Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Were there also checkpoints in ancient Israel?
(26 March, 2018, 10 Nisan, 5778)
After the death of King Solomon the Israelites separated into two different kingdoms. The Kingdom of Judah was in the south and the Kingdom of Israel in the north. Judah consisted of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin and later also of Levi and minority segments of the others. From this entity emerged the Jewish People as we know it. The Kingdom of Israel comprised Ten Tribes including those in the north (Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, Naphtali, Zebulon, Issachar, Asher), in the east (Rueben, Gad, and half-Mannasseh), and the south and southeast (Simeon).
The first King of the Kingdom of Israel was Jeroboam. After leading the separation from Judah Jeroboam set up two golden calves, one in Beth-El, and the other in Dan. He commanded the Israelites to henceforth worship these images instead of going up to Jerusalem as they have been wont to.
1-Kings (NASB) 12:
26 Jeroboam said in his heart, €˜Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 27 If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.€™ 28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, €˜It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.€™ 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan....
According to tradition Jeroboam set up "checkpoints" on the border between Israel and Judah to prevent his subjects from going to Jerusalem.
The last king of Israel, before the Assyrian exiled all that was left of them, was named Hosea. He removed the "checkpoints" but it was already too late.
By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price
Last of the nineteen kings of Israel; son of Elah (II Kings xv. 30). Hoshea secured the throne through a conspiracy in which he was the leader, and which resulted in the assassination of Pekah, "in the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah" (II Kings xvii. 1). He reigned nine years (ib.), and did that which was evil in the eyes of Yhwh, though not to the extent to which his predecessors had gone (II Kings xvii. 2). Coming into conflict with Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, Hoshea was reduced to vassalage, and was forced to pay an annual tribute to his Assyrian conqueror (II Kings xvii. 3). After a time, however, having negotiated an alliance with the Egyptian ruler So, he discontinued the tribute. This was taken as a sign of rebellion by the Assyrian monarch, and Hoshea, was seized and imprisoned (II Kings xvii. 4). Samaria was besieged by the Assyrian forces, which, after three years, "in the ninth year of Hoshea," captured the city and carried its population into exile (II Kings xvii. 6).
Talmud Babli, Taanit 30;b:
The fifteenth day of the month of Ab is the day on which Hosea ben Elah cancelled the border controls that Jeroboam ben Nebat had set up on the route-ways to prevent to prevent the Israelites going up [to Jerusalem] at Festival times.
Talmud Yerushalmi, Taanit ch.5: Rav Kahaana asked of Rav: All these good deeds that he [Hosea] did, [why did the calamities recorded in Scripture occur?]
- 2-Kings 17:
3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant and paid him tribute. 4 But the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea, who had sent messengers to So king of Egypt and had offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; so the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. 5 Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7 Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods 8 and walked in the customs of the nations ......
He [Rav] replied [to Rav Kahaana]: Because he removed the collar from his own neck and laid it on that of the majority and did not say, Whosoever wishes to go up may do so.
i.e. King Hosea removed the impediment against going to Jerusalem from the responsibility of the ruler and transferred it to popular consensus and did not announce the possibility of returning to worship at Jerusalem.