboam’s defiance, 10 Tribes of Israel broke away and gave their allegiance to Jereboam. It’s impossible to nullify the Word of the Lord.
1 Kings 12: 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. 17 But as for the sons of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the forced labor, and all Israel stoned him (Adoram) to death.
20 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.
King Rehoboam, still DEFIANT, determined in his heart to war against Jereboam and the 10 Tribes who have broken away from Israel. Rehoboam was prepared to launch a full fledged civil war and FORCE the 10 northern tribes to be part of his kingdom! But the Word of the Lord came to Rehoboam telling him NOT to go to war against Israel.
1 Kings 12: 24 ‘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.”’” So they listened to the word of the Lord, and returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord.
The end result of Solomon’s idolatry is that Israel would no longer be a single nation. The Northern 10 Tribes will become known as “Israel” (aka Ephraim), and the Southern 2 Tribes as “Judah”. The State of Israel that we see today, really consists of primarily two tribes..Judah and Benjamin.
The English term Jew originates in the Biblical Hebrew word Yehudi, meaning “from the Kingdom of Judah”, or “Jew”
The Northern Tribes, as we shall soon see, have been “swallowed by the Gentiles/(non-Jews)”(Hosea 8:8) and are lost from the annals of time….or are they? (Gentiles are non-Jews)
We shall soon see that the Northern 10 Tribes head DEEP into idolatry as Jereboam sets up idol worshipping all over the place in the “new nation” of Israel! This will ultimately lead to Israel’s being taken captive by her enemies and led off into an exile from which she never returned.