II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 5. Syria-Palestine, c. 3500–323 B.C.E. > e. Israel and Judah > 841–752
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
THE DYNASTY OF JEHU. Jehoram was killed in a rebellion by one of his generals, Jehu (841–814), supported by the prophet Elisha. In the revolt, Jezebel was murdered and the priests of Baal massacred. Jehu's foreign policy was weak: he paid tribute to Assyria, and Hazael of Damascus took Transjordan from Israel. Indeed, under Jehu's son, Joahaz (814–798), Israel became a dependency of Damascus (See 900–806). Joash (798–782) was more successful, leading Israel in a series of wars against Ben Hadad II in which he recovered Israel's lost territories. Later Joash turned against Judah and defeated Amaziah, took Jerusalem, looted the temple, and reduced the southern kingdom to vassals. Joash's son, Jeroboam II (782–753), ruled a wealthy and powerful Israel: Damascus and Hamath were defeated, and perhaps annexed. The prophets Amos and Hosea opposed oppression and corruption in the kingdom. Zechariah (753–752) was the fifth and last king of Jehu's dynasty.  1
THE LAST DAYS OF ISRAEL. Zechariah was assassinated by Shallum (752), but after only one month's rule, he in turn was killed by Menahem (752–742), who paid an enormous tribute of 1,000 talents of silver to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria to avoid conquest. This submission was unpopular and Menahem's son Pekahiah (742–740) was assassinated by an anti-Assyrian party led by Pekah (740–732). Israel joined forces with Damascus against Assyria, but Tiglath-Pileser III came west in 734–732 and laid waste to both kingdoms. The Galilee was taken from Israel and turned into an Assyrian province, and Hoshea (732–722) was placed on the throne as a client-king. About 725, Hoshea revolted, seeking an alliance with “So, King of Egypt” (either Osorkon IV or Tefnahkte) (See 747–656). The Assyrians managed to seize Hoshea, and Samaria fell in 722 after a three-year siege. According to Sargon II, 27,290 Israelites were deported from the country, and Israel was made an Assyrian province called Samaria.  2
PERIOD OF ISRAELITE DOMINATION. The descendants of David ruled Judah for its entire history, except for the reign of Queen Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab of Israel and Jezebel of Tyre. Rehoboam (931–913) died shortly after the raid by Sheshonq I (Shishak) of Egypt (See 945–715), but the war between Judah and Israel continued intermittently through the reigns of Abijah (913–911) and Asa (911–870). Jehoshaphat (870–848) made peace with Ahab of Israel and joined him in war against Damascus. After the death of Jehoram (848–841) and Ahaziah (841), Jehoram's wife, Athaliah (841–835) seized power in Judah. With the backing of the high priest, Athaliah was deposed and killed, and Ahaziah's son Jehoash (835–796) was enthroned, but he was forced to pay heavy tribute to Damascus. Amaziah (796–768) lost a war with Joash and became a vassal of Israel.  4
THE REIGNS OF UZZIAH AND AHAZ. Uzziah (Azariah, 768–740) won military victories against Philistia, Edom, and northern Arabia and restored Judah to political strength. Uzziah became the head of the western anti-Assyrian coalition, but he was defeated by Tiglath-Pileser III in 738, although (unlike its Aramean allies) Judah managed to keep its independence (See 744–727). Ahaz (734–715) came to the throne in time to face attack from a coalition of Israel and Damascus. Against the advice of the prophet Isaiah, he appealed to Assyria and the destruction of Damascus and Israel by Assyria soon followed.  5
PERIOD OF ASSYRIAN DOMINATION. Hezekiah (715–687) instituted a number of religious reforms and suppressed pagan practices, such as destroying a bronze serpent in the temple attributed to Moses. He organized a coalition of Phoenicia, Philistia, and Egypt to oppose the Assyrians, but in 701 Sennacherib crushed it (See 704–681). Sennacherib accepted heavy tribute and did not take Jerusalem. Manasseh (687–642) and his son Amon (642–640) ruled as mere puppets of Assyria.  6
THE REIGN OF JOSIAH. Amon was murdered in a palace coup, but popular unrest put his son, Josiah, (640–609) on the throne. In 627, around the time of Ashurbanipal's death, Josiah reasserted Judah's independence and expanded the kingdom's borders. He moved into the old territory of Israel, annexing the Assyrian provinces of Samaria, Gilead, and Galilee, and briefly reunited Judah and Israel. A law book, the nucleus of the book of Deuteronomy, was found in the temple and made the basis of a religious reform: foreign and pagan cults were extirpated and worship was centralized in Jerusalem. The Deuteronomic history was compiled during Josiah's reign. Josiah was killed at the second Battle of Megiddo (609) opposing Pharaoh Necho II's march into Syria, and Judah briefly became an Egyptian vassal (See 664–525).  7
PERIOD OF BABYLONIAN DOMINATION. During the reign of Jehoiakim (609–598), Nebuchadnezzar (See 664–525) defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Carchemish (605), and Judah became a Babylonian client-state. Around 601, Jehoiakim revolted against Nebuchadnezzar but died just before the Babylonian army arrived at Jerusalem. His son, Jehoiachin (597) reigned three months and then surrendered. He and about 10,000 Jews were taken captive into Babylonian exile. Nebuchadnezzar placed the king's uncle Zedekiah (597–586) on the throne. Despite the protests of the prophet Jeremiah, Zedekiah joined Egypt in a revolt, and Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem a second time. The city fell in 586, Solomon's Temple was razed, and a second group of captives was taken into Babylonian captivity (See 604–562).  8
JUDAH UNDER BABYLONIAN RULE. A Jewish governor, Gedaliah, was appointed, but he was soon assassinated in a nationalist revolt, which was suppressed. After this event, the focus of the biblical text turns to the exiled community in Babylon, and events in the province of Judah are obscure. The exile community, under the leadership of the former royal family, prospered. The prophets Ezekiel and Deutero-Isaiah operated in Babylonia. The Deuteronomic history was re-edited, and the priestly edition of the Pentateuch written. The last Babylonian governor was Shesh-bazzar, probably a member of the royal family.  10
JUDAH UNDER PERSIAN RULE. Cyrus (See 539–332) confirmed Shesh-bazzar as governor and allowed him to begin construction of the Second Temple. It was the next governor, Zerubbabel (c. 520–516), the grandson of King Jehoiachin, who completed the structure. Zerubbabel's rebuff to the “people of the land” (that is, Jews who had remained in Judah and Israel) was the beginning of the split between Samaritans and Jews. Around 445, Nehemiah, the Jewish cupbearer to King Artaxerxes I (464–424), was appointed governor of Judah and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. Ezra served both as governor of Judah and as the religious authority for all Jews in the western Persian empire. His cultic and legal reforms had far-reaching effects on the development of post-exilic Judaism. The date of his mission is problematic: 457, 437, or 398 are all possible dates. Little is known about the subsequent history of Judah until the conquest by Alexander the Great (See 336). When Alexander was besieging Tyre in 333, the high priest Jaddua submitted to him. The stories of Alexander visiting Jerusalem are probably apocryphal.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.