Dr BRAD E KELLE is Associate
Professor of Biblical Literature at
Point Loma Nazarene University.
He previously was Assistant
Professor of the Old Testament
at Colorado Christian University.
He specializes in Israelite and
]udean history and the Old
Testament prophetic literature.
Over the last three years he has
chaired the Society of Biblical
Literature's consultation on
'Warfare in Ancient Israel'.
He has also written and had
published many articles and
books on Ancient Israel and
the Hebrew Bible. He lives in
San Diego.

AO D.PHIL. (Oxon), Hon D.
Litt. (ANU), FASSA, Fr Hist S,
is the Series Editor of the
Essential Histories. His wealth
of knowledge and expertise
shapes the series content
and provides up-to-the-minute
research and theory. Born in
Australia in 1936 , he served
in the Australian army (1955-68)
and has held a number of eminent
positions in history circles,
including the Chichele
Professorship of the History
of War at All Souls College,
University of Oxford, 1987-2001,
and the Chairmanship of the
Board of the Imperial War
Museum and the Council of the
International Institute for Strategic
Studies, London. He is the author
of many books, including works
on the German Army and the
Nazi party, and the Korean
and Vietnam wars. Based in
Australia since his retirement
from Oxford, he is the Chairman
of the Council of the Australian
Strategic Policy Institute.

Essential Histories

Ancient Israel at War
853-586 Be


Essential Histories Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Brad E Kelle .

UK Index by Alison Worthington Typeset in GiliSans and I Stone seriff Maps by The Map Studio Originated by PPS Grasmere Ltd. photocopying. PO. stored in a retrieval system.co. as permitted under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act.com of private study. NY 100 I 6. Oxford OX2 OPH. © 2007 Osprey Publishing Ltd. 400 Hahn Road. USA NORTH AMERICA E-mail: info@ospreypublishing.. NN8 2FA. mechanical. Leeds. recording or E-mail: info@ospreydirect.uk otherwise. Box 140. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose E-mail: info@ospreydirect. without the prior written permission of the copyright www. electrical. research. optical. criticism or review. 1988. West Way. electronic. UK and Aviation please contact: 443 Park Avenue South. Botley. transmitted in any form or by any means. or Osprey Direct UK. ISBN 978 I 84603 036 9 Page layout by Ken Vail Graphic Design.First published in Great Britain in 2007 by Osprey Publishing. MD 21 157. UK chemical. of course. Wellingborough. Inquiries should be addressed to the Publishers.com Osprey Direct c/o Random House Distribution Center.com owner. USA All rights reserved.ospreypublishing. Westminster. A CIP catalog record for this book is available from the British Library Dedication For Becky. Cambridge. For a catalog of all books published by Osprey Military Midland House. UK Printed in China through Bookbuilders 07 08 09 I0 I I I I I0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 . Northants. no part of this ALL OTHER REGIONS publication may be reproduced. New York.

son of Remaliah: rebel.Contents Introduction 7 Chronology I2 Background to war The rise of the I<ingdoms 14 Warring sides The politics of religion. I<ing 60 The world around war The effects of conflict 64 Portraits of civilians Three faces of Israel and Judah 70 How the war ended Judah as a Babylonian province 75 Conclusion and consequences Forging identities (586-539 Be) 81 Further reading 89 Endnotes 92 Index 94 . officer. and war 20 Outbreak The emergence of domination and resistance 27 The fighting In the maelstrom of empires 34 Portrait of a soldier Pel<ah. commerce.


the Kingdom of Judah suffered a This empire emerged in earnest around 900.existing in in 586 BC. "Jeroboam" here was so-called "Middle East. this period first saw Kingdom of Israel. King of Israel in the first half of the This book examines the major military 8th century Seals were used to affix personal identification conflicts of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah to correspondence. identity. of the Euphrates River." Israel. several small kingdoms subsumed under and the social realities that shaped the lives an Assyrian Empire. By the latter part Within the broader political history of of the 8th century.were two of the broader history of the Ancient Near East. or Palestine .Introduction Among the powers from their earliest recorded encounter with the Assyrians in 853 BC. and extended its dominance westward to Although Judah would later regain an the Mediterranean Sea by the mid-870s." probably Jeroboam II. the events of this ancient time shaped a wealth of literature and continue A copy of a seal inscribed with the phrase. These wars can provide insights the territories now referred to as "the Holy into the political developments that shaped Land. later. (akg-images/Erich Lessing) ." which dates from to influence modern thinking about the the 8th century Be at Megiddo. Little more than a century the dominance of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. "Belonging to Shema' servant of Jeroboam. to the final In the mid-9th century BC. ruled from the banks of ordinary people in these ancient kingdoms. Assyria had destroyed the the Ancient Near East. similar fate at the hands of the Babylonians. the ancient destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians kingdoms of Israel and Judah .

but dominance around the Jordan River . yet they offer only a small amount between Israel and Judah when of straightforward. these empires and kingdoms: the Israelites' participation in the battle of 1) In 853. Babylonian. engagement in various rebellions These are not in the form of royal annals against Assyria. and and Judah during the earlier periods of their Aram-Damascus as a result of the rise presumed existence (e. Aram-Damascus and attempted to Archeologists have discovered. war broke out sources. however. This dominance would last for nearly a century For the history of ancient Israel and Judah. With Empire and ultimately fell victim the help of other groups like the Medes. or Hebrew inscriptions two major conflicts in which Judah and letters. a weakened Assyria gave the newly formed Babylonian way to the Neo-Babylonian Empire. is more comprehensive. the years 714-701 included potsherds) and seals. there are large of Assyrian weakness. 13th-10th centuries of Aram-Damascus during a period Be). the Empire domination. After 853. no clear Assyrian. That document and imperial politics. Israel participated in a coalition Qarqar in 853 is the first mention of Israel in led by Aram-Damascus.g. to 805 . but the question Six major periods of military conflict for of its historical accuracy is complicated. or king-lists. however. Judah. Edom. which was located to non-biblical or "extra-biblical" sources the northeast of Israel. particularly first-hand Israel entered into an alliance with material concerning Israel and Judah. until the Babylonian Empire itself gave way the historian is in the unique position of to the Medes and Persians in 539. Egypt exerted influence is what Jews call the "Bible" and Christians at various times throughout the region. however. which also Ammon. and Judah contains the "New Testament. some texts from ancient Israel itself that 4) 730-720 witnessed Israel's sustained date from the 9th to the 6th centuries Be. On the one hand. which opposed the records of the Assyrian Empire. the Babylonians assumed control of virtually all territories from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea south of Anatolia The Bible and Israel's history (modern Turkey) and north of Egypt." The existence also vied for power with one other and of the Bible. capture Jerusalem from Judah. particularly achieved exist that are not as comprehensive. having a widely read document that claims Among these empires. presents the historian in relation to the empires. Moab. Israel and Judah occurred in the context of With regard to the extra-biblical sources. many smaller to present the story of these two kingdoms kingdoms played significant roles in regional in a comprehensive way. There are the Assyrians at the battle of Qarqar. to provincialization. or Egyptian 2) 843-805 was a period of sustained texts that give detailed evidence for Israel conflict among Israel. like ostraca (inscribed of Israel. as Assyria's attempted to throw off Assyrian fortunes waxed and waned.but was ultimately destroyed by the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament (HB/OT) Assyria around 732. Philistia. other of Aram-Damascus.8 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be For the next two centuries. Israel. On the other hand.even are more contemporary with the events dominance over Israel and Judah from 841 under consideration. for example. call the "Hebrew Bible" or "Old Testament" Smaller kingdoms like Phoenicia. numbers of textual and archeological 3) From 734 to 731. The Kingdom with a dilemma. like records of economic . in which Judah rebelled against By 605. maintained various vassal states and annexed 6) 597-586 witnessed two conflicts provinces throughout the Ancient Near East. portion of their scripture. but rather tend to be local and 5) After the destruction of the Kingdom occas'ional documents.

The cautiously and only in conjunction with former is generally considered to be part other sources. In light of these developments. A first version distinction between the historical peoples of this composition may have its origins in of Israel and Judah. Babylonia. Research in the last two decades has achievements of various Assyrian kings." which includes the biblical books not be discounted. the inscriptions from Assyria." Such study can be significantly different in both its assumptions and practices from the kinds of scripture reading done in modern synagogues and churches. most of the research on Israelite and Judean history has taken place within the field of study known as "modern biblical criticism. which were constructed over long periods of time." a literary entity whose account apparently stems from the story exists only in the pages of the Bible. especially the surviving collections of royal and ideological programs. and reflect the ideologies The portion of the Babylonian Chronicle. a historical annal and contexts of their writers. Both compilations indicate that they draw upon earlier sources such as "the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel/Judah. the today often conclude that non-biblical texts HB/OT contains two overlapping accounts and artefacts are the most useful. compositions a period long removed from the events they that give chronological accounts of the describe. historians have increasingly taken capture of Jerusalem in 597 Be. Chronicles" (or" limmu-lists"). The Chronicles' biblical "Israel. namely that the Bible. While the biblical texts may of a larger work called the "Deuteronomistic contain ancient oral traditions that should History. coherent. class and gender biases. historians With regard to the biblical material. but the biblical parts of the land of modern Israel and version clearly results from various additions Palestine during the Iron Age. contains artistic neighboring cultures are more numerous. with even later revisions. and that the HB/OT must be used 2 Kings 23. and 2 Chronicles 17-35. many historians draw a of Joshua through to 2 Kings. Especially since from the reign of Nebuchadrezzar II. In this field. but is recognized as being a compilation of historically conditioned writings. . London) note of the literary and ideological nature of the biblical texts. As a result of the prominence of these biblical texts. as does a Bible's basic story are inadequate. variety of local correspondence. (British Museum. contain multiple genres and literary conventions. who actually inhabited the 8th or 7th century BC. also frequently shown that many of the past provide some specific references to rulers archeological "proofs" used to support the and events in Israel and Judah. Assyrian royal annals and "Eponym have been written in the centuries after 586. and the and editing in later centuries. which records the the 1970s. transactions. and majority of the biblical narratives appear to Egypt. the HB/OT is not viewed as a unified. Introduction 9 4th century BC."l sources that have not yet been discovered. since they of Israelite and Judean history in the Assyrian are more contemporary with the events they and Babylonian periods: 1 Kings 16 to describe. Additionally. and inerrant divine authority. Textual sources from like all ancient sources. conventions.

