Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.


1 Kings 11:4-13, NIrV

4 As Solomon grew older, his wives turned his heart toward other gods. He didn’t follow the Lord his God with all his heart. So he wasn’t like his father David. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth was the female god of the Sidonians. He also worshiped Molek. Molek was the god of the Ammonites. The Lord hated that god. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He didn’t completely obey the Lord. He didn’t do what his father David had done.

7 There is a hill east of Jerusalem. Solomon built a high place for worshiping Chemosh there. He built a high place for worshiping Molek there too. Chemosh was the god of Moab. Molek was the god of Ammon. The Lord hated both of those gods. 8 Solomon also built high places so that all his wives from other nations could worship their gods. Those women burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.

9 The Lord became angry with Solomon. That’s because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel. He had appeared to Solomon twice. 10 He had commanded Solomon not to worship other gods. But Solomon didn’t obey the Lord. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “You have chosen not to keep my covenant. You have decided not to obey my rules. I commanded you to do what I told you. But you did not do it. So you can be absolutely sure I will tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your officials. 12 But I will not do that while you are still living. Because of your father David I will wait. I will tear the kingdom out of your son’s hand. 13 But I will not tear the whole kingdom away from him. I will give him one of the tribes because of my servant David. I will also do it because of Jerusalem. That is the city I have chosen.”


Wise King Solomon did something incredibly foolish: he married lots of women who worshiped other gods. Instead of loving Israel’s God with his whole heart, Solomon joined his wives in worshiping these other pretend gods. Can you guess how the Lord God felt about this? He was angry, of course! Because of Solomon’s sin, God promised to rip most of Solomon’s kingdom away and give it to another. In the end, Solomon’s family would rule over just one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The only reason God didn’t take the entire kingdom away was to keep the promise he’d made to David.

+ What promise had God made to David? (see 2 Samuel 7:15-16 if you need a reminder.)

+ When would God tear away the kingdom from Solomon’s family? (vs. 12)


1 Kings 11:28-36, NIrV

28 Jeroboam was a very important young man. Solomon saw how well he did his work. So he put him in charge of all the workers in northern Israel.

29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet met him on the road. Ahijah was from Shiloh. He was wearing a new coat. The two of them were all alone out in the country. 30 Ahijah grabbed the new coat he had on. He tore it up into 12 pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself. The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten of its tribes. 32 Solomon will have one of its tribes. I will let him keep it because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem. I have chosen that city out of all the cities in the tribes of Israel. 33 I will do these things because the tribes have deserted me. They have worshiped Ashtoreth, the female god of the people of Sidon. They have worshiped Chemosh, the god of the people of Moab. And they have worshiped Molek, the god of the people of Ammon. They have not lived the way I wanted them to. They have not done what is right in my eyes. They have not obeyed my rules and laws as Solomon’s father David did.

34 “ ‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I have made him ruler all the days of his life. I have done it because of my servant David. I chose him, and he obeyed my commands and rules. 35 I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hands. And I will give you ten of the tribes. 36 I will give one of the tribes to David’s son. Then my servant David will always have a son on his throne in Jerusalem. The lamp of David’s kingdom will always burn brightly in my sight. Jerusalem is the city I chose for my Name.


A prophet’s job was to speak God's messages to the Israelites. God gave the prophet Ahijah a message to deliver to a man named Jeroboam. But instead of simply speaking, the prophet did something odd. Ahijah put on a brand new robe and tore it into twelve pieces! Ten of them he gave to Jeroboam! Before the man could ask, "Have you gone crazy?", Ahijah explained the meaning of his robe-ripping demonstration. Israel was one big kingdom made up of "tribes." But this one kingdom was about to become two. Soon, ten of Israel's tribes would take Jeroboam and crown him as their king. 

+ Why didn’t God give all twelve tribes to Jeroboam? (vs. 34)

+ How is this story similar to when Saul lost his kingdom? (See 1 Samuel 15:27-28)


1 Kings 11:40-43, NIrV

40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to Shishak, the king of Egypt. He stayed there until Solomon died.

41 The other events of Solomon’s rule are written down. Everything he did and the wisdom he showed are written down. They are written in the official records of Solomon. 42 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over the whole nation of Israel for 40 years. 43 Then he joined the members of his family who had already died. He was buried in the city of his father David. Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the next king after him.


As you can probably guess, Solomon wasn’t too happy to hear what Ahijah said to Jeroboam. To keep the prophet’s prediction from coming true, Solomon hatched a plan: kill Jeroboam! Sadly, Solomon was following in the same sinful steps of Israel’s first king. Years before, King Saul was worried his kingdom would be torn away and given to David, Solomon’s dad. So Saul tried to kill David to stop him from becoming king. That’s exactly what Solomon was now trying to do to Jeroboam! But before Solomon could accomplish this devilish deed, he died. And his son Rehoboam took over as king.

+ Where did Jeroboam hide while Solomon was trying to kill him? (vs. 40)

+ “Jeroboam” and “Rehoboam” sound similar. Which one was Solomon’s son? (vs. 43)


1 Kings 12:1-5, NIRV

1 Rehoboam went to the city of Shechem. All the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 Jeroboam heard about it. He was the son of Nebat. Jeroboam was still in Egypt at that time. He had gone there for safety. He wanted to get away from King Solomon. But now he returned from Egypt. 3 So the people sent for Jeroboam. He and the whole community of Israel went to Rehoboam. They said to him, 4 “Your father put a heavy load on our shoulders. But now make our hard work easier. Make the heavy load on us lighter. Then we’ll serve you.”

