Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The United Monarchy of Israel divided into two independent states, Israel and Judah, when Rehoboam was acclaimed king after Solomon's death (922). Widespread disagreement exists among Old Testament scholars about when the separation occurred and multifarious divergence of opinion also exists about why it happened.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors, major and minor, which led to the division of Israel. Such scholars as Bright, Orlinsky, and Rowley feel that the split occurred because Rehoboam (Solomon's son) was weak, refused to ease the burdens placed on the people by his rather and failed to accept advice from his wisest counselors. other writers ignore Rehoboam in discussing causes for the separation. They place the blame on Solomon for slavery, heavy taxation, civil strife and heavy costs of governmental luxury. At least one man, Robinson, stresses that there never had been a united kingdom. Disagreements, these and others, point to the complexity of the problem.
To state and support with research all of the theories concerning the splitting of the kingdom is impossible. The major reason for the impossibility is that the Old Testament itself is not presented as continuous, unfragmented history. Several of the events in Israel's history important to this study are presented in an equivocal or ambivalent way by the writers of the Biblical text. For example, there is this kind of problem in the selection of Saul by Samuel. As far as this study is concerned, another example--perhaps more important--is the problem arising in connection with the two-covenant theory. Scholars believe that Judah had one covenant and that Israel had another. The study becomes even more intricate in that reasons for the kingdom's dividing have bases in such things as religious beliefs, personalities of the kings, military struggles, social conditions, jealousies, sins, and in Yahweh's reaction to each.
McCommas, James C. Jr., "Israel: A Dividing Nation" (1967). Graduate Theses. 7.