Saturday, October 3, 2015

a national divorce: the history and geography of "Israel" and "Judah"

The Word for today:
1 Kings 12
In order to complete his massive building projects, Solomon had taxed the people heavily.
So Jeroboam led a delegation from the ten northern tribes to ask Rehoboam, Solomon's son and successor, to relieve them of their heavy taxation.
Rehoboam consulted the elder advisers, who recommended he cut taxes.
Then Rehoboam consulted younger men, his circle of friends, who recommended that Rehoboam continue the heavy taxation. Rehoboam decided to follow the advice of these younger men.
When the northern ten tribes heard that Rehoboam would continue to govern with heavy-handed authority and high taxation, they'd had enough. So they proclaimed Jeroboam their king. The glorious kingdom was broken, split in two like an eggshell struck against the pan.
Yesterday, we watched King Solomon fall. Now we'll watch the kingdom slowly disintegrate until the walls come tumbling down.
The northern kingdom--"Israel"
The year was 920 b.c. The ten northern tribes (known from this time forth as "Israel") would no longer serve Rehoboam, son of Solomon. They chose to follow Jeroboam instead.
The southern kingdom--"Judah"
The tribes of Judah and Benjamin stuck with Rehoboam, son of Solomon. (They would henceforth be known as "Judah.")
Alert: the Bible student must pause here and commit to memory the names of Israel (the northern 10-tribe kingdom) and Judah (the southern 2-tribe kingdom). Many Bibles--usually at the back--will have maps showing various times in the history of Bible lands. Note that although there were only two tribes in Judah, it is nearly as large as 10-tribe Israel.
In the year 726 b.c., the ten northern tribes ("Israel") were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians. "Israel," during their 200 years, did not have a single good king (one who sought the LORD God).
"Judah" (composed of the southern tribes) lasted a bit longer, until the year 586 b.c. when they were carried away by the Babylonians. Out of nineteen kings, they had eight good ones (who sought the LORD) and eleven bad ones over the course of their 350 years.
The Jews that were exiled to Babylon would be led back by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, and Zerubbabel. They rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple and remained there until A.D. 70 (after Jesus) when forces of the Roman Empire destroyed the temple and dispersed the Jews throughout the entire known world.
920 B.C. -- the kingdom splits into 2 kingdoms--"Israel" (north) and "Judah" (south).
726 B.C. -- "Israel" (north) forced into captivity by Assyria
586 B.C. -- "Judah" (south) forced into captivity in Babylon
---Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection---
70 A.D. -- Jerusalem leveled, Jews dispersed throughout the world
1948 -- "Israel" (a political entity; a nation) restored in Palestine
Today -- spiritual "Israel" has not yet returned to God through faith in Messiah Jesus

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