5.53 1 Kings -- The First Wave
Just like the later Roman Empire, so the Davidic kingdom was now assaulted by various tribes of “barbarians” -- surrounding nations who once were vassals, now come to pillage and destroy.
First was Hadad the Edomite (1 Kings 11:14), a survivor of David’s massacre of the Edomites, who found refuge in Egypt. This atrocity occurred during the war against the Edomites mentioned in 2 Sam 8:13-14. It is unclear whether this crime was authorized by David himself, or was one of Joab's frequent bloody outbursts. The Edomites, though traditional enemies of Israel, were not on God's extinction list, in fact they were classed favorably with Egyptians (Deut 23:7-8). Hadad also married into the royal family of Pharaoh. He returned to his own country after Joab was killed.
Next was Rezon of Zobah, who became king of Damascus in Aram (Syria) (1 Kings 11:23).
Third was an Israelite, Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s own officials. We note that Jeroboam did not plan treason against his master. Rather, God stirred him up to it through an otherwise unknown prophet -- Ahijah the Shilonite. Ahijah tore his own robe into 12 pieces and told Jeroboam to take ten of them:
"See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand and give you ten tribes...I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel" (1 Kings 11:31-37).
God specifically mentioned that the cause of this action was Solomon's idolatry. The two pieces of the robe left to David's house were Judah and Benjamin. He also made an incredible promise to Jeroboam:
"If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you" (1 Kings 11:38).
This is an astounding offer! It is on the order of His choosing Saul while he was out looking for donkeys, or David while he was tending sheep. Had Jeroboam kept his part of it, we might have had two parallel kingdoms, Israel and Judah, both with lasting dynasties picked by God. Perhaps Israel might have withstood Assyria and escaped oblivion. It is as if God was saying, "It is not too late to avoid oblivion, the total destruction of your home and land, final judgment can yet be averted." But of course, since it depended on man's faithfulness, this "Plan B" fared no better than the unified kingdom of David. Jeroboam was a dimwit: his competency as an overseer of forced labor failed him when he was promoted to rulership of 10 tribes.
Solomon got wind of this prophetic judgment, and in true Saul-like fashion, tried to kill Jeroboam rather than repent. Jeroboam, emulating David, took refuge outside of Israel, though with Egypt, not the Philistines, until the death of Solomon.