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Two miracl es of Elisha"
19 The men of the town said to Elisha, 'The town is pleasant to live in, as my
' Please stay here, for Yahweh is only sendi ng me to Bethel' . But Elisha replied,
' As Yahweh lives and as you your self live, I will not leave you!' and they went
3 down to Bethel. -The bro therh ood of prophets- who live at Bethel came out
to meet Elisha a nd said, 'Do you know that Yahwe h is going to carry your lor d
4 and master away tod ay?' 'Yes, I know,' he said ' be quiet .' - Elijah said , 'Elisha,
please stay here, Yahweh is only sending me to Jericho' . But he replied, ' As
Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you !' and they went on
to Jer icho . -The brot her hood of pr ophets who live at Jer icho went up to Elisha
and said, ' Do you know that Ya hweh is going to carry your lord and mast er
away today?' 'Ye s, I know,' he said ' be qui et.' -Elija h said, ' Elisha, please stay
here, Yahweh is only sending me to the Jordan' . But he replied, ' As Yahweh lives
and as you yoursel f live, I will not leave you !' And they went on together.
Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance
away as the two of them stoo d beside the J ordan. -Elijah took his cloak, rolled
it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right , and the two
of them crossed over dry-shod. -When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha,
'Make your request. What can I do for you before I am tak en from you? ' El isha
10 ans wered , ' Let me inherit a double share of your spirit'." -Your request is a
difficult one' Elijah said. ' If you see me while I am being ta ken from you, it shall
11 be as you ask ; if no t, it will not be so.' - Now as t hey walked on, talking as
they went, a chari ot of fire ap peare d and horses of fire, coming bet ween the
12 two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind. -Elisha saw it, and
sho uted, ' My fat her! My father! Chariot of Isra el and its chargers!' Then he
13 lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he to re them in half. <He picked
up the cloak of Elija h which had fallen, and went back and stood on the ban k
of the Jor dan.
14 He took the cloak of Elija h' and stru ck the water. ' Where is Yahweh, the
God of Elijah?' he cr ied. He struck the water, and it divi ded to right and left ,
15 and Elisha crossed over. -The brotherhood of prophets! saw him in the distance,
and said, 'The spi rit of Elija h has come to rest on Elisha'; they went to meet
16 him and bowed to the gro und before him. -'Look,' they said ' your ser vants
have fifty strong men with them; let them go and look for your master ; t he
spirit of Yahweh may ha ve taken him up and th rown him down on a mou nta in
17 or into a valley.' ' Send. no one' he repli ed. - But they so shamed him with their
insistence that he consented. So they sent fifty men who searched for three days
I S without finding him. -They then came back to Elisha who had stayed in Jericho;
he said, ' Did I not tell you not to go?'"
A m 4:4
THE SECOND BOOK OF THE KINGSa
After the death of Ahab Moa b rebelled against Israel. I
Ahaziah had fallen from the balcony of his upper roo m in Samaria, a nd
was lying ill; so he sent messengers, saying to them, 'Go and consult Baalzebub>
the god of Ekron and ask whether I shall recover from my illness'. - But the 3
angel of Yahweh said to Elijah the Tishbite, ' Up! Go and intercept the mes-
sengers of the king of Samaria. Say to them, " Is there no God in Israel. for you
to go and consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron? -Yahweh says this: The 4
bed you have got into you will not get out of; you are certa inly going to die." ,
And Elijah set out.
The mes sengers returned to the king, who said, 'W hy have you come back?' 5
' A man came to meet us' they answered ' and said, "Go bac k to the king who 6
sent you and tell him: Yahweh says this: Is there no God in Israel for you
to go and consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Fo r this , the bed you have
got int o you will not get out of; you are certainly going to die." , - He sai d, 'T his 7
ma n who met you and said all this, wha t was he like?' -'A man wea ring a hair
cloak' t hey answered 'and a leather loincloth." 'It was Elija h the Tishbitc'
he said .
He then sent a captain of fifty soldiers with his conti ngent to Elija h, whom 9
they found sitt ing on top of the hill ; the captai n went up to him and said, 'M an
of God, the king says, "Come down"'. -Elijah answered the ca ptain, 'If I am 10
a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy both you an d your
fifty men'. And fire came down from heaven a nd destroyed him a nd his fifty
men. -The king sent a seco nd ca ptain of fifty to hi m, aga in with fifty men, and I I
he too went up and said, 'Man of God, this is t he king' s ord er: "Come down
at once"'. - Elijah answe red them , ' If I am a man of God, let fire come down 12
from heaven and dest roy bot h you and your fifty men' . And fire came down
from heaven and dest royed him and his fifty men. -T hen the king sent a third 13
captain of fifty to him, with another fifty men. The t hird capt ain of fifty came
up to Elijah, fell on his knees before him and pleaded with him. 'Man of God,'
he said ' let my life and the lives of these fifty ser vants of your s have some value
in your eyes. - Fire has fallen from heaven a nd destroyed two capta ins of fifties, 14
but let my life have some value now in you r eyes.' -Thc angel of Yahweh said 15
to Elijah, 'Go down with him ; do not be afra id of him' . He rose a nd acco m-
panied hi m down to t he king, -and said to him, 'Yahweh says this, "Since 16
you sent messengers to consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron," the bed you ha ve
got into you will not get out of; you are certainly goin g to die" ' . c
And, in accordance with the word of Yah weh t hat Elijah had utt ered , he died. 17
Since he had no son , his brother! Jehoram succeeded him, in the second yea r
of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, ki ng of Judah. g -The rest of the histo ry of IS
Ahaziah, and his career , is not all t his recorded in the Book of t he Annals of the
Kings of Israel?
VI. T H E E LIS H A CYCL E
A, ITS O P EN I NG
Elijah is tak en up and Eli sha succeeds him"
This is what happened when Yahweh took Elija h up to hea ven in the
whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal , I, -and Elijah said to Elisha ,
a . The d ivision of Kings into two volumes is
art ificial : the ea rliest Hebr . Bibl e made no di vision.
b. Baalzebub ' Baal of Flies' : mo cking pun on the
god' s rea l nam e whi ch was Baa lzebut . Baa l the Pri nce' ,
d. Mt 10:25 + .
C, Eli jah wore a loi nclot h an d a fl owi ng clo a k,
cf. 1 K 18:46 a nd 2 K 2:8. 13, So. too, certain other
prophets, Zc 13:4, a nd the second Eliiah, Jo hn t he
Bap tist, Mt 3:40.
d. The Hebr. her e repeat s t he q uestio n of vv. 3
C'. Yv. 9 ~ 1 6 a re apparently an addit ion traceable
back to dis ci ples of Elisha. cr. 2:23-24, It s o ne purpose
is to inculcat e the respect a nd obedience owe d to God' s
representa tives ; ot her moral conside ra t ion s a re ignored .
f. 'his bro ther ' ver si ons: omi tt ed by He br .
g . The da te docs no t agree with 3:1 and is ta ken
fro m a differ en t system of rec koni ng.
2 a. Thi s fine passage properly bel ongs to the El isha
cycle to whic h it acts as an in trod uction .
b. This Gilgal . to the N. of Bet he l, is no t the Gil ga l
of Jos 4: 19. see note.
c. Li t. ' the sons of the pr ophet s' : these pro phets
formed co mpac t groups and lived in community, Elisha,
unlike the lo ne pro phet Elija h. was closel y associated
wit h them.
d. T he elder so n inheri ted a double po rti on of his
fat her ' s go ods, Dt 21:17. Elisha wants to be acknowl-
ed ged as Elija h' s pri ncipa l spirit ua l hei r- a n a mbitious
request sinc e t he prophet ic spi ri t is no t i nheri ted . bu t is
a gift of God: God . however. ind icates tha t the request
is gra nted by allowing Elis ha to see what is hi dden
fr om human eyes. cf', v. 12 and 2 K 6:17: t he ' sons
of the prophets ' sec on ly the hu man circ ums ta nce s. no t
the spiritual reality behi nd tncm .
c. T here is a gloss here ' tha t had falle n fr om him' .
f. Gloss ' who are a t Jeri cho'.
g . The fruitless search merel y establishes the fact
tha t Eli j ah is no longer in th is worl d ; what has become
of him is a mystery on wh ich Elisha is not prepared
to elaborate. The tex t does not sa y th at Elijah did not
d ie, though this conclusion was in fact drawn. 0 0 the
'secon d com ing ' of Elijah, cf Ml 3:23 ~ - .
h. Narratives i n the same vein as those of ch , 4.
Elisha possesses a divine power to save or to destroy .
Ac l:9- 10
» Si48:9. 12
B : 14
I K I9: 19
l K I 8: I2 +
MI 3:23 +
B. T H E MOABI TE W AR
I K 1:3
I K 17:8- 15
J g 11:30
I K 18:29
J b 5:23
g. A tin t du e, pr obably, to the sa nds of the wad i
cl-Hesa. There is a pl ay on t he wor ds ado rn ' red', dam
'bloo d', and the na me Edam.
h. ' a nd as t hey advanced ' Greek.
i , Conject ural res to ra tion of a damaged text.
Ki r-haresetb is the Moabite ca pita l, Is 16:7,1t ; Jr 48:
31.36. on the present sit e of Ke rak .
j . ' Ar am' corr., cf . Vet. Lar.: 'Eda m' Heb r.
k , Int erp retation di sputed: th e an ger of Ya hwe h
or (the more co mmon opinion) that of Che mosh , god
of Mo ab ? There a re diffi cu ltie s on both sides. Th e
simple explanation may be that the Mo abltes, ince nsed
by the sacrifice of their crown prince, made a despera te
but successful counter-attack.
from the S. by pass ing round the Dead Sea through
Edomi te terri tory.
e . Mus ic hel ps to stimu lat e ecstasy.
f. T he He br. adds ' and every choi ce city' .
2 K IN G S
3 a . This figure derives fro m some less accepted
chro nologica l sche me . to the most re lia ble
da ti ng, Jehoram of Israel rei gned on ly eight year s.
b. Th e 'stele of Mes ha' , discovered at Dtb on ,
men ti on s the fact th at Moab had been sub ject to Isr ael
under Omr i an d Aha b, and it records the war of
liberat ion , but it pas ses ove r the inglor iou s episode
nar ra ted her e.
c. Her e and i n vv , I I , 12, 14 the text gives [he name
of the ki ng of Judah. Jeh osbaph a t : but the ch ro nolog ica l
data show t hat the war did not take place unt il the
rei gn of his so n, Je horam of Judah. The na me Jeh osh a-
phat seems to ha ve been added to (he origi nal te xt
because of that kina's piet y an d of [he simila r pa r t he
play s in I K 22: her e. 100, a king of Judah, as opp osed
to a king of Israel. appears as a de voted Ya hwist ,
vv , I I. 13·14 .
d. The king of Israel need s the co- ope ra tion of
Judah and Edom, her vassa l, if he is to attack Moab
The woman of Shunem and her son
One day as Elisha was on his way to Shune rn, a woman of ra nk who lived
there pressed him to stay and eat t here. After this he always broke his journey
for a meal when he passed t hat way. -She said to her husband, 'Look, I am
C. S O M E MIRA CLES O F EL I SHA
the obl ation was being offered , water ca rne from the dir ect ion of Edo rn, and the
country was filled with it.
When the Mo abit es learned that the kings had come up to fight against
t hem, all who were of age to bear ar ms were called up; t hey took up position
22 on t he fro ntier. • In t he morning when t hey got .up, t he sun was shin ing on the
23 water' a nd in the dist ance t he Moabites saw t he water as red as blood. v ·' Thi s is
blood! ' the y sai d. 'T he ki ngs must have foug ht among t hemselves and killed
one ano ther. So no w for t he booty, Moab! '
But whe n t hey reached the Israelite camp, the Israelites lau nched thei r attack
and t he Moabites fled before the m, and as t hey advanced" t hey cut the Moabites
25 to pieces, •They laid the towns in ruins, and each man threw a stone into all
t he best fields to fill them up, and they blocked every water -spring and felled
every soundtree, In t he end, t here was on ly Kir-hareseth ' left , which the stinger s
26 sur rounded and batt ered.• When t he king of Moab saw t hat the battl e had tu rned
aga inst him, he mustered seven hundred swo rdsmen in the hope of brea king
27 a way out and going to the king of Aram, ' but he fail ed. •Then he took hi s eldest
son who was to succeed him and offered him as a sacrifice on the cit y wall.
Th ere was bitter ind ignati on " against the Israelites, who t hen withdrew, retiring
to their own count ry.
The widow's oil
I 4The wife of a member of the propheti c brotherhood appealed to Elisha.
'Your servant my husband is dea d,' she said ' and you know ho w your servant
revered Yahweh. A credit or has now come to take my two children and make
them his slaves.' -Elisha said, ' What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you
in the house?' ' Your servant has nothing in the hous e,' she repl ied ' except a pot
of oil.' •Th en he said, ' Go outside a nd bo rrow jars from all your neighbours,
empty jar s and no t too few. •When you come back, shut the door on yo urself
a nd your sons, and pour the oil into all t hese j ar s, putting each aside when it is
5 full.' •So she left him ; and she shut the door on herself and her sons; t hey passed
6 her the jars and she went on po urin g. •When the jars were full , she sai d to her
son, 'Pass me another jar' , ' There are no more' he replied. Then the oil
7 flowing.•She went and told the ma n of God, who said , 'Go and sell t he OIl
and redee m your pledge; you and your children can live on the remainder' .
Int roduction to the reign of Jehoram in Israel (852-841)
Jehoram son of Ahab became king of Israe l in Samar ia in the I
of Jehoshaphat ki ng of Judah, and reigned for twelve yea rs." -He did what IS
disp leasing to Yahweh, t hough not like his fat her and mother, for he did away
with t he pillar of Baal t hat his father had ma de.•No nethe less, he continued 3
to pract ise the sins into which Jeroboa m son of Ne bat had led Israel, and did
no t give t hem up.
The expedition of Israel and Judah against Moab
Mesha king of Moab" was a sheep-breeder and used to pay the king of Israel 4
a hundred t housa nd lambs and the wool of a hundr ed t housand ra ms in tribute.
But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled aga inst t he king of Israe l.
At once Ki ng Je horam went out of Sama ria and mustered all Israe l. After
t his he sent wor d to the king of Judah,' 'The king of Moab ha s rebe lled
against me. Wi ll you join with me fighting Moab?' ' I will' he replied. 'I am as
ready as you, my men as your men, my horses as your horses,' -and added 8
' which way are we to attack?' ' Through the wilde rness of Edo m' the other
So t hey set ou t, the king of Israel, the king of J uda h and t he king of Edorn." 9
They followed a devious route for seven days, until there was no wa ter left for
the troops or for the beast s in their ba ggage t rain . · 'Alas!' t he king of Israel 10
exclai med 'Yahweh has summo ned us three kings, only to put us int o the power
of Moab.' • But the king of Juda h said, ' Is t here no prophet of Ya hweh here II
for us to con sult Ya hweh th rou gh him?' One of the king of Isr ael' s serva nts
a nswered, 'E lisha so n of Shaphat is here, who used to pour wa ter on the hands
of Elijah' . · 'T he wor d of Yahweh is wit h him' t he ki ng of J udah said. So t hey 12
went to him, the king of Israe l, t he king of Juda h and t he king of Edom. • But 13
Elisha said to t he king of Israe l, ' What business have you wit h me? Go to t he
prophets of your father and your mother .' ' No,' t he king of Israel answered
' Yahweh has summo ned us t hree kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.'
Elisha replied, ' As Ya hweh Sabaot h lives, who m I serve, if I did not respect 14
Je hos haphat king of J udah, I should not ta ke any noti ce of you, or so much
as look at you.• Now bring me someone who can play the lyre.' : And as the 15
musician played, the hand of Yahweh was laid on him -a nd he said, 'Yahweh 16
says t his, "Dig ditc h on ditch in t his wadi", - for Yahweh says, "You 17
sha ll see neit her wind nor rain, but thi s wad i sha ll be filled with water, and
you and your t roops and your baggage an ima ls shall drink". - But t his is on ly 18
a littl e t hing in t he sight of Yahweh, for he will put Moab itself into your powe r.
You shall storm ever y fort ified to wn,! fell every sound tree , block every water- 19
spring, ruin a ll t he best fields wit h stones.' • Next morning at the time when 20
lord indeed can see, but t he water is fou l and the country suffers from
misca rr iages' . · ' Bring me a new bowl,' he said ' and pu t some salt in it.' They 20
brought it to him. •Th en he went to the place the water ca me from and t hre w 2 1
salt into it. 'Thus Yahweh speaks,' he sa id ' '' 1 make th is water wholesome:
neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it an y more". ' -And the wa ter 22
was ma de wholesome, and is so today, exact ly as Elisha had said it would be.
From there he went up to Bethel, and while he was on the roa d up, some 23
small boys ca me out of t he town and jeered at him. 'Go up, ba ldhead! ' they
shou ted ' Go up, bald head !' • He turned round an d looked at t hem; an d 24
cursed t hem in the name of Yahweh. And two she-bea rs came out of t he wood
and savaged fort y-two of t he boys.• From there he went on to Mount Carmel, 25
and t hen returned to Samaria .
I K 22:7
I S 10:6
I K1 8:46
I Ch 25: 3
I K 22
I K 22:4
I K1 9:2 1
01 20: 19
1 K 18: 15
2 K I N GS 459 2 KINGS
for the men to eat , but they had no soo ner tas ted the soup than they cr ied, 'Man
41 of God, the re is death in t he pot!' And the y could not eat it. .'Bring some meal
then' Elisha said. This he t hrew into the pot, and said, 'Pour out for these men,
and let t hem eat', And t here was nothi ng harmful in the pot.
The multiplication of loaves
42 A man came from Baal -shalishah, brin ging the ma n of God br ead from the
first-fru its, twenty barl ey loaves and fresh gra in in the car. ' 'G ive it to the people
43 to cat', Elisha said . -But his servant repl ied, ' How can I serve this to a hundred
men ?' 'G ive it to the people to cat' he insisted ' for Yahweh says thi s, "They
44 will cat and have some left over" , ' • He served them; t hey ate and had some
left over , as Yahweh had sai d.
Naaman is healed
1 5Naa man, army commander to the king of Ararn, was a man who enjoyed
his master ' s respect and favour , since through him Yahweh had granted
victory to the Ararnacans.« But the man was a leper. I• • Now on one of their
raid s, t he Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israe l a little girl who had
J become a serva nt of Nauman' s wife. -She said to her mistress, 'If only my master
would a ppr oach the prophet of Samaria, He would cure him of his leprosy.'
4 Nauman went and told his master. ' This a nd t his' he reported ' is what t he girl
from t he land of Israel said.' •' Go by all mean s," said the king of Aram 'I will
send a letter to the king of Israel.' So Naarnan Icft, tak ing wit h him ten tale nts
6 of silver , six thousand shekels of gold and (ell festa l robes. • He presented t he
lett er to the king of Israel. It read : ' Wit h this lett cr. I am sending my serva nt
7 Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy' . • When t he king of Israel
read t he letter, he tore his garment s. ' Am [ a god to give death and life," he said
'that he sends a man to me a nd as ks me to cure him of his lepro sy? Listen to this,
and take 110te of it a nd see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.'
When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent wor d
to the king, 'Wh y did you tear your gar ment s') Let him come to me, and he will
<) tind there is a prophet in Israel.' -So Nauman ca me wit h his team and chariot
10 and drew up at the door of Elisha' s house, -And Elisha sent him a messenger
to say, ' Go and bathe seven times in t he Jo rdan, and your flesh will beco me clean
II once more ' . • But Naa man was indignant a nd went air, saying, 'Here was I
thinking he would be sure to come ou t (0 me, a nd stand there, a nd ca ll on t he
name of Yahweh his God, and wave his ha nd over the spot and cure t he leprou s
12 part. -Surely Abana a nd Pharpar. the rivers of Damascus, are better t han
any water in Israel? Could I not bat he in t hem and become clean '!' And he t urned
13 round and went off in a rage.• But his ser vants ap pro ached him and said, ' My
father, if t he prophet had asked you to do somet hing difficult, would you not
have done it? All t he more reaso n, t hen, when he says (0 you, " Bat he, and you
14 will become clean ".' -So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the
Jo rda n, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more
like the flesh of a litt le child.
