Israelites under the direction of Moses
made an exodus
from ancient Egypt into the land of
Canaan. Moses encouraged his people during the
Battle of Rephidim against the
Amalekites. Israelites later crossed the Jordan River
and conquered cities such as Jericho and
Ai. After Moses,
Joshua and various judges guided the people
until they demanded to have a king. Circa 1020 BC, the prophet Samuel
said God selected Saul to be the first king, but was
displeased with the Israelites' demand for a king. Saul built a palace at Gibeah
and established his capital there.
Philistine troops defeated Israelites in battle at Eben-Ezer (probably at modern
Beit Iksa) and captured their
Ark of the Covenant.
It was briefly housed in succession at Ashdod, Gath and Ekron. At each location the people suffered from a
plague until the Philistines returned the Ark to Israel. Circa 1010 BC,
Philistine troops defeated and killed Saul in the Battle of
KINGDOM OF ISRAEL: King David (1000-961 BC) reigned after the the death of Saul.
Israel experienced a "Golden Age" during his reign
and that of his son, Solomon. He made
Jerusalem the capital in 1006 BC.
The unified kingdom became a regional power after David's army defeated the Philistines and secured
all borders. David earned God's punishment for arranging the death of his Captain of the Guard,
Uriah, and marrying
Israel expanded to its greatest extent under Solomon, (970-931 BC). The
Queen of Sheba
made a state visit due to his renowned great wisdom and wealth. Solomon also built the first permanent
temple in Jerusalem. Despite having 700 wives and
300 concubines, Solomon came under condemnation for adopting idolatry.
A DIVIDED KINGDOM:
In 931 BC, Solomon died and his son, Rehoboam,
became king over a divided kingdom. Ten of the twelve tribes refused to accept him and formed the
Northern Kingdom of Israel (930-720 BC). The tribes selected Jeroboam
as king in their capital at Samaria. The remaining two tribes
under Rehoboam comprised the Kingdom of Judah, with its capital at Jerusalem. Various small
Kingdoms surrounded the split Israelite kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
FALL OF NORTHERN ISRAEL:
Israel and Judah engaged in frequent warfare during the first 60 years of the split. The following 80 years were
peaceful alliance against common enemies, such as Damascus.
In 738 BC, Assyrian forces invaded
Israel and besieged Samaria in 725 BC. But in 722 BC Sargon II
became king and completed the siege of Samaria. He took 27,000 Israelites into captivity, who later were called
the Ten Lost Tribes. They subsequently
received permission to wander into uncharted northern lands and were lost to history.
CAPTIVITY OF JUDAH:
King Jeconiah (aka Jehoicachin) of Judah foolishly relied upon
Egypt and revolted against Nebuchadnezzar II.
After an 18-monnth siege in 597 BC, Jerusalem fell and three thousand captives
were taken to Babylon. Chaldean troops also destroyed Solomon's temple.
In 539 BC, a Persian force under King Cyrus
conquered Babylon. He allowed the Jewish exiles to return and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This was completed
in 515 BC under the direction of Zerubbabel. However, the former
Kingdom of Judah remained subservient to a plethora of subsequent empires, such as
Alexander and Rome.