International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
joo'-da (yehudhah, "praised"):
(1) 4th son of Jacob by Leah (see separate article).
(2) An ancestor of Kadmiel, one of those who had the oversight of the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 3:9). He is the same as Hodaviah (Ezra 2:40), and Hodevah (Nehemiah 7:43).
(3) A Levite who had taken a strange wife (Ezra 10:23).
(4) A Levite who came up with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:8).
(5) A priest and musician who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:36); (3), (4) and (5) may be the same person.
(6) A Benjamite, the son of Hassenuah, who was second over the city of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:9).
(7) One of the princes of Judah who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:34).
S. F. Hunter
(yehudah; in Genesis 29:35 Codex Vaticanus, Ioudan; Codex Alexandrinus, Iouda; elsewhere Codices Vaticanus and Alexandrinus, Ioudas):
1. Jacob's Son:
The 4th son born to Jacob by Leah in Paddan-aram (Genesis 29:35, etc.). Of this patriarch's life only scanty details remain to us. He turned his brethren from their purpose to slay Joseph, persuading them to sell him to the Midianites at Dothan (Genesis 37:26). A dark stain is left upon his memory by the disgraceful story told in Genesis 38. Reuben forfeited the rights of primogeniture by an act of infamy; Simeon and Levi, who came next in order, were passed over because of their cruel and treacherous conduct at Shechem; to Judah, therefore, were assigned the honors and responsibilities of the firstborn (34; 35:22:00; 49:5;). On the occasion of their first visit to Egypt, Reuben acted as spokesman for his brethren (42:22, 37). Then the leadership passed to Judah (43:3, etc.). The sons of Joseph evidently looked askance upon Judah's promotion, and their own claims to hegemony were backed by considerable resources (49:22;). The rivalry between the two tribes, thus early visible, culminated in the disruption of the kingdom. To Judah, the "lion's whelp," a prolonged dominion was assured (49:9;).
2. Tribe of Judah:
The tribe of Judah, of which the patriarch was the name-father, at the first census in the wilderness numbered 74,600 fighting men; at Sinai the number "from 20 years old and upward" was 76,500 (Numbers 1:27; Numbers 26:22; see NUMBERS). The standard of the camp of Judah, with which were also the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar, was to the East of the tabernacle "toward the sunrising," the prince of Judah being Nahshon, the son of Amminadab (Numbers 2:3). Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, represented Judah among the spies (Numbers 13:6); he also was told off to assist at the future allocation of the tribal portions (Numbers 34:19).
The land assigned to Judah lay in the South of Palestine (see JUDAH, TERRITORY OF), comprising part of the mountain, the Shephelah, and the maritime plain. The information given of its conquest is meager and cannot be arranged in a self-consistent story. In Joshua 11:21;, the conquest is ascribed to Joshua. Caleb is described as conquering at least a portion in Joshua 14:12; Joshua 15:13;; while in Judges 1 the tribes of Judah and Simeon play a conspicuous part; and the latter found a settlement in the South within the territory of Judah The tribal organization seems to have been maintained after the occupation of the land, and Judah was so loosely related to the northern tribes that it was not expected to help them against Sisera. Deborah has no reproaches for absent Judah. It is remarkable that no judge over Israel (except Othniel, Judges 3:9-11) arose from the tribe of Judah. The first king of all Israel was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin. This made acquiescence on the part of Judah easier than it would have been had Saul sprung from the ancient rival, Ephraim. But the dignity of Judah was fully vindicated by the splendid reigns of David and Solomon, in lineal descent from whom the Saviour of the world should come. The further history of the tribe is merged in that of Israel.
JUDAH AT (UPON) THE JORDAN
(yehudhah ha-yarden): A place marking the eastern limit of the territory of Naphtali (Joshua 19:34). It is generally thought among scholars that the text is corrupt; but no very probable emendation has been suggested. Thomson (L B, II, 466) proposes to identify it with Seiyid Jehuda, a small white-domed sanctuary about 3 miles to the Southeast of Tell el-Qady.
JUDAH, KINGDOM OF
" I. CANAAN BEFORE THE MONARCHY
1. The Coming of the Semites
2. The Canaanites
3. The Israelite Confederacy
4. Migration into Canaan
5. The Bond of Union
6. Early Rulers
7. The Judges
8. Hereditary Kings
II. THE FIRST THREE KINGS
1. The Benjamite King
2. Rachel and Leah Tribes
3. The Disruption
III. THE DUAL MONARCHY
1. War between Two Kingdoms
2. First Reform of Religion
3. Two Kingdoms at Peace
4. Two Kingdoms Contrasted
5. Revolution in the Northern Kingdom
6. Effect on the Southern Kingdom
7. Davidic House at Lowest Ebb
8. Begins to Recover
9. Reviving Fortunes
10. Monarchy Still Elective
11. Government by Regents
12. Period of Great Prosperity
13. Rise of Priestly Caste
14. Advent of Assyria
15. Judah a Protectorate
16. Cosmopolitan Tendencies
IV. PERIOD OF DECLINE
1. Judah Independent
2. Reform of Religion
3. Egypt and Judah
4. Traffic in Horses
5. Reaction under Manasseh
6. Triumph of Reform Party
7. Babylonia and Judah
8. End of Assyrian Empire
9. After Scythian Invasion
10. Judah Again Dependent
11. Prophets Lose Influence
12. The Deportations
I. Canaan before the Monarchy.
1. The Coming of the Semites:
Some 4,000 years B.C. the land on either side of the valley of the Jordan was peopled by a race who, to whatever stock they belonged, were not Semites. It was not until about the year 2500 B.C. that the tide of Sere immigration began to flow from North Arabia into the countries watered by the Jordan and the Euphrates. One of the first waves in this human tide consisted of the Phoenicians who settled in the Northwest, on the seashore; they were closely followed by other Canaan tribes who occupied the country which long bore their name.
