History of ancient Israel and Judah

History of ancient Israel and Judah

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Israel and Judah were related Iron Age kingdoms of ancient Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. The earliest known reference to the name Israel in archaeological record
Archaeological record
The archaeological record is the body of physical evidence about the past. It is one of the most basic concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record....

s is in the Merneptah stele
Merneptah Stele
The Merneptah Stele — also known as the Israel Stele or Victory Stele of Merneptah — is an inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah , which appears on the reverse side of a granite stele erected by the king Amenhotep III...

, an Egyptian record of c. 1209 BCE. By the 9th century BCE the Kingdom of Israel had emerged as an important local power before falling to the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 BCE. Israel's southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

, enjoyed a period of prosperity as a client-state of the greater empires of the region before a revolt against the Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

 led to its destruction in 586 BCE and the deportation of the elite. There is no definite answer to the question of when Judah emerged, although it seems to have occurred no earlier than the 9th century BCE. In the 7th century BCE Jerusalem became a city with a population many times greater than before and clear dominance over its neighbours, probably as the result of a cooperative arrangement with the Assyrians, who wished to establish Judah as a pro-Assyrian vassal state
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

 controlling the valuable olive industry. Following the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Persian Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, 539 BC, some Judean exiles returned to Jerusalem during the Persian
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 period, inaugurating the formative period in the development of a distinctive Judahite identity in the Persian province of Yehud
Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud, was an Achaeminid autonomous province covering Judea and parts of Samaria, located south to Eber-Nari...

. Yehud was absorbed into the subsequent Hellenistic kingdoms that followed the conquests of Alexander the Great, but in the 2nd century BCE the Judaeans revolted against the Hellenist Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 and created the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 kingdom. This, the last nominally independent Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

n kingdom, came to an end in 63 BCE with its conquest by Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

.

Periods

  • Late Bronze: 1300-1200
  • Iron Age I: 1200–1000
  • Iron Age II:1000-586
  • Neo-Babylonian: 586–539
  • Persian: 539–332
  • Hellenistic: 332–53

Sources


The sources for the history of ancient Israel and Judah can be broadly divided into the biblical narrative (essentially the Hebrew Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, but also Deuterocanonical and non-biblical works for the later period
Intertestamental period
The intertestamental period is a term used to refer to a period of time between the writings of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament texts. Traditionally, it is considered to be a roughly four hundred year period, spanning the ministry of Malachi The intertestamental period is a term...

) and the archaeological record. The latter can again be divided between epigraphy
Epigraphy
Epigraphy Epigraphy Epigraphy (from the , literally "on-writing", is the study of inscriptions or epigraphs as writing; that is, the science of identifying the graphemes and of classifying their use as to cultural context and date, elucidating their meaning and assessing what conclusions can be...

 (written inscriptions, both from Israel and other lands including Mesopotamia and Egypt) and the material record (everything else).

The biblical narrative


The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 contains "sagas, heroic epics, oral traditions, annals, biographies, narrative histories, novellae, belles lettres, proverbs and wisdom-sayings, poetry, prophecy, apocalyptic, and much more ... the whole finally woven into a composite, highly complex literary fabric sometime in the Hellenistic era." Although tradition ascribes them to times and authors contemporaneous with events, they were in fact written in many cases considerably after the times they describe and by authors with a clear religious and nationalist agenda, and it is therefore critical to treat them with circumspection.

By the 1920s, it was clear that the idea of an Israelite conquest of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 - the story of the book of Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 - was not supported by the archaeological record. The response of the time was to propose that the main biblical idea was still correct, but that the Israelites entered Canaan peacefully instead of through conquest. Later, even this compromise was abandoned, and the Israelites were interpreted to be indigenous Canaanites. The revision of Israelite origins has implications for Israelite religion: whereas the bible had depicted them as monotheists from the beginning, the new understanding is that they were polytheists who harboured a small and ultimately successful group of monotheistic revolutionaries.

The new understanding, even if it recognised the Israelites as Canaanites by origin, still treated post-Conquest biblical story as real history. But eventually this also came under challenge: if, after 200 years of archaeology, there is still no direct evidence of the existence of David and Solomon, then they too must be fiction, the product of Jews of the 6th and 5th century Persian empire. The most radical reconstruction goes even further, alleging that the Jews originated as a "mixed multitude" of settlers sent to Jerusalem by the Persians, where they concocted a past for themselves. There are few scholars who believe this, but it demonstrates how the paradigm (the argument) has shifted.

The archaeological record


Dating of remains to the biblical history is made difficult by the bible's lack of datable events and its unreliable internal chronology
Chronology of the Bible
The chronology of the Bible is the elaborate system of genealogies, generations, reign-periods, and other means by which Hebrew Bible measures the passage of time and thus give a chronological framework to biblical history from the Creation until the historical kingdoms of Israel and Judah.The...

