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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Judah, Kingdom of

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The tribe Judah comprised the whole territory S. of a line drawn from Joppa to N. of the Dead Sea; the largest extent among the tribes, due to their valor in driving out the aborigines from their mountain strongholds. Their hilly region braced their energies for conflict with their neighbouring adversaries; so they retained their vigour, at the same time that their large pastures and wide territory, and commerce with Egypt and by the Red Sea and Joppa with other lands, gave them abundant wealth. Their independence of the northern tribes, and the jealousy of Ephraim, early prepared the way for the severance of the northern and southern kingdoms under Rehoboam. (See ISRAEL.) Judah included southern Benjamin and Jerusalem the joint city of both, Simeon, and many cities of Daniel In Abijah's and Asa's reign Judah gained parts of Ephraim (2 Chronicles 13:19; 2 Chronicles 15:8; 2 Chronicles 17:2); and after Israel's deportation to Assyria the king of Judah exercised a quasi authority in the N. (2 Chronicles 30:1-18, , Josiah). Edom was for some time subject.

Israel interposed between Judah and Syria and Assyria; and Egypt in its military marches toward Assyria took the coast line of Philistia, not through Judah. The fighting men of Judah under David were 500,000 (2 Samuel 24:9); under Rehoboam only 180,000 (1 Kings 12:21); under Abijah 400,000 (2 Chronicles 13:3); under Asa 580,000 (2 Chronicles 14:8); under Jehoshaphat 1,160,000 (2 Chronicles 17:14-19); under Uzziah 307,500 (2 Chronicles 26:13). Judah's armies progressively augmented, Israel's decreased; under Ahab against Syria Israel's forces were "like two little flocks of kids"; under Jehoahaz "50 horsemen" (1 Kings 20:27; 2 Kings 13:7). But the grand conservative element of Judah was its divinely appointed temple, priesthood, written law, and recognition of the one true God Jehovah as its true theocratic king. Hence many left northern Israel for Judah where the law was observed.

This adherence to the law (compare Acts 23:5) produced a succession of kings containing many wise and good monarchs, and a people in the main reverencing the word of God as their rule, at least in theory. Hence, Judah survived her more populous northern sister by 135 years, and lasted 975-586 B.C. The diminution of numbers intensified the theocratic element by eliminating all that was pagan and attracting all the godly in northern Israel. The apparent loss proved a real gain, and would have proved permanently so but for Judah's unfaithfulness. God's great purpose did not fall in spite of Israel's and Judah's unfaithfulness, namely, to preserve in the world a standing monument of the unity, supremacy, and providence of Jehovah; this effect was perpetually and uniformly produced in all periods and by all events of the Jewish history, and to prepare for and introduce the gospel of Christ (Graves, Pentateuch, ii. 3, section 2). Rehoboam, Abijah, and Asa for 60 years warred with Israel, in the hope of recovering the northern kingdom. (See ABIJAH; ASA.)

Baasha on the other hand fortified Ramah to cheek the migration of religious Israelites to Judah. Asa hired Benhadad I, of Damascus, to counteract him, for which Hanani reproved him.(See BAASHA.) Abijah, or Abijam, though his speech breathes the theocratic spirit (2 Chronicles 13:4), in conduct showed a "heart not perfect with the Lord God," for "he walked in all the sins of his father" (1 Kings 15:3). A new policy began with Jehoshaphat, and lasted for 80 years down to Amaziah, that of alliance with Israel against Syria. (See JEHOSHAPHAT.) It was as opposed to Judah's true interests as open war had been. In spite of his pious efforts for the instruction of his people through the princes, Levites, and priests, in God's law (2 Chronicles 17), and for the administration of justice in the fear of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 19), his affinity with Ahab and Ahaziah nearly cost him his life at Ramoth Gilead (2 Chronicles 18), and again in the wilderness of Edom (2 Kings 3:8-11), and caused the loss of his ships in Ezion Geber (2 Chronicles 20:36-37).