J J t
i s. 10
I. k 10: 4
I K 17:2 1
Hcbl l :J 5
sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy ma n of God.
Let us build him a sma ll room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a ta ble 10
and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there .' -One day when 11
he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down. •He said to his ser vant 12
Gehazi, 'Call our Shunammitess'. He called her , and she came and stood before
hi m, ·'Tell her thi s," Elisha said ' "Look, you ha ve gone to all this tr ouble for 13
us, what can we do for you? Is there anyt hing you would like said for you to
t he king or to the comma nder of the army?" ' But she replied, 'I live with my
own people about me' ," ·'Wha t can be done for her t hen?' he as ked. Gehazi 14
answe red, ' Well, she has no son and her husband is old'. -El isha said, 'Call her'. 15
The servant called her and she stood at the door. •'This time next year," he said 16
'yo u will hold a son in your arms .' But she said, 'No, my lord , do not deceive
your ser vant". • But the woman did concei ve, and she gave birth to a son at t he 17
time " Elisha had said she would.
The child grew up ; one day he went out to his father who was with the reapers , 18
and exclaimed to his father, ' Oh, my head! My head !' The father told a servant 19
to ca rry him to his mother. • He lifted him up and took him to his mot her , and 20
the boy sat on her knee until midday, when he died. -She went upstairs, laid 21
him on t he bed of the man of God, shut the door on' him and went out.' -She 22
called her husband and said, ' Send me one of the servants with a donkey. I must
hurry to the man of God and back .' .'Why go to him today'?' he asked ' It is 23
not New Moo n or sabbath.l" But she answer ed, 'Never mind'. -She had the 24
don key saddled, and said to her servant, ' Lead on, go! Do not draw rein until
I give the or der.' -She set off and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel; 25
when he saw her in the distance, he said to his servant Geha zi, 'Look, here
comes our Shunamrnitess! • Now run and meet her a nd ask her, "Are you well? 26
Is your husband well? Your chi ld well?" , She answered, 'Ycs. •Whe n she carne 27
to t he ma n of Go d t here on the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi
stepped forward to push her away, but t he man of God said, ' Leave her; there
is bitte rnes s in her soul and Ya hweh has hidde n it from me, he has not told me'
She said, ' Did I ask my lord for a SO li '? Did I not say: Do not deceive me'?' 28
Elisha said to Gehazi, ' Tuck up your cloak , take my stuff in your hand and go. 29
If you meet anyone, do not greet him; if anyone greets you, do not answer him.'
You arc to str etch out my st aff! over the child.' • But t he chi ld's mother said, 'As 30
Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not lea ve you' . Then he stood up
and followed her. -Gehazi had gone ahead of t hem and had str etched out the 31
staff over the child, but there was no sound or response. He went back to meet
Elis ha a nd told him. 'The chi ld has not woken up' he said . • Elisha t hen went to 32
t he house, and t here on his bed lay t he child, dead, • He went in and shut the door 33
on the two of t hem and prayed to Yahweh. •Then he cli mbed on to the bed and 34
stre tched himself on top of t he child, putt ing his mouth on his mouth, his eyes
to his eyes, and his ha nds on his ha nds, and as he lowered himself on to him,
t he child's flesh grew wa rm. -Then he got up and walk ed to and fro inside the 35
house, and the n climbed on to the bed aga in and lowered himself on to the chi ld
seven times in all ; t hen the child sneezed" an d opened his eyes. • He then sum- 36
moned Ge hazi. 'Call our Shuna mmitess' he said; and he called her. When she
ca me to him, he sa id, 'Take up your son' . -She went in and, falling at his feet , 37
bowed dow n to the grou nd ; an d ta king up her son went out.
The poisoned soup
Elisha went bac k to Gilgal wh ile there was famine in t he cou ntry. As the 38
bro t herhood of prophet s were sitt ing with him, he said to his ser vant , 'Put the
la rge pot on the fire a nd cook some soup for the brot herhood ' .•One of t hem 39
went int o the fields to gat her herbs and came on some wild vine off which he
gat hered enough gourds» to fill his lap . On his return, he cut t hem up int o the
pot of soup ; t hey did not know what they were.•They then poured the sou p out 40
4 a . Elisha ha s offered 10 nnnroa ch the king. The
woman pr ou dly an swer s th at t he ben evolence of her
own peo ple is enough fo r her .
b. ' a t the time corr.
c. Her fa ith in Elis ha is absolute: he has ob tui ned
a so n for her. he ca n res tore him : meanwhile. no on e
must know of the death. v, 23, whi ch she con ceal s.
d. It was. evide nt ly th e custom on fcastd ars 10
visit some ma n of God.
c. ' Do no t arc ct him' : sign t ha t one' s missi on is
urg ent .
f. It seems that the st aff of Elisha (like that of
Moses. Ex 4: 17) is cred ited with mnui cal powe r, bUI
the seq ue l wIlI'show [hat not hin g ca n be done without
[he prophet' s prayer and pr esen ce.
J:. Fo llowi ng t he order of the G reek a nd vet. La t.
God breathes t he bre a th of life into Ada m's nostr ils.
Gn 2;7, and it is thro ugh Ihe nostri ls that man breathes,
Is 2:22. The sneeze shows tha t life ha s returned .
h. Bitter fruit. vio lently purgat ive.
i. Tra ns lation con jectural.
5 a. Ya hweh . God of all na tion s, gu ides the dest iny
of Aram as he guides tha t of Is rael: the doc tr ine of thi s
cha pter is tha i of i K IS.
b. lhis "leprosy", like [hal of Ochaz i. v , 27, is
per hap s no more [han so me lesser ski n d isease sin ce
it does not pre clu de socia l contacts. Cf. Lv 13:1 t .
Mtl 4: U-
21 . :
I n 6: 13
I S 2:6
J n 5:21
D . THE ARAMAE AN WAR S
Elisha captures an armed band of Aramaeans
The king of Aram was at war with Isr ael. He confer red with his officers, x
a nd said, ' You are to att ack" at such a nd such a place' .• But Elisha sent word 9
to t he king of Israel, ' Be on your gua rd at t his place, because the Ararnaeans
are goi ng to att ac k it' .' •The king of Israe l accor dingly sent men to the place 10
Elisha had named. And he kept warning the ki ng, and the king stayed on the
alert; a nd this happened more than once or twice.
The king of Aram was dist urbed in mi nd at this ; he summoned his officers, II
a nd said, ' Tell me which of you is betraying us" to the king of Israel'. · 'No, my 12
R I I: 17+
.2S 14: 14
Ps 6 ~ : 1 7
d . ' is betra ying us' Greek.
e. Tex t unc ert ain .
f. No t tot al blind ness but delusion s. To the servant,
v. 17. on th e ot her hand, God had revea led ,vhat is
hidden to the human eye.
g . The annelarion sh ows the king's respect fo r
t he prophet, cf. 8:9 a nd 13: 14.
h. Unless an an at hema had bee n pro nounced by
Ya hwe h, and a par t fro m indi vidu al cases . it was not
Israelit e custom to kill pri soners of wa r. cf. 1 K 20:31.
i. Poss ibly Ben-h adad III of Dam ascu s. see ch. 13.
T he ord er of all these narr ati ves seems to be ar tificial.
j . ' wild onio ns ' co rr . : 'pi geon d ung' Hebr.
k . The kina' s curse proceeds fr om a nxiety; indee d
t he pa nic is widespread; onl y El isha rema ins calm,
I. No do ubt Elis ha had pr omised hel p fr om Yahwe h
and thu s encoura ged resis ta nce ; the ki ng ha s hea rd
of t his and now believes that Eli sha has deceived hi m.
c. Ya hweh a lone is tr-ul y God. Ne vert hele ss. thou gh
he is t he on ly Go d ther e is a speci al relat ions hi p
between him an d the la nd an d people of Israel : hence
Naama n ta kes so il fro m Sa ma r ia to ra ise an alt ar to
Yahweh in Da mascus.
d. ' Only' so me Greek MSS. ' whe n he docs'
Greek and Vul g. Ri mmon : ano t her name for Hadad.
the storm- god. chief deit y of Da ma scu s.
e . Elisha tol er ates the outwa rd a ppeara nce of
f. The text adds ' a nd t wo fes ta l robes' , cf. v. 5.
g. There wa s a lso a n Op he l i n Jer usa lem .
h. 'was it not ' versions ; ' it was no t' Hebr, The
text of wha t follows is uncert ain. and is here restored
f ro m the Greek.
6 a . Probably Gi lga l where Elisha sometimes lived
in the co mpa ny of the pro phet s, 2 K 4:38.
b. ' You are to attack ' coni.
c. ' becaus e' con i. ' a re going to a ttack' co ni.
Samaria besieged; the famine
It happened after th is tha t Ben-hadad king of Ararn' mustered his whole
25 ar my and came to lay siege to Samaria. -In Samaria there was great fami ne,
and so str ict was t he siege that the head of a donkey sold for eighty shekels of
silver, and one qua rtcr-kab of wild onions- for live shekels of silver.
No w as the king was passing along the city wall, a woman shouted, 'Help,
27 my lord king! ' · 'May Yahweh leave you hel pless!' he retorted. " ' Where can
28 I find help for you? From the threshing-floor? From the winepress?' •Then t ~ e
king asked, ' What is the matter?' 'This woman here' she answered ' has said
to-me, "Give up your son; we will eat him today, and eat my son tomorr ow" .
~ 9 So we cooked my son and ate him. Next da y, I said to her, "Give up your son
30 for us to eat " . But she has hidden her son.' -O n hea ring the woman' s words,
t he king tore his garments ; the king was walking on the wall, and the peopl e
31 saw that underneat h he was wearing sackcloth next his bod y. · 'May God do
t his to me and more,' he said ' if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat rema ins on
his shoulders today!"
2 KING S
lord king,' one of his offtcers replied ' it is Elisha, the pro phet in Israel, who
13 reveals to the king of Israel the words you spea k in your bedchamber.' ·'Go and
find out where he is,' the king said ' so that I can send peopl e to cap ture him.'
14 Word was brought to him, ' He is now in Do than ' . -So he sent horses and chariots
there, and a large force ; and these, arri ving du ring the,night, surrounded the town.
Nex t da y, Elisha rose earl y' and went out ; and there surrounding the town
was an armed force wit h horses and chariots. 'Oh, my lord,' his servant said
16 ' what are we to do?' . ' Ha ve no fear,' he replied ' there are more on our side than
17 on theirs.' -And Elisha prayed. ' Yahweh,' he said ' open his eyes and mak e him
see.' Yahweh opened the ser vant' s eyes, and he saw the mountain cove red with
horses and cha riots of fire surroundi ng Elisha.
As the Aramaeans came down towards him, Elisha prayed to Yahwe h,
' I beg you to strike this people with blindness' . And at the word of Elisha he
19 st ruck them blind'! •Then Elisha said to them, ' This is not the road, nor is this
the town. Follow me ; I will lead you to the man you ar e looking for .' But he
20 led them to Samaria . •As they entered Sama ria, Elisha said, ' Yahweh, open the
eyes of these men, and let them see' . Ya hweh ope ned their eyes and they saw;
they were inside Samar ia.
When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, 'Shall I kill them, my 8:9
22 father ?' II ' Do not kill them' he a nswered. 'Do you put prisoners to dea th when
you have ta ken them with your sword and you r bow?" Offer them bread and
23 wate r for them to ea t a nd drink, a nd let them go back to their master.' -So the
king prov ided a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and dr unk, he
sent them all' and they returned to their master. Aramaea n raiding part ies never
invaded the territ ory of Israel again.
2 K I N G S 5:15
Returning to Elisha with his whole escort , he went in and stood before hi m. 15
'Now I know' he said ' that there is no God in all the earth excep t in Israel.'
Now, please, accept a present from your servant. ' • But Elisha replied, 'As Ya hweh 16
lives, whom I serve, I will acce pt nothing' . Naarnan pressed him to accept, but
he refused. ·Then Naaman said, ' Since your answer is " No", allow your servant 17
to be given as muc h earth as two mules may ca rry, because your servant will no
longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except Ya hweh. ·Only-and may 18
Yahweh forgive your servant-when my master goes to the temple of Rimmon
to worship there, he leans on my arm, and I bow dow n in the temple of Rimmon
when he does ;" may Yahweh forgive your serva nt this act !' ,'Go in peace" 19
Naaman had gone a sma ll distance, -when Gehazi, t he servant of Elisha , 20
said to himself, 'My master has let t his Aramaean Na aman off light ly, by not
accept ing what he offered. As Ya hweh lives, I will run afte r him and get
so mething out of h.rn. ' -So Ge hazi set off in pursuit of Naaman. When Naa man 2 1
saw him run ning after him, he j umped down from his char iot to meet him.
'Is all well?' he asked.•'A ll is well' he said. My master has sent me to say, 22
"This very moment two young men of the prophet ic br otherhood have a rrived
from the highland s of Ephraim. Be ki nd enough to give them a talent of
silver ." · ·Please accept two talents' ! Naaman replied, and pressed him, tying 23
up the two talent s of silver in two bags and consigning them to two of his
servants who carried t hem in front of Gehaz i. •When he reached Ophel, " he too k 24
them from their hands and put them away in the house. He then dismissed the
men, who went away.
He, for his part, went and presented himself to his master. Elisha said, ' Gehazi, 25
where have you been?' ' You r servant has not been anywhere' he replied. • But 26
Elisha said to him, 'Was not my heart " present there when someo ne left his
chariot to meet you') Now you have ta ken the money, you can buy ga rdens wit h
it, and olive groves, sheep an d oxen, male an d female slaves.• But Nau ma n's 27
leprosy will cling to you and to your descenda nts for ever.' And Ge hazi left his
presence a leper, white as snow.
The axe lost and found
The brotherhood of prophets said to Elisha, ' Loo k, the place" where we live I
side by side with you is too confined for us. • Let us go to the Jordan, then,
and each of us cut a bea m there, and we wiil make our living qua rters there.'
He replied, ' Go' . · 'Be good enough to go with your servants' one of them said. 3
' I will go' he answered , -a nd went with them. On reaching the Jor dan they 4
cut down timber. • But, as one of t hem was felling his beam, the iron axehead 5
fell int o the water. ' Alas, my lord,' he exclaimed ' and it was a borr owed one
too! ' · 'W here did it fall?' the man of God asked ; a nd he showed him the spot. 6
Then, cutt ing a st ick, Elisha threw it in at that poin t a nd made the iron axehead
float. •'L ift it out' he said; and the ma n stretched out his hand a nd took it.
1 S 9:7
N b 12: 10
The siege at an end; the famine ceases
Then they said to one another, ' We are doing wrong. This is a day of good 9
news, yet we are hold ing our tongues! If we wait till morning, we shall surely
be punished. Come on, let us go and take the news to the palace.' -Off the y 10
went, called the city guards, and said, ' We have been to the Aramaean camp.
There was not a soul there, no sound of anyone, only tethered hor ses and tethered
don keys, and their tents just as they were.' -The gatekeeper s shouted the news, 11
which was reported inside the palace.
The king got up while it was st ill dark and said to his officers, ' I can tell you 12
what the Aramaeans have do ne to us. They know we are starving, so t hey have
left the camp to hide in the open count ry. "They will come out of the town,"
they think "we will catch them alive and get into the town." , -One of his officers 13
replied, 'Five of the surviving horses still left us had bett er be take n- they
wou ld die in any case like all the rest. b Let us send them and see.' •So they too k 14
two chariot teams and the king sent them after the Ararnaea n army, saying,
'Go and see' . •They trac ked them as far as the Jordan, finding the whole way 15
stre wn with clothes and gear that the Aramaeans had thrown away in their
panic . The scouts returned and informed the king .
Th en the people went out and plundered the Aramaean camp: a measure 16
of finest flour sold for one shekel , and two measures of barley for one shekel,
as Ya hweh had promised they would be. -The king had deta iled the equerry, 17
on whose arm he leaned, as commander of the guard on the gate, but the peop le
7:2 trampled on him in the gateway and he died, as the man of God had foretold
when the king had come down to him. ·(What Elisha had said to the king came 18
Elisha foretells imminent relief
Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king 32
sent a messenger ahead but , before the man arrived, Elisha had said to the elders,
'Do you see how thi s born assassin has given orders to cut off my head? Look,
when the messenger comes, shut the door; hold the door against him. Is not t he
sound of his master' s step following behind him?' •Even as he spoke, the king" 33
arr ived. ' This misery plainl y comes from Yahweh,' he said 'why should I still
trust in Yahweh ?' 7 ' Listen to the word of Yahweh' Elisha said. ' Yahweh says I
this, "By this time tomorrow a measure of finest flour will sell for one shekel,
and two measures of barle y for one shekel , at the gate of Samaria" .' -The
equerry on whose arm the king was leaning reto rted to Elisha, 'Even if Yahweh
made windows in the sky, could this come tru e?' 'You will see it with your
own eyes,' Elisha answered ' though you will eat none of it.'
The Aramaean camp is found aba ndoned
Now at the entrance to the gatc-i-Ior they were lepers- there were four men 3
and they debated among themselves, 'Why sit here waiting for death? ·If we 4
decide to go into the town, what with the famine in it, we shall die there; if
we stay here we shall die j ust the same. Come on, let us go over to the Ara maean
camp ; if they spare our lives, we live; if they kill us, well t hen we dic.' -So at 5
dusk t hey set out and made for t he Aramaean camp, but when they reached the
confines of the camp there was no t a soul there. -For Ya hweh had caused the 6
Aramaeans in the ir camp to hear a noise of chariots and horses, t he noise of
a great army; and they had said to (Inc another, 'Hark ! The king of Israel has
hired the Hitt ite kings" agai nst us and the kings or Egypt to attac k us.' -So 7
in the dusk they had made off and fled, abandoning their tent s, their hor ses and
the ir donkeys ; leaving the camp j ust as it was, they had ned for their lives.
The lepers, then, reac hed the confines or the cam p. They went into one of the 8
tents and ate and drank, and from it carried off silver and gold and clothing;
these they went and hid. Then they came back and, entering another tent , looted
it too, and went and hid their booty.
d . Ev idently an official of Bc n- hadad : he was to
seize the thr one later, v. 15.
e . 'Go a nd tel l him ... YOU will recover' ve rsions ;
'Go and say: yo u wil l not recover' Hebr.
f. 'his face went rigid' carr. The p hys ical signs of
prophet ic ecs tasy.
g . Expressing humility, cf. 1 S 24:t5; 2 S 9:8:
Ha zael is surprised by this prophecy of fu ture great-
h. The subject of t he phrase is not expressed.
Pres umabl y this was how Hazael murdered Ben-hadad.
not how Ben-hadad commi tted su icide .
2 KI NGS
c . Vv . 17b-20 are probably an additi on; they repeal
VV. 1. 2 and 17a.
8 8 . Nat ural seq uel of 4:37.
b. Ta ken over in her a bsen ce by neigh bou rs or
receive rs .
c. Ben-hadad II. as in I K 20: 1.
m. ' the kin g' coni. : 'the messen ger' He br.
7 a . T he pr inces of N. Syr ia .
b. They ma y as well sacrifice (he horses fo r purposes
of rec onnaissancc : they wou ld d ie of hunger anyway.
The tex t is redu ndant .
Epilogue to the story of the woman of Shunem-
I 8Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had ra ised to life, 'Move away with
your fami ly, and live where you can in some foreign coun tr y, for Yahweh has
called up a famine -it is coming on the country already-for seven years.'
