1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

 Lesson 59,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Solomon's Bureaucracy and A Kingdom Divided

Solomonís Bureaucracy 

As Solomonís vast standing army and momentous building projects required larger revenue sources than even his commercial ventures could supply, the king was obliged to levy increasingly heavier taxes upon the population of Israel. 

 

That was almost in precise fulfillment of what Samuel had predicted when replying to the Israelitesí initial request to be like other nations. 

 

I Samuel 8:11-22,  And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. 12And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 19Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 20That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 21And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. 22And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

 

One such measure for generating revenue, described in I Kings 4:7-19, involved dividing Israel into twelve administrative districts, each with a royal governor and an obligation to furnish provisions for the royal bureaucracy and harem in Jerusalem for one month of a year.

 

Show Redistricting Slide

 

This redistricting was often done in a way that obliterated cherished tribal boundaries. 

 

Solomonís agenda in dividing the administrative districts as he did seems to have included a conscious effort to rid Israel of its cherished tribal heritage, at least to the west of the Jordan River, and an effort to solidify further the monarch-istic ideal.

 

Such a system must have been an extremely irritating policy to Solomonís subjects, not only because it would have represented a heavy economic strain upon them, but also because it was grossly unfair (the entire territory of Judah was excused from its demands.)

 

Then again, we recall that it was one of those district governors, Jeroboam, who later became the first king over the ten northern tribes as they seceded from the kingdom of Solomonís son Rehoboam because of their displeasure over unfair economic policies.  

 

II Chron 10:12-15,  So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day. 13And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, 14And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 15So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

 

A KINGDOM DIVIDED

 

For all his greatness and wisdom, Solomonís oppressive economic policies had brought his once extensive kingdom to the threshold of collapse.

 

Even before Solomonís death, Arameans were contesting the northernmost sectors of his kingdom,

 

I Kings 11:23,  And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: 24And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. 25And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

 

Edomites were breaking away,

 

I Kings 11:14-22,  And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the kingís seed in Edom. 15For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; 16(For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:) 17That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his fatherís servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. 18And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 19And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaohís house: and Genubath was in Pharaohís household among the sons of Pharaoh. 21And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country. 22Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

 

And the ten northern tribes of Israel were keenly feeling the strain of increasing alienation under the increasing levies of Solomon.

 

I Kings 11:26-40,  And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomonís servant, whose motherís name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. 27And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. 28And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. 29And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 31And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 32(But he shall have one tribe for my servant Davidís sake, and for Jerusalemís sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. 34Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servantís sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: 35But I will take the kingdom out of his sonís hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. 37And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. 38And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. 39And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

 

The wise king had actually bequeathed to his son Rehoboam a kingdom that was teetering on the brink.

 

Rehoboam seems to have done nothing to forestall the inevitable. 

 

When a delegation of northern citizens appealed to have their tax burdens lightened, Rehoboam responded by imposing even heavier burdens. 

 

I Kings 12:6-11,  And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? 7And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. 8But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: 9And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? 10And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my fatherís loins. 11And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

 

His decision to increase the burdens ignited the flames of anarchy and tribal secession! 

 

I Kings 12:16,  So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David.

 

One might say that three nations were created from what had been Solomonís territorial domain: 

 

Judah, (Southern Kingdom),

 

Israel, including the Transjordanian tribes (Northern Kingdom),

 

and Aram (with its city states of Damascus, Hamath, and Qatna. 

 

At the same time, the territories of Ammon, Moab, and Edom were emboldened to disavow loyalties to either Judah or Israel.

 

Politically speaking, both Judah and Israel were left weak and relatively defenseless. 

 

In the north especially , nine separate dynasties ruled in the course of only 200 years.

 

Although the borders of those kingdoms periodically may have fluctuated from those depicted on the map, this weak condition persisted down to the destruction of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrian hordes of Shalmaneser V in August or September 722 BC and the demolition of Jerusalem by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar II in August 587 BC.

 

Between the disintegration of Solomonís monarchy (930-925) and the fall of Jerusalem, the humiliating history of both kingdoms (Israel and Judah) was largely one of foreign assaults and plunderings.

 

On the economic front, the division of the monarchy produced a strange irony:  whereas Rehoboam sought to sustain the economic advantages Judah had enjoyed during the days of Solomon, the schism actually created economic advantages for Israel, the ten northern tribes. 

 

Whatever natural resource and access to overseas trade this land possessed would now be controlled mostly by the Northern Kingdom. 

 

Most of the large city-states were in the north; the major trade artery, an economic bonanza crossed the Northern Kingdom but skirted Judah.  

 

From a worldly standpoint such advantages may help explain why Israel was destroyed approximately 135 years before Judah. 

 

Israel was a richer prize than Judah.