What's The "Biggest" Word In The Bible According To This Word Cloud?

Below is a word cloud of the most frequent words in the Bible.



These word clouds are a simple way of helping one get more familiar with the common words throughout a particular book and can provide a big picture view.  That in turn can help one when trying to mirror-read. Word frequency my indicate how prominent a false teaching was. Be sure to read my post on keywords and themes for mirror-reading.  Below is a word cloud for Ephesians.



You can see the word clouds for each book of the Bible at 66clouds.com

Mirror-Reading With An Embedded Mirror

In some cases, the false teaching that the Biblical author is responding to is in the text itself.  For example, there are a few instances in Romans where some conclude that Paul is using a rhetorical device to talk as if he's one of the false teachers, which he then responds to in order to correct that view:

  • Romans 1:18-32 e.g. "and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another"
  • Romans 7 e.g. "For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."
  • Romans 3 e.g. as dialogue "Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  Much in every way."

It is beyond the scope of this post to determine whether that is actually the case or not, but if it is the case in each of the above instances, I would consider them to be "embedded mirrors".  In other words, Paul is stating the false teachings that he then responds to.

There may also be a similar device in Ecclesiastes.  The "Teacher" may be giving the false teaching, who is then briefly corrected by the narrator at the end of the book.  I don't think this is the case however, as I explain in my mirror-reading of Ecclesiastes here.

An example in narrative form is the Book of Job.  Job, Elihu, Job's three friends and God deliver to the reader dialogues between the false teachings and the true teachings.

Sinful Nature Or Theological Teaching?

When Paul writes about behavioral issues in the Church, is it because of their sinful nature or because their theology was wrong?

Behavioral vs Doctrinal and how they support each other when mirror-reading

Many New Testament epistles have a section where doctrinal issues addressed, and then later in the epistle, behavioral issues are addressed.  We can use this to validate mirror-reading.  In other words, if we mirror-read and discover the false teaching that Paul was responding to, we can then extrapolate that out to what types of behavior that false teaching would produce.  If we find that behavior as one of the behaviors that Paul discusses in the latter part of the epistle, then we can take that as validation of our mirror-reading of the false teaching.

This could have theological implications.  For example, when Paul, in Ephesians says "Children, obey your parents", are we to take it that Paul has nothing better to address than to remind the Church of a common ethic?   Or was there perhaps a false teaching that gave those children (who could be adult children) a reason to disobey their parents?  This could have an impact on what we use to support the idea of a "sinful nature".  If you're curious of my theological views of "the flesh", check out this episode of the RE2 Podcast.

How To Mirror-Read Different Genres In The Bible

Mirror-reading is primarily discussed in regards to the epistles of the Bible, but mirror-reading can be applied to other genres in the Bible as well.

Mirror Read The Bible


This is the genre most people feel comfortable mirror-reading (if they feel comfortable mirror-reading at all!). For example, if Paul says "Don't do this", then the false teachers may have been saying "Do this". 

However, not everything that Paul (or other NT writers) say should be taken in such polarized fashion.  It is helpful to categorize what Paul says as opposite/different, same or unique.  The example above would qualify as opposite/different.  "Same" would be instances where Paul quotes the false teachers or when he mentions a point of agreement but then qualifies that agreement.  "Unique" would be words that Paul wrote that have no similarity to what the false teachers were saying.  However, it's important to remember that regardless of which category it is, all of the categories can be used to correct what the false teachers were saying.  Watch my video about these categories.

Check out this page and click on an epistle to see how I mirror-read it.


I prefer to think of the Wisdom literature as "Teachings".  They are similar to epistles in that if the "teaching says this" then the "false teaching says this".  I've only mirror-read Ecclesiastes thus far, so I'm curious if the other wisdom literature is the same.  You can check out my mirror-reading of Ecclesiastes here.

Historical Narratives

For the purposes of mirror-reading, it's not really necessary to believe that the events in the historical narratives actually took place.  The important thing to understand is that the events in the story take place in a historical setting.  

The books of the Bible are not just recorded history but a response to a situation.  They may be about past events, but they addressed events that were current with the original readers.

I've listed two ways to mirror-read historical narratives below:

1. Corrective of Past

Narratives can be used to correct historical accounts or repair the reputations of historical characters.  I've listed a few examples below:

1&2 Samuel

The author of 1st and 2nd Samuel tries to repair the reputation of David and to clarify events of the past in order to diffuse hostilities between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin.  Read here.


The author explains events of the past to show why there was a famine and addresses fears that God was no longer with them.  Read here.


Yes, not a book of the Bible (usually) but still a good example.  The author tries to repair the reputation of Enoch.  Read here.