10 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be

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Introduction II

The western wall ("wailing wall") of the temple mount in privileging or distrusting either the biblical
Jerusalem is a central place of Jewish prayer. It was once story or non-biblical data. In the end, both
thought to be the remains of part of Solomon's temple
the biblical and Ancient Near Eastern texts
built in the 10th century BC, but is more likely a portion
of the later temple built by Herod the Great (37-4 BC). are literary constructions with theological
(AFP/Getty Images) and ideological agendas, which are often
propagandistic and selective. Even though
Thus, the Bible's usefulness for the Bible tells a detailed story, historians
reconstructing the history of Israel must still make choices concerning how
and Judah remains debated. Should we to weigh different pieces of evidence on a
reconstruct major conflicts from Israel's case-by-case basis. Any conclusion based on
past without using the Bible? Should we give only one source, even if it is the Bible, must
priority to non-biblical data but use the Bible remain tentative. This approach means that
as a secondary source? Or should we accept the historian should explain how he or she
the biblical accounts as historical unless they views each source used in light of its genre,
are directly falsified? This study of Israel's purposes, origins, context, and connection
wars takes the position that a middle ground with other sources. Such a combination of
course is best: all available sources, meager sources, complex though it may be, is the
or contested though they may be, should window into the conflicts and life of Israel
be taken into account, yet each should be and Judah among the powers of the 9th to
weighed equally, without automatically the 6th centuries Be.


The HB/OT, particularly 1 and 2 Kings, 909 Adad-nirari II founds the Neo-Assyrian
preserves a comprehensive chronology Empire
of kings and events in Israel and Judah. Yet 875 Ashurnasirpal II collects tribute from
these texts are a controversial chronological cities in Syria-Palestine
source, as the figures given cannot be sorted 853 Ahab of Israel and coalition partners
out coherently. The Bible has merged the battle Shalmaneser III at Qarqar; Ahab
data from the two distinct kingdoms, and dies shortly after
the texts contain two different systems of 849-845 Continued coalition battles
keeping chronology. One system gives the with Shalmaneser III
total years of a king's reign: "[Ahaz] reigned 843 Hazael usurps throne in
16 years in Jerusalem."2 The other system Aram-Damascus and begins
synchronizes kings of Israel and Judah: hostilities with Israel
"In the 17th year of Pekah son of Remaliah 841 Jehu seizes throne in Israel and pays
[of Israel], King Ahaz son of Jotham began to tribute to Shalmaneser III
reign."3 Though intertwined, these systems 838-805 Assyria in decline;
do not align, nor do the biblical books Hazael dominates Israel and
contain identical names for all the kings. surrounding kingdoms
Efforts to unravel the biblical chronology 810 Adad-nirari III leads Assyrian
have considered the possibilities that resurgence to the west
different sources used by the biblical 805-803 Israel throws off Aram-Damascus;
writers may have employed different Adad-nirari III captures Damascus;
calendar systems, that co-regencies may Joash of Israel pays tribute to Assyria
have existed, that other manuscripts (no 802 Joash ends Amaziah of Judah's bid for
longer surviving) may preserve the original independence from Israel
figures, and that theological perspectives 788-750 Period of restoration and
may have distorted the data. prosperity in Israel and Judah
Thus, in order to get even a general sense 773 Shalmaneser IV recaptures Damascus
of the chronology for the kingdoms of Israel 773-745 Internal revolts in Assyria and loss
and Judah, non-biblical sources from Assyria of Assyrian presence in the west
and Babylonia must be used with the Bible. 750 Rezin becomes king in Aram-Damascus
These sources record natural events like and invades Israelite territory; Pekah
eclipses, which allow them to be dated emerges as pro-Aramean rival claimant
more precisely, and are less schematic and in Israel
theological than the HB/OT's chronologies. 747-730 Piankhy of Ethiopia occupies
Still, despite mentions of Israelite and Judean Egyptian Delta
kings in some of these sources, and mentions 745 Tiglath-pileser III takes Assyrian throne
of Assyrian and Babylonian kings in the and begins westward campaigns
HB/OT, no effort has arrived at an agreed 740-738 Menahem of Israel pays tribute
chronology, and proposals can vary as to Tiglath-pileser III
much as a decade for the dates of a particular 734 Pekah seizes throne in Israel and joins
event. One can offer relatively secure dates an anti-Assyrian coalition led by Rezin
for some particular periods, but not a 734-733 Rezin and Pekah besiege Ahaz
comprehensive chronology. in Jerusalem

and captures Thebes Hoshea rebels then submits to 652-648 Rebellion in Babylon led by Shalmaneser V of Assyria Ashurbanipal's brother 727-725 Israel joins rebellion led by Tyre 643-642 Widespread western revolt and appeals for help to "King So" of against Ashurbanipal Egypt. Zedekiah 701 Sennacherib of Assyria defeats withholds tribute from Babylon Egyptians led by Taharqa at Eltekeh. 601-600 Necho II halts Nebuchadrezzar's and destroys some Judean territory invasion of Egypt and moves into 710 Cyprus and King Midas of Phrygia Gaza. Ashurbanipal continues 730 Accession of Osorkon IV in Egypt the campaign. 664 Ashurbanipal defeats the Ethiopians Tiglath-pileser III dies on campaign. rebellion throughout Empire and enthrones Zedekiah 705-701 Hezekiah of Judah leads a western 595-4 Elam leads rebellion in east rebellion including Ekron. exiles Jerusalem and repels army of Pharaoh 200. Hoshea overthrows 669-668 Esarhaddon dies on a Pekah in Israel renewed campaign against 731 Hoshea sends tribute to Tiglath-pileser III Taharqa.150 people. Chronology 13 733 Ahaz of Judah pays tribute to 673 Taharqa repels Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III Esarhaddon's invasion of Egypt 733-731 Tiglath-pileser III defeats Rezin and 671 Esarhaddon defeats Taharqa and allies and annexes territories in Galilee captures Memphis and Transjordan. Hezekiah capitulates but 586 Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and remains in power its temple . Sidon. Sargon II Babylonian vassal reclaims Babylon. Shalmaneser V besieges 626 Nabopolassar frees Babylon Samaria for three years and captures it from Assyria and founds 722-721 Rebellion across Empire at Neo-Babylonian dynasty Shalmaneser V's death 614 Medes capture Ashur and align 720 Sargon II suppresses revolt led by with Babylonians Yaubi'di of Hamath.000 people. and besieges Apries (Hophra) Jerusalem. 612 Babylonians and Medes destroy and exiles around 30. Shalmaneser V provincializes 641-610 Josiah rules in Judah. Assyria Nineveh opens trade with the Egyptian Delta 610 Pharaoh Necho II aids Assyria against 715 Judean troops fight alongside Assyrians Babylonians at Haran and kills Josiah in Urartu at Megiddo 715 Shabako of Ethiopia invades Egyptian 609 Babylonians and Medes defeat Egyptians Delta and reverses relations and Assyrians at Haran. Necho II makes with Assyria Jehoiakim king in Judah 714 Merodach-baladan of Babylon sends 605 Babylonians defeat Egyptians at emissaries to Judah Carchemish. provincializes Ashdod. Nebuchadrezzar claims 714-711 Judah joins anti-Assyrian rebellion throne of Babylon. Judah becomes led by Yamani of Ashdod. 592-591 Pharaoh Psammetichus II visits and Ashkelon Judah and Phoenicia. Assyria in Samaria and besieges Tyre decline. Pharaoh Psammetichus I 724-722 Israel joins renewed western dominates Syria-Palestine rebellion. Jehoiakim withholds tribute submit to Assyria from Babylon 705 Sargon II dies on battlefield in 597 Nebuchadrezzar captures Jerusalem Anatolia. 588-587 Nebuchadrezzar besieges captures 46 Judean towns. recaptures Samaria. Judah contributes 729 Tiglath-pileser III captures Babylon troops to Ashurbanipal 728-727 Renewed rebellion in west.

(akg-images) . down to the Gulf of Aqaba. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah. which stretched back to around reminder of Israel's status as a relative "late-comer" 2000 BC and formed the background for the to the stage of world history. The kingdoms that arose in Assyria and Between about 2000 BC and the outbreak Babylonia became the major empires that of conflicts around 850. areas . and over Gaza to the Nile River. Aram-Damascus. Babylonia. Mediterranean Sea. and engulfed smaller kingdoms like Israel and Judah in the The great Egyptian pyramids at Giza from the Fourth Dynasty (c. the history of the dominated the Ancient Near East after the Ancient Near East was characterized by the mid-9th century BC. direct Israelite and Judean engagement with up the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. a stark development. were relatively late in their development. with allies and enemies from four primary apparently emerging around 1200 to 1000. and Egypt . however. whose communication The kingdoms to the east avenues and political activities fostered the and south growth of kingdoms and empires. their emergence remain difficult to establish. to the eastern coast of the the mid-9th century. below the kingdoms from these primary areas began in Zagros mountains.2600 Be).Background to war The rise of the I<ingdoms The centuries of conflict covered in this sequence of conflicts relevant to the present volume saw ancient Israel and Judah engaged study.Assyria. These pyramids had already been maelstrom of their activities. a long history of Israel emerged on the scene in Syria-Palestine. Each of the four standing for nearly a millennium and a half by the time primary areas had.in a territory now called the While the precise time and dynamics of Ancient Near East or Fertile Crescent. This area stretched from the Persian Gulf. It was a highly active trade route.

.PJ 250 km l/1 ... N I1l1'" ~ 0 c ::J 0.. r-+ I 200 miles 0 ~ ...MEDITERRANEAN SEA ARABIA PERSIAN GULF co PJ t n ~ .

