Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations eBook

Archibald Sayce
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations.
his alliance with Hiram opened to him the harbours of the Mediterranean coast.  But the wealth which David had accumulated, the tribute of the conquered provinces, and the trading monopolies of the king himself did not suffice for the extravagance of his expenditure, and heavy fiscal burdens had to be laid on the Israelitish tribes.  Disaffection grew up everywhere except in Judah, where the king resided, and where the wealth raised elsewhere was spent.

Revolts broke out in Edom and the north.  Garrisons, indeed, were planted in Zobah, which secured the caravan road through Tadmor or Palmyra to the Euphrates; but Damascus was lost, and became in a few years a formidable adversary of Israel.  The death of Solomon was the signal for a revolt in Palestine itself.  The northern tribes under Jeroboam separated from Judah and established a kingdom of their own, while Judah and Benjamin remained faithful to the house of David and to the capital, which lay on the frontier of both.  The Levites also naturally attached themselves to the kingdom which contained the great national sanctuary, and to the royal family whose chapel it was.  The disruption of the monarchy necessarily brought with it the fall of the empire; Moab, however, continued to be tributary to the northern kingdom and Edom to that of Judah.

Five years after the accession of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the kingdom of Judah seemed in danger of perishing altogether.  Shishak, the Egyptian Pharaoh, invaded the country and sacked Jerusalem itself.  But Jeroboam lost the opportunity thus afforded him of extending his rule over the south; his own territories had been partially overrun by the Egyptians, and he was probably not in a position to commence a war.  Judah had time to recover; the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, and the Arabian trade soon supplied it with fresh resources.

The long and prosperous reign of Asa, the grandson of Rehoboam, placed the line of David on a solid foundation.  The Jewish kingdom was compact; its capital was central, and was not only a strongly-fortified fortress, but also an ancient and venerable sanctuary.  As time went on feelings of respect and affection gathered round the royal house; the people of Judah identified it with themselves, and looked back with pride and regret to the glorious days of David and Solomon.  Religion, moreover, lent its sanction to the Davidic dynasty.  The Levitical priesthood had its centre in the temple which had been built by Solomon, and was, as it were, the private chapel of his descendants; here were preserved the rites and traditions of the Mosaic Law, and the ark of the covenant between Israel and its God.  The northern kingdom, on the contrary, had none of these elements of stability.  The first king was a rebel, who had no glorious past behind him, no established priesthood to support his throne, no capital even, around which all his subjects could rally.  The sword had given him his crown, and

Project Gutenberg
Early Israel and the Surrounding Nations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook