When Israel first settled in Canaan, they operated as a coalition of twelve tribes with no single ruler, though from time to time local leaders would rise up as needed to face certain threats (Judges 2-16). Beginning with Saul, however, the twelve tribes of Israel united under a single king in order to be more like the nations around them (1 Samuel 8). Saul was effective in fighting Israel’s nearby enemies, such as the Philistines and the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11; 13-14). Over time, however, Saul proved unfaithful to the Lord (1 Samuel 15), so the Lord chose a young man named David to replace him (1 Samuel 16). Initially David reigned over only his native tribe of Judah (2 Samuel 2-4), but eventually all the Israelites tribes united under his rule (2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1 Chronicles 11:1-3). For the remainder of his reign David fought war after war with the nations surrounding Israel, and he expanded Israel’s kingdom as far north as Zobah and as far south as the Red Sea (2 Samuel 8-10; 1 Chronicles 18-19). Though David’s son Absalom attempted to set himself up as king and David’s son Adonijah attempted to make himself David’s successor, David passed on the kingship to Solomon, his son by Bathsheba (2 Samuel 15-19; 1 Kings 1). Solomon proved to be an able leader as well, annexing the nation of Hamath and expanding Israel’s territory to the great Euphrates River (2 Chronicles 8). Solomon’s dominion over this vast territory gave him control over the very strategic and lucrative land routes that passed through the region, making him very wealthy and powerful (1 Kings 10; 2 Chronicles 9).