2. Analogy

Narratives can also be analogous to the situation of the original readers. I prefer to refer to them as corrective parallels. Some might says that's just a parable, but the term parable often implies a work of fiction, and we don't really need to make that determination in order to mirror-read. It is often said that reading Paul's letters is like hearing half of a phone conversation.  Parallel narratives are like hearing half of an analogy. e.g. "The Story of Jonah is like..."  Parallels are not allegories in that they draw on similarities but not symbolism.


Not all of Matthew is analogous but some of what Jesus says is.  Specifically, when he mentions "Every kingdom divided against itself", it's analogous to the situation in the Church at that time.  Watch the video here.


Prophecy uses future events to address current (to the original readers) issues.


Nahum foretells the destruction of Nineveh to encourage Jews to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Read here.


Habakkuk foretells the invasion of the Babylonians to show that God is in control.  However, there is a secondary meaning to Habakkuk in that it may be using some parts of the prophecy as a parallel.  Read here.


Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: Robert cropped from original

People Believe What They Want To Believe About The Bible

I've recently encountered a number of tweets that deal with a similar idea.  I don't know what motivated each tweet, but the fact that they have a common theme is interesting.  Here are the tweets:

From Trevin's post:

How do you make a moral decision?

How do you determine if something is right or wrong?

Many of us think of morality as something we discover after rational and reflective consideration. You hear both sides of an argument, you consider reasons that may justify your action, and then you pronounce judgment.

But Jonathan Haidt says we’re getting it backwards. In reality, you judge first, and only then do you justify.

Have you ever had someone explain a Bible verse, and you know intuitively that their explanation was wrong, even though you couldn't articulate why?  It's because it's messing with one of your paradigms.  We can't always articulate our paradigms, but we know them subconsciously.  Your intuition may be right but only if your paradigm is right.  None of us has all of the answers to everything, but we all have some sort of structure made of paradigms.  It's like a picture made of mosaic tile.  The pieces that fit, we add, if they don't, we discard accordingly.  Some pieces we feel forced to fit into it, and so we jam it in wherever we can with mental gymnastics, but if that doesn't work, we're forced to change one of our paradigms. 

I recently posted on whether we recreate Biblical characters in our own image.  One of the reasons that I like mirror-reading is that it takes the focus off of my own paradigms and, in an indirect way, attempts to reconstruct the paradigms of author, the false teachers and the original readers.  One may not embrace or even realize the theological implications from the insights gained from mirror-reading, but I know some of my own paradigms have shifted because of mirror-reading, and I can't help but think that it makes me a little more objective when studying the Scriptures.

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: [like caramel!] cropped from original

1 Thessalonians: Why Did They Despise Prophecies?

The Thessalonians were afraid that God was going to drop the hammer on them.  Paul drop-kicks that false teaching!

This is part of a series on mirror-reading the books of the Bible.  You can view all posts in the series here.  They are only cursory mirror-readings and, although I give evidence for their validity, further research is desired for support.

Mirror-Reading 1 Thessalonians Gives Us A Greater Understanding

False teachers came to the Thessalonian Church and shared some Old Testament prophecies with them.  Those prophecies sounded like God was going to destroy the Gentiles when the Messiah came. This was a problem, since the Thessalonians were Gentiles.  Naturally, the Thessalonians didn't care for those prophecies. One might even say they "despised them".  Fortunately, the apostle Paul responded to the false teaching and let the Thessalonians know they were not in danger of God's wrath.

How Paul Showed The Thessalonians Why They Didn't Need To Despise Prophecies Any Longer

Paul states plainly that they will not be under God's wrath:

1 Thessalonians 1:10
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul also takes some swipes at the false teachers.  They had been using the Old Testament prophets to try to Judaize the Thessalonians, but Paul points out that they were the type of people who had killed the Old Testament prophets they were quoting!

1 Thessalonians 2:15
 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind

Then Paul turns the tables and says that God's wrath had come on the false teachers!

1 Thessalonians 2:16
by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!

One of the Old Testament passages that the false teachers were likely using is found in Isaiah, were he describes how God will wear His armor when destroying the Gentiles.

Isaiah 59:17
 “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; and he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a mantle.”

However, Paul encourages the Thessalonians to put on the armor that was originally intended to destroy them!

