Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY"
The History of Israel:  Part 6d of 9
COMMENT ON:
THE DIVIDED KINGDOM:
THE DYNASTY OF JEHU IN ISRAEL (Period 3, Northern), and
JUDAH FROM ATHALIAH TO JOTHAM (Period 2, Southern), and
THE LAST YEARS OF THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL (Period 4, Northern)

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1964

  1. DIVIDED KINGDOM (III)
    1. DYNASTY OF JEHU IN ISRAEL (Period 3. Northern)
      1. Jehu (28 years)
        Jehu was a scourge used by God to destroy Omri’s dynasty and the baal worship. His act of killing Ahab’s 70 sons is typical of the action of a usurper in the Orient; the usurper feels insecure until all members of the old regime are gone. Although destroying baal, he followed the sin of Jeroboam—the calf worship at Bethel and Dan. For this God promised to judge him.

        About ten years after the battle of Karkar, Shalmaneser again attacked the Westlands and defeated Syria. The black obelisk of Shalmaneser (a black stone 6 ½ feet high with five rows of bas-reliefs and texts describing them) shows Jehu, among other kings, on his face before Shalmaneser, bringing tribute. (See Free, pp. 189-190, fig. 13; Finegan, pp. 171-173, fig. 73.) This event was followed by 100 years of Assyrian decline, giving Israel temporary relief from the fear of Assyria.
         
      2. Jehoahaz (17 years)
         
      3. Jehoash (Joash) (16 years)
        Both Jehoahaz and Jehoash had continued Syrian wars. Jehoash also fought Judah and raided Jerusalem. During his reign Elisha died.
         
      4. Jeroboam II (41 years)
        The reign of Jeroboam II was probably the most prosperous one the northern kingdom ever saw (2 Ki. 14:23-29). Toward the north his dominion almost equaled Solomon’s; while in the south Israel for a little while completely surrounded Judah. The period seems to have been one of great social inequality—the rich oppressed the poor. In this situation three of the earliest writing prophets arose: Jonah. Hosea, and Amos prophesied and wrote their books at this time. Each predicted coming judgment because of Israel’s sin.
         
      5. Zechariah (1/2 year) Slain by Shallum.
         
    2. JUDAH FROM ATHALIAH TO JOTHAM (Period 2, Southern)
      1. Joash (Jehoash) (40 years)
        He began this rather unimportant century. He began well, and as long as the good priest Jehoida lived, he promoted revival and godliness. After Jehoiada’s death, he showed his own evil character, especially in the murder of the son of the man to whom he owed his life.
         
      2. Amaziah (29 years)
        In his reign Jerusalem was pillaged (see Jehoash, A, 3, above on this page).
         
      3. Uzziah (Azariah) (52 years)
        He enjoyed a long and prosperous reign, marred at its conclusion by his attempt to engage in priestly duties.and his consequent leprosy. In the year of Uzziah’s death Isaiah, a young Judean courtier, was called to prophesy.
         
      4. Jotham (16 years)
        During Jotham’s reign contemporaneous with Jonah, Hosea, and Amos in Israel, Judah also saw an outburst of prophetic activity. Isaiah, Micah, Obadiah, and Joel labored in this period. These seven prophets are referred to as the “eighth century prophets.”
         
    3. THE LAST YEARS OF THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL (Period 4, Northern)
      This last period of only some 40 years was characterized by chaos and swift decline. There were five kings; all but one met with violent death and was succeeded by an usurper.

      The Assyrian menace, which had threatened during the reigns of Ahab and Jehu, now became a movement which could not be stopped. In Abraham’s time, Babylon in southern Mesopotamia had controlled the Land of the Two Rivers. During the early part of the D.K., however, the city of Nineveh in northern Mesopotamia assumed control of the land. This was the Assyrian empire. Assur-nasirpal II (883-859) made Assyria great. He introduced a policy of “calculated frightful ness.” When a nation which he had conquered revolted, he put down the revolt in most cruel ways—flayed the chief men, walled some in, impaled others, cut off limbs, nailed their skins to walls; he even dis­interred bodies of the dead, so that their spirits might have no rest in the nether world. Assur-nasirpal’s son was Shalmaneser III (858-824). We have already mentioned his attempts at western domination during Ahab’s and Jehu’s reigns.

