As a religious scholar and Christian, it is very important to know the history of the Jewish people from which Christianity descended, and in this post, we are going to look at Israel and Judah split.
Normally, the whole tribe of Israel consisted of the 12 sons of Jacob who were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. But after the split, Israel became the eleven remaining tribes when you remove Judah from the list.
Now King David and his successor Solomon, who was betrothed to him by Bathsheba, the wife he killed his servant Uriah to collect, were the only people who ruled all the twelve tribes of Israel, and during the revolt, Solomon’s son Rehoboam ruled over Judah while Jeroboam, a Benjamite, and servant of King Solomon ruled over Israel.
In this article, therefore, I am going to help you understand the main reason that caused Israel and Judah to split.
Why did Israel and Judah split?
Israel and Judah had to split because of a revolt from the Northern tribes who were later known as the Samaritans, the whole incident is recorded in 1 Kings chapter 12.
According to the story, it all began when Rehoboam went to Shechem where all the people of Northern Israel had gathered to make him King.
And when Jeroboam, who had earlier escaped from King Solomon heard the news he returned from Egypt and stirred the people to go to Rehoboam to inquire how he is going to treat them now that King Solomon was dead.
King Solomon told them to come back in 2 days and get a reply, and when they left he consulted his father’s advisers who told him that if he wants to serve the people well he should give them a favorable answer.
After he left the elders, he also consulted the young men who had grown up with him and they told him to tell the people that he was going to treat them more harshly than his father.
After the two days had elapsed and the Northern tribes returned to get the reply from Rehoboam, he ignored the elder’s advice and told them what his peers had advised him and that reply angered the Northern tribes to revolt and installed Jeroboam as their King.
Thus, Rehoboam was only able to rule the tribe of Judah alone while Jeroboam ruled over the other eleven tribes.
King David founded the kingdom.
The kingdom of Israel was founded in about 1000 BC by King David, the son of Jesse.
David had such an impact on the kingdom and kingly office that he was seen as a symbol of Israel’s later Messianic hopes.
Jewish captivity and the return from exile.
After the death of King Solomon, David’s son and successor; in about 930 BC, the kingdom established by David was split into 2 parts, Israel and Judah.
The northern part, called Israel, was taken into exile by Assyria in 721 BC and was never restored.
The southern kingdom, known as Judah, which remained loyal to the house of David, had a long history.
However, in 586 BC, it was also taken into exile by the Babylonians.
But in 539 BC, Cyrus, the Persian King, conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
The following year, a good number of the Jews returned to their native land. And in time rebuilt the temple, which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon destroyed during his captivity.
After the first return from exile, several Jews went back to Palestine. And were led by Ezra, a Jewish priest who was deeply devoted to the Mosaic law.
Ezra had a strong desire to make the Jews observe the Torah, which was Israel’s law given by God to Moses.
The Pharisee, whom we meet so often in the gospels and book of Acts, grew out of Ezra’s movement to restore the law of Moses again.
How the change in the government of Palestine affected the Jewish people.
Below is a brief review of how the change in the government of Palestine affected the Jewish people:
- Alexander the Great: Between 334 and 323 BC, Alexander, the young Macedonian king, conquered all lands east of Greece down to India, and as far south as Egypt. But when he died in 323 BC, his generals divided the empire he had established among themselves.
- Ptolemy. Ptolemy became ruler of Egypt, and his area of authority included Palestine and remained under the authority of his house until 198 BC.
- Seleucis: However in the same year, 198 BC, a house descended from another general, Seleucis, gained control of Palestine. The Seleucids governed Syria, much of the Asian Minor, and all of Persia.
The change in the Government of Palestine really affected the Jewish people.