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“ For it came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods : and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father (e).” It seems, indeed, as if his heart had been so far corrupted by a long series of luxurious prosperity, as to have led him to persist in the abominations of idolatry, notwithstanding the warning he had received; wherefore God declared, that, “ he would for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.” Solomon was allowed to possess the “kingdom all the days of his life for his father David's sake; but he was informed that God had appointed Jeroboam, his servant, to be king over ten of the tribes of Israel after his death (f);” and he might justly fear, from the disposition of his son
Rehoboam, (e) i Kings, c. 11. v. 4.
(f) God declared to Solomon, that he would give one tribe to his son Rehoboam, 1 Kings, ch. 11. v. 13. By this might be meant one tribe besides the tribe of his own house, which God had promised to David
should be established for ever.” Benjamin “was the least of all the tribes of Israel," and it is generally supposed it had been an appendage to the tribe of Judah, or at least much mixed with it, from the time of the slaughter of the Benjamites, mentioned Judges, c. 20, and that it was therefore included in the tribe of Judah, with which indeed it had been connected from the time of the distribution of the land, Joshua, c. 18, in this promise to Solomon.
Rehoboam, that still greater punishment would follow : and thus were the latter days of this illustrious monarch, who reigned through a space of forty years, embittered by the prospect of calamities impending over his posterity, and by the sorrowful conviction derived from his own experience, " that all is vanity and vexation of spirit,” to those who "forsake the law of the Lord, and keep not the covenant of their God.”
The extreme folly of Rehoboam’s conduct, upon his ascending the throne, induced ten of the tribes to revolt immediately, and they chose Jeroboam for their king. Two tribes only, namely, those of Judah and Benjamin, remained faithful to Rehoboam. Thus two kingdoms were formed ; that under Jeroboam and his successors was called the kingdom of Israel; and that under Rehoboam and his successors was called the kingdom of Judah. The capital of the latter was Jerusalem, which had been the seat of government since the eighth year of David's reign. The capital of the former was at first Shechem, then Tirzah, and afterwards Samaria, the principal city of the tribe of Ephraim, whence this kingdom is also sometimes called the kingdom of Samaria, and sometimes the kingdom of Ephraim.
Jeroboam, fearing that the ten tribes, by going regularly to offer sacrifice at the temple of 7
Jerusalem, might return to their allegiance to the house of David, set up, in opposition to the warning he had received from the prophet Ahijah, two golden calves, and erected altars at Dan and Bethel, the two extremities of his kingdom, and ordered that sacrifices should be offered at those places instead of Jerusalem ; and because the priests and Levites, leaving their respective cities situated within his dominions, had gone to reside at Jerusalem, he made priests from the lowest of the people. Many persons also, from every one of the ten tribes, who were desirous of worshipping God at Jerusalem, left Jeroboam, and settling in the kingdom of Judah, added considerably to its strength. Jeroboam was succeeded by his son Nadab. After Nadab had reigned two years, he was killed by Baasha, who usurped the kingdom, and destroyed the whole race of Jeroboam, according to Ahijah's prophecy (g). But the kings of Judah were all descendants of Rehoboam, and consequently of David, as God had promised him: “When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom (h).”
(g) 1 Kings, c. 15. v. 27. c. 14. v. 10.
There were frequent wars between the kings of Judah and Israel, and between them and the neighbouring kings. The kings and people, both of Judah and Israel, soon fell into the grossest depravity. But though their idolatry and other wickedness called down the heavy displeasure of God in continual punishments, yet did he raise up among them, in both kingdoms, a succession of prophets, who endeavoured to recal them to obedience, by reminding them of the many and distinguished instances of divine favour which they had experienced, and by denouncing the fatal consequences which would inevitably follow a perseverance in sin. All these admonitions and threatenings, although enforced by the performance of miracles, and accomplishment of predictions, were ineffectual. Signal deliverances awakened not gratitude, nor did remarkable
punishments produce contrition. And, at length, 740. Gọd suffered Tiglath-Pileser, or Arbaces, king
of Assyria, to carry away captive many of the subjects of the kingdom of Israel, who inhabited the eastern side of the river Jordan, and
part of Galilee ; and nineteen years after, upon 721. repeated provocations, it pleased God to permit
Salmaneser, the son and successor of TiglathPileser, by the capture of Samaria, in the reign of Hoshea, to put an end to the kingdom of
Israel, Israel, about 250 years after its first establishment as a separate kingdom : “ So the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by his servants the prophets; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only (i).” Most of the people were carried away captive into Media : and almost all who were then left were carried away, about 44 years after, by Esarhad- 677. don, the grandson of Salmaneser, and king of Assyria : but it appears
" that a remnant still remained in the land (k).” Esarhaddon sent colonies from several of his provinces, but chiefly from Cuthan, to inhabit Samaria; and these new inhabitants took the name of Samaritans, though they were frequently called Cuthæans. Soon after their settlement in Samaria they were taught the worship of the true God; but retaining also the worship of their false deities, their religion was for some years a mixture of Judaism and Heathenism. In process of time, however, having many of the Israelites incorporated among them, and having built a temple (1) upon Mount Gerizim, like to that at Jerusalem, they appear
(i) 2 Kings, c. 17. v. 18.
(1) Dean Prideaux is of opinion, that this temple was built in the time of Darius Nothus, about the year 409 before Christ.