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Encyclopedia > Ancient Israel

The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yisraʾel, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʾēl) according to the Bible, was the nation formed around 1021BC from the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, who was given the name Israel, meaning Struggles With God.


Following the death of King Solomon, c922BC, the realm was divided into a Northern Kingdom, known as Israel and a Southern Kingdom, known as Judah. 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 which 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, till 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'état.

Contents

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 km² (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 V died and was succeeded by Sargon II of Assyria, 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 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 deserted land was colonized by various eastern tribes, 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 which are shown below. All dates are BC.



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
(Ishbaal)
יש-בשת בן-שאול מלך ישראל
Ysh-boseth ben Shaul, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
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 David, Melekh Ysr’al
Son of David by Bathsheba, his rights of succession were disputed by his older half-brother Adonijah
c.922   Rehoboam רהבעם בן-שלמה מלך ישראל
Rehbem 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 ירבם בן-נבט מלך ישראל
Yeroboam ben Nebat, Melek Ysr’al
 
901900 910909 Nadab נדב בן-ירבם מלך ישראל
Nadab ben Yeroboam, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
900877 909886 Baasha בעשא בן-אחיה מלך ישראל
Baasa ben Achiy’a, Melek Ysr’al
 
877–876 886885 Elah אלה בן-בעשא מלך ישראל
’Alah ben Baasa, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
876 885 Zimri זמרי מלך ישראל
Zimry, Melek Ysr’al
Servant of Elah, ruled for 7 days
876–869 885874 Omri עמרי מלך ישראל
Omry, Melek Ysr’al
Captain of the Hosts. "Khumri" in some foreign records, founder of a new dynasty.
869–850 874853 Ahab אהאב 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 אהזיהו בן-אהאב מלך ישראל
’Achazyhu ben ’Ach’ab, Melek Ysr’al
 
849842 852841 Joram יורם בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
Yoram ben ’Ach’ab, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
The House of Jehu
842–815 841814 Jehu יהוא בן-נמשי מלך ישראל
Yehu’a ben Nimshi, Melek Ysr’al
See Note 1
815–801 814–798 Jehoahaz יהואחז בן-יהוא מלך ישראל
Yeho’achaz ben Yehu’a, Melek Ysr’al
 
801–786 798–782 Jehoash
(Joash)
יואש בן-יואחז מלך ישראל
Yeho’ash ben Yeho’achaz, Melek Ysr’al
Jehoash paid tribute to King Adad-nirari III of Assyria (810–783).
786–746 782753 Jeroboam II ירבעם בן-יואש מלך ישראל
Yeroboam ben Yeho’ash, Melek Ysr’al
Israel at the height of its power
746 753  Zachariah זכריה בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Zachariah ben Yeroboam, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
The House of Jabesh
745 752 Shallum שלם בנ-יבש מלך ישראל
Shallum ben Yabesh, Melek Ysr’al
 
The Last House of Israel
745738 752742 Menahem מנחם בן-גדי מלך ישראל
Menochem ben Gady, Melek Ysr’al
 
738–737 742740 Pekahiah ףקהיה בן-מנחם מלך ישראל
Pekahyah ben Menahem, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
737–732 740732 Pekah ףקה בן-ףמליו מלך ישראל
Pekah ben Ramalyhu, Melek Ysr’al
Assassinated
732722 732722 Hoshea הושע בן-אלה מלך ישראל
Hoshe ben ’Alah, Melek Ysr’al
Deposed. See Note 2



Notes

1. Jehu: Considered by Theiele to be a contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858824) to whom he paid tribute to him. 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





  Results from FactBites:
 
Minimalism," Ancient Israel," and Anti-Semitism by Philip Davies (3010 words)
Keith WhitelamÂ’s The Invention of Ancient Israel was written in Stirling, Scotland, before its author was appointed to a chair in Sheffield (a decision in which I played not the slightest part) in 1999.
LemcheÂ’s detailed analysis of the historical and scholarly evidence for ancient Israel work (Lemche 1998) is the closest that I have read to denying that there was an ancient Israel, though he likewise is speaking of an Israel defined by biblical categories.
Debate about ancient Israel is also debate about modern Israel, and in the eyes of many people, the legitimacy of the latter depends on the credibility of the biblical portrait.
AncientWeb.org: Ancient Israel - The Art, Culture and History of the Ancient Levant (4232 words)
Israel refers to both a people within Canaan and later to the political entity formed by those people.
Canaan, the land promised to Abraham and his descendants, was a narrow strip, 130 kilometers wide, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, the Arabian Desert to the east, Egypt to the south, and Mesopotamia to the north.
Finally, and most egregious to the northern tribes of Israel, Solomon ensured that the Temple in Jerusalem and its priestly caste, both of which were under his authority, established religious belief and practice for the entire nation.
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