2 The woman hurried to do what the man of God had told her : she set out , she
3 and her family, and for seven years she lived in t he land of the Philistines.•When
the seven years were over , the woman came back from the land of the Phil istines
and went to lodge a cla im wit h the king for her hous e and lands. "
4 Now the king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. 'Tell me'
5 he was saying 'all the great things Elisha has done.' -Gehazi was jus t telli ng the
king how Elisha had raised the dead child to life, when the woman whose son
Elisha had raised lodged her claim wit h the king for her house and lands. 'My lord
ki ng,' Ge hazi said 't his is the very woman, and that is her son whom Elisha
6 ra ised to life.' -The king questioned the woman, who told him the story. The
king then referred her to one of the eunuchs, giving him this or der: 'See that all
her propert y is restored to her, and all the revenue fro m her land from the day
she left the country until now' .
Elisha and Hazael of Damascus
Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad" the king of Aram was ill, and was
told , 'The man of God has come all the way to us' .•Then t he king said to Hazael,"
' Take a present wit h you and go to meet t he man of God; consult Ya hweh
through him, and find out if I shall recover from my illness'
So Hazael went to meet Elisha, tak ing with him as a present the best Da mascus
cou ld offer, a load for forty came ls. He came and sta nding before him said,
'Your son Ben-hadad has sent me to ask you, "Shall I recover from my illness?" '
10 Elisha answered, ' Go and tell him, " You will cer tainly recover",' though Yah weh
II has shown me t hat he will cer tai nly die'. -T hen his face went rigid and his look
12 grew fixed,! and the man of God wept. .'Why' Hazael asked 'does my lord
weep?' ' Because I know' Elisha replied 'a ll the har m you will do the Israe lites:
you will burn down their fortr esses, put their picked warriors to the sword,
13 dash their little children to pieces, rip open their pregnant women.' · ' But
what is your servant?' Hazael said. 'How could this dog- achieve anything so
great ?' 'I n a vision from Ya hweh,' Elisha replied 'I have seen you king of
14 Leaving Elisha, Hazael went back to his master who asked, ' What did Elisha
15 say to you?' He answered, 'He told me you wou ld certain ly recover' . •Next day
he took a blanket, soaked it in water, and spr ead it over his face." So died Ben-
hadad, and Hazael succeeded him.
true, 'Two measu res of barley will sell for one shekel, and a measure of finest
19 flour for one shekel, by this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria' . •The equerry
had retorted to Elisha, 'Even if Ya hweh made windows in the sky, could this
come true?' 'You will see it with you r own eyes,' Elisha had ans wered 'though you
20 will eat none of it .' -And this is what happened to him: the people trampled
on him in the gateway and he died .)"
2 KINGS 6:32
2 S 5:24
Gn 7: 11;8:2
Is 24: 18
11 2 Ch l l :5-7
2 S 7: 11-
16 + ;
lKl l :36 +;
112Ch 21: 8- 1O
The reign of Ahaziah in J udah (841)
In the twelfth year of Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of 25
Jehoram became king of Judah. -Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he 26
came to the thro ne, and he reigned for one year in Jeru salem. His mother' s name
was Athaliah, daughter of Omri king of Israel. • He followed the example of the 27
family of Ahab and did what is displeasing to Yahweh as the family of Ahab
had done, to whom he was related by marriage.
He went wit h Jehoram son of Ahab to fight aga inst Hazael king of Aram 28
at Rarnoth-gilead, but the Aramaeans wounded Jehoram. • King Jehor am 29
returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received at Ramah
fighting aga inst Hazael king of Aram. Ahazia h son of Jehorarn king of Judah
went down to Jezreel to visit Jehoram son of Aha b because he was ill.
1 K 21:9
I K 21
2 S 18:27
b. ' they asked him' versions.
c. Att itude of the peopl e at large to the pr ophet s.
Jr 29: 26: Ho 9: 7. The term is no t a di rect insu lt tho ug h
con ta i ning a n element of mockery. a nd Jehu adopts
the sa me to ne.
d . As the crow d offered r oyal ho nours to Jes us.
e. T he king does not a t first suspe ct treason, but
he is une asy about the news from Ram oth-gtlead .
f. The to wn had evid en tly been recaptur ed by the
Isr aeli tes ; t he Ara maeans were trying to retake it.
g. I n the me taphorical sense. as in the pr ophets,
of the worship of fals e gods. wit h a possible a llusion
to sac red pr os tit ution. cf. Dt 23:19 +, a vice char ac-
teri stic of t he Phoe nicia n cult.
h. Meaning do ub tful.
i, Th e Hebr. add s he re 'Je hos ha pha t being king
of Juda h" absent from versions .
i. ' fr om t he fa mily' co r r. : ' da ug hte r ' Heb r. The
woman is Atha lia h, sec ch. 11. Omri' s daug hter. v. 26.
no t therefore Ah ab's daugh ter but hi s siste r.
k. 'in his prese nce ' cf. I K 11:3b : ' 10 his sons' Hebr.
I. Edam. cf. Nb 20:23 + . was a subject -kingdom
of J udah under Jeb osha nhat , I K 22:48. a nd unt il the
early da ys of the reign of Jehoram, 2 K 3:9.
rn. Unidentified site in Transiordania. The text
tha t foll ows is muti lated : a n a tte mp t has bee n ma de
10 expunge the recor d of a de fea t. So a lso in v. 22.
n. The town passed to the Philist i nes.
9 a. Vv. 7- IOa ha ve been added by the au thor of
Kings: in t he or igina l story the yo ung man must ha ve
fled immediately aft er anoi nti ng Je hu. as ordered by
Elis ha. v. 3.
5.E . -I*
2 KI N G S
The assass ination of J ehoram
22 As soon as Jehoram saw Jehu he asked, 'Is all well, Jehu?' ' What a quest ion !'
he replied 'when all the while t he prostitutions - and countless sorceries of your
23 mother Jezebel go on.' -At t his, Jehoram wheeled and fled, saying to Ahaziah,
24 ' Treason, Ahaziah !' -Bu t Jeh u had drawn his bow ; he struck Jehoram between
the shoulder-b lades, the arrow went throug h the king's heart , and he sank down
25 in his chari ot. · 'Pick him up,' Jehu said to Bidkar, his equerry 'and throw him
into the field of Naboth of Jezreel. Remember how, when you and I both rode"
21' behind Ahab his father, Yahweh pronounced this sentence agai nst him: · "This
I swear. Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons-it is
Yahweh who speaks. In this same field I will requite you- it is Yahweh who
speaks." So pick him up, and throw him into the field, as Yahweh declared
J ehu proclaimed king
11 Jehu came out to the officers of his master. 'I s all well?' they asked him. b 'Why
did this madman ' come to you?' 'You know the fellow and how he talks' he
12 answered . · 'Evasion!' they cried 'Come on, tell us.' He repl ied, 'His drift was
this- he said, "Yahweh says this: I have anointed you king of Israel "'.
13 Where upon they all took their cloaks and spread them under him" on the bare
steps ; they sounded the trumpet and shouted, 'Jehu is king!'
Jehu prepares to usurp power
14 Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi plott ed aga inst Jehoram. (Jehorarn,
with all Israel, was at that time defendi ng Ramoth-gilead r agai nst Hazael king
15 of Aram, -although Jehoram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds
which he had received from the Aramaeans while he was fighting against Hazael
king of Aram.) 'If thi s is how you feel,' Jehu said ' let no one escape from the
16 town to go and take the news to Jezreel.' -Jehu then mounted his chariot and
left for Jezreel; Jehoram had take n to his bed there, and Ahazi ah king of Judah
had gone down to visit him.
17 The lookout posted on the tower of Jezreel saw Jehu's troop approaching,
'I can see a body of men' he shouted. Jehoram gave the order: ' Have a horseman
18 sent to meet them and ask, "I s all well?,,' f -The horseman went to meet Jehu
and said, 'The king says, "Is all well?" , ' What has it to do wit h you whether
all is well?' Jehu replied . 'Fall in behind me.' The lookout reported, 'The messenger
19 has reac hed the m and is not coming back' . •The king sent a second horseman
who reached them and said, 'T he king says, " Is all well?" , 'What has it to do
20 with you whet her all is well?' Jehu repl ied. 'Fall in behind me.' -The lookout
reported, ' He has reached t hem and is not coming back. The mann er of dri ving
2 1 is like t hat of Jehu son of Nimshi: he drives like a madman.' · 'Harness!' Jehoram
cr ied; and they harnessed his chariot. Then Jehoram king of Israel and Ahazi ah
king of Judah, each in his chariot, set out to meet Jehu. They reache d him in the
field of Naboth of Jezreel. \
2 KING S 8:16
The reign of J ehoram in Judah (848-841)
In the fifth year of Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel,' Jehoram son of 16
Jehoshap hat became king of J udah . ·He was thirt y-two years old when he came 17
to the throne, and he reigned for eight years in Jer usalem. • He followed t he 18
example of the kings of Israel as the fami ly of Ahab had done, having taken a wife
from the family! of Ahab ; he did what is displeas ing to Ya hweh. • Yahweh, 19
however, did not intend to destroy Judah, because of his servant David, and was
faithful to the promise he had made to leave him a lamp for ever in his presence."
In his time Edom threw off the domi nation of Judah and set up a king for 20
itself.' -Je horarn crossed to Zair, > and with him all the cha riots . . . He rose 21
duri ng the night and, with his chariot comma nde rs, broke t hrough the
Edo mites encircling him; the people fled to their tents. -Thus Edom threw off 22
the domination of Judah, remaining free to the prese nt day. Libna h- also
revolted. At that time . . .
The rest of the history of Jehoram, his entire career, is not all t his recorded 23
in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? -Then Jehoram slept with his 24
ancestors and was bur ied with his ancestors in the Citadel of David ' his son
Ahaziah succeeded him. '
E. T H E HI STORY OF J EH U
A disciple of Elisha anoints Jehu king
the prophet summoned a of prophet ic bro therhood to I
him, Tuck up your cloak, take thi s flask of oil, and go to Ra mot h-gilead,
When you arrive there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaph at son of Nimshi. Then,
when you find him, tell him to get up and leave his companions, and take
him into an inner room. •Ta ke the tlask of oil then and pour it over his head, 3
and say, 'This is Ya hweh's word: I have anointed you king of Israe l" . Then
thro w ope n the door and escape as fast as you can.'
The young man left for Ramoth-gilead -and when he ar rived he found the
senior officer s of the army sitting together. ' I have a message for you, commander'
he said. 'For which of us?' asked Jehu. 'For you, commander' he answered .
Then Jeh u got up and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil 6
on his head, saying, ' Yahweh the God of Israel says t his, " I have anointed
you king over the people of Yahweh, king of Israe l. •You are to strike down the 7
family of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the
prophets and of all the serva nts of Yahweh on Jezebel -and the whole family of 8
Ahab . I will wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or
free in Israel. ·1 will make the family of Ahab like the famil y of Jero boa m son 9
of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahija h. -As for Jezebel, t he dogs shall eat her in 10
the territory of Jezreel; no one will bury her. " 'n With t his, he opened the doo r
and mad e his escape.
H o 1:4
I K I6:4. 13;
19: 10 ;21
I K 21:29
11 2 Ch 22: 1-6
I K I4: 10- 11
I KI 6:3-4
2 K INGS
14 'Take them al ive' he said. They took them alive, and he slaughtered t hem at the
cistern of Beth-eked, forty-two of them; he did not spare a single one.
I K 16:32
Jr 35: 1-11
d. 'Is you r hea rt. mine ' Greek. Jeh on ad ab son
of Rechab was an ardent Ya hwist an d had imposed
the simple des ert r egime on hi s cla n, Jr 35: 1- 11. It wa s
na tural for him to sup por t Je hu, b UI th is epi sode , like
the preceding, is certainly misplace d .
e . T he text adds 'a ll his devo tees ".
f. The cha nge of clothing is a puri fica tio n prepara-
tory to worshi p, a known custom of the Phoen icia ns :
cf. Gn 35:2.
g. Vv. 24-25 ar c co rrec ted.
h. 't he sacred Dole' coni,
i , ' the altar' coni.
i , The a utho r's own verd ict: t he source he was
follo wing i n the preceding nar rat ives ga ve unsrlnred
praise. v. 30. to Jehu's sincere, if bru tal , zeal for Ya hweh.
At t he same time , however, by wipi ng out the devotees
of Baa l, J ehu int en de d to eliminate an y remaining
suppo rt for the dynasty of Ahab.
i. 'And they wounded him' Svr.: absent from
I, Sarc astic allu sion to Zimri who reigned only
eight days aft er assa ssinat in g Ela h, king of Isr ael.
k , The Hebr. adds ' in the field of Jez reel', a gloss .
10 a . ' Seve nt y' ; co nventiona l number used to in dic ate
the entir e offs pr ing, Gil 46:27 : Jg 8:30 ; 9:2 ; 12:14.
Here it mean s the sons and gra ndso ns of Aha b, but
more pa rtic ular ly the so ns of Jeho ra m. ' Chil dren'
Greek ; omitt ed by Hebr.
b. The Hebrew rosh mea ns bo th ' leader' an d ' head'.
Jehu' s cor respondents tak e gri m advantage of the
ambiguity, v, 7: per haps they were in tended to , though
Je hu subsequent ly throws the res pon si bili ty on them,
c. ' br others' in the wi de sen se of ' rela tions' , or
pe rh aps a court tit le as a lso pr obably 'son of the ki ng' ,
'son of the que en ' ,
The rei gn of J ehu in Israel (841-814)
Thus Jehu rid Israel of Baal. • Even so, Jehu did not give up the sins into
which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel, the golde n calves of Bet hel an d
30 Dan. ' •Yahweh said to Jehu, ' Since you have do ne pr operly wha t was pleasing
in my sight , and have achieved all I set my heart on against Aha b's family, your
3 1 sons shall sit on the throne of Israel down to the fourth gener ation' . -But Jehu
The destruction of the adherents and temple of Baal
18 Then Jehu assembled all the peopl e. 'Ahab did Baal some small servi ce,'
19 he said 'but Jehu will do him a great one.• Now call me all the prophets of Baal'
and all his pr iests. Let no one be missing: I ha ve a great sacr ifice to offer to Baal.
If anyone is missing, he shall forfeit his life.' This was a trick on Jehu' s part to
20 destroy the devotees of Baal. · 'Summon a sacred assembly for Baal' he com-
2 1 manded; and they summo ned it. -Jehu sent messengers throughout Israel, and
all the devo tees of Baa l arrived, not a man was left who did not att end. They
22 packed into the temp le of Baal unti l it was full from wa ll to wall. -Jehu the n said
to the keeper of the wardrobe, 'Bring out vest ments for all the devotees of Baal";'
23 he brought out the vestments for the m. -Jehu then went into the temple of Baal
with Jehonadab son of Recha b and said to the devotees of Baal, ' Ma ke quite
sure there are no devotees of Ya hweh in here wit h you, but only devotees of
24 Baal' . •He then proceeded to offer sacri fices a nd holocausts.
Now Jehu had stat ioned eighty of his men outside, ha ving said , ' If any of
you lets anyone of those I am handing over to you escape, his life will pay for
25 the life of the oth er' .•When he had finished offering the holocaust , he gave the
or der to the gua rds and squ ires: ' Go in, str ike them down! Let no one out !'
The guards and squires went in, putt ing everyone to the sword, unt il t hey had
26 reached the sanctuary of the temple of Baal." •They took the sacre d pol e" out
27 of the temple of Baa l and burned it. -They demo lished the altar' of Baal, and
demolished the temple of Baal too, making it into a lat rine, which it st ill is
Jehu and Jehonadab
15 Leaving there, he ca me up on Jehonadab son of Rec hab who was on his way
to meet him. He greeted him and said , 'Is your hear t true to mi ne," as my hear t
is to yours?' Jehonadab replied, 'Yes' . 'If so,' Jeh u said ' give me your hand.'
Jehonadab gave him his hand, and Jehu took him up beside him in his chariot.
16 'Come wit h me,' he said 'and witness my zeal for Yahweh' and drove him on
17 in his chariot. •When he entered Samar ia, he killed all the surv ivors of Ahab's
family in Samaria ; he wiped it out , as Yahweh had told Elijah it would happen.
The assass ination of Jezebel
Jehu went back to Jezreel and Jeze bel heard of it. She made up her eyes wit h 30
koh l and adorned her hea d and appear ed at the window. -As Jehu came through 31
the gateway she said, 'Is all well, Zimri, you murd erer of your master?" -Jehu 32
look ed up to the window and sai d, 'Who is on my side? Who?' And two or three
eunuchs looke d down at him. · ' Throw her down' he said . They threw her dow n, 33
and her blood spattered t he walls and the horses ; and Jehu rode over her. • He 34
went in and ate and drank , then said, ' See to t his accursed woman, and give her
buri al; after all , she was a king's daughter '. -But when they went to bury her, 35
they found nothing but her skull, feet and hands.•The y came back and told 36
Jehu, who said , 'This is the word of Yahweh which he spo ke through his servant
Elijah the Ti shbite, "The dogs will eat the flesh of Jezebel in t he territory of
Jezree l ; • the corpse of Jezebel will be like dung spread on the fields,k so tha t no 37
one will he able to say: Th is was Jezebel" ,
The assassination of Ahaziah
When Ahaziah king of J udah saw this, he fled along the Beth-ha ggan road, 27
but Jehu went in pur suit of him. 'Strike him down too' he said. And they wounded
him' in his cha riot at t he slope of Our, which is near Ibleam, and he took refuge
in Megiddo , where he died. -H is servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem 28
and bur ied him in his tomb in the Citadel of David. -Ahaziah had become king 29
of J udah in the eleventh year of Jehoram son of Ahab .
The massacre of the royal fami ly of Israel
There were seventy sons of Ahab in Samar ia." Jehu sent to Samaria, to the I
authorities of the city, to the elders and to the guar dians of the chi ldren
of Ahab. He said, · ' At t his time, when this letter reaches you, you have your 2
master' s sons with you ; you also have chariots and horses, fortified towns and
weapons. -See which of you r mast er' s sons is the best and worthiest, put him
on his father' s throne and fight for the dynasty of your master.' -They were 4
utt erly terr ified. ' We have seen how the two kings cou ld not stand up to him,'
they said ' so how could we do so?' ·Consequently the mast er of the palace, the 5
govern or of the cit y, the elders and the guardians sent word to Jehu, ' We are
your servants. We will do what ever you order us. We will not proclai m a king ;
act as you think best .'
Jehu then wro te them a secon d lett er. He sai d, ' If you are for me and if you
are prepa red to accept orders from me, take the heads" of the men of your master's
house and come to me at Jezreel by this time tomor row'. (The re were seventy son s
of t he king being educated there by t he lead ing men of the city.) •When thi s 7
lett er reached them, they took the king' s sons and but chered all seventy of the m.
put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel.
The messenger came and told Jehu, ' They have brought the heads of the
king' s sons' . ' Leave t hem in two heaps at the entrance to the gate unti l mo rning'
he replied. •When morn ing ca me, he went out and, standi ng, said to all the people, 9
' Be guilt less! I certai nly plotted aga inst my mas ter and murdered him; but who
killed all t hese? • Know, t hen, nothi ng will fail to be fulfilled of the oracle utt ered 10
by ·Ya hweh against the family of Ahab: Yahweh has done wha t he said through
his servant Elijah.' -Je hu then killed everyon e of the House of Ahab surviving 11
in Jezreel, all his leadin g men, his close friends, his priests; he did not leave a.
single one alive.
