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16. The Bible's Big Story

25 lesson plans for children, young people and their teachers.

Lesson 16 The kingdom is divided: the prophets continue but the people do not listen Bible reference – some verses from Kings and Chronicles. The Bible’s books 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles are exactly what their titles say they are. They record the events of the kings of God’s people. A king is “a man who rules a country”, (note 14 below). A chronicle is “a record of events as they happened in the past, in the order in which they happen”. (note 15). Most people have their tribal stories. Events that happened in the past are traditionally told at special times – for example feast days or funerals. In this way the older people pass on the history of the tribe to the younger people. The Bible tells us that people wrote these historical “chronicles”. Everything God wants us to know about His purpose for His people is recorded in the Bible. God makes sure it is done. (Have three or five good readers read aloud to the class):

1 Chronicles 9 verse 1 1 Chronicles 29 verse 29-30 2 Chronicles 35 verse 26-27

Stop and discuss (1) Divide the class into groups of 4/5 people.Ask them to find the verses just read to them. From these verses only, can they find out what information is in the books of Kings and Chronicles? The time period covered by Kings and Chronicles is about 400 years. Not every small thing that happened was written down! But the most important events, the main sayings and doings of people involved in God’s plan are here. Some passages in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are repeated. (See for example 1 Samuel 31 verses 1-13, and 1 Chronicles 10 verses 1-14). Where small differences occur in the same story it is usually because Kings is a history of the nation of Israel and its kings, with a prophetic understanding of events. Chronicles is a record of what God is doing in choosing people, and rejecting others, to be His own. (See what it says in 1 Chronicles 10 verses 13-14 as an example). God put His own name on the Temple in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 8 verse 29, 2 Chronicles 6 verse 20, as He had promised years before, Deuteronomy 12 verse 11.

God related to His people by His promises, which He always kept. The people were as close to God as they chose to be – when they disobeyed Him they were further from Him than when they obeyed. Solomon started as a good king, building the great Temple and an impressive palace. He was a very rich man, but the Bible tells us in two sentences the reason for his failure. Notes: 14 MacMillan School Dictionary, page 407 15 MacMillan School Dictionary, page 126


Stop and discover (2) Have the students find 1 Kings 11 verse 4 in their Bibles and then write in the words which are only started here: “H w n f t t L h G ”.

Now ask the students to do the same for 1 Kings 11 verse 6: “H s a t L a w n t t

h a h f h b ”. Anyone who wants to be God’s person must try not to sin.

He or she must be faithful and true to all God wants them to be. Because of sin God took the kingdom away from Solomon and his family. Stop and do Divide the class into groups of 6-8 students. Half of each group is to act Ahijah the prophet, the other half to act Jeroboam the official. Give the ‘Ahijahs’ an old cloth (or piece of paper) – a pretend robe – that can be torn into twelve pieces. Read 1 Kings 11 verses 28-29. God sent a prophet named Ahijah with a message to Jeroboam, one of king Solomon’s trusted officials.

The students who are ‘Ahijah’ walk to meet the ‘Jeroboams’. Read 1 Kings 11 verse 30 out aloud. As you read the ‘Ahijahs’ can tear their ‘robes ’into twelve pieces, giving ten to the ‘Jeroboams’. Make sure the students understand that God is going to do two things: 1. God is going to take ten tribes away from King Solomon’s son, because of Solomon’s

worship of false gods, verse 33. (See 1 Kings 11 verses 1-4). 2. God is going to let Solomon’s son keep one tribe, in order to be true to His earlier

promise to King David, with whom He was pleased, verse 36. (Note: If a student questions the number of tribes,(twelve), remember that Judah and Simeon are on the same land, probably viewed as one tribe but in reality two, Joshua 19 verse 9. Later, Judah and parts of Benjamin are the two tribes named as loyal to Solomon’s family, 1 Kings 12 verses 20-21; 2 Chronicles 10 verse 17 and 11 verse 1; and 2 Chronicles 15 verse 2.

