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According to Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman , authors of The Bible Unearthed , ideas of a united monarchy are not accurate history but rather "creative expressions of a powerful religious reform movement," possibly "based on certain historical kernels. He accepts the historicity of David and Solomon but cautions that "[t]hey must be seen. The archeological evidence also does not support the existence of a united monarchy under David and Solomon as described in the Bible, so the rubric of "united monarchy" is best abandoned, although it remains useful for discussing how the Bible views the Israelite past".

Excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa , an Iron Age site located in Judah, found an urbanized settlement radiocarbon dated well before scholars such as Finklestein suggest urbanization began in Judah, supporting existence of a Judahite kingdom. It can no longer be argued that the Kingdom of Judah developed only in the late eighth century BCE or at some other later date. In August , Israeli archaeologists discovered massive fortifications in the ruins of the ancient city of Gath , supposed birthplace of Goliath.

The size of the fortifications show Gath to have been a very large city in the 10th century BCE, perhaps the largest in Canaan at the time. The professor leading the dig, Aren Maeir , estimated that Gath was as much as four times the size of contemporary Jerusalem, casting doubt that David's kingdom could have been as powerful as described in the Bible. In , Finkelstein claimed that mounting evidence from archaeological digs has led him to believe that a united monarchy of sorts did exist, but that it was under Jeroboam II , some two centuries after the reigns of David and Solomon.

Finkelstein claimed that the Biblical narrative was likely invented under the reign of King Josiah to justify expansion and that the historical united monarchy was the inspiration. According to the Book of Judges , before the rise of the united monarchy the Israelite tribes lived as a confederation under ad hoc charismatic leaders called judges. Abimelech the first judge to be declared king by the men of Shechem and the house of Millo Bet Millo , reigned over Israel for three years before he was killed during the Battle of Thebez.

According to the biblical account, the united monarchy was formed when there was a large popular expression in favour of introducing a king to rule over the decentralised Israelite confederacy.

Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) - Wikipedia

Increasing pressure from the Philistines and other neighboring peoples is said by the Bible to have forced the Israelites to unite as state following the anointing of Saul by Samuel. The Bible treats the notion of kingship as having been anathema , it being viewed as the placing of one man in a position of reverence and power that ought to be reserved for God.

David and Saul become bitter enemies, at least from Saul's point of view, although sources describe Jonathan , Saul's son, and Michal , Saul's daughter, as assisting David to escape Saul, ultimately leading to a brief reconciliation before Saul's death. According to the Second Book of Samuel , Saul's disobedience prompts God to curtail his reign and hand his kingdom over to another dynasty.

Saul dies in battle against the Philistines [ citation needed ] after a reign of just two years. David, heretofore king of Judah only, ends the conspiracy and is appointed king of Israel in Ishbaal's place. Some textual critics and biblical scholars suggest that David was actually responsible for the assassination and that David's innocence was a later invention to legitimize his actions. Israel rebels against David and appoints David's son Absalom king, forcing David into exile east of the Jordan.


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Having retaken Judah and asserted control over Israel, David returns west of the Jordan. Throughout the remainder of his reign, he continues to suppress rebellions that arise among the people of Israel. This section of the biblical text, and the bulk of the remainder of the Books of Samuel, is thought by textual critics to belong to a single large source known as the Court History of David. Although reflecting the political bias of the kingdom of Judah following the destruction of Israel , the source remains somewhat more neutral than the pro- and antimonarchical sources comprising earlier parts of the text.

Israel and Judah are portrayed in this source as quite distinct kingdoms. Prior to the ascension of Saul, the city of Shiloh is seen as the national capital , at least in the religious sense, a claim that from an archaeological standpoint is considered plausible. Throughout the monarchy of Saul, the capital is located in Gibeah.

After Saul's death, Ishbaal rules over the kingdom of Israel from Mahanaim , while David establishes the capital of the kingdom of Judah in Hebron.


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Following the civil war with Saul, David forges a strong and unified Israelite monarchy, reigning c. In the biblical account, David embarks on successful military campaigns against the enemies of Judah and Israel, defeating such regional entities as the Philistines to secure his borders. Israel grows from kingdom to empire, its sphere of influence—militarily and politically—expanding to control the weaker client states of Philistia , Moab , Edom and Ammon , with Aramaean city-states Aram-Zobah and Aram-Damascus becoming vassal states. David is succeeded by his son Solomon , who obtains the throne in a somewhat disreputable manner from rival claimant Adonijah , his elder brother.

Solomon embarks on an aggressive campaign of public building, erecting the First Temple in Jerusalem with assistance from the King of Tyre , with whom he has maintained the strong alliance forged by his father. Solomon goes on to rebuild numerous major cities, including Megiddo , Hazor , and Gezer.

The Kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C.E

Some scholars have attributed aspects of archaeological remains excavated from this sites, including six-chambered gates and ashlar palaces, to this building programme. However, excavation teams at Megiddo later established that these structures are from different time periods. Yigael Yadin subsequently concluded that the stables once believed to have served Solomon's vast collection of horses were actually built by King Ahab in the 9th century BCE. Following Solomon's death in c. When Solomon's successor Rehoboam dealt tactlessly with economic complaints of the northern tribes, in about BCE there are differences of opinion as to the actual year the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah split into two kingdoms: the northern Kingdom of Israel , which included the cities of Shechem and Samaria , and the southern Kingdom of Judah , which contained Jerusalem, with most of the non-Israelite provinces achieving independence.

Many alternative chronologies have been suggested, and there is no ultimate consensus between the different factions and scholarly disciplines concerned with this period, as to when it is depicted as having begun or when it ended. Most bibical scholars follow either of the older chronologies established by William F.

Albright or Edwin R. Thiele , or the newer chronology of Gershon Galil , all of which are shown below.

All dates are BCE. Thiele's chronology generally corresponds with Galil's chronology below with a difference of at most one year.


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Harper Collins Study Bible. View Wishlist. We have lost the 'quid' of history forever and there is no way of retrieving what has been lost. Historical reason is a latecomer to the scene and is only confronted with traces of the past. Answers to questions surrounding issues such as the systems of exchange, the organisation of trade, the role of the elite in commerce and production, the role and status of traders, price fluctuations, to mention but a few, continue to elude researchers.

In the attempt to identify the possible source, or sources of Hezekiah's revenue, we have based our argument on a survey of the textual and archaeological evidence currently available cf. The books of Kings and Chronicles present two different accounts of the Hezekiah narrative. Most scholars agree that the books of Chronicles can be 'typified as historiography', but the features that contribute 'to this book being categorised as historiography are often defined differently by different scholars see e. The same problem exists with the book of Kings.

The authors of the two different books were obviously not objective and had their own political and theological ideology in mind. Mitchell Jonker says 'that the Books of Chronicles are simultaneously an attempt to reformulate and sanitize the older traditions about the past..

Archaeology, or the science of material culture, involves the recovery, study and interpretation of the material remains of the past. Whereas the Biblical narratives are mainly the product of the upper social levels, the archaeological evidence has the potential to illuminate all levels, particularly the lower echelons. Archaeological data will not enable us to prove the veracity of the Bible; they will only assist us to interpret it, illuminate the context of the biblical passages and provide valuable information for the reconstruction of the social and cultural history of the early Israelites.

The results of archaeology have shown that there are instances where the Bible and archaeology do converge, suggesting that traces of history or a historical 'core' to the Bible does exist, as this study of Hezekiah shows. Le Roux In the same way that a responsible reconstruction of the historical events that surround Hezekiah cannot be based purely on the biblical texts, so neither can it be based solely on the archaeological record: archaeology too has its limitations.

The discovery of the Royal Assyrian annals made a huge contribution towards our understanding of this period under discussion. Written in Akkadian on clay tablets, barrels and cylinders often buried in the foundations of buildings or inscribed on stone wall reliefs and stele, they documented in detailed, chronological sequence the building projects and military campaigns undertaken by the king Van de Mieroop Kings went into battle firmly believing they were fulfilling a commission from their national deity Ashur.

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The annals, inscribed after the battles to inform Ashur of the outcome of the task entrusted to them, were extremely biased and hugely propagandistic Wiseman A table has been compiled reflecting the tributes received by numerous Assyrian kings from BCE based on the information available from the Assyrian annals and the Summary inscriptions. After considering Judah's possible financial situation when Hezekiah ascended the Judaean throne, we discuss the plausible sources of revenue which might have contributed to Hezekiah's income.

Hezekiah's tribute payment in context. Within the Assyrian Royal inscriptions Hezekiah's tribute to Sennacherib was one of the largest tributes ever received by a monarch, as becomes clear from the survey made by Bar Judah, along with Mati'il of Arpad, paid the third largest amount of gold and the eighth largest amount of silver demanded during this period. Noteworthy is the fact that the majority of the countries that rendered greater quantities of precious metal were situated at strategic locations to benefit from the trade passing through the area.

Table 1 lists the tribute payments demanded by eight Assyrian monarchs over two centuries. In the annals, silver usually appears before gold. Judah's financial situation when Hezekiah ascended the throne. There is no mention of further 'annual' payments or any indication that these might have taken place.

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Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy)

The royal Assyrian inscriptions also refer to only one payment made by 'Iaukhazi [Jehoahaz] matu Iauda-ai' [Jehoahaz, 7 king of Judah]. Archaeology, however, has provided evidence that this was not the case. At least three further payments were made:. This additional information renders the fact that Judah, a tiny, landlocked country lacking natural resources and having an economy that could, at best, be categorised as a subsistence agrarian economy, was simultaneously able to accumulate the quantities of silver and gold to meet the demands of Sennacherib in BCE even more amazing.

In addition, the authors of Chronicles make no bones about Hezekiah's enviable financial situation:.