Saul, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first king of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, marked a transition from a tribal society to statehood. Saul's life and reign are described in the Hebrew Bible, he reigned from Gibeah. He fell on his sword to avoid capture in the battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, during which three of his sons were killed; the succession to his throne was contested by Ish-bosheth, his only surviving son, his son-in-law David, who prevailed. According to the Hebrew text of the Bible Saul was thirty years old when he came to the throne and reigned for two years, but scholars agree that the text is faulty and that a reign of twenty or twenty-two years is more probable; the biblical accounts of Saul's life are found in the Books of Samuel: According to the Tanakh, Saul was the son of Kish, of the family of the Matrites, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. It appears.
Saul married daughter of Ahimaaz, with whom he sired four sons and two daughters. Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, who bore him two sons and Mephibosheth.. Saul died at the Battle of Mount Gilboa, was buried in Zelah, in the region of Benjamin. Three of Saul's sons – Jonathan and Malchishua – died with him at Mount Gilboa. Ish-bosheth became king of Israel, at the age of forty. At David's request Abner had Michal returned to David. Ish-bosheth reigned for two years, but after the death of Abner, was killed by two of his own captains. Armoni and Mephibosheth were given by David along with the five sons of Merab to the Gibeonites, who killed them. Michal was childless; the only male descendant of Saul to survive was Mephibosheth, Jonathan's lame son, five years old at the time of his father's and grandfather's deaths. In time, he came under the protection of David. Mephibosheth had a young son, who had four sons and descendants named until the ninth generation; the First Book of Samuel gives three accounts of Saul's rise to the throne in three successive chapters: Saul is sent with a servant to look for his father's strayed donkeys.
Leaving his home at Gibeah, they arrive at the district of Zuph, at which point Saul suggests abandoning their search. Saul's servant tells him that they happen to be near the town of Ramah, where a famous seer is located, suggests that they should consult him first; the seer offers hospitality to Saul and anoints him in private. A popular movement having arisen to establish a centralized monarchy like other nations, Samuel assembles the people at Mizpah in Benjamin to appoint a king, fulfilling his previous promise to do so. Samuel organises the people by clan. Using the Urim and Thummim, he selects the tribe of Benjamin, from within the tribe selecting the clan of Matri, from them selecting Saul. After having been chosen as monarch, Saul returns to his home in Gibeah, along with a number of followers. However, some of the people are unhappy with the selection of Saul; the Ammonites, led by Nahash, lay siege to Jabesh-Gilead. Under the terms of surrender, the occupants of the city are to be forced into slavery and have their right eyes removed.
Instead they send word of this to the other tribes of Israel, the tribes west of the Jordan assemble an army under Saul. Saul leads the army to victory over the Ammonites, the people congregate at Gilgal where they acclaim Saul as king and he is crowned. Saul's first act is to forbid retribution against those who had contested his kingship. André Lemaire finds the third account the most reliable tradition; the Pulpit Commentary distinguishes between a public selection process. Having been anointed by Samuel, Saul is told of signs indicating that he has been divinely appointed; the last of these is that Saul will be met by an ecstatic group of prophets leaving a high place and playing the lyre and flutes. Saul encounters the ecstatic joins them. Saul sends men to pursue David, but when they meet a group of ecstatic prophets playing music, they become possessed by a prophetic state and join in. Saul sends more men. Saul himself goes, joins the prophets.. After relieving the siege of Jabesh-Gilead, Saul conducts military campaigns against the Moabites, Edomites, Aram Rehob and the kings of Zobah, the Philistines, the Amalekites.
A biblical summary states that "wherever he turned, he was victorious". In his continuing battles with Philistines, Saul instructs his armies, by a rash oath, to fast. Methodist commentator Joseph Benson suggests that "Saul’s intention in putting this oath was undoubtedly to save time, lest the Philistines should gain ground of them in their flight, but the event showed. Jonathan's party were not aware of the oath and ate honey, resulting in Jonathan realising that he had broken
Jehoram of Judah
Jehoram of Judah or Joram, was a king of Judah, the son of Jehoshaphat. Jehoram reigned for 8 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 849 – 842 BCE. Edwin Thiele placed a coregency of Jehoram with his father Jehoshaphat, starting in 853/852 BCE, with the beginning of his sole reign occurring in 848/847 and his death in 841/840 BCE; as explained in the Rehoboam article, Thiele's chronology for the first kings of Judah contained an internal inconsistency that scholars corrected by dating these kings one year earlier, so that Jehoram's dates are taken as one year earlier in the present article: coregency beginning in 854/853, sole reign commencing in 849/848, death in 842/841 BCE. The name Jehoram is confusing in the biblical account; the author of Kings speaks of both Jehoram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah in the same passage, both reigned at the same time. It's confusing that both Jehorams are referred to as Joram in the same translation in the same breath. For example, 2 Chronicles 22:5–6 reads: 5 He walked after their counsel, went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth-gilead.
6 And he returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which they had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Aram. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick; the king of Judah is referred to as Jehoram or Joram in a single translation. For example, 2 Kings 8:20–21 uses the name Joram while 2 Chronicles 21:8–9, which describe the same event in identical words, uses the name Jehoram. According to 2 Kings 8:16, Jehoram became king of Judah in the fifth year of Jehoram of Israel, when his father Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, indicating a co-regency. Jehoram reigned for 8 years. To secure his position Jehoram killed his six brothers, his father, had formed an alliance with the Kingdom of Israel, one of the terms of this alliance was that Jehoram married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. Despite this alliance with the stronger northern kingdom, Jehoram's rule of Judah was shaky. Edom revolted, when Jehoram marched against this people, his army fled before the Edomites, he was forced to acknowledge their independence.
The town of Libnah revolted during his reign, according to 2 Chronicles 21:10, because he "had abandoned Yahweh, God of his fathers." During his reign a raid by Philistines and Ethiopians looted the king's house, carried off all of his family except for his youngest son Jehoahaz. During this time the king received a letter of warning from Elijah. After this, Jehoram suffered a painful inflammation of the abdomen, he died two years later; the calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri and that of Israel in Nisan. Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jehoram, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of the first year of his sole reign to some time between Nisan 1 of 848 BCE and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BCE year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 849/848 BCE, or more 849 BC.
His death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 and the day before Tishri 1 of 841 BCE, i.e. in 842/841 BCE according to the Judean calendar. For calculation purposes this can be written in the simpler form 842 BCE though Jehoram's death occurred in the next BCE year; this potential confusion is because of expressing dates in a January-based calendar. Dates in the present article are one year earlier than those given in the third edition of Thiele's The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, thereby correcting an internal consistency that Thiele never resolved, as explained in the Rehoboam article. Thiele showed that for the reign of Jehoram, Judah adopted Israel's non-accession method of counting the years of reign, meaning that the first partial year of the king's reign was counted as his first full year, in contrast to the "accession" method in use whereby the first partial year was counted as year "zero," and "year one" was assigned to the first full year of reign. Thiele attributed this change to the rapprochement between Judah and Israel, whereby Jehoshaphat, Jehoram's father, made common cause with Ahab at the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, chose a daughter for his son from the house of Ahab.
This convention was followed in Judah for the next three monarchs: Ahaziah and Jehoash, returning to Judah's original accession reckoning in the time of Amaziah. These changes can be inferred from a careful comparison of the textual data in the Scripture, but because the Scriptural texts do not state explicitly whether the reckoning was by accession or non-accession counting, nor do they indicate explicitly when a change was made in the method, many have criticized Thiele's chronology as being arbitrary in its assignment of accession and non-accession reckoning; the arbitrariness, however rested with the ancient kings and their court recorders, not with Thiele. The official records of Tiglath-Pileser III show that he switched to non-a
Jehoshaphat, according to 1 Kings 15:24, was the son of Asa, the king of the Kingdom of Judah, in succession to his father. His children included Jehoram, his mother was Azubah. His name has sometimes been connected with the Valley of Josaphat. Jehoshaphat reigned for twenty-five years, he spent the first years of his reign fortifying his kingdom against the Kingdom of Israel. His zeal in suppressing the idolatrous worship of the "high places" is commended in 2 Chronicles 17:6. In the third year of his reign Jehoshaphat sent out priests and Levites over the land to instruct the people in the Law, an activity, commanded for a Sabbatical year in Deuteronomy 31:10–13; the author of the Books of Chronicles praises his reign, stating that the kingdom enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of God resting on the people "in their basket and their store." Jehoshaphat pursued alliances with the northern kingdom. Jehoshaphat's son Jehoram married Ahab's daughter Athaliah. In the eighteenth year of his reign Jehosaphat visited Ahab in Samaria, nearly lost his life accompanying his ally to the siege of Ramoth-Gilead.
