Kings of Israel - EDB articles

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The kings of Israel (ten northern tribes) in the Divided Kingdom period, starting after Solomon, until the fall of Israel to Assyria in 722/721 B.C. They are in order. These are articles clipped …

The kings of Israel (ten northern tribes) in the Divided Kingdom period, starting after Solomon, until the fall of Israel to Assyria in 722/721 B.C. They are in order. These are articles clipped from Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible. This is an aid to understanding the northern kingdom while reading 1-2 Kings. I created this as a study tool for myself, using Logos 5 Bible Software. I thought I'd share it with you!

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  • 1. Kings of Israel EDB: Jeroboam (Heb. yāroḇʿām) 1. The first king of the northern state of Israel (ca. 924–903 . . .); an Ephraimite from Zeredah, the son of Nebat and the widow Zeruah. Solomon set him over “all the forced labor of the house of Joseph” (1 Kgs. 11:28), but after becoming involved in rebellion (v. 27) and being designated by the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite as the one who would receive, after Solomon’s death, rule over 10 tribes of Israel (vv. 29–39), Jeroboam was forced to flee to Egypt, where he remained under Pharaoh Shishak’s protection until Solomon’s death (v. 40). When the assembly of Israel gathered at Shechem to make Rehoboam their king, Jeroboam joined them, and after Rehoboam rejected their request for a more lenient rule, the northern tribes rejected him as king and chose Jeroboam instead (1 Kgs. 12:1–20). (The LXX gives a substantially different account of Jeroboam’s rise to power and later rule, but its value for historical reconstruction is unclear.) Jeroboam strengthened his power over Israel by building programs and cultic reforms. He built Shechem and then Penuel, presumably as his capital cities, and later apparently moved his capital to Tirzah (1 Kgs. 12:25; 14:17; 15:33). In addition, he erected golden calves at sanctuaries in Dan and Bethel, established other centers for worship at high places in the land, installed nonlevitical priests as cultic officials, and instituted changes in the cultic calendar (1 Kgs. 12:26–32; cf. 2 Chr. 11:13–16; 13:8–9). These religious innovations were probably understood in the north as an attempt to return to the more traditional Israelite cultic practices, which allowed for worship at numerous shrines, did not observe the same limits on the priesthood as were observed at Jerusalem, and regarded the gold calf (bull?) as instituted by Aaron (cf. Exod. 32:1–6) as a divine pedestal, the same function as the ark of the covenant at the Jerusalem temple. The Deuteronomistic historian, however, regarded Jeroboam’s cultic policies as politically motivated attempts to dissuade Israelites from worshipping at Jerusalem, essentially idolatrous, and ultimately responsible for the destruction of the northern kingdom (1 Kgs. 12:26–32; 2 Kgs. 17:21–23). To this end, the Deuteronomistic historian reports that the Bethel cult was denounced by an unnamed prophet who traveled from Judah to Bethel to confront Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 13:1–10), and that Ahijah, who initially had named Jeroboam as king, later condemned his behavior and predicted the death of the royal son Abijah to Jeroboam’s wife, who had visited the prophet to request healing (1 Kgs. 14:1–6). Subsequent references to Jeroboam in 1­2 Kings typically reflect this view of him as an idolater who led Israel to ruin (e.g., 1 Kgs. 16:2, 31; 2 Kgs. 3:3; cf. Sir. 47:23). Jeroboam’s reign was troubled by his ongoing conflict with Judah (1 Kgs. 14:30; cf. 2 Chr. 13:2b–20, which describes Abijah/Abijam’s miraculous victory over Jeroboam) and by the incursion of Pharaoh Shishak’s forces into Israel (1 Kgs. 14:25–26 mentions the latter only to note its effects on Judah, but the principal object of the attack was apparently Israel). Finally, the reader is told that Jeroboam’s death (smitten by God, according to 2 Chr. 13:20) was followed by the succession of his son Nadab (1 Kgs. 14:20). J Graham, M. P. (2000). Jeroboam. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 1
  • 2. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Jeroboam Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Nadab (Heb. nāḏāḇ) 2. A king of Israel, successor to his father Jeroboam I. He is said to have reigned for two years (1 Kgs. 14:20; 15:25–31). Nadab’s murder after such a short reign indicated how unstable the political situation was in the northern kingdom. His evil reign was ended when he was assassinated by Baasha of Issachar, ending the dynasty of Jereboam and fulfilling Ahijah’s prophecy (1 Kgs. 14:1–20). The only noteworthy event during his reign was the Israelites’ siege of Gibbethon (1 Kgs. 15:27). N Walker, L. L. (2000). Nadab. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Nadab Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Baasha (Heb. baʿšāʾ) The son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar; the third king of the northern kingdom who established its second dynasty. He ruled from Tirzah, NE of Shechem, for 24 years (ca. 900–877 . .). Baasha assassinated the Israelite king Nadab while Israel besieged the city of Gibbethon (1 Kgs. 15:27–28; cf. vv. 29–30). This battle indicates the continued instability of the tribal territories even though a king ruled the northern kingdom. Following the coup, Baasha exterminated the house of Jeroboam I, a fate also to befall his own house (1 Kgs. 16:11). Apparently the extermination of the two houses was so thorough that later generations still remembered the brutality of the events (2 Kgs. 9:9). Baasha and King Asa of Judah were hostile toward one another throughout their reigns (1 Kgs. 15:16). Baasha blockaded Judah by fortifying Ramah, 8 km. (5 mi.) N of Jerusalem, and controlling all passage through the region (1 Kgs. 15:17; 2 Chr. 16:1). Asa constructed fortifications to defend his territory against Baasha (Jer. 41:9), but this proved insufficient against the superior force of Baasha. Asa then formed an alliance with Ben­hadad of Syria by paying the Syrian king with funds from the Jerusalem temple. Ben­hadad proceeded to attack Baasha from the north, thus forcing the Israelite king to withdraw from Ramah and to abandon his southern fortifications (1 Kgs. 15:21; 2 Chr. 16:5). Baasha lost much of his northern territory to the Syrians. At the same time, Asa removed the fortifications at Ramah that had been used by Baasha and pushed Judah’s territorial claim north to Mizpah. Baasha ruled under the scrutiny of the prophet Jehu ben Hanani. Elah, Baasha’s son, succeeded his father upon Baasha’s apparently peaceful death. The biblical record condemns Baasha for “walking in the way of Jeroboam” (1 Kgs. 15:34), even though Baasha B Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 2
  • 3. was the Lord’s instrument for punishing the house of Jeroboam (v. 29). Von Wyrick, S. (2000). Baasha. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Baasha Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Elah (Heb. ʾēlâ) 2. The fourth king of Israel and son of Baasha, who ruled in Tirzah ca. 877–876 . . . (1 Kgs. 16:6, 8–14). He was assassinated by Zimri, a high­ranking military officer, in an apparent military coup. Zimri executed his plot while Elah was drunk in the house of one of his palace officials. This occurred while the Israelite army was engaged in battle against the Philistine town of Gibbethon and Tirzah was relatively unprotected. Zimri proceeded to exterminate the male family members and friends of Baasha­Elah, fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu ben Hanani that the Lord’s punishment would fall upon Baasha’s house (1 Kgs. 16:1–4). Elah is especially condemned for participation in idolatry. E Von Wyrick, S. (2000). Elah. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Elah Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Zimri (Person) (Heb. zimrɩ̂) (PERSON) 2. King of Israel in the early 9th century . . . Zimri was commander of half of Israel’s chariotry when he began his coup and assassinated King Elah; he then orchestrated the death of all males in the house of Baasha (1 Kgs. 16:8–14). However, support fell to Omri, commander of Israel’s army, and Zimri’s reign lasted but one week. When Omri was about to capture the capital Tirzah, Zimri committed suicide by setting the royal palace on fire (1 Kgs. 16:15–20). Later, “Zimri” became an insulting epithet for one who murders his master under the guise of peace (2 Kgs. 9:31). Z Light, G. W. (2000). Zimri. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Zimri Clipped: November 2, 2013 Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 3
  • 4. EDB: Tibni (Heb. tiḇnɩ̂) The son of Ginath; favored to be king by half of the northern kingdom of Israel after the death of King Zimri (ca. 882 . . .; 1 Kgs. 16:21). But in the three­year civil war that followed Zimri’s suicide, those following his rival Omri soon gained the upper hand, and Tibni lost his life (1 Kgs. 16:22). T Freedman, D. N., Myers, A. C., & Beck, A. B. (2000). Tibni. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Tibni Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Omri (Heb. ʿomrɩ̂) 1. A king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Omri was the founder of a dynasty of Israelite kings (“Omride”) who ruled the northern kingdom during the first half of the 9th century . . The account of his rise and reign is found in 1 Kgs. 16:15–28. Establishing a precise chronology for the reign of Omri is difficult. Various proposals for his accession and death dates have been made, ranging from 886–875 to 879–869. Any proposal for dating his reign must account for the fact that Omri’s son Ahab was on the Israelite throne at least as late as 853, since Ahab is mentioned as king of Israel by Shalmaneser III in his inscription describing the Assyrian western campaign of that year. If one assumes that 853 is also Ahab’s final year and that he is to be credited with reigning the full 22 years accorded him by 1 Kgs. 16:29, then the death of Omri and accession of Ahab could be dated as early as 875. Giving Omri credit for the 12 years ascribed to him in 1 Kgs. 16:23 would place his accession in 887/886. However, these dates fall afoul of the synchronisms with the reign of Asa of Judah given in 1 Kgs. 16:23, 29. In 1 Kgs. 16:23 Omri’s accession takes place in the 31st year of Asa, and the accession of Ahab occurs in the 38th, leaving only a span of seven years for the reign of Omri. One is thus forced to choose between shortening the 12­year figure for the length of Omri’s reign, disregarding the synchronisms in either 1 Kgs. 16:23 or 29, or explaining the discrepancy by some other means (e.g., that the seven­year span between the 31st and 38th years of Asa reflects the length of Omri’s reign after the founding of Samaria). In any event, an accession date for Omri in the period between the mid­880s and 879 seems appropriate on the basis of available information. Omri acceded to the Israelite throne amid political tumult. His predecessor, Elah, was apparently incompetent or unpopular or both; the text indicates that while the Israelite army was engaged with the Philistines at Gibbethon, Elah was at home in Tirzah “drinking himself drunk” (1 Kgs. 16:9). Zimri, a commander in the chariot force, seized upon the occasion to assassinate Elah, massacre the royal family, and claim the throne for himself. O Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 4
