Upon the death of Solomon, Rehoboam his son became king of Israel (930 BC). He inherited the judgment that God had previously prepared for the throne of Solomon (1 Kings 11:11-13). Aware that the northern tribes were dissatisfied with the Jerusalem government, Rehoboam tried to hold their allegiance by going north to Shechem for his coronation ceremony (1 Kings 12:1). He also decided to take a firm stand against any tendency to weaken Jerusalem’s control of the north. But his efforts were in vain, with the result that the ten northern tribes broke away from David’s dynasty and formed their own kingdom under Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:2-20).
The Davidic kingdom, though still centred on Jerusalem, was reduced to the tribe of Judah and one neighbouring tribe. Though Rehoboam thought of sending his army to force his rule upon the north, he changed his mind when a prophet told him that the division was a judgment sent by God (1 Kings 12:21-24). For three years Rehoboam followed the way of God faithfully. This was partly because of the good influence of a large number of priests and Levites who had fled from the north to Jerusalem rather than cooperate with Jeroboam’s idolatry (2 Chron 11:13-17). During this time he ruled well, improving the nation’s defences and training his sons to be administrators (2 Chron 11:5-12,23). As Rehoboam’s strength increased, so did his pride. Soon he tried to show himself independent of God by copying the Canaanite religions (1 Kings 14:21-24; 2 Chron 12:1,14). God punished him by allowing Egypt to invade and plunder the land. Only a last minute confession of sin from Rehoboam and his governors saved Judah from destruction (2 Chron 12:2-13).