After experiencing two personal appearances of the Lord, Solomon still turned away from obeying Him, so the Lord told him, “Since you have not kept My covenant and have disobeyed My decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son” (I Kings 11:11-12, NLT).
But what else had the Lord told Solomon? “Even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, My chosen city” (I Kings 11:13).
Even before Solomon’s death, the trouble began as “the Lord raised up Hadad the Edomite, a member of Edom’s royal family, to be Solomon’s adversary. God also raised up Rezon son of Eliada as Solomon’s adversary” (I Kings 11:14, 23a).
Who had God said would end up with the kingdom? “I will… give it to one of your servants.” And just how did that change come about?
“Another rebel leader was Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s own officials” (I Kings 11:26a).
Before Solomon realized what Jeroboam was up to, “Solomon saw how industrious he was (and) put him in charge of the labor force from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph” (I Kings 11:28b).
“One day as Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh met him along the way. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone in a field, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten of these pieces, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and I will give ten of the tribes to you! But I will leave him one tribe for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. For Solomon has abandoned Me… He has not followed My ways and done what is pleasing in My sight’” (I Kings 11:29-33a, c).
The kingdom of Israel was about to be torn apart and just as God had said, Jeroboam, “one of Solomon’s own officials,” would wind up with the lion’s share. From governing all the tribes of Israel, Solomon’s heir would be diminished to leading only a small portion.
Through the prophet Ahijah the Lord’s message to Jeroboam continued: “But I will not take the entire kingdom from Solomon at this time. For the sake of My servant David, the one whom I chose and who obeyed My commands and decrees, I will keep Solomon as leader for the rest of his life. But I will take the kingdom away from his son and give ten of the tribes to you. His son will have one tribe so that the descendants of David My servant will continue to reign, shining like a lamp in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be the place for My name” (I Kings 11:34-36).
“Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon died. When he (Solomon) died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king” (I Kings 11:40, 43).
Rehoboam, most likely having lived privileged and spoiled, was in no way prepared to step into his father’s role as leader. Too, he’d learned a lot from watching the last years of his father’s life.
Brothers and sisters, finish well. If today was your last day on Planet Earth, how would you be remembered?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates