Inductive Bible Studies,

[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]

PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).


Seventeenth Study.—Israel and Judah during the Dynasties of Jeroboam and Baasha.

[The material of this " study " is furnished by Professors Beecher and Harper. It is edited by Professor Harper.]



1. A slightly different arrangement of material, together with a new department, "Textual Topics," will be found in this and the following "studies." It is believed that this change will be found helpful.

2. The student will allow his attention to be called once more to the fact that he is under no necessity of doing all the work outlined. There may, it is true, be a feeling of dissatisfaction in leaving a portion untouched; but we must remember that there are limitations which must be regarded.

3. The period already covered, viz., that which includes the great characters, Samuel, Saul, David and Solomon, is presumably much more familiar to most students than that upon which we are now entering; close attention, therefore, to details will be needed.

4. For the ground covered in this "study," the following literature is suggested:

(1) Lange (Bahr), The Books of Kings, especially the "historical and ethical" notes;

(2) Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, two vols., by Lumby, not by any means so good as Kirkpatrick on Samuel in same series, yet very helpful;

(3) Geikie, Hours with the Bible, vol. IV. chs. 1 and part of 2;

(4) Sharpe, History of Hebrew Nation (Williams & Norgate), pp. 99119.

(5) Rawlinson, History of Ancient Egypt, ch. 24. The twenty-second and contemporary dynasties;

(6) Stanley, History of the Jewish Church, 2d series, Lect. xxix.;

(7) other commentaries in loco.


Prepare for recitation the contents of 1 Kgs. 12-16:20 and 2 Chron. 10-16:6 according to the following topics.

1. The Disruption.

(1) 12:1-5, the petition of Israel to Rehoboam at Shechem;

(2) 12:6-15, Rehoboam's answer to the petition;

(3) 12:16-24, Israel revolts, Rehoboam prepares for war, but is forbidden to fight.

2. Jeroboam's Policy.

(1) 12:25-33, the golden calves;

(2) 13:1-34, the prophet from Judah, his message, disobedience, punishment;

(3) 14:1-18, Abijah's sickness;

(4) 11:26-40, Jeroboam's previous history.

3. Rehoboam's Policy.

(1) 14:21; 2 Chron. 12:13, his accession;1

(2) 2 Chron. 11:5-12, his fortifications;

(3) 2 Chron. 11:18-23, his family affairs;

(4) 2 Chron. 11:13-17; 11:3; 15:9; 1 Kgs. 12:23,27, his drawing strength from Jeroboam.

4. Judah's Apostasy; Shishak's Invasion; Rehoboam's Death.

(1) 14:21-24, evil in Judah;

(2) 14:25-28, Shishak plunders the temple and the king's house;

(3) 14:29-31, Rehoboam dies.

5. Abijam's Reign.

(1) 1 Kgs. 15:1-8, his reign;

(2) 2 Chron. 13:3-20, his victory over Jeroboam.

6. Asa's Reign Begun, 1 Kgs. 15:9-12; 2 Chron. 14:1-8; Jeroboam's Death, 1 Kgs. 14:19,20; 2 Chron. 13:20; Nadab's Reign, 15:25-27,31.

7. Baasha's Reign. 1 Kgs. 15:27-16:7; 15:16-22; 2 Chron. 16:1-6.

8. Asa's Reformation; his War with Baasha. 1 Kgs. 15:11-25; 2 Chron. 15.2

9. Overthrow of Baasha's Dynasty. 1 Kgs. 16:8-20.


[In each of the passages cited there is a word or expression which either (1) is obscure, or (2) contains an historical allusion, or (3) refers to some ancient custom or institution, or (4) is for some particular reason worthy of special notice. These passages are worthy of careful study.]

1. 1 Kgs. 12:1. Why was "Shechem" the place of assembly? Why did Rehoboam go to them and not they come to him?  

2. 12:4. What was the nature of the "grievous yoke" laid by Solomon upon Israel?  

3. 12:11. "Whips" and "scorpions"?  

4. 12:31. Why of non-Levites rather than of Levites?  

5. 12:32. Compare the Feast of Tabernacles.  

6. 13:1. "A man of God."  

7. 13:7. In what spirit is the prophet invited to go home with Jeroboam?  

8. 13:9,10. What was the purpose of these charges?  

9. 13:18,21. Was the old prophet acting from a good or a bad motive? Did he really receive a divine message in the second case?  

10. 13:27-32. How is this transaction to be understood?  

11. 14:11. "The dogs shall eat."  