The massacre of the princes of Judah
Jehu then set out and went to Samaria. As he was on his way -he met , at a
Beth-eked of the Shepherd s, the brothers of Ahaz iah king of Judah. ' Who are
you?' he asked. 'We are brot hers of Ahaziah,' they answered ' and we ar e goin g
do wn to pay our respects to the sons of the king and the sons of the queen. "
Ps 6 H:2 3
1 K2 1:2 3
J ~ 9;5
1'2Ch 22 :R
I K21 :21-24
11 2 Cb 22:8-9
10:3 2 2 K I N G S
2 KI NGS 12: 15
At hal iah (841 -835) <1
10: 1 WI
J " 'u I I le n At hal iah t he mot he r or Ah a zia h lea rned t hat her son wa s dea d, s he 1
promptl y d id a way wit h a ll t hose o r roya l stock .• But Jc nos hc ha, " dauuhter
0 1" King Jchorarn a nd sister 01' Ahazia h, sec ret ly too k away Jchoash, her brotiler' s
son. fro m a mo ng th e so ns or the king who were being mu rdered , a nd put him with
his nu rse in t he sleepi ng quar te rs: in thi s way s he hid him fro m Athali ah, and he
wa-, not put to de ath . • He stayed wit h her fo r six yea rs , hidden in t he Tem ple )
o r Ya hweh, whi le Ath a lia h governed t he co unt ry.
et' I1,3; 1 In th e se vent h yea r, Jchoiada: se nt fo r t he comma nders 01" hund red s o r t he
Ca r ia ns" a nd of th e gua rds, and had t hem bro ught to him in t he Temple o f
Ya hwe h. He mad e a pact wit h t he m and, pu tt ing t he m under oa t h, s howed th em
th e kings son. · He gave t hem thi s order:" ' This is wha t yo u mu st do: o ne t h ird of
you. those who arc o lr d ut y o n t he sa bba t h. a rc to mount gua rd at t he roya l (<»
pa lace. • whi le t he ot her t wo t hirds or yo u, mo un t ing guard at th e Temple of 7
Ya hweh. " 'a rt: to s urround the ki ng, eac h wit h h is wea pons in his han d : a nyo ne "
who tries to break t hro ugh yo ur ranks is to be pu t to deat h. W herever t he ki ng
gocs or co mes. yo u art: to escort him.' -
The commande rs o r hundreds did everyt hing as Jeh o iad a t he pr iest had 9
ordered. T hey bro ught t hei r men, t hose co ming ai r duty on t he sa bba t h toget her
wit h t hose mo unt ing gua rd o n th e sa bbat h. a nd ca me t o Jehoi ada th e pr iest.
,S "; 7 T he pr iest equi pped t he co mmanders of hundred s wi th King Davi d' s spears and 10
I K 1; 3.11 s hields whic h were in the Templ e o f Ya hweh. '/ •T he gua rds fo rme d up, each ma n II
wit h his we a po n in his hand , fro m th e so ut h co rner to the no rt h corner of th e
Temple, su rro und ing the a lta r a nd t he Tem ple. " - Thcn J cho iada br ough"t o ut 12
th e kings son. put t he crown an d a rmlets o n him. a nd he a no inted him k ing.
1 S 10 ;24 T hey clapped t heir hands a nd s ho uted. ' Lo ng live t he king! ' -
Atha lia h, o n hearing t he s ho uts o r t he peo ple, made Io r t he Temple o f 13
Ya hweh whe re t he people were, -Whcn s he saw t he k ing stand ing t here bes ide 14
th e pilla r, ' as t he cus to m was, wit h t he ca ptai ns a nd tr umpeters a t th e kings
side, a nd al l th e countr y people rej o icing a nd sou nd ing t rumpets, At ha liah tore
he r garmen ts a nd s ho uted , 'Trea so n, treason " -T he n Jc ho iada th e priest ga ve IS
t he o rder to t he a rm y office rs: ' Ta ke her o utside t he precincts' a nd put to de at h
a nyo ne who fo llow s he r' . ' Fo r' t he pr iest had reaso ned ' s he must no t be put
to dea t h in t he Te mple of Ya hwe h.' -T hey se ized her, a nd whe n she had reached I f>
t he pa hicc t hro ugh t he Ent ry o f the Ho rses , she was put to death t her e,
Jc ho iada made a covena nt be tween Ya hweh a nd ki ng a nd people, by which 17
t he lat ter undertook to be th e peo ple of Ya hweh ; and a lso bet ween king a nd
people. '" ·AII t he co unt ry people then we nt to t he te mple of Baal a nd demoli s hed 18
it ;" th ey smas hed his a ltars a nd hi s images a nd kille d Mattan, pr iest of Baal ,
in fron t o f the a ltars.
The pr iest posted sentr ies to guard t he Temple of Ya hweh .• He t hen took t he 19
co mmanders of h undreds, the Carians, th e guards a nd a ll t he country people
a nd made t hem esco rt t he king down from th e Temple of Yahweh a nd t hrough
the G a te of th e G uards int o t he pa lace. Jehoash took his sea t on t he t hrone of
20 the king s. · AII t he country peo ple were del ighted, n a nd t he city ma de no move.
And they put Athalia h to de a th in t he royal pa lace.
12 Ch 24:
o rd er and adds <at the kina' s side'.
i. ' t he armlets ' coni .: pa rt of the ro ya l ins igni a.
sec ::! S 1: 10 ; ' the tesn mo nv' Hcbr. ' he a noi nted'
Greek: <t he}' a no inted' Hebr ,
j , T he Hebr . insert s 'of t he gua rd ' , a glos s.
k , T here was evident ly a pl ace reserved for the
ki ng besid e one or t he pilla rs in front of t he Temple.
I K 7:15<22.
I, 'o fficers' Greek; ' outside t he precinct s' Greek.
m. T he las t words a rc possibly a n ad di tion: t hey
.u c abs en t fro m 2 ell I6.
11. Th is rc vot ut lon is a pa rall el to t ha t o f Jeh u in
t he Nort he rn K in ndom. ch. I O: I H- 2H.
o . It is t he co unt ry peo ple t herefore Cthc ncoote
of t he la nd ') who s uppo rt a return to t he Duvid lc a nd
Yahwisti c t radh lon : th e dt y has [ 0 he for ced t o acce p t i t.
12 a . And no t as in 2 e ll 24:2. 17f ' as lon g as t he
prie st Jchoiada was his instruct or ".
h. Text d oubt ful . re st ored from t he ( i red . The
ll cbr. her e adds 't he mon ey from [he Persons whom
he uhc pr ics!"!) has as sessed':
c. Fi rst of t he new kin a' s dis no si uo ns: pa ymen t
fo r t he rcnai r of rhe Te mp le is to be made out o f t he
re venues of t he nricsthood.
d . T he ro va l edict is car rie d OU I. ' t he p illar'
(;ree" : 'lhe alIaI" Ikhr.
(' . AdJ. 'a nd the high priest'. 't hc}' wou ld melt
Jt H\ Il' .:o r r.
I.:. Thu s the Israel ites los t a ll t hei r Transiordanin n
terr itory. T he ver se is heavily in th e spiri t of
Dt 3: 12f.
11 a. Two comb ined narrati ves a rc rcco enl snblc he re .
T he first. vv. 1-12 and IHb-20. attri butes t he fa ll or
Athaliah to th e act ion of t hc pr iest hood , s uppor ted hy
the roya l gua rd. T he seco nd. which is incomplete.
vv. 13- 18a. attribut es i t to a popular uprisi ng.
b. Accor di ng (0 2 e ll 22: I I she W:lS t he wi fe of
Jchoi ada t he prie st. v. 4 : t h is e xplains how sh e could
keen Jehoash hidden in t he Tem ple , v. 3..
c, Head of t he Jer usa le m priest hood. 12:H,
d. Me rcenarie s f ro m As ia Min or : Cf. the "Chcrc-
thltcs' o f Da viu' s guard, I K
e. On weekda ys. it seems. one t hi rd of the gua rd
was post ed a t t he Tcm nle . two t hi rd s at th e nntacc :
o n t he sa bba t h th e riropo riion was reve rs ed . J chuiuda
la kes advun t auc (I f a sa bb a t h: th c rwo t h ird s l-!(I t i ll
tJLJ t y at th c Temple as usu a l b ut he keep s th e ot hcr third
t here too . We o mit Y. (1 ' and I I Il C t hird 1.1 1 t he Gate
Sur (' ?) and o ne third at th e gal e beh ind th e gu a rds,
an d you arc 10 gn on d UI}' at th e ho use of ( wo rd
un kno wn)' ; obscu re te xt. pe r ha ps compos ed o f scvc ru l
co rrupt ulosscs .
r. T he text a dd s ' a l t he ki na's side '
Probabtr a gl l lSS from t he na rultet na rra tive nf
Ch in \\h ich the Ln ilCs ass ume Ihe w h.: l l( t he
guards a nd have to be armed .
h, Last wu rds u nce rtain. T he Hebr. has a d ifferent
The reign of Jehoash in J udah (835-796)
Jehoash was seven yea rs ol d when he came to the th ro ne . -Je hoas h became
ki ng in t he sevent h year of Jehu, and reign ed for forty years in Jerusa lem.
His mother' s name was Zibiah , of Beersheba. -Je hoash d id what is plea sing to
Yahweh all his life, ha vi ng been ins t ructed by Je hoi ad a t he priest. " -T hc h igh
places, however, were not a bo lished, a nd t he people s till offered sacrifices and
incense on t he hi gh pl ac es.
Jehoash sa id to t he pr iests, ' AlI the mo ne y from the sacred dues br ought t o th e
6 Temple of Ya hweh, th e money fro m personal ta xes, " and t he money given
5 s po nt a neo us ly to the Temple - is to be accepted by the pr iest s, from people of
no re pa irs to the Temple: -so King Je hoash sumrnoned Jehoiada t he pr iest an d t he
ot her priests. ' W hy arc yo u no t repa ir ing the Te mple?' he asked. ' Yo u arc no
lo nge r t o accep t mo ney fro m people of yo ur acqua intance. but a rc to ha nd it
over for t he Tem ple repa irs.' • T he priests ag reed to accept no money fr om t he
peo ple a nd no longe r to be res po nsible fo r repa irs to th e Temple.
13 Je ho iada th e pr iest procured a ches t . bored a hol e in th e lid o f it, a nd pla ced
it bes ide th e pillar, to th e right as yo u enter t he Temple o f Ya hweh ; in it t he
pries ts who gua rded t he t hres ho ld put a ll t he mo ney t hat was given fo r t he
l,l} Temple of Ya hweh:' • W he never they saw t ha t t here was a lot of mo ney in t he
ches t , t he king ' s secreta ry' would co me , a nd they would mel t down a nd reckon
t he 1110ney th en in t he Temple of Yahwe h. -Once check ed . t hey pa id t h is money
over to t he ma ste rs of wo r ks a t tached to t he Temple of Ya hweh, a nd th ese in
t urn spent it o n carp en ters a nd builder s wo rk ing o n t he Temple o f Ya hweh,
on mason s a nd st onecutt ers, a nd a ll buying wood an d d ressed sto ne to be used
fo r repairs to t he Temple of Ya hwe h ; in sho rt. for all t he cost s of the Temple
re pa irs . - No silve r basi ns, however, no knives, s prinkling bo wls, t ru mpets, no
" go ld or silver o bjects whatever we re mad e for t he Temple of Yah we h o ut of t he
u mo ney prese nted , - f or th is was all given to the workmen wh o used it fo r repai ring
2 / . /
d id not fol low t he law of Ya hweh, t he God o f Is ra el fa it hf u llv and wholcheartcdl v:
he did not give u p t he sins into which Je ro boam so n of Ne'ba t had led Israel. . '
At tha t time. Yahweh bega n to whit tle Isr ael down, a nd Hazael defea ted the 3}
Israelites t hro ughout the te r ritory - from t he Jordan ea st wa rds: al l the la nd of J3
G ilead. of the Gaditcs, t he Rcubenites a nd th e Manassites, from A roc r wh ich
is by t he wad i Arnon. Gi lead and Basha n.
The rest of the hist ory o f Jehu. hi s ent ire ca reer . all his prowess, is not a ll th is .14
recorde d in the Book of the Annals of the Kings o f Isra el'? -Th cn he slept wit h .15
his a ncestors. and t hey bu ried him in Sama ria: his son Jchoah az succeeded him.
Jehu's re ign ove r Israel in Sa maria lasted twenty-eight yea rs. )f>
F. FRO"I T ilE REIe;:" OF AT HA LI.\H TO TilE DEATII OF ELISHA
Ami : .!
12:16 2 K IN G S
470 47J 2 KINGS
The reign of Amaziah in Judah (796-781) 11
In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah son
. of Joash became king of Judah.•He was twenty-five years old when he
came to the throne, and he reigned for twenty-nine year s in Jerusalem. His
3 mot her' s name was Jehoaddin, of Jerusalem.• He di d what is pleasing to Ya hweh,
t hough not like his ancestor David; he imit ated his father Joash in all respects.
4 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offere d sacr i-
lices and incense on the high places.
Once the kingdom was firmly under his control, he killed those of his officers
" who had murdered the king his father. - But he did not put the murderers' sons 12:21-22
to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of Moses, where Yahweh
has or dered: 'Fathers must not be put to death for sons, nor sons for fathers;
every one mus t be put to deat h for his own sin' .
It was he who defeated the Edomites in t he Valley of Salt , ten thousand of 2 S 8:13
t hem, and who to ok the Rock by assault; he gave it the name Joktheel, which
it bears to th is present da y.
Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz son of Je hu, king 13:12
9 of Israel, saying, 'Come and make a trial of strength! ' -Jehoash king of Israel sent Jg 9:8-15
word to Arnaziah king of Judah, 'The t histle of Lebanon sent a message to the
cedar of Lebanon, "Give my son your daughte r in marriage"; but the wild
10 animals of Lebanon trampled down the thistle as they passed.•You have con-
quered Edam, aud now hold your head in t he air; boast on, but stay at ho me. Why
challenge disaster, to you r own ruin and the ruin of Judah?'
II ButAmaziah wou ld nor listen, and Jehoash king of Israel marched to t he attack.
And at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah, they ma de their trial of strength ,
12 Jehoash and Amaziah ki ng of Judah. -Judah was defeated by Israel, and everyone
c . By la yin g his hands on the king Elis ha bestows
d ivine strength on him. The fligh t of t he arrow is
east war d. aga ins t the Ar amaeans. The prophet' s gesture
prefi gures the event and thus brings it about. cf . Jr
d. 'every Year' corr .
e. The Hebr, adds ' yet ' , a gloss.
f . ' The house of the Millo', cf . 1 K 9: I 5. Two
wo rds corrupt at the end of vers e ' that goes down to
Silla ' ,
13 a . Ben- haded III, enemy of Jehoash of Israel. v, 25.
b. 'who freed them' Gr eek ; 'and t hey free d them'
Hebr , The libera tor was not Je hoabaz nor, de spit e
v. 25. his son Jehoash, but Je roboam II. see 14:27
on which the editor who added YV. 4-5 drew by way
Victory over the Ara maeans
22 Hazael king of Ar am ha d op pressed the Israelites throughout the lifetime of
23 Jc hoa haz, -but Yahweh was kind an d took pity on them. Because of t he covenant
he had made with Abraham, Isaa c and Jacob, he relented towards t hem ; he ha d
24 no wish to destroy them, he did not cast them out of his presence. e • Hazael king
25 of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad succeeded him. -Jehoash son of Jehoahaz
reca ptured from Ben-hadad son of Hazael t he towns which Hazael had seized
from his father Jehoahaz by force of arms. J oash defeated him three times and
recovered the Israelite towns.
VII. THE TWO KINGDOMS T O THE FALL OF SAMARI A
19 'Strike t he ground' ; and he st ruc k it three times, the n sto ppe d. ·At thi s, t he man
of God grew angry with him. 'You should ha ve struck half a dozen times'
he said ' and you would have beaten Ar am completely; now you will only beat
Aram three times.'
20 Elisha died, and was buried. Now ba nds of Moabi tes were making incursions
2 1 into t he countr y every year." -So rne people happened to be carrying a man out
for burial; at t he sight of one of t hese bands, they flung the man into the tomb
of Elisha and made off. The man had no soo ner to uched t he bones of El isha
tha n he came to life an d st ood up on hi s feet.
the Temple of Yah weh.•No accou nts were kept wit h t he men to whom the
money was paid over to be spen t on the wor kmen, since t hey were honest in
their dealings. • Money offered in expiat ion of an offence or of a sin was not
given to t he Temple of Ya hweh ; that was for the priests.
At that time Ha zael king of Ar am went to war against Gat h, and cap tur ed it; n
he the n prepared to attack Jerusalem. -Jehoash king of J uda h to ok all the sac red
offerings dedicated by his ancestors, t he kings of Judah, Jehoshapha t, Je horam an d
Ahaziah, with those t ha t he himsel f had dedicat ed, an d all the gold that was to
be fou nd in the treasur ies of the Temple of Yahweh an d of the royal pala ce ;
he sent it all to Hazael king of Aram, who retired from Jerusalem.
The rest of the history of Jehoash, his entire career, is not all thi s recorded in 73
the Book of t he Annals of t he Kings of Judah? • His officers rebell ed and hatched a
plot ; they struck Jehoash down at Beth -millo .. .! -Jozacar son of Shimeath and
Jehozabad son of Shomer were th e two who struck him down an d killed him.
They buried him with his ancestors in t he Cita del of David ; his son Amaziah
The reign of Jehoahaz in Israel (814-798)
In t he twenty-t hird yea r of Joash son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Je hoahaz 1
son of Jehu became king of Israel in Sa maria. He reigned for seventeen
years.• He did wha t is displeasing to Yahweh an d persisted in the sin in to whic h
Jer oboam had led Israel; he did no t give it up .
Then the anger of Yahweh blazed out again st the Israe lites, and he delivered 3
t hem wit hout respit e int o t he power of Hazael king of Aram and of Bcn-hadad"
son of Hazael. -Jehoahaz, however, tr ied to plac ate Yahweh, and Yahweh 4
hea rd him, for he had seen the oppression t he king of Aram was inflicting on
t hem.• Ya hweh gave Israel a saviour who freed t hem" from the gr ip of Ara m, 5
and the Israelites lived in t heir tents as in t he past. • But they did not give up (,
the sin into which Jeroboam had led Israel ; they persis ted in it, a nd even the
sacred pol e remained in Samaria.•Yahweh left of t he army of Jeh oahaz only 7
fifty horsemen, ten chariot s and ten t housand foo t soldiers. The king of Antill
had destroyed them, making them like t he dust that is trampled under foot.
The rest of the history of Jehoa haz, his entire care er, his prowess, is not all 8
t his recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel'? -Thcn Jc hoahaz 9
slept wit h hi s ancesto rs, and they bur ied him in Samaria; his son Joash succeeded
The reign of J ehoash in Israel (798-783)
In the th irt y-seventh year of Joas h ki ng of J uda h, Jchoas h, SO il of Jchoa haz. 10
became king of Israel in Sa maria. He reigned for sixteen years.• He did what is 11
displeasing to Ya hweh, he di d not give up t he sin into which Jeroboam son of
Ne bat had led Israel ; he per sisted in it.
The rest of t he histor y of Joash, his enti re career, his prowess, how he waged 12
war on Ama ziah king of J udah, is not all this recorded in t he Book of the Annals
of t he Ki ngs of Israe l? •Then Joash slept wit h his ancestors, and Jeroboam 13
asce nded his t hrone. Jo ash was bu ried in Samaria with t he kings of Israel.
The deat h of Elisha
When Elisha had fallen ill of th e illness he was to die of , Joash king of Israel 14
went down to him and shedding tears over him said, 'My father ! My fat her!
Chariot of Israel a nd its chargers!' -Elisha sa id to hi m, ' Bring bow and arrows'; 15
a nd he sent for a bow and arro ws. -Then Elisha said to t he king, ' Draw the bow' ; 16
and he drew it. Elisha put his hand s over t he hands of the king, - t hen he sa id, 17
'O pen t he window towards t he eas t', an d he opened it. Then Elisha said, 'A rrow
of victo ry over Ararn: You will defeat A rarn at Ap hek co mpletely."
Elisha sa id, 'Take the arrows'; an d he took them. Then he said to t he king, 18
los 8: 18
112 Ch 24:
The reign of Zechariah in Israel (743)
In the t hirt y-eight h year of Uzziah king of Judah, Zechari ah son of Jeroboam 8
The reign of Uzziah in Judah (781-740)
In the seventeenth year of Jeroboam ki ng of Israe l, Uzziah son of Arnaziah I
became king of J uda h. • He was sixteen years old when he ca me to t he
throne, a nd he reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was
Jeco liah, of Jerusalem. -He did what is pleas ing to Ya hweh, j ust as his father 3
Amaz ia h had done. •The high places, however , were not abolished, and the 4
people still offered sacr ifices and incense on the high places.