; the interpretation of remains has been influenced by religious and nationalistic arguments, as evidenced by arguments over burials from the highland settlement phase; and no material remains have been found which can reliably separate Israelite from non-Israelite (Canaanite) sites in the earliest period.

Late Bronze Age



The eastern Mediterranean
Eastern Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean is a term that denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. This region is also known as Greater Syria or the Levant....

 seaboard – the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 – stretches 400 miles north to south from the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, dividing the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east...

 to the Sinai desert, and 70 to 100 miles east to west between the sea and the Arabian desert
Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is a vast desert wilderness stretching from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq. It occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with an area of...

. The coastal plain of the southern Levant, broad in the south and narrowing to the north, is backed in its southernmost portion by a zone of foothills, the Shephalah; like the plain this narrows as it goes northwards, ending in the promontory of Mount Carmel. East of the plain and the Shephalah is a mountainous ridge, the "hill country of Judah" in the south, the "hill country of Ephraim" north of that, then Galilee and the Lebanon mountains. To the east again lie the steep-sided valley occupied by the Jordan River, the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

, and the wadi of the Arabah, which continues down to the eastern arm of the Red Sea. Beyond the plateau is the Syrian desert, separating the Levant from Mesopotamia. To the southwest is Egypt, to the northeast Mesopotamia. "The Levant thus constitutes a narrow corridor whose geographical setting made it a constant area of contention between more powerful entities".

Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 in the Late Bronze Age was a shadow of what it had been centuries earlier: many cities were abandoned, others shrank in size, and the total settled population was probably not much more than a hundred thousand. Settlement was concentrated in cities along the coastal plain and along major communication routes; the central and northern hill country which would later become the biblical kingdom of Israel was only sparsely inhabited although letters from the Egyptian archives indicate that Jerusalem was already a Canaanite city-state recognising Egyptian overlordship. Politically and culturally it was dominated by Egypt, each city under its own ruler, constantly at odds with its neighbours, and appealing to the Egyptians to adjudicate their differences.

The Canaanite city-state system broke down at the end of the Late Bronze period
Bronze Age collapse
The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

, and Canaanite culture was then gradually absorbed into that of the Philistines, Phoenicians and Israelites. The process was gradual rather than swift: a strong Egyptian presence continued into the 12th century BC, and, while some Canaanite cities were destroyed, others continued to exist in Iron I.

Iron Age I


The name Israel first appears in the stele
Merneptah Stele
The Merneptah Stele — also known as the Israel Stele or Victory Stele of Merneptah — is an inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah , which appears on the reverse side of a granite stele erected by the king Amenhotep III...

 of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah
Merneptah
Merneptah was the fourth ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years between late July or early August 1213 and May 2, 1203 BC, according to contemporary historical records...

 c. 1209 BC, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not." This "Israel" was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state; Archaeologist Paula McNutt says: "It is probably ... during Iron Age I [that] a population began to identify itself as 'Israelite'," differentiating itself from its neighbours via prohibitions on intermarriage, an emphasis on family history
Family history
Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

 and genealogy
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

, and religion.

In the Late Bronze Age there were no more than about 25 villages in the highlands, but this increased to over 300 by the end of Iron I, while the settled population doubled from 20,000 to 40,000. The villages were more numerous and larger in the north, and probably shared the highlands with pastoral nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

s who left no remains. Archaeologists and historians attempting to trace the origins of these villagers have found it impossible to identify any distinctive features that could definine them as specifically Israelite – collared-rim jars
Pithos
Pithos originally referred in ancient Greek to a large storage jar of a characteristic shape. The word was at one point used by western classical archaeologists to mean the jars uncovered by excavation in Crete and Greece, it has now been taken into the American English language as a general word...

 and four-room houses have been identified outside the highlands and thus cannot be used to distinguish Israelite sites, and while the pottery of the highland villages is far more limited than that of lowland Canaanite sites, it develops typologically out of Canaanite pottery that came before. Israel Finkelstein
Israel Finkelstein
Israel Finkelstein is an Israeli archaeologist and academic. He is currently the Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University and is also the co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel...

 proposed that the oval or circular layout that distinguishes some of the earliest highland sites, and the notable absence of pig bones from hill sites, could be taken as a marker of ethnicity, but others have cautioned that these can be a "common-sense" adaptation to highland life and not necessarily revelatory of origins. Modern scholars therefore see Israel arising peacefully and internally in the highlands.

Iron Age II



Unusually favourable climatic conditions in the first two centuries of Iron Age II brought about an expansion of population, settlements and trade throughout the region. In the central highlands this resulted in unification in a kingdom with the city of Samaria
Samaria (ancient city)
Samaria was an ancient city in the Land of Israel. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel in the 9th century BC and 8th century BC. The ruins of the city are located in the Samaria mountains and are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority....

 as its capital, possibly by the second half of the 10th century BCE when an inscription of the Egyptian pharaoh Shoshenq I
Shoshenq I
Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I , , also known as Sheshonk or Sheshonq I , was a Meshwesh Berber king of Egypt—of Libyan ancestry—and the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty...

