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Why Did Israel Split into Two Kingdoms?

Welcome to, Your Online Bible Study Supplement Source; today we’re answering the questions, why did the house of Jacob, the kingdom of Israel, split into two kingdoms? Let’s dive in.

Sometimes some of the histories in the Bible escape 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 Solomon and his son to relieve some of the tax burdens.

When Rehoboam, who was Solomon’s son, would not lessen the tax burden, 10 tribes left the kingdom of Judah. The kingdom of Judah was only left to themselves along with the tribe of Benjamin. Jeroboam, the man who led the revolt against the kingdom Judah, set up his own worship system for the 10 tribes. This essentially made all of the tribe of Levi return to Judah also. Therefore, the tribe of Benjamin and Levi remained 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, making a strong attempt to align themselves with the remaining children of Shem. The southern kingdom was run by the house of David, the tribe of Judah.

The spiritual reason why the kingdoms split in two 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.

What’s the Difference Between Samaria Israel and the Jews?



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  1. barbara mallia barbara mallia

    Your explanation has been very helpful. I am currently studying the Prophet Micah
    Thank you

    • Praise God sister Barbara, continue your study in grace and understanding. Blessings, Elder Ishe

    • Christian Cutlip Christian Cutlip

      This explanation was helpful.

      • Peace and love be upon you Christian. We thank the Most-High for granting us insight.

  2. peoles peoles

    hi my name is peoles

    • elder Peoles thank you for your comment and it is great to meet you!

  3. peoles peoles

    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 from the kingdom Judah, set up his own worship system for the 11 tribes, which essentially made all of the tribe of Levi to return to Judah. The tribe of Benjamin also came back to partner with Judah.

    • Wonderful, thank you for your contribution Peoles, bless you in the name of the Lord.

  4. Linda joy BRUIN Linda joy BRUIN

    This has been helpful WE’RE studying the 12 tribes. The split of the nations. Were helpful in what i needed to know THANK YOU!

    • A pleasure to assist Linda Joy, thank you for being here, many blessings to you and your study group.

  5. Dumka Richard Vincent Dumka Richard Vincent

    This is a good lesson of knowledge that really help me. I always read stories about Israelites but your explanation has increase my understanding. Glory be to God. Amen!

    • Praise the LORD, Richard, let us all continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom from the LORD.

  6. Jean Glahn Jean Glahn

    I’m teaching a class where the Kingdom is divided, northern/southern. I find this very hard. Your comments have helped me! Thank you?

    • Bless the LORD Jean. We are happy you were edified by the Spirit, continue in grace in Jesus’ name.

  7. Christy Christy

    This is the clearest explanation of the division I have ever read. I only wish you had included scripture references. My class will want to know where in the Bible this info is found.
    I will find it all.

    • Hi Christy, thank you for your comment and suggestion. You will be happy to read chapters 11 and 12 of 1 Kings for details of the story or 2 Chronicles chapters 10 and 11! Many blessings to you as you minister.

  8. Lorna Nelson Lorna Nelson

    Thank you for opening this scripture and bible study in such an exemplary way.This has increased my knowledge on the Topic. May the Lord continue to bless you to bless us.

    • Hi Lorna, you are very welcome. We are glad the Holy Spirit opened the scripture respectable way. May the ALMIGHTY continue to increase your understanding. Thanks for being here; let us know if there are other ways or things we may serve you!

      Elder Ishe

  9. Jay Jay

    You are very knowledgeable and the gift to explain is greatly upon you!


    • Praise the ALMIGHTY brother Jay; thank you for being here and your comment. Continue in grace.

      Elder Brthr Nhmyh

  10. Bobbie Earsey Bobbie Earsey

    This the first time I have gotten a true answer to Leviticus , i am so grateful.

    thank you . God bless you
    Sister Bobbie

    • Praise the ALMIGHTY, continue in grace Sister Bobbie.


  11. Leatile Leatile

    Thank you very much for a crystal clear explanation of the split of Israel. I now have a grounded understanding and may the good Lord blessbyou more with wisdom

    • All praises to the FATHER via His Son, Jesus. Thank you Leatlie, continue in grace.

      Elder Ishe

  12. Peter De Dios Peter De Dios

    Why did Judah and Benjamin stayed together to form the Southern kingdom?

    • This is a great question, Peter. Research and people on the ground concur that Juda and Benjamin stayed together because of their royal ties. King David was very loyal and supportive of the family of Benjamin because of his covenant with Jonathan, Saul’s son, Benjaminites.

      It would have been more ideal for Benjamin to side with Ephraim and the 10-Tribes. It was the Royal Ties and Covenant between Jonathan and David that kept the tribes together under the kingdom of Juda.

      The Levites also stood with them because they were allowed to continue the priesthood, as oppose to the kingdom of Ephraim, where Jeroboam discontinued the Levitical Priesthood.

      I pray this helps, brother Peter.

      Power be with you.

      Minister Koko

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