Understanding The Bible
The History of Israel:  Part 6a of 9
(931-586 B.C.)
E1 Kings 12 - 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 10-36


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

Introduction and Charts on

VI.  THE DIVIDED KINGDOM: ACCESSION OF REHOBOAM TO FALL OF JERUSALEM (931-586 B.C.)  1 Kings 12 - 2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 10-36


We have seen the rise of the Hebrew monarchy under Saul, its firm establishment under David, and its zenith of power under Solomon. After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided into two. The situation was not unlike the condition of the American nation in 1861, when there were two American nations, each fighting the other. The chief difference was that neither of the Hebrew factions won a decisive victory over the other, and so at length they decided to live at peace as two separate nations.


The immediate cause of the division was Rehoboamís poor statesmanship upon Solomonís death. More remote but perhaps more important causes which combine with the latter to precipitate the disruption of the kingdom are:

                        1.         Gibeonite treaty. Josh. 9, resulting in geographical isolation of North and South.

                        2.         Civil wars in period of the Judges, Jud. 8:1-3; 12:1-6; 20.

                        3.         The divided kingdom in early part of Davidís reign, 2 Sam. 2-4.

                        4.         Absalomís rebellion, 2 Sam. 14-19.

                        5.         Solomonís oppressive taxation, 1 Ki. 4; 9.

                        6.         Spiritual declension due to worshiping gods of Solomonís pagan wives, 1 Ki. 11:1-8.

                        7.         Rehoboamís lack of political sense, 1 Ki. 12.


This is a difficult period of history to study. For one thing, there are now two Hebrew kingdoms instead of one. For another, the record of these times is obtained by combining facts given in the two books: Kings and Chronicles. Further still, there are many contacts with foreign nations to complicate things.


Our method will be to study one nation for a period of its history, then look at the other during the same period, then go to another period with the first, etc. The student should first familiarize himself with Charts 1 and 2. He should then pursue his study of the syllabus proper, constantly referring to Chart 3 as he proceeds. (It will be helpful to read the unfolding story in Crockettís A Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, where the two accounts are printed in parallel columns. This is much easier than turning back and forth between Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles.)


            A.        The two parts of the period of the Divided Kingdom are:

                        1.          Judah and Israel to fall of Samaria:

                                     Assyria the dominant foreign power, 931-721 B.C. (some give 722)

                        2.          Judah to fall of Jerusalem, 721-586 B.C.:

                                     Babylon the dominant foreign power after 605 B.C.



Chart 1
Jeroboam Israel      
931 Judah (1) 721 (2) 586 B.C.
Rehoboam   Samaria Falls   Jerusalem falls



            B.        A brief summary of the history of each nation follows, with Divided Kingdom Charts

                        (Note:  In original paper publication:  For details see Divided Kingdom Charts, pp. 46-51.)


There is a real problem an. Harmonizing the chronology of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It will easily be seen that the figures in the Duration columns below do not add up to the same total for the length of the kingdoms as the total given in the summary at the end of each list of four periods. Also, there is a problem not only within each kingdom, but in comparing the chronology of the two kingdoms. The most satisfactory explanation includes interregnums (periods when one man serving as regent overlapped years with another man who was the prior king on the throne, e.g. Uzziah, Jotham); periods of anarchy (especially in the Northern Kingdom); and perhaps a disrupted situation due to a great earthquake (Amos 1:1). The Hebrews had no interest in consecutive chronology; they simply started all over with each kingís reign and compared kings of the other Kingdom.


Important KINGS
(and Number of Dynasty)
1. Idolatry taking root 50 Jeroboam I, (I)
2. Idolatry rampant (Baalism) 48 Omri (IV), Ahab
3.         Idolatry slightly checked
(Israel's Indian summer)
102 Jehu (V), Jeroboam II
4. Idolatry terminating in ruin 40 5 kings, 4 dynasties
The kingdom lasted about 210 years; had 19 kings, 9 dynasties, no good king. It was about twice as large and twice as populous as Judah; was about equal to Judah in wealth. Samaria fell in 721 B.C.
Important KINGS
(and Number of Dynasty)
1. First decline and revival 86 Rehoboam (E)
Jehoshaphat (G)
2. Second decline and revival 197 Joash (E?)
Uzziah (G?), Hezekiah (G)
3. Third decline and revival 88 Josiah (G)
4. Fourth decline and fall 23 Jehoiakim (E)
The kingdom lasted about 345 years; had 19 kings, Davidic dynasty throughout; while not as strong as Israel, had advantage of the Davidic dynasty and holy city Jerusalem Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C.