While Jehoshaphat safely returned from this battle, he was reproached by the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani, about this alliance. We are told that Jehoshaphat repented, returned to his former course of opposition to all idolatry, promoting the worship of God and in the government of his people; the alliance between Israel and Judah for trade of gold with Ophir differs in the Deuteronomistic Historian's account and the subsequent Chronicler's account. While the Chronicler claims Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with Ahaziah of Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with Ophir, the Deuteronomist says Jehoshaphat built the ships on his own, they crashed, Ahaziah attempted to join the alliance to obtain gold. According to the Deuteronomist, Jehoshapat refused the offer, most in order to retain profits for his kingdom, he subsequently joined Jehoram of Israel, in a war against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. The Moabites were subdued, but seeing Mesha's act of offering his own son as a human sacrifice on the walls of Kir of Moab filled Jehoshaphat with horror, he withdrew and returned to his own land.
According to Chronicles, the Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy with the surrounding nations, marched against Jehoshaphat. The allied forces were encamped at Ein Gedi; the king and his people were filled with alarm. The king prayed in the court of the Temple, "O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army, attacking us. We do not know; the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that the next day all this great host would be overthrown. So it was, for they quarreled among themselves, slew one another, leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of the slain. Soon after this victory Jehoshaphat died after a reign of twenty-five years at the age of sixty. According to some sources, he died two years but gave up his throne earlier for unknown reasons. William F. Albright has dated the reign of Jehoshaphat to 873–849 BC. E. R. Thiele held that he became coregent with his father Asa in Asa's 39th year, 872/871 BC, the year Asa was infected with a severe disease in his feet, became sole regent when Asa died of the disease in 870/869 BC, his own death occurring in 848/847 BC.
So Jehoshaphat's dates are taken as one year earlier: co-regency beginning in 873/871, sole reign commencing in 871/870, death in 849/848 BC. The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri and that of Israel in Nisan. Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jehoshaphat, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of the beginning of his sole reign to some time between Tishri 1 of 871 BC and the day before Nisan 1 of the 870 BC. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 871/870 BC, or more 871 BC, his death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 of 848 BC and Tishri 1 of that same BC year, i.e. in the Judean regnal year 849/848 BC, which for calculation purposes can be taken as 849 BC. The king's name in the oath jumping Jehosaphat was popularized by the name's utility as a euphemism for Jesus and Jehovah.
The phrase, spelled "Jumpin' Geehosofat", is first recorded in the 1865-1866 novel The Headless Horseman by Thomas Mayne Reid. The novel uses "Geehosofat", standing alone, as an exclamation; the longer version "By the shaking, jumping ghost of Jehosaphat" is seen in the 1865 novel Paul Peabody by Percy Bolingbroke St John. Another theory is that the reference is to Joel 3, where the prophet Joel says, speaking of the judgment of the dead, "Assemble yourselves, come, all ye heathen, gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about." In the 1956 Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon short, Yankee Dood It, based on the fairy tale of The Elves and the Shoemaker, Jehosephat figures prominently as an invocation to turn elves into mice. On the TV series Car 54, Where Are You?, the character Francis Muldoon cite
The Davidic line or House of David refers to the tracing of lineage to King David through the texts in the Hebrew Bible, in the New Testament, through the succeeding centuries. According to the Tanakh, upon being chosen and becoming king, one was customarily anointed with holy oil poured on one's head. In David's case, this was done by the prophet Samuel. David was king over the Tribe of Judah only and ruled from Hebron, but after seven and a half years, the other Israelite tribes, who found themselves leaderless after the death of Ish-bosheth, chose him to be their king as well. All subsequent kings in both the ancient first united Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah claimed direct descent from King David to validate their claim to the throne in order to rule over the Israelite tribes. After the death of David's son, King Solomon, the ten northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel rejected the Davidic line, refusing to accept Solomon's son and instead chose as king Jeroboam and formed the northern Kingdom of Israel.