to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. Babylonia of the "Sea Peoples. and saw the and Urartu (in eastern Asia Minor) Egyptian annexation of territories from Nubia arising occasionally. including the land group of Semitic people who lived in the . and the years immediately following his reign from the Kurdish mountains in the north would see the loss of control over Babylonia.1800 Shamshi-Adad I had expanded Throughout these years. the Babylonians under Hammurabi moved At the beginning of the so-called "Iron Age" up the Tigris and came to rule nearly the (c. over 100 years. Although to the Zagros mountains in the east. and Nineveh. This so-called "New Kingdom" took with smaller powers such as the Arameans shape under pharaohs like Thutmose III. in the 18th century BC. this first self-proclaimed "King of Assyria" Throughout its history. and Egypt. the Kingdom even as far north as the Euphrates River. the Hyksos were expelled and an of Israel. This period also witnessed the collapse weakness that would last for some 400 years." sea-borne groups perhaps itself fell under the power of more distant related to Mycenaean civilization. Babylonia. and Ramesses II. however. 1200. who entered kingdoms like the Kassites and Hittites. by c. In the 2000s. (in Syria). and even then "Assyrian heartland" consisted of a triangle had to contend with nearby threats like those bordered by the Kurdish mountains. of Assyria and Babylonia were only able to Throughout the following centuries." until around between Assyria. a relatively non-unified part of the Fertile Crescent. In the midst efforts at expansion. of the Egyptian and Hittite empires and the when its territory was brought under the regression of Assyrian power. Control of Egypt dominance of the Kingdom of Mitanni. Assyria's king Ashur-uballit I (1363-1328). of ascendancy and decline. the eastern powers Assyrian control into central Syria. Semitic rulers from Asia. the Tigris of Elam and Mitanni. After Near East shifted dramatically with the arrival Hammurabi's reign. Assyria entered a period of coast. the gain strength for brief periods. Assyria's began Assyria's westward expansion geographical location made it particularly toward the Mediterranean Sea. and Assyria's hegemony At this time. several centuries. however. Out of this matrix in Upper Egypt to cities in northern Canaan. While of Assyria eventually arose as the dominant Assyria and Babylonia sent diplomatic presents force in the Ancient Near East. But around would playa prominent role in the affairs 1550 BC. he was able enlarge its territory to include a region that to control Babylonia and correspond with stretched from the Persian Gulf in the south the Egyptian pharaoh as an equal.1200). which vulnerable to enemies from the north and would grow incrementally over the next south. Amenhotep. After years 3000 BC as a conglomeration of various of battling one another to a stalemate. splintered among different dynasties ruling centered on the Habur River. and shared domination of the Ancient Near East. with its chief occurred with the emergence of the Assyrian cities at Ashur. to the Egyptian rulers. would later of Egypt's western domination. an empire that would dominate the western The Arameans. Calah. and the entire area of Egyptian dynasty led from Thebes established Syria-Palestine over the next 500 years. the center of power in the over Babylonia faltered under pressure from Ancient Near East shifted back to Egypt. from different areas. and the Upper Zab River. Egypt's major enemy Assyria actually began to emerge around was the Hittites from Anatolia./6 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be continual shifting of the center of power of Canaan or "Syria-Palestine. One such moment River. the geo-political face of the Ancient whole of the Assyrian heartland. the areas of Egypt and the Mediterranean Around 1700 BC. For neighboring regions. the Hittites (in Anatolia). For instance. during the time of Ramesses II and effectively the area coalesced into a unified entity. Judah. Egypt had been ruled by the During this period a group arose that Hyksos. the independent city-states located between Egyptians and Hittites entered into a treaty the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

claimed to have crossed the Euphrates 28 when Ashurnasirpal II (883-859) subdued times to fight the Arameans. and the Mediterranean coast (c. Damascus gained hegemony over the Shalmaneser III. filled the vacuum left The decisive shift in the political world by the collapse of the Hittite Kingdom of the Ancient Near East. For example. the centuries that followed. a practice that would switching of power between the Assyrians. Assyria's major northern enemy of Urartu. The high point Assyrian king. Background to war 17 One of the two present-day mounds at the site of the "Shishak"S) founded the 22nd Dynasty and ancient city of Nineveh. the beginning of the "Neo-Assyrian Empire" Although the years between 1200 and that would dominate the Ancient Near East 900 are the most immediate background for the next three centuries.930. 730. be undertaken more systematically in the Arameans. Tiglath-pileser I (1114-1076). The HB/OT texts. of Assyrian power drew near.925). if reliable some 50 years of continuous Assyrian in this regard. and would reappear with varying levels began with the reemergence of Assyria of political and military power until their under Ashur-dan II c. began a limited practice of annexing It seems to have been characterized by the conquered territories. the king with whom Israel's territory further west and south. and force even preceding ancient Israel's major military the former powers of Babylonia and Egypt to conflicts. when Pharaoh Sheshonq (biblical Assyrian practice of annual military . reached the Mediterranean Sea Aramean Kingdom of Bit-Adini controlled by 875. however. a shift that would in northern Syria. Adad-nirari II. They made their first set the stage for the major military conflicts appearance in Assyrian texts after 1200 :of the mid-9th to the early 6th centuries. former capital of the Assyrian attempted to reassert Egyptian control over Empire in the 7th century Be. After his reign. This expansion reached Aramean kingdoms of Aram Zobah and its climax under Ashurnasirpal's successor. in terms of available historical sources. These actions inaugurated northern Syria. however. and collected tribute from kingdoms the area around the Euphrates crossing in in Syria-Palestine. and southern Syria. likewise indicate that the military expansion. Assyria was unable to hold western gained control over the region of Bit-Adini territories against the Arameans. His reign marked ultimate subjugation by the Assyrians c. this period is a relative dark age struggle in its shadow. and the in the west. 4 Egypt also major military conflicts under consideration made an attempt at resurgence during this in this volume began. and Egyptians. His son. Orontes River. He initiated the timeframe. (Time & Life Pictures/ Syria-Palestine by undertaking a military Getty Images) campaign northward into central Canaan area of the middle Euphrates.

Solomon is said to for the construction of a unified empire.18 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be in earnest in 853 when Shalmaneser encountered a newly formed coalition that included one of Israel's first significant kings. reigned for about 40 years and established a In the earliest stage of dominance. Hence. consisted of 12 tribes descended from the (akg-images/Erich Lessing) 12 sons of jacob. which tell that David Shalmaneser effectively established Assyrian reigned over a unified kingdom of Israel control over the territory from Babylonia and judah from jerusalem for about 30 years in the east. it was only after the death of Solomon over the following years the Assyrians (c. tell A representation of a Philistine warrior found at an a comprehensive story. of Canaan from the outside but emerged rebellions were instigated. of Samuel and Kings. More specifically. the origin of the Israelite and judean kingdoms is one of the most debated periods in their history. to Urartu in the north. Solomon. campaigns and campaigned west of the The biblical story continues in the books Euphrates 21 times during his 35-year reign. The biblical texts. Western resistance to Assyria began a centralized kingdom in the 10th century. Nonetheless. they and Syria-Palestine around 1200 Be. Similarly. when the Ancient Near East plunged into 200 years of a dark age characterized by the collapse of empires and a dearth of historical sources. Furthermore. attempts to control the Ancient Near Eastern many question whether Israel existed as world. There is a growing consensus provoked reactions from various kingdoms today that Israel did not conquer the land like Israel and judah. and standing army. Historians are unsure how this biblical provincial system.920) that Israel and judah split into two gained ever-increasing control through kingdoms with different ruling dynasties. especially the books of joshua and judges (which were written many centuries after the events they describe).all in response to Assyria's and indigenous elements. Israel emerged on the scene. The emergence of Israel and Judah Around 1200. . then Syria-Palestine in the west. the centralized kingdom with a national building Assyrians did not enact a systematic plan program. the development of a complex bureaucracy. According to them. Egyptian temple in Thebes. Alliances were forged. story. It is picture fits with historical reality between precisely their efforts in this regard that 1200 and 900. Any understanding of the events largely depends on interpretation of the relevant HB/OT texts." who moved into the area of Egypt as a unified people. His son. 6 According to the biblical a required annual tribute. who escaped from slavery in Egypt and conquered the land of Canaan.The Philistines were part the kingdoms of Israel and Judah began of the "Sea Peoples. The typical Philistine headdress is made of horsehair or feathers. to after the year 1000. have created an empire in Syria-Palestine Shalmaneser did not annex western that spanned the area from the Euphrates kingdoms into imperial provinces but River to the Mediterranean Sea to the made them into vassal kingdoms with Egyptian border. and capitulations from the consolidation of various foreign were made .

Despite the HB/OT's picture. by shifting empires from the east and south. the at some Israelite cities. The Assyrian empire during these years.probably saw the development or land) subdued by an Egyptian pharaoh. and there is minimal archeological evidence and would allow their politics. and simply represented yet the Bible only complicates the picture. which was perhaps capable of a few Canaanite cities and the emergence of dominating western Syria-Palestine and of small agricultural villages in the highlands the northern Transjordan. 8 but pottery remains Ammonite. No extra-biblical texts mention of these civilizations would be engulfed Solomon or an empire centered in Jerusalem. But even these the Neo-Assyrian Empire in the early 800s. (British Museum. the Neo-Hittite cities in Anatolia. . Over the next four centuries. Also. 7 Evidence from outside across the area. shows no occupational evidence of having which depicts Assyrian chariots and horsemen setting served as the urban capital of an expansive out on a campaign to Hamath in 849 Be. These took their place among the settlements of an outside group. The following 1200s mentions Israel in passing but centuries . destroyed cities do not always concur with however. their varying pictures of both Israel's emergence early existence probably differed little from and Solomon's power that cannot be squared the many similar small kingdoms emerging with one another. for example. Moabite. each century. give 1200. religion. of monumental architecture (such as city including coastal cities like Tyre and walls or gates) that may date to Solomon's Sidon. Background to war 19 One of the bronze bands from the gates at Balawat. another example of a wave of settlements One non-biblical inscription from the going on at this time. and Edomite kingdoms at those sites may equally suggest that the to the east. Remains the many small kingdoms of the day. king Shalmaneser III campaigned throughout northern Taken as a whole.the biblical times of David and designates Israel only as a people (not a city Solomon . time in the 10th century have been found the Aramean Kingdom in Damascus. of a minor chiefdom or city-state centered Archeological remains show the destruction on Jerusalem. two kingdoms clearly existed the biblical conquest stories. The biblical in the hill country of Syria-Palestine around traditions themselves. Jerusalem itself warring sides. and the villages in southern Syria-Palestine: Israel with its appear to continue the indigenous culture capital at Samaria. and the Philistine cities to the architecture comes from the following west. of international commerce in Judean territory and ideology to transform them into during this period. By the time of of Syria-Palestine around 1200. and Judah with its capital of the preceding period and do not seem to be at Jerusalem. the evidence that is Syria between 853 and 845 Be. London) available suggests that Israel and Judah originated in groups of villagers who came and thus Israel's creation of an empire in together for religious and political purposes Syria-Palestine at that time.

