In Yonah's prayer, he indicates that he will survive being swallowed by the fish, and still make it to the Beis HaMikdash.

But wait a minute ... Yonah certainly spent time in the North Kingdom, as the midrash says he was the student of Elisha that annointed the Yehu, a North king. And there were guards keeping Northerners away from visiting Jerusalem ... so was Yonah able to make it to Jerusalem? What about the other prophets throughout the divided-kingdom period?

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    No border is completely impenetrable. I'm sure the northern kings didn't have close to the resources of North Korea or the Soviet Union
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 13:53
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    Doesn't the Talmud mention that Jonah's wife would go up with him to the Temple for the festivals (and that they'd always send her back home)? So obviously he got there, the question is how, I suppose.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 18:34
  • @ezra Eruvin 96a
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 3:37
  • @Heshy good point ... and I guess if someone was determined enough, couldn't they have taken a ship between the North and Souths' Mediterranean coasts?
    – Shalom
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 11:31
  • @Shalom I don't think so, since Judah was landlocked by the Philistines.
    – b a
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


Your question assumes that there were guards blocking anyone from crossing from Judah to Israel. The background of the assumption is probably the following two sources:

  • Sanhedrin 102a, according to which Jeroboam decreed that anyone who goes to Jerusalem would be killed

    הם העמיקו משלי אני אמרתי כל שאינו עולה לרגל עובר בעשה והם אמרו כל העולה לרגל ידקר בחרב

  • Bava Batra 121b, which says that Hosea son of Elah, the last king of Israel, removed Jeroboam's decree not to go to Jerusalem on the fifteenth day of Av

    יום שביטל בו הושע בן אלה פרדסאות [שומרים - רש"י] שהושיב ירבעם על הדרכים שלא יעלו ישראל לרגל

Despite the guards that Jeroboam is said to have placed, we do see some travel between Israel and Judah. Naboth the Jezreelite went to Jerusalem and is specifically condemned for not going to one time by the midrash (Yalkut Shim'oni Kings 221):

נבות היה קולו נאה והיה עולה לירושלים והיו כל ישראל מתכנסין לשמוע את קולו. פעם אחת לא עלה והעידו עליו בני בליעל ואבד מן העולם.

In addition, the Yerushalmi (Ta'anit 4:4) implies that people were not prevented from passing the border if they didn't specifically go to bring bikkurim (or presumably for hakhel or other forms of worship in Jerusalem), and that people who wanted to bring bikkurim were able to disguise it in order to fool the guards into letting them pass:

כל מי שהיה כשר וירא חטא באותו הדור היה מביא את בכוריו ונותנן לתוך הסל ומחפה אותן קציעות ונוטל את העלי ונותן את הסל על כתיפו ונוטל את העלי בידו. וכיון שהיה מגיע באותו המשמר היה אומר לו לאיכן אתה הולך והוא אומר לו איני הולך אלא לעשות מעט קציעות הללו כפות אחת של דבילה בעלי הזה שבידי. וכיון שהיה עובר את אותו המשמר היה מעטרן ומעלה אותן לירושלם

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