What is the Kingdom of Judah?
THE KINGDOM OF JU'DAH
Extent. -- The kingdom of Judah embraced not only the territory of the tribe of Judah (see above), but also included the larger part of Benjamin on the north-east, Dan on the north-west, and Simeon on the south. The area thus under the dominion of Judah is estimated at 3435 square miles. Besides this, Edom, subdued by David, continued faithful to Judah for a time, and the Red Sea ports furnished an outlet for commerce. The kingdom had at the start the great advantages of having the former capital of the whole country, and in it the temple, the religious centre, the whole body of the priests who conducted the worship; then, too, the eclat of the Davidic family. It was, too, much less exposed to attack, its population was hardy and united. But these advantages did not remain of force. Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, proved equally attractive; indeed, very likely under the later kings it was a more magnificent city. The temple was rivalled by the shrines for the golden calves and for Baal and Astarte; the priesthood of these false faiths usurped the position of that of the true, and the glare of temporary worldly prosperity blinded the people to the consequences of their sin, while Judah fell under idolatry at times. The family of David furnished all the 19 kings of Judah, but the eldest son did not always succeed. Judah outlasted Israel 135 years. The reasons for this are partly given above, but the Bible assigns as the cause the long-suffering of God and his unwillingness to remove the house of David. But although at last Judah had fallen, yet in the mercy of God there was a continuance; the independent national life was no more, but still a national life remained. The Lord turned the captivity of Zion. He heard the sighing of his prisoners, and so from under the yoke they returned, and from a weak handful again developed into a nation, although they never were what they had been. For the history of these Jews, see Jews. History. -- After the division of the kingdom, b.c. 975, Judah maintained its separate existence for 389 years, until b.c. 586. During this period there were 19 rulers, all of the lineage of David, excepting Athaliah. During the first three reigns Israel and Judah were in an attitude of hostility. Israel under Jeroboam was signally defeated. 2 Chr 13. Later, an alliance was formed by the marriage of Jehoshaphat's son with Ahab's daughter, Athaliah, 1 Kgs 22; 2 Chr 18, who usurped the crown. The two kingdoms combined against Syria. The two great foes of Judah were Egypt on the south and Assyria on the east. From Egypt came Shishak, who humbled Judah, 2 Chr 12:2-12; Zerah, whose million of men were routed by King Asa, 2 Chr 14:9-12; and Josiah was slain at Megiddo. 2 Chr 35:23. The children of Aramon, Moab, and Mount Seir also invaded Judah during Jehoshaphat's reign, but they only destroyed one another. 2 Chr 20:22-25. The armies of Assyria met with varied fortune. Tilgath-pilneser distressed Judah during the reign of Ahaz, 2 Chr 28:20; Sennacherib's host of 185,000 men was destroyed by the angel of the Lord in Hezekiah's reign, 2 Chr 32:21; 2 Kgs 19:35; Manasseh was carried away captive into Babylon, 2 Chr 33:11; Jehoiachin was also made captive; Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, and was defeated, his sons slain before his eyes, and he made captive; Jerusalem was taken in b.c. 586, and the history of the kingdom of Judah was ended. For later events see Jerusalem, Palestine.
Bibliography Information Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'kingdom of judah' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Schaff's