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Ancient Jewish History III , Kingdom Divided

The death of one individual can greatly influence the change of events in history. This is the case when Solomon dies. As a result, things start to fall upon and tribes start to choose sides. In this article, you will more about this time period related to early Jewish history.

A Kingdom Divided

When Solomon dies, the united monarchy greatly suffers and eventually falls apart. The differences in tribes start to emerge around 922 BC.

Jerusalem is now the capital of Judah and is known as the southern Kingdom. Rehoboam is seen as the leader, who watches over the inhabitants, which are comprised of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon (and some people belonging to the tribe of Levi). Later on, Simeon and Judah merge. Jeroboam leads a revolt that includes the northern tribes. The result is the formation of the Kingdom of Israel. There are nine tribes that make up Israel, including Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Menasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Gad (with some members of the tribe of Levi). They establish their capital in Samaria.

The Downfall of the Kingdoms

Years later, the divided kingdoms suffer defeat at the hands of other civilizations. The Assyrians overcome Israel in 721, while Judah falls to the Babylonians in 597. In 722 and beyond, Shalmaneser (and later Sargon) lead the Assyrians against Israel. They are successful in conquering Israel and destroying the capital city of Samaria. The Jews find themselves exiled.

In 612, Nabopolassar of Babylonia destroys Assyria. By 587, Nebuchadnezzar II seizes control of Jerusalem and as a result, the Temple is destroyed. The next year, Babylonia conquers Judah and the inhabitants are exiled to Babylon. The inhabitants of the two kingdoms experience a scattering of their cultures as they are affected by the shift in power from conquering civilizations. In 539, the Babylonian Empire falls to Persia and the ruler named Cyrus. In the coming years, Cyrus permits the Jews from Babylon to return to Jerusalem. From 550 to 333, the Persian Empire rules Israel. From 520 to 515, Second Temple is constructed.

Hellenistic Period

The Hellenistic Period is marked by the conquests of Alexander the Great, who influenced the people he came in contact with his Greek culture. At the time, he helped catapult Greek power in Europe and Asia. During this time period, many colonists established Greek cities and kingdoms throughout Asia and Africa. Following the death of Alexander, Ptolemy I Soter takes Egypt and becomes king of Palestine in 305. The ancient Romans also started to make waves in the world , gradually overshadowing the progress of the Greeks.

Other civilizations started to become established. In 250, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes increased in numbers. When the Seleucid forces were defeated, a new monarchy came in the form of the priestly Hasmonean dynasty in 152 BCE. Priests were put into religious positions, as well as becoming a part of politics. They were known as the Pharisees.