  • 5. However, when word reached the troops at Gibbethon, they rallied behind their own commander, Omri, and marched on Tirzah. Zimri barricaded himself in the palace, but the situation soon became hopeless. In a final gesture of defiance, Zimri set fire to the palace and perished in the flames. Zimri’s death did not leave Omri on the Israelite throne uncontested. At some point early in his reign, Omri faced opposition by a certain Tibni son of Ginath. 1 Kgs. 16:21 makes clear that the kingdom was sorely divided between the two. After a civil war, Omri was able to overcome and put to death Tibni; only thereafter did Omri manage to rule without serious rival. Despite the negative evaluation of Omri offered by 1 Kgs. 16:25–26, a number of important achievements are clear during his reign. First among those accomplishments is the construction of a new Israelite capital at Samaria (modern Sebastiyeh). The fire in which Zimri died probably caused such extensive damage to the royal palace in Tirzah that it was not worth rebuilding. But the need to build a new capital also provided the opportunity to move the entire governmental complex to a site located closer to the major roads leading from the Jezreel Valley to the Philistine coast. Omri’s selection of Samaria meant that the Israelite capital would be a stop on the great trade routes that carried commerce along the Fertile Crescent, and would thus be a cosmopolitan city as well as a political center. Excavations at Sebastiyeh I and II have revealed a number of ivory pieces of Phoenician manufacture, testifying to the cultural cross­pollination occurring in Omride Samaria. Omride construction was not limited to Samaria, however. Storage buildings, formerly identified as stables, at Megiddo are certainly of Omride origin. In addition, an extensive tunnel and shaft system for delivering water inside the city walls at Megiddo is also an Omride engineering achievement. City walls and other large public buildings at Megiddo and Hazor (stratum VIII) also date from this period. All this testifies to the relative wealth and technological sophistication of Omri and his successors. Omri was the first of the Israelite kings to become a player in international politics. The mid­9th century Mesha inscription (Moabite Stone) states that Omri “… occupied the whole land of Medeba and … dwelt in it during his days.…” Reaching to the west, Omri also became involved with the Phoenician city­state of Sidon. He concluded an alliance with Ethbaal of Sidon, sealed by the marriage of his son Ahab to Ethbaal’s daughter Jezebel (1 Kgs. 16:31). In the years following Omri’s death, Ahab was involved in a large 12­nation coalition to oppose the advance of Assyrian forces under Shalmaneser III into Syria­ Palestine. Ahab’s contribution to the force was substantial enough to merit comment from Shalmaneser in his own account of the confrontation (Monolith inscription; ANET, 278– 79). In this and in subsequent Assyrian inscriptions, even those recorded long after Omri’s death and the end of the dynasty he founded, Assyrian monarchs referred to Israel as Bīt Ḫumrɩ,̂ “the land of Omri,” testifying to Omri’s enduring historical legacy. Omri’s reign was in all probability a period of significant economic growth, as can be deduced from both the large­scale building activity at Samaria and other cities, and from the likely opportunities in international trade opened to Israel by virtue of its alliance with the Phoenicians. But the economic prosperity would undoubtedly have brought with it a significant increase in Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 5
  • 6. religious syncretism, especially with the Baal cult of Phoenicia and Canaan, in both court and kingdom. Jezebel, the Baalist wife of Ahab, serves as a symbol of this influence, but surely the growth in Baalistic worship and practice was more widespread than she could account for on her own. Undoubtedly, this waxing influence of the Baal cult during his reign contributes to Omri’s extreme negative assessment at the hands of the Deuteronomistic editors of 1 Kings. With his death (sometime between 874 and 869, depending on the chosen chronology) and the succession of his son, Omri founded the first of the two great dynasties to rule Israel. In all, one son and two grandsons (Ahaziah and Jehoram) acceded to the Israelite throne, and one daughter (Athaliah) ruled Judah. Hooker, P. K. (2000). Omri. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Omri Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Ahab (Heb. ʾaḥʾāḇ) 1. King of Israel (ca. 875–854 . . .) and successor to his father Omri, who arranged a marriage between Ahab and Jezebel, daughter of King Ethbaal of Tyre, to secure good relations between Phoenicia and Israel. Ahab’s 70 sons in Samaria were murdered by Jehu in his coup (2 Kgs. 10), and his daughter (or sister) Athaliah reigned in Judah (843–837) until her murder. A nemesis to the prophet Elijah, Ahab is considered by the Deuteronomistic historian to be the most evil king in Israel (1 Kgs. 16:30, 33; 21:25; Mic. 6:16) and is compared to the evil Manasseh of Judah (2 Kgs. 21:3). Yet, there appear to be inconsistencies between the biblical text and archaeological data. Biblical Account The text assumes that Ahab’s evil actions create the drought and famine that ravage Israel and lead to Elijah’s prophetic activities (1 Kgs. 16:29–22:40; 2 Chr. 18, 21). Ahab’s foremost sin is his collusion with Jezebel in promoting the worship of Baal in Israel alongside the worship of Yahweh. Ahab builds a house of worship and altar in Samaria for this Canaanite god (1 Kgs. 16:32), erects a sacred pole for the Canaanite goddess Asherah (v. 33) while allowing Jezebel to dine with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (18:19). Yet Ahab’s allegiance to Yahweh is evident as he battles in the name of Yahweh (1 Kgs. 20, 22), places Obadiah (Heb. “servant of Yahweh”) in charge of his palace, gives his children Yahweh names, and heeds the words of the prophets Micaiah (1 Kgs. 22) and Elijah. Under Elijah’s orders he gathers Baal’s prophets for the test on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs. 18) and later dons sackcloth at the words of judgment Elijah brings him (21:17–29). According to the Deuteronomist, Ahab does wrong only because he is “urged on by his wife Jezebel” (1 Kgs. 21:25), strongly illustrated in the story of Naboth’s vineyard. Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kgs. 21) raises issues of royal power and prerogative in ancient Israel. Naboth represents the old tribal ethos that insists that land stay in the tribe (Lev. A Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 6
  • 7. 25:23; Num. 36:5–9), whereas Ahab represents the new state administration that is more despotic. Ahab wants Naboth’s vineyard (cf. Isa. 5, a symbol of Israel), situated next to his palace, for a vegetable garden (symbolic of fertility). His request to purchase this land is refused by Naboth because it must stay in Naboth’s family as his inheritance. Defeated, Ahab returns home to his sympathetic wife, Jezebel, who devises a plan to secure the vineyard by having Naboth falsely accused of treason, whereby Ahab orders his death and confiscates the property. However, according to 2 Kgs. 9, which scholars suggest reflects an older version of the vineyard account, not only is Ahab solely responsible for Naboth’s death (vv. 25–26), he also kills Naboth’s sons. In punishment God promises to obliterate Ahab’s line and to allow dogs to eat both him and Jezebel (1 Kgs. 21:20–24). Ahab repents and his punishment is deferred to his sons. Nevertheless, Ahab’s blood is lapped up by dogs and bathed in by prostitutes (22:38), not in Jezreel as prophesied, but in Ramoth­ gilead where Ahab and King Jehoshaphat of Judah join forces against the Arameans. The text recognizes but downplays Ahab’s strong leadership abilities. It is noted that he reigns for 22 years, builds and fortifies cities, maintains peaceful borders through marriage alliances (Athaliah to Jehoram of Judah, Ahab to Jezsebel of Phoenicia), and forms treaties with such rulers as Ben­hadad (1 Kgs. 20) and Jehoshaphat (ch. 22). In fact, the Chronicler records that Jehoshaphat pays tribute to Ahab and Israel (2 Chr. 18). Even an image of the valiant leader is painted as Ahab, bleeding profusely and dying, begs to be propped up in his carriage to provide encouragement to his troops as they fight the enemy. Nevertheless, the text portrays an even stronger image of Ahab as a weak leader. After returning victorious from battle (this scene neglects to mention Ahab’s name), Ahab is resentful and sullen because the prophet condemns him for not offering Ben­hadad for destruction under the rules of the ban (ḥērem; 1 Kgs. 20). He whines and refuses to eat when unable to buy Naboth’s vineyard, and he allows Jezebel to rule in his stead. It is this image of Ahab as the “hen­pecked husband” ruled by Jezebel that dominates the biblical story. Historical data, however, create a more prestigious image of Ahab. Historical Account Many historians consider Ahab’s building programs to be as impressive as those of Herod and Solomon. Archaeological data suggest that Ahab fortified the cities of Dor, Megiddo, Hazor, Jezreel, Dan, and ʿEn-gev by building casement walls. In addition, he is considered responsible for the intricate water systems at Megiddo and Hazor that protected those cities’ water supplies from Assyrian threat. Urban centers doubled under Ahab’s rule, perhaps because of his willingness to balance both Canaanite and Israelite interests. The sophisticated Phoenician material culture discovered in Israel attests to the close relationship between these two cultures, especially as it disappears after the demise of the Omride dynasty. The Monolith inscription of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III records the battle of Qarqar where a coalition of kings, including Ahab, rose up against the Assyrian. Although Assyria won, neither Hamath (Hama) nor Damascus was taken. Ahab provided the greatest number of resources with his 2000 chariots and 10 thousand soldiers. In addition, the 9th­century Moabite stone (Mesha Stela) indicates that Omri (or “the land of the house of Omri”—perhaps Ahab) controlled Moab for many years. Clearly, historical evidence suggests that Ahab was a strong, politically savvy king. Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 7