, the biblical Shishak
Shishak
Shishak or Susac or Shishaq is the biblical Hebrew form of the first ancient Egyptian name of a pharaoh mentioned in the Bible.-Shishak's Reign:...

, records a series of campaigns directed at the area. Israel had clearly emerged by the middle of the 9th century BCE, when the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III
Shalmaneser III was king of Assyria , and son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II....

 names "Ahab
Ahab
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible. His wife was Jezebel....

 the Israelite" among his enemies at the battle of Qarqar
Battle of Qarqar
The Battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 BC when the army of Assyria led by king Shalmaneser III encountered an allied army of 12 kings at Qarqar led by Hadadezer of Damascus and King Ahab of Israel...

 (853), and the Mesha stele
Mesha Stele
The Mesha Stele is a black basalt stone bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC ruler Mesha of Moab in Jordan....

 (c. 830) left by a king of Moab celebrates his success in throwing off the oppression of the "House of Omri
Omri
Omri was a king of Israel, successful military campaigner and first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram.He was "commander of the army" of king Elah when Zimri murdered Elah and made himself king. Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to...

" (i.e. Israel).It bears what is generally thought to be the earliest extra-biblical Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 reference to the name Yahweh (YHWH), whose temple goods were plundered by Mesha and brought before his own god Kemosh.
French scholar André Lemaire has reconstructed a portion of line 31 of the stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

 as mentioning the "House of David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

". Tel Dan stele tells of the death of a king of Israel, probably Jehoram
Jehoram of Israel
Jehoram was a king of the northern Kingdom of Israel. He was the son of Ahab and Jezebel.According to , in the fifth year of Joram of Israel, Jehoram became king of Judah, when his father Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, indicating a co-regency...

, at the hands of an Aramean
Aram Damascus
Aram Damascus was an Aramaean state around Damascus in Syria, from the late 12th century BCE to 734 BCE.Sources for this state come from texts that can be divided into three categories: Assyrian annals, Aramaean texts, and the Hebrew Bible....

 king (c. 841). In the earlier part of this period Israel was apparently engaged in a three-way contest with Damascus and Tyre for control of the Jezreel Valley and Galilee in the north, and with Moab, Ammon and Damascus in the east for control of Gilead; During the reign of Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

, between c. 715 and 686 BCE, a notable increase in the power of the Judean state can be observed. This is reflected by archaeological sites and findings such as the Broad Wall
Broad Wall (Jerusalem)
The Broad Wall is an ancient defensive city wall in Jerusalem dating from the reign of King Hezekiah -Discovery:The wall was discovered by archaeologist Nahman Avigad in the 1970s. This is a massive defensive structure, seven meters thick. The unbroken length of wall uncovered by Avigad's dig...

, defensive city wall in Jerusalem, Hezekiah's Tunnel, an aqueduct designed to provide Jerusalem with water during an impending siege by the Assyrians, led by Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

. Siloam Inscription
Siloam inscription
The Siloam inscription or Silwan inscription is a passage of inscribed text found in the Hezekiah tunnel which brings water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The inscription records the construction of the tunnel in the 8th century...

, lintel inscription, found over the doorway of a tomb, has been ascribed to his comptroller Shebna
Shebna
Shebna was "treasurer over the house" in the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah, according to the Old Testament....

. LMLK seals on storage jar handles, excavated from strata formed by Sennacherib's destruction as well as immediately above that layer suggesting they were used throughout his 29-year reign, and Bulla
Bulla (seal)
Bulla , is a type of seal impression. It comes in two forms: metal and clay.- Clay bullae :The original bulla was a lump of clay molded around a cord and stamped with a seal...

e from sealed documents, some that belonged to Hezekiah himself, while others name his servants. King Ahaz
Ahaz
Ahaz was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew....

's Seal is a well-preserved piece of reddish-brown clay that belonged to King Ahaz of Judah, who ruled from 732 to 716 BCE. The seal contains not only the name of the king, but the name of his father, King Yehotam. In addition, Ahaz is specifically identified as "king of Judah." The Hebrew inscription, which is set on three lines, reads as follows: "l'hz*y/hwtm*mlk*/yhdh", which translates as "belonging to Ahaz (son of) Yehotam, King of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

.

In the earlier part of its history Israel was apparently engaged in a three-way contest with Damascus and Tyre for control of the Jezreel Valley and Galilee in the north, and with Moab, Ammon and Damascus in the east for control of Gilead. From the middle of the 8th century BCE it came into increasing conflict with the expanding neo-Assyrian empire, which first split its territory into several smaller units and then destroyed its capital, Samaria (722). Both the biblical and Assyrian sources speak of a massive deportation of the people of Israel and their replacement with an equally large number of forced settlers from other parts of the empire – such population exchanges were an established part of Assyrian imperial policy, a means of breaking the old power structure - and the former Israel never again became an independent political entity.

