The biblical ‘united monarchy’ was NOT comprised of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The ‘united monarchy’ was the pre-monarchial sheikdom of Judah and the kingdom of Edom. This kingdom may have dated as early as the 11th or 10th Century BCE, AFTER the Egyptians abandoned the copper mines and the tribal confederation of Edom and Judah took control. The early Judean ‘historians’ transferred this southern tribal confederation/monarchy to the north, probably during the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, when Israelite refugees from the Assyrian conquest of Israel began streaming into Judah. The re-write was an attempt to convince the Israelite refugees that Judah had a rightful claim on their rule as they shared a common monarchy, i.e., descent from David. David never left the south. His heir was Abshalom whose name means: the patriarch Solomon. He was a crown prince who never ascended to the throne so the scribes ascribed to him the glorious achievements of the Edomite king Shaul or Saul Ben Kish. (Kish or Qysh is the Hebrew rendition of Qws; the chief god Edom. Qws dwelt on Mount Seir which became Yhwh’s sacred mountain). Rehoboam then claimed a glorious lineage for himself to bolster his claim to the throne. He was the first monarch of Judah and he never ruled the northern kingdom to Israel which was ruled by the Omride Dynasty.
The saga of David and the king of Edom began with the copper mines located at Timna in the Negev and Punon is southern Jordan. The copper mines were also of great interest to the Philistines. According to 1 Sam13:19: “A blacksmith could not be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines had said, “This will prevent the Hebrews from making swords and spears.” In other words, the Philistines controlled the copper mines and prevented David et al from manufacturing weapons. Savvy David sought refuge with the Philistines, who then fostered David’s army against Saul by supplying him with weapons and men. David used this army to defeat Saul and then turned on the Philistines, which he defeated. He then gained control of the copper mines. The copper mines enriched this tribal sheikh to the point that his son, Jedidiah later named Solomon, established a flourishing trade with the Sabeans.
The above biblical account of the Saul, David, Solomon episode is an historical distortion. The actual events took place while the tribe of Judah was a part of the Edomite tribal federation. There is no archaeological evidence that Judah established extensive trade relations with the Sabeans. However, there is evidence that Edom and the Sabeans were well established trading partners. Here is a scholarly archaeological based report which confirms the scenario of contacts between the tribal confederation of Judah which was the foundation of the kingdom of Judah and the tribal confederation which formed the kingdom of Edom during the 8th Century BCE. According to the article:
Edom in Judah: An Archaeological Investigation of Identity, Interaction, and Social Entanglement in the Negev During the Late Iron Age (8th–6th Centuries BCE)
Author(s): Danielson, Andrew JoelAdvisor(s): Burke, Aaron A.
On page 417 one sees that the name šlm (Shlm) was a fairly common name in the region. The name was found throughout the area of Edomite-Judean contact as well as the Edomite port of Ezion Geber aka Elath on the Gulf of Aqaba. Of interest is the copper mining and export activity in Edom. Also, represented in this paper is the method of governance by the Edomite king, who used governors to control and defend areas. Also, the area defined as Edom included the Port of Elath, located in the Gulf of Aqaba which is the Northeastern arm of the Red Sea (the sea with the seasonal monsoon winds described in Q 34:12). According to the above study, Edom traded with the all areas of the Arabian Peninsula, including its southern coast. According to Wikipedia:
“The Kingdom of Edom drew much of its livelihood from the caravan trade between Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and southern Arabia, along the Incense Route. Astride the King’s Highway, the Edomites were one of several states in the region for whom trade was vital due to the scarcity of arable land. It is also said that sea routes traded as far away as India, with ships leaving from the port of Ezion-Geber. Edom’s location on the southern highlands left it with only a small strip of land that received sufficient rain for farming. Edom probably exported salt and balsam (used for perfume and temple incense in the ancient world) from the Dead Sea region.
Khirbat en-Nahas is a large-scale copper-mining site excavated by archaeologist Thomas Levy in what is now southern Jordan. The scale of tenth-century mining on the site is regarded as evidence of a strong, centralized 10th century BC Edomite kingdom.”
Now it is confirmed that the tribe of Judah and the kingdom of Edom had extensive contacts and cultural exchanges just at the time Solomon and David probably lived. The name Solomon (Shlm) was common in the area. And, the original Solomon may have been a very wealthy Edomite king, Shaul (Saul in English) of “Rehoboth on the River” (Gen 36) who had extensive contact with the kingdoms located on the southern coast of Arabia. He may have taken David, from the tribe of Judah, as a protégée. It was David who, enlisted in this Edomite king’s army and fought Goliath of the Philistines.
From biblical accounts, the Philistines attempted to control the copper mines in the Negev and the trade routes along the Via Maris and the Kings Highway. This caused a war which was fought by David under the auspices of the Edomite tribal confederation and King Shaul. David defeated the Philistines, a feat which caused him enough notoriety to eventually become a king of Judah, after he ‘defeated Shaul’. This ‘defeat’ was actually a rift caused by Judah when the tribe split from the Edomite tribal confederation. According to Biblical accounts, David’s designated heir, Abshlm (literally Shalom the Patriarch) rebelled against him and he was killed before he ascended the throne. Abshalom’s name was altered to Shalom or Shlomo by revisionist scribes. It was under this altered name that the biblical authors assigned the rank and achievements of the Edomite king, Shaul, whom these revisionist scribes rewrote as the first king of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin (son of the south or Edom). However, the Davidic Dynasty continued through Rehoboam, Abshalom’s son, who, because of the biblical scribe’s alterations, became the son a glorious king instead of the son of a crown prince who rebelled against his father. This type of revisionism to glorify a monarch’s lineage was very common in the Ancient Near East and, to some extent, this type of deception is still in use today by modern leaders.