12. 14:15. "As a reed is shaken in the water." (cf. Matt. 11:7); what were the "Asherim"?  

13. 14:21. Why does the writer regularly mention the name of the queen-mother? 14: 22, provoking God to anger.  

14. 14:23. What were the "pillars" or "obelisks"? "under every green tree."  

15. 14:24. "Sodomites" (cf. Deut. 23:17); " abominations of the nations."  

16. 14:31, Cf. v. 21. What does this repetition indicate?  

17. 15:3,5. In what sense was David's heart "perfect"? Was the sin in connection with Uriah the only great sin committed by David?  

18. 15:6. What meaning does this verse have in this connection?  

19. 15:10. cf. with 15:2, and explain.  

20. 15:13. What other interesting events occurred at the brook Kidron?  

21. 15:18. What other Ben-hadads in Scripture?  

22. 15:23,24. Cf. 2 Chron. 16:12-14, note additions, and explain the burning of spices, etc.


1. Kings of Israel and Judah.

(1) Names of those taken up in this lesson;

(2) duration of reign.

2. Septuagint Additions. Cf. the Sept. of 12:24 seq. with the biblical statements and those of Josephus.

3. Omissions in the Narrative. After comparing the boundaries of Solomon's kingdom with those of the kingdoms of Jeroboam and Rehoboam, and noting the next mention made in the Bible of the Syrian, Ammonite, Moabite and Edomite peoples, discover certain important events which have taken place, but have not been mentioned in our narratives.

4. The Disruption.

(1) Its significance in subsequent history?

(2) As compared with what took place in the time of the judges (e. g. 12:1-6)?

(3) To what extent due to the character of the tribes?

(4) To what extent due to the very character of the kingdom?

(5) How connected with the despotic nature of Solomon's reign?

(6) How far the direct outcome of Rehoboam's reply?

(7) Was it justifiable? If so, on what grounds? if not, why?

(8) Relation of this disruption to the divine purpose in Israelitish history?

5. The Assembly which resulted in the Disruption.

(1) Cf. similar assemblies:

(a) Josh. 24:1 seq.;

(b) 1 Sam. 10: 17;

(c) 2 Sam. 5:1-3;

(d) 1 Kgs. 8:1,5,65.

(2) Absence of any recognition of or reference to God.

(3) The conduct of the people:

(a) ingratitude,

(b) discontent,

(c) rebellion,

(d) selecting Jeroboam for speaker,

(e) treatment of Adoram.

(4) The conduct of Rehoboam:

(a) ignorance of situation,

(b) irresolution,

(c) divided counsel,

(d) sending Adoram.

6. The Prophet Shemaiah.

(1) His interference;

(2) its significance;

(3) this act a characteristic prophetic act;

(4) cite similar acts by later prophets;

(5) contrast between Rehoboam's attitude toward Shemaiah and that of Jeroboam to the man of God (13:1-7).

7. Jeroboam's Religious Institutions.

(1) His purpose in inaugurating them (12: 26-29).

(2) Why would not a merely political separation have been sufficient?

(3) Why did he introduce modifications of old institutions, rather than entirely new ones?

(4) The golden calves:

(a) reasons for and against supposing them of Egyptian origin;

(b) the bull in ancient religions;

(c) were they idols or symbols?

(d) the appropriateness of the bull as a symbol of God, if one were wanted;

(e) how opposed to the Mosaic law (Ex. 20:3,4)?

(f) the principle involved in this law?

(g) in what respect would the sanctuaries at Dan and Shechem be pleasing to the people?

(5) His priests:

(a) whence obtained?

(b) purpose and result of his policy.

(6) The feast of tabernacles:

(a) why retained at all?

(b) purpose and result of the change of time.

8. The Man of God from Judah.

(1) Was this Jedo (2 Chron. 9:29) or Shemaiah (see 2 Chron. 11:2)?

(2) The points in this narrative which are characteristic of the prophetic work:

(a) the boldness of the act;

(b) the sign;

(c) the divine protection accorded him.

(3) The character of the message:

(a) the fulfillment of this prophecy three hundred and more years later (2 Kgs. 23:15,16);

(b) the naming of the king Josiah (cf. the parallel case of Cyrus, Isa. 44:28 and 45:1);

(c) how does this differ from the method generally employed in prophecy?

(d) what evidence that portions of this narrative are later interpolations (cf. the mention of "cities of Samaria"' (13:32),the fact that no name is given the prophet)?

(e) if an interpolation, how is it to be explained?

(4) The inconsistent attitude of Jeroboam:

(a) attempts to injure;

(b) begs for mercy;

(c) offers a bribe;

(d) after all gives no heed to the message;

(e) explanation of this.

