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Divided Kingdoms — Israel and Judah

56.—The Division of the Kingdom. [B.C. 932]

1. After the death of Solomon the people came to his son Rehoboam, and asked him to lighten a little the burden which his father had imposed upon them. Rehoboam bade them return in three days. In the mean time he consulted the old men, who recommended mercy and kindness; and then the young men, who advised harshness. Following the advice of the young men, Rehoboam said to the people, on the third day: "My father put a heavy yoke upon you; I will make it heavier. My father beat you with whips; I will chastise you with scorpions."

2. When the people heard this they became very angry and stoned Aduran, the king's messenger, and, choosing Jeroboam, one of Solomon's servants, made him king over ten tribes. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin adhered to Rehoboam.

Thus, according as God had foretold Solomon, were the Jewish people divided into two kingdoms—Israel and Judah. Jerusalem remained the capital of Judah, while Samaria, at a later period, became the capital of Israel.

3. This sinful separation of the ten tribes from their harsh yet lawful king is a figure of so many who by heresy and sin, separate themselves from the Catholic Church, God's true representative upon earth.

Jerusalem represented truth; Samaria, heresy. At the former was the Temple, where alone sacrifice pleasing to God could be offered. There was the Ark of the Covenant, and there alone was the priesthood that God had established.

4. The separated tribes, from which was formed the kingdom of Israel, were by far more numerous than the two that remained faithful. This mattered not. As with heresy, so with them; in a few years they entirely disappeared from history, leaving but a name behind them.

5. To the two tribes God showed mercy, for from them came the Saviour of the world. So shall it be with the Catholic Church: she has seen the rise and fall of all forms of heresies, many of which for a time, seemed to threaten her existence; but they have passed away, while she remains, as she will remain to the end.

Questions to Consider: 56.—How did Rehoboam treat the people? What happened? What was Jeroboam made? Who adhered to Rehoboam? Into what were the Jews divided? What were the capitals of the two nations? What is said of the kingdom of Israel and of the kingdom of Judah? What is said of the Catholic Church and heresy?