There is something more horrible than hoodlums, churls and vipers, and that is knaves with moral justification for their cause. — Thomas More

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut

The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom

When the strong rule of King Solomon was ended by his death, and his weak son, Rehoboam, followed him as king, all the people of Israel rose as one man against the heavy burdens which Solomon had laid upon the land. They would not allow Rehoboam to be crowned king in Jerusalem, but made him come to Sheehem, in the tribe-land of Ephraim, and in the center of the country. The people sent for Jeroboam, who was in Egypt, and he became their leader. They said to Rehoboam, "Your father, Solomon, laid upon us heavy burdens of taxes and of work. If you will promise to take away our load, and make the taxes and the work lighter, then we will receive you as king, and will serve you."

"Give me three days," said Rehoboam, "and then I will tell you what I will do."

So Jeroboam and the people waited for three days, while Rehoboam talked with the rulers and with his friends. Rehoboam first called together the old men who had stood before the throne of Solomon and had helped him in his rule. He said to these men, "What answer shall I give to this people, who ask to have their burdens made light?"

And these old men said to King Rehoboam, "If you will be wise to-day, and yield to the people, and speak good words to them, then they will submit to you, and will serve you always. Tell them that you will take off the heavy burdens, and that you will rule the land in kindness."

But Rehoboam would not heed the advice of these wise old men. He talked with the young prices who had grown up with him in the palace, and who cared nothing for the people or their troubles; and he said to these young men, "The people are asking to have their heavy burdens taken away. What shall I say to them?"

And the young nobles said to Rehoboam, "Say to the people this, 'My father made your burdens heavy, but I will make them heavier still. My father beat you with whips, but I will sting you with scorpions. My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist.' "

On the third day Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam for his answer. And the foolish young king did not follow the good advice of the old men who knew the people and their needs. He did as the haughty young princes told him to do, and spoke harshly to the people, and said, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it, and make it heavier. You will find my little finger thicker than my father's waist. My father struck you with whips, but I will sting you with scorpions." Then the people of Israel were very angry against the king. They said, "Why should we submit any longer to the house of David? Let us leave the family of David, and choose a king of our own. To your tents, O Israel! Now, Rehoboam, son of David, care for your own house!"

Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people

Thus in one day ten of the twelve tribes of Israel broke away forever from the rule of King Rehoboam and the house of David. They made Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, their king. In his kingdom was all the land northward from Bethel to Dan, and also all the tribes on the east of the river Jordan. His kingdom being the larger, was called Israel; but it was also called "the kingdom of the Ten Tribes," and because Ephraim was its leading tribe, it was often spoken of as "the land of Ephraim."

When Rehoboam saw that he had lost his kingdom, he made haste to save his life by fleeing away from Sheehem. He rode in his chariot quickly to Jerusalem, where the people where his friends; and there he ruled as king, but only over the tribe of Judah and as much of Benjamin as was south of Bethel. The tribe of Simeon had once lived on the south of Judah, but some of its people were lost among the people of Judah, and others among the Arabs of the desert, so that is was no longer a separate tribe.

Rehoboam ruled over the mountain country on the west of the Dead Sea, but he had no control over the Philistine cities on the plain beside the Great Sea. So the kingdom of Judah, as it was called, was less than one-third the size of the kingdom of Israel, or the Ten Tribes.

David had conquered, and Solomon had ruled, not only the land of Israel, but Syria on the north of Israel, reaching up to the great river Euphrates, and Ammon by the desert on the east, and Moab on the east of the Dead Sea, and Edom on the south When the kingdom was divided, all the empire of Solomon was broken up. The Syrians formed a kingdom of their own, having Damascus as its chief city. The Ammonites, the Moabites, and the Edomites, all had their own kings, though the king of Moab was for a time partly under the king of Israel, and the king of Edom partly under the king of Judah. So the great and strong empire founded by David, and held by Solomon, fell apart, and became six small, struggling states.

Yet all this was by the will of the Lord, who did not wish Israel to become a great nation, but a good people. The Israelites were growing rich, and were living for the world, while God desired them to be his people, and to worship him only. So, when Rehoboam undertook to gather an army to fight the Ten Tribes, and to bring them under his rule, God sent a prophet to Rehoboam, who said to him, "thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up and fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Return every man to his house; for it is God's will that there should be two kingdoms."

And the men of Judah obeyed the word of the Lord, and left the Ten Tribes to have their own kingdom and their own king.


Front Matter

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God