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Judeamarker is a term used for the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel.
Map of the region in the 9th century BCE

The Kingdom of Judah ( ) existed at two periods in Jewish history. According to the Hebrew Bible, a kingdom emerged in Judah after the death of Saul, when the tribe of Judah elevated David, who came from the Tribe of Judah, to rule over it. After seven years David became king of a reunited Kingdom of Israel. During this period, Jerusalemmarker became the capital of the united kingdom. ( ) However, in about 930 BCE the united kingdom split, with ten of the twelve Tribes of Israel rejecting Solomon's son Rehoboam as their king. The Tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam, and reformed the Kingdom of Judah, while the other entity continuing to be called the Kingdom of Israel, or Israel. The Kingdom of Judah is also often referred to as the Southern Kingdom, while the Kingdom of Israel following the split is referred to as the Northern Kingdom.

Judah existed until 586 BCE, when it was conquered by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuzar-adan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard. ( ) With the deportation of the population and the destruction of the Templemarker and of Jerusalem, the destruction of the kingdom was complete.

The Davidic dynasty began when the tribe of Judah made David its king, following the death of Saul. The Davidic line continued when David became king of the reunited Kingdom of Israel. When the united kingdom split, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued to be loyal to the Davidic line, which ruled it until the kingdom was destroyed in 586 BCE. However, the Davidic line continued to be respected by the exiles in Babylon, who regarded the Exilarchs as kings-in-exile.


[[Image:Levant 830.svg|thumb|250px|Map of the southern Levant, c.830s BCE.


The Kingdom of Judah comprised the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, an area of about . During the first period of the Kingdom of Judah, the capital was Hebronmarker, and during the second period, the capital of the united kingdom, Jerusalemmarker, continued as the capital of Judah. Jerusalem was in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.

The area that comprised the kingdom consisted of the area known as Har Yehudah ("the mountain (district) of the gorge(s)"). The area seems to have originally been occupied by Kenites, Calebites, Othnielites, and in Jerusalem Jebusites.


Jewish king and soldiers in ancient Judah

The united Kingdom of Israel was a union of the twelve Israelite tribes living in the area that presently approximates modern Israelmarker and the Palestinian territoriesmarker. The united kingdom existed from around 1030 to about 930 BCE.

After the death of Solomon in 931 BCE, the ten northern tribes refused to accept Rehoboam as their king, and instead in about 930 BCE chose Jeroboam, who was not of the Davidic line, as their king. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel. The revolt took place at Shechemmarker, and at first only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. But very soon thereafter the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah, and Jerusalemmarker (which was in Benjamin's territory: ) became the capital of the new kingdom. The southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah, or Judah. also says that members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon "fled" to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah.

For the first sixty years, the kings of Judah tried to re-establish their authority over the northern kingdom, and there was perpetual war between them. For the following eighty years, there was no open war between them, and, for the most part, they were in friendly alliance, co-operating against their common enemies, especially against Damascusmarker.

Israel existed as an independent state until around 720 BCE when it was conquered by the Assyrian Empire. The Bible relates that the population of Israel was exiled, becoming known as the The Ten Lost Tribes. However, other writers estimate that only a fifth of the population (about 40,000) were actually resettled out of the area during the two deportation periods under Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II. Many also fled south to Jerusalem, which appears to have expanded in size fivefold during this period, requiring a new wall to be built, and a new source of water (Siloammarker) to be provided by King Hezekiah.

Reconstructed Israelite house from the Monarchy period
After the destruction of Israel, Judah continued to exist for about a century and a half until being conquered 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).
 In his reign is also dated the Siloam inscription in Old Hebrew alphabet.

Manasseh of Judah (698-642 BCE), sacrificed his son to Molech, . 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).

In 586 BCE, the Babyloníans, under king Nebuchadnezzar II, captured Jerusalem. The First Templemarker was destroyed as was the city of Jerusalem. To this day, the destruction is remembered by Jews on the 9th of Av, or Tisha B'Av.

Following this conquest, much of the population of Judah was deported from the land and dispersed throughout the Babylonian Empire, and the independent Kingdom of Judah came to an end. The House of David continued to be respected and recognised as leaders of the Babylonian Jewish community as Exilarchs. A Jewish kingdom was revived by the Maccabees four centuries later, in a modified form.

Prophets of Judah

The Kings of Judah

The genealogy of the kings of Judah, along with the kings of Israel.

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.

Albright Thiele Galil Kitchen Common/Biblical name Regnal Name and style Notes

1000–962   1010–970 1010–970 David דוד בן-ישי מלך ישראל
David ben Yishai, Melekh Ysra’el
Reigned over Israel & Judah in Jerusalem for 33 years and 7 years in Hebron, 40 years in total.
Death: natural causes
962–922   970–931 971–931 Solomon שלמה בן-דוד מלך ישראל
Shelomoh ben David, Melekh Ysra’el
Reigned over Israel & Judah in Jerusalem for 40 years.
Death: natural causes

Son of David by Bathsheba, his rights of succession were disputed by his older half-brother Adonijah
922–915 931–913 931–914 931–915 Rehoboam רחבעם בן-שלמה מלך יהודה
Rehav’am ben Shlomoh, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 17 years.
Death: natural causes
915–913 913–911 914–911 915–912 Abijam אבים בן-רחבעם מלך יהודה
’Aviyam ben Rehav’am, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 3 years.
Death: natural causes
913–873 911–870 911–870 912–871 Asa אסא בן-אבים מלך יהודה
’Asa ben ’Aviyam, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 41 years.
Death: severe foot disease
873–849 870–848 870–845 871–849 Jehoshaphat יהושפט בן-אסא מלך יהודה

