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Saul was the first king of Israel, then David, then Solomon. Each of the first 3 kings reigned for 40 years and finally King Solomon died. After Solomon the fame and fortunes of Israel went downhill. The nation rebelled against God and his laws. God might have destroyed Israel had He not promised to Abraham a redeemer and He still planned to use the house of David for this.
When Solomon died a civil war broke out as Solomon's sons and generals fought for the throne. Rehoboam had his fathers blessing to be the new king, but Jeroboam had more military influence. In the end, Rehoboam took the southern half of the country and called it "Judah". Jeroboam took the northern half and kept the name Israel. Each claimed to be God's chosen king.
Ten tribes in the north formed the northern kingdom of "Israel" and two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) formed the southern kingdom of "Judah."
The northern kingdom of Israel lasted just over 200 years and was conquered by Assyria around 722 B.C.
The southern kingdom of Judah lasted just over 300 years and was conquered by Babylon around 586 B.C.
Map of the Divided Kingdom
The Story of the Bible
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