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Kingdom of Israel
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Kingdom of Israel

The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew: ממלכות ישאל - Mamlakut Yshr’al) according to the Bible was the nation formed around 1021BC from the descendants of Jacob, son of Isaac, who was given the name Israel, meaning Struggles With God. Archaeological evidence does not support the claims that there was ever a Kingdom of Israel with its capital at Jerusalem, and Solomon is known to have been an historical king who ruled in Arabia Felix, but the Biblical account continues as follows.

Following the death of King Solomon, c922BC, the realm was divided into a Northern Kingdom, known as Israel and a Southern Kingdom, known as Judah. See also History of ancient Israel and Judah.

Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Samuel 20:1). Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chronicles 10), and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, with Judah and Benjamin remaining faithful to Rehoboam. War continued, with varying success, between the two kingdoms for about sixty years, till Jehoshaphat allied himself with the house of Ahab by marrying his daughter Athaliah. Ahab's sons were slaughtered by Jehu following his coup.

Extent of the Kingdom

The area of Solomon's kingdom, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 34,000 kmē (13,000 square miles). The kingdom of Israel comprehended about 24,000 km² (9,375 square miles). Shechem was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings 17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end. They were scattered throughout the East, and are known as the lost tribes of Israel.

"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race. And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that immense population which made Babylonia a second Judah."

After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29).

The Kings of Israel

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

Albright dates Thiele dates Common/Biblical name Regnal Name and style Notes
The House of Saul
c. 1021-1000   Saul שאול בן-קיש מלך ישראל
Shaul ben Qysh, Melek Ysr’al
killed in battle
c. 1000   Ish-boseth (Ishbaal) יש-בשת בן-שאול מלך ישראל
Ysh-boseth ben Shaul, Melek Ysr’al
The House of David
c. 1000-962   David דוד בן-ישי מלך ישראל
Daud ben Yeshy, Melek Ysr’al
c. 962-c. 922   Solomon שלמה בן-דוד מלך ישראל
Shelmoh ben Daud, Melek Ysr’al
c. 922   Rehoboam רהבעם בן-שלמה מלך ישראל
Rehbem ben Shelmoh, Melek Ysr’al
Became king of Judah.
Israel was divided into northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms
The House of Jeroboam
922-901 931-910 Jeroboam I ירבם בן-נבט מלך ישראל
Yeroboam ben Nebat, Melek Ysr’al
901-900 910-909 Nadab נדב בן-ירבם מלך ישראל
Nadab ben Yeroboam, Melek Ysr’al
900-877 909-886 Baasha בעשא בן-אחיה מלך ישראל
Baasa ben Achiy’a;, Melek Ysr’al
877-876 886-885 Elah אלה בן-בעשא מלך ישראל
’Alah ben Baasa;, Melek Ysr’al
876 885 Zimri זמרי מלך ישראל Zimry, Melek Ysr’al Servant of Elah, ruled for 7 days.
876-869 885-874 Omri עמרי מלך ישראל
Omry, Melek Ysr’al
Captain of the Hosts. "Khumri" in some foreign records, founder of a new dynasty.
869-850 874-853 Ahab אהאב בן-עמרי מלך ישראל
’Ach’ab ben Omry;, Melek Ysr’al
Sent troops against the Assyrians in the Battle of Karkar, 853; killed in siege.
850-849 853-852 Ahaziah אהזיהו בן-אהאב מלך ישראל
’Achazyhu ben ’Ach’ab;, Melek Ysr’al
849-842 852-841 Joram יורם בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
Yoram ben ’Ach’ab;, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Jehu
842-815 841-814 Jehu יהוא בן-נמשי מלך ישראל
Yehu’a ben Nimshi;, Melek Ysr’al
A contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858-824), and paid tribute to him.
815-801 814-798 Jehoahaz יהואחז בן-יהוא מלך ישראל
Yeho’achaz ben Yehu’a;, Melek Ysr’al
801-786 798-782 Jehoash or Joash יואש בן-יואחז מלך ישראל
Yeho’ash ben Yeho’achaz;, Melek Ysr’al
Jehoash paid tribute to King Adad-nirari III of Assyria (810-783).
786-746 782-753 Jeroboam II ירבעם בן-יואש מלך ישראל
Yeroboam ben Yeho’ash;, Melek Ysr’al
Israel at the height of its power.
746 753  Zachariah זכריה בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Zachariah ben Yeroboam, Melek Ysr’al
The House of Jabesh
745 752 Shallum שלם בנ-יבש מלך ישראל
Shallum ben Yabesh, Melek Ysr’al
The Last House of Israel
745-738 752-742 Menahem מנחם בן-גדי מלך ישראל
Menochem ben Gady, Melek Ysr’al
738-737 742-740 Pekahiah ףקהיה בן-מנחם מלך ישראל
Pekahyah ben Menahem, Melek Ysr’al
737-732 740-732 Pekah ףקה בן-ףמליו מלך ישראל
Pekah ben Ramalyhu, Melek Ysr’al
732-722 732-722 Hoshea הושע בן-אלה מלך ישראל
Hoshe ben ’Alah;, Melek Ysr’al

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

See also