Sometimes some of the histories in the Bible escapes some Bible students as they study. This question, why did Israel split into two kingdoms, is one that is not so easy to grasp.
If we look at it in the physical, we can understand why the kingdom was split into two. For starters, Jacob married Leah and Rachel the two sisters, although he really wanted Rachel.
Nevertheless, his father-in-law didn’t want to give the younger daughter in marriage. Not before the elder, “no, no, no,” therefore Jacob ended up marrying them both.
Leah was the older daughter and the first and wanted to actually marry Jacob. She was given the rights of the first wife (even though she was married by deception).
Why Did Israel Split into Two Kingdoms?
Now both of these women produced children for Jacob. Rachel’s children included Joseph and Benjamin, and Leah’s children included Judah, Levi, and Reuben.
Reuben transgressed against Jacob (Genesis 35:22). This became why the birthright was not passed to Reuben as the firstborn. Instead, it was passed down to the firstborn of the second wife, which properly rested on Joseph.
In a prophecy from Jacob to Joseph, Jacob told that Joseph would receive a double portion! In addition, Jacob would adopt both of his children as part of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph’s lineage also would rule, that is Joseph and Benjamin, which were Joseph’s children, Ephraim and Manasseh.
This is why the first king and kingdom of Israel rested on a Benjamite named Saul. Unfortunately, Saul could not follow God’s Word wholly, and the kingdom went to the children of Judah.
Well, once Benjamin lost the kingdom to David, the tribe of Judah became the headquarters of the kingdom of Israel. Around the time when the kingdom was passed on to Solomon, a lot of contention began between the tribe. This was the time when Solomon began to fall out of favor with God for his behavior.
The tribes wanted to Solomon and his son to relieve some of the tax burdens.
When Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, would not lessen the tax burden, 11 tribes left the kingdom of Judah. The kingdom of Judah was only left to themselves. Jeroboam, the man who led the revolt against the kingdom Judah, set up his own worship system for the 11 tribes. This essentially made all of the tribe of Levi to return to Judah. The tribe of Benjamin also came back to partner with Judah.
Israel Split into Two Kingdoms!
This is why the Kingdom split up and from that time there was a northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom was ruled by the tribe of Ephraim through Jeroboam. They were named after the land called Samaria. The southern kingdom was run by the house of David the tribe of Judah.
The spiritual reason why the kingdoms split into was that they would not serve God fully. Solomon began to rebel against God. That was the reason the kingdom was officially broken. It turned from one kingdom into two.
God said he would take the kingdom away from the house of David but because of a promise made to David, he left him a tribe of Judah and Benjamin as well as the Levites.
This was done because of rebellion towards God. Had Solomon and all the kings of Judah stayed intact and steadfast on God not only would the kingdom not have become split; but Israel probably would not have gone into captivity.
Israel split because of Solomon’s sin…
The Bible and the whole history of the world we live in would look different because the prophecy of going into captivity would not have taken place.
However, these things were prophesied from the very beginning and have played out. But this is why Israel split into two kingdoms. At the return of Jesus, He will bind them together into one branch and make them one nation under Him and under his servant David, as he promised King David.
I pray this has helped you in some fashion today, and may God bless you and keep you in the name of Jesus Christ.
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