DO YOU know why this man is ripping his robe to pieces? Jehovah told him to do it. This man is God’s prophet A·hiʹjah. Do you know what a prophet is? He is a person that God tells ahead of time what is going to happen.
A·hiʹjah is here speaking to Jer·o·boʹam. Jer·o·boʹam is a man that Solomon put in charge of doing some of his building work. When A·hiʹjah meets Jer·o·boʹam here on the road, A·hiʹjah does a strange thing. He takes off the new robe that he is wearing and tears it into 12 pieces. He tells Jer·o·boʹam: ‘Take 10 pieces for yourself.’ Do you know why A·hiʹjah gives Jer·o·boʹam 10 pieces?
A·hiʹjah explains that Jehovah is going to take the kingdom away from Solomon. He says that Jehovah is going to give 10 tribes to Jer·o·boʹam. This means that only two tribes will be left for Solomon’s son Re·ho·boʹam to rule over.
When Solomon hears what A·hiʹjah told Jer·o·boʹam, he becomes very angry. He tries to kill Jer·o·boʹam. But Jer·o·boʹam runs away to Egypt. After a while Solomon dies. He was king for 40 years, but now his son Re·ho·boʹam is made king. Down in Egypt Jer·o·boʹam hears that Solomon is dead, so he comes back to Israel.
Re·ho·boʹam is not a good king. He is even meaner to the people than his father Solomon had been. Jer·o·boʹam and some other important men go to King Re·ho·boʹam and ask him to be nicer to the people. But Re·ho·boʹam does not listen. In fact, he becomes even meaner than before. So the people make Jer·o·boʹam king over 10 tribes, but the two tribes of Benjamin and Judah keep Re·ho·boʹam as their king.
Jer·o·boʹam does not want his people to go to Jerusalem to worship at Jehovah’s temple. So he makes two golden calves and gets the people of the 10-tribe kingdom to worship them. Soon the land becomes filled with crime and violence.
There is also trouble in the two-tribe kingdom. Less than five years after Re·ho·boʹam becomes king, the king of Egypt comes to fight against Jerusalem. He takes away many treasures from Jehovah’s temple. So it is for only a short time that the temple remains the same as when it was built.