Yesterday we looked at some basic history we need for understanding the Gospels, today we will look at the history underlying a good number of Historical and Prophetic books of the Old Testament.
All twelve tribes, descended from the twelve sons of Jacob, took David as their king in 1000 B.C.. At his death in 970 B.C., his son Solomon took over. Free from war on all sides, he taxed the tribes and conscripted their young men to build the temple and the nation’s ports and roads.
At Solomon’s death in 931 B.C., the leaders of the tribes approached Solomon’s son King Rehoboam, asking him to let their sons come home to build up their farms.
After consulting with his princely pals, Rehoboam, ignoring the needs of the people, increased taxations and conscriptions. In response, ten of the tribes chose to break away, choosing Jeroboam, a leader from Ephraim as their king. They formed the independent nation of Israel, which went its separate way until its people were led off into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.
In the south the kingdom of Judah, with just the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remaining loyal to Solomon’s descendants, had its separate existence until its people were led off to Babylon in 587 B.C.
It’s good to keep the prophets of the south and north separate in our minds. The great prophets in the run-away kingdom of Israel were Elijah, Elisha, Joel, Amos, Hosea; while the stupendous prophets of the kingdom of Judah were Isaiah, and a century later Jeremiah.