Nine years later, Solomon died. His son Rehoboam succeeded him. However, a short while later, the kingdom divided; Rehoboam retained Judah, of which Jerusalem remained the capital. Jeroboam I was chosen to rule over the remaining tribes of Israel (27), which henceforth, at their wish, would include the tribes of Reuben and Simeon.
Rehoboam, by now in his fifth regnal year, had been allowing skirmishing parties to raid Egyptian settlements. The pharaoh, Ramesses II (mentioned at the beginning), whom it has since been established was also known as Shishak, decided to punish him by leading his army into Judah. The outcome was that a number of hill towns were destroyed. Jerusalem was captured and about to be treated likewise but, following a plea from Rehoboam, the city was spared in exchange for most of the Temple's moveable treasures. (28) Fortunately the Ark was spared and left in place. There now followed a period of relative tranquillity for the next three centuries or so.
The two kingdoms remained separate until, by common consent, Hezekiah, who had been King of Judah since 715 BC, took control of a part of Israel as well. Hezekiah was one of the great kings of the day; his particular forte was the construction of many enormous stone structures, both civil and military. Several still exist. It was he who also extended the complex system of tunnels, siphons and cisterns under Mount Moriah to improve the water supply into Jerusalem.
After conquering Syria, Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylonia, went on to seize Israel and later Judah. Having successfully laid siege to Jerusalem, he imposed a series of puppet kings to govern it. This unsatisfactory state of affairs continued for the next ten years until the Jews revolted, and Nebuchadnezzar finally decided to crush all remaining resistance.