But Ya hweh struck the king, and he became a leper till his dying day. He lived 5
confined to his room ;" his son Jotham was ma ster of the palace and ruled the
The rest of the hist or y of Uzz iah, his entire career, is not all this recorded 6
in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Jud ah ? -Then Uzziah slept with 7
his a ncestor s, and they bur ied hi m in the Citadel of David ; his son Jotham
h. ' they buri ed him in Sa mar ia' Gr ee k Luc. :
omitt ed by He br ,
15 a. Tr a nsla tion do ubtf ul.
b. ' at Iblea m' Greek Luc.: Hebr . corru pt.
c. Text uncer tai n, sit e disput ed .
d. ' In hi s tim es' Greek ; ' throughout hi s time'
(joi ned to t he preceding ph rase) Hebr.
e. According to the Assyro- Babylonia n do cumen ts
Putu was the coronati on name taken by Tlglath-
pilese r III . kin g of As syria ( 7 4 5 ~ 7 2 7 ) , whe n he assumed
power in Babylon in 729. The tr ibut e of v. 20 is
mentio ned in the Assy ri a n texts in con nexion wit h the
Syrian campa ign of this ki ng i n 738 . .
f. Text uncertain. lit . ' Arso b (a di str ict of Transior-
dania) and the lion (or: a nd Arieh ?)' .
14 a . ' who led hi m off ' ver sio ns , 2 Ch 25:23.
b. The wall on the W. heig ht , cf. 2 S 5:9 + . It was
to be moved fu r ther N . by He zekt ah , 2 Ch 32:5. outs ide
this new ' Ga te of Eohra i m' (Ne 8:16: 12:39) lie Calva ry
and the Holy Sepulchre . A th ird wa ll. st ill fur ther N.,
was bu ilt b y Herod A gr tppa 1.
c. The text nam es him Azari a h her e a nd several
time s subseq uently bu t, ap art fr om 2 K, t he usual
form is Uzzia h.
d. Near Ezlon-gebe r , 1 K 9:28 +. a nd later co nf used
wit h it. Elath had been los t under Jeho ram, 2 K 8:20-21.
e. The ' Boo k of Jona h' is pseudon ymously assigned
to hi m.
C. ' bit ter ' Greek .
g . Tex t co rrupt. Ht , ' how he recovered Da ma scus
and Hamath for J uda h i n Is rael' .
The reign of Pekahiah in Israel (738-737)
23 In the fiftiet h year of Uzziah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Mena hem
24 became king of Is rael in Samar ia. He reigned for two years. -He did what is
displeasing to Yahweh; he did not give up the sins into which Jero boa m son
of Nebat had led Israe l.
25 Pekah son of Remal iah, his equerry, plotted against hi m and struck him
down in Samar ia, in the keep of the royal pa lace . . J He had fifty men of Gi lead
with him. He killed the king, and succeeded him.
26 The rest of the histor y of Pekahiah , his entire career, all this is recor ded in
the Book of the Annals of t he Kings of Israel.
The reign of Pekah in Israel (737-732)
27 In the fifty-secon d year of Uzziah ki ng of Judah, Pekah son of Remal iah
The reign of Shallum in Israel (743)
13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king
of Judah, and reigned for one month in Samaria.
14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, entered Samaria, murdered
Shall um son of Jabesh there, and succeeded hi m.
15 The rest of the history of Shallum, and the plot he hatched, all this is recorded
16 in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel. -It was at that time that
Menah em sacked Tappushr-c-killing all who were in it- and its territory fro m
Ti rzah onwards, because it had not opened its gates to him; he sacked the town
and ripped open all the pregnant women.
17 In the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi
18 became king of Israel. He reigned for ten years in Samaria.•He did what is
displeasing to Yahweh, he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son
of Nebat had led Israel.
19 In his times," -Pulr ki ng of Assyria invaded the country. Menahem gave Pul
a thousand talents of silver in return for his support in strengthening his hold
20 on the royal power. • Menahem levied this sum from Israel, from all the men
of rank, at the rate of fifty shekels a head, to be given to the king of Assyria,
who then wit hdrew, and did not stay in the country.
2 1 The rest of the history of Menahem, his entire career, is not all this recorded
22 in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? -Then Menahem slept with
his ancestors ; his son Pekahiah succeeded him.
9 became king of Israel in Samaria for six months. •He did what is displeasing
to Yahweh, as his fathers had done ; he did not give up the sins into which
Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israe l.
10 Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against him, murdered him at Ibleam, b and
11 The rest of the histo ry of Zechariah is recorded in the Book of the Annals
12 of the Kings of Israel. •It happened as Yahweh had said to Jehu, ' Your sons will
sit on t he throne of Isra el to the fourth generation'. And so it turned out.
2 2 KINGS I4:I3
The reign of Jeroboam II in Israel (783-743)
1[1 the fifteenth year of Amaz iah son of Joash, king of Judah, Jer oboam son 23
of Joash became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for forty-one yea rs.
He did what is displeasing to Ya hweh and did not give up any of the sins into 24
which Jeroboam son of Ne bat had led Israe l.
It was he who recovered the ter rito ry of Israel from the Pass of Ha mat h 25
as far as t he Sea of the Arabah, in accordance with the word that Ya hweh,
the God of Israel, had spoken th rough his servan t Jo na h' son of Amittai, the
pro phet fro m Gath-hepher. • For Ya hweh had seen how very bitte r! the affiiction 26
of Israel was, with no one, neither fettered nor free, to come to the help of Israel.
But Ya hweh had resolved not to blot out t he na me of Israe l fro m und er heaven ; 27
he rescued them by mean s of Jeroboam son of Joash.
The rest of the history of Jeroboam, his entire caree r, his prowess, wha t 28
wars he waged, how he .. . !I is not all thi s recorded in the Book of the Annals
of the Ki ngs of Israe l? •Then Jeroboam slept with his ancestors. They bur ied him 29
in Sa mariah with the kings of Israel ; his son Zechar iah succeeded him.
fled to his tent. -The king of Judah, Amaziali son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, was 13
taken pr isoner at Bet h-shemesh by Joash king of Israel who led him off> to
Jeru sale m, where Joash demolished the cit y wall from the Gate of Ephraim to
the Ga te of the Corner " for a distance of four hundred cubits. • He took all the 14
gold and silver, and all the furn ishin gs to be found in the Temple of Ya hweh and
in the treasury of t he royal palace, and hostages besides, a nd t hen returned to
The rest of the history of Jehoash, his enti re career, his prowess, how he 15
waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is not all this recorded in the Book of the
An nals of the Kings of Israel ? •Then Jeh oash slept with his ancestors, a nd was 16
buried in Samaria with the ki ngs of Israel ; his son Jero boa m succeeded him.
Amaziah son of Joash, ki ng of J uda h, lived for fifteen years after the dea th 17
of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israe l.
The rest of the hist or y of Amaziah, is not all thi s recor ded in the Book of 18
the Annals of the Kings of Judah? .A plot having been hatched aga inst him in 19
Jer usalem, he fled to Lachish ; but he was followed to Lachish where he was
put to death . • He was brought back by horse, and burie d in Jeru salem wit h 20
his ancestors in the Citadel of David. ·A ll the peop le of J udah chose Uzz iah,", 2 1
then sixteen years old , and made him king in succession to his father Amaz iah.
It was he who rebuilt Elat h" and recovered it for Judah, after the king had 22
slept with his a ncestors.
1 K 4:2 I--
=1 3:12- 13
li2 eh 26: 1-2
11 2 e h 26:3- 4.
became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for twenty years. ' -He did what 28
is displeasing to Ya hweh; he did not give up the sins int o which Jeroboam
son of Nebat had led Israel.
In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath -pileser king of Assyria came and 29
captured Ijon, Abel-beth-rnaacah, Janoa h, Kedesh, Ha zor , Gilead and Galilee,
all the land of Na phta li,n and deported the pop ulation to Assyria.' • Hoshea 30
son of Elah hatched a plot against Pekah son of Remaliah; he murde red the
king, and succeeded him.'
The rest of the history of Pekah, and his ent ire career, is not all this recorded 31
in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?
The reign of Jotham in Judah (740-736)
In the second year of Pekah son of Remal iah, king of Israel, Jotha m son of 31
Uzziah became king of Judah.•He was twenty-five years old when he came to 33
the thr one, and he reigned for sixteen years" in Jerusalem. Hi s mother ' s name was
Jerusha, dau ghter of Zado k. •He did what is pleas ing to Ya hweh, j ust as his 34
father Uzziah had don e. •The high places, however, were not abolished, and 35
the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the liigh places.
It was he who built the Up per Ga te of the Temple of Ya hweh.
The rest of the history of Jotham, his enti re career, is not all this recorded 36
in t he Book of t he Annals of the Kings of Judah? -At that time. Ya hweh began 37
sending Rezin' king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah agai nst Judah. -Th en 38
Jot ham slept with his ancestors, and was buri ed in the Citadel of Da vid, his
ancestor; his son Ahaz succeeded him.
The reign of Hoshea in Israel (732-724)
In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Juda h, Hoshea son of Elah became
king of Israel in Samaria, and reigned for nine years. • He did what is
displeasing to Yahweh, though not like the preceding kings of Israel.
Shalmaneser« king of Assyria made war on Hos hea who submitted to him
4 and paid him tribute. • But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was
playing a doubl e game with him: he had sent messengers to So, " king of Egypt,
and had not, as in previous years, handed over the tr ibute to the king of Assyria .
Fo r this the king of Assyr ia imprisone d him, in chains .'
11 2 Ch 28:
I K 7:27-37
17:6 2 K I N G S
15 and placed it at the nor th side of the new altar. •King Ahaz gave thi s order to
Uriah the priest: ' In future you will burn the morning holocaust, the evening
oblation, the king's holocaust and his oblation, the holocaust , the oblation and
the libati ons of all people on the great altar ; on it you will pour out all the blood
of the holoca usts and sacri fices. As regards the alta r of bronze, I shall see to
16 that. " • Uriah the priest did everything that King Ahaz had ordered .
17 King Aha z disman tled the wheeled stan ds, removed the crosspieces and the
basin s from them, and took the bron ze Sea off the oxen support ing it, and rested
18 it on the stone pavement. ' •In deference to the king of Assyria, he removed
from the Temple of Ya hweh t he dais for the t hro ne, which had been set up
there, and the royal entry on the out side. '
19 The rest of the histor y of Ahaz, his ent ire career, is not all this recorded in
20 the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? •Then Ahaz slept with his an-
cestors, and was buried in the Citadel of Da vid; his son Hezekiah succeeded him.
2 K INGS 15:28
112 Ch 27· I· 4 ;
The fall of Samaria (721)
The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid
siege to it for three years.•In the nint h year of Hoshea, the king of Assyr ia
captured Samaria" and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in
Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, r and in the cities of the MedesJ
11 2 Ch 28: 1· 4
DI 12:2 +
2C h28: 5f
11 2Ch28: 16
A m 1:5
I K 8;64
i 2Ch 28: 23
The reign of Ahaz in J udah (736-716)
In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jo tham
became king of Judah . - Ahaz was twent y year s old when he came to the
throne, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jer usalem. He did not do what is
pleasing to Yahweh his God, as his ancestor David had done. • He followed the
example of the kings uf Israel, even causing his son to pass through fire, copying
the shameful prac tices of the nat ions which Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons
of Israel. • He offered sacr ifices and incense on the high places, on the hills and 4
under every spreading tree.
lt was then that Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of 5
Israel, launched thei r campa ign against Jerusalem. The y besieged it but could
not reduce it . « .(At that time, the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom; 6
he drove out the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites occupied it and
live there to thi s present day.) : -T hen Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser 7
king of Assyria to say, ' I am your servant and your son.' Come and rescue me
from the king of Aram and the king of Israel who are makin g war aga inst me.'
And Ahaz took the silver and gold t hat was fou nd in the Temple of Yahweh 8
and in the treasury of the roya l palace, and sent thi s as a present to the king
of Assyria. •The king of Assyria gran ted his reque st and, going up agai nst 9
Damascus, captured it; he deported its populat ion to Ki r, and put Rezin to
When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pilcscr king of Assyria, 10
he saw the altar that was in Damascus. ' He then sent the measurements and a
model of t he altar with the det ail of its workmanship to Ur iah the pr iest.
Ur iah the priest constructed the altar; all the instruct ions sent by King Ahaz I I
from Damascus were carried out by Ur iah the pr iest before King Ahaz ret urned
from Damascus. -When t he king arri ved from Da mascus, he inspected the altar, 12
he approached it and ascen ded it. •He burned his holocaust and his oblation: 13
he poured out his libation and sprinkled the blood of his communion sacr ifice'!
The altar that used to sta nd before Yahwe h" he removed from the fron t of the 14
Temple, where it had stood between the new altar an d the Temple of Yahweh,
g. Five years at most acco rdin g to known da tes.
h. T he towns menti oned (' all Na phtall ' ) wer e
s ubd ued as T-iglat h.p ileser advanced i n his ca mp ai gn
uaa lnst Phi list ia in 734. Gilead a nd Ga lilee wer e
conquered in th e ca mpa ign of 733·732 aimed pr inci-
pall y agains t Da mascus , but are incl uded summa r ily
in t his list.
i. Firs t Isr aeli te de portat ion .
l. Th e Hebr. ad ds ' in t he twentie th year of latham ,
so n of Uzzi ah ' .
k . If t he figur e is exact it inc ludes the yea rs of
Jot ham ' s r egency, v. 5.
I. Rezin was th e last kin g of Da ma scus before [he
to wn fell into Assyria n hands, 16:9. T he wa r now
be ing prepared breaks ou t in th e re ign of Ah a z,
16 a. 'mer besieged it' Svr ., cf. Is 7: I: ' t hey besieged
Ahaz' He br . Th e purpose of t his wa r. occasio ning t he
prophecie s of Is:7-8, was to bri ng J udah into the a nti-
Assyrian coa liti on .
b. The transla tion conjec t ura lly read s ' Eda m' for
Hebr. ' Ara m' a nd drops Hebr. ' Rczin' before ' t he king
of Edam' . The Edo mi tes ava il t hemsel ves of t his
opport unity [0 ret ake Ela th , see 14:22.
c . Ahaz acknowledges himsel f vassal of Tiglat h-
onescr (in 734) but t his ba rgai ning fo r protect io n pa ves
th e wa y for t he d<»vnfa ll of hi s kingd om, cf. Is 8:5f.
d. Ti gtarh-pi teser' s campaign agai ns t Da mas cus,
e . The hi R: h altar of the temple of Damascus.
5: 18, an d not an altar raised by the army of occu -
pa tio n. ' t he measurements' Greek; ' t he patter n' Hebr.
f . The kin g himsel f co nse crates t he alta r by
exercisi ng pri estl y Iuncrions : he res erved to himself the
right to act as priest in cert ain circums tances. The kin g
is also th e ad mi nis tr at or of t he Te mple, an d la ys down
the ceremonial (see 12:5- 17, under Jehoash) : Ur iah
only appears as a roy a l officia l.
g. Thc bronze a lta r (as t he Hebr. gloss co rre ctly
notes) inst a lled by Solo mo n. 1 K 8:64 : 9:25, in fr on t of
t he T emple ent ra nce .
h. Tra nsla tion doubt ful.
i . Hebr. tex t d ist urbed. It is not known whet her
t he c ha nges introduced by Ahaz ha ve a ce re mo nial
purpose or whet her the y ar e made to provide him with
t he bronze he nee ds (to pa y hi s tribute (0 th e Assyrian
k i m ~ ? ) .
j. In te rpre ta tio n disputed . Probably ' t he da is' a nd
' t he roy a l ent ry' ar e symbols of sove rei gnt y wh ich
Tigtar h-ni leser ma kes hi s vass al remove.
17 a . Shat manese r V (727·722) s ucces so r of Ti gla t h-
pitcscr If I.
b. T his ' So. king o f Egypt' probably th e Eg yp t ian
gene ra l called Si be in Assyri a n texts, possibly a pr ince
of t he Dell a .
c . The imprisonment of Hos bea . who had ma rched
ag ai ns t Sha lma neser or ha d fled fr om Sa ma ria. took
pl ace a t t he beg in ning of t he siege of Sa ma ria and
mar ked t he end of his reig n (9th year) .
d. Shal ma neser had la id sie ge to t he ci ty in 724.
but it he ld out until t he begi nn ing of t he reign of his
son Sar go n. pr obably ea rly in 721. The ' nint h year of
Hos hea ' re fers to t he begi nn ing of t he siege.
e . No t far fr om Haran to t he ex treme N . of
f . E. of Mes opo ta mia . Israelite sett lemen ts here
took the pla ce of t he natives whom 'r teiam-oueser had
depor ted . T his is t he ba ckg ro und of Tb.
2 K I N G S
2 KI NGS 18:5
A. HEZEKI AH, T HE P ROPHET ISAI AH; ASSYRI A
VIII . THE LAST YEARS OF THE KINGDO M OF J UDAH
11 2Ch31: 1
D' 12:2 +
1l 2 Ch 29:1-2
o. Fa it hless Israelite s are meant her e, as in vv, 14f.
not (as in the pr eceding verses) paga ns. ' his sta tute s'
coni.: ' their statutes ' Hebr.
18 a. Chro no logy uncer ta in.
b. 'Abiiah' 2 Ch 29:1; 'Ab!' Hcbr.
c . By t hus centra lising the cult a nd decl aring war
on idolatry Hezekiah prepares the way for the reforms
of Josiah , ch. 23, an d well des er ves the eulogy of vv, 3
d . The name alludes to the mat eri al of whi ch it
was made (nehasncth, br onze) and t o its sha pe (nahasn,
ser pent). It was said to be the image made by Mo ses
in t he desert . Nb 21:8-9, a nd was the ob ject of idol at rous
worship, Ws 16:6-7.
wors hi p in the se pagan sur ro undings . Th e de ta ils of
vv , 29-34 a were added during the Exi le. T he developme nt
in vv, 34b-40 re vert s to the sms resp on sib le for t he ruin
of Israel, and wo uld be mor e ap propriately place d in
the first part of the chapter .
n. ' I deported from there' Targ , 'le t him eo'
g . These ob ser vations do not come from o ne
so urce. For the pri nci pa l author of the book the griev-
ou s faul t of Isra el is t he relig ious schism. 1 K 12:26-33,
an ' or igina l sin' of which every kin g o f Isra el is accused
i n vv. 7a a nd 21-23. A development ric h in remi nis-
ce nces of Dt a nd the prophets (espe clallv Jr ) has been
added; it denounces re ligi ou s compromise and th e
local shr ines, vv. 7b-18 . A second ad diti on extends the
con de mnat ion to Judah. vv. 19-20.
h. The Hebr. adds a few wor ds ' and (the pra ctices)
of th e kings of Israel wh ich they ma de their ow n' or
'a nd (t he practices) whic h the kings of Israel had
i ntroduced'. probably a gloss (i n accordance with v, 21)
i ntended for th e beg inni ng of v . 9 but transposed here .
i. ' plotted' text uncertain. Cr. not e h .
j . T he text adds ' on all the high places' .
k. 'more t ha n' Greek ; ' as ' Hebr.
I. ' t he sin' Greek ; 'a ll t he sins' Hebr.
m. Vv. 24- 28 a nd 41 offer a simplified view of the
rese tt lemen t of the Northern Kin gd om : they presuppose
a wh olesale deporta tion of the Isr aeli te population and
fuse sever al successive colonisations : by the story of
VV. 25-28 ' they explain the persisten ce of Ya hwi sti c
31 benoth, the men of Cuthah a Nergal, the men of Hamath an Ashima, -the
Avvites a Nibhaz and a Tartak; while the Sepharvites burnt their children in
the fire in honour of Adrammelech and of Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim.
32 They worshipped Yahweh as well, and they appointed priests out of their own
number for the high places who officiated for them in the temples of the high
33 places.•They worshipped Yahweh and served their own gods at the same time,
34 with the rites of the countr ies from which they had been deported. •They still
follow their old rites even now.
