Why were Godís people, the nation Israel, divided into a Northern Kingdom and a Southern Kingdom?
When King Solomon died, his not-so-nice son, Rehoboam, reigned and proposed a high tax burden on the people of Israel for the building of the Temple. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin revolted and took the lower portion of the nation as their own and named it Judah.
What negative issues brought this about?
Rehoboam decided to listen to his advisors that the rest of the nation thought too young to make a proper decision for their welfare. They thought that Rehoboam should listen to the older, more experienced advisors of Solomonís time. Rehoboam refused to listen to his people. They revolted and decided amongst themselves to let Rehoboam have his way, just not with them in his part of the country. Ten tribes split off from Rehoboamís rule and remained in Israel in the north. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin split off and took over the southern portion of the nation, calling it Judah, where King Rehoboam continued to rule. Soon after, both nations were conquered by the Babylonians and were sent into exile.
What changes things back (stems the tide) in the end?
After many kings who had no loved for Israel came and went, finally, Zerubbable, in his first year as King of Babylon, was a friend of Israelís and allowed the people back into their lands. He even allowed the Israelites to rebuild their Temple and decreed that all the temple utensils that Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the first temple before he destroyed it under his reign, be returned to Israelís people. It wasnít until 1948 that Israel was restored as a recognized nation by the eyes of the world.
Comment: "Solomon's son, Rehoboam, threatened to lay a heavier tax burden on the people than Solomon had."
Author Response: So far, I haven't seen anyone mention what really began the downturn of Israel, and why Rehoboam acted the way he did. Remember, God told David that the consequences of his sin would be visited upon his children and their children. Do generational curses from patriarchal sin still exist? I truly believe they do because the sin of sexual child abuse reigned over my family for two generations until my sisters and I (who all three of us had been sexually abused by loved ones) broke that curse by never abusing our own children, or anybody else's for that matter. We all got the help we needed to make sure that it never happens again. David's line suffered his consequences for generations too, and things got worse before they got better.
Comment: "Once back in it still took years for it to return to normal so to say."
Author Response: Ever since the death of Abel families have split for some reason or another, nations included; sometimes it is for the simplest of things. Cain was angry at Abel because he thought that Abel thought he was better than him, when really Cain himself screwed up by being lazy with his sacrifice to God. Here, Rehoboam went with the younger crowd because he knew that they would see things his way. He knew that the older counselors would reject the tax immediately. How is this any different than in families today where a child chooses a mother's over a father's advice simply because the mother agrees with the child's point of view and the father does not? How is this any different when a country refuses to listen to its people and fights a war the people don't want to get involved in? Unfortunately, it takes years for some disagreements to be solved by simple solutions such as sitting down with humility and wisdom to do what is right without anger and malice. Only an outside force can change things around when things get heated. For Israel it will take God to end the struggle to exist, as God does in our lives when we let Him be the outside force that brings us peace.