THE KINGDOM IS DIVIDED

Do you know why this man is ripping his robe to pieces? God told him to do it. This man is God’s prophet Ahijah. Do you know what a prophet is? He is a person that God tells ahead of time what is going to happen. Ahijah is here speaking to Jeroboam. Jeroboam is a man that Solomon put in charge of doing some of his building work. When Ahijah meets Jeroboam here on the road, Ahijah does a strange thing. He takes off the new robe that he is wearing and tears it into 12 pieces. He tells Jeroboam: ‘Take 10 pieces for yourself.’ Do you know why Ahijah gives Jeroboam 10 pieces?

Ahijah explains that God is going to take the kingdom away from Solomon. He says that God is going to give 10 tribes to Jeroboam. This means that only two tribes will be left for Solomon’s son Rehoboam to rule over.

When Solomon hears what Ahijah told Jeroboam, he becomes very angry. He tries to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam runs away to Egypt. After a while Solomon dies. He was king for 40 years, but now his son Rehoboam is made king. Down in Egypt Jeroboam hears that Solomon is dead, so he comes back to Israel.

Rehoboam is not a good king. He is even meaner to the people than his father Solomon had been. Jeroboam and some other important men go to King Rehoboam and ask him to be nicer to the people. But Rehoboam does not listen. In fact, he becomes even meaner than before. So the people make Jeroboam king over 10 tribes, but the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah keep Rehoboam as their king.

Jeroboam does not want his people to go to Jerusalem to worship at God’s temple. So he makes two golden calves and gets the people of the 10-tribe kingdom to worship them. Soon the land becomes filled with crime and violence.

There is also trouble in the two-tribe kingdom. Less than five years after Rehoboam becomes king, the king of Egypt comes to fight against Jerusalem. He takes away many treasures from God’s temple. So it is for only a short time that the temple remains the same as when it was built.

1 Kings 11:26-43; 12:1-33; 14:21-31.

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