This kingdom was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the 8th century BCE which exiled much of the Northern Kingdom population and ended its sovereign status. The bulk population of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was forced to relocate to Mesopotamia and disappeared from history as The Ten Lost Tribes or intermixed with exiled Judean populations two centuries while the remaining Israelite peoples in Samaria highlands have become known as Samaritans during the classic era and to modern times. Following the conquest of Judah by Babylon and the exile of its population, the Babylonian Exilarchate was established; the highest official of Babylonian Jewry was the exilarch. Those who held the position traced their ancestry to the House of David in the male line; the position holder was regarded as a king-in-waiting, residing in Babylon and in the Achaemenid Empire during the classic era. Zerubbabel of the Davidic line is mentioned as one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the 5th century BCE, holding the title of Achaeminid Governor of Yehud Medinata.
The Hasmoneans known as the Maccabees, were a priestly group from the Tribe of Levi. They established their own monarchy in Judea following their revolt against the Hellenistic Seleucid dynasty; the Hasmoneans were not considered connected to the Davidic line nor to the Tribe of Judah. The Levites had always been excluded from the Israelite monarchy, so when the Maccabees assumed the throne in order to rededicate the defiled Second Temple, a cardinal rule was broken. According to scholars within Orthodox Judaism, this is considered to have contributed to their downfall and the eventual downfall of Judea. During the Hasmonean period the Davidic line was excluded from the royal house in Judea, but some members had risen to prominence as religious and communal leaders. One of the most notable of those was Hillel the Elder, who moved to Judea from his birthplace in Babylon, his great grandson Simeon ben Gamliel became one of the Jewish leaders during the Great Revolt. The Exilarchate institution in Sasanian Persia was abolished as a result of revolt by the Mar-Zutra II in the late 5th century, with his son Mar-Zutra III being denied of the office and relocating to Tiberias - within the Byzantine Empire.
Mar Ahunai lived in the period succeeding Mar Zutra II, but for fifty years after the failed revolt he did not dare to appear in public, it is not known whether then he acted as Exilarch. The names of Kafnai and his son Haninai, who were Exilarchs in the second half of the 6th century, have been preserved; the Exilarchate in Mesopotamia was restored after the Arab conquest in the 7th century and continued to function during the early Caliphates. Haninai's posthumous son Bostanai was the first of the Exilarchs under Arabic rule. Exilarchs continued to be appointed until the 11th century, with some members of the Davidic line dispersing across the Islamic world. Natronai ben Habibai for instance was a rival Exilarch candidate of Judah Zakkai, but was defeated and sent to the West in banishment. There are conflicting accounts of the fate of the Exlarch family in the 11th century - according to one version Hezekiah, the last Exilarch and the last Gaon, was imprisoned and tortured to death. Two of his sons fled to al-Andalus, where they found refuge with Joseph, the son and successor of Samuel ha-Nagid.
However, Jewish Quarterly Review mentions that Hezekiah was liberated from prison, became head of the academy, is mentioned as such by a contemporary in 1046. An unsuccessful attempt of David ben Daniel of the Davidic line to establish an Exilarchate in the Fatimid Caliphate failed and ended with his downfall in 1094. Descendants of the house of exilarchs were living in various places long after the office became extinct. A descendant of Hezekiah, Hiyya al-Daudi, Gaon of Andalucia, died in 1154 in Castile according to Abraham ibn Daud. Several families, as late as the 14th century, traced their descent back to Josiah, the brother of David ben Zakkai, banished to Chorasan; the descendants of the Karaite Exilarchs have been referred to above. A number of Jewish families in the Iberian peninsula and within Mesopotamia continued to preser
Asa of Judah
Asa was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the third king of the Kingdom of Judah and the fifth king of the House of David. The Hebrew Bible gives the period of his reign as 41 years, his reign is dated between 913-910 BC to 873-869 BC. He was succeeded by his son. According to Thiele's chronology, when Asa became ill, he made Jehoshaphat coregent. Asa died two years into the coregency. Asa was zealous in maintaining the traditional worship of God, in rooting out idolatry, with its accompanying immoralities. After concluding a battle with Zerah of Ethiopia in the 10th year of his reign, there was peace in Judah until the 25th year of Asa's reign. In his 26th year he was confronted by king of Israel, he formed an alliance with Ben-Hadad I, king of Aram Damascus, using a monetary bribe, convinced him to break his peace treaty with Baasha and invade the Northern Kingdom. He died honoured by his people, was considered for the most part a righteous king, he threw the prophet Hanani in jail and "oppressed some of the people at the same time".
