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- This article is about the northern kingdom of Israel during the period of divided monarchy, For the original kingdom during the period of the united monarchy see Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy). For other uses see Kingdom of Israel (disambiguation).
The Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew: ממלכת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Modern Mamlechet Yisraʼel Tiberian Malḵûṯ Yiśrāʼēl)) was one of the successor states to the older United Monarchy (also often called the 'Kingdom of Israel'). It existed roughly from the 930s BC until about the 720s BC, when the kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian Empire. The major cities of the kingdom were Shechem, Tirzah, and Shomron (Samaria).
Historians often refer to ancient Israel as the Northern Kingdom to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Its capital was Samaria.
The united Kingdom of Israel existed from about 1030 to about 930 BCE. It was a union of all the twelve Israelite tribes living in the area that presently approximates modern Israel and the Palestinian territories.
After the death of Solomon in about 931 BCE, all the Israelite tribes except for Judah and Benjamin (called the ten northern tribes) refused to accept Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, as their king. The rebellion against Rehoboam arose after he refused to lighten the burden of taxation and services that his father had imposed on his subjects.
Jeroboam, who was not of the Davidic line, was sent for from Egypt by the malcontents.  The Tribe of Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, "Every man to his tents, O Israel".  Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem, and in 930 BCE (some date it in 920 BCE), Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem. After the revolt at Shechem at first only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. But very soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah. The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the kingdom of Judah. 2 Chronicles 15:9 also says that members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon fled to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah.
Both Eusebius and Josephus place the division in 997 BCE - lunar dates of Venus can be mistaken as 64 years earlier. (Crossing of sun over Mars as Tamuz would be 10 July 997 BCE.)
Shechem was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel. Afterwards it was [[Tirzah].] King Omri built his capital in Samaria (16:24), which continued as such until the destruction of the Kingdom by the Assyrians ( ). During the three-year siege of Samaria by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser V died and was succeeded by Sargon II of Assyria, who himself records the capture of that city thus: "Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" into Assyria. Thus, around 720 BCE, after two centuries, the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.
Today, among archaeologists, Samaria is one of the most universally accepted archaeological sites from the biblical period At around 850 BCE, the Mesha Stele, written in Old Hebrew alphabet, records a victory of King Mesha of Moab against king Omri of Israel and his son Ahab.
Relations between the kingdoms
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 Damascus.
The conflict between Israel and Judah was resolved when Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, allied himself with the house of Ahab through marriage. Later, Jehosophat's son and successor, Jehoram of Judah, married Ahab's daughter Athaliah, cementing the alliance. However, the sons of Ahab were slaughtered by Jehu following his coup d'état around 840 BCE.
Destruction of the kingdom
In c. 732 BCE, Pekah of Israel allied with Rezin, king of Aram, threatened Jerusalem, and Ahaz, king of Judah, appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of Assyria, for help. After Ahaz paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser Tiglath-Pileser sacked Damascus and Israel, annexing Aram and territory of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh in Gilead including the desert outposts of Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. People from these tribes including the Reubenite leader, were taken captive and resettled in the region of the Habor river system. Tiglath-Pilesar also captured the territory of Naphtali and the city of Janoah in Ephraim and an Assyrian governor was placed over the region of Naphtali. According to and 15:29, the population of Aram and the annexed part of Israel was deported to Assyria.
Israel continued to exist within the reduced territory as an independent kingdom until around 720 BCE, when it was again invaded by Assyria and the rest of the population deported. 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 (Siloam) to be provided by King Hezekiah.
The remainder of the northern kingdom was conquered by Sargon II, who captured the capital city Samaria in the territory of Ephraim. He took 27,290 people captive from the city of Samaria resettling some with the Israelites in the Habor region and the rest in the land of the Medes thus establishing Jewish communities in Ecbatana and Rages.
The Book of Tobit additionally records that Sargon had taken other captives from the northern kingdom to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, in particular Tobit from the town of Thisbe in Naphtali.
