#51 Biblical History II – Kings, Temples & The Fall of Ancient Israel

#51 Biblical History II – Kings & Temples

In this lesson, you will learn about the Kings of Israel (Saul, David, and Solomon), the 1st and 2nd Temple in Jerusalem, and the final days of the Israel Kingdom in biblical times and the beginning of Diaspora Judaism.


#1 The Kings: Saul, David, and Solomon

After Moses let the Israelites through the desert and they settled in Israel, there were three successive Kings that led the people. Each King was a powerful, strategic, and military leader – very different than the type of leader of Moses.

Saul was the first King of Israel (1020 – 1004 BCE)

He was appointed by the Prophet Samuel to rule. When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.” Just then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and asked, “Can you please tell me where the seer’s house is?” “I am the seer!” Samuel replied. “Go up to the place of worship ahead of me. We will eat there together, and in the morning I’ll tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.” (I Samuel 19:17-19) He was famous for being the first King and establishing the kingship in Israel.

David was the second King and ruled from 1006 – 965 BCE

He was an acclaimed courageous warrior, and a poet and musician credited for composing much of the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms, King David is widely viewed as a righteous and effective king in battle and civil justice. He is described as a man after God’s own heart in 1 Samuel 13:14. David is an important figure to members of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths. Biblical tradition maintains the Messiah‘s direct descent from the line of David. In Islam, David is considered a prophet. King David’s greatest contribution was that he centralized the Kingdom of Israel in Jerusalem.



The third King was Solomon and he ruled from 965 – 926 BCE

The Hebrew Bible credits Solomon as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem.[3] It portrays him as great in wisdom, wealth, and power, but ultimately as a king whose sins, including idolatry and turning away from Yahweh, led to the kingdom’s being torn in two during the reign of his son Rehoboam.[5] Solomon is the subject of many other later references and legends, most notably in the 1st-century apocryphal work known as the Testament of Solomon. He was famous for building the First Temple in Jerusalem.



During King Solomon’s rule, he built a Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was built of stone and wood, with great pillars and spacious inner courts. While it was a majestic place, not one iron tool was used to construct the Temple because of iron’s association with violence and war. The only source of information on the First Temple is the Hebrew Bible. According to the biblical sources, the date of its construction in the mid-10th century BCE.[ Some scholars have speculated that a Jebusite sanctuary may have previously occupied the site.  During the kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the god of Israel, and is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant.[4] Rabbinic sources[5] state that the First Temple stood for 410 years.

The exact location of the Temple is unknown: it is believed to have been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century Second Temple and present-day Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock is situated. However, two other, slightly different sites have been proposed on this same hill: one places the stone altar at the location of the rock which is now beneath the gilded dome, with the rest of the temple to the west.   According to the Hebrew Bible, the Temple was plundered by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 (2 Kings 24:13). A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings 25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of Av(Hebrew calendar).[9]

# 3 WATCH – King Solomon’s Wall in the City of David


#4 The end of Biblical Israel and the beginning of the Diaspora 

When Solomon, the third King of Isreal died, there was not a clear leader to succeed him. This created conflicts among the tribes and regional leaders in Israel who wanted power. Next small battles became larger battles which became wars which led to Israel being vulnerable to outside attack and control. A powerhouse nation called Assyria led by Tiglath-Pilaser, travelled to Israel and led a conquest of the land. The Israelite tribes had a choice: either succumb to Assyrian control or flee Israel to new lands. For the next few centuries, outside rulers fought for power in the land of Israel and in 586 BCE, on the 9th of Av, the House of David and Judah fell and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and most living Israelites left Israel or they were deported. This was the official start of Diaspora Judaism – Judaism that was forced to exist outside of the land of Israel which still exists today.

#5 WATCH: Herod -the Last “King of the Jews” 

Herod also known as Herod the Great and Herod I, was a Roman client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. He has been described as “a madman who was responsible for the death of his own family and a great many rabbis”, “the evil genius of the Judean nation”, “prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition”, and “the greatest builder in Jewish history”. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (Herod’s Temple), the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada and Herodium.

Upon Herod’s death, the Romans divided his kingdom among three of his sons and his sister

#6 Review and Response

1. What are the names of the first three Kings in Israel?
2. What is each King famous for accomplishing during their reign?
3. Who built the Temple in Jerusalem?
4. What year did the Temple in Jerusalem fall? And who was the outside country and leader of that conquest?
5. What is the word that describes Jews living outside of the land of Israel?
6. What is the Hebrew date when the Temple was destroyed?

Need some help? We’re here for you. At any time, if you have any questions, please contact one of our teachers so we can help you. Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)! You can reach Sarah at (646)360-0689 or connect@tamidnyc.org