Judah emerged somewhat later than Israel, probably no earlier than the 9th century BCE, but the subject is one of considerable controversy and there is no definite answer to the question. Surface surveys indicate that during the 10th and 9th centuries BCE the southern highlands were divided between a number of centres, none with clear primacy. In the 7th century, probably in a cooperative arrangement with the Assyrians to establish Judah as an Assyrian vassal controlling the valuable olive industry, Jerusalem grew to contain a population many times greater than before and achieved clear dominance over its neighbours. Judah prospered under Assyrian vassalage (despite a disastrous rebellion against the Assyrian king Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

), but in the last half of the 7th century BCE Assyria suddenly collapsed, and the ensuing competition between the Egyptian and Neo-Babylonian empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. Throughout that time Babylonia...

s for control of Palestine led to the destruction of Judah in a series of campaigns between 597 and 582.

Babylonian period



Babylonian Judah suffered a steep decline in both economy and population and lost the Negev, the Shephelah, and part of the Judean hill country, including Hebron, to encroachments from Edom and other neighbours. Jerusalem, while probably not totally abandoned, was much smaller than previously, and the town of Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah in Benjamin
Mizpah was a city of Benjamin.Tell en-Nasbeh is one of two sites often identified with Biblical Mizpah of Benjamin, and is located about 8 miles north of Jerusalem. The other suggested location is Neby Samwil, which is some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and situated on the loftiest hill in the...

 in the relatively unscathed northern section of the kingdom became the capital of the new Babylonian province of Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud, was an Achaeminid autonomous province covering Judea and parts of Samaria, located south to Eber-Nari...

. (This was standard Babylonian practice: when the Philistine city of Ashkalon was conquered in 604, the political, religious and economic elite (but not the bulk of the population) was banished and the administrative centre shifted to a new location). There is also a strong probability that for most or all of the period the temple at Bethel
Bethel
Bethel was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim...

 in Benjamin replaced that at Jerusalem, boosting the prestige of Bethel's priests (the Aaronites) against those of Jerusalem (the Zadokites), now in exile in Babylon.

The Babylonian conquest entailed not just the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, but the liquidation of the entire infrastructure which had sustained Judah for centuries. The most significant casualty was the State ideology of "Zion theology," the idea that the God of Israel had chosen Jerusalem for his dwelling-place and that the Davidic dynasty would reign there forever. The fall of the city and the end of Davidic kingship forced the leaders of the exile community – kings, priests, scribes and prophets – to reformulate the concepts of community, faith and politics. The exile community in Babylon thus became the source of significant portions of the Hebrew Bible: Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

 40–55, Ezekiel
Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve....

, the final version of Jeremiah
Book of Jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve....

, the work of the Priestly source
Priestly source
The Priestly Source is one of the sources of the Torah/Pentateuch in the bible. Primarily a product of the post-Exilic period when Judah was a province of the Persian empire , P was written to show that even when all seemed lost, God remained present with Israel...

 in the Pentateuch, and the final form of the history of Israel from Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

 to 2 Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

 Theologically, they were responsible for the doctrines of individual responsibility and universalism (the concept that one god controls the entire world), and for the increased emphasis on purity and holiness. Most significantly, the trauma of the exile experience led to the development of a strong sense of identity as a people distinct from other peoples, and increased emphasis on symbols such as circumcision and Sabbath-observance to maintain that separation.

The concentration of the biblical literature on the experience of the exiles in Babylon disguises the fact that the great majority of the population remained in Judah, and for them life after the fall of Jerusalem probably went on much as it had before. It may even have improved, as they were rewarded with the land and property of the deportees, much to the anger of the exile community in Babylon. The assassination of the Babylonian governor around 582 by a disaffected member of the former royal house of David provoked a Babylonian crackdown, possibly reflected in the Book of Lamentations
Book of Lamentations
The Book of Lamentations ) is a poetic book of the Hebrew Bible composed by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah. It mourns the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in the 6th Century BCE....

, but the situation seems to have soon stabilised again. Nevertheless, the unwalled cities and towns that remained were subject to slave raids by the Phoenicians and intervention in their internal affairs from Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

s, Arabs and Ammonites.

Persian period


When Babylon fell to the Persian Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

 in 539 BC, Judah (or Yehud medinata
Yehud Medinata
Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud, was an Achaeminid autonomous province covering Judea and parts of Samaria, located south to Eber-Nari...

, the "province of Yehud") became an administrative division within the Persian empire
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

. Cyrus was succeeded as king by Cambyses
Cambyses
Cambyses can refer to two ancient rulers and two plays:-*Cambyses I, King of Anshan 600 to 559 BCE*Cambyses II, King of Persia 530 to 522 BCE*Cambyses, a tragedy by Thomas Preston...

