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Joseph's Birthright #4

The Dividing of Israel - Two Kingdoms


JUDAH'S SEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT

by Allen (1917)

Let me say here that Mr.Allen missed out the unconditional
promise given to Jacob that from him would come a "nation and
company of nations" - see Genesis 35:9-11, which comes before
Genesis 48 and 49, which also brings out that Joseph would be a
fruitful vine by a well, whose branches run all over it. So
indeed has this prophecy come to pass in the last 300 hundred
years - Keith Hunt.


CHAPTER IV.

JACOB'S SEED DIVIDED INTO TWO KINGDOMS.


     When Boaz took Ruth ... for a wife, the people who were
assembled prayed for her, saying: "The Lord make thee like Rachel
and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel." The fact
that these two women, as the wives of Jacob, were the builders of
the house of Israel, would of necessity divide the immediate
household of Jacob into two families. Hence the pertinency of the
question: "Considerest thou not the two families which the Lord
hath chosen?" (Jer.33:24.)
     Since the covenant promise of the Birthright was given to
one of these two families, and that of the Sceptre to the other,
it would be but natural - especially since one of these
forthcoming blessings was to be so much superior to the other -
for these families to keep somewhat apart, so as to keep their
family distinctions intact. This they did, and yet they dwelt
together for a number of centuries, apparently without any
factions whatever.
     Together, as one nation, they lived on in Goshen. Together
the Sceptre and the Birthright families are pressed into bondage.
Together the children of Rachel, of whom it was prophesied that
there should be thousands of millions, and the children of Leah,
the mother of coming royalty - royalty which, as the sequel
proves, is not only the grandest and best that this world will 
ever know, but also the most glorious that will ever be known in
all the universe of God - together they bend their necks to the
yoke, and their backs to the burdens. Together they serve those
unjust taskmasters. Together their Lord, whose presence was with
them, brought them out of that galling Egyptian servitude, out
through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness. There, still
together, they refreshed their spirits by drinking from that
spiritual Rock which followed them; and there they refreshed
their bodies with drink from that literal rock which, as we shall
prove, they carried with them. Together they ate the same
spiritual and temporal meat, albeit, at times, that temporal meat
was angels' food which God sent down from one of their
habitations.
     Together they crossed the Jordan, marched around Jericho,
drove out the Canaanites, and - for a season only - inhabited
that promised land; in which they enjoyed the blessings and
privileges of a theocratic government. But it is recorded that
they lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation, cried down the
theocracy, and shouted over a man-archy. Refusing Him who had
honored, protected and cherished them as a husband doth a wife,
despising that Divine One who had followed them and led them, and
nourished them, and fought for them, they demanded that like the
nations around them, a man should be their king.
     Then it was that there arose trouble, trouble which resulted
in strifes and factions galore; for after the establishment of
the monarchy only three kings - namely Saul, David and Solomon -
reigned over all Israel in one united kingdom.

     After the death of Solomon, contingencies arose in Israel,
which brought the two families that held the covenant blessings
face to face with issues that resulted in a division of the
nation, which placed both the families of Rachel and Leah - or
more properly, Judah and Joseph, since they are the
promise-holders - into positions to fulfill their God-appointed
destinies. And yet we shall find that the mills of God do grind -
oh, so very slowly.

