1 Kings 12:1-24

Talks for Growing Christians

The Division of the United Kingdom of Israel

1 Kings 12:1-24

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Lesson Number 16

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God can accomplish His purposes through the foolish counsel of people.
  2. God can accomplish His purposes through the wise counsel of people.

Practical Application

  1. Practice soft answers.


  1. Name the kings of the united kingdom of Israel.
  2. How long did the united kingdom last?
  3. After certain events, how was the united kingdom of Israel divided?
  4. Who were the kings of the divided kingdom?
  5. After gathering an army of 180,000 troops to attack the northern kingdom, why did Rehoboam call off the battle?


  1. Saul, David and Solomon.
  2. 120 years, from 1051 B.C. to 931 B.C.
  3. It was divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom consisted of ten tribes and the southern kingdom consisted of the tribe of Judah and the closely associated tribe of Benjamin.
  4. Jeroboam became the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, became the first king of the southern kingdom of Judah.
  5. Because Rehoboam wisely listened to the voice of the Lord brought to him through the prophet Shemaiah,


  1. King Rehoboam was not wise when he went along with the counsel of his young friends instead of following the wise advice of the elders. However, it is recorded that “the turn of events was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His word.” (1 Kings 12:15) The Bible clearly teaches that we should follow wise counsel and God will use it to guide us. When people follow foolish counsel they do so by their own will and they suffer the consequences. But God can use the foolish counsel of people and its unfortunate results to accomplish His purposes. See Ephesians 1:11. As for today, we see foolish counsel and its sad results in the Middle East situation. But God is using all these events to accomplish His purposes. The groundwork is being laid, and the way is being paved for events of the last days and the return of the Lord.
  2. Shemaiah, the man of God, gave Rehoboam some wise counsel about not going up to fight Jeroboam. How do we know it was wise counsel? Read 1 Kings 12:24. It was from the Lord. God’s purposes were accomplished through wise counsel. Anyone who looks to the Lord for the wisdom from above will give wise counsel to others. Let’s pray that our nation’s leaders will follow wise counsel. See James 1:5 and 3:17.


  1. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1). Solomon wrote this proverb, but unfortunately his son Rehoboam did not follow the wise counsel of this proverb. Rehoboam responded to the people with harsh words, and anger was stirred up. How do you respond to people’s concerns? Do you respond with soft answers or harsh words? Soft answers do not come automatically, but they come with practice and by refraining from harsh words. Can you speak from experience to this proverb?

Key Verses

  • “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father…and we will serve you.” 1 Kings 12:4
  • “Rehoboam consulted the elders…they said, ‘If you will be a servant to these people today and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he rejected the advice.” 1 Kings 12:6-8
  • “Rehoboam consulted the young men…and they advised him to say, ‘Whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke…” 1 Kings 12:8-11
  • “The word of God came to Shemaiah, the man of God, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. They obeyed the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 12:22-24

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