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Division Of The Land

After the Israelites entered and took control of the land promised to them by God, it was divided into territories for each of the tribes (see map at Tribal Lands). This occurred during the time of Joshua (Joshua chapters 14-21) in which God directly ordered that "Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you." (Joshua 13:6).

Israel The tribe of Levi (see Levites) had no assigned land of its own because it formed the priesthood. They were distributed throughout the other tribes (Joshua 21:1-42). To bring the number back to 12, the tribe of Joseph was made into 2 tribes through the descendants of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

After the death of King Solomon, who succeeded his father David as king of Israel, the Israelites split into 2 kingdoms that became known as "Israel" and "Judah."

The northern kingdom of Israel made its capital at Samaria. In 721 B.C., they were conquered and taken into exile, never to return, by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) (2 Kings 17:5-6). See Nineveh. They are today commonly called the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" -

  • Reuben

  • Simeon

  • Dan

  • Naphtali

  • Gad

  • Asher

  • Issachar

  • Zebulun

  • Joseph - Ephraim

  • Joseph - Manasseh

The southern kingdom of Judah retained the capital of Jerusalem. In 586 B.C., they were conquered and taken into exile by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar (see Why Babylon?). Their captivity was not permanent however - a remnant was permitted to return from the "Babylonian Captivity" by the Persians under Cyrus the Great (see Ancient Empires - Persia) after they conquered the Babylonians (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). The tribes of the southern kingdom of Judah -

  • Judah

  • Levi

  • Benjamin

Fact Finder: After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king of all of the Israelites. What did Rehoboam do that caused Israel to permanently split into the 2 kingdoms?
1 Kings 12:6-17


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