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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Israel Kingdom of

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Israel, Kingdom of. A term not infrequently applied to the united kingdom before the revolt of the ten tribes, 1 Samuel 13:1; 1 Samuel 13:4; 1 Samuel 15:28; 1 Samuel 16:1; 2 Samuel 5:12; 2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Kings 2:46; 1 Kings 4:1; but the term was also used to designate the country of the ten tribes only during the dissensions which followed the death of Saul After the death of Solomon and the revolt under Rehoboam, 1 Kings 12:20; 1 Kings 12:28; 1 Kings 12:32, it was generally, but not uniformly, applied to the independent kingdom formed by the ten tribes in the north of Palestine, so that thenceforth the kings of the ten tribes were called "kings of Israel," and the descendants of David, who ruled over Judah and Benjamin, were called "kings of Judah." In the prophets "Judah" and "Israel" are often mentioned, Hosea 4:15; Hosea 5:3; Hosea 5:5; Hosea 6:10; Hosea 7:1; Hosea 8:2-3; Hosea 8:6; Hosea 8:8; Hosea 9:1; Hosea 9:7; Amos 1:1; Amos 2:6; Amos 3:14; Micah 1:5; Isaiah 5:7. The two kingdoms are sometimes called "the two houses of Israel." Isaiah 8:14. The area of the kingdom of Israel is estimated at about 9000 square miles, or about the same as that of the State of New Hampshire. The kingdom lasted 254 years, b.c. 975-721. The capitals were Shechem, 1 Kings 12:25, Tirzah, 1 Kings 14:17, and Samaria, 1 Kings 16:24. Jezreel was also a summer residence of some of its kings. Of the nineteen kings, not counting Tibni, not one was a godly man. The idolatry introduced by Jeroboam was continued, notwithstanding the partial reformations of Elijah, Elisha, and other faithful prophets. The northern tribes drew together, but the two southern tribes were not heartily with the northern even under David and Solomon.

1. B. C. 976-929.— Jeroboam easily lea the ten tribes in their revolt, and set up the northern kingdom, the capital at Shechem. A King, but not a founder of a dynasty, he aimed at nothing beyond securing his present elevation. The army soon learned its power to dictate to the isolated monarch and disunited people. Baasha, in the midst of the army at Gibbethon, slew the son and successor of Jeroboam; Zimri, a captain of chariots, slew the son and successor of Baasha; Omri, the captain of the host, was chosen to punish Zimri; and after a civil war of four years he prevailed over Tibni, the choice of half the people.

"2. B. C. 929-884.— For forty-five years Israel was governed by the house of Omri. That sagacious king pitched on the strong hill of Samaria as the site of his capital. Ahab, his son, was notorious in wickedness, led by Jezebel, his heathen wife of Tyre, and maddened by bis selfish amtion. The adoption of Baal-worship led to a reaction in the nation, and to the moral triumph of the prophets in the person of Elijah, and to the extinction of the house of Ahab, in obedience to the bidding of Elisha.

"3. B. C. 884-772.— Unparalleled triumphs, but deeper humiliation, awaited the kingdom of Israel under the dynasty of Jehu. Hazael, the ablest king of Damascus, reduced Jehoahaz to the? condition of a vassal, and triumphed for a time over both the disunited Hebrew kingdoms. Almost the first sign of the restoration of their strength was a war between them, and Jehoahaz, the grandson of Jehu, entered Jerusalem as the conqueror of Amaziah. Jehoash also turned the tide of war against the Syrians, and Jeroboam II., the most powerful of all the kings of Israel, captured Damascus and recovered the whole ancient frontier from Hamath to the Dead sea. This short-lived greatness expired with the last king of Jehu's line.

"4. B. C. 772-721.— Military violence, it would seem, broke off the hereditary succession after the obscure and probably convulsed reign of Zachariah. An unsuccessful usurper, Shallum, is followed by the cruel Menahem, who, being unable to make head against the first attack of Assyria, under Pul, became the agent of that monarch for the oppressive taxation of his subjects. Yet his power at home was sufficient to insure for his son and successor, Pekahiah, a ten years' reign, cut short by a bold usurper, Pekah. Abandoning the northern and trans-Jordanic regions to the encroaching power of Assyria under Tiglath-pileser, he was very near subjugating Judah, with the help of Damascus, now the coequal ally of Israel. But Assyria, interposing, summarily put an end to the independence of Damascus, and perhaps was the indirect cause of the assassination of the baffled Pekah. The irresolute Hoshea, the next and last usurper, became tributary to his invader, Shalmaneser, betrayed the Assyrian to the rival monarchy of Egypt, and was punished by the loss of his liberty and by the capture, after a three-years' siege, of his strong capital Samaria. Some gleanings of the ten tribes yet remained in the land after so many years of religious decline, moral debasement, national degradation, anarchy, bloodshed, and deportation. Even these were gathered up by the conqueror and carried to Assyria, never again, as a distinct people, to occupy their portion of that goodly and pleasant land which their forefathers won under Joshua from the heathen."

After the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, b.c. 721, the name •' Israel" began again to be applied to the whole surviving people. "Israel" is sometimes put for the true Israelites, the faithful worthy of the name. Psalms 73:1; Isaiah 45:17; Isaiah 49:3; John 1:47; Romans 9:6; Romans 11:26. See Judah and Jews.


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Israel Kingdom of'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/i/israel-kingdom-of.html. 1893.

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