The Causes of the Division of Israel’s Kingdom -- By: Wayne A. Brindle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 141:563 (Jul 1984)
Article: The Causes of the Division of Israel’s Kingdom
Author: Wayne A. Brindle


The Causes of the Division of Israel’s Kingdom

Wayne A. Brindle

Solomon’s kingdom was undoubtedly the Golden Age of Israel. The accomplishments of Solomon and the highlights of his reign include those things which all kings and empires sought, and most did not obtain.

A prominent feature of Solomon’s rule was his preparation for defense. He fortified the key cities which ringed Israel’s center: Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Beth-horon, and Baalath (1 Kings 9:15–19). He assembled as many as 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and maintained 4,000 stables in which to house the horses (1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chron 9:25). And he kept a large standing army, which required enormous amounts of food and other provisions.1

Solomon also had a much larger court than David’s. He appointed 12 district supervisors (1 Kings 4) and as many as 550 supervisors of labor (1 Kings 9:23), who were in turn supervised by an overseer of district officers and a prime minister.2 He had 1,000 wives or concubines, and probably had a large number of children.

To finance such extensive programs he developed at least three sources of national income. (1) Taxation provided the bulk of his support, and each district furnished provisions for the court and his family during one month of the year (1 Kings 4). (2) Some tribute and gifts were received from other nations, notably Sheba and Tyre (1 Kings 9–10). (3) Trade relationships were

developed with many areas, especially through Ezion-geber to the south and through Syria to the north. In addition he used many aliens and Israelites in his building projects (1 Kings 5:13; 9:21–22).

Solomon developed alliances with Egypt (through his marriage to a daughter of Pharaoh) and Tyre (Hiram I), among others, and received official visits from many foreign dignitaries including the Queen of Sheba.

His great building activities received much of his attention. It took him seven years to build the temple, which was completed in 960 B.C. During the next 13 years he built his own palace and other fine buildings (1 Kings 7:1–13) and the Millo (“supp...

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