Haim V. Levy

From Solomon’s kingdom to modern Israel: The lasting impact of division

The division of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah following King Solomon’s reign marks a pivotal event in ancient Israel’s history. This article, the third in a trilogy examining internal division’s consequences (see footnotes), aims to depict and analyze the outcomes since King Solomon’s time. By exploring political, economic, and religious factors contributing to the schism and its implications for Israelite socio-religious development, the article draws parallels to modern Israel, highlighting the enduring relevance of historical lessons. It does not aim to be exhaustive but to illustrate and argue outcomes of division in history since King Solomon.

Solomon’s reign brought significant achievements, such as constructing the First Temple, but imposed heavy financial and labor burdens. After Solomon’s, his son Rehoboam inherited a kingdom strained by these demands. When Rehoboam refused to alleviate the burdens of the northern tribes, they separated, forming the independent Northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam, while Rehoboam remained king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, splitting the united monarchy.

Under King Jeroboam, the Northern Kingdom of Israel diverged significantly from Jerusalem-centered religious practices. Jeroboam strategically established idolatrous worship centers at Bethel and Dan, aiming to consolidate political power by diverging from Jerusalem’s religious authority. This action challenged Jerusalem’s centrality as Israel’s spiritual heart, where the Temple and Ark of the Covenant resided.

In contrast, the Southern Kingdom of Judah retained Jerusalem as its religious and political capital, with the First Temple constructed by Solomon serving as the principal place of worship. The kingdom maintained the Davidic line, with kings claiming descent from King David to legitimize their rule.

During the division period, prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, and Jeremiah emerged as critics of both kingdoms. They denounced practices like idolatry, social injustice, corruption, and neglect of the vulnerable, highlighting moral and spiritual crises contributing to both kingdoms’ downfall, conquests, and exiles.

The internal divisions in ancient Israel resemble those documented by Josephus Flavius during the first-century Jewish War[1]. Just as internal fragmentation and fanaticism led to the destruction of the Second Temple and the Jewish diaspora, divisions within the United Monarchy made Israel and Judah vulnerable to external conquest.

Modern Israel mirrors first-century Judea with its own internal divisions, reflecting religious, political, and ethnic fault lines. Tensions between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews, alongside ethnic disparities, and political extremism, highlight the ongoing challenges of maintaining unity. These internal divisions lead to political instability and social fragmentation, reminiscent of the ancient context. The comparison underscores the urgency of fostering cohesion and shared values to prevent the pitfalls of fragmentation and fanaticism that historically led to catastrophic outcomes.

In contemporary Israel, these historical lessons resonate deeply. The current divisions threatening Israel are profoundly concerning. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of aligning with the extreme right in his coalition has not only aimed at securing his political position but also at accommodating the demands of extreme right-wing factions. This divide-and-conquer strategy has exacerbated societal fragmentation by deepening internal divisions, risking the stability and unity of Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s accountability for exacerbating these divisions cannot be overlooked [2]. Immediate action is essential to prioritize national unity over divisive politics, particularly amidst critical security challenges and diplomatic complexities with the US and certain Western countries. Establishing a new government committed to bridging these divides and safeguarding liberal democracy in a socialist and egalitarian Jewish state is imperative for Israel to address its current challenges and ensure a stable, unified future.

[1] Division Consequences: Parallels between First Century Judea and Modern Israel | Haim V. Levy | The Blogs (

[2] The Imperative for Netanyahu’s Resignation: Securing Israel’s Unity, Democracy, and Security | Haim V. Levy | The Blogs (

About the Author
Dr. Levy is an Entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO specializing in the biomedical and medical devices sectors, and he is also a practicing lawyer. Additionally, he serves as an Executive Fellow at Woxsen University in Telangana, India.
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