A Chapter Of Israelitish History: The Division Of The Kingdom -- By: Rabbi Herbert Parzen

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 085:338 (Apr 1928)
Article: A Chapter Of Israelitish History: The Division Of The Kingdom
Author: Rabbi Herbert Parzen


A Chapter Of Israelitish History:
The Division Of The Kingdom

Rabbi Herbert Parzen

Before approaching our main task, the causes of the Division, it is perhaps essential to point out the methodology we intend to pursue and the sources we propose to follow.

The Bible is our chief and sole source. But the Biblical books do not contain merely historical documents and data. The Bible is not interested in history as such. Scripture represents a philosophy of history, a divine philosophy of history, a divine “Weltanschauung.” This philosophy teaches that God is the Center of history and that He guides the destiny of man and nations and particularly that of Israel. The facts are arranged to point out and to teach man moral lessons. It is therefore necessary to divest the facts from the didactic purposes of Biblical Literature in order to evaluate them for historical study. This we attempt in this essay.

In accordance with this plan, we have not made use of any secondary sources. Hence, this study is based upon a careful examination of Biblical Historical Books only.

Now we are ready to proceed to the discussion of the subject and its various problems.

King Solomon died. Judaea immediately acclaimed his son Rehoboam as its sovereign. Israel awaited the prospective monarch at Shechem, its old favorite capital. The people refused to confirm Rehoboam unless he granted them certain concessions which would lighten their burden. The throne-claimant with his counsellors arrived at the rendezvous. The petition setting forth the grievances was presented to him. He took it under advisement for three days.

At the appointed time the prince brought back the fatal answer: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” His fate was sealed.

Urged on by the rebel Jeroboam, who returned to Palestine at the news of Solomon’s death,1 rebellion ensued. The hapless Adoram, the chief of the levy, was stoned to death. Rehoboam fled the country for safety. Jeroboam, the Ephraimite, was proclaimed king over Israel.

Thereby the division of the Davidic Kingdom was effected. War ensued. But in the end peace came. And with peace the Northern Kingdom was acknowledged and recognized as a de jure government.

Every student of history realizes that the causes of historic events are not merely the pretenses which are immediately utilized to bring about a definite end. Behind these excuses, the immediate causes are generally tremendous forces ...

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