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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

1 Kings 11-12

Story Summary

Journeying through the Old Testament, we have been through several major periods in the life of the Israelites:

  • The Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons
  • Egyptian Captivity
  • The Exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land - Moses, Joshua
  • Judges and a pattern of rebellion
  • The unified Kingdom - Saul, David, Solomon

In this lesson, we are going to talk about the next major phase of Israelite history - the divided kingdom.

There were 3 major people involved in splitting up the kingdom of Israel: Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jereboam.  First, the names Rehoboam (pronounced Ree-uh-boh-am) and Jereboam (pronounced Jair-uh-boh-am) sound a lot alike, and are pretty funny names. Don't let the opportunity pass by to engage the children with how funny their names are...

Solomon

Solomon was David's son and was king. If you remember from the last lesson, Solomon built the temple of the Lord and was very wise. But just because he knew right from wrong doesn't mean he always followed it. Solomon ended up with hundreds upon hundreds of wives and many of them were not from Israel. He ended up worshiping the gods of his wives and turned away from the Lord. God then judged Solomon and told him that he would take the kingdom away from him, but because of David's faithfulness, he would leave part of the kingdom intact (with Jerusalem) to fulfill the promise he made David. (see 1 Kings 11:1-13) This is the essence of why the kingdom was divided. Next we are going to learn about how it actually happened...

Rehoboam

Rehoboam was Solomon's son and the next in line to be King. Remember the warning Samuel gave the Israelites when they first asked for a king? Before Saul was appointed? (see 1 Samuel 8:11-18), Well, Solomon made that come true. He was very harsh with the Israelites. And when Rehoboam was preparing to take over the kingdom, the people asked for him to lighten up a bit and not follow Solomon's lead.

Rehoboam asked two groups of advisers what to do. First, he asked the elders who had served with Solomon. They urged him to lighten up and give the people what they wanted so they would continue to serve him. Then he asked some younger folks, a crew of people he had grown up with. You can see them sniveling around Rehoboam and telling him to be even more heavy handed with them. They were drunk with power. (See 1 Kings 12)

So Rehoboam answered the people: "He said, 'My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I'll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I'll beat you with bigger whips.'" (1 Kings 12:14). This is what planted the seeds of division in the people of Israel.

Jereboam

Jereboam was an important man in Solomon's kingdom. He was a skillful worker and was put in charge of all the workers of Northern Israel. A prophet named Ahijah (bless you!) told him, though, that God was ripping the kingdom from Solomon's hand and that he would be king of 10 of the tribes of Israel. Here's how that prophecy came true...

In 1 Kings 12:20, we see that the people became so fed up with Reheboam that they asked Jereboam to be their king: "All of the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned. They sent for him. They wanted him to meet with the whole community. Then they made him king over the entire nation of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained true to David's royal family."  So thus, the kingdom had been split with Rehoboam over the tribe of Judah and Benjamin (see 1 Kings 12:23) in a kingdom called "Judah" and Jereboam over the rest of the tribes in a kingdom called "Israel".

Jereboam was afraid that his tribes would have to go to Jerusalem to worship (since the new temple was there), and that they would sympathize with Judah while they were there. So, he created golden calves for them to worship near home (sound familiar?).  

Judah
(aka "Southern Kingdom)
Israel
(aka "Northern Kingdom")
King: Rehoboam (Solomon's son) King: Jereboam
Tribes:
  • Judah
  • Benjamin
Tribes:
  • Manasseh
  • Naphtali
  • Gad
  • Issachar
  • Dan
  • Ephraim
  • Reuben
  • Zebulun
  • Simeon
  • Asher

Here is a great overview map that shows both kingdoms.

What You Will Need

Resource Sheet

Divided Kingdoms Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet is a map of the divided kingdom

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

How do your parents discipline you when you do something wrong? 

Today, we are going to learn about how Solomon (remember the guy who built the temple?) turned away from God and how God punished him as a result.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Consider using the "Divided Class" reinforcement activity before you teach the lesson.

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: 1 Kings 11:4-6; 11:28-32; 12:3-16; 12:26-30

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • Where did the 12 tribes of Israel come from? (the 12 sons of Jacob)
  • Who was king after David? (his son Solomon)
  • Why did God tell Solomon that he was going to take away part of the kingdom from his descendants? (because Solomon turned away from the Lord and worshiped false gods)
  • Who was Solomon's son? (Rehoboam)
  • Why did the people turn against Rehoboam? (because he said he was going to be a harsher king than Solomon was)
  • Who told the Israelites that they would be sorry that they asked for a king? (Samuel)
  • Who became king over the 10 tribes that decided to leave Rehoboam? (Jereboam)
  • What were the two kingdoms named? (Judah - Rehoboam was king, Israel - Jereboam was king)
  • Which kingdom was Jerusalem in? (Judah)
  • Did Jereboam stay faithful to God? (No - he lead his kingdom to worship false gods because he didn't want them going to Jerusalem)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • Even though God made a promise to Israel, they still had to make the decision to continue to follow him.
  • God promises that he will forgive our sins and give us eternal life, but we must ask him and repent from our sins. Have you ever done that?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Your heart will be where your riches are. Luke 12:34

Reinforcement Activities

Gold Glitter calf

Heads up! This activity was introduced in the Golden Calf lesson

Scripture Then he made two golden statues that looked like calves. He said to the people, "It's too hard for you to go up to Jerusalem. Israel, here are your gods who brought you up out of Egypt." 1 Kings 12:28

Supplies calf coloring pages (see resource sheets), marker, glue, gold glitter

  • Cover calf with glue.
  • Sprinkle gold glitter onto calf
  • Let glue dry.
  • This is a repeat activity because Jereboam repeated the same mistake Aaron did!

Tug of War

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

Supplies long rope, large play space

  • Divide children into two teams.
  • Play tug of war.

Maps

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

  • Color map based on what tribes became part of Israel and which ones became part of Judah.
  • You can use the "Divided Kingdom" map below, or use this week's coloring sheet.

Heavy Load Relay

Scripture He said, "My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I'll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I'll beat you with bigger whips." 1 Kings 12:14

Supplies 2 of something heavy (lots of books, dog food bag, sandbag, etc)

  • Split the class into to teams and set up for a relay
  • Create a starting line and a turn around line
  • Each team must carry something very heavy (a stack of books, a big bag of dog food, or a sand bag) from the starting line, to the turn around line and back.
  • First time to finish wins.

12 Tribes Split

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

Supplies scissors, glue, cut out sheet for each student (see below)

  • Cut out 12 tribes and glue onto correct side of paper using template below
  • Judah: Judah, and Benjamin. (Rehoboam was king.)
  • Israel: Manasseh, Naphtali, Gad, Issachar, Dan, Ephraim, Reuben, Zebulun, Simeon, Asher. (Jereboam was king.)

Broken Crown

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

Supplies plain white sheet of paper, crown outline (see below), crayons, brads

  • use brads to separate 12 tribes. name of kings on crown
  • For older students, you could have them list the tribes that became part of Judah and Israel.
Broken Crown Example
Broken Crown Example

Oil and Water Split

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

Supplies water, vegetable oil, jar with top

  • Pour half water and vegetable oil in a jar.
  • Shake up prior to showing students.
  • Allow students to watch as the oil separates.

Divided Class

Heads up! This wold be a good introduction activity.

Scripture All of the people of Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them...So the people of Israel went home. But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah. 1 Kings 12:16-17

  • We all have opinions. The Israelites were divided over who their king was going to be. The tribes that became part of Judah did not like how Rehoboam was treating them. Israel felt a loyalty to Rehoboam, who was Solomon's son.
  • Divide class into two groups, according to preferences.
  • Cheese pizza vs pepperoni pizza?
  • Playing outside or inside?
  • Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?
  • Blue or green?

Golden Calf

Heads up! This activity was introduced in the Golden Calf lesson

Scripture Then he made two golden statues that looked like calves. He said to the people, "It's too hard for you to go up to Jerusalem. Israel, here are your gods who brought you up out of Egypt." 1 Kings 12:28

Supplies picture of a golden calf, cut into puzzle pieces

  • Print or color a picture of a golden calf.
  • Cut picture into pieces, like a puzzle.
  • Hang puzzle up on wall.
  • As students answer questions from the story, allow them to pull down one puzzle piece at a time, to take down the golden calf idol.
  • This is a repeat activity because Jereboam repeated the same mistake Aaron did!