, who added Egypt to the empire, incidentally transforming Yehud and the Philistine plain into an important frontier zone. His death in 522 was followed by a period of turmoil until Darius the Great seized the throne in about 521. Darius introduced a reform of the administrative arrangements of the empire including the collection, codification and administration of local law codes, and it is reasonable to suppose that this policy lay behind the redaction of the Jewish Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. After 404 the Persians lost control of Egypt, which became Persia's main rival outside Europe, causing the Persian authorities to tighten their administrative control over Yehud and the rest of the Levant. Egypt was eventually reconquered, but soon afterward Persia fell to Alexander the Great, ushering in the Hellenistic period in the Levant.

Yehud's population over the entire period was probably never more than about 30,000, and that of Jerusalem no more than about 1,500, most of them connected in some way to the Temple. According to the biblical history, one of the first acts of Cyrus
Cyrus the Great
Cyrus II of Persia , commonly known as Cyrus the Great, also known as Cyrus the Elder, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much...

, the Persian conqueror of Babylon, was to commission the Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, a task which they are said to have completed c. 515. Yet it was probably only in the middle of the next century, at the earliest, that Jerusalem again became the capital of Judah. The Persians may have experimented initially with ruling Yehud as a Dividic client-kingdom under descendants of Jehoiachin, but by the mid–5th century BC Yehud had become in practice a theocracy, ruled by hereditary High Priests and a Persian-appointed governor, frequently Jewish, charged with keeping order and seeing that tribute was paid. According to the biblical history Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

 arrived in Jerusalem in the middle of the 5th century BC, the first empowered by the Persian king to enforce the Torah, the second with the status of governor and a royal mission to restore the walls of the city. The biblical history mentions tension between the returnees and those who had remained in Yehud, the former rebuffing the attempt of the "peoples of the land" to participate in the rebuilding of the Temple; this attitude was based partly on the exclusivism which the exiles had developed while in Babylon and, probably, partly on disputes over property. The careers of Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

 in the 5th century BC were thus a kind of religious colonisation in reverse, an attempt by one of the many Jewish factions in Babylon to create a self-segregated, ritually pure society inspired by the prophesies of Ezekiel
Ezekiel
Ezekiel , "God will strengthen" , is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Ezekiel is acknowledged as a Hebrew prophet...

 and his followers.

The Persian era, and especially the period 538–400, laid the foundations of later Jewish and Christian religion and the beginnings of a scriptural canon. Other important landmarks include the replacement of Hebrew by Aramaic as the everyday language of Judah (although it continued to be used for religious and literary purposes), and Darius's reform of the administrative arrangements of the empire, which may lie behind the redaction of the Jewish Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. The Israel of the Persian period included descendants of the inhabitants of the old kingdom of Judah, returnees from the Babylonian exile community, Mesopotamians who had joined them or had been exiled themselves to Samaria at a far earlier period, Samaritans and others.

Hellenistic period



On the death of Alexander the Great (322) his generals divided the empire between them. Ptolemy I, the ruler of Egypt, seized Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, but his successors lost it to the Seleucids of Syria in 198. At first relations between the Seleucids and the Jews were cordial, but the attempt of Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC. He was a son of King Antiochus III the Great. His original name was Mithridates; he assumed the name Antiochus after he ascended the throne....

 (174–163) to impose Hellenic culture sparked a national rebellion, which ended in the expulsion of the Syrians and the establishment of an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 dynasty. The Hasmonean kingdom was a conscious attempt to revive the Judah described in the Bible: a Jewish monarchy ruled from Jerusalem and stretching over all the territories once ruled by David and Solomon. In order to carry out this project the Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

s forcibly converted to Judaism the one-time Moabites, Edomites and Ammonites, as well as the lost kingdom of Israel. Some scholars argue that the "Jewish biblical canon
Development of the Jewish Bible canon
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

" was fixed by the Hasmonean dynasty.

In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 conquered Jerusalem and made the Jewish kingdom a client
Client state
Client state is one of several terms used to describe the economic, political and/or military subordination of one state to a more powerful state in international affairs...

 of Rome. In 40–39, Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 was appointed King of the Jews
Herodian Dynasty
The Herodian Dynasty was a Jewish dynasty of Idumean descent, client Kings of Roman Judaea Province between 37 BCE and 92 CE.- Origin :During the time of the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus 134-104 BCE, Israel conquered Edom and forced the Edomites to convert to Judaism.The Edomites were integrated...

 by the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

, and in 6 AD the last ethnarch
Ethnarch
Ethnarch, pronounced , the anglicized form of ethnarches refers generally to political leadership over a common ethnic group or homogeneous kingdom. The word is derived from the Greek words and ....

 of Judea was deposed by the emperor Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 and his territories were combined with Idumea and Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 and annexed as Iudaea Province
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

 under direct Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 administration. The name Judea (Iudaea) was removed after the revolt of Simon Bar Kochba in 135 AD, after which the area was called Syria Palaestina
Syria Palaestina
Syria Palæstina was a Roman province between 135CE and 390CE. It had been established by the merge of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. In 193 Syria-Coele was split to form a separate provincial locality...

