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The article argues that many interpretations of the so-called “United Monarchy” of Saul, David, and Solomon are built upon false assumptions and problematic hermeneutics, not to mention that they draw upon anachronistic terminology. The article provides a brief overview of the use of the terms “United Monarchy” and “Davidic/Solomonic Empire” in modern scholarship before turning to recent attempts to theorize and model ancient monarchies, including the ways in which ancient kingdoms controlled territory and how leaders legitimized their power and expressed their authority in a manner that unified their constituencies. From there
it re-evaluates the biblical portrayal of the monarchies of Saul, David, and Solomon, considering in particular the nature of early Israel’s political and social unity and identity, before turning to the potential archaeological correlates of political power during the reigns of these kings.