They did not worship Yahweh" and did not conform to his statutes or
ritual , or the law or the commandments, which Yahweh had laid down for the
35 sons of Jacob to whom he gave the name Israel. •Yahweh had made a covenant
with them and had given them this command: ' You are not to worship alien
gods , you are not to bow down to them or serve them or offer them sacrifices.
36 You are to bow down and offer sacr ifice to Yahweh who brought you out of
37 the land of Egypt with great power and outstretched arm. •You are to observe
the statutes and ritual, the law and the commandments which he has given you
in writ ing and to which you are always to conform; you are not to worship
38 alien gods.•Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not
39 venerate alien gods . •Venerate Yahweh alone, you r God, and he will deliver
40 you out of the power of all your enemi es.' • But they would not listen, and still
followed their old rites .
41 These nations, then, wor shipped Ya hweh and served their carved ima ges as
well, their childre n, too, and their children's children still behave today as their
fathers behaved in the past.
Introduction to the reign of Hezekiah (716-687)
In the third year of Hoshea - son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah son of
Ahaz became king of Judah. • He was twenty-five year s old when he came
to the throne, and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jer usalem. His mother's
name was Abijah, b daughter of Zechariah. •He did what is pleas ing to Yahweh,
4 just as his ancestor David had done . •It was he who abolished the high places,
broke the pillars, cut down the sacred poles- and smashed the bronze serpent
that Moses had made; for up to that time the Israelites had offered sacrifice
5 to it ; it was called 'Nehushtan." •He put his trust in the God of Israel. No king
Observat ions on the fall of the Nort hern Kingdom.
This happened because the Israelites had sinned aga inst Yahweh their God 7
who had brought t hem out of the land of Egypt. out of the grip of Pharao h
king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods, -t hey foll owed the practices of the 8
nations that Yahweh had dispossessed for them.h • The Israel ites. and the kings 9
t hey had made for themselves, plotte d' wicked schemes against their God. They
built high places for themselves wherever they lived, from watchtower to fortified
town. •They set up pillars and sacred poles for themselves on every high hill 10
and under every spreading tree. •They sacrificed/ there after the man ner of the I I
natio ns that Yahweh had expelled before them, and did wicked th ings there,
provoking the anger of Yahweh. •They served idols, although Ya hweh had told 12
them, ' This you must not do '
And yet through all the proph ets and all the seers, Yahweh had given Israel I J
and Judah thi s warning, ' Turn from your wicked ways and keep my command-
mcnts and my laws in accordance wit h the entire Law I laid down for your
fat hers and delivered to them thro ugh my servants the prophets' . • But they 14
would not listen, they were more stub born than k thei r ancestors had been who
had no faith in Yahweh their God. •They despised his laws and the covenant 15
he had made with their ancestor s, and the warnings he had given them . They
pu rsued empt iness, and themselves became empty th roug h copying t he nati ons
round them although Yahweh had or dered them not to act as they di d.
They rejected all the commandments of Yahweh t hei r God and made idols of 16
cast metal for the mselves, two calves ; they made t hemselves sacred poles, they
wors hipped the whole array of heaven, and t hey served Baal. - They made their 17
sons and daug hters pass t hrough fire, they pract ised divina tion and sorcery,
they sold themselves to evi l-doi ng in the sight of Ya hweh, pro voki ng his anger .
For t his, Yahweh was enraged with Israel and thr ust them away from hi m. 18
There was none left but the tr ibe of Judah only.
J uda h di d not keep t he commandments of Yahweh their God either, but 19
copied the practices that Israel had introduced.•Ya hweh rejected the whole 20
race of Israel ; he brought them low, deli vering the m into the hands of marauders,
unt il at lengt h he thrust them away from him. -And indeed he had torn Israel 21
away fro m t he House of Da vid, and they had made Jeroboam son of Ne bat
ki ng; Jerob oam had drawn Israe l awa y fro m Yahweh and led t hem into a great
sin. •The Israel ites copied t he sin' Jero boam had committed; they did not 22
give it up, -u ntil at length Yahweh thrust Israe l away fro m him, as he had foretold 2J
thro ugh all his servan ts the pro phets; he deport ed the Israelites from t heir own
count ry to Assyria, wher e they still are today.
The origin of the Samaritans no
The ki ng of Assyr ia brought people from Babylon, Cut hah, Avva, Ha math 24
and Sepha rvairu , and sett led them in the towns of Samaria to replace t he
Israelites ; t hey too k possess ion of Samaria and lived in its towns .
When they first came to live there, they did not wor shi p Yahweh, so Ya hweh 25
sent lions aga inst them, which killed a number of t hem. •They said to the king 26
of Assyria, 'The nations you deported and settled in the town s of Samaria do
not know how to wor shi p t he god of the count ry, and he has sent lions aga inst
them ; and now these arc killing t hem because the y do not know how to worship
the god of the country '. -So the king of Assyria gave this order: ' Send back 27
one of the priests whom I deported from t here; let him go" and live there and
teach them how to worshi p the god of the count ry'. -Accordingly, one of the 28
pr iests they had depo rt ed from Samaria came to live in Bethel ; he tau ght them
how to wors hip Ya hweh.
Each nati onal gro up made idols represe nt ing its own gods and put them in 29
the temples of the high places made by the Samarita ns ; eac h national group
did this in t he towns allocated to it. -The men of Babylon had made a Succot h- 30
I K 12:20
Ly1S:2 1 I-
£:'<23: 24 + :
Ot 11:1 l-
I K 11:26-33
I K 12:3H
Dt 4: 1 ~ : 1 7 : J
I X: J4
Am 7: 17
I n 4:9 +
of J udah after him could be compared with him- nor any of those before him.
He was devot ed to Yahweh, never turni ng fro m him, but keepin g the command- 6
ments that Yahweh had laid down for Moses. -And so Yahweh was with him, 7
and he was successful in all that he undertook. He rebelled agai nst the king of
Assyria' and refused to serve him.•It was he who harassed the Philistines as far 8
as Gaza, laying their territory waste fro m watchtower to forti fied town.
The fall of Samaria; recapitulation!
In the fourth year of Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son 9
of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyri a made war on Samaria and
laid siege to it. •He cap tured it after three years . Samar ia fell in the sixth year 10
of Hezekiah, which was the ni nth year of Hos hea king of Israel. •The king of I I
Assyr ia deported the Israelites to Assyri a and settled them in Ha lah on t he
Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of t he Medes.•This happened because 12
they had not obeyed the voice of Ya hweh the ir God and had broken his
cove nant, violating all that Moses the servant of Ya hweh had laid down. They
neither listened to it nor put it into practice.
Sennacher ib's invasiong
In the four teenth year of Ki ng Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked 13
the for tified towns of Juda h and captured t hem. -Then Hezekia h king of Judah 14
sent t his message to the king of Assyria at Lachish, ' I have been at fault. Ca ll
off t he attack, and I will sub mit myself to whatever you impose on me.' The
king of Assyria exacted three hundreds talent s of silver and thirty talen ts of
gold from Hezekiah king of J udah, -a nd Hezekiah gave him all the silver in 15
the Temple of Ya hweh and in the treasur y of the royal palace. •It was then that 16
Hezek iah stri pped the facing from the leaves and ja mbs of the doors of t he
Temple of Yahweh, which . ..
ki ng of J uda h had plated, and gave it to t he
king of Assyria.
The embassy of the cupbearer-in-chief
From Lachish the king of Assyria sent the cupbearer-in-chief with a large 17
force to King Hezekiah in Jer usalem.' He went up to Jer usalem, and when he
ar rived;' he took a position nea r the conduit of the upper pool which is on the
road to the Fuller' s Field. • He summoned the ki ng. The master of the palace, 18
Eliakim son of Hil kiah , Shebnah the secretary and the herald Joah son of
Asaph went out to him. -T he cupbearer-ill-chief said to them, ' Say to Hezekia h, 19
"Thus spea ks the great king, the king of Assyria: What makes you so confident ?
Do you think empty words are as good as st rategy and military strength? Who 20
ar e you relying on , to dare to rebel aga inst me? •We know you are relying 21
on that broken reed Egypt ." which pric ks and pierces the hand of the man
who leans on it.-That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely
on him.-· You may say to me: We rely on Ya hweh our God, but are they not 22
his high places and. altars that Hezekiah has suppressed, sayi ng to the people
of Juda h and Jerusalem: This in Jerusalem, is the alta r, before which you must
worship? -Come, make a wager with my lord the king of Assyria: I will give 23
you two t housand horses if you can find horsemen to ride them . •Ho w cou ld 24
you rep ulse a single one' of the least of my master' s servants? And yet you have
relied on Egypt for chariots and horsemen.•And last ly, have J come up against 25
this place to lay it waste without warrant from Yahweh? Ya hweh himself said
to me: Ma rch aga inst this country and lay it waste." ,
Elia kim,» Shebnah and Joah said to the cu pbearer-in-chief, 'Please speak 26
to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the
J udaea n language with in earshot of the people on t he ramparts'. -But t he 27
cupbearer -in-chief said, 'Do you thi nk my lord sent me here to say these things
to your master or to you? On the cont rary, it was to the people sitting on the
I S 17:26
Is 4:3 +
1I 1s37: 1-7
bee n co nde mned by Isai ah .
I. 'a sing le one' coni. : 'a single sa tra p' Hebr.
m. 'Eliakim' Is 36:1 I.
n. Gra phic desc ript io n of the stra its to whic h a
beleague red c ity is re duced.
o. ' where ar e the gods of the lan d of Sa maria'
19 a . Hezekiah consults Isaiah jus t as the earl ier kings
of Isr ael an d J udah co nsu lte d the pr op hets , as the ir
cou nse llors in war, suc h as Elija h a nd Elis ha. cf. I K
22:81; 2 K 1:91; 3:111: 6:81. etc.
b. Proba bly a pr o ver bia l express ion for a desperate
si tuat ion.
c. T he saving of a ' remnant ' of the chosen people
is one of the themes of the pr each ing of Isai ah .
cf. Is 4:3 + a nd, here. vv , 30-31.
d. ' spi ri t' is not here pers on ified: it is an imper ati ve
inspi rati on fr om God.
2 KI NG S
e. Ei ther in 711 or, mor e probably. before th e
campai gn of 701, VV. 13f.
f . T his passage reca pit ulates the eve nts of ch. 17.
g. Sennacherib was son and successor of Sa rgon :
his Pa lesti ni an campaign took place in 701. The Anna ls
of his reig n recor d it in deta il , confirmi ng the dat a of
vv. 13- 16. but sa yi ng no th ing of the ult imate rep ulse
of Sennac hertb and so contai ni ng not hin g cor respo nd-
i ng to 18:17- 19:37. In t he bibli cal text the re a re
two pa ra llel nar rat ives: first, 18: 17-1 9:9a wi th 19:
36- 37, a nd seco nd . 19:9b -35 : these repor t the even ts
in th e sa me orde r but in a slig htly d iffere nt way. The
whole pa ssa ge. 18:13- 19:37. is repeated wi th some
vari a nts in Is 36-37.
b. By an oversight the text reads ' Hezekiah ' instead
of the name of some previous king.
i. The tex t of 2 K inserts ' the commander-in-chief
an d the chief eu nuc h'; omitted b)' Is 36:2 .
I, The Heb r, her e repeat s the precedi ng words.
k, At tempts to for m a n alliance wit h Egypt ha ve
ramparts who, like you, are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their
28 Then the cupbearer-in-chief stood erect and, shouting loudly in the Judaean
language, called out, 'Listen to the wor d of the great king, the king of Assyria.
29 Thus the king speaks: " Do not let Hezekiah delude you. He will be powerless
30 to save you from my ha nds. •Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on
Ya hweh by saying: Yahweh is sure to save us; this city will not fall into the
31 power of the king of Assyria.•Do not listen to Hezekiah, for the king of
Assyria says this: Ma ke peace with me, sur render to me, and everyone of you
will eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig tree and dr ink the water
32 of his own cistern -un ti l I come and depo rt you to a count ry like your own, a land
of corn and good wine, a land of bread and of vineyar ds, a land of oil and of
honey, so that you may not die but live. Do not listen to Hezekiah who is
33 deluding you when he says: Yahweh will save us. • Has any god of any nation
34 saved his cou ntry from the power of the king of Assyr ia? •Where are the gods
of Hamat h and Arpad? Whe re are the gods of Sepharvai m and Hena and Ivvah?
Where are t he gods of the land of Samaria?> Did they save Samaria fro m me?
35 Te ll me which, of all t he gods of any count ry, have saved their cou ntr ies from
my hands, for Yahweh to be able to save Jerusalem?" '
36 They kept silence and said noth ing in reply, since such was the king's or der:
37 'Do not answer him' he had said. -The maste r of t he palace, Eliakim son of
Hilklah, Shebnah the secretary and the hera ld Joah son of Asaph, wit h their
garments torn, went to Hezekiah and reported what the cupbearer-in-chief
had said .
The prophet Isaiah is consulted
On hearing this, King Hezekiah tore his garments, covered himself with
sack loth and went to the Temple of Ya hweh. • He sent the mas ter of the
palace, Eliakim, Shebnah the secretary and the elders of the priests, covered in
3 sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz." -T hey said to him, 'This is what
Hezekiah says, "Today is a day of suffer ing, of pun ishment , of disgrace. Children
4 come to birth , and there is no st rength to bring them forth." • May Yahweh
your God hear the word s of the cupbear er-in-chief whom his master, the king
of Assyria, has sent to insult the living God, and may Ya hweh your God punish
the words he has heard. Offer your praye r for the remnan t that is left. " "
When the ministers of King Hezek iah had come to Isaiah, - he replied, ' Say
to your master, "Ya hweh says this: Do not be afraid of the words you have
heard or the blasphemies the minions of the king of Assyria have uttered aga inst
7 me. ·1 am going to put a spirit" in him, and when he hears a rumo ur he will
return to his own cou nt ry, and in that country I will br ing hi m down with the
2 K INGS r 8:6
~ 1 7 : 1 - 6
11 2Ch32: 1
Ill s 36: 1
11 2 Ch 32:
II l s36:2-22
Is30: 1-7 ;
Is 22: 13-25
2 KI NG S
Ill s37:21-35 Isaiah int ervenes
I S[4 :[ 0 +
1 S [7:47
2S 7: 12-1 7 -i-
Ho l:7 +
Hl s 37:30
!ll s 37:33
I. 'and me adow' Is 37:27 ; 'under t he east wind'
m. ' I am there whe the r you rise' coni. At the
en d of the verse th e text adds 'and your raving against
rne', doublet from v. 28.
n. Isaia h addresses Hezekia h . The 'sign' is hard
to in terpret : for two years it is imposs ible to sow , an d
at first they ea r whatever spr in gs fr om t he grain dropped
during the previous har vest , and af te r that whatever
t he nealected la nd has to offer; but Sennacherib did
not stay even one year in Palesti ne. and deliverance
came immediately , v. 35. Alternative explanations:
ei ther the oracle was pronounced on some different
occasion , or else i ts import is a very general one, namely
t hat af ter lean days prosperity fo llows.
k . The firs t. Assyr ia n king to invade Egypt was
actuall y Esa rhaddon, Sennacherib ' s successor.
19 e . Pha raoh of th e 25t h Dynast y : he reigned from
690 t o 664 . appr ox i ma tely. but co uld have commanded
the Egyptia n ar my as ear ly as 701. His dynasty
Et hiopian. he nce ' king of Cus h' (Ethiopia) .
f. ' Te l Basar' coni.
g. A gloss add s 'o ne kin g to each tow n' .
h. Greek; th e He br . adds 'and t heir count ries ',
I. The poem is typi ca l of Isaia h ; th oug h it has
been a t leas t edi ted by on e of t he prophet 's di sciples.
I. vv. 23·25: verbs in pa s t tense, with Greek; fut ure
2 K I N G S
I have put down my feet ,
and I ha ve dried up all the river s of Egypt .>
" Do you hea r? Lo ng ago
I planned for it,
fro m days of old I desi gned it ,
now I car ry it out.
Your part was to bring down in heaps of ruins
for tified citi es.
Their inhabitants, hands feeble ,
were like plants of the field,
like tender gra ss,
like grass of ho usetop and meadow
under the east wind.'
But I am there whether you rise > or sit;
whether you go out , or you come in, I know it .
Because you have raved against me
and your insolence has come to my ears ,
I will pu t my ring through your nos tr ils,
my bit between your lips , '
to make yo u ret urn by the road
on which yo u came.
A sign for Hez ekiah
"Th is shall be the sign- for you:
thi s year will be eaten t he self-sown grain,
next year what sprouts in t he fallow,
but in the t hird year sow and reap,
plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
The surviving remnant of the House of Judah shall bring forth
new root s below and fruits above;
for a remnant shall go out from Jerusalem,
and survivors from Mo unt Zion.
The jeal ous love of Ya hweh Sa baoth sha ll accomplish t his."
' This, then, is what Ya hweh says about the king of Assy ria :
" He will not enter t his city,
he will let fly no ar row agai nst it,
confront it with no shield,
throw up no eart hwor k against it.
By the road th at he came on he will return;
he shall not enter this city. It is Yahweh who speaks.
I will protect th is city and save it
for my own sake and for t he sake of my servant David." ,
"She desp ises you, she scorns you ,
the virgin , daughter of Zion;
she tosses her hea d beh ind you,
the daughter of Jerusalem.
Whom have you insulted, whom did you blaspheme?
Against whom ra ised you r voice
and lifted your haughty eyes?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
Through your envoys you have insulted the Lord,
you have said : With my ma ny chariots
I have climbed the tops of mountains,
the utmost peaks of Lebanon.
I have felled/ its tall fores t of cedars,
its finest cypresses.
I have rea ched its furthest recess es,
its forest garden.
Yes, I have dug wells
and drunk of alien waters ;
'G ive ear, Ya hweh , and listen .
Open your eyes, Yahweh, and see.
Hear the words of Sennacherib
who ha s sent to insult the living God.
'It is tr ue, Yahweh, that t he kin gs of Assyr ia haw exter minated all t he nat ions," 17
they have thrown thei r gods on the fire, for t hese were not gods but the work 18
of men' s hands, wood an d stone, an d hence t hey have dest royed them. -But 19
now, Yahweh ou r God , save us from his hand, I pr ay you, and let all the king-
doms of t he eart h know that you alone are God, Yahweh.'
Senn acherib sent messengers to Heze kiah again, saying , o ' Tell t his to He zek iah 10
king of Judah, "Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you,
when he says : Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria.
You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, 11
putting them all under the ba n. Ar e you likely to be spared? 0 What power to 12
help did the gods have of those nations my fathers dest royed, Gozan, Haran,
Rezeph and the Edenites who were in Tel Basar? " 0 Where are the king of Hamath , 13
the king of Arpad,« the kings of Sepharvaim, of He na , of Ivvah?" ,
Hezekiah too k the letter from t he hands of the messenge r and read it; he then 14
wen t up to the Temple of Ya hweh and spread it out before Ya hweh. -Hezekiah 15
said thi s prayer in the presence of Yahweh, ' Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel,
ent hroned on the cherubs, you alone ar e God of all the kingdoms of the earth,
you have made heaven and earth.
Then Isa iah .son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ' Ya hweh, the God of Israe l' he 20
said ' says this, "I have heard t he prayer you have addressed to me about
Sennacherib king of Assy ria" . -Here is the oracle t hat Yahweh has pronounced 2[
agai nst him;'
111s37: 8-9 The cupbear er return s to his mast er
The cupbearer went back and rejoined t he kin g of Assyria at Li bnah, 8
which he was attackin g. The cupbear er ha d al ready learn t that the king of Assyria
had left Lachish, -since he had received thi s news about Ti rhakah- king of Cu sh, 9
' He has set out to fight you ' .
Jr 10:[ f-
I K I S:2 4 1-
Ex25 : 1H +-
E5 ( 4: 17c
1 : 1 ~ ; N ~ J 6 Sennacherib 's letter to He zekiah
2 KINGS 2 KIN GS 2 1: 15
Il. TWO W ICKE D KI;\;GS
the pool and the co nd uit to br ing wa ter into the city.' is not all this recordcd in
21 t he Book of t he Anna ls of t he Kings of J udah ? -Then Hezckiah slept wit h his
fat hers : his so n Manass ch succeeded hi m.