  • 8. Rabbinical Sources Many rabbinical sources stress Ahab’s military prowess and hold both Ahab and Manasseh to higher principles because of their greatness that was diverted to doing evil. Rabbi Johanan argues that Ahab is worthy of 22 years of power because he revered the Torah’s 22 letters and supported the sages. The Zohar argues that it was acceptable for Ahab to take Naboth’s property but not to execute him. Others suggest that Ahab was Naboth’s relative and heir, so entitled to the property (Sanh. 48b). Appler, D. A. (2000). Ahab. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Ahab Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Ahaziah (Heb. ʾăḥazyâ, ʾăḥazyāhû) 2. Son and successor of King Ahab of Israel; he reigned ca. two years (850–849; 1 Kgs. 22:40, 51). The Deuteronomistic editor criticized Ahaziah for his aberrant religious practices, particularly his worship of Baal (1 Kgs. 22:53). According to the Chronicler, Ahaziah of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah jointly produced several ships at Ezion­geber. Jehoshaphat’s collaboration with Ahaziah aroused the ire of Eliezer son of Dodavahu, who correctly prophesied that the ships would be destroyed (2 Chr. 20:35–37). Though the parallel pericope in Kings affirms that the ships were destroyed, it denies that Jehoshaphat collaborated with Ahaziah in building them (1 Kgs. 22:48, 49). According to a narrative in the Elijah cycle, Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber and was seriously injured. He sent messengers to “Baal­zebub,” the god of Ekron, to learn whether or not he would recover. Intercepted and rebuked by Elijah, these messengers were told that Ahaziah would not recover. After finally consenting to appear before the king, Elijah rebuked Ahaziah for attempting to consult a deity other than Yahweh and again stated that the king would not recover. Ahaziah was succeeded as king of Israel by his brother Jehoram (2 Kgs. 1:2–18). A Rollston, C. A. (2000). Ahaziah. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Ahaziah Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Jehoram (Heb. yĕhôrām) (also JORAM) 1. The son of Ahab who succeeded his brother Ahaziah as king of the northern kingdom of Israel and reigned from 849 to 842 . . . (2 Kgs. 1:17; 3:1). Jehoram is criticized for his J Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 8
  • 9. religious practices, but is credited with removing a pillar of Baal (2 Kgs. 3:2). Portions of the Elisha cycle may have involved Jehoram (2 Kgs. 6:8–7:20). During Jehoram’s reign King Mesha of Moab withheld tribute, so Jehoram created a coalition force with Jehoshaphat of Judah and marched against Moab. The kings succeeded in routing the Moabites and driving them into the fortified city of Kir­hareseth, but the coalition forces withdrew when the Moabite king sacrificed his eldest son on the city wall (2 Kgs. 3:4–27). The Moabite Stone, commissioned by Mesha, is a record of Mesha’s successful reestablishment of independence. There is no mention of Jehoram’s participation in the anti­Assyrian coalition which resisted Shalmaneser III, but it is clear that in 842 Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah formed a coalition against the Syrian usurper Hazael. Their forces engaged Hazael’s at Ramoth­gilead and Jehoram was wounded (2 Kgs. 8:28–29; 2 Chr. 22:5–6a). While he was recovering in Jezreel, Ahaziah visited him. Jehu then came to Jezreel and killed both Jehoram and Ahaziah (2 Kgs. 9:1–28; cf. 2 Chr. 22:6b–9). Excavations at Tel Dan in 1993 and 1994 uncovered fragments of an Aramaic stela, apparently commissioned by Hazael, in which he claims to have killed [Jeho]ram king of Israel and [Ahaz]iah king of Judah. The biblical and epigraphic data seem to be in conflict, but there is biblical evidence of some sort of alliance between Hazael and Jehu (1 Kgs. 19:17). Jehu exterminated the remaining Omrides and succeeded Jehoram as king of Israel (2 Kgs. 9:30–10:11). Rollston, C. A. (2000). Jehoram. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Jehoram Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Jehu (Heb. yēhûʾ) 2. King of Israel for 28 years (ca. 843–816 . . .). Jehu usurped the throne from Joram/ Jehoram and established a dynasty that lasted almost a century. Jehu’s patronymic information is given as both “son of Nimshi” (1 Kgs. 19:16; 2 Kgs. 9:20; 2 Chr. 22:7) and “son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi” (2 Kgs. 9:2, 14). Most scholars regard Jehoshaphat as the name of his father and Nimshi that of his grandfather. The designation “son of Nimshi” is, therefore, better understood as descendant of Nimshi. It has also been suggested that Nimshi is the name of the clan to which Jehu belonged. Finally, the designation “son of Jehoshaphat” may be a later addition to the text, Jehu’s father then being Nimshi. In the Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser III (ANET, 280–81) Jehu is identified as iaúa J mār humrɩ̂ (lit., “Jehu son of Omri”). Such a designation contradicts the information provided by the OT and has confounded scholars for almost a century. Several proposals have been offered: (1) Akk. iaúa may merely represent the divine name Yaw, and thus be Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 9
