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. It was very small in extent, being only about the size of the Scottish county of Perth.
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 next 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. For about another century and a half Judah had a somewhat checkered existence after the termination of the kingdom of Israel till its final overthrow in the destruction of the temple (B.C. 588) by Nebuzar-adan, who was captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard ( 2 Kings 25:8-21 ).
The kingdom maintained a separate existence for three hundred and eighty-nine years. It occupied an area of 3,435 square miles. (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF .)