Kingdom of Israel

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The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew: מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʼel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵṯ Yiśrāʼēl) according to the Bible, was the Kingdom proclaimed by the Israelite nation around 1021 BCE. The nation itself was formed as the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus at an uncertain date, often considered to be in the late 13th century BCE.


United Monarchy

Around 1050 BCE, the twelve tribes of Israel united to form the Kingdom of Israel. Saul was the first King of Israel. He unified the tribes under a single Israelite authority, but, according to the Torah, due to his disobedience to God, he ruled for only two years.

David, the second King of Israel, established Jerusalem as Israel's national capital 3,000 years ago. Before then, Shilo (modern day Tel Shilo) had been capital of Israel.

David succeeded in truly unifying the Hebrew tribes, and set up a monarchical government. He embarked on successful military campaigns against Israel's enemies, and defeated bitter foes such as the Philistines, thus creating secure borders for Israel. David built up an established central government in Jerusalem, a standing army, judiciaries across the land, and a sophisticated infrastructure.

Under King David, Israel grew from Kingdom to Empire, and its sphere of influence - military and political - in the Middle East expanded greatly, as it controlled a number of weaker client states around it.

The third King of Israel, Shelomoh, (meaning "one whose peace is his" in Hebrew) or "Solomon" in English, was portrayed as a wise leader in the Torah. Solomon constructed the First Temple in Jerusalem. His reign was a time of peace for Israel.

Following Solomon's death, tensions between the northern part of Israel containing the ten northern tribes, and the southern section dominated by Jerusalem and the southern tribes reached a boiling point, and in 920 BCE, Israel split into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. See also History of ancient Israel and Judah.

Soon after the death of Solomon, the prophecy of Ahijah (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled with the division of the kingdom. 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 that his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion became complete. The Tribe of Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Samuel 20:1). Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chronicles 10), and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, with the Tribe of Judah and the Tribe of Benjamin remaining faithful to Rehoboam. War continued, with varying success, between the two kingdoms for about sixty years, until Jehoshaphat allied himself with the house of Ahab by marrying his daughter Athaliah. The sons of Ahab were slaughtered by Jehu following his Coup d'tat.

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 km (13,000 square miles). The kingdom of Israel encompassed 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 as such until the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of Samaria (lasting for three years) by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser V died and was succeeded by Sargon II of Assyria, who himself records the capture of that city thus: "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 popularly known as the Lost ten 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 vacated land was colonized by various eastern tribes, especially Syrians, whom the king of Assyria sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29).

The Kings of Israel

For this period, most historians follow either the chronology established by William F. Albright or Edwin R. Thiele, both of them being shown below. All dates are BCE.

Albright dates Thiele dates Common/Biblical name Regnal Name and style Notes
The House of Saul
c.10211000   Saul שאול בן-קיש מלך ישראל
Shaul ben Qysh, Melek Ysr’al
Killed in battle
c.1000   Ish-boseth
איש-בשת בן-שאול מלך ישראל
Ish-boshet ben Shaul, Melek Ysr’al
The House of David
c.1000962   David דוד בן-ישי מלך ישראל
Daud ben Yeshy, Melekh Ysr’al
Son-in-law of Saul, brother-in-law of Ish-boseth
c.962c.922   Solomon שלמה בן-דוד מלך ישראל
Shelomoh ben Daud, Melekh Ysr’al
Son of David by Bathsheba, his rights of succession were disputed by his older half-brother Adonijah
c.922   Rehoboam רחבעם בן-שלמה מלך ישראל
Rehov’am ben Shelomoh, Melek Ysr’al
Became king of Judah
Israel was divided into northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms
The House of Jeroboam
922901 931910 Jeroboam I ירבעם בן-נבט מלך ישראל
Yerobo’am ben Nebat, Melek Ysr’al
901900 910909 Nadab נדב בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Nadab ben Yerobo’am, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Baasha
900877 909886 Baasha בעשא בן-אחיה מלך ישראל
Ba’asa ben Achiy’a, Melek Ysr’al
877876 886885 Elah אלה בן-בעשא מלך ישראל
’Alah ben Ba’asa, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Zimri
876 885 Zimri זמרי מלך ישראל
Zimry, Melek Ysr’al
Servant of Elah, ruled for 7 days
The House of Omri
876869 885874 Omri עמרי מלך ישראל
’Omry, Melek Ysr’al
Captain of the Hosts. "Khumri" in some foreign records, founder of a new dynasty.
869850 874853 Ahab אחאב בן-עמרי מלך ישראל
’Ach’ab ben ’Omry, Melek Ysr’al
Sent troops against the Assyrians in the Battle of Karkar, 853; killed in siege
850849 853852 Ahaziah אחזיהו בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
’Achazyhu ben ’Ach’ab, Melek Ysr’al
849842 852841 Joram יורם בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
Yoram ben ’Ach’ab, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Jehu
842815 841814 Jehu יהוא בן-נמשי מלך ישראל
Yehu’a ben Nimshi, Melek Ysr’al
See Note 1
815801 814798 Jehoahaz יהואחז בן-יהוא מלך ישראל
Yeho’achaz ben Yehu’a, Melek Ysr’al
801786 798782 Jehoash
יואש בן-יואחז מלך ישראל
Yeho’ash ben Yeho’achaz, Melek Ysr’al
Jehoash paid tribute to King Adad-nirari III of Assyria (810783).
786746 782753 Jeroboam II ירבעם בן-יואש מלך ישראל
Yerobo’am ben Yeho’ash, Melek Ysr’al
Israel at the height of its power
746 753  Zachariah זכריה בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Zachariah ben Yerobo’am, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Jabesh
745 752 Shallum שלם בן-יבש מלך ישראל
Shallum ben Yabesh, Melek Ysr’al
The Last Houses of Israel
745738 752742 Menahem מנחם בן-גדי מלך ישראל
Menochem ben Gady, Melek Ysr’al
738737 742740 Pekahiah פקחיה בן-מנחם מלך ישראל
Pekahyah ben Menahem, Melek Ysr’al
737732 740732 Pekah פקח בן-רמליהו מלך ישראל
Pekah ben Ramalyhu, Melek Ysr’al
732722 732722 Hoshea הושע בן-אלה מלך ישראל
Hosh’e ben ’Alah, Melek Ysr’al
Deposed. See Note 2

1. Jehu: Considered by Theiele to be a contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858824) to whom he paid tribute. This is based on an inscription on The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III which says that Jehu son of Omri paid tribute. This dating is opposed by some, because it disagrees with an earlier date required by a stricter reading of the Biblical record. The dissenting scholars point out that all Israelite kings were called "son of Omri", whether they were of the Omrite dynasty or not; that the date of the inscription is in question; and that Assyrian kings frequently "stole" accomplishments from their predecessors to increase their own glory in the eyes of history. The obelisk is the earliest depiction of an Israelite in ancient history.

2. Hoshea: Paid tribute to the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V (727722) but rebelled in 725. Shalmaneser besieged the capital, Samaria, but died shortly before the fall of the city. His brother Sargon II (722705) completed the siege with success in 722, making Judah the sole Hebrew kingdom. The ten tribes were exiled to other parts of the Assyrian Empire and never heard from again. A small group of people fled south to assimilate into Judah.

See also

cs:Izraelsk krlovstv de:Königreich Israel eo:Izraelo es:Reino de Israel he:ממלכת ישראל ja:イスラエル王国 nl:Koninkrijk Isral pt:Reino de Israel


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