  • 10. taken as a hypocoristicon for Joram or Jehu; since Joram is a descendant of Omri, iaúa is more likely Joram. This proposal has not won much support. (2) Akk. mār is used to denote a citizen or native of a city or a country, and thus is a synonym for a gentilic. The Assyrians continued to refer to Israel either as māt humrɩ̂ (“the land of Omri”) or māt bIt-humrɩ̂ (“the land of Beth­omri”) until the fall of the northern kingdom. Thus, iaúa mār humrɩ̂ is to be understood as “Jehu the (BIt)­Humrite.” (3) Jehu was a descendant of a different branch of the Omri clan than Ahab. This is one reason why the biblical texts always refer to the event of Jehu’s coup as the destruction of the house of Ahab (2 Kgs. 9:7–9; 10:10–11) and not the destruction of the house of Omri. According to 2 Kgs. 9–10 Jehu was one of the commanders of the army (kārê haḥayil), perhaps even the chief commander (the messenger addresses him as hakkār, “the commander”; 9:5). The narrator set the ascendancy of Jehu to the Israelite throne in the context of a border conflict between Israel and Aram­Damascus (now ruled by Hazael) at Ramoth­gilead. This conflict arose following the usurpation of the Damascene throne by Hazael, which led to the collapse of the alliance of Syro­Palestinian states led by Hadadezer of Damascus and Irhuleni of Hamath. Israel under Ahab was a major participant (ANET, 278–79) in this coalition, which had been successful in checking the advance of Shalmaneser III into Syria­Palestine. King Joram was wounded by the Arameans in battle and had to return to Jezreel to recuperate (2 Kgs. 8:28–29). With the king gone from the battlefield, the stage was set for Jehu’s coup. The narrator of 2 Kgs. 9–10 attributes the motivation for the coup to divine initiative (cf. 1 Kgs. 19:15–17, where Elijah was commanded by Yahweh to anoint Jehu as king). The prophet Elisha summons a disciple to go anoint Jehu as king over Israel. As the disciple anoints Jehu, he delivers to him also a divine oracle, that he will “strike down the house of your master, Ahab,” as vengeance on Jezebel (2 Kgs. 9:6–8). When the other officers learn what has transpired, they quickly proclaim Jehu king. While the divine initiative is meant to give legitimation to the revolt, it is nonetheless more appropriately viewed as a military coup. Taking advantage of Joram’s incapacitation, Jehu leads a conspiracy and goes after the incapacitated monarch. King Ahaziah of Judah has also gone to Jezreel to visit Joram. Unsuspecting, both Joram and Ahaziah go out to meet Jehu, and Joram is killed (2 Kgs. 9:14–26). With Joram dead, Jehu continues with the killing of Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kgs. 9:27–28) and Jezebel (vv. 30–37) and masterminds the massacre of the house of Ahab (10:1–17). The final act of Jehu, according to the narrator, is the destruction of the Baal cult—its worshippers, its pillar, and its temple (2 Kgs. 10:18–27). The theological reason for the positive assessment of the coup in the 2 Kings account is quite evident, namely, that Jehu is credited for the dismantling of Baal worship in Israel in the 9th century. While the prophetic participation in the coup may not be historically accurate, it serves as a divine sanction for the revolt. The prophet Hosea offers an entirely different assessment of Jehu’s coup. According to Hosea, because of the bloodbath that took place in Jezreel, Yahweh will punish the Jehu dynasty and put an end to the northern kingdom (Hos. 1:4–5). Shalmaneser III (858–824) mentions in his annals that he mounted a campaign against Hazael of Aram­Damascus in his 18th year (841–840). Following a devastating defeat of Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 10
  • 11. Hazael, the Assyrian king claims that he received tribute from the Tyrians, Sidonians, and Jehu the (Bīt)­Humrite (or “son of Omri”). Also, in a panel of the Black Obelisk relief of Shalmaneser III Jehu is depicted as bowing before the Assyrian king and presenting tribute (ANEP, 351; ANET, 281). These Assyrian texts are perhaps suggestive of a political realignment of Israel’s foreign policy. In earlier campaigns of Shalmaneser in Syria­ Palestine (in 853 [the famous Battle of Qarqar], 849, 848, and 845), the Assyrian king confronted a strong coalition, led by Hadadezer of Aram­Damascus and Irhuleni of Hamath, and was forced to turn back each time at the Orontes River. Israel, under Ahab, was a major participant in the coalition. The campaign in the 18th year is markedly different from the earlier campaigns. The usurpation of Hazael of the Damascene throne probably led to the disintegration of the anti­Assyrian coalition. Without a strong coalition to thwart the advance of the Assyrians, Jehu may have found it expedient to alter Israel’s foreign policy and submit to Shalmaneser. Since the Israelites were already contending with an Aramean offensive (2 Kgs. 8:28–29), Jehu’s submission to Assyria was a tactical move to avoid further assault. Kuan, J. K. (2000). Jehu. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Jehu Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Jehoahaz (Heb. yĕhôʾāḥāz) (also SHALLUM) 2. King of Israel, the son and successor of Jehu (2 Kgs. 13:1–9). According to 2 Kgs. 13:1 he reigned 17 years, but according to v. 10 his reign lasted only 15 years.Throughout his reign he was under the subjugation of Hazael and Ben­hadad, kings of Damascus. Despite Jehoahaz’ perpetuation of pagan worship, Yahweh promised him an unnamed “savior” (2 Kgs. 13:5). J Mariottini, C. F. (2000). Jehoahaz. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Jehoahaz Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Joash (Heb. yôʾāš, yĕhôʾāš) (also JEHOASH) 4. King of Israel (ca. 800–ca. 785). Joash succeeded his father Jehoahaz and ruled for 16 years early in the 8th century (2 Kgs. 13:10–25; 14:8–16; 2 Chr. 25:17–24). The regnal summary, like other Deuteronomistic judgments of northern kings, describes him as an evil J Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 11
