TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY
 

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800-601 BC PART I
 

PART I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII

 
       
       
       
     
    CONTENTS  
   
  BACK-1000 BC PART VII    NEXT-800 BC PART II
 
       
     
 

 
800 - 601 BC
PART I
The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
Judah (Southern Kingdom)
Amaziah 
Uzziah
Jotham
Hezekiah
Manasseh
Ahaz
Amon
Josiah
Jehoahaz
Jehoiakim
Israel (Northern Kingdom)
Jehoash
Jeroboam II
Zechariah
Shallum
Menahem
Pekahiah
Pekah
Hoshea
 
PART II
Myth of Rome
Romulus and Remus
 Plutarch "Life of Romulus"
Rape of the Sabine Women
Remember, O Roman
The First Messenian War
The Neo-Assyrian Empire
Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria
Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria
Sargon II, king of Assyria
 
PART III
Numa Pompilius, king of Rome
Plutarch "Life of Numa Pompilius"
Sennacherib, king of Assyria
The Second Messenian War
Solon, Athenian statesman
Plutarch "Life of Solon"
The Neo-Babylonian Kingdom of the Chaldeans
Nebopolassar, king of Babylonia
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylonia
 
PART IV
Lycurgus, legendary lawgiver of Sparta
Plutarch "Life of Lycurgus"
Amos, first Hebrew prophet
Hosea, prophet in Israel
Isaiah, Major Hebrew Prophets
Hesiod, Greek poet
HESIOD
"Works And Days"
"The Theogony"
"Shield of Heracles"
Jeremiah, Major Hebrew Prophets
Ezekiel, Major Hebrew Prophets
Daniel, Major Hebrew Prophets
 
PART V
Thales of Miletus, Greek philosopher
Draco, first legislator of Athens
Religion in the Persian Empire
ZARATHUSTRA
"Zoroaster Hymns of the Zend Avesta"
Anaximander, Greek philosopher
Laozi, first philosopher of Chinese Daoism
Daoism (Taoism)
 
PART VI
Out of the Dark Age of Greece
Geometric Art
FIGURE PAINTING REVIVED
HERO VERSUS MONSTER
Orientalizing Art
AN OFFERING TO APOLLO
THE GREEKS LOOK EASTWARD
GREECE'S FIRST STONE TEMPLES
Temple of Marduk in Babylon
Tower of Babel
 
PART VII
Classical Chinese Poetry
Hieroglyphic writing
Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Hesiod, Greek oral poet
HESIOD
"Works And Days"
"The Theogony"
"Shield of Heracles"
Callinus, Greek poet
Archilochus, Greek poet
Tyrtaeus, Greek poet
Mimnermus, Greek poet
Stesichorus, Greek poet
Alcaeus, Greek poet
Sappho, Greek poetess
The Vedas
Terpander, Greek poet and musician
Kithara
Lyre
Arion,  Greek poet and musician
 
PART VIII
Jerusalem - Water Systems
Calendar of Numa
The Organization of the Polis
First Olympic Games 776 BC
 
 
 
 
     

The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy, by Rembrandt, 1635.
  "That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God..."
 

Dr. Green's. Kingdom of Israel.
 

 
 
 
 



Events that Shaped the World

800-601 BC

 
 
   
800 b.c.e. I Ching Compiled

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, is the oldest classic of Chinese literature and one of the world's earliest intact books. Compiled sometime before 800 B.C.E. as a manual of divination, it serves as a philosophical treatise on the interaction between what can and cannot be controlled. The book consists of the presentation and interpretation of 64 sets of hexagrams, stacked arrangements of six solid or bisected lines. Each hexagram is divided into two trigrams, which individually represent various natural, cosmic, and elemental forces. Themes that continually occur in the interpretations of the hexagrams include the immutable nature of change and the dynamic balance of opposites, drawing on the ancient principles of the yin and the yang. Influencing both Confucianist and Taoist thought, the I Ching figures prominently in the history of Chinese philosophy and, once translated in the 19th century, has influenced thinkers as varied as Carl Jung and Allen Ginsberg.


The I Ching was written using tens of thousands of Chinese characters to form symbols called logographs. The modern Chinese language requires a basic knowledge of 2,000 characters.
   
   
800 b.c.e. Upanishads Begun

The Upanishads constitute a seminal body of work in the development of Vedic religion as it incorporated aspects of Dravidian beliefs and gradually gave way to Hinduism. The Upanishads were begun in earnest around 800 B.C.E. and represent the philosophical musings of a succession of Indian sages. Translated literally as "sitting in front of," the Upanishads often took the form of dialogues that reflected and speculated on the teachings of the Vedas. A number of ideas that would become integral to Hindu theology and mysticism were expounded in the Upanishads. These include concepts such as reincarnation, karma, meditative yoga, asceticism, vegetarianism, and the one universal soul, known as Brahman. Composed at a time of considerable social upheaval, the Upanishads preached a denouncement of wealth and material preoccupations when trade and economic prosperity were bringing just those things into the Ganges River Valley. Over the course of thousands of years of interpretation and elaboration, the Upanishads' impact on Indian moral and ethical values has been immensely profound.
   
   
800 b.c.e. Celts Appear

The Celts—tribal agricultural communities that shared a common religion, artistic style, and language—first appeared around 800 B.C.E. in modern-day Austria. The early group, known as the Hallstatt culture, excelled in the manufacture of ornate met-alwork of bronze, gold, silver, and iron, decorated with abstract curvilinear motifs. The Celts were some of the first Europeans to develop iron metallurgy, and so were able to expand across the continent through the use of superior weapons and reliable transportation. Their settlements eventually spread from the British Isles to Asia Minor and formed the ethnicities known as the Gauls, Gaels, Galatians, and Britons. Their religion spread with them, a polytheistic naturalism administered by the druids, a word which means "knowing the oak tree." Though the incursions of the Roman Empire in the first century B.C.E. forced Celtic culture into isolated pockets of western Europe, the legacy of its traditions remains intact to this day.
   
   
776 b.c.e. First Olympic Games Held

The world's first Olympic Games, held in Olym-pia, Greece, in 776 B.C.E., heralded not only the beginning of an athletic tradition still enjoyed to this day, but also the reemer-gence of Greece in Mediterranean affairs, since it had remained mostly isolated following the mysterious demise of Mycenaean society 300 years previously. The first Olympic Games were held between city-states, or poleis, institutions that were only just becoming urban centers of commerce and politics within Greek society. The Greeks did not stay confined to city-states for long though, as population pressures and advances in shipbuilding urged them seaward to found colonies throughout the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Greek colonists spread their language, culture, art, architecture, religion, and even diet to all the port cities they founded. Through increased communication and trade, the Greek colonies also quickened the pace of life in many areas that had previously hosted only small agricultural communities, making the Mediterranean world better connected than ever before.
   
   
753 b.c.e. Rome Founded

The founding of Rome on the Tiber River is traditionally ascribed to 753 B.C.E., a date that owes more to legend than history. Around this time, the main sphere of influence on the Italian peninsula belonged to the Etruscans to the north. Aided by the mineral resources of iron, tin, copper, and silver that abounded in their land, the Etruscans were the first materially advanced culture in Italy. They built cities that engaged in long-distance trade, art, and festivals when Rome was little more than a farm village. In fact, from 616 to 509 B.C.E. Rome was ruled by a dynasty of Etruscan kings, who introduced such public works as improved streets, sewers, defensive walls, large-scale temples, and a stadium. Subsequent Roman culture owed a great deal to the Etruscans, from whom they borrowed such classically Roman traditions as gladiatorial matches, triumphal processions, the toga, and even the fasces, Rome's insignia of political authority.


Legend has it that twins Romulus and Remus, royal descendants of aTrojanWar hero, were abandoned on the banks of theTiber River and suckled by a wolf. As young men they founded the city of Rome on those shores.
   
   
750 b.c.e. Greek Epics Written

The Iliad and The Odyssey, the two great epics of ancient Greek literature and the earliest known examples of European poetry, are traditionally credited to the blind poet, Homer, who may have lived sometime around 750 B.C.E. Though Homer could have been a historical figure who played a prominent part in the final codification of these two works, they originally belong to a tradition of oral poetry and were likely passed down, developed, and elaborated upon by a score of Greek bards stretching back into Mycenaean times. In Homer's day, the Greek world had just recently adopted a written alphabet from the Phoenicians, and it was no coincidence that The Iliad and The Odyssey were among the first Greek works to be committed to writing. In their pages, these epics recount heroic deeds and tragic events, but they also explore moral, ethical, and psychological themes with remarkable subtlety and finesse. Based on quasi-historical events, they also record a way of life that was not far removed from that of Greek society in the eighth century B.C.E. Forming the basis of much of Greek culture, literature, and education, these two epics have continually been mined for inspiration by Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Renaissance, and modern writers. Their impact on western literature as a whole can hardly be overestimated.


The Homeric poems, although set in mythical times, infer real historical events as background. In modern times, archaeologists have searched for and excavated likely sites pointing to Troy, Knossos, and Mycenae.
   
   
700 b.c.e. Writing System Produced

The earliest known, fully attestable example of a complex writing system in the Americas was produced in the Zapotec capital of Monte Alban, founded in the Oaxaca region of Mexico around 700 B.C.E. Carved onto a public monolithic stele and other monuments, in an extended glyphic script, the texts seem to record the names of rulers and their deeds, indicating the state-sponsored origins of writing in Mesoamerica. The writing is considered the basis of other Mesoamerican scripts developed by the Maya, Mixtec, and Aztec. This system developed wholly independently, but the script has not yet been deciphered. Zapotec is a language of a large subfamily, including possibly some 40 variants still spoken in die states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. Monte Alban was the first major city in the Western Hemisphere with monumental structures along its central axis and around its periphery, interspersed with great plazas and ball courts. About 170 tombs, the most elaborate uncovered in the Americas, appear to be single burials for the elite, decorated with stone carvings and frescoes. The Zapotec were technically advanced in more ways than one: An astronomical observatory aided in the formation of a well-developed calendrical system, ornate ceramic urns were produced from molds in assembly-line fashion, and wares were traded in a large regional marketplace. Due to these and other innovations, Monte Alban was a bustling center of Mesoamerican culture and commerce for more than a thousand years.
   