In medieval Rabbinic fable the concept of the ten tribes who were taken away from the House of David (who continued the rule of the southern kingdom of Judah) becomes confounded with accounts of the Assyrian deportations leading to the myth of the "Ten Lost Tribes". The recorded history differs from this fable: No record exists of the Assyrians having exiled people from Dan, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun or western Manasseh. Descriptions of the deportation of people from Reuben, Gad, Manasseh in Gilead, Ephraim and Naphtali indicate that only a portion of these tribes were deported and the places to which they were deported are known locations given in the accounts. The deported communities are mentioned as still existing at the time of the composition of the books of Kings and Chronicles and did not disappear by assimilation. 2 Chronicles 30:1-11 explicitly mentions northern Israelites who had been spared by the Assyrians in particular people of Dan, Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher and Zebulun and how members of the latter three returned to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah.
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah continued to exist as an independent state until 586 BCE, when it was conquered by the Babylonian Empire.
Religion in the Kingdom of Israel
The religious climate of the Kingdom of Israel appears to have followed two major trends. The first, that of Yahweh detailed in the Hebrew Bible, and the second the cult of Baal as detailed in the so-called "Baal cycle" discovered at Ugarit.
It is recorded that Jeroboam built two places of worship, one at Bethel and one at far northern Dan, to be an alternative to the Temple at Jerusalem. He did not want the people of his kingdom to have religious ties to Jerusalem, the capital city of the rival Kingdom of Judah. He had golden calves erected for the people to represent their "god." These acts became known as the way of Jeroboam or the sins of Jeroboam. ( )
Prophets active in the Kingdom of Israel
- Elijah, opponent of religious reforms under Ahab and Jezebel
- Elisha, chosen successor of Elijah
Royal Houses 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 and Kenneth Kitchen, all of which are shown below. All dates are BC/BCE.
|Albright||Thiele||Galil||Kitchen||Common/Biblical name||Regnal Name and style||Notes|
The House of Saul
|1051–1010||1050–1010||1050–1010||1042–1010||Saul||'שאול המלך or Sha'ul||Reigned in Israel & Judah for 40 years: He killed himself during the war with the Philistines in Mount Gilboa.|
|1010–1008||1000–998||1010–1008||1006–1004||Ish-bosheth||(also called Eshba'al or Ashba'al or Ishbaal)||Reigned in Israel for 2 years:|
The House of David
|1000–962||1010–970||1010–970||David||דוד בן-ישי מלך ישראל
David ben Yeshay, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Judah in Hebron 7 years and then over both Israel & Judah for 33 years in Jerusalem, 40 years in total. Death: Natural causes|
|962–922||970–931||971–931||Solomon||שלמה בן-דוד מלך ישראל
Shelomoh ben David, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over United Kingdom of Israel (& Judah) in Jerusalem for 40 years. Death: Natural Causes|
The House of Jeroboam
|922–901||931–910||931–909||931–911||Jeroboam I||ירבעם בן-נבט מלך ישראל
Yerav’am ben Nevat, Melekh Yisra’el
|Led the rebellion and divided the kingdoms. Reigned in Israel (Northern Kingdom) for 22 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|901–900||910–909||909–908||911–910||Nadab||נדב בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Nadav ben Yerav’am, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned in Israel for 2 years. Death: Killed by Baasha, son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar, along with his whole family.|
The House of Baasha
|900–877||909–886||908–885||910–887||Baasha||בעשא בן-אחיה מלך ישראל
Ba’asha ben Achiyah, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Tirzah for 24 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|877–876||886–885||885–884||887–886||Elah||אלה בן-בעשא מלך ישראל
’Elah ben Ba’asha, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Tirzah for 2 years. Death: Zimri, one of his officials, got him drunk and killed him at his house in Azra.|
The House of Zimri
|876||885||884||886||Zimri||זמרי מלך ישראל
Zimri, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Tirzah for 7 days. Death: He set his palace on fire when Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah.|
The House of Omri
|876–869||885–874||884–873||886–875||Omri||עמרי מלך ישראל
’Omri, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 12 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|869–850||874–853||873–852||875–853||Ahab||אחאב בן-עמרי מלך ישראל
