Solomon dies and Israel is split into two nations – Israel and Judah: 1 Kings 11:41−43; 2 Chronicles 9:29−31; 1 Kings 12:1−20; 2 Chronicles 10:1−19; 1 Kings 12:21−24; 2 Chronicles 11:1−4; 1 Kings 12:25−33; 2 Chronicles 11:5−17
The northern tribes of Israel must have split from ‘the house of David’ not long after Solomon died. They never reconciled, leaving Israel in two kingdoms:
- Judah: ruled by Rehoboam (Solomon’s son), with Benjamin and, eventually, all the Levites.
- Israel: the northern kingdom with the other ten tribes, ruled by Jeroboam (a servant of Solomon).
Rehoboam’s first move was to try to win his kingdom back. Diplomacy failed (his envoy was stoned to death), so that left war. God had a different view:
1 Kings 12:22-24But God said to Shemaiah, the man of God, “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded.