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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 21

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 21.—Of the Kings After Solomon, Both in Judah and Israel.

The other kings of the Hebrews after Solomon are scarcely found to have prophesied, through certain enigmatic words or actions of theirs, what may pertain to Christ and the Church, either in Judah or Israel; for so were the parts of that people styled, when, on account of Solomon’s offence, from the time of p. 359 Rehoboam his son, who succeeded him in the kingdom, it was divided by God as a punishment.  The ten tribes, indeed, which Jeroboam the servant of Solomon received, being appointed the king in Samaria, were distinctively called Israel, although this had been the name of that whole people; but the two tribes, namely, of Judah and Benjamin, which for David’s sake, lest the kingdom should be wholly wrenched from his race, remained subject to the city of Jerusalem, were called Judah, because that was the tribe whence David sprang.  But Benjamin, the other tribe which, as was said, belonged to the same kingdom, was that whence Saul sprang before David.  But these two tribes together, as was said, were called Judah, and were distinguished by this name from Israel which was the distinctive title of the ten tribes under their own king.  For the tribe of Levi, because it was the priestly one, bound to the servitude of God, not of the kings, was reckoned the thirteenth.  For Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel, did not, like the others, form one tribe, but two, Ephraim and Manasseh.  Yet the tribe of Levi also belonged more to the kingdom of Jerusalem, where was the temple of God whom it served.  On the division of the people, therefore, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, reigned in Jerusalem as the first king of Judah, and Jeroboam, servant of Solomon, in Samaria as king of Israel.  And when Rehoboam wished as a tyrant to pursue that separated part with war, the people were prohibited from fighting with their brethren by God, who told them through a prophet that He had done this; whence it appeared that in this matter there had been no sin either of the king or people of Israel, but the accomplished will of God the avenger.  When this was known, both parts settled down peaceably, for the division made was not religious but political.


Next: Chapter 22

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