, (Greek: Παλαιστίνη, Palaistinē; Latin: Palaestina.)

Religion



Iron Age Yahwism



Current models among scholars see the emergence of Israelite monotheism as a gradual process which began with the normal beliefs and practices of the ancient world.

The religion of the Israelites of Iron Age I, like many Ancient Near Eastern religions, was based on the cult of the ancestors and the worship of family gods (the "gods of the fathers"). The major deities were not numerous – El, Asherah, and Yahweh, with Baal as a fourth god in the early period. By the early monarchy El and Yahweh had become identified and Asherah did not continue as a separate state cult, although she continued to be popular at a community level until Persian times. Yahweh
Yahweh (Canaanite deity)
The hypothesis of a Canaanite deity named Yahweh or Yahwi is accepted by some Ancient Near Eastern scholars, although no direct evidence from archeology has been found. The name Yahwi may possibly be found in some male Amorite names...

, later the national god
National god
The concept of a national god is most closely associated with the God of Israel who in the Torah is described as the sole God to be worshipped by the nation of Israel...

 of both Israel and Judah seems to have originated in Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

 and Midian
Midian
Midian , Madyan , or Madiam is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur'an. It is believed to be in northwest Saudi Arabia on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the northern Red Sea...

 in southern Canaan, and may have been brought north to Israel by the Kenites and Midianites at an early stage.
With the emergence of monarchy at the beginning of Iron Age II the king promoted his own family god, Yahweh
Yahweh (Canaanite deity)
The hypothesis of a Canaanite deity named Yahweh or Yahwi is accepted by some Ancient Near Eastern scholars, although no direct evidence from archeology has been found. The name Yahwi may possibly be found in some male Amorite names...

, as the god of the kingdom, but beyond the royal court religion continued to be both polytheistic and family-centered, as it was also for other societies in the Ancient Near East.

There is a general consensus among scholars that the first formative event in the emergence of the distinctive religion described in the bible was triggered by the destruction of Israel by Assyria in c.722 BC. Refugees came south to Judah, bringing with them laws and a Prophetic tradition that Yahweh was the only god who should be served. These beliefs were adopted by the "people of the land", meaning the landed families who provided the administrative class of the kingdom, and in 640 BC these circles were decisive in placing on the throne the eight-year-old Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

. Judah at this time was a vassal of Assyria, but Assyrian power collapsed in the 630s, and in around 622 Josiah and the Deuteronomist
Deuteronomist
The Deuteronomist, or simply D, is one of the sources underlying the Hebrew bible . It is found in the book of Deuteronomy, in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings and also in the book of Jeremiah...

s, as the circle around him are called by modern scholars, launched a bid for independence expressed as loyalty to "Yahweh alone" and the law-code in the book of Deuteronomy
Deuteronomy
The Book of Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Hebrew Bible, and of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch...

, written in the form of a treaty between Judah and Yahweh to replace the vassal-treaty with Assyria.

According to the theology of the Deuteronomists the terms of the treaty with Yahweh were that he would preserve both the city and the king in return for their worship and obedience to the law-code. The destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Davidic dynasty by Babylon in 587/586 BC was therefore a deeply traumatic event, and led to much theological reflection on the meaning of the national tragedy. The solution, set out in the series of history books from Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 and Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 to Samuel
Books of Samuel
The Books of Samuel in the Jewish bible are part of the Former Prophets, , a theological history of the Israelites affirming and explaining the Torah under the guidance of the prophets.Samuel begins by telling how the prophet Samuel is chosen by...

 and Kings
Books of Kings
The Book of Kings presents a narrative history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of David to the release of his successor Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years...

, was to interpret the Babylonian destruction as divinely-ordained punishment for the failure of the kings to worship Yahweh alone.

Second Temple Judaism



The Second Temple period
Second Temple period
The Second Temple period , in Jewish history, is the period between 530 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed. It ended with the First Jewish–Roman War and the Temple's destruction....

 (520BC-70AD) differed in significant ways from what had gone before. Monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 emerged among the priests and the Temple establishment probably by the beginning of the Persian period, and beliefs regarding angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s and demon
Demon
call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

s were developing rapidly by its end. It was at this time that the Torah was written
Documentary hypothesis
The documentary hypothesis , holds that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by a series of redactors...

, circumcision and Sabbath-observance
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 became symbols of Jewish identity, and the institution of the synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

 became increasingly important. By the end of the Second Temple period the Jewish canon was becoming fixed
Development of the Jewish Bible canon
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

, and, since there was still no monarchy and the reality of life did not match the expectations created by the religious traditions, messianic expectation
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 began to surface.

See also






  • Biblical archaeology
    Biblical archaeology
    For the movement associated with William F. Albright and also known as biblical archaeology, see Biblical archaeology school. For the interpretation of biblical archaeology in relation to biblical historicity, see The Bible and history....