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

Finally, this leads Paul to let the Thessalonians know they have no reason to despise those Old Testament prophecies that the false teachers were using against them:

1 Thessalonians 5:20
Do not despise prophecies,

Many assume that the prophecies being despised were ones given by the prophets in the Church at that time.  If the prophecies that Paul was referring to were those type of prophecies, then we would expect to find Paul dealing with that issue in the letter, much like he did in 1 Corinthians 13. However, we do not find any evidence of this. We do however, find plenty of references to the Day of the Lord, which is referenced numerous time in Old Testament prophecies.  It was the day that the Thessalonians had feared would bring God's wrath on them, but Paul shows that day, which is the 2nd coming of Christ, is nothing to fear.

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (see also 3:13, 4:15-16, 5:2 and 5:23)
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of this mirror-reading of 1 Thessalonians?  Was Paul trying to assure the Thessalonians that they would not experience God's wrath during the Day of the Lord?  What other situations do you think 1 Thessalonians was responding to?



Find Out Which Way You Interpret The Bible

@@Ever wonder why someone interprets a verse entirely different than you?@@  Especially when you think the meaning is so obvious?  Ever have an argument with someone about the Bible, where it seems like you are just talking past each other or talking in circles?  One reason that happens could be because they have an entirely different approach to the Bible than you do.  There are several perspectives to take when reading the Bible, some healthy and some not so healthy.  We'll take a look at 3 different ways to interpret the Bible.

Knowing These 3 Ways Will Help You To Better Understand Others - And Yourself

There's a popular worship song with the phrase "He gives and takes away".  One church lady didn't like that phrase and asked God how He could "take away".  She said, He answered her by saying that He gives the good but takes away the bad.  However, this stands in contrast with the context of the Book of Job where God does take away the good. So is she wrong?

Biblical scholar, D.A. Carson tells of a time that a man told him the meaning of a verse in the Gospel of Matthew.  D.A. Carson told that man he was wrong and clearly laid out why the man's interpretation was not possible.  However, the man still held to his interpretation even thought he couldn't deny Carson's facts.  Why?

Hopefully, the following 3 ways of interpreting the Bible with shed light on how you and other people understand your Bibles.  There are definitely wrong ways to interpret the Bible, but there are multiple right ways.  @@The Bible is multi-dimensional and understanding the dimensions may help us understand others@@.

The 3 Ways: Eisogesis, Exegesis And ExePneuma

1. Eisogesis

Eisogesis literally means "into the text" and it is one of the unhealthy ways to read your Bible.  Sometimes called "proof-texing", it's when people read their own meaning into the text or they may cherry pick a verse to support their theology, even though it contradicts the context of the verse.  An obvious example of this would be if someone said that Psalm 14:1 says that "There is no God".  However, the full verse is: The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

Less obvious are verses such as Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

It's funny that no one ever mentions the verse just a few chapters before:

And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.
-Jeremiah 21:5

Both verses need to be read in context and shouldn't be cherry picked to use how anyone sees fit.

2. Exegesis

Exegesis means "out of the text", because when you're doing exegesis, you are trying to derive the meaning from the text and not reading your own meaning into it.  There are two main methods for doing exegesis.  They are called the historical-grammatical method and the allegorical method.

The historical-grammatical method tries to determine the original authorial intent.  In other words, what was the original author trying to say to the original reader? This method relies a lot on contexts.  It looks at literary context, historical context, and cultural context, to name a few.  I would consider mirror-reading to be part of the historical-grammatical method, as it tries to reconstruct the "situational context".  In other words, what was the situation that the original author was writing or responding to?  If you don't know about mirror-reading, be sure to subscribe.

The allegorical method sees the Bible as metaphor or analogy and tends to be more popular within the Eastern Orthodox Church. Here is an example about the Parable of the Good Samaritan from one of the great Church theologians, Augustine. Theologian, C. H. Dodd, summarizes:

"...the man is Adam, Jerusalem the heavenly city, Jericho the moon – the symbol of immortality; the thieves are the devil and his angels, who strip the man of immortality by persuading him to sin and so leave him (spiritually) half dead; the priest and levite represent the Old Testament, the Samaritan Christ, the beast his flesh which he assumed at the Incarnation; the inn is the church and the innkeeper the apostle Paul."

The difficult thing about the allegorical method is that it's hard to say whether it's correct or not.  It doesn't rely on context like the historical-grammatical method does and so it's hard to prove or disprove.

3. ExePneuma

@@Do you use ExePneuma when you interpret the Bible?@@ It's a term that I made up, and it means "out of the Spirit".   It seems to be a popular way that people interpret the Bible, especially among Charismatic Christians.  It's when the meaning of the text is revealed or inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Depending on your theology, this may not even be considered a possibility.  However, whether you believe it can be out of the Spirit or not, there are definitely some people that do believe that it can be.

It can be confused with eisogesis since it can appear that one is simply reading their own meaning into the text.  It's also similar to the allegorical method, since it is difficult to prove or disprove.