   
656 b.c.e. Chu Defense System Built

The Chu state, one of several regional states that emerged in China following the dissolution of the Zhou dynasty's central authority, began to construct a permanent, contiguous defensive system known as the Square Wall around 656 B.C.E. This first earth-and-stone fortification was followed by several more, built by various states throughout China over the next few centuries. This flurry of wall-building was the product of attempts by rulers to defend their territories from neighboring states as well as from nomadic horsemen from the northern steppes of Asia. With few horses and unreliable armies, regional Chinese states depended primarily on these walls to combat tribes of swift, fierce nomads who did not recognize political boundaries. Though most have long since tumbled, remnants of some of these early Chinese walls still stand, having been incorporated into the longest and youngest of their kind, the Great Wall of China.
   
   
650 b.c.e. First True Coins Struck

The first true coinage was struck by the kingdom of Lydia, located in western Anatolia along the gold-bearing Pactolus River, around 650 B.C.E. Previous metal currencies in the form of gold bars, copper ingots, lumps of bronze, or even small farming implements had existed in various reaches of the globe for millennia, but the Lydians were the first to stamp their small, bean-shaped pieces of a gold-and-silver alloy, known as elec-trum, with a visible insignia of the issuing authority, guaranteeing them an established value and making them the world's first true coins. The Lydians' trading partners, the Greeks, quickly recognized the advantages of this practice and were minting silver coins at colonies throughout the Mediterranean by the close of the sixth century. Persia, India, and China soon followed suit as well, establishing precious metals as the accepted measure of value across Eurasia and inaugurating a new era in trade relations.
   
   
612 b.c.e. Assyrian Empire Falls

The Assyrian Empire of Mesopotamia toppled in 612 B.C.E. in large part due to the sacking of their capital city, Nineveh, by a coalition of nomadic tribal horsemen, collectively known as the Scythians. The vacuum of power created by their immediate withdrawal would be filled by Nebuchadrezzar and the Babylonians, but this was of little concern to the Scythians, who had taken their fill of war booty and returned to their kingdoms on the western steppes in modern-day Ukraine and Russia. They had been loosely settled there for upwards of a century, but as seminomadic herders built few urban centers or permanent structures except for kurgans, the burial mounds of their elite. The Scythians were expert metallurgists, and their kurgans were filled with elaborately worked jewelry and ornaments of gold and other precious materials. Highly skilled in combat, the Scythians remained a constant threat to established Asian empires for nearly 500 years.


Greek historian Herodotus distinguished between the Scythians from Scythia Minor in modern-day Romania and Bulgaria and the Greater Scythians from the area a 21-day ride east from the Danube to the Don River.
   
 
 
 
 
 HISTORY
 
 
 
 
800-601 BC
 
 
 



800-700 B.C.

ASSYRIA CONTINUED ITS POLICY OF AGGRESSION through the 8th century все, conquering rival states in Western Asia and reducing them to provinces.

 
Assyrian success was based on a disciplined, technically advanced army and an efficient bureaucracy. Conquered peoples had to pay costly tributes, and revolts were ruthlessly crushed. Particularly troublesome nations suffered forced deportations-large numbers of people were resettled in Assyria.
Following a period of weak rule m the first half of the 8th century BCE. Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 744-727все] recouped Assyria's losses. His successor Sargon II (r.722-704все) campaigned in Iran and Anatolia, conquering Babylon and, in 714BCE, defeating the Armenian state of Urartu. He also defeated the Israelites and transported the "ten lost tribes" of Israel to northern Mesopotamia.

In China, the Zhou capital moved east to Luoyang in 770-BCE, marking the start of the earlier part of the Eastern Zhou era, which lasted until about 480 ВСЕ. Royal control had weakened, as the lords who held large fiefdoms had grown more powerful. Now central control disintegrated, and rival warlords fought one another. Despite the chaos, this era was a time of technical and cultural advancement. Iron tools increased efficiency in agriculture and food production. Populations and cities grew, and philosophy, the arts, and literature began to develop.

In Egypt, the unrest of the Third Intermediate Period continued. Since 850все, the country had
been embroiled in a destructive civil war and was now divided into small states. In the 8th century все, the Kushite ruler of Nubia to the south, Piye (r. 747-716bce), conquered both Upper and Lower Egypt, and united them under Kushite rule.
  In the Mediterranean, Phoenician influence continued to spread, as the city of Carthage in North Africa grew powerful. Greece, meanwhile, was starting to emerge from the Dark Age that had followed the Mycenaeans' downfall. City-states or poleis were forming on the Greek mainland, centered on hilltop citadels. To increase their territory, the poleis founded colonies around the shores of the Aegean. Although rivalry between cities was often intense, a distinct Greek identity and culture was emerging.

All Greeks were identified as "Hellenes." In 776 все the first pan-Hellenic games were held in honor of Zeus at Olympia. By the mid-700sBCE the Greeks had adapted the Phoenician alphabet for their own language, and not long after, Homer's epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey—hitherto transmitted orally—were probably written down.

In the 8th century все, central Italy was a mosaic of small states ruled by the dominant Etruscans—Italy's first indigenous civilization— and Italic tribes such as the Latins, Umbrians, and Sabines.

Rome
is thought to have been founded by the Latin chief Romulus in 753все. In its early days, the city, built on seven hills, was ruled by various peoples, including the Etruscans, Latins, and Sabines.


"SUCH A GREAT TASK IT WAS
TO FOUND THE ROMAN RACE."

Virgil, from Aeneid 1:33
 
 
 



700-676 B.C.

IN CHINA, THE CITY OF LUOYANG HAD FALLEN TO THE SHEN in 771 ВСЕ, and the Western Zhou capital was transferred east to Chengzhou.

 
From there, the Eastern Zhou dynasty presided over the fragmentation of China into as many as 148 states. From around 700 ВСЕ the Zhou were ruled by puppet-emperors, while real power lay with the ba ("senior one") among nearby states. Under Qi Huan Gong (r. 685-643 все), the state of Qi had supremacy. After Huan Gong's death the competition for power between his five sons weakened Qi, and Jin Wen Gong (r. 685-643 все), the ruler of Jin, rose to become ba. By the end of the century, power in China alternated among the states of Qi, Jin, Qin, and Chu.

In Italy, the city-state of Rome
was beginning to acquire an urban heart, and the first forum was constructed. The second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius (r. 716-674 все) is believed to have established the main Roman priesthoods and a calendar.
  In the Near East, the Assyrians continued their expansion, confronting Egypt, whose intermittent support for rebels against Assyrian rule in Syria had long been a source of tension. In 671 все, the Assyrian ruler Esarhaddon invaded, capturing the Egyptian royal capital of Memphis. However, Assyrian control over Egypt was weak, and the Nubian pharaoh Taharqa drove the invaders out.

The Etruscans expanded southward from modern Tuscany and Umbria around 700bce. Their language remains undeciphered, but lavish tombs indicate a rich material culture. During their expansion, the Etruscans founded cities such as Capua, but came into conflict with Greek colonies and with Rome.

Although more powerful at first, the Etruscans were politically disunited, and a long series of wars with the Romans turned against them.
 
 
 


 

675-651 B.C.

IT TOOK A CONCERTED CAMPAIGN BYASHURBANIPAL (r. 668-627 все) in 664-663ВСЕ to defeat the Egyptians who had rebelled against Assyrian rule, and to push Assyrian control as far south as Thebes (modern Luxor).

 
This was not the last rebellion against the Assyrians—only ten years later, the vassal king of Sais, Psammetichus I (r. 664-610все], revolted against his Assyrian masters, driving them out and founding the 26th Dynasty, under which Egypt's independence was restored. After the final collapse of Assyrian power, in 609 ВСЕ, Egypt was able to establish a foothold in Palestine under Pharaoh Necho II (610-595BCE).

In Greece, the rise to preeminence of a number of city states, notably Athens, Sparta, and Corinth, began. In Corinth, a new type of ruler, the "tyrant," emerged with the overthrow of the Bacchiadae kings in 658bce. The new ruler, Cypselus (reign с. 657-627все) relied on force of personality rather than divine sanction, and established a dynasty under which Corinth enjoyed a seven-decade period of dominance, creating colonies throughout the western Mediterranean.


The Assyrian Empire
From its core around Assur and Nineveh, the Assyrian empire grew to encompass Babylonia, Media, Elam, Urartu, Syria, and Egypt.
  On the fringes of the Greek world, in western Asia Minor, the kingdom of Lydia was increasing in power under Gyges (685-647BCE), its first great king.

He allied with Ashurbanipal of Assyria to see off a joint threat to their two lands by Cimmerian raiders in 668-665BCE, but then assisted Psammetichus I of Egypt in his revolt against the Assyrians. He also adopted an aggressive stance towards his neighbors, the Ionian Greeks of Miletus and Smyrna.

According to Japanese tradition, the first emperor, Jimmu Tenno, a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, ascended to the throne in 660 ВСЕ. The stories of his migration from southern Honshu eastward to establish his kingdom near Nara are legendary, but may echo real events of the Japanese Yayoi period after 100ВСЕ, when tribal chieftains began to consolidate their territories.

The third king of Rome, Tullus Hostilius (r. 673-642все) was more martially inclined than his precedessor Numa Pompilius, and led the war against neighboring Alba Longa, which ultimately led to that city's destruction and the deportation of its population to Rome, in the first major Roman expansion. The fourth king, Ancus Marcius (641-617ВСЕ), expanded Roman territory toward the coast, and founded Rome's great port of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.

His successor, Tarquinius Priscus (616-578bce] was the fifth king of Rome and one of the city's greatest kings. He came from an Etruscan background, a sign of the high level of Etruscan influence over the early city of Rome. Tarquinius Priscus won a series of victories over the Sabines, the Latins, and the Etruscans, who all competed with Rome for dominance over central Italy. He is also said to have established the public games in Rome.
 
 
 


650-601 B.C.

THE ASSYRIANS HAD FINALLY CONQUERED BABYLON in 691 ВСЕ, partially destroying the city.
Reconstruction work began under Esarhaddon (680-669все), and by 652 ВСЕ Babylon had recovered its importance and became the center for a major revolt led by Shamash-shuma-ukin against his younger brother Ashurbanipal.
 
It took foury ears of war to suppress the Babylonians and their Elamite allies, and the fighting drained Assyria's ability to hold on to its empire. By 630 ВСЕ, Assyria had lost Egypt and Palestine, and in 626BCE the Babylonians regained their independence. Ву 616все Babylon was strong enough to invade Assyria, aided by the Medes (whose base was in northwestern Iran). In 612BCE the Babylonians, Medes, and Scythians sacked the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. The Assyrian empire crumbled. A remnant of the Assyrian army regrouped and established a small kingdom around Harran, but by 609bce this, too, had fallen.