2. The Canaanites:
The Canaanites are known to us chiefly from the famous letters found at Tell Amarna in Egypt which describe the political state of the country during the years 1415-1360 B.C.-the years of the reigns of Amenophis III and IV. Canaan was at this time slipping out of the hands of Egypt. The native princes were in revolt: tribute was withheld; and but few Egyptian garrisons remained. Meantime a fresh tide of invasion was hurling its waves against the eastern frontiers of the land. The newcomers were, like their predecessors, Semitic Bedouin from the Syrian desert. Among them the Tell el-Amarna Lettersname the Chabiri, who are, no doubt, the people known to us as the Hebrews.
3. The Israelite Confederacy:
The Hebrews are so named by those of other nationality after one of their remoter ancestors (Genesis 10:24), or because they had come from beyond (`ebher) the Jordan or the Euphrates. Of themselves they spoke collectively as Israel. Israel was a name assumed by the eponymous hero of the nation whose real name was Jacob. Similarly the Arabian prophet belonged to the tribe called from its ancestor Koraish, whose name was Fihr. The people of Israel were a complex of some 12 or 13 tribes. These 12 tribes were divided into two main sections, one section tracing its descent from Leah, one of Jacob's wives, and the other section tracing its descent from Rachel, his other wife. The names of the tribes which claimed to be descended from Leah were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and, indirectly, Gad and Asher; those which claimed to be descended from Rachel were Joseph, which was divided into two clans; Ephraim and Manasseh, Benjamin, and, indirectly, Dan and Naphtali. The rivalry between these two great divisions runs all through the national history of the Hebrews, and was only brought to an end by the annihilation of one of the opposing factions (Isaiah 11:13). But not only was the Israelite nation a combination of many clans; it was united also to other tribes which could not claim descent, from Israel or Jacob. Such tribes were the Kenites and the Calebites. Toward such the pure Israelite tribes formed a sort of aristocracy, very much as, to change the parallel, the tribe of Koraish did among the Arabs. It was rarely that a commander was appointed from the allied tribes, at least in the earlier years of the national life.
4. Migration into Canaan:
We find exactly the same state of things obtaining in the history of the Arabian conquests. All through that history there runs the rivalry between the South Arabian tribes descended from Kahtan (the Hebrew Joktan, Genesis 10:25, etc.) and the northern or Ishmaelite tribes of Modar. It is often stated that the Old Testament contains two separate and irreconcilable accounts of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites. According to the Book of Joshua, it is said the invasion was a movement of the whole people of Israel under the leadership of Joshua; according to the Book of Judges, it consisted of a series of expeditions made by individual tribes each on its own account (Judges 1:2, 10, etc.). But again, in the history of the Arabs we find precisely the same apparent discrepancy. For Persia, Syria and Egypt were conquered by the Arabs as a whole; but at the same time no tribe lost its individuality; each tribe made expeditions on its own account, and turned its arms against rival tribes even in the enemy's country. On the confines of China in the East and in Spain on the West, the arms of the Yemen's tribes were employed in the destruction of those of Modar as fiercely as ever they had been within Arabia itself.
5. The Bond of Union:
The bond which united the Israelite tribes, as well as those of Kayin (the eponym of the Kenites) and Caleb, was that of the common worship of Yahweh. As Mohammed united all the tribes of Arabia into one whole by the doctrine of monotheism, so did Moses the Israelite tribes by giving them a common object of worship. And the sherifs or descendants of `Ali today occupy a position very like what the Levites and the descendants of Aaron must have maintained in Israel. In order to keep the Israelite nation pure, intermarriage with the inhabitants of the invaded country was forbidden, though the prohibition was not observed (Judges 3:5 f). So too, the Arab women were not permitted to marry non-Arabs during the first years of conquest.
6. Early Rulers:
It is customary to date the beginning of monarchy in Israel from Saul the son of Kish, but in point of fact many early leaders were kings in fact if not in name. Moses and Joshua may be compared with Mohammed and his caliph (properly khalifa) or "successor," Abu Bekr. Their word was law; they reigned supreme over a united nation. Moreover, the word "king" (melekh) often means, both in Hebrew and Arabic, nothing more than governor of a town, or local resident. There was more than one "king" of Midinn (Judges 8:12). Balak seems to have been only a king of Moab (Numbers 22:4).
7. The Judges:
Before the monarchy proper, the people of Israel formed, in theory, a theocracy, as did also the Arabs under the caliphs. In reality they were ruled by temporary kings called judges (shopheT, the Carthaginian sufes). Their office was not hereditary, though there were exceptions (compare Judges 9). On the other hand, the government of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was practically an elective monarchy, so rarely were there more than two of the same dynasty. The judge again was usually appointed in order to meet some special crises, and theoretically ideal state of things was one in which there was no visible head of the state-a republic without a president. These intervals, however, always ended in disaster, and the appointment of another judge. The first king also was elected to cope with a specially serious crisis. The main distinction between judge and king was that the former, less than the latter, obscured the fact of the true King, upon the recognition of whom alone the continued existence of the nation depended. The rulers then became the "elders" or sheikhs of the tribes, and as these did not act in unison, the nation lost its solidarity and became an easy prey to any invader.