  • Chronology of the Bible
    Chronology of the Bible
    The chronology of the Bible is the elaborate system of genealogies, generations, reign-periods, and other means by which Hebrew Bible measures the passage of time and thus give a chronological framework to biblical history from the Creation until the historical kingdoms of Israel and Judah.The...

  • History of the Southern Levant
  • History of Israel
    History of Israel
    The State of Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948 after almost two millennia of Jewish dispersal and persecution around the Mediterranean. From the late 19th century the Zionist movement worked towards the goal of recreating a homeland for the Jewish people...

  • Jew
  • Jewish diaspora
    Jewish diaspora
    The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

  • Old Testament
    Old Testament
    The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

  • Tanakh
    Tanakh
    The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

  • United Monarchy
    United Monarchy
    According to Biblical tradition, the united Kingdom of Israel was a kingdom that existed in the Land of Israel, a period referred to by scholars as the United Monarchy. Biblical historians date the kingdom from c. 1020 BCE to c...

  • History of the Jews in Iran
    History of the Jews in Iran
    The beginnings of Jewish history in Iran date back to late Biblical times. The biblical books of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, contain references to the life and experiences of Jews in Persia...

  • History of the Jews in the Roman Empire
  • History of the Jews in Egypt
    History of the Jews in Egypt
    Egyptian Jews constitute both one of the oldest and youngest Jewish communities in the world. While no exact census exists, the Jewish population of Egypt was estimated at fewer than a hundred in 2004, down from between 75,000 and 80,000 in 1922. The historic core of the indigenous community...









Kings of Israel

Main: List of the Kings of Israel

Saul
Saul the King
According to the Bible, Saul was the first king of the united Kingdom of Israel. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel and reigned from Gibeah. He commited suicide to avoid arrest in the battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, during which three of his sons were also killed...

, Ish-bosheth
Ish-bosheth
According to the Hebrew Bible, Ish-bosheth also called Eshbaal , Ashbaal or Ishbaal, was one of the four sons of King Saul, born c. 1047 BC...

, David
David
David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

, Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

, Jeroboam
Jeroboam
Jeroboam was the first king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel after the revolt of the ten northern Israelite tribes against Rehoboam that put an end to the United Monarchy....

, Nadab
Nadab of Israel
Nadab was the second king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel. He was the son and successor of Jeroboam. Nadab became king of Israel in the second year of Asa, king of Judah, and reigned for two years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 901 - 900 BCE, while E. R...

, Baasha, Elah
King Elah
Elah was a son of Baasha, who succeeded him as the 4th king of Israel. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 877 BC - 876 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 886 BC - 885 BC....

, Zimri
Zimri (king)
Zimri or Zambri was a king of Israel for seven days. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 876 BCE, while E. R. Thiele offers the date 885 BCE. His story is told in 1 Kings, Chapter 16....

, Omri
Omri
Omri was a king of Israel, successful military campaigner and first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah and Joram.He was "commander of the army" of king Elah when Zimri murdered Elah and made himself king. Instead, the troops at Gibbethon chose Omri as king, and he led them to...

, Ahab
Ahab
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible. His wife was Jezebel....

 Ahaziah
Ahaziah of Israel
Ahaziah or Ochozias was king of Israel and the son of Ahab and Jezebel.William F. Albright has dated his reign to 850-849 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 853-852 BC...

, Jehoram
Jehoram of Israel
Jehoram was a king of the northern Kingdom of Israel. He was the son of Ahab and Jezebel.According to , in the fifth year of Joram of Israel, Jehoram became king of Judah, when his father Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, indicating a co-regency...

, Jehu
Jehu
Jehu was a king of Israel. He was the son of Jehoshaphat, and grandson of Nimshi.William F. Albright has dated his reign to 842-815 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 841-814 BC...

, Jehoahaz
Jehoahaz of Israel
Jehoahaz of Israel was king of Israel and the son of Jehu . William F. Albright has dated his reign to 815 BC – 801 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 814 BC – 798 BC. A stamp seal dated to the end of the 7th century BC has been found with the inscription "[belonging] to Jehoahaz, son of the...

, Jehoash
Jehoash of Israel
Jehoash , whose name means “Yahweh has given,” was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the son of Jehoahaz. He was the 12th king of Israel and reigned for 16 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 801 BC – 786 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 798 BC – 782 BC...

, Jeroboam II
Jeroboam II
Jeroboam II was the son and successor of Jehoash, , and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years according to 2 Kings . His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah and Uzziah , kings of Judah...

, Zachariah, Shallum
Shallum of Israel
Shallum of Israel was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, and the son of Jabesh. He "conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead" . He reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" before Menahem rose up, put him to death , and became...

, Menahem
Menahem
Menahem, was a king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel. He was the son of Gadi, and the founder of the dynasty known as the House of Gadi or House of Menahem....

, Pekahiah
Pekahiah
Pekahiah was a king of Israel and the son of Menahem, whom he succeeded, and the second and last king of Israel from the House of Gadi. He ruled from the capital of Samaria....

