Israel, Kingdom of

Israel, Kingdom of [S]

(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). 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 ( 1 Kings 12:2 1 Kings 12:3 ). 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 Chr. 10 ), and Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success, was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years, till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of Ahab.

Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of Palestine, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The kingdom of Israel comprehended about 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. (See CAPTIVITY .)

"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 Palestine."

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 Ezra 4:10 ; 2 Kings 17:24-29 ). (See KINGS .)

In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel.

  • "There was no fixed capital and no religious centre.
  • The army was often insubordinate.
  • The succession was constantly interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution.
  • The authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T. Hist.)

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Israel, Kingdom of". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Israel, Kingdom of. [E]

    I. the kingdom. --The prophet Ahijah of Shiloh, who was commissioned in the latter days of Solomon to announce the division of the kingdom, left one tribe (Judah) to the house of David, and assigned ten to Jeroboam. ( 1 Kings 11:31 1 Kings 11:35 ) These were probably Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), Issachar, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, Gad and Reuben; Levi being intentionally omitted. Eventually the greater part of Benjamin, and probably the whole of Simeon and Dan, were included as if by common consent in the kingdom of Judah. With respect to the conquests of David, Moab appears to have been attached to the kingdom of Israel. ( 2 Kings 3:4 ) so much of Syria as remained subject to Solomon, see ( 1 Kings 11:24 ) would probably be claimed by his successor in the northern kingdom; and Ammon was at one time allied ( 2 Chronicles 20:1 ) we know not how closely or how early, with Moab. The seacoast between Accho and Japho remained in the possession of Israel. The whole population may perhaps have amounted to at least three and a half millions. II. the capitals . --Shechem was the first capital of the new kingdom. ( 1 Kings 12:25 ) Subsequently Tirzah became the royal residence, if not the capital, of Jeroboam ( 1 Kings 14:17 ) and of his successors. cf. ( 1 Kings 15:33 ; 1 Kings 16:8 1 Kings 16:17 1 Kings 16:23 ) Samaria was chosen by Omri. ( 1 Kings 16:24 ) Jezreel was probably only a royal residence of some of the Israelitish kings. III. History . --The kingdom of Israel lasted 254 years, from B.C. 975 to B.C. 721. The detailed history of the kingdom will be found under the names of its nineteen kings. See chart of the kings of Judah and Israel, at the end of the work. A summary view may be taken in four periods: (a) B.C. 975-929. Jeroboam had not sufficient force of character in himself to make a lasting impression on his people. A king, but not a founder of a dynasty, he aimed at nothing beyond securing his present elevation. Baasha, in the midst of the army at Gibbethon, slew the son and successor of Jeroboam; Zimri, a captain of chariots, slew the son and successor of Baasha; Omri, the captain of the host, was chosen to punish Zimri; and after a civil war of four years he prevailed over Tibni, the choice of half the people. (b) B.C. 929-884. For forty-five years Israel wag governed by the house of Omri. The princes of his house cultivated an alliance with the king of Judah which was cemented by the marriage of Jehoram and Athaliah. The adoption of Baal-worship led to a reaction in the nation, to the moral triumph of the prophets in the person of Elijah, and to extinction of the house of Ahab in obedience to the bidding of Elisha. (c) B.C. 884-772. Unparalleled triumphs, but deeper humiliation, awaited the kingdom of Israel under the dynasty of Jehu. Hazael, the ablest king of Damascus, reduced Jehoahaz to the condition of a vassal, and triumphed for a time over both the disunited Hebrew kingdoms. Almost the first sign of the restoration of their strength was a war between them; and Jehoash, the grandson of Jehu, entered Jerusalem as the conqueror of Amaziah. Jehoash also turned the tide of war against the Syrians; and Jeroboam II., the most powerful of all the kings of of Israel, captured Damascus, and recovered the whole ancient frontier from Hamath to the Dead Sea. This short-lived greatness expired with the last king of Jehus line. (d) B.C. 772-721. Military violence, it would seem, broke off the hereditary succession after the obscure and probably convulsed reign of Zachariah. An unsuccessful usurper, Shallum, is followed by the cruel Menahem, who, being unable to make head against the first attack of Assyria under Pul, became the agent of that monarch for the oppressive taxation of his subjects. Yet his power at home was sufficient to insure for his son and successor Pekahiah a ten-years reign, cut short by a bold usurper, Pekah. Abandoning the northern and transjordanic regions to the encroaching power of Assyria under Tiglath-pileser, he was very near subjugating Judah, with the help of Damascus, now the coequal ally of Israel. But Assyria interposing summarily put an end to the independence of Damascus, and perhaps was the indirect cause of the assassination of the baffled Pekah. The irresolute Hoshea, the next and last usurper, became tributary to his invaders Shalmaneser, betrayed the Assyrian to the rival monarchy of Egypt, and was punished by the loss of his liberty, and by the capture, after a three-years siege, of his strong capital, Samaria. Some gleanings of the ten tribes yet remained in the land after so many years of religious decline, moral debasement, national degradation, anarchy, bloodshed and deportation. Even these were gathered up by the conqueror and carried to Assyria, never again, as a distinct people, to occupy their portion of that goodly and pleasant land which their forefathers won under Joshua from the heathen. (Schaff Bib. Dic.) adds to this summary that "after the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, B.C. 721, the name Israel began to be applied to the whole surviving people. No doubt many of the kingdom of Israel joined the later kingdom of the Jews after the captivity, and became part of that kingdom.--ED.) [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary


    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Israel, Kingdom of'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.