It is recorded of Asa that in his old age, when afflicted with a foot disease, he “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians”. Asa is understood as the son of Abijam. However, scholars have found the biblical accounts of Asa's family to be contradictory. While a number of theories have been suggested, no explanation can accommodate all available sources or has proved definitively compelling. Azariah son of Oded, a wiseman and prophet, exhorted Asa to reinforce strict national observance of The Law given to Moses, Asa paid heed, he purged the land of false idols. The Queen Mother, was deposed for having been involved with local, non-Judaic gods and beliefs, which were practiced by neighboring peoples; when the religious transition was completed in Asa's fifteenth year, a great feast was held in Jerusalem at Solomon's Temple. At that time, many northerners from the tribes Ephraim and Manasseh, migrated to the Kingdom of Judah because of the fruitful golden age in Judah, the internal conflict in Israel after the fall of the dynasty of Jeroboam I.
Taking advantage of 35 years of peace, Asa revamped and reinforced the fortresses built by his grandfather Rehoboam. 2 Chronicles reports that Asa repelled a raid by the Egyptian-backed chieftain Zerah the Ethiopian, whose million men and 300 chariots were defeated by Asa's 580,000 men in the Valley of Zephath, near Mareshah. According to Steven Shawn Tuell, the biblical numbers given in this passage are "completely unrealistic." The Bible does not state whether Zerah was a general of the army. The Ethiopians were pursued all the way to Gerar, in the coastal plain, where they stopped out of sheer exhaustion; the resulting peace kept Judah free from Egyptian incursions until the time of Josiah, some centuries later. In Asa's 36th year, King Baasha of Israel attacked the Kingdom of Judah Alteratively it could be interpreted as 26th year of Asa's reign and the last year of Baasha's life. Baasha built the fortress of Ramah less than ten miles from Jerusalem; the result was that the capital was under pressure and the military situation was precarious.
Asa took gold and silver from the Temple and sent them to Ben-Hadad I, king of Aram Damascus, in exchange for the Damascene king canceling his peace treaty with Baasha. Ben-Hadad I attacked Ijon and many important cities of the tribe of Naphtali, Baasha was forced to withdraw from Ramah. Asa tore down the unfinished fortress and used its raw materials to fortify Geba and Mizpah, on his side of the border. Hanani the Seer, a prophet, admonished Asa for relying on the King of Syria as opposed to Divine help in defeating Baasha. Asa became angry and threw Hanani in jail. Asa was not as just as he had been and oppressed some of the people. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a severe disease in his feet, for which he sought the help of physicians, not the Lord. In Thiele's chronology, Asa made his son Jehoshaphat coregent in the year that saw the onset of his disease. Asa died two years and was buried with his ancestors in Jerusalem, in the grave that he had dug for himself. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 913 BC – 873 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 911/910 – 870/869 BC.
Thiele's chronology for the first kings of Judah contained an internal inconsistency that scholars corrected by dating these kings one year earlier, so that Asa's dates are taken as 912/911 to 871/870 BC in the present article. 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles describe his reign in a favorable manner. They both give his reign as lasting 41 years. According to Thiele, the calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri and that of Israel in Nisan. Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Asa, the Bible allows the narrowing of his accession to some time between Tishri 1 of 912 BC and the day before Nisan 1 of the 911 BC. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 912/911 BC, or more 912 BC, his death occurred at some time
Jotham of Judah
Jotham or Yotam was a king of Judah, son of Uzziah by Jerusha, daughter of Zadok. Jotham was 25 when he began his reign, reigned for 16 years. Edwin R. Thiele concluded that his reign commenced as a coregency with his father, which lasted for 11 years; because his father Uzziah was afflicted with tzaraath after he entered the Temple to burn incense, Jotham became governor of the palace and the land at that time, i.e. coregent, while his father lived in a separate house as a leper. William F. Albright dated his reign to 742 – 735 BC. Thiele dated his coregency with Uzziah starting in 751/750 BC and his sole reign from 740/39 to 736/735 BC, at which time he was deposed by the pro-Assyrian faction in favor of his son Ahaz. Thiele places his death in 732/731 BC; the Gospel of Matthew lists Jotham of Judah in the genealogy of Jesus. The archeologist Nelson Glueck found an imprint of king Jotham near Eilat. Near Eilat there is a wadi called "Yatam wadi." Jotham inherited a strong government, well officered and administered.