  • 12. king who followed in Jeroboam’s sins. However, the narrative strategy of 2 Kgs. 13:14–25 portrays him according to the usually positive Deuteronomistic criterion of a king who seeks the prophetic word. The narrative focuses on Joash’s responses to Elisha’s commands to act out Israel’s limited success in its continuing struggle against Aram. The narrative confirmation of the prophetic word comes in 2 Kgs. 13:25, where Joash defeats Ben­hadad three times. Historically, this account reflects the changing balance of power between Aram and Assyria ca. 800. Assyria under Adadnirari III in its western campaigns between 805 and 796 controlled and then ended Aram’s four decades of domination of Syria­Palestine. An Assyrian inscription, the Rimah stela, marks Adad­nirari’s success and his receipt of tribute from Tyre, Sidon, and Joash of Samaria. Aram’s weakness left Joash free to regain the cities (in Galilee or Transjordan?) his father had lost. Joash figures in the report about Amaziah which describes a battle between Israel and Judah (2 Kgs. 14:8–16 = 2 Chr. 25:17–24). Narrative emphasis is on Joash’s rebuff of Amaziah, Israel’s defeat of Judah on its own territory, and the sacking of Jerusalem. Other than alluding to Amaziah’s arrogance after defeating Edom, the report does not give reasons for the battle. While specifics cannot be known, the battle is comprehensible as typical jockeying for power or territory between smaller states after a dominating state (here, Aram) has been removed. Joash was succeeded by his son Jeroboam II. Dutcher­Walls, P. (2000). Joash. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Joash Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Jeroboam (Heb. yāroḇʿām) 2. King of Israel (ca. 785–745), son of Joash and grandson of Jehu (2 Kgs. 14:23). Jeroboam II’s reign over Israel was apparently characterized by military success and economic prosperity. 2 Kgs. 14:25–27 reports that the nation’s borders were extended northward to the entrance of Hamath (i.e., probably to the southern end of the Beqaʿ Valley) and southward to the Dead Sea, thus recovering the idealized extent of the land of Israel (cf. Amos 6:13–14). This expansion took place to fulfill the (otherwise unrecorded) prophecy of Jonah “son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath­hepher” (i.e., the prophet for whom the book of Jonah is named) and so satisfy God’s desire to rescue Israel from her affliction (2 Kgs. 14:25–26). In addition, 2 Kgs. 14:28 claims that Jeroboam II “returned Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel,” a statement that is problematic on two counts: (1) most historians are reluctant to accept this claim that Jeroboam II conquered the two cities, and (2) it is unclear what role Judah is presumed to have played in the conquest. Various emendations of the text have been proposed to resolve these difficulties, but no consensus has been achieved. The economic prosperity of the land at J Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 12
  • 13. this time is surmised from the prophecies of Amos and Hosea, both of whom prophesied during Jeroboam II’s reign (Amos 1:1; Hos. 1:1) and condemned the extravagance of the nation’s urban elite (Amos 4:1; 5:11–12; 6:4–6; Hos. 10:1; 12:8). The peculiar reference in 1 Chr. 5:17 to a census of Gadites during the reigns of Jeroboam II and Jotham of Judah, whose reigns may have barely overlapped, may point to some collaboration between Israel and Judah in the rule of the Transjordan but is itself unclear. Little is known of Jeroboam II’s religious policies, since 2 Kgs. 14:24 issues only a general condemnation of the king for continuing the practice of Jeroboam I, and Amos 7:10–17 describes a conflict between the prophet Amos and the priest Amaziah at the royal sanctuary at Bethel. The books of Amos and Hosea indicate, though, that there was a general prophetic critique of Jeroboam II’s reign, addressing political affairs, social injustice, and religious infidelity. In fact, the priest Amaziah quotes Amos as predicting that Jeroboam II would “die by the sword” and that Israel would go into exile (Amos 7:11). Nevertheless, 2 Kgs. 14:29 indicates that the king died peacefully and was succeeded by his son Zechariah. Graham, M. P. (2000). Jeroboam. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Jeroboam Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Zechariah (Heb. zĕḵaryâ, zĕḵaryāhû; Gk. Zacharɩ́as) (also ZECHER) The name means “Yahweh remembers,” evidently a plea for God to remember his covenant with Israel and extend divine aid, which probably explains its popularity during the exilic and postexilic periods. 1. A king of the northern kingdom (746 . .), the son of Jeroboam II (2 Kgs. 14:29; 15:8– 12). Zechariah reigned only six months before he was assassinated by Shallum. With Zechariah’s death the dynasty of Jehu came to an end, a fulfillment of the prophecy that this dynasty would rule for four generations (2 Kgs. 10:30; 15:12). Z Miller, S. R. (2000). Zechariah. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Zechariah Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Shallum (Heb. šallûm, šallqm) (also MESHULLAM, SHILLEM) 1. King of Israel who overthrew Zechariah and ended the dynasty of Jehu (2 Kgs. 15:10, 13). His one­month reign ca. 750 . . . signaled the beginning of a period of chaos leading S Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 13