     There is contained in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of
the book of First Kings a record of the division of the tribes of
Israel into two kingdoms, with a son of the royal family as king
over one kingdom, and a son of the house of Joseph as king over
the other and larger kingdom.
     King Solomon had married strange wives, and because of them
he had burnt incense, and sacrificed unto Moloch and other idols;
and because of this, "The Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as
this is done of thee, and thou bast not kept my covenant and my
statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the
kingdom from thee, and give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding,
in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake; but I
will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend
away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son for
David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have
chosen."  1 Kings 11:11-13.
     The twenty-sixth verse of the same chapter speaks of
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite, Solomon's servant. It
is known that the word Ephrathite means Ephraimite. The record
further states - "And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor:
and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made
him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph." 1 Kings
11:28.
     When the Birthright was transferred to the sons of Joseph,
Ephraim, the younger, was set before Manasseh, the elder, and,
aside from the fact of joint inheritance in the multitude of
posterity, Ephraim seems to enjoy the special Birthright, or
first-born distinctions. This is shown in several ways; but at
present we will only call your attention to the fact that God
says: "I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born."
Jer.31:9.
     We have in this man Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon's, an
Ephraimite, who was ruler over all the Birthright family. God had
told Solomon, that after his death he would give the kingdom to
his servant, but, "not all." In harmony with these things we read
"And it came to pass that at the 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 the two
were alone in the field. And Ahijah caught the new garment that
was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. And 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.   * * * Howbeit I will
not take the whole kingdom out of his hand : *    *    *    for
David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my
commandments and my statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of
his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.     
And 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 to put my name there.  And I will take thee, and thou
shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and thou
shalt be king over Israel."
     In this prophecy, there is made a promise to a son of the
house of Joseph, that he shall reign over ten tribes, and be king
over Israel. Hence if Jeroboam ever received his promised
kingdom, it must have been formed by a confederacy of ten of the
tribes of Israel, and that ten-tribed kingdom or confederation
must needs be called "ISRAEL," or the prophecy fails.
     After this prophecy, which God gave to Ahijah to deliver to
Jeroboam, was made public, Solomon became so jealous for himself
and posterity that he undertook to kill Jeroboam; while he, in
order to escape the wrath of Solomon, fled to Egypt and remained
there until after the death of Solomon. At the death of Solomon
the royal succession fell to his son, Rehoboam, who, at the time
of his accession, had gathered with all Israel at Shechem, the
place where, for reasons which will be given later, Israel
crowned her sovereigns. But difficulties arose. The people had
grievances which they wanted adjusted, before they were willing
to submit to the rule of this young sovereign. Solomon had laid
upon them an enormous tax for the building and furnishing of the
temple and royal palaces. These were finished and furnished, but
the taxes were not abated. Also there was this taxation without
representation by any in Israel, except from the royal tribe of
Judah. Still, in spite of the fact that a spirit of rebellion had
possession of them because of these facts, they were willing to
hold a consultation with Rehoboam, in hope that their condition
might be bettered and amity might still prevail. So they made
Jeroboam their spokesman, and directed him to say to the young
king; "Thy father made our yoke grievous; now, therefore, make
thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which
he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee."
     His reply to this request was, "Depart yet for three days,
then come again to me." During this three days of grace, which he
had asked, and they had granted, Rehoboam first consulted with
the old men, asking them how they would advise him to answer the
people. They gave him wholesome counsel, saying to him that if he
would "Speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants
forever."
     Then he consulted with the young men, with whom he had grown
up, asking them how they would advise him. But their advice was
hasty and hot-headed. They said, "Thus shalt thou say unto them,
My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And
now, whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add
to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will
chastise you with scorpions."
     When the three days had expired, Jeroboam and the people
came again to King Rehoboam, as he had appointed, to receive the
answer to their request. Then Rehoboam answered them roughly,
forsaking the counsel of the old men, and adhering to the counsel
which the young men in their pride and egotism had given, using
their very words. "Whips" and "scorpions!" How insulting! Surely
in all the figures of speech there could not have been chosen any
so hard for that "elect" people to swallow. But they did not
swallow them; they rebelled. The command to the people was, "To
your tents, O Israel!" The challenge to the royal house was,
"Now, see to thy own house!"
     Rehoboam's next move was to send Adoram, who had charge of
the tribute, to collect the taxes then due. But instead of paying
their taxes, the people stoned the man to death; and as soon as
Rehoboam heard this, he fled in his chariot, and with all speed,
to Jerusalem.
     Then comes the following: "So Israel rebelled against the
house of David unto this day. And it came to pass, when all
Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and
called him unto the congrega tion and made him king over all
Israel.   *    *    *    And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem,
he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin,
an hundred and four score thousand men which were warriors, to
fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. But the word of God came unto
Shemaniah the man of God, saying, Speak unto Rehoboam, the son of
Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and
Benjamin, and to the remnant of the people, saying, Thus saith
the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the
children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing
is from me." i. e., the division.  1 Kings 12:19-24.

     Well may the Lord say, "This thing is from me." In the
division of that race into two kingdoms, he has fulfilled his
word to Solomon concerning the rending of the kingdom out of the
hand of his son, and giving it to his servant. Yet, in doing so,
he remembered not only his oath to David, but also his word to
Solomon, in that he did not rend away all the kingdom; for there
was one tribe, that of Benjamin, left with the royal tribe.
     Also the prophecy of Ahijah to Jeroboam was fulfilled, for
he became king of the ten-tribed kingdom, which, by Divine
appointment, retained the national name of Israel, while that of
Judah was given to the other kingdom. Thus the titles "House of
Israel," and the "House of Judah" are used to designate the two
kingdoms, as they stand separated and in opposition to each
other.
     Moreover, since the Birthright tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh,
went with the ten-tribed kingdom, and a scion of the house of
Joseph, to whom pertains the Birthright, was king over that
kingdom, and a son of the royal house of Judah, to whom pertains
the Sceptre, was king over the other kingdom, which bears the
name of the inheritor of the Sceptre, then, surely, the Sceptre
and the Birthright were separated then and there. They were not
only separated, but each became a nucleus around which either the
one or the other, of all the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
did gather. Thus the SCEPTRE and the BIRTHRIGHT families each
became the head and representative of a distinct nation, or
commonwealth. Each was then free to go forward, independent of
the other, and fulfill its God-appointed destiny; one to fulfill
the first covenant which the Lord made with their father Abraham,
that of becoming many nations, and the other to fulfill the
second covenant of bringing forth the Messiah.