Is 34: I I
I K :-: : 16
I X:4 :23:4
I K 111: 32- 33
Lv IX:2 1+
11 2Ch3J: I - IO
j . T he Gi ho n s p ri ng was ou tside t he cit }' . Hezekiah
had a t unnel J u g rhr o ug b t he rock 10 br tnz t he wa ter
I n t he poo l ca lled Siloa m, In 9:7, t he re se r voir (If
Is 22: I I und Si 4 H: 17, ins ide t he ci ty wa lls . T hi s aq ueduct
rc nluccd a n o lde r on e which . for so me o f its len gth .
la y op en to t he sky, o n th e E, s lopes of M1. Z ion an d
br ouulu t he wa te r to a d iffe rent pool , s lt uatcd be low
th e level of th e Pool of Siloa m. Is 7:3 : 2 K I H: 17 ;
Is 36:2 : Is 22:9.
2 1 a . We shoul d p robably subtract 10 vcurs from th is
h. T o t hes e pagan gods,
C. Hen: a n imag e of t he Ca naa ni te lwdd ess
As her a h, no t o ne o f th e sacrell p illa rs bea r in lo! her
na me, Ex 34: 13 +,
d. Reference to Dt t o which t he who le passage
a ll udes : I.:f. Ot 17:3 : IH:9- 14: 12:5 and 29 f.
t' . 'havinl-:... il' co nj.
f. Aft c r t he fa Jl of (he Nort he rn KinRdom the
inhabitant s of JuJah are (he ' remnan t' of the chosen
people, cf. Is 4:3 +, the in he ritance of Yahweh,
de po rt a ti o n of th e no bil ity, et. 24 : 13f, Hezekiah
se lfish ly i nfers t ha t he will a t leas t be left in peace ,
o, T he Assyr ian ar my is deci mated by a sco urge
of God. ncss tbl v a nlae ue. d . 2 S 24: 15f.
D. "Nis roc h' , probably a disto rti on of some ot her
divine na me. Ma rr..l uch or Ni nu r ta. ' his so ns' vers ions.
h 37:3S. Senn ac bcr ib was in fact assassinat ed in 6HI.
20 a . Th is ch. .::! O is f ou nd agai n i n I s 3X-39 wit h an
abbreviated te xt, a so me wh a t di fferent o rd eri ng of
verses. a nd th e ad dit ion of t he so ng o f Hczck in h.
b. Va gue l ime indica ti o n. The ill ness of I Icvekiah
and t he embassy of M cr od ach -bal adan bo t h cert a in ly
occ ur red bef o re t he ca mpaign o f Scnnachcri b descr ibed
in ch . 1:-< · 19,
c . 't he co ur t ' versio ns : ' t he cit y' Hebr .
d , ' \ \'ou lll you l ike t he shall o w to gO fo rwarll ' co nj,:
'T he shall OW ha s go ne fnrwarll ' He b r.
t' , ' on t ht;: Slens o f A ha t:' o:.: o nj. : 'on t he steps hy
whk h it (( he sun '!) WCllt dowll in t he !'tcps of Aha l:
lI e br. , cf. Is JX:x , T hese 'steps' (d egrees) ref er eit ht.:r t tl
a s und ia l or to a sta ircase b ui lt b y A ha t:.
r. In Assy ri a n: Man..luo:.:h-apa l-iddi na champion
(a J.minst As syria) tlf B,lhy [on ian independence.
g , 'a nd h is recoverY' Is :W: I : Het:ek ia h' Hebr.
h. 'was dcl ighl cJ at Ih b' versio ns, Is 39:2 : ' hea rt!'
i. Isaiah foretcl h t he saLk of J er usa lem and the
The reign of Ma nasseh in Judah (687-6.t2)
1 21 Manassch was twelv e years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned
1'01' fifty- five ycars« in Jerusalem. His mother' s name wa s Hephzibah. • He
did what is displeasing to Yahweh, co pying the shamef ul practices or the nations
3 whom Yah weh had di spossessed 1' 0 1' the sons of Israel. • He reb uilt t hc high
places t hat his father Hczckiah had destroyed. he set up alta rs to Baal and matte
a sacred pole as Ah ab king of Israel had done, he worshipped the whole ar ray
4 of heaven and served it. • He bu ilt altars in t he Temple of Yahweh of which
Yahweh had sa id, 'Jerusa lem is where I will uivc rn v na me a ho me' .
He bui lt altars to the whole array o r -hea\,c;, in t hc two cou rt s or the
(, Temple or Yahweh. • He caused his so n to pass th rou gh t he fire. Hc practised
soot hsaying and ma gic a nd int rod uced necroma ncers and wiza rds. He d id very
7 many more things d ispleasi ng to Ya hwe h. t hus prov oking his anger.. Hc placed
the carved image or As hcra h which he had mad e in t he Temple, of which
Yah weh had sa id to David and his so n So lomon, ' In th is Temple a nd in
Jerusalem, t he city I chose out or a ll t he t ribes o r lsracl, I will give my name
, :t ho rn e 1'0 1' eve r. ·1 will Ill) lo nger make Israel's foot steps wa nder fro m t he
land I gave their Iuthcrs. pr ovided they o bserve ali i hal e ordered t hem in accord -
'J ancc with the \\ hol e Law that my servant Moses pre scribed 1'0 1' them. ' : • But
they did not listen, Manassch led the m astra y, so t hat they did mo re evil tha n
those na tions Yahweh had de st royed before t he son s o r Israe l.
:'1 The n Yahweh spoke t hr ou gh his serva nts the prophets, ·'Si nce Manasseh
king o f J uda h has do ne t hese shumcfu] dee ds, act ing more wickedly t han a ll the
Arno ri tcs d id before hi m, an d has led Juda h itsel f into sin with his idols,
12 Ya hwe h, the God or Israel , says t his, " Loo k, 1 will bring such d isas ter as to
I ) make the ears of a ll who hea r of it t ingle. · 1 will st retc h over Jeru sa lem t he sa me
meas uring line as ove r Sama ria, the same plu mb-rule as for the Ho use of Aha b;
I will sco ur Je rusal em as a ma n sco urs a dish and, ha ving scoured it, turns it
I·, upside down.' ·1 will ca st away the remnant / of my inher itance, de liver ing them
into the power of their enemies, and making th em serve as prey an d boot y to
I S all t heir enemies, -b eca use they have done what is dis pleasi ng to me and have
provoked my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until now." ,
The Ba bylonian embassy
At t hat ti me the ki ng of Babylon, Merodach-baladan so n of Baladan,! sen t 12
letters a nd a gift to Hezekiah , for he had hea rd of his illness and hi s recovery. "
Hezeki ah wa s delighted at t his" an d sho wed t he messenger s hi s treasu re-hou se, 13
the silver, gold, spices, preciou s oil, his armo ury to o, and everything t here was
in hi s storehouses. There wa s no t hing Hezekiah did not show th cm in his pa lace
or in hi s who le domain.
Then the pr ophet Isa iah ca me to King Hezekiah and asked hi m, 'What have 14
t hese men said, and where have th ey come from?' Hezekiah answered, 'They
have co me fr om a faraway cou ntr y, fro m Babyl on' . -Isaiah sa id, 'What have 15
they seen in your pa lace?' 'They have seen everyt hing in my palace' Hez ek iah
an swere d. ' There is not hing in my storehouses t hat I have not shown them.'
Then Isai ah said to He zekiah, 'Listen t o t he wo rd of Yahweh , · "Th e da ys l ~
are comi ng when everyt hin g in yo ur pa lace , everyt hing that your ancestors ha ve
amassed unti l now, will be carri ed ofr to Babylon. Not a t hing will be left " says
Yahweh. · "Sons sprung from yo u, so ns begott en by you, will be chosen t o be 18
eu nuc hs in t he pal ace of t he king of Babylon. '" • Hezekiah sai d to Isa iah, ' This 19
word of Ya hweh that you a nnounce is reassur ing' , for he was thinking, 'And
why not ? So lon g as th ere is peace and secur ity dur ing my own lifeti me.' :
The end of the reign of Hezekiah
The rest of t he history of He zeki ah, all his prowess, how he co nst ructed 20
The illness and cure of Hezekiah
0 In those days " He zek iah fell ill and wa s at the poi nt of death . The prophet I
Isa iah son of Amo z came and sa id to him, 'Yahweh says this, "Put
your affa irs in order, for you are going to die, yo u will not live.. ' . • Hczck iah
turned his face to t he wall and addressed thi s prayer to Ya hweh, .'Ah, Ya hweh, 3
remember I beg you , how I have behaved faithfu lly and wi th sincerity of heart
in your presence and do ne what is righ t in yo ur eyes' . And Hczekiah shed many
Isa iah had not left t he middle co urt," before t he wo rd of Yahweh came t o
him, ·'Go back and say t o Hezekia h, prince of my people, "Yahwe h, the God of
Davi d your ancesto r, says t his : I have heard your praycr and seen your tea rs.
I will cure yo u: in t hree days' t ime you shall go up to the Temp le of Yahweh .
I wi ll add' fifteen years to your life. I will save you and t his city fro m the han ds 6
of th e king of Assyria, I wi ll protect thi s cit y for my own sake a nd t he sake
of my servant Davi d." ,
' Bring a fig po ultice' Isai ah sa id; they bro ug ht one, applied it to t he ulcer, 7
a nd t he king recovered.
Hezekia h sa id to Isa iah, ' What is the sign to tell me that Ya hweh will cure 8
me and that I shall be go ing up to t he Temple of Yahweh in three days'!' · 'Here'
Isaiah rep lied ' is the sign from Ya hwe h t ha t he will do what he has said ; wo uld
yo u like t he shadow to go forward" ten steps, or to go back tcn steps?' · 'It is easy 10
for the shadow t o lengthen ten steps,' He zekiah answered ' no, I would rather
th e shadow went back ten steps.' •The pro phet Isaiah t hen ca lled on Ya hweh 11
who made t he shadow go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz .'
Sennacherib is punished
That same night t he an gel of Ya hweh went out and st ruck down a hundred 35
and ei ghty-five th ousan d men in the Assyrian camp. I n t he ea rly morning when
it was time to get up, there they lay, so many co rpses.
Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh. 36
One day when he wa s worshipping in th e temple of his god Nisroch, his sons 37
Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down wit h the sword and escaped into
t he land of Ararat. > Hi s son Esarhaddon succeeded him.
Jos IO: 13
Ps 56: 1ol
2 S 24: 16
1: 2 Ch 32:
2 M 8: 19
Na l :l2
I S 14: 10+
2 Ch 32:
Ezk 23:16 +
2 K ING S
2 KI N G S
D I1 6:2 1+
I K1 4:23
11 2 Ch 34:3-5
d. A prophetess not menti on ed els ewhere.
e . Sentence unfinished ; perhaps supply ' wi ll be
fu lfilled ' .
23 a. The 'Book of the Law' of 22:8. Dt it self
claims to be the code of the covenant wit h Ya hweh.
Dl 5:3 : 2S:69.
b. T he Hebr. adds ' t he high pr iest' .
c. ' the pri est' Tara. : ' the prie sts ' Hebr . The next
in rank to t he hi gh pr iest. The 'g uard ia ns of th e
th reshold ' . cf. 2 K 12:10. were al so prie sts of high r ank.
cr. a lso 25: 18.
d. ' a nd who offe red sac r ifice' Greek, Ta r a. : ' a nd he
offer ed sac r ifice' Hebr.
e. Vv. 4b-5 must be an addi tion.
g. Ac cord ing to Jewis h trad it ion Isa iah was on e
of th e victims of t his per secu tio n .
h. The loya lty of the common people to t he dy nasty
of Da vid is a lso reco r ded in 11:20 and 14:21.
i. ' his fat her's tomb' Greek.
22 a . ' mel t down' Gree k. vu tc.
b. Th is ' Book of t he Law ' is cert ai nly Dt or . to he
precise . i ts lca isla uvc port ion . t he main sta tutes of
-which form the a uidi ne princ iples of the subseque nt
refor m. It wa s the sa cr ed la w of the Tem pl e of Jerusa-
lem. hidden or lost or a t least completel y for gonen
duri ng the rei gn of th e impiou s Ma na sse h.
c. A gloss ("and the who le of Ju dah ') follows 't he
people". ' wr it ten in it' Greek Luc . : ' wri tt en a ga inst
The covenant renewed
1 23The king then had all t he elders of Judah and of summoned to
him, -and the king went up to the Temple of Yahweh With all the men of
Judah and all the inhabitant s of Jerusalem, pr iests, prophets and all the people ,
of high or low degree. In t heir hearing he read out everything tha t was said
3 in the book of the covenant - foun d in the Temple of Yahweh. •The king stood
beside the pillar, and in the presence of Yahweh he made a covenant to follow
Ya hweh and keep his commandments and decrees an d laws with all his heart
and soul, in order to enfo rce the terms of the covenant as writ ten in that book,
All the people gave their allegia nce to the covenant.
Religious reform in Judah
4 The king ordered Hilkiah> with the pr iest next in rank and the gua rdi ans
of the threshold c to remove all the cult objects tha t had been made for Baa l,
Asherah and the whol e array of heaven; he burnt them out side Jerusalem in
5 the fields of the Kidro n and had the ashes ta ken to Bethel. -He did away with
the spurious pr iests whom t he kings of J udah had ap pointed and who offered
sacrificed on the high places, in the towns of J uda h and the neighbourhood of
Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrifice to Baal , to the sun, the moon, the
6 constellati ons and the whole array of heaven.' -From the Templ e of Yahweh
he removed the sacred pole right out of Jer usale m to the wadi Kidron, and in
t he wadi Kidron he burnt it ; he reduced it to ashes and threw its as hes on the
7 comm on burying-ground. • He pulled down the house of the sacred male
prosti tute s which was in the Te mple of Yahweh and where the women wove
clot hes for Ashera h.
blazing out against us because ou r ancestors did not obey what this book says by
pract ising everything written in it.>
14 Hilkiah the pr iest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shap han and Asaiah went to Huldah-
t he pr ophetess, wife of Shallum son of Tik vah, son of Harhas, the keeper of
the war drobe; she lived in Jerusalem in the new town. They put the matter to
15 her, -and she replied, ' Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, "To the man
16 who sent you to me say this: • Yahweh says this: I am bringing disas ter
on thi s place and those who live in it, carry ing out everything said in the book
17 the king of Judah has read, •because they have deserted me and sacrificed to
other gods, to provok e my anger by everyt hing they did . My anger blazes out
18 against t his place; it will not be ext inguished. ·And you are to say to the king
of Judah who sent you to consult Ya hweh: Ya hweh, the God of Israe l, says
19 this: The words you have heard . . . ' - But since your heart has been touched
and you have humbled yourself before Ya hweh on hearing what I have decreed
against this place and those who live in it, how they will become an object of
horror and cursi ng; and since you have torn your gar ments and wept before me,
20 I for my part have heard- it is Yahweh who speaks. •Fo r this reaso n I will
gather you to your ancesto rs, you shall be gat hered into your grave in peace ; your
eyes will not see all the disasters that I mean to bring on thi s place." , They took
thi s answer to the king,
Ma nasseh shed innocent blood, too, in such great quantity that he flooded 16
Je rusalem from end to end, " apart from the sins into which he led Judah by
doing what is displeasing to Ya hweh.
The rest of the history of Ma nasseh, his ent ire career, the sins he committ ed, 17
is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Jud ah? •Then 18
Man asseh slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the gard en of his palace,
the garden of Uzza; his son Amon succeeded him.
The reign of Amon in Ju dah (642-640)
Amon was twent y-two years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned 19
for two years in Jerusalem. His mot her ' s na me was Meshullemet h, dau ghter
of Haru z, of Jotbah.• He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, as Manasseh his 20
fat her had done. -In ever y respect he followed the example of his father, serving 21
t he idols his fathe r had served, and worshippi ng them.• He aband oned Yahweh, 22
t he God of his ancestors ; he did not follow the way of Yahweh.
Amon's offi cers plotted aga inst the king and killed him -in his palace. • But U
t he country peopl e" st ruck down all those who had plott ed against king Amon,
and proclaimed his son Josiah as his successor.
The rest of the history of Amon , his ent ire ca reer, is not all this recor ded in 25
t he Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? • He was buried in his fath er' s 26
tomb' in the garden of Uzza; his son Josiah succeeded him.
, 2 Ch 33:
)12 Ch 33:
1l: 11- 16
1: 2 C h
:1 2 Ch 34:
C. JOSIA H AND T HE RELIGIOUS RE FOR M
' 2 Introduction to the reign of Josiah (640-609)
Josiah was eight years old when he came to t he throne, and he reigned for I
t hirty-one years 111 Jerusalem. His moth er' s name was Jedi dah, da ughter
of Adaiah, of Bozkath.• He did what is pleasing to Ya hweh, and in every respect
followed the example of his ancest or David, not deviati ng from it to right or left.
The Book of the Law discovered
In the eighteenth year of King Jos iah, t he king sent the secretary Shaphan 3
son of AzaJiah son of Meshullam to the Temple of Yah weh. •'Go to Hilkiah 4
the high pr iest,' he told him 'a nd tell him to melt down" the silver that has
been br ought to the Temple of Ya hweh and that t hose who guard the threshold
have collected from the peopl e. • Let him hand it over to the masters of wor ks
att ached to the Te mple of Ya hweh, for them to spe nd on the workmen working
on the repairs to the Temple of Ya hweh, ' on t he carpe nter s, builders and masons, 6
and on buying wood and dressed stone for the Temple repair s.• But t hey are
not to be asked to render account of the money handed over to them, since
they are honest in t heir dealin gs.'
The high priest Hilkia h said to Shap han t he secretary, ' I have found the 8
Book of the Law in the Temple of Ya hweh' . " And Hi lkiah gave the book to
Sha phan, who read it. -Shaphan the secretary went to the king and report ed 9
to him as follows, ' Your servant s' he said ' have melted down t he silver which
was in the Temple and have hand ed it over to the masters of work s att ached to
the Temple of Yahweh'. -Then Shaph an the secretary informed the king, ' Hilki ah 10
t he pr iest has given me a book' ; and Shaphan read it aloud in the king's presence.
Huldah the prophetess is consulted
On heari ng the contents of the Book of the Law, the king tore his garme nts,
and gave t he following order to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, I I
Achbo r son of Mica iah, Shapha n the secretary and Asaiah the king.s minister: 12
'Go and consult Yahweh, on behalf of me and t he people, about the contents of
t his book that has been found . Great indee d mus t be the anger of Yahweh 13
He brought all the pr iests in fr om the t owns of J udah, and from Geba to
Beersheba he desecrated t he high places where t hese pri ests had offered sacrifice."
He pulled down the shri ne of t he goat s" which stood at t he ga te of Joshua,
the gove rnor of t he city, to the left as you ent er t he city gat e.•The priests of 9
the high places, however, co uld not go up t o t he altar of Yahweh in Jerusalem,
but t hey ate un leavened bread in t he compa ny of the ir brot her priests." • He 10
desecrat ed the furnace in t he Vall ey of Ben-hinnorn, so that no one could make
his son or daughter pas s t hrough fire in hon our of Molech.• He did away with I I
the horses t hat t he kings of J uda h had dedicated to the sun ' at t he entrance
to the Te mple of Yahweh, near the apa rt ment of Nat han-rnelech t he eunuch,
in the precincts, and he burned t he chariot of the sun. •The altars on t he roof 12
that t he kings of Judah ha d built, with t hose t ha t Ma nasse h had built in the two
co ur ts of t he Temple of Ya hweh, t he king pulled do wn, and broke t hem to
pieces on the spo t, then carried them away an d threw t heir rubble into t he wadi
Kidron.•The ki ng desecrated the high places facing Jerusalem, to t he south 13
of t he Mo unt of Olives, ,. which Solomon king of Israel had built for Astar te
the Sido nian abominat ion, for Chemosh the Moabitc a bomination, and for
Milcom the Ammonite abomina t ion .• He a lso smashed the sacred pillars, cut 14
down the sacred poles, and covered the places where t hey had stood with human
The end of the reign of Josiah
28 The rest of the hist ory of Josiah, his entire career, is not all th is recorded
in the Boo k of the Annal s of the Kings of Judah?
