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The Two Houses of Israel: State Formation and the Origins of Pan-Israelite Identity
Omer Sergi
ABS 33
Publication Date
July 2023


The Two Houses of Israel: State Formation and the Origins of Pan-Israelite Identity bridges the gap between the biblical narrative of the great united monarchy ruled by David and Solomon and archaeological and historical reconstructions of a gradual, independent formation of Israel and Judah. Based on a thorough examination of the material remains and settlement patterns in the southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age and the  Iron Age and on a review of the relevant historical sources, this book provides a detailed reconstruction of the ways in which Israel and Judah were formed as territorial polities and specifically how the house of David rose to power in Jerusalem and Judah. Omer Sergi further situates the stories of Saul and David in their accurate social and historical context in order to illuminate the historical conception of the united monarchy and the pan-Israelite ideology out of which it grew. Sergi provides a new history of the early Israelite monarchies, their formation, and the ways in which these social and political developments were commemorated in the cultural memory of generations to come.

Omer Sergi is Senior Lecturer in the Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University. He was the codirector of the archaeological excavations in Ḥorvat Tevet, the Jezreel Valley, and he codirects the Tel Shaddud (Jezreel Valley) Excavations Project.

Praise for The Two Houses of Israel: State Formation and the Origins of Pan-Israelite Identity

Omer Sergi’s The Two Houses of Israel: State Formation and the Origins of Pan-Israelite Identity is a brilliant contribution to the vibrant discourse on the emergence of polities in the Iron Age Levant. With meticulous attention to detail and a profound understanding of the subject matter, Sergi presents a thorough examination of archaeological evidence, combined with a comprehensive analysis of biblical texts, and offers readers an insightful exploration of the formative period in the history of the kingdom of Judah. The result is a genuine historical reconstruction that elaborates on issues such as state formation and the entanglement of political power and collective belonging in a clear and engaging manner that makes this book accessible to both scholars and students. 

Ido Koch
Senior Lecturer in Archaeology
Tel Aviv University


As a scholar, Omer Sergi combines cutting-edge archaeological research, nuanced biblical criticism versed in various scholarly traditions, and intimate knowledge of the land. These expert skills make him one of the most innovative contributors to the history of Israel and Judah at present. In his The Two Houses of Israel, Sergi devotes himself to a question of crucial importance: the formation of the two states in light of their overarching pan-Israelite identity. Contrary to major trends in recent research, Sergi reckons with such a shared sense of belonging prior to the demise of the northern kingdom. His conclusive interdisciplinary argument to this end will be considered a landmark.

Joachim J. Krause
Heisenberg Professor for the Literary History of the Old Testament
Ruhr-Universität Bochum


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