probably used recruitment. but they consisted of three and Ahab. Infantry formed the primary fighting describes Judah's army during a time of . Second Kings 13: 7 cavalry.Warring sides The politics of religion. and slingers. references in Assyrian and Babylonian texts and coats of armor. Archeological excavations at in Israel and Judah by the Assyrian period in the city of Megiddo have revealed the presence the 9th century. and occasional levies could occasional basis. in the earliest navy. archers. strength necessitated the avoidance of open Only scant references exist concerning battles and the practice of primarily guerrilla the leadership of the Israelite and Judean tactics. and war The armies of Israel. eqUipped with and Aram spears.. an Assyrian inscription credited his cavalry. force and included spearmen. and no cavalry. and often accompanied by participants in the outbreak of Israel's major separate shield-bearers. organized military conflicts in the mid-9th century Be: in combat pairs. 9 By the reigns of David and Solomon Offices like "captain" (Hebrew. and twelve thousand Judah varied in different periods and conflicts.IO King Ahab of Israel with 10.. The king was the head of the army. to other periods of Israel's history. II Biblical texts and information for the Israelite and Judean Assyrian reliefs portray Israelite and Judean militaries in this time. Israel and Judah did not have a As the HB/OT presents it.000 soldiers. helmets. lances. a scarf around the head and covering the The fullest biblical descriptions relate. for cities. royal guards served the a militia of adult males summoned on an king personally. (879-853). commerce. and shields. horsemen . 2. chariotry. although the number Both biblical and non-biblical sources of chariots seems high here when compared confirm that standing armies were in place with other forces. carrying quivers Four warring sides were the primary on their backs. Little is known of the specific of what appear to be stables. ears. 1. The infantry had units of Israel.000 chariots. and cavalry: yet the precise nature of these offices and how one achieved them remains uncertain. shalish)14 (c. and 10. such as individual raids and night military. the cities for example. the cities for his chariotry. SO. utilizing bows of various sizes. 100. 1050-920). composition. remains unclear. as well as all ofSolomon's storage For a battle with the Assyrians in 853. and hold nearly 500 horses. chariotry was particularly and the accuracy of all the biblical and important during the reigns of Omri and Ahab extra-biblical descriptions remains debated. The stables had the capacity to primary elements: infantry.1 3 Alongside (c. A lack of constancy and raise additional temporary troops. and may have lived The HB/OT provides most of the available in garrisons in key cities. the HB/OT claims the presence and "commander" (Hebrew. but biblical texts suggest the periodic use period of a unified Israel and Judah of ships for commercial purposes.000. and Assyria. javelins. Aram-Damascus. Solomon also had forty thousand stalls The size of the forces fielded by Israel and of horses for his chariots. along with a few infantrymen as outfitted with shields. 12 While the prominence of cavalry however. Israel's army was simply the regular army core. sometimes including and evidence from archeological remains. Judah. sar)IS were of a standing army that included chariots important for the army and chariotry.1200-1050). attacks. Judah. and organization for chariot forces during the time of Omri of these forces.

Warring sides 21 oppression by Aram-Damascus as consisting An Assyrian relief showing stone-slingers in action. Slingers. (akg-images/Erich Lessing) Judean army with as many as 300.000 soldiers: While there is some evidence for offensive Under their command was an army of three campaigns and city sieges undertaken by hundred seven thousand five hundred.000 soldiers. formed the but texts reflecting other periods credit the core of the Assyrian infantry. . to help the king centuries. their primary military tactic was the against the enemy. along with spearmen and archers. who could Israel and Judah during the 9th to the 6th make war with mighty power.16 forming of alliances with surrounding states. SO cavalry. of 10. and 10 chariots.

but the militaries 1 Kings 20: 14-15. including was infantry. Israelite chariotry. their primary military tactic. with archers and slingers off Assyrian domination of Syria-Palestine providing assistance from the rear. was the machinery and elite corps of the Assyrian forming of coalitions. the military activity of Israel and Judah Aram-Damascus. 24 may also indicate of these neighbors seem to have been similar an Aramean practice of organizing subdued to the forces of Israel and Judah. against potential sieges. located in 70 I Be. reflected this described Israel's army in 853 assigned reality and were designed to defend Damascus 20. and cavalry. chariots. Such distance weapons were probably used immediately north of Israel and east of by both the Assyrian forces besieging the city and the the Jordan River. military constitution and practices of Thus. 1. (British Museum. . were limited to a supportive role. When drawn out of their cities. The The general composition of the army fortifications of major cities. but reveal few details. but without the well-developed like that of Israel and Judah. London) Israel's most powerful enemy and at other These alliances were normally attempts to times their most significant ally. and especially coalitions were active in the area of cavalry. Hamath in the late 9th century and were The spearmen constituted the major fighting involved in several attempts to throw force at the front. at times constituted Judean forces defending it. Damascus-led Empire. Israelite and Judean relations with their The references to "governors of the districts" immediate neighbors vacillated between and "commanders" that replace kings in cooperation and hostility. from the mid-9th to mid-8th centuries. Assyrian resist Assyrian or Babylonian hegemony and biblical texts provide nearly all and to turn back these empires' attempted the available information concerning the reprisals against rebellious subordinates. and 1.22 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Flint stones used in slingshots during the battle of Lachish the Kingdom of Aram-Damascus.200 cavalry. For example.000 infantry. territories into administrative districts. Israelite Perhaps because the various Aramean and Judean forces practiced conventional kingdoms like Damascus never united into warfare known throughout the ancient an empire. gates with strong towers and double walls The same Assyrian inscription that connected by partitions. Near East. primarily served defensive purposes.200 chariots.

The background also pictures impaled citizens or called up through an institutional soldiers. using a composite bow with a long sword Most of the available information about on their side.The relief shows an Assyrian permanent. came into existence under Tiglath-pileser III The army's organization was hierarchical. its political. Reliefs from Nineveh most powerful fighting force in the history picture cavalrymen as working in pairs. but a standing army archer. infantry. Assyria developed the corps of the army. in the mid-700s. which organized As early as the mid-9th century. domestic.745 Be) palace in Nimrud. and social life around the cavalry and chariotry formed the elite warfare. (Werner Forman Archive) requirement to perform military service . chariotry. As a result. The infantry (tartan) was beneath the king. without a saddle. leggings. Warring sides 23 The might of the Assyrian consisted of heavy infantry (spearmen) Empire and light infantry (archers and slingers). through to the 600s. and engineers. and Aram-Damascus lived wearing coats of mail. and shield-bearer. Assyrian chariots functioned the Assyrian army relates to the late 700s as light artillery and often carried a driver. The basic elements included with the king as the head who often led the king's elite guard. Visual representations show infantrymen Israel. in a shadow cast from the east. The "field marshal" cavalry. was a militaristic state. Assyria and high boots. Some troops were (c. The basic unit was a company of SO men under the A pictorial relief from the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser Ill's command of a captain. Judah. short tunics. and emergence of Persia. however. while others were probably siege-engine supported by archers during the siege of a city. campaigns in person. of the Ancient Near East prior to the normally barefoot.

com/research/lmlkJachish-tel. ramps of earth and stone. in Nineveh. city sieges. The Assyrians were perhaps most feared The standing army probably represented for their tactics of deportation and brutality. . 17 The size of the forces varied.lmlk. infantry example. and siege machines.. The Assyrians surrounded a identity. the Assyrians regularly was called up on special occasions. Sennacherib.htm) his tactics: each year for a set amount of time. (http://www. the Judean. As expanded. recorded battering rams and troops into position against the city walls. the Euphrates in 845 with 120. As for Hezekiah. For ramps and applying battering rams. feature of Assyrian siege warfare. peoples was also legendary across the Such a siege of the Judean city of Lachish Empire. After the fall of a major city. As the Empire enhance Assyrian economy and security. The purpose major tactics: open battles. the nucleus. Shalmaneser III records crossing attacks by mines. they created a mixed society that city to cut off supplies. and the archeological remains gouge out citizens' eyes. appears in reliefs at the Assyrian palace Assyrians were known to burn houses. I conquered them. constructed siege characterized major Assyrian cities. the armies into the Assyrian forces. The ramp was a typical are still in view at the site. It served to move the Assyrian king at the time. of deportation was not to punish but to and psychological warfare. I besieged 46 of the Assyrians could deploy forces as large his fortified walled cities. but the majority of the force When a city fell. incorporated whole units of conquered In the final centuries of the Empire. The deported a significant portion of the Assyrians added more levies of troops population and resettled them in Assyrian as the campaign progressed and often cities or undeveloped parts of the Empire. and moved large Assyrian brutality toward conquered battering rams into place against the walls. in different periods and conflicts.000 men. flay captives alive. Thus. breeches.. Using packed-down as several hundred thousand soldiers. Assyrians deported perhaps as many as The Assyrian army practiced three four to five million people.24 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be The remains of an Assyrian siege ramp on the southwest of a 160-190ft (50-60m) long siege ramp corner of Lachish from 70 I Be. however. siege warfare became the most these deportees eventually lost their ethnic prominent.

. in control. the southwestern city that was the my lordship.) but the local ruling family remained in power if they promised loyalty. Assyrian inscriptions The Assyrians were reluctant. from others I cut off their noses. it was not into the Empire as a "province": local rulers perpetrated on every city in every situation. submit or remain loyal. the Assyrians maintained control pile up severed heads. 261. I cut off their hands to the kingdom refused to submit or rebelled after wrist. The Might That perhaps a garrison were stationed there. perhaps as psychological warfare . and they made supplication to] Judean city of Lachish. (British Museum. Warring sides 25 Bronze and iron arrowheads discovered in Judean ruins. initial submission... For example. (Saggs. the treaty relationships with equals or vassals. I burnt their young men and was reimposed."18 center of a major battle between Assyrian and Judean forces in 70 I Be. London) Once the results of war had been achieved. and impale corpses of their expansive empire primarily through on stakes around the city. the Assyrians reduced it and fingers. were removed. but remained relatively Many of the captives taken from them I independent and locally governed." conquered city: Satellites accepted Assyrian authority and paid annual tribute. Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 Be) When a kingdom submitted voluntarily describes Assyrian brutality toward a to Assyria. however. ears.. it became a "satellite kingdom. Assyrian officials and women to death. Was Assyria. because they formed or brutality with a comment about a buffer zones with Egypt at the far southwest neighboring kingdom: "the fame of my corner of the Empire. . portions of the population These actions were performed against chosen deported. The Kingdom of Israel moved an attempt to convince nearby kingdoms to through this very sequence from 730-720. and an Assyrian governor placed targets. I put out the eyes of many of to a "vassal kingdom" and annual tribute the soldiers . the Assyrians incorporated it indicating a bloodthirsty nature. When a While this brutality has been understood as vassal rebelled. If a burned in a fire . lordship [(and of) my heroic deeds they Such arrowheads appear in the ruins of the ancient heard. to like those of King Tiglath-pileser III often provincialize Syria-Palestine's southernmost follow the description of some destruction kingdoms like Judah.

26 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 BC

Judean citizens of Lachish departing for deportation Yahweh's wars, and depicts kings as
to Babylonia after the city's fall in 70 I BC, as portrayed consulting religious personnel about
on an Assyrian relief at the royal palace in Nineveh. The military activities. 19
Assyrians often allowed women and children deportees
Defensive motives also provided the
to travel in carts. (akg-images/Erich Lessing)
catalyst for military campaigns. Particularly
in the case of Assyria, the lack of
Motives for war natural boundaries around the homeland
necessitated the conquering of surrounding
Political and religious ideology was a threats. Perhaps the most significant
motivational factor for the warring sides in motivations, however, were economic.
the mid-9th century and beyond. Assyrian Assyrian campaigns served to secure access
state ideology saw the conduct of wars on to agricultural and commercial resources
behalf of the state as the king's primary role. lacking in the heartland, and resources from
The king was expected to lead a military spoil and tribute supplied major building
campaign every year of his reign, and projects. Assyrian kings sought control of
scribes denoted a king's years in terms trade across the Fertile Crescent, particularly
of his military achievements. This ideology of metals, timber, and horses. The territories
also had a religious aspect, as the king's of Israel and Judah were of particular interest
obligatory campaigns were undertaken for to the Assyrians because they were located
the sake of the chief Assyrian god, Ashur. on the land bridge between the major
The role of religion was apparent in the centers of Mesopotamia and Egypt, and thus
presence of priests and diviners, who sat in the geographical center of the primary
performed rituals before campaigns and trade routes. As Assyrian dominance grew
marched out at the head of the army. in this area, the loss of commercial control
Such religious convictions were also and the heavy economic burden of tribute
present in Israel and Judah, where the fostered the seeds of resistance and rebellion
HB/OT presents their wars as the god among the kingdoms of the west.