, Pekah
Pekah
Pekah was king of Israel. He was a captain in the army of king Pekahiah of Israel, whom he killed to become king. Pekah was the son of Remaliah ....

, Hoshea
Hoshea
See also Hosea, who has the same name in Biblical Hebrew.Hoshea was the last king of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel and son of Elah . William F. Albright dated reign to 732 – 721 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 732 – 723 BC.Assyrian records basically confirm the Biblical...

 


Kings of Judah

Main: List of the Kings of Judah

Rehoboam
Rehoboam
Rehoboam was initially king of the United Monarchy of Israel but after the ten northern tribes of Israel rebelled in 932/931 BC to form the independent Kingdom of Israel he was king of the Kingdom of Judah, or southern kingdom. He was a son of Solomon and a grandson of David...

, Abijam
Abijam
Abijam was the fourth king of the House of David and the second of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the son of Rehoboam, the grandson of Solomon and the great-grandson of David. The Chronicler refers to him as Abijah ....

, Asa
Asa of Judah
Asa was the third king of the Kingdom of Judah and the fifth king of the House of David. He was the son of Abijam, grandson of Rehoboam, and great-grandson of Solomon. The Hebrew Bible gives the period of his reign as 41 years. His reign is dated between 913-910 BCE to 873-869 BCE. He was...

, Jehoshaphat
Jehoshaphat
Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of the The Kingdom of Judah, and successor of his father Asa. His children included Jehoram, who succeeded him as king...

, Jehoram
Jehoram of Judah
Jehoram of Judah was the king of the southern Kingdom of Judah, and the son of Jehoshaphat .According to , Jehoram became king of Judah in the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel, when his father Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, indicating a co-regency. The author of Kings also speaks of both Jehoram...

, Ahaziah
Ahaziah of Judah
Ahaziah of Judah was king of Judah, and the son of Jehoram and Athaliah, the daughter of king Ahab of Israel. He is also called Jehoahaz ....

, Athaliah
Athaliah
Athaliah was the queen of Judah during the reign of King Jehoram, and later became sole ruler of Judah for six years. William F. Albright has dated her reign to 842–837 BC, while Edwin R. Thiele's dates, as taken from the third edition of his magnum opus, were 842/841 to 836/835 BC...

, Jehoash
Jehoash of Judah
Jehoash or Joas , sometimes written Joash or Joás , was the eighth king of the southern Kingdom of Judah, and the sole surviving son of Ahaziah. His mother was Zibiah of Beersheba ....

, Amaziah
Amaziah of Judah
Amaziah of Judah, Amasias , pronounced , and Amatzyah was the king of Judah, the son and successor of Joash. His mother was Jehoaddan and his son was Uzziah . He took the throne at the age of 25...

, Uzziah
Uzziah of Judah
Uzziah , also known as Azariah , was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and one of Amaziah's sons, whom the people appointed to replace his father...

, Jotham
Jotham of Judah
Jotham or Yotam was the king of Judah, and son of Uzziah with Jerusha, daughter of Zadok.He took the throne at the age of twenty-five and reigned for sixteen years. William F. Albright dated his reign to 742 – 735 BC. Edwin R...

, Ahaz
Ahaz
Ahaz was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew....

, Hezekiah
Hezekiah
Hezekiah was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible....

, Manasseh
Manasseh of Judah
Manasseh was a king of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the only son of Hezekiah with Hephzi-bah. He became king at an age 12 years and reigned for 55 years. Edwin Thiele has concluded that he commenced his reign as co-regent with his father Hezekiah in 697/696 BC, with his sole reign beginning in...

, Amon
Amon of Judah
Amon was the king of Judah who succeeded his father Manasseh of Judah on the throne according to the Bible. His mother was Meshullemeth, daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. He was married to Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath....

, Josiah
Josiah
Josiah or Yoshiyahu or Joshua was a king of Judah who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after...

, Jehoahaz
Jehoahaz of Judah
Jehoahaz or Joachaz in the Douay-Rheims and some other English translations was king of Judah and son of king Josiah whom he succeeded and Hamautal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He was born in 633/632 BC and his birth name was Shallum...

, Jehoiakim
Jehoiakim
Jehoiakim .On Josiah's death, Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz was proclaimed king, but after three months pharaoh Necho II deposed him and replaced him with the eldest son, Eliakim, who adopted the name Jehoiakim and became king at the age of twenty-five...

, Jeconiah
Jeconiah
Jeconiah "; ; ), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin , was a king of Judah who was dethroned by the King of Babylon in the 6th Century BCE and was taken into captivity. Most of what is known about Jeconiah is found in the Hebrew Bible. After many excavations in Iraq, records of Jeconiah's...

, Zedekiah
Zedekiah
Zedekiah or Tzidkiyahu was the last king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by Babylon. He was installed as king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, after a siege of Jerusalem to succeed his nephew, Jeconiah, who was overthrown as king after a reign of only three months and...




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