The Scythians forced part of a culture of nomadic horsemen which held a large territory on the steppes north of the Caucasus from around 800BCE. In 652BCE they forced the Medes to submit to them and the Scythian King Bartatua was even sufficiently influential to be given an Assyrian princess as his wife.

The alliance with Assyria survived into the reign of his son Madyes, but around 615bce the Scythians switched sides and played a key role in Assyria's destruction. Their Median subjects soon turned on them and around 590ВСЕ the Scythians retreated north.
  In the Greek world, there was a growing movement to establish colonies in the Mediterranean. Among the earliest were in Italy, including Syracuse, founded around 733 все. In North Africa, Greek settlers founded Cyrene (in Libya) in about 630все, and Massilia (Marseilles) around 600 все. New cities were established as far west as Spain, and around the Black Sea coast.

In Greece itself, the city-state of Sparta was establishing its dominance in the Peloponnese. A defeat by the city-state of Argos, in 669 ВСЕ, was followed by military reforms and victory against the Messenians (660— 650 все). By 600 все, Sparta had conquered almost all the southern Peloponnese and established a stratified social system.

Sparta's future rival, Athens, gradually united the area surrounding Attica under its rule in the 8th century все. The hereditary monarchy was replaced by nine "archons," chosen annually. Shortly after a damaging popular uprising by Cylon in 632 ВСЕ, Athens received its first law code, drafted by Draco in 621 все. The Draconian law was later known for the severity of the punishments it prescribed.
To the south of Egypt the state of Napata became a power of the first order, conquering Egypt under Piankhy (751-716BCE) and controlling it under after the death of Taharqa (690-664bce).
 
 
 
 
 
800-601 BC
   
   
 



Greeks settle on coast of Spain

In Crete, rivalry develops between ancient city-states

Etruscans move into Italy, bringing urban civilization of high order

Amaziah, king of Judah, defeated by Israel, is killed in Judean rebellion

Greeks begin to settle in southern Italy, found Messina and Syracuse in Sicily

Spartans found Taranto in southern Italy

The nobility of Attica settles in Athens

Celts move into England

Jeroboam II, last important ruler of Israel (782-753)
   
   
   
  800-601 BC
   
   
 
The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel
   
   
 
 
Judah (Southern Kingdom)
 
 
Amaziah
 


King of Judah
797 BC – 768 BC
 
Amaziah of Judah, Amasias (DRB), pronounced /æməˈzaɪ.ə/, and Amatzyah (Hebrew: אֲמַצְיָהוּ, ʼĂmaṣyāhû ; meaning "the strength of the Lord," "strengthened by Jehovah," or "Yahweh is mighty"; Greek: αμασιας; Latin: Amasias) was the king of Judah, the son and successor of Joash. His mother was Jehoaddan (rendered "Joadan" in the Douay-Rheims and some other translations) (2 Kings 14:1-4) and his son was Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:1). He took the throne at the age of 25 (2 Chronicles 25:1). He reigned for 29 years (2 Kings 14:2) from 797/796 to 768/767 BC. Edwin R. Thiele's chronology has Uzziah becoming co-regent with his father in 792/791 BC, with his sole reign starting on the death of Amaziah.

Vengeance
Amaziah began his reign by punishing the murderers of his father (2 Kings 14:5; 2 Chronicles 25:3). He was the first to employ a mercenary army of 100,000 Israelite soldiers, which he did in his attempt to bring the Edomites again under the yoke of Judah (2 Chr. 25:5, 6). He was commanded by an unnamed prophet to send back the mercenaries, to whom he acquiesced (2 Chr. 25:7-10, 13), much to the annoyance of the mercenaries. His obedience to this command was followed by a decisive victory over the Edomites (2 Chr. 25:14-16).

War against Israel
Amaziah began to worship some of the idols he took from the Edomites. He was defeated by Jehoash, king of Israel whom he had challenged to battle. Jehoash made Amaziah his prisoner. His defeat was followed by a conspiracy that took his life (2 Kings 14:8-14, 19). Amaziah was slain at Lachish, to which he had fled, and his body was brought upon horses to Jerusalem, where it was buried in the royal sepulchre (2 Kings 14:19, 20; 2 Chr. 25:27, 28).

Chronological notes
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Amaziah, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of his accession to some time between Nisan 1 of 796 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BC year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 797/796 BC, or more simply 797 BC. His death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 and Tishri 1 of 767 BC, i.e. in 768/767 by Judean reckoning, or more simply 768 BC.

 
 
 
 
Uzziah
 
 
King of Judah
Coregent: 791 – 768 BC;
Sole reign: 767 – 751 BC
Leprous and coregent: 751 – 740 BC
 
Uzziah (Hebrew: עֻזִּיָּהוּ‎‎, meaning Yahweh is my strength; Greek: Οζίας; Latin: Ozias), also known as Azariah (Hebrew: עֲזַרְיָה‎‎ Greek: Αζαρις; Latin: Azarias), was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and one of Amaziah's sons, whom the people appointed to replace his father (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chronicles 26:1). (According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the second form of his name most likely results from a copyist's error.) He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Uzziah was sixteen when he became king of Judah and reigned for fifty-two years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 783 – 742 BC. Edwin R. Thiele's chronology has Uzziah becoming coregent with his father Amaziah in 792/791 BC, when Amaziah was struck with leprosy for disobeying the Lord (2 Kings 14:5), with his sole reign starting on the death of his father in 768/767 BC. Thiele dates Uzziah's being struck with leprosy to 751/750 BC, at which time his son Jotham took over the government, with Uzziah living on until 740/739 BC. Pekah became king of Israel in the last year of Uzziah's reign. The Catholic Encyclopedia dates his reign from 809-759 B.C.

Biblical Account
Uzziah took the throne at the age of sixteen (2 Kings 14:21). His long reign of about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of Jehoshaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt" (2 Chronicles 26:8-14). In the earlier part of his reign, under the influence of a prophet named Zechariah, he was faithful to God, and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 15:3; 2 Chronicles 26:4-5) In Jerusalem he made machines designed by skillful men for use on the towers and on the corner defenses to shoot arrows and hurl large stones. His fame spread far and wide, for he was greatly helped until he became powerful.

  But then, His pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense (2 Chronicles 26:15-16).

Azariah the High Priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he withstood him (2 Chronicles 26:17), saying, "It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense." (2 Chronicles 26:18)

In the mean time a great earthquake shook the ground and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king's face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. (Josephus Flavius, Antiquities IX 10:4).

Uzziah was suddenly struck with tzaraat while in the act of offering incense (2 Chronicles 26:19-21), and he was driven from the Temple and compelled to reside in "a separate house" until his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chronicles 26:3). The government was turned over to his son Jotham (2 Kings 15:5), a coregency that lasted for the last 11 years of Uzziah's life (751/750 to 740/739 BC).

He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings" (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23).

"That lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God..."
(Dr. Green's Kingdom of Israel).

Isaiah sees the Lord "in the year that king Uzziah died" (Isaiah 6:1).

 

The King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy, by Rembrandt, 1635.
 
Uzziah Tablet
In 1931 an archeological find, now known as the Uzziah Tablet, was discovered by Professor E.L. Sukenik of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He came across the artifact in a Russian convent collection from the Mount of Olives. The origin of the tablet previous to this remains unknown and was not documented by the convent. The inscription on the tablet is written in ancient Hebrew with an Aramaic style. This style is dated to around AD 30-70, around 700 years after the supposed death of Uzziah of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Nevertheless the inscription is translated, "Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened." It is open to debate whether this tablet really was part of the tomb of King Uzziah or simply a later creation. It may be that there was a later reburial of Uzziah here after the Second Temple Period.

The earthquake in the days of Uzziah
A major earthquake is referred to in the book of the prophet Amos. Amos dated his prophecy to "two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel" (Amos 1:1, NIV). Over 200 years later, the prophet Zechariah predicted a future earthquake from which the people would flee as they fled in the days of Uzziah (Zechariah 14:5). Geologists believe they have found evidence of this major earthquake in sites throughout Israel and Jordan. The geologists write:

Masonry walls best display the earthquake, especially walls with broken ashlars, walls with displaced rows of stones, walls still standing but leaning or bowed, and walls collapsed with large sections still lying course-on-course. Debris at six sites (Hazor, Deir 'Alla, Gezer, Lachish, Tell Judeideh, and 'En Haseva) is tightly confined stratigraphically to the middle of the eighth century B.C., with dating errors of ~30 years.…The earthquake was at least magnitude 7.8, but likely was 8.2…This severe geologic disaster has been linked historically to a speech delivered at the city of Bethel by a shepherd-farmer named Amos of Tekoa."

An exact date for this earthquake would be of considerable interest to archaeologists and historians, because it would allow a synchronization of the earthquake at all the sites affected by it in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Currently, the stratigraphic evidence at Gezer dates the earthquake at 760 BC, plus or minus 25 years, while Yadin and Finkelstein date the earthquake level at Hazor to 760 BC based on stratigraphic analysis of the destruction debris. Similarly, Ussishkin dated the "sudden destruction" level at Lachish to approximately 760 BC.

Amos says that the earthquake was in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam (II), son of Jehoash king of Israel. The reference to Jeroboam II is helpful in restricting the date of Amos's vision, more so than the reference to Uzziah's long reign of 52 years. According to Thiele's widely-accepted chronology, Jeroboam II began a coregency with his father in 793/792, became sole regent in 782/781, and died in late summer or the fall of 753 BC. Assuming that the prophecy took place after Uzziah became sole regent in 768/767, Amos's prophecy can be dated to some time after that and some time before Jeroboam's death in 753 BC, with the earthquake two years after that.

  These dates are consistent with the dates given by the archaeologists above for the earthquake. They are inconsistent with the tradition, found in Josephus and the Talmud but not in the Bible, that the earthquake occurred when Uzziah entered the Temple to offer incense, accepting that the beginning of the Uzziah/Jotham coregency began sometime in the six-month period after Nisan 1 of 750 BC.

Further chronological notes

Uzziah from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum InsigniorumThe calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range.

For Uzziah, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of the beginning of his sole reign to some time between Nisan 1 of 767 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BC year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 768 BC, i.e. 768/767, or more simply 768 BC.

Some writers object to the use of coregencies in determining the dates of the kings of Judah and Israel, saying that there should be explicit reference to coregencies if they existed. Since there is no word for "coregency" in Biblical Hebrew, an explicit mention using this word will never be found. In the case of Uzziah, however, the statement that after he was stricken with leprosy, his son Jotham had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land (2 Kings 15:5) is a fairly straightforward indication of what in modern terms is called a coregency. Coregencies are well attested in Egypt, and an interesting fact is that the pharaohs, in giving the year of their reign, never relate whether it is measured from a coregency.