Recognize How You And Others Interpret The Bible.

There are other ways to interpret the Bible but the 3 ways listed above will probably be what you'll encounter when talking with others. When discussing Scriptures with others, be sure to understand which of the 3 ways they are interpreting the Bible.  It may not help you agree with each other, but at least you will know why they see things so differently and may help avoid unnecessary arguments.

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: brett jordan cropped from original

Is There A Hidden Message In Habakkuk?

When the Babylonian army was steaming towards Jerusalem, Habakkuk levels some harsh words against the impending invaders, but hidden in those words is a warning to the Jews.

This is part of a series on mirror-reading the books of the Bible.  You can view all posts in the series here.  They are only cursory mirror-readings and, although I give evidence for their validity, further research is desired for support.

Mirror-Reading The Book of Habakkuk Gives Us A Greater Understanding

The Babylonian army had become the deadliest military force on earth.  They were obliterating ancient near east cities like it was going out of style and they were heading towards Jerusalem. The Assyrian army had laid siege to Jerusalem years before but Yahweh had saved the day then, sending the Assyrians away, never to return.  This time though, God had made no promises to save them, and the future looked bleak. With a dire outlook, there were temptations for those in Jerusalem and perhaps others in Judah.  Habakkuk addresses all of the issues they faced in a clever, even poetic way.

6 Hidden Messages In Habakkuk

Habakkuk fires five "woes" at Babylon.  The metaphors in them are clearly directed at the powerful empire. However, the principles in those "woes" are also subtly directed at the temptations facing the Jews.

1. Take care of your debt

An impending siege of a city would wreak havoc on the credit system.  Why pay back your creditors if you'll be given a clean slate after Jerusalem falls?  Habakkuk addresses the issue:

Habakkuk 2:6-7
Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say,
“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—
    for how long?—
    and loads himself with pledges!”
Will not your debtors suddenly arise,
    and those awake who will make you tremble?
    Then you will be spoil for them.

The statement is directed at the Babylon because they were taking cities that weren't theirs.  However, it also applied to the Jew who was thinking about gaming the credit system.

2. Don't make a deal with the enemy to save your own hide

The Jews may have been tempted to sell out their countrymen to avoid calamity in a potential siege.  Habakkuk responds:

Habakkuk 2:9-12
“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house,
    to set his nest on high,
    to be safe from the reach of harm!
You have devised shame for your house
    by cutting off many peoples;
    you have forfeited your life.
For the stone will cry out from the wall,
    and the beam from the woodwork respond.
“Woe to him who builds a town with blood
    and founds a city on iniquity!
Habakkuk 2:15
“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink—
    you pour out your wrath and make them drunk,
    in order to gaze at their nakedness!

Again, this is pointed at Babylon as they smashed neighboring cities, but it would also make an Jew think twice about cutting a deal with the Babylonians.

3. Don't worship other gods.

If God can't protect His people from the Babylonians, maybe they should worship other gods.

Habakkuk 2:19-20
Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
    to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
    and there is no breath at all in it.
But the Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth keep silence before him.”

It's a little ambiguous.  Is it a slam against the Babylonian gods or is it a exhortation to keep the Jews from worshiping them?

4. Jewish leadership will be judged.

Other statements in Habakkuk are ambiguous as well.  Are the verses below talking about the corrupt leadership in Jerusalem or the Babylonian army that is to surround it?  My answer is both.

Habakkuk 1:4
So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.
Habakkuk 1:12-13
Are you not from everlasting,
    O Lord my God, my Holy One?
    We shall not die.
O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment,
    and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he?

5. The righteous shall live by faith

Perhaps the most recognized verse in Habakkuk was made famous by it's allegorical use in the New Testament.

Habakkuk 2:4
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith.

We are used to thinking of that phrase in terms of having faith in Christ.  However, in Habakkuk's time, this refers to being loyal to God and by extension, Jerusalem.  Any soldier thinking about going AWOL is contrasted with Habakkuk's actions:

Habakkuk 2:1
I will take my stand at my watchpost
    and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

6. God will save you even in defeat

Many of those in Jerusalem would be thinking about abandoning ship, but even though Habakkuk's message assured the Jews that Babylon would pay for it's sin, it also was adamant about the Jews not taking advantage of the situation.  The righteous were to refrain from doing anything to save themselves. God would save them, even if Jerusalem fell.  Habakkuk makes it clear in chapter 3:

Habakkuk 3:16
I hear, and my body trembles;
    my lips quiver at the sound;
rottenness enters into my bones;
    my legs tremble beneath me.
Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.
Habakkuk 3:18
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of this mirror-reading of Habakkuk?  Is Habakkuk speaking to both the Babylonians and the Jews?  What other situations do you think Habakkuk was responding to?