He was reproved by the Lord's prophet Jehu, after his escape at Ramoth Gilead (2 Chronicles 19:2-3); then when he renewed the alliance with Ahab's son Ahaziah, by Eliezer; at last he saw the fatal effects of alliance with the ungodly (1 Corinthians 15:33), and would not let Ahaziah's servants go in his ships (1 Kings 22:48). The alliance bore deadly fruit under his murderous son Jehoram, his grandson Ahaziah, and the bloody queen mother Athaliah, Ahab's daughter and Jehoram's wife (2 Chronicles 21-22).(See JEHORAM; AHAZIAH; ATHALIAH.) Jehoiada deposed her, and restored Joash to the throne, who governed well until Jehoiada's death; then gave ear to the princes, and restored idolatry, slew Zechariah his faithful reprover, and failing to withstand a Syrian invasion was killed by his own servants. (See JEHOIADA; JOASH.) Amaziah, elated with the conquest of Edom and having lost God's favor through apostasy to Edom's idols, challenged Joash of Israel, the conqueror of Syria (2 Chronicles 25; 2 Kings 13:14-25).

Uzziah and Jotham reigned prosperously. But Ahaz, when smitten by the Syrian and Israelite confederacy of Rezin and Pekah (2 Chronicles 28; 2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7-9), which was the punishment from Jehovah of his idolatry, adopted the fatal policy of becoming the vassal of Assyria, which "distressed but strengthened him not."(See AHAZ.) For a century and a half this vassalage lasted, with occasional periods of independence, as under the godly Hezekiah and Josiah. (See HEZEKIAH; JOSIAH.) The repulse of Sennacherib and the religious revival under these two kings averted the evil day. But, after Hezekiah, Manasseh's enormous wickedness so provoked Jehovah that the piety of his grandson Josiah, Amon's son, could procure only a respite.

After the reigns of the worthless Jehoahaz, set aside by Pharaoh Necho who promoted Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin or Coniah, Zedekiah (promoted by Nebuchadnezzar) through treachery in violation of his oath brought destruction on himself and Jerusalem (588 B.C. or 587, Clinton; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Ezekiel 17:15-18; Jeremiah 52:3). As the influence of the priesthood was at its height under David and Solomon, so the power of the prophets rose between this time and the building of the second temple. In northern Israel they were the only witnesses for God in the face of the state idolatry; in Judah they were spiritual teachers bringing out the gospel hidden in the law, and pointing on to the Messianic kingdom. Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., prepared Judah for the 70 years' captivity; Ezekiel and Daniel witnessed for God to them, and to the pagan world power in it. That severe discipline purged out their craving for idols.

Ezra and Nehemiah at the return were God's instruments in producing in them a zeal for the law which distinguished them subsequently, and in Christ's time degenerated into formalism and self righteousness. Restoration of the Jews and Israel. Moses foretells it (Deuteronomy 30:1-6). The original grant of the land to Abraham and the blessing of ALL nations in his seed await their exhaustive fulfillment, only partially realized under Solomon (Genesis 15:18; Genesis 22:18). The covenant has six historical stages:

(1) the family;

(2) expanded into a nation

(3) royalty;

(4) the exile and return;

(5) Messiah's advent and the church in troublous times:

(6) His second advent and the church's and Israel's glory.

The "second time" Exodus is also foretold by Isaiah 11:10-16; Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 27:12; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 54:7-11. Also Jerusalem shall be the religious center of the nations, amidst universal peace, the Lord's manifested presence there (Isaiah 60-62; Isaiah 65; Isaiah 66) eclipsing the former ark of the covenant (Jeremiah 3:16-18; Jeremiah 23:6-8; Ezekiel 37-48). Hosea (Hosea 3:4-5) vividly depicts Israel's state for ages, clinging to the law yet without "altar, priest, or sacrifice," which the law ordains, yet not relapsing into idolatry to which they were so prone in his day, "without teraphim" and "without a king"; then finally "seeking the Lord and David their king."

So emphatically "all Israel shall be saved," when "the fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in," i.e. when the elect remnant of Jews and Gentiles now being converted shall have been completed (Romans 11:25-26); so our Lord (Luke 21:24; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 11:2-15). The object of God's election of the Jews was not merely for themselves, as if their perversity frustrated God's purpose; but to be, even in their temporary rejection, a standing monument to the world of the unity, supremacy, and providence of Jehovah ("ye are My witnesses," saith Jehovah: Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 43:12), and ultimately to be blessed temporally and spiritually themselves, and to be a blessing to all nations.


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Judah, Kingdom of'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/j/judah-kingdom-of.html. 1949.

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