United Monarchy

United Monarchy

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This article is about the kingdom of all the Israelites ruled by Saul, David, and Solomon. For the later kingdom of northern Israelites, see Kingdom of Israel (Samaria). For other uses, see Kingdom of Israel (disambiguation)
Kingdom of Israel (disambiguation)
The Kingdom of Israel may mean :*Kingdom of Israel , the kingdom established by the Israelites and uniting them under a single king*Kingdom of Israel , the kingdom of northern Israelites...

.


According to Biblical tradition, the united Kingdom of Israel was a kingdom that existed in the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

, a period referred to by scholars as the United Monarchy. Biblical historians date the kingdom from c. 1020 BCE to c. 930 BCE, though there are differences of opinion as to exact dates.

According to the Bible, before the united monarchy, the Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribes lived as a confederation
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 under ad hoc charismatic leaders called Judges
Biblical judges
A biblical judge is "a ruler or a military leader, as well as someone who presided over legal hearings."...

. In around 1020 BCE, under extreme threat from foreign peoples, the tribes united to form the first united Kingdom of Israel. Samuel anointed Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

 from the tribe of Benjamin
Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

 as the first king in c. 1020 BCE, but it was 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...

 who in c.1006 BCE created a strong unified Israelite monarchy.

David, the second (or third, if 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...

 is counted) King of Israel, established Jerusalem as its national capital 3,000 years ago. Before then, Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 had been the capital of David's Judah and Mahanaim
Mahanaim
Mahanaim is a place near Jabbok, beyond the Jordan River, mentioned a number of times by the Bible. The precise location of Mahanaim is very uncertain, the Biblical data being inconclusive. Although two possible sites have been identified, the one most widely accepted lies about ten miles east of...

 of Ish-bosheth's Israel, and before that Gibeah
Gibeah
Gibeah is a biblical site identified by archaeologists as a hill in Jerusalem, on the outskirts of the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, known as Tell el-Ful.-Etymology:...

 had been the capital of the United Monarchy under Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

.

David succeeded in truly unifying the Israelite tribes, and set up a monarchical government. He embarked on successful military campaigns against Israel's enemies, and defeated nearby regional entities such as the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, thus creating secure borders for Israel. Under David, Israel grew into a regional power. Under the House of David
Davidic line
The Davidic line refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament...

, the united Kingdom of Israel achieved prosperity and superiority over its neighbours.

Under David's successor, 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...

, the United Monarchy experienced a period of peace and prosperity, and cultural development. Much public building took place, including the First Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 in Jerusalem.

However, on the succession of Solomon's son, 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...

, in c. 930 BCE the country split into two kingdoms: Israel (including the cities of Shechem
Shechem
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel...

 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 :...

) in the north and 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....

 (containing Jerusalem) in the south. Most of the non-Israelite provinces fell away.

Monarchs and Biblical chronology


There were four rulers of the United Monarchy – Saul ben Kish
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...

 (from the tribe of Benjamin
Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

), Ishbaal (name sometimes written as Ishboseth due to religious prejudices), a son of Saul, 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...

, son-in-law of Saul through his marriage to Michal
Michal
Michal was a daughter of Saul, king of Israel, who loved and became the wife of David, who later became king of Judah, and later still of the united Kingdom of Israel....

 and from the tribe of Judah, and 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...

, son of David and Bathsheba
Bathsheba
According to the Hebrew Bible, Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. She is most known for the Bible story in which King David seduced her....

.

King David established Jerusalem as Israel's national capital; before then, Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 had been the capital of David's Judah and Mahanaim
Mahanaim
Mahanaim is a place near Jabbok, beyond the Jordan River, mentioned a number of times by the Bible. The precise location of Mahanaim is very uncertain, the Biblical data being inconclusive. Although two possible sites have been identified, the one most widely accepted lies about ten miles east of...

 of Ishbaal's Israel, and before that Gibeah
Gibeah
Gibeah is a biblical site identified by archaeologists as a hill in Jerusalem, on the outskirts of the Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood, known as Tell el-Ful.-Etymology:...

 had been the capital under Saul. Earlier parts of the bible indicate that Shiloh
Shiloh (Biblical)
Shiloh was an ancient city south of ancient Tirzah and mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Its site is at modern Khirbet Seilun, West Bank, and north of the Israeli settlement of Beth El in the West Bank....

 had been seen as the national capital; which, from an archaeological standpoint, is considered plausible, as far as it being the religious capital.

