THE DIVISION of the kingdom of Israel is the focus of our Old Testament study this week. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, gets some bad advice from his young friends, not just rejecting the request of the northern tribes for tax relief, but doing so with a rather crude euphemism.
That didn’t work out well. And it didn’t go well for the people of the new kingdoms of Israel or Judah. Jeroboam quickly led the northern kingdom into apostasy, setting up high places to worship golden calves at Bethel and Dan and appointing priests who were not from the tribe of Levi to offer sacrifices to these pagan idols.
Meanwhile, we’re told that Rehoboam and the people of Judah only followed God for three years. Because they quickly began following the example of Solomon, worshipping the foreign gods the late king introduced to the land because of his hundreds of wives, God allowed the Egyptian king Shishak to take the fortified cities of Judah and sack the Temple. Sadly, this is a pattern we will see repeated throughout the history of the divided kingdom.
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