8. Hereditary Kings:
During the period of the Judges a new factor entered into the disturbed politics of Canaan. This was an invader who came not from the eastern and southern deserts, but from the western sea. Driven out of Crete by invaders from the mainland, the last remnants of the race of Minos found refuge on the shores of the country which ever after took from them the name it still bears-Philistin or Palestine. At the same time the Ammonites and Midianites were pressing into the country from the East (1 Samuel 11). Caught between these two opposing forces, the tribes of Israel were threatened with destruction. It was felt that the temporary sovereignty of the judge was no longer equal to the situation. The supreme authority must be permanent. It was thus the monarchy was founded. Three motives are given by tradition as leading up to this step. The pretext alleged by the elders or sheikhs is the worthlessness and incapacity of Samuel's sons, who he intended should succeed him (1 Samuel 8). The immediate cause was the double pressure from the Philistines (1 Samuel 9:16) and the Ammonite king (1 Samuel 12:12). The real reason was that the system of government by elective kings or judges had proved a failure and had completely broken down. The times called for a hereditary monarchy.
II. The First Three Kings.
1. The Benjamite King:
The most warlike of the clans of Israel shortly before this had been that of Benjamin-one of the Rachel tribes. The national sanctuary, with the ark and the grandson of Aaron as priest, was at Bethel in their territory. Moreover, they had defeated the combined forces of the other tribes in two pitched battles. They had at last been defeated and almost exterminated, but they had recovered much of their strength and prestige (Judges 20 1 Samuel 4:12). From this tribe the first king was chosen (see SAUL). He, however, proved unequal to his task. After some years spent in war with the Philistines and in repressing supposed disloyalty at home, he was defeated and killed.
Meantime, one of the less-known clans was coming to the front. The territory of the tribe of Judah lay in the South. After its occupation (compare Judges 1:2, 3), the tribe of Judah appears to have settled down to the care of its flocks and herds. It is not mentioned in the So of Deborah. None of the judges belonged to it, unless Ibzan, who seems to have been of little account (Judges 12:8 f). Under the leadership of DAVID (which see), this tribe now came to the front, and proved in the end to be endowed with by far the greatest vitality of all the tribes. It outlived them all, and survives to this day.
2. Rachel and Leah Tribes:
The Rachel tribes, led by Benjamin and Ephraim (2 Samuel 2; 2 Samuel 3), resisted for some time the hegemony of Judah, but were obliged in the end to submit. Under David Israel became again a united whole. By making Jerusalem his capital on the borders of Judah and Benjamin, he did much to insure the continuance of this union (compare 1 Chronicles 9:3). The union, however, was only on the surface. By playing off the Rachel tribes, Benjamin and Ephraim, against the rest, Absalom was able to bring the whole structure to the ground (2 Samuel 15), the tribe to which Saul belonged being especially disloyal (2 Samuel 16:5). Nor was this the only occasion on which the smoldering enmity between the two houses burst out into flame (2 Samuel 20). As soon as the strong hand of David was removed, disaffection showed itself in several quarters (1 Kings 11:14), and especially the aspiration of the tribe of Ephraim, after independence was fomented by the prophets (1 Kings 11:26). Egypt afforded a convenient asylum for the disaffected until opportunity should ripen. They had not long to wait.
3. The Disruption:
Solomon was succeeded by Rehoboam, who found it politic to hold a coronation ceremony at Shechem as well, presumably, as at Jerusalem. The malcontents found themselves strong enough to dictate terms. These Rehoboam rejected, and the northern tribes at once threw off their allegiance to the dynasty of David. The disruption thus created in the Israelite nation was never again healed. The secession was like that of the Moors in Spain from the `Abbhsid caliphs. Henceforth "Israel," except in the Chronicler, denotes the Northern Kingdom only. In that writer, who does not recognize the kingdom of the ten tribes, it means Judah. It is usual at the present day to recognize in the Northern Kingdom the true Israelite kingdom. Certainly in point of extent of territory and in resources it was far the greater of the two. But as regards intellectual power and influence, even down to the present day, not to mention continuity of dynasty, the smaller kingdom is by far the more important. It is, therefore, treated here as the true representative of the nation. Lying, as it did, in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem, the tribe of Benjamin could hardly do otherwise than throw in its lot with that of Judah Bethel, which became one of the religious capitals of the Northern Kingdom, although nominally within their territory, in fact belonged to Ephraim (Judges 1:22). With this union of opposing interests may be compared that of the `Alids and `Abbhsids, both belonging to the house of Mohammed and both aspirants to the caliphate, against the house of Umeiya.
III. The Dual Monarchy.
1. War between Two Kingdoms:
Rehoboam made no decisive attempt to bring back the recalcitrant tribes to their allegiance (1 Kings 12:21), though the two countries made raids, one upon the other (1 Kings 14:30). For his own security he built numerous fortresses, the remains of some of which have, it is probable, been recovered within recent years (2 Chronicles 11:5). These excited the suspicion of Shishak of Egypt, who invaded the country and reduced it to vassalage (1 Kings 14:25). Under Rehoboam's son Abijah, actual war broke out between the two kingdoms (1 Kings 15:6 as corrected in 15:7; 2 Chronicles 13). The war was continued during the long reign of his son Asa, whose opponent, Baasha, built a fort some 6 miles North of Jerusalem in order to cut off that city from communication with the North Asa confessed his weakness by appealing for help to Ben-hadad of Damascus. The end justified the means. The fort was demolished.