For this period, most historians follow either of the older chronologies established by William F. Albright
William F. Albright
William Foxwell Albright was an American archaeologist, biblical scholar, philologist and expert on ceramics. From the early twentieth century until his death, he was the dean of biblical archaeologists and the universally acknowledged founder of the Biblical archaeology movement...

 or Edwin R. Thiele
Edwin R. Thiele
Edwin R. Thiele was an American missionary in China, an editor, archaeologist, writer, and Old Testament professor. He is best known for his chronological studies of the Hebrew kingdom period.- Biography :...

, or the newer chronology of Gershon Galil
Gershon Galil
Gershon Galil is Professor of Biblical Studies and Ancient History and former chair of the Department of Jewish History at the University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel. He received his doctorate at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His work, The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah,...

, all of which are shown below. All dates are BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. Thiele's chronology generally corresponds with Galil's chronology below with a difference of at most one year.
Albright dates Thiele dates Galil dates Common/Biblical name Regnal Name and style Notes

House of Saul
c.1021–1000   c.1030–1010 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...

שאול בן-קיש מלך ישראל
Shaul ben Qysh
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...

, Melekh Ysra'el
Killed in battle, suicide
c.1000   c.1010–1008 Ishbaal
(Ish-boseth)
איש-בעל בן-שאול מלך ישראל
Ishba'al ben Shaul, Melekh Ysra'el
Assassinated
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...


House of David
Davidic line
The Davidic line refers to the tracing of lineage to the King David referred to in the Hebrew Bible, as well as the New Testament...

c.1000–962   c.1008–970 David דוד בן-ישי מלך ישראל
Dawidh ben Yishai
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...

, Melekh Ysra’el
Son-in-law of Saul, brother-in-law of Ish-boseth
c.962–c.922   c.970–931 Solomon שלמה בן-דוד מלך ישראל
Sh'lomoh ben Dawidh
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...

, Melekh Ysra'el
Son of David by Bathsheba
Bathsheba
According to the Hebrew Bible, Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. She is most known for the Bible story in which King David seduced her....

, his rights of succession were disputed by his older half-brother Adonijah
Adonijah
Adonijah was the fourth son of King David according to the book of Samuel , which is contained in the Bible.-Life:After the death of his elder brothers Amnon and Absalom, he became heir-apparent to the throne, but Solomon, a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father...


Origins of the United Monarchy


According to the biblical account, the United Monarchy was formed when there was a large popular expression in favour of introducing a monarchy to rule over the previously decentralised Israelite
Israelite
According to the Bible the Israelites were a Hebrew-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited the Land of Canaan during the monarchic period .The word "Israelite" derives from the Biblical Hebrew ישראל...

 tribal confederacy. Increasing pressure from the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

 and other neighboring tribes is said by the Bible to have forced the Israelites to unite as a more singular state. The bible treats the notion of kingship as having been an anathema at the time, it being seen as one man put in a position of reverence and power, which in their faith was reserved for God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

Civil war



According to the first book of Samuel, due to his disobedience to God, Saul's reign was curtailed and his kingdom given to another dynasty. The Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

 reads that Saul ruled for only two years, although some early manuscripts read forty-two years (cf. the New Testament, which gives him a reign of forty years). The bible portrays Saul as having died in battle against the Philistines.

David and Saul had earlier become bitter enemies, at least from Saul's point of view, though the sources describe Jonathan, Saul's son, and Michal, Saul's daughter, as assisting David to escape Saul, ultimately leading to brief reconciliation before Saul's death.

Saul's heir, Ishbaal, took over rulership of Israel but, according to Samuel, ruled for only two years before he was assassinated. David, who had become king of Judah only, acted as counter-rebel, ended the conspiracy, and was appointed king of Israel in Ishbaal's place; a number of textual critics and biblical scholars have suggested that David was actually responsible for the assassination, and his position as counter-rebel was a later invention to legitimise David's actions.

