The Kingdom of Judah in the 9th century BCE: Text analysis versus archaeological research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The article discusses the growth of the Kingdom of Judah in the 9th century BCE in light of documentary and archaeological evidence. I suggest that the chronistic short accounts immersed in the Book of Kings should be used as anchors for the historical reconstruction, and that the results of the archaeological research should be integrated accordingly. Contrary to common opinion, during the Omride dynasty Judah remained an independent kingdom and it was free to pursue autonomous policies (provided that these did not clash with the interests of its strong northern neighbour). Already in the first half of the 9th century BCE, under Jehoshaphat and Jehoram, Judah began expanding to the Negev, the Arabah and Shephelah. The kings of Judah settled the Beer-sheba Valley, fortified Tel Beer-sheba (Stratum V) and Arad (Stratum XI) and made efforts to overtake the copper trade in order to share in its profits. In the west, they settled the easternmost Shephelah district, and around the mid-9th century BCE they fortified the city of Lachish (Level IV) as its administrative centre. Throughout the 9th century BCE, Judah maintained peaceful relations with the Kingdom of Gath, and the settlement of the eastern Shephelah may have developed as a result of an agreement between the two kingdoms. The subordination to Hazael brought Judah's military operations to a halt, but following Adad-nerari III's campaigns and Aram's defeat, Amaziah resumed the Judahite offensive on the kingdom's southern and western fronts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-276
Number of pages30
JournalTel Aviv
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Arabah
  • Edom
  • Gath
  • Judah
  • Judahite chronicle
  • Lachish
  • Negev
  • Shephelah
  • Vassalage

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