2. First Reform of Religion:
The reign of Asa is also remarkable for the first of those reformations of worship which recur at intervals throughout the history of the Southern Kingdom. The high places Reform of were not yet, however, considered illegitimate (1 Kings 15:14; but compare 2 Chronicles 14:5). He also, like his grandfather, was a builder of castles, and with a similar, though more fortunate, result (2 Chronicles 14:6, 9). Asa's old age and illness helped to bring to the rival kingdoms a peace which lasted beyond his own reign (1 Kings 15:23).
3. Two Kingdoms at Peace:
An effect of this peace is seen in the expanding foreign trade of the country under his successor Jehoshaphat. He rebuilt the navy as in the days of Solomon, but a storm ruined the enterprise (1 Kings 22:48 f). During this reign the two kingdoms came nearer being united than they had done since the disruption. This was no doubt largely due to the Northern Kingdom having been greatly weakened by the wars with Syria and Assyria, and having given up the idea of annexing the smaller country. Moreover, Jehoshaphat had married his son Joram (Jehoram) to Ahab's daughter Athaliah. From a religious point of view, the two states reacted upon one another. Jehoram of Israel inaugurated a reformation of worship in the Northern Kingdom, and at the same time that of Judah was brought into line with the practice of the sister kingdom (2 Kings 8:18). The peace, from a political point of view, did much to strengthen both countries, and enabled them to render mutual assistance against the common foe.
4. Two Kingdoms Contrasted:
Up to the death of Jehoram of Israel, which synchronized with that of Joram and Ahaziah of Judah, 6 kings had reigned in Judah Of these the first 4 died in their beds and were buried in their own mausoleum. During the same period of about 90 years there were in Israel 9 kings divided into 4 dynasties. The second king of the Ist Dynasty was immediately assassinated and the entire family annihilated. Precisely the same fate overtook the IId Dynasty. Then followed a civil war in which two pretenders were killed, one perishing by his own hand. The IIIrd Dynasty lasted longer than the first two and counted 4 kings. Of these one was defeated and killed in battle and another assassinated. The fate of the kings of Israel is very like that of the middle and later `Abbasid caliphs. The murder of his brothers by the Judean Jehoram, a proceeding once regular with the sultans of Turkey, must also be put down to the influence of his Israelite wife.
5. Revolution in the Northern Kingdom:
It was obvious that a crisis was impending. Edom and Libnah had thrown off their allegiance, and the Philistines had attacked and plundered Jerusalem, even the king's sons being taken prisoners, with the exception of the youngest (2 Chronicles 21:16). Moreover, the two kingdoms had become so closely united, not only by intermarriage, but also in religion and politics, that they must stand and fall together. The hurricane which swept away the northern dynasty also carried off the members of the southern royal house more nearly connected with Ahab, and the fury of the queen-mother Athaliah made the destruction complete (2 Kings 11:1).
6. Effect on the Southern Kingdom:
For 6 years the daughter of Ahab held sway in Jerusalem. The only woman who sat on the throne of David was a daughter of the hated Ahab. In her uniqueness, she thus holds a place similar to that of Shejered-Durr among the Memluk sultans of Egypt. The character of her reign is not described, but it can easily be imagined. She came to her inevitable end 6 years later.
7. Davidic House at Lowest Ebb:
Successive massacres had reduced the descendants of David until only one representative was left. Jehoram, the last king but one, had murdered all his brothers (2 Chronicles 21:4); the Arab marauders had killed his sons except the youngest (2 Chronicles 22:1; compare 21:17). The youngest, Ahaziah, after the death of his father, was, with 42 of his "brethren," executed by Jehu (2 Kings 10:14). Finally, Athaliah "destroyed all the seed royal." The entente with the Northern Kingdom had brought the Davidic dynasty to the brink of extinction.
8. Begins to Recover:
But just as `Abd er-Rahman escaped from the slaughter of the Umeiyads to found a new dynasty in Spain, so the Davidic dynasty made a fresh start under Joash. The church had saved the state, and naturally the years that followed were years in which the religious factor bulked large. The temple of Baal which Athaliah had built and supported was wrecked, the idols broken, and the priest killed. A fund was inaugurated for the repair of the national temple. The religious enthusiasm, however, quickly cooled. The priests were found to be diverting the fund for the restoration of the temple to their own uses. A precisely similar diversion of public funds occurred in connection with the Qarawiyin mosque in Fez under the Almoravids in the 12th century. The reign which had begun with so much promise ended in clouds and darkness (2 Kings 12:17 2 Chronicles 24:17 Matthew 23:35), and Joash was the first of the Judean kings to be assassinated by his own people (2 Kings 12:20 f).
9. Reviving Fortunes:
By a curious coincidence, a new king ascended the throne of Syria, of Israel and of Judah about the same time. The death of Hazael, and accession of Ben-hadad III led to a revival in the fortunes of both of the Israelite kingdoms. The act of clemency with which Amaziah commenced his reign (2 Kings 14:5, 6 Deuteronomy 24:16) presents a pleasing contrast to the moral code which had come to prevail in the sister kingdom; and the story of his hiring mercenaries from the Ephraimite kingdom (2 Chronicles 25:5-10) sheds a curious light on the relations subsisting between the two countries, and even on those times generally. It is still more curious to find him, some time after, sending, without provocation, a challenge to Jehoash; and the capture and release of Amaziah evinces some rudimentary ideas of chivalry (2 Kings 14:8). The chief event of the reign was the reconquest of Edom and taking of Petra (2 Kings 14:7).
10. Monarchy Still Elective:
The principle of the election of kings by the people was in force in Judah, although it seemed to be in abeyance since the people were content to limit their choice to the Davidic line. But it was exercised when occasion required. Joash had been chosen by the populace, and it was they who, when the public discontent culminated in the assassination of Amaziah, chose his 16-year-old son Uzziah (or Azariah) to succeed him.
