Though Land of Honey has only been a blog for a little over a year, the beginning was sparked the first time I read the Bible through in my teens. I grew up attending church and while I was familiar with Scripture I mainly stuck to popular sections like John, Timothy, and certain parts of Genesis, and Exodus.
The first time I read the entire Bible I had a lot of questions.
A lot of questions. Things like..."When I will get to the part where it says to ask Jesus into my heart?" and "Where are Easter and Christmas?" or "When does God say to forget all the instructions he gave?"
I enjoyed the beautiful and poetic writings of the prophets and enjoyed the adventures of the rulers in Kings and Chronicles but one thing didn't make sense: Why does it keep switching from Israel to Judah?
"Not to understand the distinction of Israel from Judah is to positively misunderstand seven-eighths of the Bible." -Edward Hine
No wonder the confusion! A huge amount of Scripture--roughly 88% by Hine's view--distinguishes between Israel and Judah. If I don't grasp this then I miss a huge amount of YHWH's truth.
So what's the difference?
The first time the word Israel appears is Beresheet 32:28 when Jacob is renamed Israel. His name is used to describe his descendants. His twelve sons and their families are known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
One of those tribes is known as Judah, after Jacob's fourth son. His descendants are known as the Judahites or Jews.
For centuries the tribes peaceably lived united under the name of Israel. (Similar to states in the US, there is distinction even while all parties are united together.) Around 930 B.C. the nation of Israel was divided when King Rehoboam, son of Solomon, raised taxes and caused the Northern Tribes to rebel. They seceded from the King who was from the tribe of Judah and were ruled by Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim. You can read about this in 1 Kings 12. We know from 2 Chronicles 11:1 that in addition to the tribe of Judah, King Rehoboam continued to rule over the tribe of Benjamin.
So when the stories in Kings switch back and forth from the King of Israel to the King of Judah, this is why! This seems obvious know that I know it but I missed this for years. I had read Kings, Chronicles, and the prophets many times without catching this! Learning this made understanding Scripture much easier for me and I hope for you as well.
What do you think of this? We'll talk more later about what happened to Israel and Judah and their impact on the world but take a look at Scripture with this knowledge and see what more you understand! :)