The emergence of domination
and resistance
The building of the Assyrian

A series of political, economic, and military
developments that occurred around the
beginning of the 9th century Be planted
the seeds for the major military conflicts
of Israel and Judah throughout the next
three centuries. Just before 900, Assyria
lingered in a decline that had characterized
the preceding century. The central
administration in the heartland had
suffered from a series of weak rulers and
was in disarray, and Aramean groups in Syria
had driven Assyrian influence back across
the Euphrates to the east. The Assyrians
were, as one king's annals recorded,
a "toil-worn people." The first hint of
recovery began in the years 934-884, with a
sequence of three rulers named Ashur-dan II,
Adad-nirari II, and Tukulti-ninurta II. Their
reigns were relatively short but effective.
They reestablished security around the
Assyrian heartland, effected economic
growth, and expanded the borders
northwest toward the Euphrates and
south toward Babylon.
However, the birth of the so-called
"Neo-Assyrian Empire" truly began with
a king named Ashurnasirpal II in 883.
He undertook 14 major campaigns during
his 24-year reign. His goals included
achieving control of the crossings of the
Euphrates and other major trade routes,
acquiring tribute, material goods, and
captives, as well as establishing trade
colonies in the west. While his campaigns
focused on the territory of northern Syria

King Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria (883-859 Be) pictured in
a statue of 3ft 6in (I m).The 14 major campaigns during
his reign gave birth to the "Neo-Assyrian Empire" and
extended its influence westward to the Mediterranean
Sea. (akg-images/Erich Lessing)

28 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be

A stone relief from the palace of Ashurnasirpal showing Phoenician territory along the coast of the
the king's guards. (Werner Forman Archive) Mediterranean Sea for the first time in 875,
after traversing northern Syria. The king
around the Euphrates, they secured a received tribute from all major rulers of
perimeter around the Assyrian heartland northern Syria and Phoenicia, as far south
in every direction: the Zagros mountains to as Tyre. Although some of these payments
the east, the area of Lake Van to the north, may have represented the voluntary
the middle Euphrates to the south, and the establishment of trade relations and not
Kingdom of Bit-Adini to the west. Probably subjugation, Ashurnasirpal was the first king
as a result of these successes, the heartland to bring a powerful Assyrian presence into
flourished and Ashurnasirpal became known the western part of the Fertile Crescent.
for significant, even extravagant, building Ashurnasirpal did not, however,
activities. For example, he built a new capital incorporate these kingdoms into the
at Calah (Nimrud) and dedicated it with a Assyrian Empire in a systematic way.
celebration that his annals say included over That task fell to his son and successor,
47,000 guests and 5,000 dignitaries from Shalmaneser III (859-824). In a series
various regions: of annual campaigns over his first six years,
the new king immediately embarked on an
When I inaugurated the palace at Calah I effort not only to secure Assyria's dominance
treated for ten days with food and drink in northern Syria, but also to bring the
471 074 personsl men and womenl who were kingdoms in southern Syria-Palestine under
bid to come from across my entire countryl (also) Assyrian influence. Several royal inscriptions
5 000 important personsl delegates ... (also)
1 note that in his first year, for example,
16 000 inhabitants ofCalah from all ways
1 Shalmaneser followed the path of
of lifel 1 500 officials of all my palaces. 2o
1 his predecessor and marched to the
Mediterranean Sea, where he erected
It was this aggressive Assyrian an image of himself. On this campaign,
expansion beyond the Euphrates that set he moved into the area of Bit-Adini and the
the stage for the conflicts with kingdoms in cities of Til-Barsip and Carchemish, where
Syria-Palestine. Ashurnasirpal's inscriptions he encountered a northern Syrian coalition
state that the Assyrians pushed into of four kingdoms (Sama'al, Patin, Bit-Adini,

ascended and Ahab achieved a measure of domestic to the throne shortly after the beginning of prosperity and political power for Israel. This and collect tribute from areas not conquered sponsorship may have resulted from close in his first year. since Ahab took Carchemish and engaged Ahuni of Bit-Adini. when Ashurnasirpal and in the first half of the 9th century with Shalmaneser were solidifying Assyrian the "Omride Dynasty. God. and Zimri burned the palace down Syria. He also recaptured political ties to Phoenicia. the general army dominance in Phoenicia and northern Syria. oversaw the Kingdom activities by these rulers. But even By the end of the second year. saw the final capture of Til-Barsip Philistine city of Gibbethon approximately and thus the ultimate establishment of 30 miles (48km) southwest of Samaria. upon himself in suicide. however. Elah in the capital and reigned in his place. the Assyrians within this religious focus. while Assyrian dominance in northern Syria. and returned east to attack Urartu. construction phases also appear at key cities . Shalmaneser received tribute proclaimed Omri. most importantly of Israel's greatest period of domestic Omri's founding of Samaria as the new prosperity and political prominence. (supporting Omri) and the chariot corps Israel and other southern Syro-Palestinian (supporting Tibni). and political alliances. accession. this growth began half decades. 21 Their religious unfaithfulness various strategic points around the Habur particularly involved promoting worship of and Euphrates rivers. Omri and his Archeology attests significant building son. namely. assassinated within it. Omri ranking officer in the Israelite army. the commander of the from the kings throughout the seacoast. Upon that event. capital of Israel. a civil war broke out in Israel between Omri and a rival claimant to the throne. Elah. and these of their military and political undertakings kingdoms continued to try to halt that are detailed in Assyrian and Moabite Shalmaneser's movements in the west at inscriptions. He besieged Zimri solidified Assyrian domination of northern in Tirzah. a Phoenician princess as queen. Outbreak 29 and Carchemish). growth. the Assyrians emphasize their unfaithfulness to Israel's captured various parts of coalition territory. Extensive Omride expansion. the army one more year." built palaces of half of Israel's chariotry. For Israel. in his second the god Baal. Around the time of Ashurnasirpal's had not captured it. Resolution came at the kingdoms such as Damascus and Hamath end of about four years. Ashurnasirpal's reign in Assyria. the biblical had confined Ahuni to his capital at narratives provide some details about Omri's Til-Barsip and laid siege to the city. Zimri. Shalmaneser's third year. a Phoenician deity associated year. Shalmaneser returned west to subjugate with fertility of crops and animals. Thus. king. the King of Israel. Israelite infantry. named A power in Israel Tibni. a dominance over northern Syria. but rise. with only incidental references to Although subdued." Omri (879-869). Although the ruler Ahuni evaded capture for After only seven days. Ahab (869-853). but it may have involved opposing factions During the very years of Assyria's developing of Israel's military. Although the size of the Biblical texts about Omri and Ahab armies involved is not known.22 a site located closer Together they made significant strides to the main north-south route through in the areas of military strength. and repopulated it with Assyrians. No details about the war are known. which set them on a collision course During the following two and a with Assyria. remained in his He turned Til-Barsip into an Assyrian royal capital at Tirzah. Israel's army was attacking the however. the northern Syrian building projects and no descriptions coalition was not destroyed. and Omri secured experienced newfound political and economic the Israelite throne by 879. territorial Syria-Palestine to Egypt. the commander city named "Kar-Shalmaneser.

notes that Omri had conquered Moabite with all the land of Naphtali. it has gone to ruin forever!24 for monumental architecture at other sites previously thought to be from the Biblical texts likewise describe annual 10th century. comes from after the death of Ahab (c. alliance with Phoenicia. 26 Omri or Ahab may also have dominance over neighboring kingdoms."27 The HB/OT territory north of the Arnon River because does not indicate when Israel regained these of the displeasure of Moab's god Kemosh. and he oppressed wall at the Israelite capital of Samaria. "23 The "Mesha Inscription. And his son succeeded him.he too . holdings. The background marriage of Ahab and Jezebel. Omri and Ahab were perhaps responsible yes. and all Chinneroth. and Omri. (Todd Bolen/BiblePlaces.. and and on his house. symbolized by the although this is not certain. which comes from . tribute paid to Israel by Mesha 25 and suggest Israel's political prominence under Omri that a "deputy" of Israel or Judah governed and Ahab involved cooperation with and Edom.. for Kemosh was angry of this city as the capital of Israel was the work of King with his land. Abel-beth-maacah. when wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Aramean king Ben-Hadad I seized the Sidonians. but I looked down on him like Megiddo. The opening lines of an Aramaic of that area: inscription from Tel Dan.30 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 BC The foundation of a portion of the 9th-century BC city Omri was the king ofIsrael." territories in northern Israel around Dan: a text from King Mesha of Moab that "he [Ben-Hadad I] conquered Ijon. the daughter for this possible campaign was the earlier of the king of Sidon: "he [Ahab] took as his reign of Baasha of Israel (903-882)."I will oppress Moab!/I In my days did he say [so]. and it may have been under Omri and celebrates Mesha's later liberation or Ahab. campaigned successfully against The HB/OT says Israel established an Aram-Damascus. and Jezreel. Dan.com) he said . perhaps before 860.853). Hazor. and Israel has gone to ruin. The construction Moab for many days.

Carchemish. a northern Syrian coalition of four kingdoms. 857: attack focused on Ahuni of Bit-Adini at Til-Barsip. Shalmaneser proceeds to the Mediterranean Sea.858: defeat ofTil-Barsip. MEDITERRANEAN SEA 853: the forces of the coalition move up to meet Shalmaneser outside Qarqar. The members of the Syrian coalition that opposed ARABIA Shalmaneser III at Qarqar in 853 Be: Hamath Aram-Damascus t Israel Que N Musri (perhaps Egypt) Irqantana Arvad I Usanata Shian 200 miles Arabia Ammon 250 km w .