11. Government by Regents:
The minority of the king involved something equivalent to a regency. As Jehoiada at first carried on the government for Joash, so Uzziah was at first under the tutelage of Zechariah (2 Chronicles 26:5), and the latter part of his reign was covered by the regency of his son Jotham. It is obvious that with the unstable dynasties of the north, such government by deputy would have been impracticable.
12. Period of Great Prosperity:
The reign of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26) was one of the most glorious in the annals of the Judean kingdom. The Philistines and southern Arabs, who had been so powerful in the reign of Jehoram, were subdued, and other Bedouin were held in check. The frontiers were strengthened with numerous castles. Now that Edom was again annexed, the Red Sea trade was resumed. Irrigation was attended to, and the agricultural resources of the country were developed. Uzziah also established a standing army, properly equipped and trained. Artillery, in the shape of catapults and other siege engines, was manufactured. It is obvious that in this reign we have advanced far beyond the earlier and ruder times.
13. Rise of Priestly Caste:
In this and the preceding reigns, we notice also how the priests are becoming a distinct and powerful caste. Zadok and Abiathar were no more than the domestic chaplains of David. The kings might at pleasure discharge the functions of the priest. But the all-powerful position of Jehoiada seems to have given the order new life; and in the latter part of the reign of Uzziah, king and priest come into conflict, and the king comes off second-best (2 Chronicles 26:16).
14. Advent of Assyria:
Uzziah is the first king of Judah to be mentioned in the Assyrian annals. He was fighting against "Pul" in the years 742-740. The advent of the great eastern power upon the scene of Judean politics could end but in one way-as it was soon to do with Israel also. The reign of Jotham may be passed over as it coincided almost entirely with that of his father. But in the following reign we find Judah already paying tribute to Assyria in the year of the fall of Damascus and the conquest of the East-Jordan land, the year 734.
15. Judah a Protectorate:
During the regency of Jotham, the effeminacy and luxury of the Northern Kingdom had already begun to infect the Southern (Micah 1:9; Micah 6:16), and under the irresolute Ahaz the declension went on rapidly. This rapprochement in morals and customs did not prevent Israel under Pekah joining with Rezin of Syria against Judah, with no less an object than to subvert the dynasty by placing an Aramean on the throne (Isaiah 7:6). What the result might have been, had not Isaiah taken the reins out of Ahaz' hands, it is impossible to say. As it was, Judah felt the strain of the conflict for many a year. The country was invaded from other points, and many towns were lost, some of which were never recovered (2 Chronicles 28:17). In despair Ahaz placed himself and his country under the protection of Assyria (2 Kings 16:7).
16. Cosmopolitan Tendencies:
It was a part of the cosmopolitan tendencies of the time that the worship became tarnished with foreign innovations (2 Kings 16:10). The temple for the first time in its history was closed (2 Chronicles 28:24). Altars of Baal were set up in all the open spaces of Jerusalem, each representing some urban god (Jeremiah 11:13). About the closing of the temple Isaiah would not be greatly concerned. Perhaps it was his suggestion (compare Isaiah 1). The priests who were supreme in the preceding reigns had lost their influence: their place had been taken by the prophets. The introduction of Baalism, however, was no doubt due to Ahaz alone.
IV. Period of Decline.
1. Judah Independent:
The following reign-that of Hezekiah-was, perhaps as a result of the disappearance of the Northern Kingdom, a period of reformation. Isaiah is now supreme, and the history of the times will be found in his biography. It must have been with a sigh of relief that Hezekiah saw the Northern Kingdom disappear forever from the scene. The relations of the two countries had been too uniformly hostile to make that event anything but an omen for good. It was no doubt due to Isaiah that Hezekiah sought to recover the old independence of his country. Their patriotism went near to be their own undoing. Sennacherib invaded Palestine, and Hezekiah found himself shorn of everything that was outside the walls of Jerusalem. Isaiah's patriotism rose to the occasion; the invading armies melted away as by a miracle; Judah was once more free (2 Kings 18:13).
2. Reform of Religion:
A curious result of Sennacherib's invasion was the disappearance of the high places-local shrines where Levitical priests officiated in opposition to those of the temple. When the Judean territories were limited to the city, these of necessity vanished, and, when the siege was over, they were not restored. They were henceforward regarded as illegal. It is generally held by scholars that this reform occurred later under Josiah, on the discovery of the "Book of the Law" by Hilkiah in the temple (2 Kings 22:8), and that this book was Deuteronomy. The high places, however, are not mentioned in the law book of Deuteronomy. The reform was probably the work of Isaiah, and due to considerations of morals.
3. Egypt and Judah:
The Judeans had always had a friendly feeling toward Egypt. When the great eastern power became threatening, it was to Egypt they turned for safety. Recent excavation has shown that the influence of Egypt upon the life and manners of Palestine was very great, and that that of Assyria and Babylonia was comparatively slight, and generally confined to the North. In the reign of Hezekiah a powerful party proposed an alliance with Egypt with the view of check-mating the designs of Assyria (2 Kings 17:4 Isaiah 30:2, 3; Isaiah 31:1). Hezekiah followed Isaiah's advice in rejecting all alliances.
4. Traffic in Horses:
The commercial and other ties which bound Palestine to Egypt were much stronger than those between Palestine and the East. One of the most considerable of these was the trade in horses. This traffic had been begun by Solomon (1 Kings 10:28 f). The chief seat of the trade in Palestine was Lachish (Micah 1:13). In their nomadic state the Israelites had used camels and donkeys, and the use of the horse was looked upon with suspicion by the prophets (Deuteronomy 17:16 Zechariah 9:10). When the horse is spoken of in the Old Testament, it is as the chief weapon of the enemies of the nation (Exodus 15:1 Judges 5:22, etc.).
