Kingdom of Israel

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The Kingdom of Israel was first set up by Saul, who was the first king to unite the twelve tribes.

History of Israel

Following the Exodus, where the prophet Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, the nation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses was shown the promised land, but not permitted to enter, and Joshua led the children to inherit the land. He first attacked the city of Jericho, and eventually took over many of the cities in the area. He divided the area into 12 parts for the 13 tribes. (Joseph's two sons, Manasseh, and Ephraim both received a portion, while the tribe of Levi was to hold the priesthood and live among the other tribes.)

For a time, the nation was ruled by Judges because Joshua felt a monarchy would be the route of much oppression among the people. However, after a time, the nation felt they needed a king "to be like other people." The prophet Samuel annointed Saul to be the king, and Saul was able to give a united effort against the Philistines. He was also the first king to unite all twelve tribes of Israel.

Saul at first welcomed David, who killed Goliath, as a successor, but eventually he became very jealous of David, and the two became rivals. When Saul was killed in battle by the Philistines, the people welcomed David to be the new king. David greatly expanded the borders of the nation.

David's son, Solomon was the next, and last king of the united kingdom. Solomon also expanded the borders, and became a great builder, complete the Temple of Solomon, among many massive building projects. During the time of Solomon, the nation switched from an agricultural society to a more modern society with a division of labor among tax collectors, bankers, etc.

The Split

Following Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam became king. Because Solomon and Rehoboam had heavily taxed the northern 10 tribes, and favored the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the northern 10 tribes asked for some relief from their heavy tax burden. Rehoboam responded by increasing their taxes, and the northern tribes revolted, killing the tax collector who Rehoboam had sent, and forming a new kingdom, and enlisted the exiled Jeroboam to be their new king.

The northern 10 tribes became known as the new Kingdom of Israel or "Northern Kingdom", while the two southern tribes became known as the Kingdom of Judah, or "Southern Kingdom". Jeroboam, who had returned from Egypt, immediately instituted idol worship, and brought back the worship of the golden calf, claiming this was the same calf that Aaron made when the children were wandering in the wilderness. Subsequent kings continued this trend.


While the kingdom of Judah certainly had problems with idol worship as well, starting with Rehoboam who started idol worship in the Kingdom of Judah, the kingdom also had some reformer kings, such as Jeroboam II who tried to throw down the idols and worship Jehovah. As a result, many of the prophets of the Old Testament came from Judah, and not Israel. Many of these prophets, such as Amos, Micah, and Hosea were sent to the northern kingdom to preach repentance, and prophecied that the kingdom would be overrun if the people didn't repent.

Foreign Dominance

Following these prophets, the Assyrian Empire overtook the Kingdom of Israel. However, they were not able to take over the [[Kingdom of Judah, because the prophet Isaiah taught the people to repent, and an angel was sent to turn away the foreign army. The Assyrians forced many in the northern kingdom to relocate, and is known as the "Exile" of Israel. Later the Babylonians overtook the Assyrian Empire, and the northern 10 tribes became "lost", and are now known as the Lost 10 Tribes.

See Also