Egyptologists must determine the existence of a coregency from a comparison of chronological data, just as Thiele and those who have followed him have done from the chronological data of Scripture. Not all of the coregencies for the kings of Judah and Israel are as easy to identify as the Uzziah/Jotham coregency indicated by 2 Kings 15:5, but those who ignore coregencies in constructing the history of this time have failed to produce any chronology for the period that has found widespread acceptance.

After noting how David set a pattern by setting his son Solomon on the throne before his death, Nadav Na'man writes, "When taking into account the permanent nature of the co-regency in Judah from the time of Joash, one may dare to conclude that dating the co-regencies accurately is indeed the key for solving the problems of biblical chronology in the eighth century B.C."

The dates given in the infobox below are those of Thiele, except the starting date for the Amaziah/Uzziah coregency is taken as one year later than that given by Thiele, following Leslie McFall. This implies that Uzziah's 52 years are to be taken in a non-accession sense, which was Thiele's general practice for coregencies, but which he did not follow in the case of Uzziah.

This article incorporates text from Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897), a publication now in the public domain.

 
 
 
 
Jotham
 
 
King of Judah
Coregency: 751 – 740 BC
Sole reign: 740 – 736 BC
Deposed, then died: 736 – 732 BC
 
Jotham or Yotam (Hebrew: יוֹתָם, Modern Yotam Tiberian Yôṯām ; meaning "God is perfect" or "God is complete"; Greek: Ιωαθαμ; Latin: Joatham) was the king of Judah, and son of Uzziah with Jerusha, daughter of Zadok.

He took the throne at the age of twenty-five and reigned for sixteen years. William F. Albright dated his reign to 742 – 735 BC. Edwin R. Thiele dated his coregency with Uzziah as 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. His reign of sixteen years started with the coregency. Thiele then places his death in 732/731 BC. He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Because his father Uzziah was afflicted with tzaraas when 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.
Thiele concluded he was 25 when he became coregent. He is recorded as having built the Upper Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem, and extended the "wall of Ophel".

2 Kings mentions that Jotham fought wars against Rezin, king of the Arameans, and Pekah, king of Israel (15:37). The account of 2 Chronicles adds an account of his victory over the Ammonites, which resulted in the Ammonites paying him tribute of 100 talents of silver, and 10,000 kors each of wheat and barley (27:5).

He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah, by whose advice he benefited.

According to the short account of Jotham's 16-year reign, the king did just about everything right. Rebuilding the Temple walls and many towns, forts, and towers. Militarily, he defeated the Ammonites in battle: "So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God" (II Chronicles 27:6). Despite all this, in 16 years as king he was still unable to have a positive spiritual effect on his people.

Historical background
Biblical chronology for the two Israelite kingdoms in the eighth 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, and the two were therefore enemies of the pro-Assyrian king of Judah, Ahaz (Isaiah 7:1).

  Meanwhile Menahem, ruling in Samaria, sent tribute to Tiglath-Pileser (Biblical Pul) in order to "strengthen his hold on the kingdom," (2 Kings 15:19), apparently 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 then on their thrones. This points to close Judean ties with Pekah than with Menahem, and 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 then ruling as king. And the fact that Ahaz's accession in 736/35 is likewise 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 later 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 submit or be crushed. In 735 it is altogether likely 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 (Ahaz') twentieth year (II Kings 15:30), 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 then 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 archeologist Nelson Glueck founded imprint  of king Jotham near Eilat . Also near Eilat thewre is a wadi called "Yatam wadi."

Chronological notes
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often 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 of 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 simply, 751 BC. His sole reign began in the year that started on Tishri 1 of 740 BC, and its end was in the six-month interval that started on Nisan 1 of 735 BC, i.e. in 736/735 according to the Judean calendar, or more simply 736 BC. His death occurred in the year that started in Tishri of 732 BC.

 

 
 
 
Ahaz
 
 
King of Judah
Coregency: 736 – 732 BC
Sole reign: 732 – 716 BC
 
Ahaz (Hebrew: אָחָז, ʼĀḥāz ; "has held"; Greek: Ἄχαζ Akhaz; Latin: Ahaz; an abbreviation of Jehoahaz, "Yahweh has held") was king of Judah, and the son and successor of Jotham. He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Ahaz was twenty when he became king of Judah and reigned for sixteen years. His reign commenced in the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah of Israel. Edwin Thiele concluded that Ahaz was coregent with Jotham from 736/735 BC, and that his sole reign began in 732/731 and ended in 716/715 BC. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 735 – 715 BC.

His legacy
His reign is described in 2 Kings 16; Isaiah 7-9; and 2 Chronicles 28. He is said to have given himself up to a life of wickedness, introducing many pagan and idolatrous customs (Isaiah 8:19; 38:8; 2 Kings 23:12). Perhaps his wickedest deed was sacrificing his own son, likely to have been Rimmon. He also added an idolatrous altar into the Temple. He ignored the remonstrances and warnings of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah.

Role in destruction of Northern Kingdom
In c. 732 BCE, when Pekah, king of Israel, allied with Rezin, king of Aram, threatened Jerusalem, Ahaz appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of Assyria, for help. After Ahaz paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser, (2 Kings 16:7-9) Tiglath-Pileser sacked Damascus and annexed Aram. According to 2 Kings 16:9, the population of Aram was deported and Rezin executed.

According to 2 Kings 15:29, Tiglath-Pileser then attacked Israel and "took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria." Tiglath-Pileser also records this act in one of his inscriptions.

Succession
He died at the age of 36 and was succeeded by his son, Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings" (2 Chronicles 28:27).

  An insight into Ahaz's neglect of the worship of the Lord is found in the statement that on the first day of the month of Nisan that followed Ahaz's death, his son Hezekiah commissioned the priests and Levites to open and repair the doors of the Temple and to remove the defilements of the sanctuary, a task which took 16 days (2 Chronicles 29:3-20).

Chronological notes
There has been considerable academic debate about the actual dates of reigns of the Israelite kings. Scholars have endeavored to synchronize the chronology of events referred to in the Bible with those derived from other external sources.

The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Ahaz, the Scriptural data allow dating the beginning of his coregency with Jotham to some time in the six-month interval beginning of Nisan 1 of 735 BC. By the Judean calendar that started the regnal year in Tishri (a fall month), this could be written as 736/735, or more simply 736 BC. His father was removed from responsibility by the pro-Assyrian faction at some time in the year that started in Tishri of 732 BC. He died some time between Tishri 1 of 716 BC and Nisan 1 of 715 BC, i.e. in 716/715, or more simply 716 BC.

Rodger Young offers a possible explanation of why four extra years are assigned to Jotham in 2 Kings 15:30 and why Ahaz's 16 year reign (2 Kings 16:2) is measured from the time of Jotham's death in 732/731, instead of when Jotham was deposed in 736/735. Taking into account the factionalism of the time, Young writes:

[A]ny record such as 2 Kings 16:2 that recognized these last four years for Jotham must have come from the annals of the anti-Assyrian and anti-Ahaz court that prevailed after the death of Ahaz. Ahaz is given sixteen years in these annals, measuring from the start of his sole reign, instead of the twenty or twenty-one years that he would be credited with if the counting started from 736t [i.e. 736/735 BC], when he deposed Jotham.

 

 

 
 
Hezekiah
 
 
King of Judah
Coregent: 729-716 BC
Sole reign: 716 – 687 BC
 
Hezekiah /ˌhɛzɨˈkaɪ.ə/ (Hebrew: חִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ, חִזְקִיָּ֫ה, יְחִזְקִיָּ֫הוּ, Modern H̱izkiyyahu, H̱izkiyya, Yeẖizkiyyahu Tiberian Ḥizqiyyā́hû, Ḥizqiyyā, Yəḥizqiyyā́hû; Greek: Ἐζεκίας, Ezekias, in the Septuagint; Latin: Ezechias; also transliterated as Ḥizkiyyahu or Ḥizkiyyah) was the son of Ahaz and the 14th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele has concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

According to the Bible, Hezekiah witnessed the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by Sargon's Assyrians in c 720 BC and was king of Judah during the invasion and siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 BC. Hezekiah enacted sweeping religious reforms, during which he removed the worship of foreign deities from the Temple in Jerusalem, and restored the worship of YHWH the God of Israel as instructed by the Torah. Isaiah and Micah prophesied during his reign.
The main accounts of Hezekiah's reign are found in the Hebrew Bible, in 2 Kings 18-20, Isaiah 36-39, and 2 Chronicles 29-32.

Reign over Judah
According to the Bible Hezekiah took the throne at the age of twenty-five (2 Chronicles 29:1) and reigned for twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2). Some writers have proposed that Hezekiah served as coregent with his father Ahaz for about fourteen years from 729 BC. His sole reign has been dated by Albright from 715 – 687 BC or 716 – 687 BC according to Thiele, the last ten years of which were as coregent with his son Manasseh.

According to the Bible Hezekiah introduced religious reform and reinstated religious traditions. He set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among other things which he did to this end, he destroyed the "brazen serpent", which had been relocated at Jerusalem, and had become an object of idolatrous worship. (2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chronicles 29:3-36) The biblical sources portray Hezekiah as a great and good king. The book of Kings ends the account of Hezekiah with praise. (2 Kings 18:5)

According to the work of archaeologists and philologists, the reign of Hezekiah saw a notable increase in the power of the Judean state. There were increases in literacy, in the production of literary works and an expansion of the population of Jerusalem where the western suburbs were enclosed by the Broad Wall (Jerusalem). The Talmud (Bava Batra 15a) credits him with overseeing the compilation of the biblical books of Isaiah, Proverbs, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes.

Family and life
Hezekiah was born in c. 739 BC, the son of King Ahaz and Abijah (2 Chronicles 29:1). His mother Abijah, also called Abi, was a daughter of the high priest Zechariah (2 Kings 18:1-2). He was married to Hephzi-bah. (2 Kings 21:1) He died in 687 BC at the age of 54 years from natural causes, and was succeeded by his son Manasseh. During the last ten years of Hezekiah's life, Manasseh was his co-regent. Manasseh was 12 years old when he became co-regent. (2 Kings 21:1)

Political moves and Assyrian invasion
Between the death of Sargon, and the succession of his son Sennacherib, Hezekiah sought to throw off his subservience to the Assyrian kings. He ceased to pay the tribute imposed on his father, and "rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league with Egypt (Isaiah 30-31; 36:6-9).