  • 14. to the fall of the northern kingdom to Assyria in 722. Hosea speaks both of the fall of the house of Jehu (Hos. 1:4) and of such assassinations (7:7), and Shallum himself was soon struck down by Menahem, who may have been a rival already at the murder of Zechariah. Nothing is known of Shallum’s background. The identification “son of Jabesh” may be a geographic rather than patronymic designation, indicating that the coup against Zechariah (and Samaria in general) began in Transjordan (cf. Pekah, who came from this area). Bartelt, A. H. (2000). Shallum. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Shallum Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Menahem (Heb. mĕnaḥēm) King of Israel (ca. 746 to 737 . . .). Menahem overthrew Shallum, his rival for the throne after the assassination of Zechariah, after Shallum had reigned but one month. Menahem’s usurpation of power was indicative of the chaos that followed the death of Jeroboam II and that led to the decline and fall of the northern kingdom. Since Menahem came from Tirzah, the original capital of Israel under Jeroboam I until Omri founded Samaria, his coup may have been supported by a long­standing anti­Samarian faction that seized the opportunity to gain control. Menahem’s bloody coup was followed by his sack of Tiphsah (2 Kgs. 15:16) and his heavy taxation of Israel to pay off the tribute he owed Tiglath­pileser III of Assyria (vv. 19– 20). Whether this was vassal tribute or a payment for military aid to secure a hold on his kingdom is not clear, but Menahem’s reign was a time of pro­Assyrian compromise in the struggle against this new threat to peace. His dynasty extended to the two­year reign of his son Pekahiah, who was likely overthrown as a reaction to Menahem’s policies. M Bartelt, A. H. (2000). Menahem. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Menahem Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Pekahiah (Heb. pĕqaḥyâ) King of Israel for two years (ca. 737–735 . . .) following his father Menahem (2 Kgs. 15:23). Pekahiah apparently continued the pro­Assyrian policies of his father, and he was soon overthrown by Pekah (2 Kgs. 15:25), likely as a response to the heavy tribute exacted from Israel as payment to Assyria. No details are known of Pekahiah’s reign other than the formulaic negative description P Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 14
  • 15. of 2 Kgs. 15:24. His short reign would suggest that he was a weaker ruler than his father, and the usurper Pekah is identified as one of his own officers. The inability of any king of Israel to hold a dynasty after that of Jehu (2 Kgs. 15:12) reflects the chaos that followed the rise of the Neo­Assyrian Empire and led to the fall of Samaria in 722. Bartelt, A. H. (2000). Pekahiah. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Pekahiah Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Pekah (Heb. peqaḥ) King of Israel ca. 735–732 . . . Identified as the “son of Remaliah,” Pekah overthrew Pekahiah, whom he served as officer (2 Kgs. 15:25) and from whom he may have usurped also his throne­name. It is likely that Pekah represented an anti­Assyrian movement that sought independence from the heavy tribute exacted as payment to Tiglath­pileser III by Pekahiah’s father, Menahem (2 Kgs. 15:19). Pekah formed an alliance with Rezin of Syria against Assyria. 2 Kgs. 16:5–20 (cf. Isa. 7:1– 9) reports that this coalition attacked Jerusalem in order to depose Ahaz of Judah and place the “son of Tabeel” (whose name suggests an Aramean) on the Judean throne. 2 Chr. 28:5– 7 describes a massive slaughter and plunder. As a response, Ahaz appealed to Assyria for help (2 Kgs. 16:7; 2 Chr. 28:16). This led to the fall of Damascus to Assyria in 732, the loss of much of Gilead and Galilee (2 Kgs. 15:29), and the overthrow of Pekah by Hoshea (v. 30), which, according to Assyrian annals, was instigated by Tiglath­pileser himself. Pekah’s exact regnal years are part of the very difficult chronology of this period. According to 2 Kgs. 15:27 he reigned 20 years, which cannot fit between a terminus a quo in the early 730s and a terminus ad quem of 732/731 when Hoshea took the throne. It is quite possible that Pekah actually controlled a large part of Gilead as a rival to Menahem and was taken into Pekahiah’s court as an effort to consolidate territory. This strategy backfired when Pekah took control with “fifty of the Gileadites” and quickly (re?)­established contact with Rezin of Syria, which may indicate his previous leadership east of Samaria. The numeration of his 20 years would then include at least 10–15 years before he became king in Samaria. P Bartelt, A. H. (2000). Pekah. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Pekah Clipped: November 2, 2013 EDB: Hoshea Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 15
  • 16. (Heb. hôšēaʿ) 2. The last king of northern Israel (732–724 . . .). Hoshea, allied with Assyria, assassinated Pekah (736–732), who along with the kings of other petty nations had rebelled against Assyrian suzerainty (2 Kgs. 15:30). Tiglath­pileser III then officially named Hoshea king and received tribute from Israel. When Shalmaneser V (726–722) succeeded his father Tiglath­pileser, Hoshea aligned himself with anti­Assyrian neighbors in withholding tribute. Shalmaneser then attacked Israel and made Hoshea his vassal. When Hoshea withheld tribute again, Shalmaneser subdued Israel, imprisoned Hoshea, and continued his siege of Samaria until the city fell three years later in 722 (2 Kgs. 17:3–7). While the biblical account would seem to imply that Shalmaneser conquered Samaria, documents from the reign of Sargon II (722–705) insist that this was the real victor. H Redditt, P. L. (2000). Hoshea. In (D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck, Eds.)Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. Tags: Bibliographic citation. Title = Hoshea Clipped: November 2, 2013 Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:50 PM November 2, 2013. 16