He is recorded as having built the Upper Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem. "He built cities in the mountains of Judah, in the forests he built castles and towers."2 Kings mentions that Jotham fought wars against Rezin, king of the Arameans, Pekah, king of Israel. He defeated the Ammonites, who paid him an immense annual tribute, but the increasing corruption of the northern kingdom began to permeate Judah. Jotham was a contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea and Micah, by whose advice he benefited. Biblical chronology for the two Israelite kingdoms in the 8th century BC are both profuse and perplexing; some of the reign lengths or synchronisms are given from the start of a sole reign, while others are given from the start of a coregency, or, in the case of Pekah, from the start of a rival reign. Thiele maintained that the key to understanding these records lies in a proper appreciation of the growing threat from Assyria that both kingdoms faced. In 754 BC, Ashur-nirari V led the Assyrians against Arpad in northern Aram.
His successor Tiglath-Pileser III warred against Arpad in the years 743 to 740 BC, capturing the city after three years. In face of this threat, Rezin of Damascus made an alliance with Pekah of Israel, the two were therefore enemies of the pro-Assyrian king of Judah, Ahaz. Meanwhile, ruling in Samaria, sent tribute to Tiglath-Pileser in order to "strengthen his hold on the kingdom," against his anti-Assyrian rival Pekah. According to Thiele, it is the existence of strong pro-Assyrian and anti-Assyrian factions in both Israel and Judah that explains the way the chronological data for the time were recorded: When Jotham began his rule in Judah his reign was synchronized with that of Pekah and not with Menahem, although both were on their thrones; this points to close Judean ties with Pekah than with Menahem, a common resistance against the Assyrian threat could well have been the cause. The fact that Jotham's accession in 751/50 is synchronized with the years of Pekah provides strong evidence that Pekah was ruling as king.
And the fact that Ahaz's accession in 736/35 is synchronized with a reign of Pekah that began in 752/51 provides further proof that it was at that time that Pekah began his reign. These synchronisms of II Kings 15:32 and 16:1 are not artificial and they are not late. No scribe of a period unacquainted with the historical details of the time would, or could, have invented them. In Judah, the growing Assyrian pressure strengthened the hand of those who sought accommodation to the enemy from the north, resulting in a change of leadership: In 736 and 735 Tiglath-pileser was again in the northwest, in the regions of Mount Nal and Urartu. Many in Judah would no doubt think that the time had come to be crushed. In 735 it is altogether that a pro-Assyrian group felt itself strong enough to force Jotham into retirement and to place Ahaz on the throne. Although Jotham continued to live to his twentieth year, 732/31, it was Ahaz who directed affairs from 735. Thiele therefore explained the reason for the complexity of the chronological data for this time by taking into account the historical background.
He found that the regnal years for Judah and Israel that can be constructed from the Biblical texts fit into the known movements of the Assyrian kings during this time. The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri and that of Israel in Nisan. Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jotham, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of the beginning of his coregency with Uzziah as occurring some time in the six-month interval on or following Nisan 1, 750 BC. In terms of Judean reckoning, this would be in the year that started in Tishri of 751 BC, i.e. in 751/750 or, more 751 BC. His sole reign began in the year that started on Tishri 1, 740 BC, its end was in the six-month interval that started on Nisan 1, 735 BC, i.e. in 736/735 according to the Judean calendar, or more 736 BC. His death occurred in the year that started in Tishri, 732 BC.
