Kingdom of Judah

:"Judea is a term used for the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel.", c.830s BCE.] The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew Name|מַלְכוּת יְהוּדָה|Malḫut Yəhuda|Malḵûṯ Yəhûḏāh) (c.930–586 BCE) was one of the successor states to the "United Monarchy" often known as the Kingdom of Israel. It is often referred to as the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom (of Israel). According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Judah first emerged after the death of Saul the King, when the tribe of Judah elevated King David to rule over them. The area of "Har Yehudah" (=the mountain (district) of the gorge(s)) seems to have originally been occupied by Kenites, Calebites, Othnielites, and in Jerusalem Jebusites. The tribe of Judah was Biblically initially the only one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to follow the house of David to found the Southern Kingdom. Soon after, the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah. According to the 2 Samuel (5:6&7), Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom.

After the death of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, David came to rule the other tribes of Israel, creating a united Kingdom of Israel. David's grandson Rehoboam was rejected by ten of the twelve Tribes of Israel during the disruption at Shechem, leaving only the Kingdom of Judah ruled by the Davidic line. The Northern Kingdom fell to the Assyrian Empire c. 720 BCE but the Kingdom of Judah survived for almost 350 years until it was conquered in 586 BCE by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuzar-adan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard.("2 Kings" 25:8-21). This event coincided with the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem and with the Babylonian Captivity.


thumb|left|Jewish king and soldiers in ancient Judah.The United Monarchy was formed out of the territories of the twelve Hebrew tribes living in the area in and around modern Israel and Palestine. It existed from around 1030-920 BCE.

After the death of King Solomon, the son of King David, the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel revolted against the Davidic line, refusing to accept Rehoboam son of Solomon and instead chose as king Jeroboam who was not a member of King David's family.

When the disruption took place at Shechem, at first only the tribe of Judah followed the house of David. But very soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah, and Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom (Joshua 18:28), which was called the kingdom of Judah. The Second Book of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 15:9) also says that members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon "fled" to Judah during the reign of Asa.

For the first sixty years, the kings of Judah aimed at re-establishing their authority over the kingdom of the other ten tribes, so that there was a state of perpetual war between them. For the following eighty years, there was no open war between them. For the most part, they were in friendly alliance, co-operating against their common enemies, especially against Damascus.

The Kingdom of Israel, or Northern Kingdom, existed as an independent state from about 930 BCE until around 720 BCE when it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire. The Bible relates that all Israelites were exiled, becoming known as the The Ten Lost Tribes. However, it is estimated that only a fifth of the population (about 40,000) were actually resettled out of the area during the two deportation periods under Tiglath-pilaser III and Sargon II. [Finkelstein & Silberman 2001,The Bible Unearthed.] Nevertheless, many Israelites fled south to Jerusalem, which appears to have expanded in size by 500% during this period, requiring a new wall to be built, and a new source of water (Siloam) to be provided by King Hezekiah.

After the destruction of Israel, Judah continued to exist for about a century and a half until being overthrown by the Babylonians.

King Hezekiah of Judah (727-698 BCE) is noted in the Bible for initiating reforms that enforced Jewish laws against idolatry (in this case, the worship of Ba'alim and Asherah, among other traditional Near Eastern divinities). [] [bibleverse|2|Kings|18-20|HE] In his reign is also dated the Siloam inscription in Old Hebrew alphabet.

Manasseh of Judah (698-642 BCE), sacrificed his son to Molech, bibleverse|2|Kings|21|HE. He and his son Amon (reigned 642-640 BCE) reversed Hezekiah's reforms and officially revived idolatry. According to later rabbinical accounts, Manasseh placed a grotesque, four-faced idol in the Holy of Holies.

The reign of king Josiah (640-609 BCE) was accompanied by a religious reformation. According to the Bible, while repairs were made on the Temple, a 'Book of the Law' was discovered (possibly the book of Deuteronomy). [ [] See also bibleverse|1|Kings|13|HE, bibleverse|2|Kings|22-23|HE , bibleverse|2|Chr|34-35|HE]

In 586 BCE, the Babyloníans, under king Nebuchadnezzar II, seized Jerusalem. The First Temple was destroyed; the date was the 9th of "Av", or "Tisha B'Av". [ [ The Jewish Agency For Israel Homepage ] ]

In the wake of this conquest much of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was deported from the land and dispersed throughout the Babylonian Empire.


Notable Personalities

Prophets Active in the Kingdom of Judah

*Amos, born in Judah but prophesied in Israel
*Isaiah, cousin of king Uzziah

Extent of the Kingdom

The Kingdom of Judah was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, and was named after Judah, son of Jacob (Israel).

Its capital was Jerusalem.

The kingdom maintained a separate existence for three hundred and eighty-nine years. It occupied an area of about convert|8900|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on|sp=us.

The Kings of Judah

For this period, most historians follow either of the older chronologies established by William F. Albright or Edwin R. Thiele, or the newer chronologies of Gershon Galil or Kenneth Kitchen, all of which are shown below. All dates are BCE.

From the end of the kingdom to the present

After the end of the ancient kingdom the area passed into foreign rule, apart from brief periods, under the following powers:

*586–539 BCE: Babylonian Empire

*539–332 BCE: Persian Empire

*332–305 BCE: Empire of Alexander the Great

*305–198 BCE: Ptolemaics

*198–141 BCE: Seleucids

*141–37 BCE: The Hasmonean kingdom in Israel established by the Maccabees, after 63 BCE under Roman supremacy

*37 BCE–70 CE: Herodian Dynasty ruling Judea under Roman supremacy (37 BCE-6 CE and 41-44 CE), interchanging with direct Roman rule (6-41 CE and 44-66 CE). This ended in the first Jewish Revolt of 66-73 AD, which saw the Temple destroyed in 70 CE.

*6 CE Census of Quirinius and establishment of Roman Iudaea Province

*70–395: province of Roman Empire first called Judea, after 135 called Palaestina. In 395 the Roman Empire is split into a Western and an Eastern part.

*395–638: Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire

*638–1099: Arab Caliphates and subject rulers

*1099–1187: Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem

*1187–1260: dominated by the Ayyubids of Egypt and Damascus

*1260–1516: dominated by the Mamluks of Egypt

*1516–1917: Ottoman Turks, having previously conquered the Byzantine Empire in 1453

*1918–1948: British mandate of Palestine under, first, League of Nations, then, successor United Nations; the Emirate of Trans-Jordan was separated from the rest of Palestine in 1922, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan became independent upon the expiration of the League of Nations Mandate in 1946.

*May 1948 to present: independent State of Israel

:*1948-1967 the West Bank was occupied by, and in 1950 annexed to, Jordan. Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt:*1967 to present: the West Bank and Gaza Strip occupied by Israel in the Six Day War, since :1994 a semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority governs territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


ee also

*Government of ancient Israel
*History of ancient Israel and Judah

External links

* [ The Jewish History Resource Center] Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
* [ Complete Bible Genealogy] A synchronized chart of the kings of Judah and Israel

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