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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(C1) The Untold Story of the Lowlands and the Tribe of Judah

Prof. Oded Lipschits

Part C: The Untold Stories of the Lowlands and its History

At the end of the 7th century BCE, after the Assyrian withdrawal from the area west of the Euphrates, Judah established its renewed hold on the lowlands, which became an integral part of the kingdom’s territories, and an important component of its economy. In the light of this reality, the history of the lowlands was described since the days of the conquest of the land, as an area that is part of the territory of the Kingdom of Judah and its population is part of the tribe of Judah.
Was this also the case in ancient times? Were those who lived in the lowlands at the end of the second millennium BCE and throughout the days of the First Temple Period an inseparable part of the tribe of Judah? Were Jerusalem and the Temple always the center of the inhabitants of the lowlands?
In this chapter of the podcast we will see to what extent this reference to the lowlands is ahistorical, and is part of the ‘untold story,’ because, from a historical and archaeological point of view, the lowlands were never a part of the hill country, and always maintained a degree of independence between the mountain tribes and the cities of the coast and the low plain. Throughout the second millennium and also in the first millennium BCE, until Sennacherib’s military campaign, local tribes lived in the lowlands, with each of them living in the geographical space that belonged to them. The history of these tribes was complex and so were their relations and connections with the mountain tribes. Historically, the connections between Beth Shemesh and Lachish with Judah and Jerusalem preceded the control of the kings of Judah over the central lowlands, with Azekah and the Elah Valley at their center, which occurred only at a later stage, after the destruction of Gath by King Hazael of Aram-Damascus.

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