(From that time on in the prophetic books Israel is the 10-tribes
and Judah the 3-tribes. They are always each other and never is
one taken for the other, not in the prophetic books from Isaiah
to Malachi - Israel is Israel (10 tribes) and Judah is Judah (3
tribes) - Keith Hunt)

     The first thing recorded of Jeroboam, as king of Israel, is
that he built the city of Shechem, in Mount Ephraim, and dwelt
there. This city was the first capital of that kingdom. From
there the king of Israel went out and built the city of Penuel,
and seemed to prosper for a short season. But Jeroboam fell to
thinking that, if his subjects were allowed to continue going to
Jerusalem to sacrifice unto the Lord, their hearts would turn
again to Rehoboam, whose capital city it was, and they would then
kill him, and go again to the kingdom of Judah.
     Therefore he made two calves of gold, and said unto the
people, "It is too much (trouble) for you to go to Jerusalem:
behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land
of Egypt. And he set one in Bethel, and one in Dan. And this
thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one
(in Bethel), and even unto Dan. And he made a house of high
places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were
not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the
eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the
feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he
in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he
placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had
made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel,
on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which
he had devised in his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the
Children of Israel, and he offered upon the altar and burnt
incense." 1 Kings 12:28-33.
     This was the great sin which was such a curse to the people.
But we want you to note just how the Lord speaks of it. After the
prophet whom he had sent out of Judah had proclaimed the doom of
Jeroboam, he further adds: "The Lord shall smite Israel, as a
reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of
his good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter
them beyond the river, because they have made their groves,
provoking the Lord to anger. And he shall give Israel up because
of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to
sin." 1 Kings 14:15,16.

     Dear reader, please note that it was Israel, and not Judah,
over which Jeroboam reigned; that it was Israel, and not Judah,
whom he caused to sin; that it was Israel the ten-tribed kingdom,
and not Judah, the royal kingdom, that worshiped those two golden
calves which Jeroboam the king of Israel had set up in his own
territory, and not in the land of Judah; that it was Israel whom
the Lord declared he would give up, root out of that land, and
scatter beyond the river, because of this thing. For the people
of the kingdom of Judah never did worship those golden calves;
neither did they worship at Bethel, nor in Dan: they worshiped in
Jerusalem. Later, the royal kingdom did go into idolatry; but it
was Baalism, and not this special form of idolatry which had its
origin in Jeroboam, for this was confined alone to Israel.

     We find that the history of the two kingdoms is intermingled
throughout the books of First and Second Kings, but never
confounded. So that, with a little care and thoughtfulness on our
part, there need be no confusion. For instance, it is recorded
that, "The days which Jeroboam reigned were two-and-twenty years,
and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab, his son, reigned in his
stead." 1 Kings 14:20. But the very next verse tells us that,
"Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, reigned in Judah.  Rehoboam was
forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen
years in Jerusalem." The two reigns began simultaneously. If
Jeroboam's reign lasted for twenty-two years, and Rehoboam's only
for seventeen years, then it must needs be that some other king
or kings reigned for five years contemporaneously with Jeroboam,
unless the kingdom of Judah had collapsed; but it had not. So the
record declares, "Now, in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam, the
son of Nabat, reigned Abijah over Judah. Three years reigned he
in Jerusalem." 1 Kings 15:1. Seventeen years for Rehoboam and
three for Abijah, are only twenty of Jeroboam's twenty-two years.
So if the record be correct, we shall expect it to tell who
ascended the throne of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam's
reign. This it does do, as follows: "And in the twentieth year of
Jeroboam, king of Israel, reigned Asa over Judah." 1 Kings 15:9.
Now, if Asa lived and reigned more than two years, he lived to
see the death of Jeroboam and the elevation of his successor.
Hence, the record continues: "And Nadab, the son of Jeroboam,
began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa, king of
Judah, and reigned over Israel twa years. And he did evil in the
sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father, and in
the sin wherewith he made Israel to sin."

     Then follows a record of the fulfillment of the prophecy
concerning the doom of Jeroboam, viz., the entire destruction of
his family, at the hand of Baasha, of the house of Issachar, who
reigned instead of Nadab son of Jeroboam. Hence it is recorded
that "In the third year of Asa, king of Judah, began Baasha, the
son of Ahijah, to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty-
and-four years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and
walked in the ways of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made
Israel to sin." 1 Kings 15:33,34.

     We have brought you down to the contemporaneous reigns of
Asa, the third king in Judah, and Baasha, the third king in
Israel, not only to show that there need be no confusion in this
intermingled history, but also for another purpose, which
follows. You will notice that in the last quotation, the
expression "all Israel" occurs, while in the twenty-second verse
is the corresponding expression "all Judah." "Then King Asa made
a proclamation throughout all Judah." These expressions, all
Israel and all Judah, are undoubtedly used as contradistinctive
titles of the two kingdoms into which the people were divided.
The expression "all Israel," as used in the above quotation, and
with the same meaning in many other places in the Scriptures, has
confused many students. They seem to think it means, or ought to
mean, all the people who are the descendants of Israel, i. e.,
all Israelites: whereas it simply means, in this instance, and
many others, all the country occupied by the ten tribes which
formed the kingdom of Israel, just as the expression "all Judah,"
or "all Judaea"--the Greek form of the same term - is used to
designate all of the country which was given to the tribes of
Judah and Benjamin, they being the tribes which composed the
kingdom of Judah. Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, was
located in that portion allotted to Benjamin, and Judah's portion
was the hill country south of Jerusalem.
..........

To be continued


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