JUDAH:  The Continuing Davidic Dynasty in the South

(Writing Prophets Underscored)
1.  Rehoboam 936 B.C. 17 1 Kings 12, 14
2 Chronicles 10-12
E Shemaiah Jeroboam I Shishak's invasion, Jerusalem raided
2.  Abijam (Abijah) 3 1 Kings 15
2 Chronicles 13
E   Jeroboam I  
3.  Asa 41 1 Kings 15
2 Chronicles 14-16
G Azariah, Hanani Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri War with Zerah, Asa buys aid of Benhadad aginast Baasha
4.  Jehoshaphat 25 2 Kings 22
2 Chronicles 17-21
G Jehu, Jahaziel, Micaiah Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram Fights with Ahab aginast Syria, Ammon and Moab come against Judah, Fights with Jehoram against Moab-Mesha
II.  Second decline and revival - about 207 years
5.  Jehoram (ben Jehoshaphat) 8 2 Kings 8
2 Chronicles 21
E Elijah Jehoram  
6.  Ahaziah (ben Jehoram) (Athaliah) 1 2 Kings 8-9
2 Chronicles 22
E   Johram  
7.  Joash (Jehoash) (ben Ahaziah) 40 2 Kings 11-12
2 Chronicles 23-24
E? Zechariah ben Jehoida, Joel? Jehu, Jehoahaz Hazael against Gath and Jerusalem; Joash buys him off
8.  Amaziah 29 2 Kings 14
2 Chronicles 25
G?   Joash, Jeroboam II  
9.  Uzziah (Azariah) 52 2 Kings 14-15
2 Chronicles 26
G? Isaiah Zachariah, Sahllum, Menahem, Pekahiah  
10.  Jotham 16 2 Kings 15
2 Chronicles 27
G Isaiah, Micah Pekah Succesful Ammonite War
11.  Ahaz 16 2 Kings 16
2 Chronicles 28
E Isaiah, Micah Pekah, Hoshea Invasion of Rezin of Syria and Pekah of Israel; Ahaz sends tribute to Tiglath Pileser, who relieves Jerusalem
12.  Hezekiah 29 2 Kings 18, 21
2 Chronicles 19, 33
G Isaiah, Micah Hoshea, Fall of Samaria 721 B.C. Sennacherib invades Judah; smitten by angel of Jehovah, Hezekiah receives embassy from Merodach-Baldan (Babylon)
III.  Third decline and revival - about 88 years.
13.  Manasseh 55 2 Kings 21
2 Chronicles 33
E Nahum? Isaiah Manasseh carried to Babylon; later returned; tribute to Esarhaddon and Asuranipal.
14.  Amon 2 2 Kings 21
2 Chronicles 33
15. Josiah 31 2 Kings 22-23
2 Chronicles 33-34
G Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk (Huldah) Joaiah killed while opposing Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo.
IV.  Final decline - about 23 years.
16.  Jehoahaz (Shallum) 1/4 2 Kings 23
2 Chronicles 36
E Jeremiah Deposed and carried to Egypt by Necho.
17.  Jehoaikim 11 2 Kings 23
2 Chronicles 36
E Jeremiah, Urijah Placed on throne by Necho, paid tribute to Egypt.  Later, Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, took Daniel, 3 friends, a few other hostages to Babylon -- 605 B.C. Jehoikim then rebels, is bound by Nebuchadnezzar, but was killed by his own nation.
18. Jehoiachin (Coniah, Jeconiah) 1/4 2 Kings 24
2 Chronicles 36
E Jeremiah Babylonians besiege and capture Jerusalem. Jehoiachin, Ezekiel, many other people of position carried to Babylon -- 597 B.C.
19.  Zedekiah 11 2 Kings 24-25
2 Chronicles 36
E Jeremiah, Obadiah? Zedekiah rebels against Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar besieges and takes Jerusalem, destroys city and temple, takes Zedekiah and many people captive to Babylon -- 586 B.C.


