The exiles of Israel and Judah


When Solomon died, his kingdom was split into two parts, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, each with a king of its own (see map).

The Northern Kingdom

Let’s start by seeing what happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  The king of Israel didn’t want his people to go to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem because it was the capital of the Southern Kingdom.  He therefore set up an idol in each of the two pagan temples in his own kingdom and ordered the people to worship there.  The kings after him carried on this pagan worship although God sent them holy men, called prophets (e.g. Elijah and Elisha) to tell them to stop it.  Soon they forgot all about the Ten Commandments: the rulers became rich and treated the poor people very cruelly.  They forgot altogether that God wanted them to teach other nations about him, but disaster was coming.

Away to the east the great kingdom of Assyria was slowly pushing its way towards Palestine.  The people of Israel became frightened, but in spite of the warnings of the prophets they refused to mend their ways and turn to God.  Instead they hoped the Egyptians would help them and so, when the Assyrian army arrived, they took up arms.  They were defeated and most of the people were taken off to Assyria where they settled down and we know no more of them.

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