The Division of Israel and the fall of Judah (Journey the Word 7)

After King Solomon died, tribal loyalty had fallen hard. Civil war broke out between the ten northern tribes and two southern tribes. What was once unified by King David was now very separate.

Kings and Prophets

1 Kings 12-22; 2 Kings 1-25; 2 Chronicles 10-36

Rehoboam claimed kingship over the region of Judah. This was called the southern kingdom. People were quite involved in very sinful activities. In the northern kingdom, Jeroboam was made ruler. Since Jerusalem and the ark of the covenant was in the south, Jeroboam decided to set up new gods and new temples for people to worship.

Just as Aaron once set up a golden calf idol, Jeroboam set up two of them and told people they can worship them. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were considered wicked kings, and caused many problems that angered the Lord. God sent prophets to deal with their rebellion with words of warning. Even with military threats from Assyria and Egypt, Israel was still prosperous.

Especially prominent were King Ahab of Israel along with Queen Jezebel. Jezebel brought Baal worship with her and killed the prophets of God. She even threatened to kill Elijah for defeating her Baal priests on Mount Carmel. However, God intervened for Elijah. Therefore, Elijah was taken into Heaven by a whirlwind. Jezebel and Ahab suffered violent deaths. The Kingdom of Israel had fallen to Assyria in 722 BC, and Judah had fallen to Babylon in 586 BC. Jeremiah saw the fall of Judah and lamented.

Jonah’s story

Book of Jonah

God called Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it. Bringing God’s judgment on an enemy of Israel was ideal; however, Jonah just ran away from the idea. He boarded a ship to a deep sea and was thrown overboard by the crew. He was then swallowed up by a huge fish, which saved him from drowning.

Once God commanded the fish to release Jonah, he obeyed God’s Word and went to Nineveh – to which they believed his message. They repented, fasted, and made changes to their lifestyle right away.

At the end of the book, Jonah complained to God, as he knew God was compassionate, which was why he fled in the first place. God asked him should He not have concern for the city of Nineveh.

Timeline of events during the Division of the Kingdom

  • Division of the Kingdom: After Solomon died, the kingdom divided into Rehoboam of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) and Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) (1 Kings 12-14; 2 Chronicles 10-13).

  • About 900 BC – Israel’s King Ahab and Queen Jezebel killed the Lord’s prophets (1 Kings 16 and 18).

  • About 800 BC – Elijah and Elisha prophesy to the land of Israel (1 Kings 17-21; 2 Kings 1-8, 13; 2 Chronicles 21).

  • Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a huge fish (Jonah). Jesus said that like Jonah, He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:39-40).

  • Amos and Hosea prophesy to Israel. Micah prophesies to Israel and Judah. Isaiah prophesies to Judah. Because of Jesus being Messiah, nations would receive God’s Promises just as Amos prophesied (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:15-17). Jesus as Messiah was called out of Egypt just as Hosea prophesied, came out of Bethlehem just as Micah prophesied (Hosea 11:1; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6; 2:15). Jesus also declared that the prophecy in Isaiah 61 was about Him (Luke 4:17-19).

  • Fall of Israel: Assyria conquered Israel (2 Kings 17).

  • 716 BC – King Hezekiah restored the Temple, observed Passover (2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 29-32).

  • Hezekiah is healed from his illness, and Isaiah prophesies to him (2 Kings 19-20; Isaiah 36-38).

  • Nahum prophesies Assyria’s destruction.

  • Zephaniah prophesies the coming day of the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 tells us the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

  • King Josiah found the book of the Law and brought revival to Judah (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35).

  • Jeremiah prophesies to Judah before and after the fall to Babylon. Jeremiah also spoke of the New Covenant that God would make with His People. Jesus announced that during the Last Supper (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 22:20).

  • The last four kings of Judah after Josiah were evil (2 Kings 23-24; 2 Chronicles 36).

  • Habakkuk prophesied to Judah.

  • 586 BC – Fall of Judah: Babylon conquered Judah and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 52). Jeremiah writes his Lamentations while Obadiah prophesies against Edom.

The Kingdom Unified – From Samuel to Solomon (Journey the Word 6)

Hannah had no children, and cried out to the Lord to help her with her barrenness. The Lord granted her a child, and who was born was named Samuel. Now, Samuel heard God’s Call at a very young age.

Samuel, Saul, and David

1 Samuel 1-31; 1 Chronicles 1-10

Samuel led Israel as a prophet and the last judge of the era of Judges. People had begun to reject God as King, and demanded a king. But God warned the Israelites that unpleasant things would arise if a king were to rule. However, the people still insisted, so Samuel was to anoint a man named Saul to be Israel’s first king.

The Spirit of God came strongly upon Saul, as he was a man that could lead the kingdom well. However, he eventually disobeyed the Lord and ignored God; therefore, Samuel prophesied that the kingdom would not endure anymore for another man was to be chosen to take his place as king. David was the next man in line for the throne.

David was a shepherd, and a humble man who received the Spirit of the Lord once it departed from Saul. David quickly rose to prominence and power in Israel and defeated a giant Philistine warrior named Goliath. Saul and David warred each other, and Saul nearly killed David – so David fled Jerusalem.

