When Was the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah and Why Was It Called That?

Ancient History of the Hebrews

Solomon and the Plan for the Temple (1 Kings 6).

The Providence Lithograph Company/Wikimedia Commons 

After the Exodus and before the division of the Hebrew people into two kingdoms was a period known as the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah.

After the Exodus, which is described in the Biblical book of the same name, the Hebrew people settled in Canaan. They were divided by tribe, with the bulk of the tribes residing in the northern regions. Since the Hebrew tribes were frequently at war with neighboring tribes, the tribes of Israel formed themselves into a loose confederation, which required a military commander to lead it. Judges, who partially served in this capacity (as well as serving in legislative and judicial capacities), accrued power and wealth over time.

Eventually, for military and other reasons, the followers of Yahweh decided they needed more than a military commander -- a king. Samuel, a judge, was chosen to appoint a king for Israel. He resisted because a king would compete with the supremacy of Yahweh; however, Samuel did as bid [see: 1 Samuel 8:11-17], and anointed Saul*, from the tribe of Benjamin, as the first king (1025-1005).

David (1005-965), from the tribe of Judah, followed Saul. Solomon (968-928), son of David and Bathsheba, followed David as king of the united monarchy.

When Solomon died, the United Monarchy fell apart. Instead of one, there were two kingdoms: Israel, the much larger kingdom in the north, which split apart from the southern kingdom of Judah (Judaea).

The United Monarchy period ran from c. 1025-928 B.C. This period is part of the archaeological period known as Iron Age IIA. Following the United Monarchy, the Divided Monarchy ran from about 928-722 B.C.

*There is a problem with the dates of Saul since it is said that he ruled two years, yet must have ruled longer to encompass all the events of his reign.