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: Wayne Noffsinger cropped from orginal

Book of Jude: Quelling A Slave Rebellion?

By reconstructing the situation that Jude was responding to, we can see the conflict that was happening between slaves and their masters in the Church.

This is part of a series on mirror-reading the books of the Bible.  You can view all posts in the series here.  They are only cursory mirror-readings and, although I give evidence for their validity, further research is desired for support.

Mirror-Reading The Book of Jude Can Give Us A Better Understanding.

False teachers had infiltrated the Church and they taught that Jesus had set the slaves free - literally.  The slaves began rejecting the authority of their masters because Jesus had leveled the playing field and they didn't have to be slaves anymore.  The masters were none too happy about this and began passing judgment on the slaves.  Jude steps in to settle the conflict.

How Jude Responded To The Master/Slave Conflict

Jude 1
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

"Servant" also translated "slave" is common in New Testament writings as Jude, Paul and others put themselves on par with the slaves.  This would have gotten the attention of the slaves and their masters.

The masters were upset that the slaves were denying them but Jude takes the phrase and uses it of the false teachers and their relationship with Jesus:

Jude 4
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The 2nd chapter of 2 Peter has several parallels to Jude and Peter seems to be addressing a similar situation in his letter:

2 Peter 2:1
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Peter points out that they offer the slaves freedom but they are spiritually slaves themselves:

2 Peter 2:19
They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

The false teachers despised authority because they saw Jesus as the great equalizer of the "holy ones".  Many New Testament writers worked hard to teach that Gentiles could be "holy ones" just like the Jews, but the false teachers took that to mean that contracts of servant-hood could be broken. They applied this principles, not just to slaves/masters but also angels/humans:

Jude 8
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.
2 Peter 2:10
and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

@@Korah's rebellion is a great example of this equalizing of the holy ones.@@  A similar situation had happened in the Book of Numbers:

Numbers 16:3
They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”

Technically they were right in that God said he would make them a holy nation.  So they were all holy.  However, that did not mean Moses didn't have a position of authority.  That's why Jude mentions it:

Jude 11
Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.

Jude and Peter speak of angels who did not behave properly.  The principles that they teach could also be applied to the slave masters and how they should respond to the slave rebellion.  The slave masters were pronouncing judgements against the slaves.

Jude 6
And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—
Jude 9
But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
2 Peter 2:11
whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.

It's interesting that Peter uses the word translated "escape" 3 times in 2 Peter. Could he have runaway slaves in mind here and is importing a term for a word play?

2 Peter 2:20 (see also 1:4 and 2:18)
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of this mirror-reading of Jude?  @@Was Jude trying to resolve a conflict between slaves and their masters?@@  What other situations do you think Jude was responding to?

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: Dennis Jarvis cropped from original

When Israel Split In Two

Many Christians don't know that Israel split into two kingdoms after the reign of king Solomon. For those who read the Bible, it's important to know about the split in order to have a better understanding of the Scriptures.  The effects of the split had a large impact on the history of Israel, rippling even into the New Testament.

How It Happened

One of Solomon's servants, named Jeroboam, was on a road trip when he ran into a prophet named Ahijah, who predicted the split that was to come.

1 Kings 11:29-31
And at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had dressed himself in a new garment, and the two of them were alone in the open country. Then Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes

However, it wasn't an arbitrary decision by God to divide the kingdom.  It was idolatry that had provoked him:

1 Kings 11:33
because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules, as David his father did.

As you can imagine, Solomon wasn't to happy about the news of Jeroboam:

1 Kings 11:40
Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled into Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.

After Solomon died, the people came to his son, Rehoboam.  They said his father had been too hard on them and hoped Rehoboam would make things a little easier.  Rehoboam turned to his council for an answer. The old men said he should be easier on them but the young men said he should not.  Rehoboam responded to the people:

1 Kings 12:11
 “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.”

Yeah, so that went over like a lead balloon and the 10 northern tribes seceded to form their own kingdom of which Jeroboam became king.   The northern kingdom was referred to as Israel (sometimes Ephraim) and the southern kingdom was referred to as Judah (sometimes Jacob).  The southern kingdom consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (and technically the tribe of Simeon, which was absorbed into Judah).

Many of the books of the Bible deal with the split kingdom and its ramifications.  I speak in an episode of RE2 about the theme of brotherly reconciliation and how it may have been addressing the issues of a divided kingdom.

Header Image PHOTO CREDIT: Rosino cropped from original