5. Reaction under Manasseh:
On the death of Hezekiah, the nation reverted to the culture and manners of the time of Ahaz and even went farther than he in corrupt practices. Especially at this time human sacrifice became common in Israel (Micah 6:7). The influence for good of the prophets had gone (2 Kings 21). There is a curious story in 2 Chronicles 33:11 ff that Manasseh was taken captive by the Assyrians, and, after spending some time in captivity in Babylon, reformed and was restored to his throne. His son, however, undid these reforms, and public discontent grew to such an extent that he was assassinated (2 Kings 21:19).
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JUDAH, TERRITORY OF
I. GEOGRAPHICAL DATA
1. The Natural Boundaries
2. The Natural Divisions of Judah
(1) The Maritime Plain
(2) The Shephelah
(3) The Hill Country of Judah
II. THE TRIBE OF JUDAH AND ITS TERRITORY
III. THE BOUNDARIES OF THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH
I. Geographical Data.
Although the physical conformation of Western Palestine divides this land into very definite areas running longitudinally North and South, yet all through history there has been a recognition of a further-and politically more important-division into 3 areas running transversely, known in New Testament times as Galilee, Samaria and Judea. These districts are differentiated to some extent by distinctive physical features which have in no small degree influenced the history of their inhabitants.
1. The Natural Boundaries:
The southernmost of these regions possesses on 3 sides very definite natural boundaries: to the West the Mediterranean, to the East the Dead Sea, and the Jordan, and to the South 60 miles, North to South, of practically trackless desert, a frontier as secure as sea or mountain range. On the North no such marked "scientific frontier" exists, and on this the one really accessible side, history bears witness that the frontier has been pushed backward and forward. The most ideal natural northern frontier, which only became the actual one comparatively late in Hebrew times (see JUDAEA), is that which passes from the river `Aujeh in the West, up the Wady Deir Baldt, by the wide and deep Wady Ishar to `Akrabbeh and thence East to the Jordan. A second natural frontier commences at the same line on the West, but after following the Wady Deir Baldt, branches off southward along the Wady Nimr (now traversed by the modern carriage road from Jerusalem to Nablus), crosses the water-parting close to the lofty Tell Ashur and runs successively down the Wady Sanieh and the Wady `Aujeh and by the eastern river `Aujeh to the Jordan. This division-line is one conformable to the physical features, because north of it the table-lands of "Judea" give place to the more broken mountain groups of "Samaria." Another less natural, though much more historic, frontier is that which traverses the Vale of Ajalon, follows the Beth-horon pass, and, after crossing the central plateau near el Jib (Gibeon) and er Ram (Ramah of Benjamin), runs down the deep and rugged Wady SuweiniT, between Jeba` (Geba) and Mukhmas (Michmash), to Jericho and the Jordan. It was along this line that the great frontier fortresses, Bethel, Gibeon, Ramah, Adasa, Geba and Michmash, were erected. Such, on the North, South, East, and West, were the natural boundaries of the southern third of Palestine; yet in all history the land thus enclosed scarcely ever formed a homogeneous whole.
2. The Natural Divisions of Judah:
Within these boundaries lay four very different types of land-the maritime plain, the "lowland" or Shephelah, the "hill country" and, included usually with the last, the desert or Jeshimon.
(1) The Maritime Plain:
The maritime plain, the "land Judah of the Philis" (1 Samuel 6:1; 1 Samuel 27:1 2 Kings 8:2 Zephaniah 2:5), was ideally though never actually, the territory of Judah (compare Joshua 15:45-47); it may have been included, as it is by some modern writers, as part of the Shephelah, but this is not the usual use of the word. It is a great stretch of level plain or rolling downs of very fertile soil, capable of supporting a thriving population and cities of considerable size, especially near the seacoast.
(2) The Shephelah:
The Shephelah (shephelah), or "lowland" of Judah (Deuteronomy 1:7 Joshua 9:1; Joshua 11:2, 16; 15:33-44 1 Kings 10:27 1 Chronicles 27:28 Jeremiah 17:26).-In these references the word is variously rendered in the King James Version, usually as "vale" or "valley," sometimes, as in the last two, as "plain." In the Revised Version (British and American) the usual rendering is "lowland." In 1 Maccabees 12:38, the King James Version has "Shephela" and the Revised Version (British and American) "plain country." The word "Shephelah" appears to survive in the Arabic Sifla about Beit Jebrin.
This is a very important region in the history of Judah. It is a district consisting mainly of rounded hills, 500-800 ft. high, with fertile open valleys full of corn fields; caves abound, and there are abundant evidences of a once crowded population. Situated as it is between the "hill country" and the maritime plain, it was the scene of frequent skirmishes between the Hebrews and the Philistines; Judah failed to hold it against the Philistines who kept it during most of their history. The Shephelah is somewhat sharply divided off from the central mountain mass by a remarkable series of valleys running North and South. Commencing at the Vale of Ajalon and passing South, we have in succession the Wady el Ghurab and, after crossing the Wady es Siwan, the Wady en Najil, the Wady es Sunt (Elah) and the Wady es Cur. It is noticeable that the western extremity of the most historic northern frontier of ancient Judah-that limited by the Vale of Ajalon in the West-appears to have been determined by the presence of this natural feature. North of this the hills of Samaria flatten out to the plain without any such intervening valleys.
