We have learnt that Solomon was very wise, and under his 40 year rule, Israel was peaceful and became prosperous. Solomon was also a prolific, author and song writer, and some of this writing we find in the Bible, in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Solomon’s Song of Songs.
As King Solomon gets older he makes some bad choices. He increased taxes to pay for his huge building projects and demanded that each tribe provide forced labourers, one month each year, to work on his various building projects. So cheap labour and high taxes! Also, Solomon because he wanted to maintain peace with surrounding countries, married literally hundreds of foreign princesses!! But they worshipped other gods and so Solomon “turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God”, (1Kings 11:4). He even built places for them to worship these idols.
Many years before Joshua had divided Israel into 12 tribes, named after the sons of Jacob.
The Bible says that God became very angry with Solomon and said to him, “Since this is the way it is with you, that you have no intention of keeping faith with me and doing what I have commanded, I’m going to rip the kingdom from you and hand it over to someone else. But out of respect for your father David I won’t do it in your lifetime. It’s your son who will pay—I’ll rip it right out of his grasp. Even then I won’t take it all; I’ll leave him one tribe in honour of my servant David and out of respect for my chosen city Jerusalem.”
So Solomon who began so well, ended so badly!
After his death his son Rehoboam became king. Unlike his father he, is foolish and the 12 tribes of Israel, who were united as one kingdom, became divided. The northern tribe of Israel and the southern of Judah. This time in history is known as the Period of the Divided Monarchy.