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Israel, Kingdom of: (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 12:2,3) Rehoboam insolently refused to lighten the burdensome
taxation and services which his father had imposed on his subjects
(1 Kings 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 10:1)ff 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
(1 Kings 14:17) Samaria was subsequently
chosen as the capital
(1 Kings 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.
"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
(Ezra 4:2,10; 2 Kings 17:24-29)
In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel.
1. "There was no fixed capital and no religious centre.
2. The army was often insubordinate.
3. The succession was constantly interrupted, so that out of
nineteen kings there were no less than nine dynasties, each
ushered in by a revolution.
4. 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.