For 120 years, the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were one nation. After the reign of King Solomon in 930 BC, they split into Israel, which contained the 10 northern Jewish tribes, and Judah, which housed the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were the descendants of David.
The first king of Judah was Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, who wasn’t exactly a great ruler. He went to war with Egypt and Israel during the 17 years of his kingship. The first king of Judah to be remembered as a benevolent king was Asa, who ruled from 911-870, a total of 41 years.
Two kings later a man named Jehoram came to the throne in 848. He married a pagan named Athaliah. They had a son named Azahiah, who became king after his father in 841, but after ruling just one year, he and his father were assassinated by King Jehu of Israel during a visit there. When hearing of the death of her son and husband, Athaliah seized the throne and ordered the execution of all possible claimants to the throne, including the relatives of Azahiah and Jehoram. In Israel, King Jehu also ordered the execution of their descendants. After six years of her reign, Athaliah heard that her grandson, Joash, had survived the purge and been proclaimed king. While trying to stop the rebellion, she was captured and executed. Joash then became the next king in 835, ruling for 40 years.
After a mix of godly and wicked kings, Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah. Hezekiah is remembered as the most god-fearing and faithful king. For obeying God, Hezekiah was granted 15 extra years of life. After him, his son Manasseh became king. Sadly, he reversed the work of his father and reinstituted polytheistic religion. Fortunately, In his last years, Manasseh repented and tore down all the idols in the country.
During the rule of King Zedekiah in 586, Judah fell to Babylon after the capital city, Jerusalem, was desecrated. The Jews were then taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
Now let’s move north to Israel. The first king of Israel was Jeroboam, who ruled from 931-910. He instituted idol worship in the nation because he wished for Israel to be different from Judah, which worshiped God. Jeroboam’s sin resulted in God cursing his descendants. The curse stated that Jeroboam’s offspring would die painful deaths. His son Abijah, perished of an illness when Jeroboam was still king. Nadab, his second son, became king and ruled for two years until he was killed by Baasha, who became king next. A couple leaders later in 885, King Zimri ruled for only seven days and still managed to earn a reputation as a poor king before being replaced by Omri.
After the 12 years of Omri’s rule, his son Ahab became king. He married the daughter of a priest of Baal named Jezebel. During his reign, Ahab desired to purchase a vineyard from its owner. As it was his livelihood, the owner had to deny the king. Angrily, Ahab ordered the man to be put to death. He then greedily took the field. Like Jeroboam, Ahab’s descendants were cursed by God with painful deaths. This was fulfilled when his son, Ahaziah, fell out of a window and again with his son, Joram, who was butchered by Jehu, the next king. Jehu then murdered all of Ahab’s remaining progeny.
Hoshea was the last king of Israel before the godless nation was invaded by Assyria in 722. He remained a puppet king until 712 when he was deposed.
Throughout Israel’s existence, there was not a single king that consistently submitted God. In Judah, there was a mix of good and bad rulers, but the majority were still unfaithful. Israel fell before Judah in 722, while Judah fell in 586. Because Judah was more faithful, it lasted longer. This is also the case with kings. For instance, Hezekiah was blessed with more years because he agreed to God’s command. The other kings should’ve picked up on this, but instead both nations fell to different empires, scattering the Jews across the world. Disobedience leads to division, which leads to downfall.