5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days. Then come back to me.” So the people went away.


500 years before King Rehoboam, the Israelites served as slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh filled their days with backbreaking work. But God rescued them from their lives of misery with many mighty miracles. Sadly, 500 years later, God’s people found themselves in the same sad situation. King Solomon treated them like slaves, filling their days once again with backbreaking work. When Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king, Jeroboam made him an offer: “If you make our work easier, we’ll serve you.” Before shaking hands and taking this deal, Rehoboam wanted to ask his wisest men for advice. 

+ Now that Rehoboam was king, what did the people want? (vs. 4)

+ Without reading ahead, what is your guess? Will Rehoboam take Jeroboam’s deal?


1 Kings 12:6-11, NIRV

6 King Rehoboam asked the elders for advice. They had served his father Solomon while he was still living. Rehoboam asked them, “What advice can you give me? How should I answer these people?”

7 They replied, “Serve them today. Give them what they are asking for. Then they’ll always serve you.”

8 But Rehoboam didn’t accept the advice the elders gave him. Instead, he asked for advice from the young men. They had grown up with him and were now serving him. 9 He asked them, “What’s your advice? How should I answer these people? They say to me, ‘Make the load your father put on our shoulders lighter.’ ”

10 The young men who had grown up with him gave their answer. They replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy load on our shoulders. Make it lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is stronger than my father’s legs. 11 My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I’ll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I’ll beat you with bigger whips.’ ”


Before accepting Jeroboam’s deal, Rehoboam asked his smartest men for advice. The old men, who’d served with wise King Solomon, told the new king, “Treat them kindly and they’ll serve you forever.” But Rehoboam’s young friends had a different idea. “Tell these lazy bums you’ll whip their behinds and make ‘em work even harder!” King Rehoboam was faced with a choice: whose advice do I take? In Proverbs 12:5, Solomon had written it’s wise to take advice from godly people, but foolish to listen to sinners. Sadly, Rehoboam ignored his dad’s wisdom and followed his friends’ foolish plan!

+ What was the advice of the old men? ( vs. 7)

+ What was the advice of the young men? (vs. 11)


1 Kings 12:12-16 and 20, NIRV

1112 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam. That’s because the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people in a mean way. He didn’t accept the advice the elders had given him. 14 Instead, he followed the advice of the young men. He said, “My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I’ll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I’ll beat you with bigger whips.” 15 So the king didn’t listen to the people. That’s because the Lord had planned it that way. What he had said through Ahijah came true. Ahijah had spoken the Lord’s message to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. Ahijah was from Shiloh.

16 All the Israelites saw that the king refused to listen to them. So they answered the king. They said,

“We don’t have any share in David’s royal family.

    We don’t have any share in Jesse’s son.

People of Israel, let’s go back to our homes.

    David’s royal family, take care of your own kingdom!”

So the Israelites went home.


20 All the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned. They sent for him. They wanted him to meet with the whole community. Then they made him king over the entire nation of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained true to David’s royal family.


When Rehoboam became king, Jeroboam and the Israelites offered him a deal: “Stop treating us like slaves and we’ll serve you always.” Rehoboam listened to his smartest men, both young and old. Then, after thinking about it for three days, what was King Rehoboam’s answer to their offer? “No deal, Jeroboam!”

Rehoboam followed the foolish advice of his friends. Instead of giving his people a rest from their backbreaking work, he promised to make it harder! Solomon punished his workers with regular whips. But Rehoboam threatened to use “scorpions,” which many Bible experts believe were an even more painful type of whip! 

Imagine if you were a person in Rehoboam’s kingdom. What would you have thought when you heard these cruel words coming out of the mouth of your new king? Well, I can tell you what the people of Israel thought: “No deal, Rehoboam!” 

The people were so angry that ten of Israel’s tribes decided to make a brand new kingdom of their own. And they picked Jeroboam to be their king. And just like that, Rehoboam went from the king of twelve tribes of Israel to the king of just one.

This, of course, is exactly what God said would happen. Because King Solomon worshiped the pretend gods of his wives, God promised him, “When your son becomes king, I’ll tear most of the kingdom away from your family.” And you can be sure: when God promises to do something, he always does it!

But years before Solomon’s sin, God had made another promise to Solomon’s dad David. God promised David his family would rule over his people forever. And like we said, when God promises to do something, he always does it! So despite the cruel things Rehoboam said, the big tribe of Judah and tiny tribe of Benjamin remained his to rule over.

Rehoboam was a pretty awful king. In fact, most of the kings of Israel and Judah were wicked men who did unspeakably evil things. Things eventually became so bad that God allowed both Israel and Judah to be completely conquered by their enemies. He would no longer allow these cruel cast of characters to rule over his people.

But when God promises to do something, he always does it! Many years later, he sent his own Son to earth. Jesus was born into a family from the tribe of Judah, the tribe of David’s family. Unlike his great-great grandpa Rehoboam, Jesus was a kind and godly man. Instead of punishing his people with scorpion whips, Jesus saved sinners by allowing himself to be whipped and nailed to a cross. And after rising from the dead, Jesus has promised to come back day and rule as our good king forever!

+ Who was king of the kingdom of Israel? Who was king of the tribe of Judah? (vs. 20)

+ How did God keep his promise to King David?

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