Yehoshafat ben ’Asa, Melekh Yahudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 25 years.
Death: natural causes
849–842 848–841 851–843 849–842 Jehoram יהורם בן-יהושפט מלך יהודה
Yehoram ben Yehoshafat, Melekh Yahudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 8 years.
Death: severe stomach disease
842–842 841–841 843–842 842–841 Ahaziah אחזיהו בן-יהורם מלך יהודה
’Ahazyahu ben Yehoram, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 1 year.
Death: killed by Jehu, who usurped the throne of Israel
842–837 841–835 842–835 841–835 Athaliah עתליה בת-עמרי מלכת יהודה
‘Atalyah bat ‘Omri, Malkat Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 6 years.
Death: killed by the troops assigned by Jehoiada the Priest to protect Joash.

Queen Mother, widow of Jehoram and mother of Ahaziah
837–800 835–796 842–802 841–796 Jehoash יהואש בן-אחזיהו מלך יהודה
Yehoash ben ’Ahazyahu, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 40 years.
Death: killed by his officials namely: Zabad, son of Shimeath, a Moabite Woman, and Jehozabad, son of Shimrith, a Moabite Woman.
800–783 796–767 805–776 796–776 Amaziah אמציה בן-יהואש מלך יהודה
’Amatzyah ben Yehoash, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 29 years.
Death: killed in Lachish by the men sent by his officials who conspired against him.
783–742 767–740 788–736 776–736 Uzziah
עזיה בן-אמציה מלך יהודה
‘Uziyah ben ’Amatzyah, Melekh Yehudah
עזריה בן-אמציה מלך יהודה
‘Azaryah ben ’Amatzyah, Melekh Yehudah

Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 52 years.
Death: Tzaraas

George Syncellus wrote that the First Olympiad took place in Uzziah's 48th regnal year.
742–735 740–732 758–742 750–735/30 Jotham יותם בן-עזיה מלך יהודה
Yotam ben ‘Uziyah, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 16 years.
Death: natural causes
735–715 732–716 742–726 735/31–715 Ahaz אחז בן-יותם מלך יהודה
’Ahaz ben Yotam, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 16 years.
Death: natural causes

The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III records he received tribute from Ahaz; compare 2 Kings 16:7-9
715–687 716–687 726–697 715–687 Hezekiah חזקיה בן-אחז מלך יהודה
Hizqiyah ben ’Ahaz, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 29 years.
Death: Natural Causes

Contemporary with Sennacherib of Assyria and Merodach-Baladan of Babylon.
687–642 687–643 697–642 687–642 Manasseh מנשה בן-חזקיה מלך יהודה
Menasheh ben Hizqiyah, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 55 years.
Death: natural causes

Mentioned in Assyrian records as a contemporary of Esarhaddon
642–640 643–641 642–640 642–640 Amon אמון בן-מנשה מלך יהודה
’Amon ben Menasheh, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 2 years.
Death: killed by his officials, which were killed later on by the people of Judah.
640–609 641–609 640–609 640–609 Josiah יאשיהו בן-אמון מלך יהודה
Yo’shiyahu ben ’Amon, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 31 years.
Death: shot by archers during the battle against Neco of Egypt.

He died upon his arrival on Jerusalem.
609 609 609 609 Jehoahaz

יהואחז בן-יאשיהו מלך יהודה
Yeho’ahaz ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 3 months.
Death: Neco, king of Egypt, dethroned him and was replaced by his brother, Eliakim.

Carried off to Egypt, where he died.
609–598 609–598 609–598 609–598 Jehoiakim יהויקים בן-יאשיהו מלך יהודה
Yehoyaqim ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 11 years.
Death: Natural Causes

The Battle of Carchemish occurred in the fourth year of his reign (Jeremiah 46:2)
598 598 598–597 598–597 Jehoiachin
יהויכין בן-יהויקים מלך יהודה
Yehoyakhin ben Yehoyaqim, Melekh Yehudah
יכניהו בן-יהויקים מלך יהודה
Yekhonyahu ben Yehoyaqim, Melekh Yehudah

Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 3 months & 10 days.
Death: King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon sent for him and brought him to Babylon, where he lived and died.

Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians and Jehoiachin deposed on 16 March, 597 BCE.

Called Jeconiah in Jeremiah and Esther
597–587 597–586 597–586 597–586 Zedekiah צדקיהו בן-יהויכין מלך יהודה
Tzidqiyahu ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
Reigned over Judah in Jerusalem for 11 years.
Death: unknown.

His reign saw the second rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar (588-586 BCE).

Jerusalem was captured after a lengthy siege, the temple burnt, Zedekiah blinded and taken into exile, and Judah reduced to a province.

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:

  • 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.

  • 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.



  1. Finkelstein & Silberman 2001,The Bible Unearthed.
  3. [1] See also , ,
  4. The Jewish Agency For Israel Homepage
  5. On the Reliability of the Old Testament (2003) by Kenneth Kitchen. Grand Rapids and Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8028-4960-1.

See also

External links

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