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.[5][6] The Tel Dan Stele shows that the kingdom, in some semblance, existed by at least the mid-9th century BCE,[7][8][9] but it does little to show to what extent.

Kingdom of Judah
930 BCE[1]–587/586 BCE
LMLK seal (700–586 BCE)
Map of the region in the 9th century BCE, The Northern Kingdom is in blue, and the Southern Kingdom of Judah is in yellow.
Common languagesHebrew
Canaanite polytheism
Mesopotamian polytheism
Folk religion[3]
Historical eraLevantine Iron Age
930 BCE[4]
587/586 BCE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Israel
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Yehud (Babylonian province)
Today part ofIsrael

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.[10] 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.[11] In the 7th century BCE its population increased greatly, prospering under Assyrian vassalage (despite Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib),[12] 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.