Like today, there probably was not an exact divide between tribes, because of intermarrying, working partnerships, etc.).

Class activity. During the rest of the class today, have the students make a ‘chronicle’ of the events. If they can write or draw they could do it individually on a sheet of paper. OR, they can work in groups of 4/5, with chalk on a board, or using large sheets of paper, or even using the dust of the ground smoothed out to write on, with a clearly marked frame. They need to list Chronicle record numbers 1-8 down the left side of the page, leaving room to write a short sentence – as shown below on page 59 – by every number.


If they cannot write they can discuss each event below. Read them the verses and ask ‘What happened?’ If this activity is difficult for the class the teacher can prepare the Chronicle record before class and use as a visual aid.

Chronicle record 1. Solomon dies, compare 1 Kings 11 verses 41-43 with 2 Chronicles 9 verses 29-31. (Students write sentence or draw a picture or say.).

2. Rehoboam puts heavy burdens on the people, see 2 Chronicles 10 verses 14-15. Remind the students, Chronicles shows what God is doing through these human activities. (Students write sentence). 3. Rehoboam wants to go to war, see 2 Chronicles 11 verses 1-4. Tell the students he wants to rule over all twelve tribes. Remind them, that God’s prophet Shemaiah urges the people to do God’s will. God was taking the ten tribes away from Solomon’s descendants, verse 4. It was wrong of Rehoboam to want them back. (Students write sentence).

4. Ten northern tribes rebel and break away – Israel, 1 Kings 12 verse 16; 2 Chronicles 10 verses 16-19. (Students write sentence. Remind them to write their best. This is the royal court record of history!).

5. Two tribes stay loyal – Judah, 1 Kings 12 verse 17. Verse 19 is a summary of the position so far. Verse 21 names the loyal tribes as Benjamin and Judah, as does

2 Chronicles 11 verse 1. (Students write sentence).

6. Different kings rule Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The northern kingdom, Israel, has 19 kings in its history. The southern kingdom has 20. The history is in the next chapters of Kings and Chronicles. When you read them, make sure you know which kingdom is being referred to:

for example: 2 Chronicles 13 verse 1, Abijah king of Judah;

2 Chronicles 18 verse 3, Ahab king of Israel; 2 Chronicles 19 verse 1, Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Some kings pleasedGod. Others did not. (Students write sentence).

7. Prophets were sent by God to speak His word to one or the other kingdom. Perhaps the most famous are: Elijah, sent to Ahab king of Israel, 1 Kings 17 onwards;

Elisha, 2 Kings 2 onwards, sent to both Jehoshaphat king of Judah and

Joram king of Israel. Sometimes people listened to the prophets’ words and obeyed. Other times they ignored the message. (Students write sentence). 8. God kept on working out His purpose for His people. God worked through His prophets and with everyone who would honour and obey Him. Hebrews 11 verses 33-40 tells how the faith of these people helped them to trust through terrible situations. God’s plan was being completed, although it did not always look that way even to those involved in it. (Students write the last Chronicle sentence).


The completed work of individuals (or of the groups) can now be looked at and praised. Remind students of the meaning of the word ‘Chronicle’.

In any time that remains, get the students to try and learn:

“Through faith they fought whole countries and won. They did what was right and received what God promised”. Hebrews 11 verse 33 (the first part).

God is still the same today.

Those who trust Him and live for Him soon know this to be true.

Answers to ‘Stop and discuss’

1. lists of people and their families, 1 Chronicles 9 verse 1.

the history of the different kings, 1 Chronicles 29 verses 29-30.

the power of the kings,

events that happened to the nation and those around them,

the king’s devotion to God, 2 Chronicles 35 verses 26-27.

the king’s obedience to the Law.

2. “He was not faithful to the Lord his God”, 1 Kings 11 verse 4 (second part).

“He sinned against the Lord and was not true to Him as his father David had been “,

1 Kings 11 verse 6.


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