(3) The Hill Country of Judah:
The hill country of Judah is by far the most characteristic part of that tribe's possessions; it was on account of the shelter of these mountain fastnesses that this people managed to hold their own against their neighbors and hide away from the conquering armies of Assyria and Egypt. No other section of the country was so secluded and protected by her natural borders. It was the environment of these bare hills and rugged valleys which did much to form the character and influence the literature of the Jews. The hill country is an area well defined, about 35 miles long and some 15 broad, and is protected on three sides by natural frontiers of great strength; on the North alone it has no "scientific frontier." On the South lay the Negeb, and beyond that the almost waterless wilderness, a barrier consisting of a series of stony hills running East and West, difficult for a caravan and almost impracticable for an army. On the West the hills rise sharply from those valleys which delimit them from the Shephelah, but they are pierced by a series of steep and rugged defiles which wind upward to the central table-land. At the northwestern corner the Bethhoron pass-part of the northern frontier line-runs upward from the wide Vale of Ajalon; this route, the most historic of all, has been associated with a succession of defeats inflicted by those holding the higher ground (see BETH-HORON). South of this is the Wady `Ali, up which runs the modern carriage road to Jerusalem, and still farther South lies the winding rocky defile, up part of which the railway from Jaffa is laid, the Wady es Surar. A more important valley, because of its width and easier gradient, is the great Vale of Elah (Wady es Cunt), to guard the highest parts of which (now the Wady es Cur) was built the powerful fortress of Beth-zur (2 Chronicles 11:7, etc.), which Josephus (Ant., XIII, v, 6) describes as "the strongest place in all Judea (see BETH-ZUR). Up this pass the Syrians successfully with the aid of elephants (Ant., XII, ix, 4) invaded Judea. The eastern frontier of the hill country is one of extraordinary natural strength. Firstly, there were the Jordan and the Dead Sea; then along all but the northernmost part of the eastern frontier lay a long line of semi-precipitous cliffs, in places over 1,000 ft. high, absolutely unscalable and pierced at long intervals by passes all steep and dangerous. Within this again came a wide area of waterless and barren desert, the Wilderness of Judah (or Judea) known in English Versions of the Bible as JESHIMON (which see). To the northeasterly part of the frontier, where the ascent from the Jericho plain to the mountains presents no special difficulty in gradation, the waterless condition of the Jeshimon greatly restricted the possible routes for an enemy. The natural position for the first line of defense was the fortified city of Jericho, but as a frontier fortress she failed from the days of Joshua onward (see JERICHO). From Jericho four roads pass upward to the plateau of Judah; unlike the corresponding passes on the western frontier, they do not traverse any definite line of valley, but in many places run actually along the ridges.
These roads are:
(a) The earliest historically, though now the least frequented, is the most northerly, which passes westward at the back of ancient Jericho (near `Ain es Sultan) and ascends by Michmash and Ai to Bethel;
(b) the route traversed by the modern Jerus-Jericho road;
(c) the more natural route which enters the hills by Wady Joreif Ghusal and runs by Nebi Musa joining the line of the modern carriage road a mile or so after passing the deserted ruin of the Saracenic Khan el Ahmar. Here runs the road for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the shrine of Nebi Musa in the spring.
(d) The most natural pass of all is by way of Wady el Kuneiterah, across the open plateau of el Bukeia' and over the shoulder of Jebel el Muntar to Bethlehem.
From `Ain Feshkhah a very steep road, probably ancient, ascends to join this last route in el Bukeia`, From Engedi (`Ain Jidy) a steep ascent-almost a stairway-winds abruptly to the plateau above, whence a road passes northwesterly by the Wady Hucaceh past Tekoa to Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and another branch goes west to Hebron and Juttah.
Somewhere along these routes must have lain the "Ascent of Ziz" and the "Wilderness of Jeruel," the scene of the events of 2 Chronicles 20. The hill country of Judah is distinguished from other parts of Palestine by certain physical characteristics. Its central part is a long plateau-or really series of plateaus-running North and South, very stony and barren and supplied with but scanty springs: "dew" is less plentiful than in the north; several of the elevated plains, e.g. about Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Hebron, are well suited to the growth of corn and olive trees; in the sheltered valleys and on the terraced hillsides to the West of the water-parting, vines, olives, figs and other fruit trees flourish exceedingly. There is evidence everywhere that cultivation was far more highly developed in ancient times; on most of the hill slopes to the West traces of ancient terraces can still be seen (see BOTANY). This district in many parts, especially on its eastern slopes, is preeminently a pastoral land, and flocks of sheep and goats abound, invading in the spring even the desert itself. This last is ever in evidence, visible from the environs of all Judah's greater cities and doubtless profoundly influencing the lives and thoughts of their inhabitants.
The altitude attained in this "hill country" is usually below 3,000 ft. in the north (e.g. Ramallah, 2,850 ft., Nebi Samwil, 2,935 ft.), but is higher near Hebron, where we get 3,545 ft. at Ramet el Khulil. Many would limit the term "hill country of Judea" to the higher hills centering around Hebron, but this is unnecessary. Jerusalem is situated near a lower and more expanded part of the plateau, while the higher hills to its north, are, like that city itself, in the territory of Benjamin.