  If Hezekiah expected the Egyptians to come to his aid, they did not come, and Hezekiah had to face the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16) in the 4th year of Sennacherib (701 BC).

The invasion of Judah by Sennacherib and the Assyrian army was a major and well-documented historical event. Sennacherib recorded on his monumental inscription, "The Prism of Sennacherib", how in his campaign against Hezekiah ("Ha-za-qi-(i)a-ú") he took 46 cities (column 3, line 19 of the Sennacherib prism), and besieged Jerusalem ("Ur-sa-li-im-mu") with earthworks. It was during the siege of Jerusalem that the Bible says the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. Herodotus (c. 484 BC – c. 425 BC) wrote of the invasion and acknowledges many Assyrian deaths, which he claims were the result of a plague of mice.

Hezekiah initially paid tribute to Assyria, but then rebelled. The Assyrians recorded that Sennacherib lifted his siege of Jerusalem after Hezekiah acknowledged Sennacherib as his overlord and paid him tribute. The Bible records that Hezekiah tried to pay off Sennacherib with three hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold in tribute, even despoiling the doors of the Temple to produce the promised amount, but, after the payment was made, Sennacherib renewed his assault on Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:14-16) Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem and sent his Rabshakeh to the walls as a messenger.

The Rabshakeh addressed the soldiers manning the city wall in the Judean language (Yĕhuwdiyth), asking them to distrust Yahweh or Hezekiah, pointing to Hezekiah's righteous reforms (destroying the High Places) as a sign that the people should not trust their king (2 Kings 18:17-35). The fundamental law in Deuteronomy 12:1-32 prohibits sacrifice at every place except the temple in Jerusalem; in accordance with this law Josiah, in 621 BC, Hezekiah's great-grandson, likewise destroyed and desecrated the altars (bmoth) throughout his kingdom.

Sennacherib failed to conquer Jerusalem. The Bible records that Hezekiah went to the temple and there he prayed, the first king in Judah (recorded in the Bible) to do so in about 250 years, since the time of Solomon.

Hezekiah's construction
The Biblical account maintains that Hezekiah anticipated the Assyrian invasion and made at least two major preparations to resist conquest, construction of Hezekiah's Tunnel, also known as the Siloam Tunnel, and construction of the Broad Wall. The tunnel is 533 meters long and was dug in order to provide Jerusalem underground access to the waters of the Spring of Gihon/The Siloam Pool, which lay outside the city. This work is described in the Siloam Inscription, which has been dated to his reign on the basis of its script.

At the same time a wall was built around the Pool of Siloam, into which the waters from the spring flowed (Isaiah 22:11) which was where all the spring waters were channeled. The wall surrounded the entire city, which bored up to Mount Zion. An impressive vestige of this structure is the broad wall in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

"When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come, intent on making war against Jerusalem, he consulted with his officers and warriors about stopping the flow of the springs outside the city ... for otherwise, they thought, the King of Assyria would come and find water in abundance" (2 Chronicles 32:2-4).

The narrative in the Bible states (Isaiah 33:1; 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 36) that Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem.

 
 
 
Death of Sennacherib
2 Kings 19:37 says -

"It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him [Sennacherib] with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place."

The Bible does not say when this took place, but Assyrian records show that Sennacherib was assassinated by his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, in 681 BC - i.e., twenty years after the invasion of Judah in 701 BC. He was succeeded by Esarhaddon as the Assyrian king.

Hezekiah's illness and death
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chronicles 32:24, Isaiah 38:1. Various ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, among them Merodach-baladan, the king of Babylon (2 Chronicles 32:23; 2 Kings 20:12). Hezekiah is also remembered for giving too much information to Baladan, king of Babylon, for which he was confronted by Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 20:12-19). According to Jewish tradition, the victory over the Assyrians and Hezekiah's return to health happened at the same time, the first night of Passover.

Religious reforms
Hezekiah introduced substantial religious reforms. The worship of Yahweh was concentrated at Jerusalem, suppressing the shrines to him that had existed till then elsewhere in Judea (2 Kings 18:22). Idolatry, which had resumed under his father's reign, was banned. Hezekiah abolished the shrines and smashed the pillars and cut down the sacred post. (2 Kings 21:3) He also smashed the bronze serpent which Moses had made, "for until that time the Israelites had been offering sacrifices to it" (2 Kings 18:4).

  Hezekiah also resumed the Passover pilgrimage and the tradition of inviting the scattered tribes of Israel to take part in a Passover festival. (2 Chronicles 30:5, 10, 13, 26)

While the historicity of 2 Chronicles 30 has been questioned, recovery of LMLK seals from the northwest territory of Israel (corresponding to 2 Chronicles 30:11) may indicate that some sort of administrative relationship existed between Hezekiah and a minority of northern Israelites.

The books of Kings and Chronicles have lengthy passages attesting that there was effective centralization before Hezekiah - for example, in the days of David (1 Chronicles 6:31-49; 15:3-16:6; 16:37,38; 23:2-26:32) and Solomon (1 Kings 4:1-19; 6:1-7:51; 8:1-66; 2 Chronicles 2:1-7, 10).

The reference in 2 Kings 18:4 that Hezekiah "removed the high places (bamot), and broke down the pillars (massebot) and cut down the sacred poles (asherah)," is dismissed by Biblical Minimalists to be simply Deuteronomistic propaganda.

They argue that in order to establish the sanctity of their view, the P Source writers had to show it was anchored in the actions of Hezekiah.

However, archeologists like William G. Dever have pointed at archeological evidence for iconoclasm in the late 8th century; the period of Hezekiah's reign. The central cult room of the temple at Arad (a royal Judean fortress) was deliberately and carefully dismantled, "with the altars and massebot" concealed "beneath a Str. 8 plaster floor".

This stratum correlates with the late 8th century; Dever concludes that "the deliberate dismantling of the temple and its replacement by another structure in the days of Hezekiah is an archeological fact. I see no reason for skepticism here."

 
 
 
 
Manasseh
 
 
King of Judah
Coregency: 697 – 687 BC
Sole reign: 687 – 643 BC
 
Manasseh (Hebrew: מְנַשֶּׁה; Greek: Μανασσης; Latin: Manasses) was a king of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the only son of Hezekiah with Hephzi-bah. He became king at an age 12 years and reigned for 55 years. (2 Kings 21:1; 2 Chronicles 33:1) Edwin Thiele has concluded that he commenced his reign as co-regent with his father Hezekiah in 697/696 BC, with his sole reign beginning in 687/686 BC and continuing until his death in 643/642 BC. William F. Albright has dated his reign from 687 – 642 BC.

Manasseh was the first king of Judah who would not have had a direct experience of a Kingdom of Israel, which had been destroyed by the Assyrians in c. 720 BC and most of its population deported. He re-instituted pagan worship and reversed the religious reforms made by his father Hezekiah; for which he is condemned by several religious texts. He was married to Meshullemeth, daughter of Haruz of Jotbah, and they had a son Amon, who succeeded him as king of Judah upon his death.

After a reign of 55 years (for 10 of which he was co-regent with his father), the longest in the history of Judah, he died in c. 643 BC and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2 Kings 21:17-18; 2 Chronicles 33:20), and not in the City of David, among his ancestors. The biblical account of Manasseh is found in II Kings 21:1-18 and II Chronicles 32:33-33:20. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 15:4.

Relations with Assyria
When Manasseh's reign began, Sennacherib was king of Assyria, who reigned until 681 BC. Manasseh is mentioned in Assyrian records as a contemporary and loyal vassal of Sennacherib's son and successor, Esarhaddon. Assyrian records list Manasseh among twenty-two kings required to provide materials for Esarhaddon's building projects. Esarhaddon died in 669 BC and was succeeded by his son, Ashurbanipal, who also names Manasseh as one of a number of vassals who assisted his campaign against Egypt.

The Assyrian records are consistent with archaeological evidence of demographic trends and settlement patterns suggesting a period of stability in Judah during Manasseh's reign. Despite the criticisms of his religious policies in the biblical texts, archaeologists such as Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman credit Manasseh with reviving Judah's rural economy, arguing that a possible Assyrian grant of most favoured nation status stimulated the creation of an export market.

They argue that changes to the economic structure of the countryside would have required the cooperation of the 'countryside aristocracy', with restoration of worship at the high places a quid pro quo for this. Apparent devastation of the fertile Shephelah during this period, coupled with growth of the population of the highlands and the southeast of the kingdom (especially in the Beersheba valley) during Manasseh's reign point to this possibility, as does evidence in the Gaza area of entrepôt trade, and an apparently flourishing olive oil industry at Ekron at the time.

The construction or reconstruction of forts at sites such as Arad and Horvat Uza, explored by Nadav Na'aman and others, is also argued by Finkelstein and Silberman to be evidence in support of this thesis, as they would have been needed to protect the trade routes. However, Finkelstein and Silberman argue that the trade led to great disparities between rich and poor, which in turn gave rise to civil unrest.

  As a result, the Deuteronomist author or editor of 2 Kings later reworked the traditions about Manasseh to portray his outward-looking involvement in trade as, effectively, apostasy.

According to 2 Chronicles 33:11-13, Manasseh was on one occasion brought in chains to the Assyrian king, presumably for suspected disloyalty. The verse goes on to indicate that he was later treated well and restored to his throne. However, neither Kings nor Assyrian records mention this incident.

Religious policies

Manasseh reversed some of the religious reforms of his father Hezekiah, possibly for the economic reasons described above, restoring polytheistic worship in the Temple, for which he is condemned by the author of Kings. (2 Kings 21) He built altars to pagan gods. (2 Chronicles 33:1-10) His reign may be described as reactionary in relation to his father's; and Kings suggests that he may have executed supporters of his father's reforms. (2 Kings 21:16)

According to 2 Chronicles 33:11, Manasseh was taken captive to Babylon by an unnamed king of Assyria (some have proposed that Esarhaddon was this unnamed king). Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led.

The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. According to one of the two Biblical accounts (2 Kings 21 does not have the account of Manasseh's captivity or repentance), Manasseh was restored to the throne, (2 Chronicles 33:11-13) and abandoned idolatry, removing foreign idols (2 Chronicles 33:15) and enjoining the people to worship in the traditional Israelite manner. (2 Chronicles 33:16)

Chronological notes
Thiele dates Manasseh's reign back from the dates of the reign of his grandson, Josiah. Josiah died at the hands of Pharaoh Necho II in the summer of 609 BC. By Judean reckoning that began regnal years in the fall month of Tishri, this would be in the year 610/609 BC. Josiah reigned for 31 years (2 Kings 21:19, 22:1) and began to reign after the short two-year reign of Amon. Manasseh's last year, 33 years earlier, would be 643/642 BC.