29 Dur ing his reign Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt was on his way to t he king
of Assyria " at t he river Euphrates whe n King J osiah intercepted him; but Ne co Jr 22:1O- 11
30 killed him at Megiddo in t he first encounter. • Hi s servants carried his body
from Me gidd o by chariot; the y brought him t o Jerusalem, an d buried him in
his own tomb. The countr y people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed
him, proclaiming him king in succession to his father. 112Ch36:1
Lv1 H:2 1 1-
I K 11:7
I K I-t:23
Z p 1:5
2 ]:8 2 KI NGS 48 6 2 KINGS
all his st rength, in perfect loyalty t o t he Law of Moses; nor was any king like hi m
26 Yet Yah weh did not renounce the heat of his great anger which blazed out
against Judah because of all the provocat ion Manasseh had offered hi m.
27 Ya hweh decreed, ' I will thrust Ju dah away from me too, as I have alr eady thrust
Israel; I will cast away Jerusal em, th is city I had chosen, and the Tem ple of which
I had said : There my name shall be.'
D. THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
112 Ch 36:2-4
Q . An d not ' a ga inst the king of As syria'. Necas
(609-595), ca lled Neco in the Bible, marched in 609
to the ass ista nce of the las t kin g of As syr ia, dr iven from
Babylonia and then fr om Haran by the Medea and
Ba bylo ni a ns. Jos iah wa nted to pr even t the joini ng of
the Ass yr ians with the Egy ptians si nce he ca lculated
that t he kingd om of Juda h woul d profit fr om the final
ru in of Assyria.
r . Not t he prophet Jer emiah,
s . Ne cas was ret ur ning from his N. expedition,
v. 29 ; the co llapse of Assyria ha d left hi m master of
Syri a and Palestine .
t. The text adds ' when he was king in Jer usa lem"
or (versions) : 't ha t he might no longer reign in Jer usa-
lem' , 'ten tale nt s' versions ; ' one ta lent ' Hebr,
u. T he name is al most the sa me (' Yahweh r ises up'
for ' Go d rises up ') but the enforced ch a nge emphasis es
t he vassa lage of the king of J udah .
T, 'and carried away' Greek.
impressio n is co nfir med by Jeremiah, Zepha niah an d
m. Josiah took advantage of t he decline of Assyria
to restore the independe nce of J uda h and even to exte nd
his control to a port ion of the fo r mer ter ritory of Israel.
n. ' brea king up it s stones' Greek; ' burn ing the
high place' Hebr.
o. ' whe n Je roboam .. , man of God' Greek.
p. The text add s 'Be thel' , a gloss .
23 f. J osiah imposed the law of the uni qu e sa nct ua ry
by fo rce ; all the wor shi p of J udah was to be ce ntralised
in Jerusal em, Dt 12, The ' high places' (l K 3:2) a re
Ya hwist ic sh r ines, co nde mned on ly be cause the y
co ntr avene this law.
g, Text cor rected , The reference is to demons
represented as he-goa ts, after the fash ion of sa tyrs . see
Lv 17:7 ; 2 Ch 11:15.
b. The la w provided. Dt 18:6-8, that provincial
priests who ca me to Je r usa lem should enio v t he sa me
pri vileges as thei r ' br ot he rs' , the priests of the ci ty.
But whe n the ' pries ts of the hig h places ' all se tt led in
Jer usa lem it is pro bab le th at t he city pr iests saw to it
that t heir status was reduced ,
i. Not mentioned elsewhere a nd difficult to explai n.
'a t t hc entra nce to the Te mple' ver sion s . ' the preci nc ts'
tr an sl ation uncert ai n. ' the c ha riot" G ree k.
i . Sma ll a ltars dedi ca ted to astral dci ties, Jr 19:13;
k . ' of Oli ves' , lit. ' of oil" Greek. Targ. : ' of Per-
ditio n' Hebr.
I. To des ecrate the sites on ce and for all , see vv, 16
and 20. Jos iah tak es step s, first to de stroy the scatter ed
shri nes where a mor e or less contaminated wors hip
of Ya hweh was pe rfor med , and secondl y to wipe out
pr act ices that wer e completely pagan, wit h gods and
r itual borrowe d from the Canaa nites or , in the case
of astral cults, imported from As syri a. AU th is gives
a sa d p icture of the religious situation in Ju dah; the
The reig n of Jehoahaz in Judah (609)
3 1 Jehoahaz was twent y-t hree years old when he came to t he throne, and he
reigned for three mo nt hs in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Ha mutal, da ugh ter
32 of Je remiah, r from Libnah.• He did wha t is displeasing to Yahweh, j ust as his
ancestors had done .
33 Phara oh Neco put him in chai ns at Ri blah , s in t he territory of Harnath ,' and
imposed a levy of a hundred talents of silver and ten ta lent s of gold on the
34 count ry.•Pharaoh Neco ma de Elia kim son of Josiah king in succession to
Josiah his fat her, and changed his na me to Je hoiakim.« Jehoahaz he t ook and
carried away" int o Egypt, where he died.
35 Jehoia kim pa id over t he silve r and gold to Pharaoh, but first had to tax the
count ry before he could rai se t he sum that Pharaoh demanded: he levied the
silver and gol d to be paid over to Pharaoh Ne co from eac h according to
his mea ns.
Last words on the religious reform
What is more, t he necromancers an d wizards, the hou sehol d gods a nd idols, 24
a nd a ll the a bom ina t ions to be seen in the land of J udah a nd in Jerusa lem, all
t hese were swe pt away by J osia h to give effect to t he words of t he Law written
in t he book foun d by Hilkia h the pr iest in the Temple of Ya hweh. • No king 25
befo re hi m had t urned to Ya hweh as he did, with all his heart, all his sou l,
The reform is extended to the for mer Nort hern Kingdom m
Similarly, as regards the altar that was at Bet hel, the high place built by 15
Je ro boam son of Nebat who had led Israel into sin, t his alta r and thi s high
place he also de mol ished , breaking up its stones" and reducing them t o powd er .
The sacred pole he bu rned.
As he loo ked a round, Jos ia h saw t he tombs there on the hi llside ; he had the 16
bones fetched from the tom bs an d burned t hem on the alt ar. Thus he desecrate d it,
in acco rdanc e with the word of Yahweh which t he man of God had pro claimed
when Je roboam was stand ing by t he altar at t he t ime of the feast. As he looked
around, Jos ia h caught sight of t he tomb of the man of God n who had for etol d
thes e th ings .• ' What is t hat monument I sec?' he asked. The town speopl e re plied, 17
'It is the tomb of t he man of God who came from J uda h and foretol d what
you have do ne to the altar'. I' · 'Let hi m rest ,' the king said ' a nd let no one disturb
his bones.' So t hey left his bones un tou ched, wit h the bones of t he pr op het
who was from Sama ria. .
J osiah also di d awa y with all the temples of t he high places that the kings 19
of Israel had built in the to wns of Samaria, pro vok ing t he anger of Yahweh ;
he tr eat ed t hese places exact ly as he had treated the one at Bet hel. ·AII t he 20
priests of t he high places who were t here he slaughtered on t he alta rs, and on
those altars burn ed human bones. Then he ret urn ed t o Jerusa lem.
2 1: f)
D l J K: I I
1 K JJ: J l
. The Passover celebrated
The king gave t his order t o t he who le peo ple: 'Celebrate a Passover in honou r 2 1
of Yahweh your God, as prescribed in thi s book of t he cove na nt ' . •No Pas sover 22
like thi s one had ever been celebra ted since the days when t he judges rule d
Israel or th roughou t t he entire period of t he kings of Israel a nd t he kings of
Judah. •The eighteent h year of King Josiah was the onl y t ime when such a 23
Passover was celebrated in honour of Yahweh at Jerusalem.
I K1 2: 33-
(; 11 ."\ 1: 19 +
J g IS: l -t
I K I 2:3 1-32
Dn I: J
I K7; 15-22.
P2Ch 36: 18
I K 7:45.50
112 Ch 36: 19
IIJr 39: 1-7
Jr 39:8- 1O;
Jr52:3 - 11
in their way o r es timat ing the ex tent o r the firs t
de po rt a tio n.
h. Matt a ni ah: ' Gift-of- Ya hweh' Zedek iah: 'Yah-
weh-is-my-jus tice'. cr. 23:34 + .
i. The narrative or 24: 18-25:21 is used again
as a conclus ion to Jr (ch. 52) . 2 K 25:1-12, is also made
use or in Jr 39:1·10 (wi th a n addition in v . 3). though
possibly both passa ges a re fr om a common so urce.
25 3 . T he rei gn of Ze de kiah. End of December 589.
b. ' In the fourt h month' Jr 52:6. J une-J ul y 587.
c . ' At once. th e king made his escape' Greek Luc.
d. The arid Jordan valley.
e. As a rebellious vassal. ' wh o passed' ver sions,
cf. Jr 52: 9.
f . Still in the 11th year of Zedekiah, v, 2, 587.
g. Tr an slat ion uncertain.
h. The Hebr. has two words here 'on the filigree' ,
24 a . Nabu-kud ur-us ur , founder of the Nco-Ba by-
Ioni an . or Chaldaean , emp ire whic h succeeded th a t or
Ass yria, ruled from 605 to 562. Hi s first expedi tio n to
Palesti ne and Jehoi aktm' s surr end e r to ok pla ce in
a bo ut 602, the revo lt or Judah occurred in 599.
b. ' he' (i.e. Neb uch adnezza r) Greek; 'Yahweh'
lI ehr .
c. ' d ue to the a nger ' versio ns a nd v, 20 ; ' a t the
d. The defe at of the Egyptia ns at Carcemish in 605
left Nebuchadnezzar maste r of Syria and Pal estine.
c. The yea r 598 accordi ng to Hebr, reckoni ng
which cou nted the fractional first yea r of accession :
Jr 52:28 has 'se ven th yea r' fo llow ing Babylonian usage.
t, He was to remai n th er e f or 37 years until
Ncbuc had nezza r's death, cr. 25:27 ; hi s ca ptivity was
1101 harsh .
1:. Vv. J3- 14and 15-J6 are doublet s sli ghtly differi ng
The siege of Jerusalem
Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 25 In the ninth year of his
reign, a in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month,
king of Babylon came with his whole ar my to attack .Jerusalem.; he pitched
2 in front of the city and thre w up earthworks round It. -The city lay under siege
3 till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. -I n the fourth month, on the ninth day
of the month, b when famine was raging in the city and there was n? food for
populace, -a breach was made in the city wall. At once, the king made hIS
escapeeunder cover of dark, with all the fighting men, by way of the gat e bet ween
the two walls, which is near the king' s garden-the Chaldaeans had surrounded
5 the city-and made his way towards the Arabah .d - The .Chaldaean pursued
t he king and caught up wit h him in the plains of Jen<:ho, where. all his troops
deserted. -The Chaldaea ns ca pt ured the king and took him to the king of Babylon
at Riblah, who passed sentence on him.' -He had the sons s.laughte.red
before his eyes, then put out Zedekiah's eyes and, load ing him WIth chams,
carried him off to Babylon.
The sack of Jerusalem. The second deportation
In the fifth month, "on the seventh day of the month-it was in the ni neteen th
year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon-Nebuzaradan , commander of the
9 guar d an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. - He burned down the
10 Temp le of Ya hweh, t he royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. :The
Chal daean troops who acco mpanied the commander of the guard demolished
II the walls surrounding Jer usalem. -Nebuzaradan, comma nder of the guard,
dep orted t he remainder of the popu lation left behind in the city, the deserters
who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the common peop le.
12 The commander of the guard left some of the hu mbler count ry people as vineyard
workers and ploughmen.
13 The Chaldaeans broke up the bro nze pillars from the Temple of Ya hweh, the
wheeled stands ' and the bronze Sea that were in the Temple of Ya hweh, and
14 took the bronze away to Babylon. -Thcy also took the ash containers, the
the knives, the incense boats, and all the bron ze furn ishings used in wor ship.
15 The commander of the guard took the censers and the sprinkling bowls, everything
16 that was made of gold and everyt hing made of silver. -As regards the two pillars,
the one Sea and the wheeled sta nds, which Solomon had made for the Temple
of Ya hweh, ther e was no recko ning the weight of bronze in all the se objects.
17 The height of one pillar was eighteen cub its, and on it a capital bronze,
the height of the capital being five cuhi ts ; round the capital were filigree and
pomegranates, all in bro nze. So also for the second pillar .. : " . .
I R The commander of the guard took prisoner Seraiah the chief pnest, Zephaniah
I'J the priest next in rank, and the thr ee guardians of the -I n the city he
took prisoner a eunuch who was in command of the fighting men, five of the
The reign of J ehoiakim in JUdah (609-598)
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he 36
reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zebidah, daughter
of Pedaiah, from Rumah. - He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his 37
ancestors had done.
During time Nebuchactnezzar
king of Babylon invaded, and Jehoiakim I
became his vassal for t hree years, but then rebelled against him a second
time. -So he" sent armed bands of Chaldaea ns, Ararnaeans, Moabites and
Ammonites against him; he sent these again st Judah to dest roy it, in accor dance
with the wor d that Yahweh had spoken through his servants the prophets.
That this happened in Judah was due entirely to the ange r- of Ya hweh: he had 3
resolved to thrust them away from him because of the sins of Manasseh and
all that he had done, -a nd also because of the innocent blood that he had shed, 4
flooding Jerusalem from end to end with innocent blood. Yahweh woula not
The rest of the histo ry of Jehoiakim, his entire career, is not all this recorded
in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? -Then Jehoiakim slept with
his ancestors; his son Jehoiachin succeeded him.
The king of Egypt did not leave his own country again, because the king of 7
Babylon had conque red everywhere belong ing to the king of Egypt, from the
wadi of Egypt to the river Euphrates.«
The first deportation
At that time the troops of Ne buchadnezzar king of Babylon ma rched on 10
Jer usalem, and the city was besieged. -Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself I I
came to attack the city whi le his troo ps were besieging it. -Then Jehoiachi n king 12
of J udah surrendered to the king of Babylon , he, his mother , his officers, his
nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was
in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.«
The latter carried off all the treasures of the Templ e of Yah weh and the 13
treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon
king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of Yahweh, as Yahweh had foretold.
He carried all' all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten 14
t housand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalwor kers; only the
poorest peopl e in the country were left behind. - He deport ed Jeho iachin to IS
Babylon;" as also the king's mother , his eunuchs and the nobility of the country;
he mad e them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. -All the men of distinction, 16
seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metal workers, one thousand of
them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon
by the king of Babylon . v
The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in Succession 17
to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah."
Int roduction to the reign of Jehoiachin (598)
Jeho iachin was eighteen year s old when he came to the throne, and he reigned 8
for thr ee mon ths in Je rusa lem. His mother ' s name was Nehushta, da ughter 'of
Elnathan, from Jerusa lem. - He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, j ust as his 9
fat her had do ne.
Introduction to the reign of Zedekiah in Judah (598-587)'
Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned 18
for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamital, daughter of
Je remiah, from Libnah. - He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as Jehoiakim 19
had done. -That thi s happened in Jerusalem and Judah was due to the anger of 20
Yahweh, with the result that in the end he cast them away from him.
Est I: l c
J r 27:20
J r 37:2
Est l rl c
112 Ch 36:5-7
' 2Ch36: 10
1; 2 Ch 36:
Jr 24; 1;29;2
1: 2Ch36: 13
Jdl 5: l ij
2 KI N G S
king' s personal friends who were discovered in the city, the secretary to the army
commander, responsible for military conscription , and sixty men of distinction
discovered in the city. -Neb uzarada n, commander of the guard, took these men 20
and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah, -and at Riblah, in the land 21
of Harnath, the king of Babylon had them put to death. Thus Judah was deported
from its land.
I NTRODUCTION TO THE BOOKS OF
- - ------ ------- - ---- - - ------ ---
Gedaliah , governor of Judah
As regards the people who remained in the land of Judah whom Nebuchad- 22
nezzar king of Babylon had left behind, he appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam
son of Shaphan as their governor . •When the commanders of the troops and their 23
men all heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Geda liah as governor
t hey went to him at Mizpah: Ishmael son of Nethaniah Johanan son of Kareah .
Seraiah. son of Tanhumeth, the Netophathite, J a a z a n i ~ h the Maacathite , the;
and their men. -To them and to their men Gedaliah swore an oath . ' Do not be 24
afraid of the Chaldaeans,' he said ' live in the country, obey the king of Babylon,
and all will go well with you.'
But in the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama who 25
was of royal descent, and ten men with him, came and murdered Gedaliah, as
well as the Judaeans and Chaldaeans who were with him at Mizpah. •Then the 26
people, of high and low degree, with the commanders of the troops, all set out
and made for Egypt, in fear of the Chaldaeans.
King Jehoiachin pardoned
In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah , in the 27
twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-rnerodach' king
of Babylon, In theyear he came to the throne, pardoned Jehoiachin king of Judah
and released him; from prison. •He treated him kindly and allotted him a seat 28
above those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon, -So Jehoiachin 29
laid aside his prisoner' s garb, and for the rest of his life always ate at the king's
table. -And his upkeep was permanently ensured by the king, day after day 30
for the rest of his life. '
EZRA AND NEHEMIAH
The Books of Chronicles (to give them their Hebrew title ; the Greek Bible
and the Vulgate call them the Books of Paralipomena, of ' t hings left out'
therefore 'complementary' books) are a work of post-exilic Judaism, in a period
when t he nation, despite its politica l dependence, enjoyed a measure of self-
rule by favour of its eas tern overlords. The priesthood was its guide, the Law
its charter. The Temple and its ritual were the centre of national life. But this
frame work of law and rit ual was quickened by a current of pers onal devo tion,
by wisdom doctrines, by the memory of past glories and failures, and by fai th
in the promi ses of t he prophe ts.
The author of Chronicles, very probably a Jerusalem Levite, essentially
belongs in such surroundings. He writes aft er the time of Ezra and Nehemiah
but before the beginn ing of the 2nd century B.C. (when Ben Sirach seems
to have been influenced by him) ; pr obably some time in the 3rd century B.C.
He shows great interest in the Temple. Throughout his work the clergy play
a leading part, not merely the pr iests and Levites (as in Deuteronomy and the
Priestly sections of the Pentateuch) but the inferior clergy; the gatekeepers and
cantors who are henceforth associated with the Levites . The sacred character
of the clergy extends to the lait y by their participation in communion sacrifices
to which the Chronicler restores their primitive importance. This community
of the faithful is not restricted merely to the citizens of Judah; despite the
Nort hern Kingdom's apostasy, of which he says as little as possible, he contem-
plate s the union of the twelve tri bes under the sceptre of David ; undismayed
by the times in which he lives, he confidently awaits the ingathering of all the
children of israel. Not even the pagans are excluded from pr aying in the Temple.
For him 'Israel' mea ns the community of God's fait hful people with whom
God made a covenan t long ago, renewing this sacred covenant in the person
of David. The kingdom of God on earth having achie ved its highest for m in the
Davidic theocracy, t he community mus t live in t he spirit of David, always alert
The Old Testament contains a second group of historical books which in
large meas ur e reduplicate but ultimatel y extend the 'Deuteronornic' history
beginning with Joshua and ending with Kings. These are the two Books of
Chronicles, then the Book of Ezra, and the Book of Nehemiah. Or iginall y, the
two Books of Chronicles were one book and those of Ezra and Nehemiah were
part of the same collection, the whole being the work of one author. That the
same style and the same fundame ntal ideas are found throughout, and that
the closing verses of 2 Ch 36 are repeated at the beginning of Ezr 1, is evidence
that the whole was composed as one work .
J. ' a nd released him' Jr 52:31.
i. Evil- me roda ch. so n a nd successor of Ne buc had-
nezza r, came [ 0 the thro ne i n 562 which was the
37th yea r of J eho iachin's capnvn y.
I r 40:5