II. The Tribe of Judah and Its Territory.
In Numbers 26:19-22, when the tribes of the Hebrews are enumerated "in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho" (Numbers 26:3), Judah is described as made up of the families of the Shelanites, the Perezites, the Zerahites, the Hezronites and the Hamulites. "These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them," a total of 76,500 (Numbers 26:22). In Judges 1:16 we read that the Kenites united with the tribe of Judah, and from other references (Joshua 14:6-15; Joshua 15:13-19 Judges 1:12-15, 20) we learn that the two Kenizzite clans of Caleb and Othniel also were absorbed; and it is clear from 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29 that the Jerahmeelites-closely connected with the Calebites (compare 1 Chronicles 2:42)-also formed a part of the tribe of Judah. The Kenizzites and Jerahmeelites were probably of Edomite origin (Genesis 36:11; compare 1 Chronicles 2:42), and this large admixture of foreign blood may partly account for the comparative isolation of Judah from the other tribes (e.g. she is not mentioned in Judges 5).
The territory of the tribe of Judas is described ideally in Joshua 15, but it never really extended over the maritime plain to the West. The natural frontiers to the West and East have already been described as the frontiers of the "hill country"; to the South the boundary is described as going "even to the wilderness of Zin southward, at the uttermost part of the south," i.e. of the Negeb (15:1), and (15:3) as far south as Kadesh-barnea, i.e. the oasis of `Ain Kadis, 50 miles South of Beersheba, far in the desert; the position of the "Ascent of Akrabbim," i.e. of scorpions, is not known. The "Brook of Egypt" is generally accepted to be the Wady el `Arish. The fact is, the actual frontier shaded off imperceptibly into the desert-varying perhaps with the possibilities of agriculture and depending therefore upon the rainfall. The cities mentioned on the boundaries, whose sites are now lost, probably roughly marked the edge of the habitable area (see NEGEB).
The northern boundary which separated the land of Judah from that of Benjamin requires brief mention. The various localities mentioned in Joshua 15:5-12 are dealt with in separate articles, but, omitting the very doubtful, the following, which are generally accepted, will show the general direction of the boundary line: The border went from the mouth of the Jordan to Beth-hoglah (`Ain Hajlah), and from the Valley of Achor (Wady Kelt) by the ascent of Adummin (Tala `at edition Dumm) to the waters of Enoch Shemesh (probably `Ain Haud), Enoch Rogel (Bir Eyyub), and the Valley of Hinnom (Wady er Rababi). The line then crossed the Vale of Rephaim (el Bukeia') to the waters of Nephtoah (Lifta), Kiriath-jearim (Kuryet el `Enab), Chesalon (Kesla), Beth-shemesh (`Ain Shems), Ekron (`Akir), and Jabneel (Yebnah), "and the goings out of the border were at the sea." According to the above line, Jerusalem lay entirely within the bounds of Benjamin, though, according to a tradition recorded in the Talmud, the site of the altar was in a piece of land belonging to Judah. The above frontier line can be followed on any modern map of Palestine, and if it does not in many parts describe a natural frontier, it must be remembered that the frontiers of village and town possessions in modern Palestine are extremely arbitrary, and though undetermined by any natural limits such as streams or mountain summits, they persist from generation to generation, and this too during periods-not long past-when there was constant warfare between different clans.
The territory of Judah was small; even had it included all within its ideal boundaries, it would have been no more than 2,000 square miles; actually it was nearer 1,300 square miles, of which nearly half was desert.
III. The Boundaries of the Kingdom of Judah.
These were very circumscribed. In 2 Chronicles 11:5-12 there is a list of the cities-chiefly those on the frontier-which Rehoboam fortified. On the East were Bethlehem, Etam and Tekoa; and on the West and Southwest were Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. The sites of the great majority of these are known, and they are all upon the borders of the Shephelah or the hill country. It will be seen too that the military preparation then made was against an attack from the West. In the 5th year of the reign of Rehoboam the expected attack came, and Shishak (Sheshenq I) of Egypt swept over the land and not only conquered all Judah and Jerusalem, but, according to the reading of some authorities in the account of this campaign given in the great temple of Karnak, he handed over to Jeroboam of Israel certain strongholds of Judah.
The usual northern frontier between the two Hebrew kingdoms appears to have been the southernmost of the three natural lines described in I above, namely by the Valley of Ajalon on the West and the Gorge of Michmash (Wady SuweiniT) on the East. Along the central plateau the frontier varied. Bethel (1 Kings 12:29 2 Kings 10:29 Amos 3:14; Amos 4:4; Amos 7:10, 13 Hosea 10:15) belonged to Israel, though once it fell to Judah when Abijah took it and with it Jeshanah (`Ain Sinia) and Ephron (probably et Taiyibeh) (2 Chronicles 13:19). Geba (Jeba`), just to the South of the Wady Suweinit, was on the northern frontier of Judah, hence, instead of the old term "from Dan to Beer-sheba" we read now of "from Geba to Beersheba" (2 Kings 23:8). Baasha, king of Israel, went South and fortified Ramah (er Ram, but 4 miles from Jerusalem) against Judah (1 Kings 15:17), but Asa stopped his work, removed the fortifications and with the materials strengthened his own frontier at Geba and Mizpah (1 Kings 15:21, 22). In the Jordan valley Jericho was held by Israel (1 Kings 16:34 2 Kings 2:4).
After the Northern Kingdom fell, the frontier of Judah appears to have extended a little farther North, and Bethel (2 Kings 23:15-19) and Jericho (to judge from Ezra 2:34 Nehemiah 3:2; Nehemiah 7:36) also became part of the kingdom of Judah. For the further history of this district see JUDAEA.
Seeespecially H G H L, chapters viii-xv; P E F, III, and Saunders, Introduction to the Survey of Western Palestine.
E. W. G. Masterman
KINGDOM OF JUDAH
See JUDAH, KINGDOM OF.