Judah & Israel: A Divided Monarchy

After the death of King Solomon, two idependent kingdoms emerged.

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Jeroboam Returns to Israel

After Solomon's death, Jeroboam returned to Israel. According to the account in I Kings 12, he exercised a leadership role in the parley at Shechem. As already noted, Rehoboam might have been able to win over the northern tribal leaders if he had dealt with them respectfully and assured them less oppressive treatment. Indeed, his senior advisors recommended this course of action (1 Kings 12:7). But Rehoboam followed the advice of more junior advisors, his contemporaries, and replied to the petition of Jeroboam and his companions with hostility and even vulgarity: "My little finger is thicker than my father's loins" (1 Kings 12:10).

Having been threatened by Rehoboam with policies even harsher than Solomon's, the northern leaders took up the slogan of Sheba's revolt--"What share do we have in David? (compare 2 Samuel 20:1 with 1 Kings 12:16)--and withdrew from Shechem. When Rehoboam sent Adoram (or Adoniram, compare 1 Kings 4:6), his chief corvee officer, to raise a work levy, the Israelites stoned him to death (1 Kings 12:18), and the division of the kingdoms became an accomplished fact. Rehoboam was obliged to flee to Jerusalem for his own safety (1 Kings 12:18).

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Siegfried H. Horn

Siegfried H. Horn directed the excavation of Herban (biblical Heshbon), Jordan, from 1968 to 1973, after having dug at Shechem for four seasons in the 1960s. From 1951 to 1976, Horn taught archaeology and the history of antiquity at Andrews University in Michigan.