      After Shalmaneser, Assyria had a period of weakness, some eighty years, in • which Israel prospered (Jeroboam II’s time). But now she is on the march again and Israel cannot withstand her.

      Tiglath Pileser III (746-728) in 744 (just as Shallum was becoming king of Israel) brings empire to Assyria again and began to look covetously toward the west. He is called Pul as well as Tiglath Pileser in the O.T. He found that “calcu­lated frightf illness” was no longer sufficient to keep captive peoples submissive and began the custom of deportation—the removal of a small part of the popu­lation of a revolting subject land (the nobility, wealthy, and leaders of all sorts) to another land, and the bringing into the revolting subject land of deportees from another revolting land. As time went on, even this fearful policy failed to keep the empire submissive and an increasingly greater proportion of the population was deported.

      It should be noted that these cruel policies were only invoked when nations rebelled; people were given time first to prove their fidelity. It should not be imagined that cruelty was the only characteristic of the Assyrian empire. Assyria was a great land with a great culture. The library which Assurbanipal (called Osnapper in the O.T., 669-626 B.C.) established in Nineveh contained over 20,000 clay tablets, including the famous “Creation” and “Flood” stories. Official buildings were magnificent, with beautiful reliefs and colored tiles. The great winged bulls which guarded the entrance to Sargon’s palace, each carved from a single block of stone, weighed 40 tons apiece.
      1. Shallum (1 month)
        He was assassinated by Menahem.
         
      2. Menahem (10 years)
        To keep the nation in unmolested peace and himself in. power, Menahem paid Tiglath Pileser a great tribute. This tribute is recorded on the Assyrian monuments, which state that Tiglath Pileser conquered the Westlands and even Egypt. (From the time of Menahem to the fall of Samaria, Israel was under almost constant pressure from Assyria. The details are noted both in the Divided Kingdom Chart and in Israel’s Neighbor, Mesopotamia. ADDENDUM I. See also Finegan, pp. 170-182; WHA, pp.49 50,67-70; WBD, p.48.)
         
      3. Pekahiah (2 years)
        He was assassinated by Pekah.
         
      4. Pekah (20 years)
        Pekah, together with the Syrian king, attacked Jerusalem (see below, under Ahaz). Ahaz, king of Judah paid Tiglath Pileser to attack Israel in order to relieve Judah. And so, during Pekah’s reign, Tiglath Pileser invaded and captured much of Israel, including Galilee and Gilead, and took some Israelites captive to Assyria. This is really the beginning of Israel’s captivity. Pekah was killed by Hoshea, probably with Tiglath Pileser’s connivance.
         
      5. Hoshea (9 years)
        Early in Hoshea’s reign, Tiglath Pileser was succeeded by Shalmaneser V. Hoshea paid him tribute until Shalmaneser had troubles in Assyria. Then Hoshea stopped tribute and rebelled:, paying tribute to Egypt, hoping for her support against: Assyria. When this happened, Assyria’s patience was exhausted. For three years Shalmaneser besieged Samaria. Toward the end of the three years Shalmaneser died, and Sargon 11, his successor, captured the city in 721 B.C. He deported some of the inhabitants to Assyria, thus bringing to an end the Northern Kingdom. According f.o Sargon s own figures, some 27, 000 “Samarianai” were taken captive.

        Most of the Israelites were not taken captive, They remained in the land and intermarried with heathen whom Sargon brought in from other rebellious lands. This resulted in the Samaritan race, a mixed group, both .racially and religiously.
 

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