The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Kingdom of Judah

The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew מַלְכוּת יְהוּדָה, Standard Hebrew Malḫut Yəhuda, Tiberian Hebrew Malḵṯ Yəhḏāh) in the times of the Hebrew Bible, was the nation formed from the territories of the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin after the Kingdom of Israel was divided, and was named after Judah son of Jacob (Israel). The name Judah itself means Praise of God.

Judah is often referred to as the Southern Kingdom to distinguish it from the Northern Kingdom (being the Kingdom of Israel) after the division of the Kingdom. Its capital was Jerusalem. See History of ancient Israel and Judah.

When the disruption took place at Shechem, at first only the tribe of Judah followed the house of David. But very soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah, and Jerusalem became the capital of the new kingdom (Joshua 18:28), which was called the kingdom of Judah.

For the first sixty years the kings of Judah aimed at re-establishing their authority over the kingdom of the other ten tribes, so that there was a state of perpetual war between them. For the following eighty years there was no open war between them. For the most part they were in friendly alliance, co-operating against their common enemies, especially against Damascus. For about another century and a half Judah had a somewhat checkered existence after the termination of the kingdom of Israel till its final overthrow in the destruction of the temple (586 BC) by Nebuzar-adan, who was captain of Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard (2 Kings 25:8-21).

The kingdom maintained a separate existence for three hundred and eighty-nine years. It occupied an area of 8,900 km (3,435 square miles).

This article is about what the Bible says. For how this relates to history, see the Bible and history.


The kings of Judah

For this period, most historians follow either the chronology established by William F. Albright or Edwin R. Thiele, both of which are shown below. All dates are BC.

Albright dates Thiele dates Common/Biblical Name Regnal name and style Notes
922915 931913 Rehoboam רחבעם בן-שלמה מלך יהודה
Rehav’am ben Shlomoh, Melekh Yehudah
Hitherto king of Israel
915913 913911 Abijam אבים בן-רחבעם מלך יהודה
Aviyam ben Rehav’am, Melekh Yehudah
913873 911870 Asah אסא בן-אבים מלך יהודה
Asa ben Aviyam, Melekh Yehudah
873849 870848 Jehoshaphat יהושפט בן-אסא מלך יהודה
Yehoshafat ben Asa, Melekh Yahudah
849842 848841 Jehoram יהורם בן-יהושפט מלך יהודה
Yehoram ben Yehoshafat, Melekh Yahudah
842842 841841 Achaziah אחזיהו בן-יהורם מלך יהודה
Ahazyahu ben Yehoram, Melekh Yehudah
Killed by Yehu, King of Israel
842837 841835 Athaliah עתליה בת-עמרי מלכת יהודה
‘Atalyah bat Omri, Malkat Yehudah
Queen Mother, wife of Jehoram; died in a coup
837800 835796 Jehoash יהואש בן-אחזיהו מלך יהודה
Yehoash ben Ahazyahu, Melekh Yehudah
Killed by his servants
800783 796767 Amaziah אמציה בן-יהואש מלך יהודה
Amatzyah ben Yehoash, Melekh Yehudah
783742 767740 Uzziah
עזיה בן-אמציה מלך יהודה
‘Uziyah ben Amatzyah, Melekh Yehudah
עזריה בן-אמציה מלך יהודה
‘Azaryah ben ’Amatzyah, Melekh Yehudah
George Syncellus wrote that the First Olympiad took place in Uzziah's 48th regnal year
742735 740732 Jotham יותם בן-עזיה מלך יהודה
Yotam ben ‘Uziyah, Melekh Yehudah
735715 732716 Ahaz אחז בן-יותם מלך יהודה
Ahaz ben Yotam, Melekh Yehudah
The Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III records he received tribute from Ahaz; compare 2 Kings 16:7-9; Fate unknown
715687 716687 Hezekiah חזקיה בן-אחז מלך יהודה
Hizqiyah ben Ahaz, Melekh Yehudah
Contemporary with Sennacherib of Assyria, and Merodach-baladan of Babylon (but see note 1, below)
687642 687643 Manasseh מנשה בן-חזקיה מלך יהודה
Menasheh ben Hizqiyah, Melekh Yehudah
642640 643641 Amon אמון בן-מנשה מלך יהודה
Amon ben Menasheh, Melekh Yehudah
640609 641609 Josiah יאשיהו בן-אמון מלך יהודה
Yo’shiyahu ben Amon, Melekh Yehudah
Died in battle against Necho II of Egypt.
609 609 Jehoahaz
יהואחז בן-יאשיהו מלך יהודה
Yehoahaz ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
אחז בן-יאשיהו מלך יהודה
Ahaz ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
609598 609598 Jehoiakim יהויקים בן-יהואחז מלך יהודה
Yehoyaqim ben Yehoahaz, Melekh Yehudah
The Battle of Carchemish occurred in the fourth year of his reign (Jeremiah 46:2)
598 598 Jehoiachin
יהויכין בן-יהויקים מלך יהודה
Yehoyakhin ben Yehoyaqim, Melekh Yehudah
יכניהו בן-יהויקים מלך יהודה
Yekhonyahu ben Yehoyaqim, Melekh Yehudah
Perhaps reigned from March to May as 2 Chronicles 36:10 suggests. Called 'Jeconiah' in Jeremiah and Esther
597587 597586 Zedekiah צדקיהו בן-יהויכין מלך יהודה
Tzidqiyahu ben Yo’shiyahu, Melekh Yehudah
The last king of Judah. Deposed, blinded and sent into exile; fate unknown. See note 2, below.


1. Hezekiah: contemporary with Sennacherib of Assyria, and Merodach-baladan of Babylon. There is some question whether these kings can provide a reliable synchronism for his reign: Al-Biruni and Bar-Hebraeus mention a "King Sennacherib the Less" as well. Furthermore, there was another king named Merodakh Baladan ben Baladan, also known as Mardokempad. (Ptolemy assumed, without any reason, that Mordac Empadus was contemporary with King Hezekiah.) These two Baladans remained pretenders during Sennacherib's reign, therefore it is not easy to identify their regnal years as Ptolemy attempted. According to Robert R. Newton (The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy, 1977), this ancient scholar frequently attributed some observations to certain years of some kings for the sake of simplicity in his tabulation, but those were not part of the original observations. Newton also asserts Ptolemy often contrived astronomical data in order to support his own theories.

2. Zedekiah: rebelled twice - in the first rebellion (597 BC), Nebuchadnezzar II captured Jerusalem, and took most of its leaders into exile. In the second rebellion (588586 BC), Jerusalem was captured after a lengthy siege, the temple burnt, Zedekiah taken into exile and Judah was reduced to a province. Nebuchadnezzar had left Gedaliah as his governor, who was killed in one last revolt, and the few members of the ruling classes left from the kingdom of Judah took the prophets Jeremiah and Baruch with them as they fled to sanctuary in Egypt.

From the end of the Kingdom to Present Time

After the end of the ancient kingdom the area passed into foreign rule, apart from brief periods, under the following powers:-

587–c. 539 BC: Persians

332305 BC: Macedonians

305141 BC: Seleucids

14163 BC: The Hasmonean State in Palestine

6337 BC: Roman province of Judaea

37 BCAD 44: The Herodian Kingdom of Judaea

44: Roman province of Judaea

4493: The Herodian Kingdom of Judaea

44395: Roman Empire

395634: Byzantine Empire

6341516: Caliphate with Crusader state intervals

15161917: Ottoman Turks

19181948: British under League of Nations mandate

May 1948 to present: independent State of Israel

See Also

Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04