Migration of Israelites into Judah after 720 BCE: An Answer and an Update

Israel Finkelstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In a recent article in this journal Nadav Na'aman dismissed the proposal that a large number of Israelites migrated to Judah after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 720 BCE. Na'aman based his rebuttal on three points: the lack of evidence of a proliferation of Israelite theophoric names in Judah; the demography of the Shephelah between 720 BCE and the Sennacherib campaign in 701 BCE; and observations regarding the growth of Jerusalem in the same time-slot. In this paper I challenge all three observations on both factual and methodological grounds, and emphasize that the Israelites-in-Judah theory provides a compelling explanation for the incorporation of Israelite texts - including those which compete with Judahite traditions or are adverse to the Davidic Dynasty - into the Hebrew Bible. I then take the opportunity to update my views regarding the settlement expansion and demographic growth in Jerusalem in particular and Judah in general in the late 8th and early 7th centuries BCE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-206
Number of pages19
JournalZeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Jun 2015


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