Timeline of World History: Year by Year from Prehistory to Present Day


  Illustrated History of the World

First Empires - ca. 7000 B.C. - 200 A.D.

First Empires

ca. 7000 B.C. - 200 A.D.



Syria and Palestine

3000-332 B.C.


The Early Israelites and the Kingdoms of David and Solomon


David subjugated neighboring Aramaean territories until his realm eventually reached from the Euphrates River in the north to the Red Sea in the south. He was succeeded by his son 5 Solomon, who maintained close diplomatic and trade relations with the Phoenidans, Arabs, and Egyptians.

In 8 Jerusalem, Solomon built a magnificent 9 temple as the center of the Yahweh cult. There were already signs that the kingdom's power had peaked, however. Some of the Aramaean vassals regained their independence, while tax pressure, unpaid forced labor, and Solomon's tolerance of foreign cultures were stirring up discontent internally among the Israelites.

Despite this, Solomon is remembered well by posterity—primarily for his proverbial 6 wisdom.


5The wedding of Solomon and the Egyptian
pharaoh's daughter, painting, с 17th century

6 Solomon settles an argument of two women claiming
to be the mother of a child, book illustration, 13th


8 View of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the so-called
Dome of the Rock, built in Islamic times

Sacrifice scene in the temple of Jerusalem


Holy Temple


see also:

KING SOLOMON "Song of Songs"


Artist's depiction of Solomon's court (Ingobertus, c. 880).

Gustave Doré.

Frans Francken II. The Idolatry of Solomon

The Judgement of Solomon, Henri-Frederic Schopin, 1842

The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel

The competing claims of Solomon's successors led to a division of the kingdom. But even thereafter, the rulers of Judah and Israel were subject to strong, primarily religious opposition internally, while external pressure from the Assyrians and Babylonians increased.

After his death in 926 B.C., Solomon's kingdom collapsed. His son Rehoboam, who wanted to continue Solomon's centralist policies, was recognized as king by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, while northern tribes instead chose 10 Jeroboam I, one of Solomon's old adversaries.

10 Seal of King Jeroboam I of Israel,
tenth century B.C.

The northern kingdom, Israel, was continually shaken by dynastic change. Under King 12 Ahab and his queen Jezebel, a daughter of Ittobaal I of Tyros, social evils and the Baal cult that the queen supported provoked the resistance of the religious leader and prophet 13 Elijah.


12 Ahab and Jezebel arrange the murder of
Naboth in order to steal his vineyard,
book illustration, 15th century

13 Prophet Elijah kills a Baal priest wood
carving, 19th century


Upon the instructions of another prophet, Elisha, Jehu usurped the throne about 845 B.C. and killed the widowed Jezebel, her son King Joram, and many Baal adherents. In Judah, too, where the dynasty of David had retained power, the prophets—Isaiah and Jeremiah in particular—were politically prominent. They criticized not only the religious and social conditions but also the foreign policies of their kings.

These policies were greatly influenced by the 11 Assyrian dominance of the Near East. Beginning in the ninth century B.C., the Assyrians intervened in the royal succession in Israel and then in Judah, helping enthrone their own candidates, who in return offered tribute payments.

11 King Jehu of Israel and the Assyrian king,
sculpture, ninth century B.C.

Attempts to win independence with the aid of Egypt led to Israel's destruction in 722 B.C. The Assyrians occupied the land, ravaged Samaria, and displaced the population. After Nebuchadressar II expelled the Assyrians and Egyptians from Palestine, he installed Zedekiah as king in Judah. When Zedekiah rebelled in 587 B.C., Nebuchadressar devastated Jerusalem and annexed Judah.

Most of the population was then deported into 14 "Babylonian captivity."

14 The Israelites are deported to Babylon,
painting, 19th century



Criticism of Rulers in the Bible

Criticism of rulers in the Near East as recorded in the Bible is unique in its sharpness. The prophet Jeremiah warned the king of Judah and predicted deportation by the Babylonians:

"Say unto the king and to the queen, 'Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. ... Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away.'"

(Jeremiah 13:18-19)