Israel rebels, according to Samuel, and appoints Absalom
Absalom
According to the Bible, Absalom or Avshalom was the third son of David, King of Israel with Maachah, daughter of Talmai, King of Geshur. describes him as the most handsome man in the kingdom...

, David's son, as their new king. The bible then describes Israel as rebelling, taking over Judah, and ultimately forcing David into exile on the east of the Jordan. According to the increasing majority of archaeologists, this isn't so much a case of rebellion by Israel against a mighty kingdom, but more a case of Israel re-asserting its authority over a poor, rural, sparsely populated, backwater.

This section of the biblical text, and the bulk of the remainder of the books of Samuel is thought by textual critics to belong to a single large source known as the Court History of David
Court History of David
The Court History of David is one of the two hypothetical main source documents of the Books of Samuel . The text is believed to cover most of 2 Samuel except for the first few chapters and a few more minor parts...

; though reflecting the political bias of the later kingdom of Judah after Israel's destruction, the source is somewhat more neutral than the pro and anti monarchical sources that form earlier parts of the text. Israel and Judah are portrayed in this source as quite distinct kingdoms.

Eventually, according to Samuel, David launches a counter-attack, and wins, although with the loss of Absalom, his son. After having retaken Judah, as well as asserted control over Israel, David returns to the west of the Jordan, though he continues to suffer a number of rebellions by Israel, successfully suppressing each one.

The "Golden Age"


In the Biblical account, David finally succeeds in truly unifying Judah and Israel. Some modern archaeologists believe there was a continued and uninterrupted existence of two distinct cultures and geographic entities, one being Judah, the other Israel, and if there was a political union it possibly had no practical effect on the relationship between the two nations.

David embarked on successful military campaigns against Judah's and Israel's enemies, and defeated bitter foes such as the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, thus creating secure borders. Under King David, Israel grew from Kingdom to Empire, and its sphere of influence – militarily and politically – in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 expanded greatly, controlling a number of weaker client states like Philistia, Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

, 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...

, Ammon
Ammon
Ammon , also referred to as the Ammonites and children of Ammon, was an ancient nation located east of the Jordan River, Gilead, and the Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the country was Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman, Jordan's capital...

, with a number of Aramaean city-states (Aram-Zobah
Zobah
Zobah or Aram-Zobah was the capital of an early Aramean state in southern Syria, at one time of considerable importance. In I Samuel xiv...

 and Aram-Damascus) becoming vassal states
Puppet state
A puppet state is a nominal sovereign of a state who is de facto controlled by a foreign power. The term refers to a government controlled by the government of another country like a puppeteer controls the strings of a marionette...

; the imperial border stretched from the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to 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...

, from the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to the Euphrates River. According to the biblical account, the empire had a large land area. Some modern archaeologists, though holding only a minority view, believe that the area under the control of Judah and Israel in this era, excluding the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not exceed 34,000 square kilometres (13,000 sq mi); of these, the kingdom of Israel encompassed about 24000 square kilometres (9,266.5 sq mi).

David was succeeded on his death by his son, Solomon, who obtained the kingdom in a somewhat disreputable manner from the rival claimant, his elder brother Adonijah
Adonijah
Adonijah was the fourth son of King David according to the book of Samuel , which is contained in the Bible.-Life:After the death of his elder brothers Amnon and Absalom, he became heir-apparent to the throne, but Solomon, a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father...

, whom he later had killed. Living up to his name (peace), the rule of Solomon was one in which the nation knew unprecedented peace. Not all scholars see Solomon as a wise leader.

David and Solomon are both portrayed by the Bible as having entered into strong alliances with the (possibly unnamed) King of Tyre. In return for ceding land to Tyre, David and Solomon are said to have received a number of master craftsmen, skilled labourers, money, jewels, cedar, and other goods. David's Palace and Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 are described as having been built with the assistance of these Tyrian assets, as well as to designs given by architects from Tyre.

