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OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

2. What advantages and disadvantages did David's continual wars, and his imitation of other kings' courts, bring to him, his family, and his people?

3. What was David's part in the development of religious poetry? How does Hebrew poetry differ generally from English poetry in form? Name the books of the Old Testament written chiefly or wholly in poetry.

4. Who built the first Temple? Who were "the wise" in Israel, whom did they venerate as their royal patron, and what did they aim to accomplish by their writings?

LESSON IX

The Kingdom of Israel

I Kings, Chapter 12 to II Kings, Chapter 17

With the death of Solomon came the lasting division of the tribes into two kingdoms, a northern and a southern, known as the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam on his accession announced a policy of repression and even oppression that alienated completely the loyalty of Ephraim and the other northern tribes, which were never attached to the house of David in the same way as the tribe of Judah was. Under a man of Ephraim, therefore, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who in earlier years had challenged even Solomon's title, the ten tribes revolted from Rehoboam and established a separate state.

Rehoboam found himself too weak to prevent this secession, and he and his descendants of David's dynasty had to content themselves with the narrow boundaries of Judah. To be sure, in Jerusalem they possessed the authorized center of public worship for the whole nation. It was to offset this advantage that Jeroboam made Bethel, that spot associated in the minds of the people with the patriarchs themselves, his religious capital. And, influenced perhaps by the Egyptian example of steer worship (for he had long lived as a fugitive in Egypt in Solomon's reign), he made golden steers and placed them in the sanctuary at Bethel and in that at Dan in the extreme north. (See close of Lesson VI.) To these places and under these visible symbols of brute force, Jeroboam summoned his people to worship Jehovah. It was the old national religion but in the degraded form of an image worship forbidden by the Mosaic Commandments.