Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam: The Kingdom Is Divided (1 Kings 12:1 – 24; 2 Chronicles 10:1 – 11:4)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 12:1 – 24

2 Chronicles 10:1 – 11:4

1. As a child, were you the type who:

  • took your ball and went home?
  • grabbed the ball and forced the game to continue?
  • punctured the ball to settle everyone’s problem?

Explain your answer.

2. What paternal advice did you once reject in favor of your peers – advice that you later wished you’d taken?

3. What hard manual labor have you done? What was your reward?

4. What did the northern tribes want?

  • an end to forced labor and military service
  • lower taxes
  • a new nation
  • a new king
  • a fair king
  • a reason to rebel

5. What was the philosophy behind the advice of the “elders”?

  • politicians should make promises
  • politicians should be servants
  • creative solutions are win-win
  • it takes strength to compromise

6. What was the philosophy behind the advice of Rehoboam’s friends?

  • show them who’s in charge
  • tread softly and carry a big stick
  • play hardball
  • compromise is for sissies

7. Why did Rehoboam choose the young men’s counsel?

  • he bowed to peer pressure
  • he wanted to look strong
  • he thought it was the best way to keep the kingdom together
  • it was God’s will

8. What is meant by attributing this to the Lord (verse 15; 2 Kings 11:9 – 13? Is the author condoning either Republican harshness or the people’s rebellion?

9. So, who was responsible for Israel breaking apart?

  • Rehoboam
  • Jeroboam
  • Solomon
  • Rehoboam’s young advisors
  • the northern tribes
  • the southern tribes (Judah)
  • God
  • no one really – conflict is inevitable

10. How do the Israelites express their rebellion here? What short-term and long-term effect does this have? What does Rehoboam learn from Adoniram’s chilling reception?

11. Why does Judah remain faithful to Rehoboam (verses 20 and 21; see also Matthew 1:2 – 7)?

12. What role and risks does Shemaiah take?

  • brave diplomat who forestalls a bloody civil war
  • wise prophet who convinces the king to swallow his pride and go home
  • shrewd spy working for Jeroboam

13. Why did his word carry the day?What is the mood of the people of Judah: relief? resentment? resignation?

14. How does this story end?

  • they all live happily ever after
  • Rehoboam and Judah wimp out
  • Rehoboam and Judah swallow their pride
  • a prophet prevents a civil war
  • cooler heads prevail

15. Do you have a peacemaker like Shemaiah in your family? Your workplace? Your church or small group?

16. Do you consider yourself a good listener? How well do you take advice? Would you rather go it alone?

17. How important is it for Christians to seek counsel from others? How closely does your practice match your principles?

18. Where do you usually go for counsel? How do you discern good from bad advice? What do you do if you don’t like what you hear?

19. What justification is there for violence, assassination or civil war? Does justice sometimes require that some people die?

20. Who really listens to your side of the story? Parents? A friend? Employer? Pastor/Minister? Who seems to always ignore your feelings and needs?

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