Kingdom of Judah

Iron Age kingdom in the southern Levant / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew: יְהוּדָה, Yəhūdā; Akkadian: 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 Ya'údâ [ia-ú-da-a-a]; Imperial Aramaic: 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 Bēyt Dāwīḏ, "House of David") was a Semitic-speaking kingdom of the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. Centered in the highlands of Judea, the kingdom's capital was Jerusalem.[4] Jews are named after Judah and are primarily descended from it.[5][6]

Quick facts: Kingdom of Judah𐤄‎𐤃‎𐤄‎𐤉‎, Status, Capital...
Kingdom of Judah
c. 930 BCE[1]–c. 587 BCE
LMLK seal (700–586 BCE) of Judah
LMLK seal (700–586 BCE)
Map of the southern Levant in the 9th century BCE, with Judah in light red
Map of the southern Levant in the 9th century BCE, with Judah in light red
Common languagesBiblical Hebrew
Yahwism/early Judaism
Canaanite polytheism
Folk religion[2]
 c. 931–913 BCE
Rehoboam (first)
 c. 597–587 BCE
Zedekiah (last)
Historical eraIron Age
c. 930 BCE[3]
c. 587 BCE
Succeeded by
Neo-Babylonian Empire Nebukadnessar_II.jpg
Yehud (Babylonian province) Blank.png
Today part of

The Hebrew Bible depicts the Kingdom of Judah as a successor to the United Kingdom of Israel, a term denoting the united monarchy under biblical kings Saul, David and Solomon and covering the territory of Judah and Israel. However, during the 1980s, some biblical scholars began to argue that the archaeological evidence for an extensive kingdom before the late-8th century BCE is too weak, and that the methodology used to obtain the evidence is flawed.[7][8] In the 10th and early 9th centuries BCE, the territory of Judah appears to have been sparsely populated, limited to small rural settlements, most of them unfortified.[9] The Tel Dan Stele, discovered in 1993, shows that the kingdom, at least in some form, existed by the middle of the 9th century BCE, but it does not indicate the extent of its power.[10][11][12] Recent excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, however, support the existence of a centrally organized and urbanized kingdom by the 10th century BCE, according to the excavators.[7][13]

In the 7th century BCE, the kingdom's population increased greatly, prospering under Assyrian vassalage, despite Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib.[14] Josiah took advantage of the political vacuum that resulted from Assyria's decline and the emergence of Egyptian rule over the area to enact his religious reforms. The Deuteronomistic history, which recounts the history of the nation from Joshua to Josiah and expresses a worldview based on the legal principles found in Deuteronomy, is assumed to have been written during this same time period and emphasizes the significance of upholding them.[15] With the final fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 605 BCE, competition emerged between Egypt and the Neo-Babylonian Empire over control of the Levant, ultimately resulting in Judah's rapid decline. The early 6th century BCE saw a wave of Egyptian-backed Judahite rebellions against Babylonian rule being crushed. In 587 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar II besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, bringing an end to the kingdom.[16][15] A large number of Judeans were exiled to Babylon, and the fallen kingdom was then annexed as a Babylonian province.[15]

After Babylon's fall to the Persian Achaemenid Empire, king Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews who had been deported after the conquest of Judah to return. They were allowed to self-rule under Persian governance. It was not until 400 years later, following the Maccabean Revolt, that the Jews fully regained independence.