The length of Manasseh's reign is given as 55 years in 2 Kings 20:21. Assuming non-accession reckoning, as he usually did for coregencies, Thiele determined 54 "actual" years back to 697/696 BC, as the year when the Hezekiah/Manasseh coregency began. Non-accession reckoning means that the first partial year of a king in office was counted twice, once for him and once for his predecessor, so that one year must be subtracted when measuring spans of time. An analysis of the data for Jeroboam II of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah, both of whom had coregencies, shows that their years were measured in this way.

Regarding the Hezekiah/Manasseh coregency, Thiele observes Manasseh began his reign when he was 12 years old (2 Kings 21:1), and then comments, "A Hebrew lad when he reached the age of twelve was a "son of the law" and had become gadol. He had then passed from the days of childhood to youth and was considered old enough to concern himself with the serious work of life . . . "it is only to be expected that the king, facing the prospect of the termination of his reign within fifteen years [2 Kings 20:6], would at the earliest moment give the heir-presumptive every advantage of training in leadership."

 
 
 
 
Amon of Judah

 

 
King of Judah
643–641 BCE
 
Amon of Judah (Hebrew: אָמוֹן‎; Greek: Αμων; Latin: Amon) was a 7th century BCE King of Judah who, according to the biblical account, succeeded his father Manasseh of Judah. Amon is most remembered for his idolatrous practices while king, which led to a revolt against him and eventually his assassination in c. 641 BCE.

Life
Amon, whose name is derived from the Egyptian god Amun, was the son of King Manasseh of Judah and Meshullemeth, a daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. Although the date is unknown, the Hebrew Bible records that he married Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. Amon began his reign of Judah at the age of 22, and reigned for two years. Biblical scholar and archeologist William F. Albright has dated his reign to 642 – 640, while professor E. R. Thiele offers the dates 643/642 – 641/640.

Thiele's dates are tied to the reign of Amon's son Josiah, whose death at the hands of Pharaoh Necho II occurred in the summer of 609. Josiah's death, which is independently confirmed in Egyptian history, places the end of Amon's reign, 31 years earlier, in 641 or 640 and the beginning of his rule in 643 or 642. The Hebrew Bible records that Amon continued his father Manasseh's practice of idolatry and set up pagan images as his father had done. II Kings states that Amon "did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them."

  Similarly, II Chronicles records that "…he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father; and Amon sacrificed unto all the graven images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them."

The Talmudic tradition recounts that "Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse] ... Amon sinned very much." Like other textual sources, Flavius Josephus too criticizes the reign of Amon, describing his reign similarly to the Bible.
After reigning two years, Amon was assassinated by his servants, who conspired against him, and was succeeded by his son Josiah, who at the time was eight years old. After Amon's assassination his murderers became unpopular with the people, and were ultimately killed. Some scholars, such as Abraham Malamat, assert that Amon was assassinated because people disliked the heavy influence that Assyria, an age-old enemy of Judah responsible for the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, had upon him.

Era
Amon's reign was in the midst of a transitional time for the Levant and the entire Mesopotamian region. To the east of Judah, the Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate while the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it. To the west, Egypt was still recovering under Psamtik I from its Assyrian occupation, transforming from a vassal state to an autonomous ally. In this power vacuum, many smaller states such as Judah were able to govern themselves without foreign intervention from larger empires.

 
 
 
 
Josiah
 
 
King of Judah
641-610 BC
 
Josiah or Yoshiyahu ( /dʒoʊˈsaɪ.ə/ or /dʒəˈzaɪ.ə/; Hebrew: יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ, Modern Yoshiyyáhu Tiberian Yôšiyyāhû, literally meaning "healed by Yahweh" or "supported of Yahweh"; Greek: Ιωσιας; Latin: Josias; c. 649–609 BC) was a king of Judah (641–609 BC) who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.

Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years, from 641/640 to 610/609 BC.

He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Family
Josiah was the son of King Amon and Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. His grandfather Manasseh was one of the kings blamed for turning away from the worship of Yahweh. Manasseh adapted the Temple for idolatrous worship. Josiah's great-grandfather was King Hezekiah who was a noted reformer.

Josiah had four sons: Johanan, Eliakim (born c. 634 BC) by Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, Mattanyahu (c. 618 BC) and Shallum (633/632 BC) both by Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

Shallum succeeded Josiah as king of Judah, under the name Jehoahaz. Shallum was succeeded by Eliakim, under the name Jehoiakim, who was succeeded by his own son Jeconiah; then Jeconiah was succeeded to the throne by Mattanyahu, under the name Zedekiah. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the kingdom was conquered by Babylon and the people exiled.

Religious reforms
In the eighteenth year of his rule, Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years to renovate the temple. It was during this time that Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. While Hilkiah was clearing the treasure room of the Temple he found a scroll described as "the book of the Law"  or as "the book of the law of Yahweh by the hand of Moses".

  The phrase "the book of the Torah" (ספר התורה) in 2 Kings 22:8 is identical to the phrase used in Joshua 1:8 and 8:34 to describe the sacred writings that Joshua had received from Moses. The book is not identified in the text as the Torah and many scholars believe this was either a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy or a text that became a part of Deuteronomy as we have it per De Wette's suggestion in 1805.

Hilkiah brought this scroll to Josiah's attention, and the king ordered it read to a crowd in Jerusalem. He is praised for this piety by the prophetess Huldah, who made the prophecy that all involved would die without having to see God's judgment on Judah for the sins they had committed in prior generations.

Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship.2 Kings 23 According to the biblical account, Josiah destroyed the living quarters for male cult prostitutes which were in the Temple, and also destroyed pagan objects related to the worship of Baal or Asherah, "and all the hosts of the heavens".

Josiah had living pagan priests executed and even had the bones of the dead priests of Bethel exhumed from their graves and burned on their altars, which was viewed as an extreme act of desecration. Josiah also reinstituted the Passover celebrations, of which the Biblical account states had not been observed since before the days of the judges. (2 Kings 23:21-23)

According to 1 Kings 13:1-3 an unnamed "man of God" Iddo had prophesied to King Jeroboam of Israel, approximately three hundred years earlier, that "a son named Josiah will be born to the house of David" and that he would destroy the altar at Bethel. And the only exception to this destruction was for the grave of an unnamed prophet he found in Bethel (2 Kings 23:15-19), who had foretold that these religious sites Jeroboam erected would one day be destroyed. Josiah ordered the double grave of the "man of God" and of the Bethel prophet to be let alone as these prophecies had come true.

According to the later account in 2 Chronicles, Josiah even destroyed altars and images of pagan deities in cities of the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, "and Simeon, as far as Naphtali" (2 Chronicles 34:6-7), which were outside of his kingdom, Judah, and returned the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple.
 

King Josiah by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld
 
 
Foreign relations
When Josiah became king of Judah in about 641/640 BC, the international situation was in flux. To the east, the Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate, the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it, and Egypt to the west was still recovering from Assyrian rule. In this power vacuum, Jerusalem was able to govern itself for the time being without foreign intervention.

In the spring of 609 BC, Pharaoh Necho II personally led a sizable army up to the Euphrates River to aid the Assyrians. Taking the coast route Via Maris into Syria at the head of a large army, consisting mainly of his mercenaries, and supported by his Mediterranean fleet along the shore, Necho passed the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon. However, the passage over the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south of the great Jezreel Valley was blocked by the Judean army led by Josiah, who may have considered that the Assyrians and Egyptians were weakened by the death of the pharaoh Psamtik I only a year earlier (610 BC), who had been appointed and confirmed by Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. Josiah attempted to block the advance at Megiddo, where the fierce battle was fought and where Josiah was killed. (2 Kings 23:29, 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) Necho then joined forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and lay siege to Harran. The combined forces failed to capture the city, and Necho retreated back to northern Syria.

Succession
There are two accounts of Josiah's death in the Bible. The Books of Kings merely state that Necho II met Josiah at Megiddo and killed him. (2 Kings 23:29) The Book of 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 gives a lengthier account and states that Josiah was fatally wounded by Egyptian archers and was brought back to Jerusalem to die. His death was a result of "not listen[ing] to what Necho had said at God's command..." when Necho stated:

"What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you." (NIV)

Josiah did not heed this warning and by both accounts his death was caused by meeting Necho at Megiddo. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. According to 2 Chronicles 35:25, Jeremiah wrote a lament for Josiah's passing (Not in The Book of Lamentations).

  After the setback in Harran, Necho left a sizable force behind, and returned to Egypt. On his return march, Necho found that Jehoahaz had been selected to succeed his father, Josiah. (2 Kings 23:31) Necho deposed Jehoahaz, who had been king for only three months, and replaced him with his older brother, Jehoiakim. Necho imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver (about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons) and a talent of gold (about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms). Necho then took Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, (2 Chronicles 36:1-4) never to return.

Necho had left Egypt in 609 BC for two reasons: one was to relieve the Babylonian siege of Harran, and the other was to help the king of Assyria, who was defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish. Josiah's actions suggest that he was aiding the Babylonians by engaging the Egyptian army.

Book of the Law

The Biblical text states that the priest Hilkiah found a "the Book of the Law" in the temple during the early stages of Josiah's temple renovation. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries it was agreed among scholars that this was an early version of the Book of Deuteronomy, but recent biblical scholarship sees it as largely legendary narrative about one of the earliest stages of creation of Deuteronomistic work.
According to the Bible Hilkiah gave the scroll to his secretary Shaphan who took it to king Josiah. Historical-critical biblical scholarship generally accepts that this scroll — an early predecessor of the Torah — was written by the priests driven by ideological interest to centralize power under Josiah in the Temple in Jerusalem, and that the core narrative from Joshua to 2 Kings up to Josiah's reign comprises a "Deuteronomistic History" (DtrH) written during Josiah's reign. On the other hand, recent European theologians posit that most of the Torah and Deuteronomistic History was composed and its form finalized during Persian period, several centuries later.

Sources
The chief sources of information for Josiah's reign are 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. Considerable archaeological evidence exists, including a number of "scroll-style" stamps which date to his reign.

The date of Josiah's death can fairly well be established. The Babylonian Chronicle dates the battle at Harran between the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies against the Babylonians from Tammuz (July–August) to Elul (August–September) 609 BC. On that basis, Josiah was killed in the month of Tammuz (July–August) 609 BC, when the Egyptians were on their way to Harran.

