DIVIDED KINGDOM The two political states of Judah and Israel that came into existence shortly after the death of Solomon and survived together until the fall of Israel in 722 B.C. The Northern Kingdom, known as Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, known as Judah, were operated as separate countries from approximately 924 B.C. until 722 B.C. At times, the two countries were at war with one another. At other times, they cooperated in a friendly alliance. The Northern Kingdom came to an end in 722 B.C., when the Assyrians destroyed the capital city, Samaria. The Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 587 B.C. Under the leadership of men like Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah, the Southern Kingdom was reborn, beginning in 538 B.C. with the return from Exile, but it did not become an independent state except briefly under the Maccabeans.
The biblical account of the division of the united kingdom established by David can be found in 1 Kings 11:9-12:33 and 2 Chronicles 10:1-11:4. The events that led to the division can be traced to the reign of Solomon. God chose Jeroboam, son of Nebat, to lead the rebellion of the northern tribes after the death of Solomon (1 Kings 11:26-40). The consequences of the division of the kingdom were disastrous. Neither Judah nor Israel had the ability to maintain the empire that David and Solomon had built. From the religious perspective, Judah and Israel continued the apostate practices of Solomon. The beginning of the dividend kingdom marked the beginning of the end for the nations of Judah and Israel as influential entities in Palestine.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.