ISRAEL:  The Ten Secession Tribes of the North

(Writing Prophets Underscored)
I.  Idolatry taking root:  Military despots - about 50 years.
1.  Jeroboam I (ben Nabat), 931 B.C. 22 1 Kings 12-14 I Ahijah, Man of God from Judah Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa  
2.  Nadab 2 1 Kings 15     Asa  
3.  Baasha 24 1 Kings 15-16 II Jehu Asa  
4.  Ilah 2 1 Kings 16     Asa  
5.  Zimri 7 days 1 Kings 16 III   Asa (Civil War:  Omri VS. Tibni)
II.  Idolatry rampant:  Baalism; kingdom stabilized - about 48 years.
6.  Omri 12 1 Kings 16 IV   Asa Omri subjugates Moab
7.  Ahab (and Jezebel) 22 1 Kings 16-22   Elijah, Micaiah Asa, Jehoshaphat Ahab's alliance with Phonecia; Israel and Syria fight Shalmaneser at Karkar -- 853 B.C.
8.  Ahaziah (ben Ahab) 2 1 Kings 22-2 Kings 1   Elijah Jehoshaphat  
9.  Jehoram (ben Ahab) 12 2 Kings 3, 6   Elisha Jehoshaphat; Jehoram; Ahaziah War with Moag; Mesha rebels; Benhadad besieges Samaria
      (Jehoram ben Ahab (of Israel) and Ahaiah ben Jehoram (of Judah) slain by Jehu)
Note:  "ben" is the Hebrew word meaning "son of."
III.  Idolatry slightly checked:  Israel's Indian Summer - about 102 years.
10.  Jehu 28 2 Kings 9-10 V Elisha Joash Jehu and Hazael pay tribute to Shalmaneser; Hazael aginst Israel
11.  Jehoahaz 17 2 Kings 13     Joash  
12.  Joash (Jehoash) (ben Jehoahaz) 16 2 Kings 13-14   Elisha Joash; Amaziah Moabites invade Israel; Joash victorious over Benhadad
13.  Jeroboam II (ben Joash) 41 2 Kings 14   Jonah, Amos, Hosea Amaziah  
14.  Zechariah 1/2 2 Kings 15     Uzziah  
IV.  Idolatry terminating in ruin:  The decline and fall of Israel - about 40 years.
15.  Shallum 1 month 2 Kings 15 VI   Uzziah  
16.  Manahem 10 2 Kings 15 VII   Uzziah Menahem pays tribute to Pul (Tiglath Pileser III)
17.  Pekahiah 2 2 Kings 15     Uzziah  
18.  Pekah 20 2 Kings 15
2 Chronicles 28
VIII Obed Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz Tiglath Pileser captures Galilee and Gilead
19.  Hoshea 9 2 Kings 17 IX   Ahaz, Hezekiah Hoshea pays tribute to Shalmaneser; Hoshea rebels; pays tribute to Egypt; Shalmaneser carries Hoshea to Babylon; Shalmaneser besieges Samaria; Sargon captures it -- 721 B.C.





An Outline of Old Testament History

*B.C. Creation -- Eden
Primeval Period
____Pre-Flood - Seth, Cain, Noah
____Post-Flood - Shem, Ham, Japheth
2000-1440 Patriarchal Period
____Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
1440-1400 Exodus and Wilderness Wanderings - Moses Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
1400-1370 Entrance into Canaan - Joshua Joshua
1370-1040 Rule of Judges (including Eli, Samuel)  
1040-931 United Kingdom - Saul, David, Solomon Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Davidic Psalms, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs
931-586 Divided Kingdom
____A.  931-721, Judah and Israel to the fall of Samaria; Assyria the dominant foreign power.
____B.  721-586, Judah to the fall of Jerusalem; Babylon the dominant power after 605 B.C.
Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah

Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Lamentations, Kings
586-538 Exile in Babylon Daniel, Ezekiel, Obadiah
538-332 Restoration under Persia Haggai, Zechariah, Esther, Chronicles, Psalms complete, Ezra, Nehemiah, Malachi (Prophetic voice ceases with Malachi, 432)
332-323 Alexander the Great  
323-204 Egyptian (Ptolemaic) Period LXX begun (Septuagent)
204-165 Syrian (Seleucid) Period Apocrypha: Tobit, Ecclesiasticus
165-63 Maccabean Period Apocrypha: Prayer of Azariah, Song of Three Children, 1 Esdras, Judith, Prayer of Manasseh, Additions to Esther, Susanna, Bel and Dragon, 1 and 2 Maccabees
63 on Roman Period Apocryphia: Widsom of Solomon, Baruch, 2 Esdras
System of O.T. Dating. It is extremely difficult to date events of O.T. times (whether Biblical or non-Biblical) with certainty. There are at least two reasons for this: (1) The people of ancient times (Hebrews included) never thought to set up a system of chronology like our own, based on numbered years. With the accession of each new king, they began to number again, beginning ďin the first year of King Xís reign,  etc. (2) The Bible, not being primarily a textbook of history at all (but a revelation of Godís redemptive purposes for men) frequently fails to give chronological data which we might wish to have. To base chronology on genealogical records is unwise, since the Hebrews sometimes seem to have omitted un≠important generations. 1 Kings 6:1 is one of the few specific chronological references and provides the only key for dating the Exodus, since archaeological evidence at present is incomplete. Solomonís accession date is c.970 B.C., his fourth year, 966 B.C., the date of the Exodus, c. 1446 or 1440 in round numbers.


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