Rough Draft Last - Updated 10/4/09
Causes of the Divided Kingdom (982-722 B.C.) 1 Kings 12
In a little more than one hundred years, the Kingdom arose, attained its zenith and went into decline. Under David and Solomon, the seeds were sown which were destined to yield disaster. When Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, came to the throne the Northern tribes raised the standard of revolt, set up a rival Kingdom and for about two hundred and fifty-nine years Two Kingdoms, Israel and Judah, stood side by side.
(1) Tribal jealousy
Ephraim means Double fruitfulness ("for God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction"). The second son of Joseph by his wife Asenath, born in Egypt (Gen 41:52; Gen 46:20). The first incident recorded regarding him is his being placed, along with his brother Manasseh, before their grandfather, Jacob, that he might bless them (Gen 48:10; Compare Gen 27:1). The intention of Joseph was that the right hand of the aged patriarch should be placed on the head of the elder of the two; but Jacob set Ephraim the younger before his brother, "guiding his hands wittingly." Before Joseph's death, Ephraim's family had reached the third generation (Gen 50:23).—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary
The two formed two of the tribes of Israel, There are really 13 tribes but the number twelve was preserved by excluding that of Levi when Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned separately (Num 1:32-34; Jos 17:14, 17; 1Ch 7:20).
During the Conquest: We can see the differing points of view between Judah and Ephraim. Judah chose obedience to God by driving the Canaanite out of the land. In contrast, Ephraim was content to exact tribute from and dwell with the Canaanites, Even though they had the military strength to obey God.
28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. 29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. Judges 1:28-29 (KJV)
Change in Influence and Honor:
From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and Solomon: Ephraim had held the place of honor among the tribes.
The portion of Ephraim (Jos 16:1-10) was large and central, and embraced some of the most fertile land in all Canaan. It extended from the Mediterranean across to the Jordan, north of the portions of Dan and Benjamin and included Shiloh, Shechem, etc. A range of mountainous country, which runs through it, is called "the mountains of Ephraim," or "mount Ephraim." This extends also farther south into the portion of Judah, and is there called "the mountains of Judah." Samaria, the capital of the ten tribes, being in Ephraim, this latter name is often used for the kingdom of Israel, Isaiah 11:13; Jeremiah 31:6; 50:19.
The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within its limits at Shiloh where it remained for four hundred years.
During the time of the judges and the first stage of the monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and discontented spirit. "For more than five hundred years, with its two dependent tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence.
Joshua the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes.
Ephraim (tribe of Joseph) became jealous over the growing power of Judah. I believe Ephraim as a tribe took God’s Blessing for granted.
But now when Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the centre of power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim declined in influence.
67 Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: 68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. 69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever. 70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds Psalms 78:67-70 (KJV)
Why was Judah chosen?
8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. Gen 49:8-12 (KJV)
Judah saved Joseph’s life
26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Gen 37:26-27 (KJV)
When the ark was removed from Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled."
Ephraim envied Judah; and Judah vexed Ephraim… Is 11:13
The discontent came to a crisis by Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded (1Ki 12).
For seven years, at the close of Saul's reign, Ephraim supported the house of Saul while Judah rallied to the scepter of David. The influence of David, and after him that of Solomon, was strong enough to hold the tribes together. Now that these influences had passed and new conditions had arisen, the old feeling leaped into a flame and the Ten Tribes were glad for a pretext to break away and set up a government for themselves.
(2) Worldly policies
Because Solomon had failed to reign according to the will of Jehovah, and had turned his heart away after other gods; God decreed the dissolution of his Kingdom. Already in Solomon's day, the prophet Ahijah had been sent to Jeroboam with the prediction that that prince should reign over the ten tribes of Israel.
1 Kings 11:1-43
(3) Heavy taxes
While gold and silver and precious treasures had flowed in abundance into the coffers of the king, the people themselves had been sorely oppressed and burdened. Groaning beneath their burdens, they assembled in Sheechem and pleaded that their taxes should be reduced.
1 Kings 12:1-7
(4) Rehoboam's folly
Apparently all of these difficulties might have been overcome but for the consummate folly of Rehoboam, Solomon's son. Instead of conciliating the people and reducing their burdens, he answered them roughly; "My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins." Thereupon the northern tribes revolted and set up a separate Kingdom.
1 Kings 12:8-24