Ah’av ben ’Omri, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 22 years. Death: Shot by an archer during the battle at Ramoth Gilead. He died upon his arrival on Samaria.|
|850–849||853–852||852–851||853–852||Ahaziah||אחזיהו בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
’Ahazyahu ben 'Ah’av, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 2 years. Death: He fell through the lattice of his upper room and injured himself. Elijah the prophet told him he would never leave his bed and would die on it.|
|849–842||852–841||851–842||852–841||Joram||יורם בן-אחאב מלך ישראל
Yehoram ben ’Ah’av, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 11 years. Death: Killed by Jehu, the next king of Israel,|
The House of Jehu
|842–815||841–814||842–815||841–814||Jehu||יהוא בן-נמשי מלך ישראל
Yehu ben Nimshi, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 28 years.  Death: Natural Causes|
|815–801||814–798||819–804||814–806||Jehoahaz||יהואחז בן-יהוא מלך ישראל
Yeho’ahaz ben Yehu, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 17 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|יואש בן-יואחז מלך ישראל
Yeho’ash ben Yeho’ahaz, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 16 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|786–746||782–753||790–750||791–750||Jeroboam II||ירבעם בן-יואש מלך ישראל
Yerav’am ben Yeho’ash, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 41 years. Death: Natural Causes. The Book of Jonah or Jonah's journey to Nineveh (when he was swallowed by a whale or fish) happened at that time.|
|746||753||750–749||750||Zachariah||זכריה בן-ירבעם מלך ישראל
Zekharyah ben Yerav’am, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 6 months. Death: Shallum son of Jabesh killed him in front of the people and succeeded as king.|
The House of Shallum
|745||752||749||749||Shallum||שלם בן-יבש מלך ישראל
Shallum ben Yavesh, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 1 month. Death: Menahem son of Gadi attacked Shallum and assassinated him.|
The House of Menahem
|745–738||752–742||749–738||749–739||Menahem||מנחם בן-גדי מלך ישראל
Menahem ben Gadi, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 10 years. Death: Natural Causes|
|738–737||742–740||738–736||739–737||Pekahiah||פקחיה בן-מנחם מלך ישראל
Pekahyah ben Menahem, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 2 years. Death: Pekah son of Remaliah, one of the chief officers, took 50 men with him and assassinated the king in his palace at Samaria.|
The House of Pekah
|737–732||740–732||736–732||737–732||Pekah||פקח בן-רמליהו מלך ישראל
Pekah ben Remalyahu, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 20 years. Death: Hoshea son of Elah conspired against him and assassinated him.|
The House of Hoshea
|732–722||732–722||732–722||732–722||Hoshea||הושע בן-אלה מלך ישראל
Hoshe’a ben ’Elah, Melekh Yisra’el
|Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 9 years.  Death: King Shalmanser attacked and captured Samaria. He charged Hoshea of treason and he put him in prison, then, he deported the Israelites to Assyria.|
- *Zechariah 10:6
- *II Samuel 2:10
- 1 Kings 22:51 and many subsequent passages
- See Yohanan Aharoni, et al., The Macmillan Bible Atlas, Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 94.; and Amihai Mazar, The Archaeology of the Land of the Bible: 10,000 – 586 B.C.E, New York: Doubleday, 1992, p. 404, see Pp. 406-410 for discussion of archaeological significance of Shomron (Samaria) under Omride Dynasty.
- Lester L. Grabbe, Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? (New York: T&T Clark, 2007): 134
- Finkelstein & Silberman 2001,The Bible Unearthed.
- Considered to be a contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858–824) to whom he paid tribute. This is based on an inscription on The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III showing "Yaua" son of Omri paying tribute, dated to 841 BCE.
- Paid tribute to the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V (727–722 BCE]]) but rebelled in 725 BCE. Shalmaneser besieged the capital, Samaria, but died shortly before the fall of the city. His brother Sargon II (722–705 BCE) completed the siege with success in 722, making Judah the sole remaining Hebrew kingdom. The ten tribes were exiled to other parts of the Assyrian Empire and never heard from again in recorded history. A small group of people fled south to take refuge in Judah.
- About Israel - The Information Center About Israel
- Biblical History The Jewish History Resource Center - Project of the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Complete Bible Genealogy A synchronized chart of the kings of Israel and Judah