. son of the Judean king. Sponsorship of Baal worship. Then my father lay down and Shalmaneser III finally captured Til-Barsip went to his [fathers].. Such burgeoning economic and political strength among kingdoms like Damascus.. with significant influence.. and this may be a reference to an Israelite campaign Creating criSIS in the time of Omri or Ahab: The ultimate catalyst for the outbreak of . Hazael (c. 31 Likewise.. (R Sheridan. Assyrian inscriptions throughout this period refer to several Israelite rulers but never mention a Judean king until nearly the end of the 8th century. when he fought at x[]. 28 and economic dominance over the area. my father went u[p against him when] conflict in Syria-Palestine came in 856. is the focus of the biblical accounts of the Israelite kings Omri and Ahab in the 9th century Be.843-805). and the history of the two kingdoms corresponded closely during this period. Within the first half of the 9th century. The HB/OT links the two kingdoms by an alliance established by the marriage of Athaliah. biblical and non-biblical inscriptions suggest that the Omrides may have reduced Judah to near-vassal status.29 to Jehoram. mentions an Israelite invasion of Aram during the time of his predecessor. in the north. rather than military and political achievements. The HB/OT remembers Jehoshaphat as a king who placed the Judean military at the disposal of Ahab 30 and who "made peace with" or "surrendered to" Israel. Furthermore. daughter of either Omri or Ahab. Israel under Omri and Ahab became a major player in the political scene of southern Syria-Palestine. and less-developed kingdom. Judah experienced similar developments. as a smaller. Jehoshaphat (877-853). There came up the king of in Bit-Adini and achieved a secure political I[s]rael beforetime in the land of my father .32 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be A depiction of the Canaanite god "Baal" found at the city of Ugarit. Ancient Art and Architecture Collection Ltd) Links with Judah While the ascendancy under Omri and Ahab centered on Israel. benefited from Israel's economic prosperity and political security. and Israel destined them to collide with the increasing Assyrian dominance the later Aramean king. Judah. Hamath. if not control. more remote. over several neighboring territories.

The Assyrian army at first moved once more against northern territories like Carchemish and Aleppo. and southern Syria-Palestine. The confrontation was the first of seven campaigns that Shalmaneser The Mesha Inscription of King Mesha of Moab in the would make into Syria-Palestine. His inscriptions attest. and it 9th century Be that describes Omri of Israel's subjugation set in motion a series of conflicts that of Moabite territory and Mesha's subsequent liberation of that territory after the death of Omri's son. Shalmaneser encountered the coalition of southern kingdoms. including the forces of Ahab of Israel. At Qarqar. that in 853 he set his sights on Syria-Palestine. Shalmaneser's immediate departure to Urartu after subduing northern Syria in 856 provided the space needed to organize the coalition. the gateway to Hamath. In response. which was headed by the three powers of Aram-Damascus. Outbreak 33 Assyria's final subjugation of northern Syria undoubtedly signaled an immediate threat to the southern kingdoms. about a dozen of these kingdoms forged an alliance. and Israel. Hamath. but then began a new thrust to the south by approaching the town of Qarqar. Damascus. . however. Together they sought to resist Assyrian domination of trade routes and commercial resources. Ahab. would engulf the Ancient Near East (akg-images/Erich Lessing) over the next two centuries.

Many of advancement into southern Syria. fire to his palaces. dominated the territory north Orontes River toward the city of Qarqar: of Tyre around the Orontes River. 33 relegated the southern Kingdom of Judah to virtual vassal status. (and) his palace possessions. Shalmaneser's Monolith of Israel under Ahab stood beside Inscription. when the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III coalition against Shalmaneser consisted decisively eliminated the north Syrian power of around a dozen kingdoms from central of Til-Barsip in 856. and Israel realized the Transjordan. Although some biblical texts of the Orontes. dominated the area south of Hamathite.32 represented the gateway to southern Syria. while Aram-Damascus. I approached the city of Qarqar. Quite naturally constituted the primary partners. Aram-Damascus. The Assyrian Euphrates and reasserting dominance over records also detail the coalition kingdoms' northern Syrian cities like Carchemish and numbers of chariotry. Hamath. which remained preoccupied with continued Hamath. Hamath. Israel Arganii. was a mere 30 to 40 miles locate hostilities between Israel and (50-60km) northwest of Hamath. the Kingdom Irhuleni of Hamath. Syria-Palestine. . the three kingdoms were able to control confronted an extremely large coalition the flow of commerce without interference fully drawn up to aid Irhuleni and stop from outside powers. In any his march south. located on the east bank indirectly. held much of the inland territory south of his valuables. and Aram-Damascus during the reign of Ahab. and perhaps Egypt. the (or Adad-idri). Aram-Damascus. Assyria's entrance into southern Syria. the southern powers of Syria. I set Tyre and Sidon and west of the Jordan River. but the then. and cavalry. after shared its concern to protect trade routes conquering the area between the Tigris and into central and southern Syria. Shalmaneser case. under King as the Assyrian army moved down the Irhuleni. I captured Adennu. the historical details of these texts fit better With no recorded substantial resistance. and Israel resistance in northern Syria. describes the systematic of the three major powers in central destruction of Irhuleni's royal cities and southern Syria. Throughout most of the preceding The Assyrians meet the coalition two decades. When he set out to continue the Israelite king originally involved.The fighting In the maelstrom of empires Israel and Assyria (853 Be) Aleppo. these three regional powers at Qarqar had cooperated with one another at least The town of Qarqar. the imminent threat to their well-being although the presence of that name in and formed a coalition to resist Assyrian inscriptions remains uncertain. infantry. Shalmaneser turned the Assyrian army south into the territory controlled by By the early spring of 853. northern Phoenicia. I departed from the city of The northern kingdom had also possibly Arganii. the primary source for this Aram-Damascus and Hamath as one campaign. (and) Hamath and east of the Jordan River. the Assyrians conquered and burned and the texts have probably misidentified Qarqar. however. including Assyria. Arabia. Pargii. with the next phase of Israelite history. these kingdoms had ties with Hamath and In the summer months of 853. his royal cities. under King Hadadezer I approached the cities ofIrhuleni. I carried off captives.

. This is the probably served the purpose of making only known representation of a Judean chariot (which Assyria's power seem even greater in looks identical to the Assyrian chariot).000 soldiers. and 3.000 additional soldiers plus chariots.000 chariots and remains a lack of evidence for adequate 5. although biblical and extra-biblical texts consistently mention Israelite and victory. force was massive and probably significantly 700 cavalry. Of particular interest is the army If these records are accurate. some historians have propagandistic purposes. however. Aram-Damascus.000 soldiers. and providing ready explanations Judean chariot forces.900 chariots.500 cavalry. of its power in the following decade.843). the coalition attributed to Ahab of Israel: 10. and some suggested that the number of Israel's forces of the forces seem out of keeping with what was mistakenly recorded or deliberately is known of the populations for the areas in multiplied by perhaps as many as ten. (British Museum.the largest outnumbered the Assyrian army. The fighting 35 A captured Judean chariot being led away by Assyrian the mid-9th century. The 1.000 chariots . there possessed only about 2. have fielded a much smaller army. London) when victory was not clear. Hence. if one identifies stables in the archeological records indicate that the Assyrian army record at Israelite cities like Megiddo. Hamath. was equal to that of Assyria at the height and Israel alone fielded 40. Such exaggerations soldiers after the battle of Lachish in 70 I Be. with population estimates of the city of Samaria the other members contributing more for this period suggest that Israel would than 22.900 cavalry. and even By comparison. just a decade later (c. According chariot force in the coalition and one that to the Assyrians. and 2. Assyrian inscriptions often horse facilities to support so large a exaggerated and rounded numbers for chariot force.

Moab. kingdoms described elsewhere as being under the influence.000 and 29. Moab. the size Assyria containing an inscription written over the relief of the king. biblical texts. and perhaps even under the control. of Israel during this period. and Edom. daughter of the King of Sidon. This inscription is the main source for the battle of the coalition armies. In the midst of this battle I the total of slain coalition troops at varying took away from them chariots. Thus.. in 849. 3S Shalmaneser describes piling up enough corpses to stop up the Orontes River and There is reason to believe. (and) numbers between 14. The Assyrians had a tactical advantage. The field was too re-take north Syrian territories like Bit-Agusi small for laying flat their bodies .. . (British Museum. portray Judah during this time as bound by a treaty relationship to Israel through the marriage of a northern princess to a southern prince. the broad and Carchemish. For example. and teams of horses. which like Judah also go unmentioned in Assyrian records of the battle. however. and perhaps Phoenicia contributed contingents that were counted under the banner of Israel.000 troops.36 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be A better explanation can be derived from the fact that Assyrian records of this battle make no mention of Israel's immediate neighbors of Judah. form a bridge across it: that Qarqar was at least a stalemate if not a victory by Israel and its coalition partners. however.000.. Syro-Palestinian coalition on three I blocked the Orontes River with their corpses as more occasions. their annals record that they had to I made their blood flow .. I Euphrates for the next three years. I decisively defeated them from the city of Shalmaneser did not press south of Qarqar in Qarqar to the city of Gilzau. When spread out their corpses (and) I filled the plain. Assyrian records indicate a bloody battle. They place with a causeway. the Syro-Palestinian coalition presented a formidable force. I felled with the 853 and did not even campaign west of the sword 14. Nonetheless. Edom. and battle the same countryside had been consumed in burying them. 34 The Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon. cavalry. also had a treaty relationship with Israel signified by the marriage of Ahab to Jezebel. Whatever the exact numbers. while not mentioning the battle of Qarqar.. combined with of Qarqar in 853. the Assyrians finally did return to the west [I felled] with the sword their extensive troops. another possible explanation for the size of Israel's forces at Qarqar is that kingdoms like Judah. since the battlefield was near the territory of Bit-Agusi and other northern cities that had capitulated The Monolith Inscription of King Shalmaneser III of to Assyrian control. their fighting men. which involved King Ahab of Israel but the likely depletion of Assyrian forces from is not mentioned in the Bible.. London) earlier battles on the campaign. tipped the scales in favor of the alliance.

