The Kingdom of Israel is the nation formed from the descendants of Jacob, who is also known as Israel.

Following the death of Solomon, this kingdom was divided into a Northern Kingdom known as Israel and a Southern Kingdom known as Judah. See also History of ancient Israel and Judah.

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 (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which his father had imposed on his subjects (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), 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

The area of Solomon's kingdom, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 34,000 kmē (13,000 square miles). The kingdom of Israel comprehended about 24,000 km2 (9,375 square miles). Shechem was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25), afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the capital (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, and are known as the lost tribes of Israel.

"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 Judah."

After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29).

The Kings of Israel

For this period, most historians follow either the chronology established by William F. Albright or E. R. Thiele, both of which are shown below. (Albright's dates are in bold while Thiele's are in italics.) A significant minority hold that many of the rulers of this period are either legendary or fictional. All dates are BC/BCE.

922 931 - 901 910 Jeroboam I
901 910 - 900 909 Nadab
900 909 - 877 886 Baasha
877 886 - 876 885 Elah
876 885 Zimri (Son of Elah, ruled for 7 days)
876 885 - 869 874 Omri (Khumri in some foreign records, founder of a new dynasty)
869 874 - 850 853 Ahab (Sent troops against the Assyrians in the Battle of Karkar, 853 BC)
850 853 - 849 852 Ahaziah
849 852 - 842 841 Joram
842 841 - 815 814 Jehu
Jehu was a contemporary of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858 - 824), and paid tribute to him.

815 814 - 801 798 Jehoahaz
801 798 - 786 782 Jehoash or Joash.
Jehoash paid tribute to King Adad-nirari III of Assyria (810 - 783).

786 782 - 746 753 Jeroboam II (Israel was at the height of its power)
746 753 Zachariah
745 752 Shallum
745 752 - 738 742 Menahem
738 742 - 737 740 Pekahiah
737 740 - 732 732 Pekah
732 732 - 722 722 Hosheah
Hosheah paid tribute to the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V (727 - 722) but rebelled in 725 BC. Shalmaneser besieged the capital, Samaria, but died shortly before the fall of the city. His brother Sargon II (722 - 705) completed the siege with success in 722, making Judah the sole Hebrew kingdom. The ten tribes were exiled to other parts of the Assyrian Empire and never heard from again. A small group of people fled south to assimilate into Judah.