Solomon rebuilt a number of major cities, including Megiddo, Hazor
Hazor
Hazor is the name of several places in the biblical and modern Israel:Biblical locations:* Tel Hazor, site of an ancient fortified city in the Upper Galilee, among the most important Caananite towns, and the largest ancient ruin in modern Israel and UNESCO World Heritage Site.* Hazor, A town in...

, and Gezer
Gezer
Gezer was a Canaanite city-state and biblical town in ancient Israel. Tel Gezer , an archaeological site midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is now an Israeli national park....

; these have been excavated and scholars attributed elements of the archaeological remains, some of which are rather impressive such as six chambered gates and ashlar palaces, to this building programme. Structures within these remains are identified as the stables for the vast collection of horses that Solomon is believed to have kept, together with drinking troughs.

End of the "United Monarchy"


Following Solomon's death in c. 926 BCE, tensions between the northern part of Israel containing the ten northern tribes, and the southern section dominated by Jerusalem and the southern tribes reached boiling point. When Solomon's successor 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...

 dealt tactlessly with economic complaints of the northern tribes, in about 930 BCE (there are difference of opinion as to the actual year) the united Kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms: the northern Kingdom of Israel, which included the cities of Shechem
Shechem
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel...

 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 the southern 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....

, which contained Jerusalem; with most of the non-Israelite provinces achieving independence.

The Kingdom of Israel (or Northern Kingdom) existed as an independent state until 722 BCE when it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire; while the Kingdom of Judah (or Southern Kingdom) existed as an independent state until 586 BCE when it was conquered by the Babylonian Empire.

Evidence


According to textual critics , a number of distinct source texts were spliced together to produce the current books of Samuel. The most prominent in the early parts of the first book are the pro-monarchical source and the anti-monarchical source. In identifying these two sources, two separate accounts can be reconstructed. The anti-monarchical source describes Samuel (thought by a number of scholars to be a cipher for God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 himself) to have thoroughly routed the Philistines, yet begrudgingly accepting that the people demanded a ruler, and thus appointing Saul by cleromancy
Cleromancy
Cleromancy is a form of divination using sortition, casting of lots, or casting bones or stones, in which an outcome is determined by means that normally would be considered random, such as the rolling of dice, but are sometimes believed to reveal the will of God, or other supernatural entities.-In...

. The pro-monarchical source describes the divine birth of Saul
Saul
-People:Saul is a given/first name in English, the Anglicized form of the Hebrew name Shaul from the Hebrew Bible:* Saul , including people with this given namein the Bible:* Saul , a king of Edom...

 (a single word being changed by a later editor so that it referred to Samuel instead), and his later leading of an army to victory over the Ammonites, which resulted in the people clamouring for him to lead them against the Philistines, whereupon he is appointed king.

In 2010, archaeologists excavating in Jerusalem found two sections of 5 and 6 meter high wall, with a gatehouse, tower, as well as storage vessels inscribed with the phrase "to the king", which they interpreted as indicating royal use. The engineering level involved was interpreted as indicating a ruling presence. The archaeologists dated the ruins to the 10 century BCEand King Solomon. They also claimed that the architecture was similar to other contemporary ruins in Meggido, Beersheba and Ashdod.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222094757.htm

According to 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...

 and Neil Silberman, authors of The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, the idea of a United Monarchy is not accurate history but rather "creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement," possibly "based on certain historical kernels." Although in a later book Finkelstein and Silberman do accept that David and Solomon were real kings of Judah about the 10th century BCE,
they cite that the earliest independent reference to the Kingdom of Israel is about 890 BCE, while for that of Judah is about 750 BCE.

See also

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

    , land that made up the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, along with neighboring areas.
  • The Bible and history
    The Bible and history
    The Bible from a historical perspective, includes numerous fields of study, ranging from archeology and astronomy to linguistics and methods of comparative literature. The Bible may provide insight into pursuits, including but not limited to; our understanding of ancient and modern culture,...

  • Ir Ovot
    Ir Ovot
    Ir Ovot , was an agricultural cooperative in Israel 1967–1980s, located in the northeastern Negev's Arava region, and still refers to a small, group of homes near New Ein Hatzeva....

    , a period Israelite fortress excavated in the Negev
  • Elah Fortress, archeological area from the time of the United Monarchy

External links