By July 21, 2008 Read More →

A Kingdom Arises, Rina Abrams, COJS.

Karnak, the great temple of the god Amun-Re in Thebes, EgyptThe inscription of Pharoah Shoshenq on the walls of the in Thebes built ca. 925 B.C.E. is the first archeological artifact to acknowledge the existence of the kingdom of Israel. The Bible also provides a description of the establishment of the kingdom in 1-2 Samuel and 1 Kings of the Prophets section.

The Bible describes Saul as rising to the throne in the face of a grave Philistine military threat. Known in biblical and extra-biblical records, the Philistines were skilled warriors. Facing the possibility of a Philistine conquest, the Israelite tribes united under one King. Saul was anointed King in ca. 1020 B.C.E, and under his rule, the Israelites faced other groups such as the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites and the King of Zobah and the Amalekites. Following the death of Saul in ca. 1005 B.C.E., David emerged as king.

David captured Jerusalem from the Jebusites in ca. 998 B.C.E. and moved the ark and priesthood, and thus the religious center, to Jerusalem. Under David, the kingdom reached its territorial and political height with the empire reaching from Sinai to the Upper Euphrates River.

David’s death brought a political vacuum which was only resolved by the rise of his son Solomon to power in ca. 960 B.C.E. Under Solomon, a great Temple was built in Jerusalem. Constructed on a Phoenician design, the Temple housed the ark of the covenant.

After the death of Solomon in 928 B.C.E., the northern Israelite tribes refused to acknowledge Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and established their own kingdom. The short-lived united kingdom was split into two smaller kingdoms- Judea in the south with Jerusalem as its capital and Israel in the north, with its capital at Samaria.

The Shoshenq inscription from the Karnak Temple in Thebes built ca. 925 B.C.E. verifies the existence of the two kingdoms. Pharaoh Shoshenq of Egypt, known in the Bible as Shishak, waged war on the two kingdoms but was never able to conquer the two kingdoms. Judea, by paying a costly tribute, was able to lessen the force of the Egyptian conquest. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, however, fared much worse. An inscription of the battles was left in the Karnak Temple in Thebes, listing a number of cities in Israel and Judea considered subservient to Egypt.

First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 detail the campaign by Pharoah Shoshenq (referred to as Shishak in the Bible) against King Rehoboam of Judea. During his campaign, Shoshenq marched though the Kingdom of Judea, then north through the Jezreel valley. He then moved onward towards Beth Shean in the north and finally across the Jordan River before matching farther eastward. A list of the cities sacked during Shoshenq’s campaign is preserved in the Karnak Temple in Thebes including the Israelite and Judean cities of Gibeon, Jerusalem, Megiddo (Armageddon), Aijalon, Beth Shean, and many more.

See also-

Relief and Stelae of Pharaoh Shoshenq I- Rehoboam’s Tribute, c. 925 BCE

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