(5) The old prophet in Bethel:

(a) reasons "for supposing him a "false prophet;

(b) from 13: 21,31,32; 2 Kgs. 23:18, gather reasons for an opposite view;

(c) his purpose in going after the man of God.

(6) The death of the man of God:

(a) how represented ?

(b) explanation;

(c) ground of the request made in vs. 31,32.

(7) The bearing and force of the whole narrative.

9. Ahijah's Prophecy.

(1) References to the earlier prediction (11:30 seq.);

(2) analysis of contents;

(3) the force of the expression "provoked the Lord to anger " (vs. 9,15);

(4) compare "the jealousy of God" (Josh. 24:19);

(5) fulfillment of the prediction.

10. Shishak's Invasion.

(1) Who was this Egyptian king? Solomon's father-in-law?

(2) his connection with Jeroboam;

(3) cause of invasion;

(4) monumental accounts of this invasion.

11. Abijam's Reign.

(1) Comparison of the parallel accounts in Kings and Chronicles;

(2) Abijam's address to Israel (2 Chron. 13:4-12);

(3) the existence in his times of the'ceremonial law, now found in the Pentateuch, as affirmed by the author of Chronicles (2 Chron. 13:9-12, with marg. reff.).

12. Asa's Reformation and Character.

(1) Causes leading to the reformation:

(a) example of northern Israel;

(b) immigration from other tribes of those who were loyal to Jehovah;

(c) presence of prophets.

(2) Facts unfavorable to the supposition that this reformation was undertaken upon strictly religious grounds:

(a) sending of temple treasures to Ben-hadad;

(b) treatment of Hanani (2 Chron. 16:7-10);

(c) his lack of trust in God (2 Chron. 16:8,12).


1. Indicate on the map the principal places mentioned in this lesson.

2. Indicate the boundaries of Solomon's empire, and of that part of it occupied mainly by the twelve tribes.

3. Indicate the boundaries of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon.

4. Remembering that the kings of the northern kingdom remained in control of the country east of the Jordan, including Moab (2 Kgs. 3:4, e. g.), is it incredible that Simeon was one of the ten tribes that went with Jeroboam?

5. Locate, as nearly as you can, the places fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:512). What do these indicate as to the question whether Judah was separated by a frontier from Simeon, as well as from Dan and Ephraim?

6. Did the frontier exactly follow the old tribal boundaries, or may it have varied somewhat from these? (See Josh. chs. 13-19.)

7. What, probably, was the position taken by the tribe of Benjamin, just at the time of the disruption? and how may we explain the " one tribe "? 1 Kgs. 11: 13,32,36; 12:20, compared with 2 Chron. 11:12,10,3,1; 1 Kgs. 12:21,23, etc.



1) The question of Rehoboam's age at his accession, is a matter of dispute. In 1 Kgs. 14:21, and 2 Chron. 12:13, Rehoboam is said to have been forty-one years old when he began to reign. Josephus testifies to the same thing. But this is strangely in contrast with the representations that he was very young and inexperienced at the time, I Kgs. 12:1-20; 2 Chron. 10 and 13:7, etc., and also with the representation that Solomon was a "little child ' when he came to the throne. It is not satisfactory to explain this by saying that Rehoboam was always babyish, for his equals in age are represented to have been as young as he. Tue attempt is made to explain it by correcting the forty-one to twenty-one; but the correction is against the evidence, and would reduce to absurdity many statements made concerning Abijam, Asa, and Jehoshaphat. The Septuagint addition to 1 Kgs. 12:24 gives his age as sixteen years; but the assumption that Rehoboam was but sixteen years old when Rehoboam and Jeroboam began their respective reigns is, yet more than the idea that his age was twenty-one, at variance with the statements concerning his successors. If there was an interval of a number of years between the death of Solomon and the final accession of Rehoboam, that affords an explanation both of this difficulty, and of other questions presented by the history as it stands. Very likely Rehoboam had two accessions, one immediately after Solomon's death, and the other at the close of the period of discord attending the disruption.—W. J. B.

2) If we suppose that the thirty-five and thirty-six, 2 Chron. 15:19; 16:1, are counted from the beginning of the kingdom of Asa, that is, from the first year of Rehoboam, instead of from the beginning of Asa's personal reign, it involves the supposition that we have here a very unusual, but not impossible, use of language; this interpretation of the numerals makes them fit accurately all other statements of Kings and Chronicles concerning Asa and Baasha.—W. J. B.