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What the Bible says about Division of Israel and Judah
(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Samuel 11:7-8

According to the pattern God began in Genesis 48:16, He is establishing that there is a difference between Judah and the other tribes by attaching the name “Israel,” not to Judah, but to those other tribes.

Later, during the time of King David, the distinction continues:

» Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. (II Samuel 2:10)

» David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. (ll Samuel 5:4-5)

» I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! (II Samuel 12:8)

These two separate houses had their differences:

Now the king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him. And all the people of Judah escorted the king, and also half the people of Israel. Just then all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to the king, “Why have our brethren, the men of Judah, stolen you away and brought the king, his household, and all David's men with him across the Jordan?” So all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is a close relative of ours. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we ever eaten at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?” And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, “We have ten shares in the king; therefore we also have more right to David than you. Why then do you despise us—were we not the first to advise bringing back our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel. (II Samuel 19:40-43)

Pat Higgins
The Nation of Israel—Biblical Israel? (Part One)

2 Samuel 19:40-43

In verse 43, those representing Israel in the disagreement point out that they have “ten shares in the king.” The ten shares are the ten tribes that make up the house of Israel. Under the article, “Ten Lost Tribes,” Wikipedia states, “The ten lost tribes refers to the ten of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel that were said to have been deported from the Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Empire circa 722 BCE.”

This deportation took place over 250 years after David's reign. So more than 250 years before they eventually became known as the “Ten Lost Tribes,” God reveals to us that this division was already in place and that the name “Israel” did not include Judah. As further evidence of the depth of the division, the disagreement in II Samuel 19 led to a rebellion and a brief civil war between these two houses as recorded in the following chapter.

God is applying the name “Israel” to the ten tribes and not to Judah. This distinction begins well before the famous split after Solomon's reign. The only time God includes Judah under the name “Israel” is when He is talking about all the children of Israel. Throughout the Bible, God is confirming for us that Judah is not the Israel of the Bible.

After Solomon's reign, a final separation indeed occurs. Most of the two books of Kings details the activities of the now-separate nations. At this point, the lines are clearly and finally drawn. “Israel” includes the ten tribes, and “Judah” includes Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites.

Also in every city he [Rehoboam, king of Judah] put shields and spears, and made them very strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side. And from all their territories the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel took their stand with him. For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the Lord. (II Chronicles 11:12-14)

Pat Higgins
The Nation of Israel—Biblical Israel? (Part One)

1 Kings 12:24

This event took place during the reign of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, approximately two hundred years before Isaiah lived. To finance his massive building projects, Solomon had taxed the people heavily during his reign. Following his death, the ten northern tribes appealed for relief from the heavy tax burden, but Rehoboam refused. The Israelites returned home in rebellious anger. Rehoboam sent the head of that day's Internal Revenue Service to either collect some overdue revenues or negotiate. The Israelites assassinated him. Fearing the northern ten tribes' secession, the Jews raised an army and prepared to go to war against their northern brethren. At that point, God directly intervened by sending a prophet to deliver the message contained in verse 24.

God says He was personally maneuvering events to bring about His will. He wanted to divide Israel and Judah into two separate kingdoms with two separate histories—a situation that exists to this day. Israel was later scattered in captivity by Assyria. Judah followed Israel into captivity over one hundred years later but at the hands of Babylon. If God scattered Israel, why can He not scatter the church if somewhat similar conditions to Israel and Judah's appear in the church (Leviticus 26:33)? Should we presumptuously assume that the church is exempt from God's chastening? Moreover, why could He not scatter it for any number of other purposes He might have in mind?

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Sovereignty and the Church's Condition (Part One)

Jeremiah 3:8-10

God is speaking about the two nations, Israel and Judah. Israel had gone into captivity over a hundred years before Jeremiah came along. God is relating what Judah did after it saw that Israel had gone into captivity for its sins.

He uses marriage as an analogy of His relationship with His people—first with Israel and Judah and later with the church—in order to help us see clearly what is required of us. He calls Israel His wife, but Israel was not faithful in that the people committed idolatry. God considers this spiritual idolatry as being the same as, or similar to, the committing of adultery in a human marriage.

This is why He calls idolatry "adultery." It is unfaithfulness to a vow, a contract, a covenant, or an agreement. The two partners in the agreement, God and Israel, said, "I do" to be Husband and wife. God was faithful, upholding His part of that relationship, but Israel was unfaithful to those vows, committing adultery through idolatry, by worshiping other gods.

Notice how strong God's language is: He uses the word "treacherous." He calls Judah's unfaithfulness, her idolatry, her spiritual adultery "treachery." It is a word that is reserved for the most despicable breaches of trust. We do not like to use it even when speaking of adultery, so we soften it, using a euphemism like saying he or she "had an affair." God calls it what it is—treachery, an egregious violation of allegiance, of trust.

Whether a person is treacherous, that is, unfaithful, or whether he is faithful to his vows, both results have to be worked at, but the former comes easier than the latter because treachery follows the natural course of human nature. We have all done what Israel and Judea did through sin, alienating ourselves from Him.

God does with us individually as He was willing to do with Israel and Judah as nations. He says, "Yes, you've committed these unfaithful sins, but if you'll just return to Me, I'll still accept you as my wife." He is willing to forgive. The condition, however, is repentance—real change in attitude and behavior.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love and Works


 




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