David moved through the wilderness of Judah, and lived as a fugitive from Saul. David built a militia of 600 men strong. He raided different towns and lived with the Philistines for a while, which were the enemy of Israel. Soon, David, a shepherd boy, would become a man of war. Saul and his sons died in the battle against the Philistines, which allowed David to take the throne. God directed David to go to Hebron, and David obeyed.

King David

2 Samuel 1-24; 1 Chronicles 11-29; 1 Kings 1-2

In Hebron, David was made King of Judah, where he reigned for seven and a half years. The rest of the tribes made David king over all of Israel. His first act as King was to make Jerusalem the capital and bring the ark of the covenant into the city as well. When the ark entered Jerusalem, the sound of celebration could be heard! David would also write almost half of the 150 Psalms.

God blessed King David, giving him rest from enemies, and made a covenant with him. The Davidic Covenant would mean that the Kingdom would reign forever. Bringing national unity was something David had done that Saul could not do.

But King David did do something foolish, which was sleeping with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. David tried to conceal the fact that Bathsheba was pregnant, and had Uriah to die on the battlefield so that David could marry Bathsheba. God confronted David by Nathan the prophet, and David confessed his sin of abusing the flock of God. David prayed for mercy in Psalm 51. David received forgiveness from God, but there were consequences of this sin.

The series of troubles that occurred included one of his sons assaulting his daughter. Another son named Absalom attempted to usurp David’s throne and call himself king. Disloyal leaders in his kingdom attempted another coup. War between Israel and the Philistines would occur again, and a plague caused thousands in Israel to die. David would rule for forty years in Israel, and would allow his son Solomon to inherit the throne.

King Solomon

2 Chronicles 1-9; 1 Kings 3-11

Solomon reigned during a time of national prosperity and economic flourishing in Israel. Solomon began his kingship by asking God for wisdom. During his reign, he expanded the boundaries of Israel, and achieved many economic successes along with building the first temple in Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant would be placed in the Most Holy Place in the Temple.

Solomon’s wisdom was heavily recorded, and can be read in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and two Psalms (72 and 127). King Solomon married over 700 foreign wives and had 300 concubines. Not sure how wise that is, but definitely something to consider there. Royal marriages were usually a way of forming political and economic alliances between different nations to foster an era of trust. Solomon apparently desired to strengthen his kingdom by these marriages.

Incidentally, Solomon would fall into sin, by which he set up multiple places of worship for the gods of these many wives he had. Solomon’s heart would slowly turn toward these deities, and was no longer fully devoted to the Lord. During most of his reign though, Israel remained prosperous and unified. However, the kingdom was fragile and about to dissolve when Solomon would die.

Timelines of Events from Samuel to Solomon

  • 1100 BC – God gives Hannah a son named Samuel (1 Samuel 1).

  • Samuel heard God’s Call (1 Samuel 3).

  • The ark is captured temporarily by the Philistines. The High Priest Eli died (1 Samuel 4-6).

  • Samuel led Israel as a judge and prophet. Samuel and David were heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:32).

  • 1051 BC – Israel demands a King, so Samuel anointed Saul (1 Samuel 8-10).

  • Saul disobeyed God, so God rejected Saul as king (1 Samuel 13 and 15).

  • Samuel anointed a young shepherd named David to be the next King (1 Samuel 16). David was from Bethlehem and Jesus was born in Bethlehem… What a coincidence! (1 Samuel 16:1; Matthew 2:1).

  • David kills Goliath with a slingshot (1 Samuel 17).

  • David married Michal and befriended Jonathan (Saul’s son) (1 Samuel 18).

  • David spent 14 years as a fugitive after Saul tried to kill him (1 Samuel 19-30; Psalms 18, 56, 57, 59, 63, and 142).

  • Samuel died (1 Samuel 25:1) and David married Abigail (1 Samuel 25).

  • 1011 BC – Saul and Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10).

  • David is made king of Judah in Hebron and ruled for 7.5 years (2 Samuel 2).

  • David becomes king over all Israel and conquered Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 11).

  • David brought the ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13-16).

  • Davidic Covenant: God made a covenant with David (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17).

  • David slept with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed so David could marry her (2 Samuel 11).

  • Nathan rebuked David, and David repented of his sin (2 Samuel 12; Psalm 51).

  • Absalom attempted a coup, but was killed in battle (2 Samuel 15-18; Psalm 3).

  • A plague occurred but then ceased, when David bought the threshing floor of Araunah and built his altar there (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21).

  • Nathan and Bathsheba urge David to make Solomon the new king (1 Kings 1; 1 Chronicles 28).

  • 971 BC – David died after a 40 year reign (1 Kings 2; 1 Chronicles 29).

  • Solomon is made King and received wisdom from God (1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1).

  • 960 BC – Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem on the threshing floor of Araunah (1 Kings 5-8; 2 Chronicles 2-7; Psalm 30).

  • 950 BC – The Queen of Sheba visited Solomon and admired his wisdom and wealth (1 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 9).

  • Solomon foolishly married many wives and worshiped their gods (1 Kings 11).

  • 931 BC – Solomon would die after his 40 year reign (1 Kings 11; 2 Chronicles 9).