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Kingdom of Israel

See also History of ancient Israel and Judah

Kingdom of Israel

Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Sam. 20:1). Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chr. 10), and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success, was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years, till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of Ahab.

Extent of the Kingdom

The area of Solomon's kingdom, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 34,000 kmē (13,000 square miles). The kingdom of Israel comprehended about 24,000 km2 (9,375 square miles). Shechem was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings 17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end. They were scattered throughout the East, and are known as the lost tribes of Israel.

"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race. And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that immense population which made Babylonia a second Judah."

After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29).

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Here follows the chronology accepted by most historians.

928 - 907[?] Jeroboam I[?]
907[?] - 905[?] Nadab
905[?] - 883[?] Baasha[?]
883[?] - 881[?] Elah
881[?] Zimri (Son, ruled for 7 days)
881[?] - 870[?] Omri (Khumri in some foreign records, founder of a new dynasty)
870[?] - 848[?] Ahab (Defeated the Assyrians at Qarqar)
848[?] - 847[?] Ahaziah
851[?] - 842 Joram[?]
842 - 814 Jehu
General, staunch supporter of Jahweh, called by Elijah to end Ahab's dynasty. He was a contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858[?] - 824[?]) (Ahab died in battle against Shalmaneser), and paid tribute to him.

814 - 800 Jehoahaz[?]
800 - 783[?] Jehoash or Joash.
He paid tribute to King Adad-nirari III[?] of Assyria (810[?] - 783[?]).

783[?] - 748 Jeroboam II (Israel was at the height of its power)
748 Zachariah[?]
748 Shallum
748 - 738[?] Menahem[?]
738[?] - 733[?] Pekahiah[?]
733[?] - 732[?] Pekah
732[?] - 722 Hosheah[?]
Hosheah paid tribute to the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V[?] (727 - 722) but rebelled in 728 BC. Shalmaneser besieged the capital, Samaria. He died shortly before the fall of the city Shalmaneser died and his brother Sargon II (722 - 705) completed the siege with success in 722, making Judah the sole Hebrew kingdom. The ten tribes were migrated to other parts of the Assyrian Empire and never heard from again. A small group of peolpe fled south to assimilate into Judah. .

The kings of Judah

928 - 913[?] Rehoboam
913[?] - 911[?] Abijam
911[?] - 871[?] Asa
931[?] - 906[?] Jehosaphat[?]
906[?] - 898[?] Jehoram
898[?] - 897[?] Ahaziah
897[?] - 891[?] (Queen) Athaliah[?]
891[?] - 851[?] Jehoash[?] (Joash).
In the first regnal year of Joash (891/890 BCE) the High priest of Baal, Mattan was killed (2 Chronicles, 24: 17). Refer to the chronology of the Phoenicians for this event.

851[?] - 822[?] Amaziah
822[?] - 770 Uzziah = Azariah
(Georgios Syncellus wrote that the First Olympiad[?] (776/775 BCE) took place in his 48th regnal year.)

770 - 754 Jotham[?]
754 - 738[?] Ahaz
738[?] - 709[?] Hezekiah
See details for absolute dating under him. He was contemporary with King Sennacherib of Assyria, and Merodach-Baladan king of Babylonia. However, the latter kings cannot provide a reliable absolute date for his reign: Al-Biruni and Bar Hebraeus mention a "King Sennacherib the Less" as well. Furthermore, there was another king named Merodakh Baladan ben Baladan, also known as Mardokempad. Ptolemy assumed, without any reason, that Mordac Empadus was contemporary with King Hezekiah.) These two Baladans remained pretenders during Sennacherib's reign, therefore it is not easy to identify their regnal years as Ptolemy attempted. This ancient scholar frequently attributed some observations to certain years of some kings for the sake of simplicity in his tabulation, but those were not part of the original observations. Also, he often arbitrarily fudged astronomical data in order to support his own theories. Refer to Robert R. Newton, The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, 1977. Unfortunately many authorities still accept his list of rulers as the base of a perfect chronology.

709[?] - 654[?] Manasseh
654[?] - 652 Amon
652 - 621[?] Josiah.
23 years passed from his 13th year (640) to the first year of King Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25: 1-3), whose reign began in 617, "in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah" in the revised chronology.

621[?] - 621[?] Jehoahaz[?]
620[?] - 609 Jehoiakim[?]
609 Jehoiachin[?]. Perhaps from March to May as Chronicles 36:10 allows.
609 - 598[?] Zedekiah.
His 11th year was the 19th regnal year of Nebuchadnezzar. (Modern historians, in general, still use 605 or 604 for the accession of Nebuchadnezzar, not 617 BCE.)



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