 

 
 
 
Jehoahaz
 
King of Judah
Tammuz (July) to
Tishri (October) 609 BC
 
Jehoahaz or Joachaz in the Douay-Rheims and some other English translations (Hebrew: יְהוֹאָחָז, Modern Yeho'aẖaz Tiberian Yəhôʼāḥāz ; "Yahweh has held"; Greek: Ιωαχαζ Iōakhaz; Latin: Joachaz) was king of Judah (3 months in 609 BC) and son of king Josiah whom he succeeded and Hamautal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. (2 Kings 23:31) He was born in 633/632 BC and his birth name was Shallum (1 Chronicles 3:15). Although he was two years younger than his brother, Eliakim, he was elected to succeed his father on the throne at the age of twenty-three, under the name Jehoahaz. He reigned for only three months, before being deposed by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II (2 Kings 23:31-34) and taken into Egytian captivity.

He disregarded the reforms of his father Josiah. (2 Kings 23:32; Jeremiah 22:15-16)

Both William F. Albright and E. R. Thiele dated his reign to 609 BC, making his birth in 633/632 BC. Jehoahaz was the first king of Judah to die in exile.

War Against Egypt
In the spring or early summer of 609 BC, Necho II went to war against Babylon, in aid of the Assyrians. He moved his forces along the coast route Via Maris into Syria, the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon and prepared to cross the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south the Jezreel Valley. There he found his passage blocked at Megiddo by the Judean army led by Josiah, who sided with the Babylonians. After a fierce battle Josiah was killed. (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) The Assyrians and their allies the Egyptians fought the Babylonians at Harran. The Babylonian Chronicle dates the battle from Tammuz (July–August) to Elul (August–September) of 609 BC. Josiah was therefore killed in the month of Tammuz, 609 BC, 609 BC or the month prior, when the Egyptians were on their way to Harran. Chronological considerations related to his successor limit the month in which Josiah was killed and Jehoahaz took the throne to Tammuz. He was deposed three months later, in the month Tishri (2 Kings 23:31). Necho proceeded with his campaign against the Babylonians, joining forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran, which they failed to capture, and retreated back to northern Syria, and the Assyrian Empire collapsed. On his return march from the Babylonian campaign, Necho dealt with the Judeans who had fought for the wrong side. He found that the Judeans had selected Jehoahaz to succeed his father Josiah. Necho deposed Jehoahaz and appointed his older brother Eliakim as king, who took the throne name Jehoiakim. He also imposed a tribute of 100 talents of silver and unknown amount of gold upon Judah. He brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days. (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4)

 
 
 
 
Jehoiakim
 
 
King of Judah
609–598 BC
 
Jehoiakim (pronounced /dʒɨˈhɔɪ.əkɪm/; Hebrew יְהוֹיָקִים "he whom Jehovah has set up", also sometimes spelled Jehoikim (Greek: Ιωακιμ; Latin: Joakim), c. 635-597 BC, was a king of Judah.

He was the second son of king Josiah by Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. His birth name was Eliakim (אֶלְיָקִים Greek: Ελιακιμ; Latin: Eliakim).

On Josiah's death, Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz (or Shallum) was proclaimed king, but after three months pharaoh Necho II deposed him and replaced him with the eldest son, Eliakim, who adopted the name Jehoiakim and became king at the age of twenty-five. Jehoahaz died in exile in Egypt.

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and reigned for eleven years to 598 BC and was succeeded by his son Jeconiah, (also known as Jehoiachin), who reigned for only three months.

Relations with regional powers
Jehoiakim was installed as king of Judah by pharaoh Necho II in 608 BC, who deposed his younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months and took him to Egypt, where he died.

Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. To raise the money he "taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments."

However, when the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish in 605 BC, Jehoiakim changed allegiances, paying tribute to Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon.

  After three years, with the Egyptians and Babylonians still at war, he switched back to the Egyptians and ceased paying the tribute to Babylon. In 599 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II invaded Judah and laid siege to Jerusalem. In 598 BC, Jehoiakim died and his body was thrown out of the walls. He was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). Jerusalem fell within three months. Jeconiah was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, who installed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's elder brother, in his place. Jeconiah, his household, and many of the elite and craftsmen of Judah were exiled to Babylon. while Zedekiah was compelled to pay tribute, and continued to be king of the devastated kingdom.

According to the Babylonian Chronicles, Jerusalem eventually fell on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BC. The Chronicles state:

In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adar (16 March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jeconiah) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.

History
Jehoiakim is remembered for burning the manuscript of one of the prophecies of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had criticised the king's policies, insisting on repentance and strict adherence to the law. Another prophet, Uriah ben Shemaiah, proclaimed a similar message and was executed on the orders of the king. Jeremiah was spared from this fate, perhaps because he was well-connected.

   
   
   
   
   
  800-601 BC
   
 

Israel (Northern Kingdom)
 
 
Jehoash of Israel
 
 
King of Israel
798 BC – 782 BC
 
Jehoash (Hebrew: יהואש המלך‎; Latin: Joas; fl. c. 790 BC), whose name means “Yahweh has given,” was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the son of Jehoahaz. He was the 12th king of Israel and reigned for 16 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 801 BC – 786 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 798 BC – 782 BC. When he ascended the throne, the Kingdom of Israel was suffering from the predations of the Arameans, whose king Hazael was reducing the amount of land controlled by Israel.

Later in his reign, Jehoash was involved in war with Amaziah, the king of Judah. Jehoash utterly defeated Amaziah at Beth-shemesh, on the borders of Dan and Philistia. Jehoash then advanced on Jerusalem, broke down a portion of the wall, and carried away the treasures of the Temple and the palace. After the battle he soon died and was buried in Samaria.

According to the second book of Kings, Jehoash was sinful and did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. for tolerating the worship of the golden calves, yet outwardly at least he worshiped Yahweh. He held the prophet Elisha in honor, and wept by his bedside while he was dying. At this meeting, Elisha predicted he would defeat the Arameans three times. The prediction came true; Following his victory over King Amaziah of Judah, Jehoash sacked Jerusalem, taking hostages to assure good conduct.

Battles
Jehoash was king of Israel for 16 years and led the Israelites through some decisive battles. Jehoash led the men of Israel in the defeat of King Amaziah of Judah. Jehoash had warned Amaziah, saying: “A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot. You have indeed defeated Edom and now you are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home! Why ask for trouble and cause your own downfall and that of Judah also?"

  Amaziah had begun to worship some of the idols he had taken from the Edomites, which the author of Chronicles believes led to his ruin and his defeat by Jehoash, whom he had challenged to battle. Jehoash took Amaziah as a prisoner. Amaziah's defeat was followed by a conspiracy that took his life.

Jehoash also went to visit Elisha, who was sick with the illness that would eventually lead to his death. Jehoash pleased Elisha, addressing him in the words Elisha himself had used when Elijah was carried up into heaven: "O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof". When Jehoash failed to completely obey Elisha’s instructions, Elisha predicted that Jehoash would only defeat the Arameans three times rather than five or six times, which may have been enough to end the Syrian threat.

The sins of Jeroboam are summarized in 1 Kings:

You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.

— 1 Kings 14:9 NIV

Jeroboam also angered the LORD by condoning the worship of golden calves. Not only did he condone it, but offered sacrifices to the calves that he himself had made. “He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar.
This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made.” Jehoash, too did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, his great-grandfather, and Israel continued in them as well. For example, Jehoash condoned the worship of the golden calves among the Israelites. Also, late in his reign Jehoash worshipped the gods of Edom.

 
 
 
 
Jeroboam II
 
 
King of Israel
Coregent with Jehoash: 793 – 782 BC
Sole reign: 782 – 753 BC
 
Jeroboam II (Hebrew: ירבעם השני or יָרָבְעָם‎; Greek: Ιεροβοάμ; Latin: Jeroboam) was the son and successor of Jehoash, (alternatively spelled Joash), and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years. His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), conquered Damascus (14:28), and extended Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain" (14:25; Amos 6:14).

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 786 BC – 746 BC, while E. R. Thiele says he was coregent with Jehoash 793 BC to 782 BC and sole ruler 782 BC to 753 BC.

In 1910, G. A. Reisner found sixty-three inscribed potsherds while excavating the royal palace at Samaria, which were later dated to the reign of Jeroboam II and mention regnal years extending from the ninth to the 17th of his reign. These ostraca, while unremarkable in themselves, contain valuable information about the script, language, religion and administrative system of the period. Archaeological evidence confirms the biblical account of his reign as the most prosperous that Israel had yet known. By the late 8th century BC the territory of Israel was the most densely settled in the entire Levant, with a population of about 350,000. This prosperity was built on trade in olive oil, wine, and possibly horses, with Egypt and especially Assyria providing the markets. Jeroboam's reign was also the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, Jonah and Amos, all of whom condemned the materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of their day: "Woe unto those who lie upon beds of ivory...eat lambs from the flock and calves...[and] sing idle songs..." The book of Kings, written a century later condemns Jeroboam for doing "evil in the eyes of the Lord", meaning both the oppression of the poor and his continuing support of the cult centres of Dan and Bethel, in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem.

His name occurs in the Old Testament only in 2 Kings 13:13; 14:16, 23, 27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; 1 Chronicles 5:17; Hosea 1:1; and Amos 1:1; 7:9, 10, 11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam I, the son of Nebat that is meant.

 
 
 
 
Zechariah
 
 
King of Israel
753 – 752 BC
Zechariah (spelled Zachariah in the KJV and Zacharias in the DRB; Hebrew: זכריה‎, meaning "remembered by the Lord"; Latin: Zacharias) was a king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel, and son of Jeroboam II.

Zechariah became king of Israel in Samaria in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah, king of Judah. (2 Kings 15:8) William F. Albright has dated his reign to 746 BC – 745 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 753 BC – 752 BC.

The account of his reign is briefly told in 2 Kings (2 Kings 15:8-12). Zachariah ruled Israel for only six months before Shallum murdered him and took the throne. This ended the dynasty of Jehu after four generations of his descendants, fulfilling the prophecy in 2 Kings 10:30.

 
 
 
 
Shallum of Israel
 
King of Israel
752 BC
 
Shallum of Israel (Hebrew: שלום בן יבש‎) was the king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, and the son of Jabesh. He "conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 15:10). He reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" (2 Kings 15:13) before Menahem rose up, put him to death (2 Kings 15:14-17), and became king in his stead.

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 745 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the date 752 BC.

