Chapter 10 tells the story of the northern tribes’ revolt against Rehoboam and the eventual division of the kingdom. Rehoboam responded to the requests of the northern tribes: “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (10:14). How foolish! And, certainly, equal to other things, maybe even more, shouldn’t a king have compassion for his people and desire the best for them? Foolish, foolish, foolish! And so, Rehoboam got about what he deserved; he lost the ten tribes. And even Judah and Jerusalem, which he kept, were his only because of the Lord's faithfulness to David.
Rehoboam sought to reclaim the north by assembling troops from Judah and Benjamin but the Lord spoke through Shemaiah: “’You shall not go up or fight against your relatives. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me.’” So they listened to the word of the Lord and returned and did not go against Jeroboam” (11:4). Continuing the story of Judah, the southern kingdom, Abijah followed Rehoboam in Jerusalem, and though king after king did evil, there are encouraging anecdotes all along the way. Jeroboam of Israel was fighting against Judah, and the report was: “the men of Judah prevailed because they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers” (13:18). They prevailed because they relied on the Lord! A lesson for us! The Davidic dynasty remained, even with unfaithful king after unfaithful king, only because of God’s faithfulness. When we trust God we will not be disappointed.
Arise, ye saints, arise!
The Lord our Leader is;
The foe before his banner flies,
And victory is his.
This hope supports us here;
It makes our burdens light;
‘Twill serve our drooping hearts to cheer,
Till faith shall end in sight. --Thomas Kelly (1816)