Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew: יְהוּדָה, Yəhūdā; Akkadian: 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 Ya'uda; Aramaic: 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 Bēyt Dāwīḏ) was an Iron Age kingdom of the Southern Levant. The Hebrew Bible depicts it as the successor to the United Monarchy, a term denoting the Kingdom of Israel under biblical kings Saul, David and Solomon and covering the territory of two historical kingdoms, Judah and Israel. However, some scholars, including Israel Finkelstein and Alexander Fantalkin, believe that the existent archaeological evidence for an extensive Kingdom of Judah before the late 8th century BCE is too weak and that the methodology used to obtain the evidence is flawed. The Tel Dan Stele shows that the kingdom, in some semblance, existed by at least the mid-9th century BCE, but it does little to show to what extent.
Kingdom of Judah
|930 BCE–587/586 BCE|
LMLK seal (700–586 BCE)
|Historical era||Levantine Iron Age|
|Today part of||Israel|
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. Jerusalem, the kingdom's capital, likely did not emerge as a significant administrative centre until the end of the 8th century BCE. Before then, the archaeological evidence suggests its population was too small to sustain a viable kingdom. In the 7th century BCE its population increased greatly, prospering under Assyrian vassalage (despite Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib), but in 605 BCE the Assyrian Empire was defeated, and the ensuing competition between the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt and the Neo-Babylonian Empire for control of the Eastern Mediterranean led to the destruction of the kingdom in a series of campaigns between 597 and 582 BCE, the deportation of the elite of the community, and the incorporation of Judah into a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.