 
 
 
 
Menahem
 
 
King of Israel
752 – 742 BC
 
Menahem, (Hebrew: מְנַחֵם, Modern Menaẖem Tiberian Mənaḥēm, from a Hebrew word meaning "the consoler" or "comforter"; Greek: Manaem in the Septuagint, Manaen in Aquila; Latin: Manahem; full name: Hebrew: מנחם בן גדי‎, Menahem Ben Gadi) was a king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel. He was the son of Gadi, and the founder of the dynasty known as the House of Gadi or House of Menahem.

Menahem's ten year reign is told in 2 Kings 15:14-22. When Shallum conspired against and murdered Zachariah in Samaria, and set himself upon the throne of the northern kingdom, Menahem refused to recognize the usurper. Menahem marched from Tirzah to Samaria, about six miles westwards, laid siege to Samaria, took it, murdered Shallum a month into his reign (2 Kings 15:13), and set himself upon the throne. (2 Kings 15:14) According to Josephus, he was a general of the army of Israel.

Menahem became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of the reign of Azariah, king of Judah, and reigned for ten years. (2 Kings 15:17) According to the chronology of Kautsch, he ruled from 743 BC; according to Schrader, from 745 to 736 BC. William F. Albright has dated his reign from 745 to 738 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 752 – 742 BC.

He brutally suppressed a revolt at Tiphsah. He destroyed the city, which has not been located, and put all its inhabitants to death, even ripping open the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16) The Prophet Hosea describes the drunkenness and debauchery implied in the words "he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam." (2 Kings 15:18 and Hosea 7:1-15)

Menahem seems to have died a natural death, and was succeeded by his son Pekahiah.

  The author of the Books of Kings describes his rule as one of cruelty and oppression. The author is apparently synopsizing the "annals of the Kings of Israel", (2 Kings 15:21) and gives scant details of Menahem's reign.

Tributary of Assyria

Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria began his reign in 745 BC three years before Menahem became king of Israel.

During Menahem's reign, the Assyrians first entered the kingdom of Israel, and had also invaded Aram Damascus to the north-east: "And Pul, king of the Assyrians, came into the land". (2 Kings 15:19) The Assyrians may have been invited into Israel by the Assyrian party. Hosea speaks of the two anti-Israelite parties, the Egyptian and Assyrian. (Hosea 7:11)

To maintain independence, Menahem was forced to pay a tribute of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19) - which is about 37 tons (about 34 metric tons) of silver. It is now generally accepted that Pul referred to in 2 Kings 15:19 is Tiglath-Pileser III of the cuneiform inscriptions. Pul was probably his personal name and the one that first reached Israel. Tiglath-Pileser records this tribute in one of his inscriptions.

To pay the tribute, Menahem exacted fifty shekels of silver - about 1¼ pounds or 0.6 kg - from all the mighty men of wealth of the kingdom. (2 Kings 15:20) To collect this amount, there would have had to be at the time some 60,000 "that were mighty and rich" in the kingdom.

After receiving the tribute, Tiglath-Pileser returned to Assyria. However, from that time the kingdom of Israel was a tributary of Assyria; and when Hoshea some ten years later refused to pay any more tribute, it started a sequence of events which led to the destruction of the kingdom and the deportation of its population.

 
 
 
 
Pekahiah
 
 
King of Israel
742 BC – 740 BC
 
Pekahiah (Hebrew: פקחיה‎, Peqakhyāh; "YHWH has opened the eyes"; Latin: Phaceia) was a king of Israel and the son of Menahem, whom he succeeded, and the second and last king of Israel from the House of Gadi. He ruled from the capital of Samaria.

Pekahiah became king in the fiftieth year of the reign of Azariah, king of Judah. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 738 BC – 737 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 742 BC – 740 BC.

Pekahiah continued the practices of Jeroboam, which are called the sins of Jeroboam.

After a reign of two years, Pekahiah was assassinated in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria by Pekah, son of Remaliah, one of his chief officers, with the help of fifty men of Gilead. Pekah succeeded Pekahiah as king.

 
 
 
 
Pekah
 
 
King of Israel
Rivalry with Menahem: Nisan 752 in Gilead
Sole reign: 740 – 732 BC in Samaria
 
Pekah (Hebrew: פקח‎, Pẹqakh; "open-eyed"; Latin: Phacee) was king of Israel. He was a captain in the army of king Pekahiah of Israel, whom he killed to become king. Pekah was the son of Remaliah (Latin: Romelia).

Pekah became king in the fifty-second and last year of Azariah, king of Judah, and he reigned twenty years. In the second year of his reign Jotham became king of Judah, and reigned for sixteen years. Jotham was succeeded by his son, Ahaz in the seventeenth year of Pekah's reign.

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 737 – 732 BC, while E. R. Thiele, following H. J. Cook and Carl Lederer, held that Pekah set up in Gilead a rival reign to Menahem's Samaria-based kingdom in Nisan of 752 BC, becoming sole ruler on his assassination of Menahem's son Pekahiah in 740/739 BC and dying in 732/731 BC.
This explanation is consistent with evidence of the Assyrian chronicles, which agree with Menahem being king in 743 BC or 742 BC and Hoshea being king from 732 BC.

When Pekah allied with Rezin, king of Aram to attack Ahaz, the king of Judah, Ahaz appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of Assyria, for help. This the Assyrian king obliged, but Judah became a tributory of the Assyrian king.

  Summary of reign
With the aid of a band of Gileadites, he slew Pekahiah and assumed the throne (2 Kings 15:25).

In c. 732 BCE, Pekah allied with Rezin, king of Aram and threatened Jerusalem. (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5) Ahaz appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III, the king of Assyria, for help. Ahaz's "dread" of Rezin and Pekah, "Son of Remaliah" is recorded in the Immanuel prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 where the birth of a son (possibly Hezekiah) is a sign of the defeat of both kings by the King of Assyria before the child is old enough to eat curds and honey and distinguish right from wrong. After Ahaz paid tribute to Tiglath-Pileser, (2 Kings 16:7-9) Tiglath-Pileser sacked Damascus and annexed Aram. According to 2 Kings 16:9, the population of Aram was deported and Rezin executed. According to 2 Kings 15:29, Tiglath-Pileser also attacked Israel and "took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria." Tiglath-Pileser also records this act in one of his inscriptions.

Soon after this Pekah was assassinated by Hoshea, the son of Elah, who took the throne, in the twentieth year of Jotham of Judah. (2 Kings 15:30; 16:1-9; compare Isaiah 7:16; 8:4; 9:12) Tiglath-Pileser in an inscription mentions the slaying of Hoshea by his fellow Israelites. He is supposed by some to have been the "shepherd" mentioned in Zechariah 11:16.

 
 
 
 
Hoshea
 
 
King of Israel
732 BC – 721 BC
 
Hoshea (Hebrew: הושע, Modern Hoshea Tiberian Hôšēăʻ ; "salvation"; Latin: Osee) was the last king of the Israelite Kingdom of Israel and son of Elah (who may or may not be the Israelite king Elah). William F. Albright dated reign to 732 – 721 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 732 – 723 BC.

Assyrian records basically confirm the Biblical account of how he became king. According to 2 Kings, Hoshea conspired against and slew his predecessor, Pekah (2 Kings 15:30). Shalmaneser V then campaigned against Hoshea, and forced him to submit and render tribute (2 Kings 17:3). An undated inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III boasts of making Hoshea king after his predecessor had been overthrown:

Israel (lit. : "Omri-land" Bit-Humria)…overthrew their king Pekah (Pa-qa-ha) and I placed Hoshea (A-ú -si') as king over them. I received from them 10 talents of gold, 1,000(?) talents of silver as their [tri]bute and brought them to Assyria.

The amount of tribute exacted from Hoshea is not stated in Scripture, but Menahem, about ten years previously (743 or 742 BC) was required to pay 1,000 talents of silver to Tiglath-Pileser in order to "strengthen his hold on the kingdom" (2 Kings 15:19), apparently against Menahem's rival Pekah. The Assyrian Eponym Canon shows that Shalmaneser campaigned "against" (somewhere, name missing) in the years 727, 726, and 725 BC, and it is presumed that the missing name was Samaria. The Babylonian Chronicle states that Shalmaneser ravaged the city of Sha-ma-ra-in (Samaria). Additional evidence that it was Shalmaneser, not Sargon II who initially captured Samaria, despite the latter's claim, late in his reign, that he was its conqueror, was presented by Tadmor, who showed that Sargon had no campaigns in the west in his first two years of reign (722 and 721 BC).

Hoshea eventually withheld the tribute he promised Shalmaneser, expecting the support of "So, the king of Egypt". There is some mystery as to the identity of this king of Egypt: some scholars have argued that So refers to the Egyptian city Sais, and thereby refers to king Tefnakht of the 24th Dynasty; however the principal city of Egypt at this time was Tanis, which suggests that there was an unnecessary correction of the text and Kenneth Kitchen is correct in identifying "So" with Osorkon IV of the 22nd Dynasty.

  The account in 2 Kings 17:4 states that Shalmaneser arrested Hoshea, then laid siege to Samaria; some scholars explain that Shalmaneser must have summoned Hoshea to his court to explain the missing tribute, which resulted in the imprisonment of the king of Israel, and the Assyrian army sent into his land. Regardless of the sequence of events, the Assyrians captured Samaria after a siege of three years.

However, Shalmaneser died shortly after the city fell, and the Assyrian army was recalled to secure the succession of Sargon II. The land of Israel, which had resisted the Assyrians for years without a king, again revolted. Sargon returned with the Assyrian army in 720 BC, and pacified the province, deporting the citizens of Israel beyond the Euphrates (some 27,290 according to the inscription of Sargon II), and settling people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim in their place (2 Kings 17:6, 24).

The author of the Books of Kings states this destruction occurred "because the children of Israel sinned against the Lord" (2 Kings 17:7-24), not because of a political miscalculation on Hoshea's part.

What happened to Hoshea following the end of the kingdom of Israel, and when or where he died, is unknown. Some historians say[who?] that he was killed by the Assyrian army.

Chronological note
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. In the case of Hoshea, synchronization with the reign of Hezekiah of Judah shows that he came to the throne some time between Tishri 1 of 732 BC and the day before the first of Nisan, 731 BC.

The end of his reign occurred between the first of Nisan, 723 BC, and the day before Tishri 1 of the same year. This narrowing of the dates for Hoshea is supplied by later scholars who built on Thiele's work, because Thiele did not accept the Hoshea/Hezekiah synchronisms of 2 Kings 18. That Hoshea died before Tishri 1 in the fall of 723 BC is additional evidence that it was Shalmaneser V, not Sargon II, who initially captured Samaria. Shalmaneser did not die until December 722 or January 721 BC.

 
   
   
 
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