Kings of Israel

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Rulers of United Kingdom

A united kingdom was ruled by only three kings (Saul, David and Solomon). Ishbosheth ruled only part of Israel for two years after his father Saul died while David ruled the other part. After the death of King Solomon in 930 B.C. Israel split into two large pieces. The biggest piece, referred to as the Kingdom of Israel, was populated by ten Israelite tribes. The other piece, the Kingdom of Judah, was composed of three tribes (Judah, Benjamin, and the priestly tribe of Levi).

How Long Did it Last?

The Kingdom of Israel lasted only 207 years. Twenty kings ruled over the nation before it was destroyed in 723 B.C. The Kingdom of Judah, however, lasted a bit longer at 344 years. Nineteen men and one woman ruled over the people until they were also conquered and destroyed in 586.

The Richest Kings in History!

King David became quite wealthy during his life. In fact, his riches were such that his tomb was raided a few times in order to get his cash! The richest of all the monarchs, however, was King Solomon. He ultimately amassed a fortune that has never been equaled by any other human (1Kings 3:10 - 13). The king was easily worth several hundred billion dollars in today's money due to the massive amounts of gold, silver and goods he owned!

King Solomon had enough cash to live a uniquely extravagant lifestyle. He sat on a throne made of ivory overlaid with the finest gold (1 Kings 10:18). He easily afforded the creation of two hundred golden "targets" (small military defensive shields) worth $262,000 each in today's money (assuming a gold price of $1,200 per troy ounce, verse 16). He also had three hundred golden full body shields created (verse 17) worth $66,000 each.

Queen of Sheba Kneeling before King Solomon
Queen of Sheba kneeling before King Solomon
Johann Friedrich August Tischbein

Longest and Shortest Reigns

The longest reigning king over either Israel or Judah was Manasseh. This evil monarch ruled over Judah for fifty-five years, from 696 to 642 B.C. The shortest reign was that of King Zimri, who ruled for only seven days in 885. He ended his own life, in the city of Tirzah, after the people rebelled against him and attacked his palace (1Kings 16:15 - 18).

Which kings ruled one year or less? Other than Zimri, King Zechariah and Shallum over Israel, and Ahaziah, Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin over Judah, were monarchs for twelve months or less.

The Youngest and Oldest

The youngest ruler over God's people was Joash, who assumed the throne over Judah at the age of seven (2 Kings 11:21). The second youngest ruler is Josiah, who was eight years old (22:1) when he began to rule Judah in 640 B.C. The oldest king to assume the throne is Rehoboam, Solomon's son, who began his reign when he was forty-one (1Kings 14:21). It should be noted, however, that the Bible is silent regarding the age when most rulers came to power.

Biggest Royal Family

King Rehoboam ruled Judah after his death of his father Solomon. Scripture states that he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines (sixty women with a lower status and rank than wives). These seventy-eight females produced twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters (eighty-eight children total, 2Chronicles 11:21)!

Incredibly, although King Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1Kings 11:1 - 3), Scripture only names Rehoboam as being produced by him.

The second biggest royal family in Israel was produced by evil King Ahab, who ultimately sired seventy sons (2 Kings 10:1). Since the Bible does not mention how many daughters he had (a common occurrence in the Old Testament), it is possible that he produced more children than Rehoboam.

Demon Chaser

The only one of the kings of Israel (and the only one in Scripture) who could chase away an evil spirit with music is David. Saul, because of his sins, was rejected by God as ruler (David was anointed to replace him) and had the Holy Spirit taken from him (1Samuel 16:1, 13 - 14). An evil spirit was then allowed to trouble Saul (verses 14 - 16). It was only when David played his harp, in his presence, that the demonic spirit left him for a while (verse 23).

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The Treachery of Israel's Kings
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