After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was split into two. Jeroboam controlled the northern kingdom of Israel which included 10 tribes. The rest was ruled by Solomon’s son Rehoboam. He reigned over the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi (who served in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem). This event is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart from 1004 BC to 579 BC.
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The kings of Israel and Judah were at war with each other during the first 60 years of the divided kingdoms. This went on until the time of Baasha of Israel and Asa of Judah (1 Kings 15:32). The wars only stopped when Jehoshaphat of Judah entered into an alliance with Ahab of Israel in taking back Ramoth-Gilead from the ruler of Aram.
This was unsuccessful as Ahab was killed in battle and Jehoshaphat returned to Judah. The southern kingdom also experienced prosperity during the time of Jehoshaphat, as well as victories in the war against Moab and Ammon. While the trading ships he built in an alliance with Ahaziah of Israel were destroyed even before the ships could set sail.
Joram of Judah, Jehoshaphat’s son, formed an alliance with Israel by marrying Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab. She succeeded in killing the remaining family members of her own son Ahaziah after he was killed by Jehu in Israel. Athaliah was killed after Joash, son of Ahaziah and her own grandson, was proclaimed as king. He was followed by his son Amaziah and grandson Uzziah who was one of the longest reigning kings of Judah (52 years).
One of the most well-known kings of Judah was Hezekiah who reopened and rededicated the temple of the Lord, and made religious reforms. King Sennacherib of Assyria laid siege to Judah during Hezekiah’s time, but was unsuccessful.
Manasseh, the longest-ruling monarch of Judah, was also known for killing innocent people (2 Kings 21:16). He was also a captive in Babylon at one time (2 Chronicles 33:11).
Josiah, one of the youngest rulers of Judah, became king at the age of eight. He laid out religious reforms and the Passover was celebrated again during his reign (2 Chronicles 35). He tried to block Necho II of Egypt from going to Carchemish to fight against Babylon. He died during the Battle of Megiddo after he was hit by an arrow from the Egyptian side.
The last king of Judah was Zedekiah and he rebelled against the Babylonians who were powerful at that time. The Babylonians put down this rebellion and Zedekiah was taken as captive to Babylon after his eyes were gouged out.
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had Jerusalem destroyed after taking King Zedekiah captive and nothing was spared including the temple of the Lord, royal palace, and other important buildings (2 Kings 25:9). The people of Judah, except those who needed to tend the fields and vineyards, were sent to Babylon in exile.
List of the Kings of Judah
|Kingdom of Judah
|Length of Reign
|Joram of Judah (Jehoram)
|Ahaziah of Judah
|Athaliah (Queen, daughter of Ahab)
|Exile to Babylon and Gedaliah appointed as governor of Judah
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