1 Kings, Chapter 12

- א ו ם -

Israel and Judah Split Into Two Kingdoms 

Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and the new heir to the throne, arrives at the large assembly that he has summoned in Shechem. He plans to announce his coronation as king of the northern tribes of Israel. The members of these tribes have appointed Jeroboam their representative to speak with Rehoboam. Jeroboam requests on their behalf that the heavy taxes, which have been in place since the days of King Solomon, be lowered. 

Rehoboam asks for three days to consider these issues and seeks counsel at his court. Rehoboam’s older advisors’ advice reflects their deep wisdom and experience. They recommend meeting the Israelites’ demands. Conversely, the new king’s younger advisors recommend that he further strengthen his father’s harsh policy-and it is their misguided advice that Rehoboam ultimately embraces. The prophecy that Solomon’s kingdom will be split in two is now fulfilled. The Israelites’ differences overcome their commonalities and the bridges that once connected the tribes and solidified their national unity have now abruptly collapsed.

“Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father… and we will serve thee” (1 Kings 12:4)

“And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:14)

Oneness is the guiding principle of our existence; unity is the source, as well as the goal.