In the mid-1990s a important bulla showed up on the antiquities market. A bulla is a flattened lump of hardened clay bearing the impression of a seal, they were used to seal papyrus documents. The papyrus would be tied with a string. A soft lump of clay would be placed on the string and impressed with a signet ring or pendant bearing the se
Bethel was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim and a location named by Jacob. Under Israelite rule, Bethel first belonged to the Tribe of Benjamin, but was conquered by the Tribe of Ephraim. Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome describe Bethel in their time as a small village that lay 12 Roman miles north of Jerusalem, to the right or east of the road leading to Neapolis. Edward Robinson identified the village of Beitin in the West Bank with ancient Bethel in Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1838–52, he based this assessment on its fitting the location described in earlier texts, on the philological similarities between the modern and ancient name, arguing that the replacement of the Hebrew el with the Arabic in was not unusual. Most academics continue to identify Bethel with Beitin. Ten years after the Six-Day War, the biblical name was applied to an Israeli settlement Beit El constructed adjacent to Beitin. In several countries—particularly in the US—the name has been given to various locations.
Bethel is mentioned several times in Genesis. It is first mentioned in Genesis 12 and 13, as a place near where Abram stayed and built an altar on his way to Egypt and on his return, it is said to be close to Hai and just to the west of it. More famously it is mentioned again in Genesis 28, when Jacob, fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau, falls asleep on a stone and dreams of a ladder stretching between Heaven and Earth and thronged with angels. Another account, from Genesis 35 repeats the covenant with God and the naming of the place, makes this the site of Jacob's own change of name to Israel. Both versions state that the original name of the place was a Canaanite name. Bethel is mentioned again in the book of Joshua 7:2, 8:9 as being close to Ai and on the west side of it. At 16:1 it is again said to be next to Luz, near Jericho, part of the territory of the descendants of Joseph. In the book of Judges 1:22 ff the descendants of Joseph capture the city of Bethel, which again is said to have been called Luz.
At Judges 4:5 the prophetess Deborah is said to dwell at Bethel under the palm-tree of Deborah. Bethel is said in Judges 4:5 to be in Mt Ephraim. At Judges 20:18, where the Hebrew Beth-El is translated in the King James Version as the'House of God', the people of Israel go to Bethel to ask counsel of God when they are planning to attack the Benjaminites at the battle of Gibeah, they make a second visit after losing the battle. Bethel was evidently an important religious centre at this time. At Judges 21:19, Bethel is said to be south of Shiloh. At the next mention of the Ark, in 1 Samuel 4:3, it is said to be kept at Shiloh. In the book 1 Samuel 7:16, it is said that the prophet Samuel, who resided at Ramah, used to make a yearly circuit of Bethel and Mizpah to judge Israel. At I Samuel 10:3, Samuel tells Saul to go to Bethel to visit the'Hill of God', where he will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a'psaltery, a tabret, a pipe, a harp', it appears. Bethel is mentioned again in I1 Samuel 13:2 and 2 Samuel 30:27.
After the kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms on the death of King Solomon, the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel, made two calves of gold and set one up in Bethel, the other in Dan in the far north of his kingdom. This was to make it unnecessary for the people of Israel to have to go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple there, it seems. A story is told at 1 Kings 13:1 ff of how a man from Judah visited the shrine at Bethel and prophesied that it would be destroyed by Josiah. At 2 Kings 2:1 ff the prophets Elijah and Elisha are said to have visited Bethel on a journey from Gilgal to Jericho shortly before Elijah was taken up to heaven without dying; when Elisha returned alone to Bethel, he is said to have been taunted by some young men as he climbed up to the shrine, cursed them. Bethel is next mentioned in connection with the tenth king of Jehu. Despite his killing of the prophets of Baal and destruction of their temple, it is said that Jehu continued to tolerate the presence of the golden calves in Bethel and Dan.
The shrine at Bethel avoided destruction in the Assyrian invasions of the Kingdom of Israel in c. 740 and 722, but was completely destroyed by King Josiah of Judah. Bethel is mentioned in Ezra 2:28 and Nehemiah 7:32 as being resettled at the time of the return of the exiles from Babylon; the shrine is mentioned with disapproval by the prophet Amos: But seek not Beth–el, nor enter into Gilgal, pass not to Beer–sheba: for Gilgal shall go into captivity, Beth–el shall come to nought. -King James Bible Bu