Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy)  

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According to the Bible, before the united monarchy, the Israelite tribes lived as a confederation of twelve tribes under an ad hoc charismatic leadership called Judges. In around 1020 BC, under extreme threat from foreign peoples, the tribes united to form the first united Kingdom of Israel. Samuel anointed Saul from the tribe of Benjamin as the first king in c. 1020 BC, but it was David who in c.1006 BC created a strong unified Israelite monarchy.

David, the second (or third, if Ish-bosheth is counted) King of Israel, established Jerusalem as its national capital 3,000 years ago. Before then, Hebron had been the capital of David's Judah and Mahanaim of Ish-bosheth's Israel, and before that Gibeah had been the capital of the United Monarchy under Saul.

David succeeded in truly unifying the Israelite tribes, and set up a monarchical government. He embarked on successful military campaigns against Israel's enemies, and defeated bitter foes such as the Philistines, thus creating secure borders for Israel. Under David, Israel grew into a regional power. Under the House of David, the united Kingdom of Israel achieved prosperity and superiority over its neighbours.

Under David's successor, Solomon, the United Monarchy experienced a period of peace and prosperity, and cultural development. Much public building took place, including the First Temple in Jerusalem.

However, on the succession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, in c. 930 BC the country split into two kingdoms: Israel (including the cities of Shechem and Samaria) in the north and Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south. Most of the non-Israelite provinces fell away.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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