In his Uehoram's] his predecessor. The fighting 37 Seen in a broad perspective. the King ofJudah. Although was filled with water. and when they had made a roundabout march of seven days. Hazael immediately reversed the existing . morning offering. 38 the sequence of kings is confusing for the following years. and the biblical narrative dramatically at the end of the next decade. account attributes the Israelite defeat to King Assyrian records continue to name Irhuleni Mesha's sacrifice of his son on the city wall. Jordan River and north of the Wadi Arnon. The biblical coalition of southern kingdoms each time. an inscription of King Mesha of Orontes as signs that Aram-Damascus could Moab claims that he successfully drove the gain power over all of southern Israelites out of Moabite territory east of the Syria-Palestine. 37 The route itself was with its neighbors against Assyria that prohibitive. but Even with a weakened Israel. and Hadadezer as the coalition leaders. The HB/OT suggests that Jehoram during that period. in the 840s do not refer to Ahab's successors Ahaziah the coalition as a whole was successful in or Jehoram. I will make this wadi full that spanned nearly the entire second half ofpools'.. of power in the west changed radically. the coalition's Mesha may have joined with the Ammonites confrontation at Qarqar with the Assyrians to invade Judah by crossing the Dead Sea. suddenly water began to flow Ahab of Israel apparently died sometime from the direction of Edam. of confrontations with Aram-Damascus 'Thus says the LORD. returned to the west on three more occasions they were unable to conquer Kir-hareseth in 849. under Ahab's control in 853 rebelled after Assyrian texts designate him a usurper.. and set up a king of their own. This south end of the Dead Sea.. indicates that the army was saved from destruction by a flash flood in a canyon: Israel and Aram-Damascus So the King of Israel. the capital. was the most significant battle that took taking the coastal city of Ein Gedi. and (843-805) the King of Edam set out. Shalmaneser destroying some cities in southern Moab. Since it is likely that Israel turning back the Assyrian army at the continued to participate in the coalition. Both biblical and extra-biblical texts show however. through Edom. and place in the Levant in the 9th century. and 845 and faced the same or press on to Dibon. Hazael may have interpreted days Edom revolted against the rule of the steady decline in Israel's power and Judah. And he [Elisha] said. when a new king named Hazael that many of the kingdoms that had been came to the throne in Damascus around 843. 848. The balance deterioration in its power. Perhaps for this reason. power. about the time of the of the 9th century. Orontes River on all three occasions when the lack of reference may reflect a they advanced to that point.." 36 Shalmaneser's inability to push below the For example. marked by dangerous desert would last until regional politics shifted heat and drought. Moab biblical texts imply that he murdered rebelled against IsraeL . and his death: "After the death of Ahab. action solidified Israel's status as a regional and laying siege to Kir-hareseth near Dibon. and marching into the wilderness southeast of represented the pinnacle of Israel's power Jerusalem. and set it on a course of cooperation the capital of Moab. there The next major conflicts in Israelite was no water for the army or for the animals and Judean history involved a series that were with them . Israel's and Judah's fortunes Although the army succeeded in clearly changed for the worse.. until the country shortly after the battle of Qarqar. Ahab's ability to of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah led a contribute one of the most significant combined Israelite and Judean retaliatory military contingents to this battle was the strike into Moab by marching around the fruit of several decades of prosperity. The next day.

he did not meet the old coalition ]ehoram at ]ezreel. 39 According back to the west for a fifth time. King of Israel. This time. one ]ezreel. marched through the Beqa' valley Jehu then sent letters to the capital city to Damascus. an accession that the of the forces at Ramoth-gilead.850). Hazael withdrew from Samaria. and 470 cavalry.co. in charge proclaimed]ehu king. was wounded in this battle With the wounded ]ehoram cloistered in and retreated to ] ezreel leaving]ehu.000 Aramean soldiers.uk) have long-lasting consequences for the west. Shalmaneser led the Assyrian army of the Phoenician god Baal. With no Ahaziah who had joined him there. the city under siege. a choice that would (© 2003. Shalmaneser's army devastated political alignments and initiated hostilities the surrounding lands. of what remained of the old coalition. the Israelite army at Ramoth-gilead of the commanders of the army. as well as the ]udean king but only Hazael of Damascus. The events of the clash between Hazael Although no descriptions of the battle have and Shalmaneser overlapped one of the most survived. Topham PicturePoint/Topfoto. The Shalmaneser Ilion campaign in Phoenicia (c. HB/OT presents as a religious revolution While Israelite forces were defending motivated by the desire to eliminate the Ramoth-gilead against Aram-Damascus House of Ahab that had allowed worship in 841. The Aramaic inscription from the defeat of 16. and secured by threat the Ramoth-gilead and made his stand at a peak capitulation of the city's officials and near Mount Lebanon. The bottom band shows the army on campaign against Hazazu. ] ehu promptly attacked however. to the biblical story.38 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be A band relief showing the Assyrian army of 1. Assyrian texts claim garrison.121 chariots.The Assyrians pushed Hazael back to the capital top band depicts tribute being brought to the Assyrians city of Damascus but chose not to place by inhabitants of the coastal city ofTyre. the significant developments in Israelite history. killing coalition to check its advance at the ]ehoram in the open field and wounding the Orontes. a move that on the Mediterranean coast in the probably brought about the collapse vicinity of Tyre. 2 Kings 8 records that]ehoram. Tel Dan appears to give credit for the killings . cities. and against Israel in the Transjordan territory villages and proceeded to a mountain around Ramoth-gilead. the Assyrian army probably fleeing Ahaziah who later died at Megiddo.

Jehu opted not remove Hazael or do extensive damage to present himself before Shalmaneser and to his kingdom. biblical texts picture Judah as a weaker leaving open the question of who the partner that followed the northern driving force was behind these actions. and Philistia. He seems to have relegated Israel and Judah This pro-Assyrian alignment would to vassal-like status. As is typical for this period. Assyria entered a period of decline submission is memorialized in relief and and was unable to return to the west for the writing on the Assyrian Black Obelisk. but the overall a century. This however. with his representatives behind him bearing gifts. upon his coup. a golden bowl. Israel and Judah by Damascus: 41 "The anger (akg-images/Erich Lessing) of the LORD was kindled against Israel. tin. In any case. The fighting 39 of these kings to Hazael rather than Jehu. He the lead of many other regional kingdoms captured some Aramean cities but still did and submitting to Shalmaneser. Shalmaneser returned to the west Assyrians just four years earlier. the next 30 years. Transjordan. and biblical texts of Assyria that depicts the Israelite king. Following this campaign. (the man) of In this vacuum between 837 and 810. golden cups. a golden Hazael established a mini-empire that goblet. Jehu kneels. I received the tribute ofJehu . Hazael was defeated by Assyria the choice of renewing the alliance with in 841 but. submitting explicitly describe the loss of Transjordanian and paying tribute (c. unfortunately for Israel. or following to check Hazael once more in 838-837. so . a staff encompassed the central Palestinian hill of the king's hand. establish Israel as an Assyrian vassal. Archeological evidence of destruction is visible at key A panel of the Black Obelisk of King Shalmaneser III Israelite cities like Jezreel. kingdom's foreign policy. golden buckets.84 1 Be).. (and) javelins(?)40 country.. Bit-Humrf : silver. course of events is clear. Jehu. and territory and the continual subjugation of Shalmaneser stands to the left of the kneeling king. Virtually no details are be Israel's dominant posture for nearly known for anyone battle. Jehu faced Thus. Syria. gold. The Egyptians during this only surviving visual representation of an period were likewise entangled in internal Israelite or Judean king: conflicts and played no significant role in Syria-Palestine. not Aram-Damascus that had turned back the destroyed.

then into the hand of Ben-Hadad son of Hazael. 2 Kings 13: 7 credits Jehoahaz. after capturing some Edomite Damascus sometime between 80S and 802 but territory east of Beersheba. Although the time span is lesser partner to Israel. The turning point came. the battle took place in . order to reclaim territory that Ben-Hadad had Among these kings was Joash of Israel. several local kings paid tribute Israelite and Judean force to Ramoth-gilead in and reaffirmed their loyalty to Assyria. He subdued Ben-Hadad II victory. Jehu's successor. the HB/OT says. a liberation that probably began under Jehoahaz. The next spring. a new Judean king named Ben-Hadad on three subsequent occasions Amaziah inherited the throne from his and ended Aramean oppression of Israel for father Jehoash (c.000 enemy of Aram-Damascus and allowed Israel to break free soldiers and capturing Ben-Hadad. with an army of fewer than SO horsemen. for example. The Israelites won a sound nirari III of Assyria.802). Judah mortally wounded in the battle. This resurgence allowed Israel to throw off the yoke of Aram-Damascus. Amaziah did not destroy the City or remove Ben-Hadad challenged Joash of Israel. and 10. and that his son and successor. (akg-images/Erich Lessing) later released upon agreeing to relinquish captured Israelite territory. Adad-nirari came west in 80S and established his base of operations at Arpad in northern Syria for a multi-directional. Ben-Hadad marched south to the Jordan Valley and sent demands to Samaria. According to the the time being. but the Israelites turned back the Aramean forces. The Israelite king was Throughout these events.40 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be that he gave them repeatedly into the hand of King Hazael of Aram. around 80S. perhaps thinking that this was the instigator.000 soldiers. 43 Although Judah from the throne."42 Aramaic inscriptions may even indicate that Hazael campaigned into Assyrian territory north of the Euphrates. Joash seems to have defeated Aram-Damascus. 10 chariots. tried to extend Aramean dominance over Hamath in northern Syria. killing 28.820). the Arameans returned south but were met by an Israelite army at Aphek near A relief with accompanying inscription of King Adad- the Jezreel Valley. Upon this show biblical texts say that Jehoahaz led a joint of force. Biblical accounts like 2 Kings 13 and 1 Kings 20 and 22 suggest the possible scenario that. who led the Assyrian resurgence in the west after 8 lOBe. Late in this period (c. however. in 810. and Joash probably continued to play the role of succeeded him. promised to relinquish. Upon liberation from unclear. when Adad-nirari III took the throne in Assyria and initiated a resurgence in the Empire's strength. would evoke his loyalty. After securing matters in Assyria. Ben-Hadad II. The Assyrians then subjugated biblical story. Israel and Judah suffered militarily and economically during this time. Some time later. He was of Aramean control. three-year campaign.

Adad-nirari placed puppet ruler of the Transjordan and Galilee power in the west into the hands of field when Rezin seized those territories after 750. . and took Amaziah Assyrian presence and creating a vacuum prisoner to Samaria. loyal dominance. a new ruler returned the Judean king to his throne.500 soldiers and scored victories The HB/OT remembers Pekah as being active over the Philistines. Around the year 750. and Shephelah and Negeb. a series of subsequent actions that suggest Israel also probably expanded its borders the population was divided into opposing northward to the Beqa' valley and southward factions. marshals who maintained a direct Assyrian The event that precipitated the military presence in the region. who came from a this conflict between the sister kingdoms provincial town outside the capital. The fighting 4/ Judean territory near Beth-shemesh. a Gileadite from HB/OT claims that Uzziah expanded Judah's the region just south of Aram-Damascus. according to the word of the LORD. four kings reigned in quick He restored the border of Israel from succession between the years 748 and 734. for example. which he spoke by his servant continually lost territory to surrounding Jonah son ofAmittai. fell into decline during the reigns of Aram-Damascus. came . 46 Most significantly. Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah and three of them were killed after short [Dead Sea]. army to 307. and others. Arabs. named Rezin (or Radyan).. But Assyria outbreak of direct hostilities among Israel. 44 kingdoms that were rallying to Rezin's cause. which to encroach on Judean territory in the opened the Red Sea trading route. and Judah. 8th-century archeological remains at Israelite These events had severe consequences for cities show an increased presence of luxury Israel and Judah. The available sources record items that may date to Jeroboam's time. with a large segment in both to the Dead Sea. 47 Perhaps Pekah became the administrative methods. Aram-Damascus. Rezin's actions suggest that he Judah: the Syro-Ephraimitic War had visions of reestablishing Hazael's (734-73 I Be) mini-empire of a century earlier and liberating the west from Assyrian With a resurgent Assyria after 80S. alongside Rezin in the northern Transjordan Much of Israel's success at this time as early as the 750s while Jeroboam was still was probably due to a change in Assyrian king in Samaria. Damascus and Hamath: In Israel. west Adad-nirari's successors (c. Rezin seems The Judean kings Uzziah and Jotham to have fostered the emergence of a reigned under the shadow of Jeroboam pro-Damascus rival claimant to the throne and probably shared in the prosperity. The biblical account indicates Edom in recapturing the port of Elath.780-750). 45 He also appears to have assisted (788-748). removing the strong temple and treasuries. the throne in Damascus and proved that Assyria had made a mistake by not destroying Aram-Damascus in preceding Israel. While Joash later of power. It seems possible that he Assyrian vassals like Israel experienced a time seized control of Israelite territory in of recovery. the prophet. which took place during the first the Transjordan and Galilee as early as half of the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel the 750s. reigns. The central government in Samaria the God ofIsrael. usurped foreshadowed things to come. looted the the scene by about 750. expansions which are likely kingdoms favoring the Damascus-led to have been made at the expense of movement to throw off the Assyrian yoke. The in Israel named Pekah. broke Powerful field marshals disappeared from down a section of the city's wall. of Jerusalem. and that Jeroboam recovered the commercial to have opened the door for the Philistines port of Elath from the Arameans. after the death of Jeroboam in 748. and years. however. Joash captured Jerusalem.

Assyria's only involvement Piye sailed northward on the Nile. This campaign. By 737. the note that Tiglath-pileser received tribute chronology of biblical and Assyrian texts from Syro-Palestinian kings including Tubail suggests this number includes his years as a of Tyre.745-727). Menahem gave Pul a thousand A relief from the Assyrian royal palace at Calah that talents of silver. the official foreign offered only as nominal tribute designed to policy of the northern kingdom became avoid direct confrontation. More importantly. did not achieve [Tiglath-pileser III] of Assyria came against hegemony over the Delta but probably the land. Menahem of Israel. and extended his dominance troops to help Menahem of Israel secure into the Egyptian Delta. During this campaign. when Tiglath-pileser withdrew over the north and west. Gaza. the throne of Samaria."48 a bow and standing over a kneeling vassal (c. Assyrian texts says he went on to reign 20 years. 49 Although 2 Kings 15: 27 Syria. Rezin new policy of relocating conquered peoples. and joined the for a four-year campaign throughout northern coalition in 734.42 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be in 745. Egyptian Tiglath-pileser was not yet moving into inscriptions indicate that the Ethiopian king southern Syria. These payments were probably time in over a century. especially in light particularly designed to curb the expansion of the rival claimant Pekah: "King Pul of Tefnakht of Sais. and establishing permanent part of this development. Ashkelon. As provinces.32)) . a general a conclusive victory over northern Syria. for the first of Damascus. and others. Arabia. conquered in the south came when Tiglath-pileser sent Memphis. He these developments as a sign that an Assyrian immediately undertook military campaigns move into southern Syria was now inevitable. Ralph Harman Booth Bequest Fund (50. designed to reestablish Assyrian dominance Thus. named Pul usurped the throne in Assyria Rezin and his supporters no doubt saw and took the name Tiglath-pileser III. however. He apparently assassinated the sitting established the region around Arpad as a base king. Pekah finally made his move on the Israelite Tiglath-pileser came west in 743. He also instituted a northward to fight Urartu in 735. solidified an anti-Assyrian coalition including annexing conquered kingdoms as imperial Tyre. since anti-Assyrian. and throne. the rival claimant military bases in conquered areas. In the same year. After years of decline. Tiglath-pileser had (© 2004. so that he might help him shows the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (left) holding confirm his hold on the royal power. took control of Samaria. Detroit Institute of Arts/Founders Society annexed 19 districts of Hamath and won Purchase. and even Rezin rival claimant.

"".. The fighting 43 734-731: Campaigns down coast to Gaza. withdraws to Sarrabanu in Babylon."'" o"'Damascus " MEDITERRANEAN SEA E t N I o 100 miles o IOOkm . "'" "". back-tracks to Tyre then across Galilee.y "".

attempt on Ahaz by an Ephraimite I destroyed 591 cities of 16 districts of operative just prior to the siege in 734. That one [Le. This was deported some Israelites. and Gibeon and ended at Nob. [T] herefore thus says the Lord GOD: It shall not stand.. 53 of the Aramean and Israelite force: they traveled south by an interior road east Rezin was eventually executed and Syrian of Samaria that passed through Michmash territory was annexed as a province. in order to The express aim of Syria and Ephraim's save his life. even including By about 733. about a mile Although Tiglath-pileser claims to have (roughly 2km) east of Jerusalem." Several biblical texts describe the and captured cities and prisoners.. Although the precise sequence members contain the first reference to of events is difficult to decipher. I impaled alive his with a compliant ruler and return Judah to chief ministers. the Assyrians swept Rezin and Pekah besieged Jerusalem.. across Galilee. Thus began a three-year Samaria. The Assyrians Uzziah. Israel's) actions was to replace Ahaz of his city [like] a mongoose. Damascus and Samaria purported conversations between stood isolated.. War. refused subjugated the cities of the Philistia region to join the coalition and prevented Rezin and turned the coastal area just north of from establishing a united front against Philistia into a province. but could not mount an Damascus by 731: attack against it. however. who had inherited own capitals. Heading pileser was out of the region in early 734. the Assyrian records that show campaign to deal with Rezin's coalition the withholding of tribute by coalition (734-731).. which was probably initiating the so-called "Syro-Ephraimitic under Aramean control at this time. archers. There [them]. Rezin]. however. . king ofJudah. While at Gaza. After Pekah's coup in Piye of Ethiopia. early 733. and I confined him like a bird in a cage. In late 734 or a sign that Assyrian power was ready to slip. Tiglath-pileser the Assyrians. King Rezin ofAram and then destroyed outlying cities and King Pekah son ofRemaliah ofIsrael went up territories before eventually sacking to attack Jerusalem. the submission of Hiram of Tyre. Tiglath-pileser engaged Ahaz and the prophet Isaiah: Damascus for two years. 51 Damascus like mounds of ruins after Isaiah 10: 27d-32 perhaps details the route the Deluge. the southern kingdom of probably to seal off the Egyptian border Judah apparently did not follow the northern and prevent any possible involvement by kingdom's lead. I set up my camp around the city for 45 may have been an unsuccessful assassination days. "[A]ll [of whose] cities I leveled . and I . and I dispersed their battle array.44 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be secured the trade routes into Philistia By this time. it appears a tribute payment by any king of Judah. 50 shield. and it shall not I captured his [Rezin's] warriors. the Assyrians swept down the For the first time since before the reign length of the Mediterranean coast to Gaza. and he entered the gate (Le. that Rezin and Pekah lifted the siege of This payment probably meant that Jerusalem and withdrew to defend their King Ahaz of Judah. the anti-Assyrian and Lebanon. To the eyes of the budding actions in Syria-Palestine had attracted Syro-Palestinian coalition it must have been Tiglath-pileser's attention.. 52 details of this siege. the Assyrians the throne from his father Jotham. east from Tyre. of Omri. and I made his country behold its vassal-like role in relation to Israel. come to pass. then backtracked northward and forced In response. fled alone. initially defeating Rezin's army in the field and pushing In the days ofAhaz son ofJotham son of them back into the city. he specifically the more geographically difficult but less states that he never attacked Samaria: fortified path from Samaria to Jerusalem.and lance-bearers. probably before Tiglath.

and dramatically altered themselves. and left Syro-Ephraimitic War reestablished Assyria's him to reclaim Samaria. including up from Judah. 55 Upon success. departing the area in 731 to deal with a The city has a moat (on left). and main wall. He appointed Hoshea. The fighting 45 spared only (isolated) Samaria. the west. the Assyrian king The left-hand side depicts soldiers using a ladder to scale the city wall and the bottom portion shows established new political boundaries for the execution of captured inhabitants or soldiers. were changed into provinces sent vassal tribute to the Assyrian king ruled by Assyrian governors and garrisons. on campaign in southern Babylon./ 54 Before Depiction of the Assyrian siege of an unidentified city. Hoshea Transjordan. situation in Babylon. Thus. probably left kingdom. perhaps along the same road those in formerly Israelite territory such as that Rezin and Pekah had traveled earlier. Israel and Judah survived as kingdoms but Israel returned to being an Assyrian vassal with greatly reduced borders. and south of the Jezreel Valley. a man of (Werner Forman Archive) unknown origins. probably with Judah once again holding only those areas west of the Jordan a lesser partner. All areas previously Hoshea led a joint Israelite and Judean force controlled by Aram-Damascus. to Galilee and the northern and central recapture Samaria. and biblical texts suggest that the balance of power. Assyrian texts dominance over the kingdoms and commerce testify that the Israelites overthrew Pekah of Syria-Palestine. who was perhaps already leading an overthrow movement against The events surrounding the Pekah. as the new King of Israel. lower wall. .

" and Phoenicia enough to compel them About a year later. he carried the revolts in Samaria and ultimately resulted Israelites away to Assyria. A particular feature sequence of events possibly unfolded. While the only source Chronicle. In response. specifically to a "King So. of this 726 rebellion was Hoshea's appeal for Around 727.." in the destruction of the northern kingdom by 720. All that seems certain is that Israel three years he besieged it. annexed and turned into the Assyrian Shalmaneser V probably pressed into Syria province of "Samaria. King Shalmaneser Shalmaneser V extended his father's campaign of Assyria came up against him. probably saw Tyre's assertion as a earlier. 56 response. regional rulers and withheld tribute from the but it is likely to be a reference to Tefnakht. The HB/OT's notion he immediately withdrew. Then the King of Assyria invaded abandonment of Yahweh and the worship of all the land and came to Samaria. for example. became his vassal and paid him tribute. when Tyre was in open help to Egypt. Hoshea of Israel joined other There is no pharaoh known by this name. at some point during this campaign. however. Hoshea thus of a three-year siege against Samaria by became the new king's vassal and paid Shalmaneser V may represent the Assyrian tribute in 727. Shalmaneser V campaigned into Shalmaneser V captured Samaria and Syria-Palestine and secured the submission imprisoned Hoshea. as he had done multiple and complex events into a succinct year by year. who had come to who had been established as a pro-Assyrian control virtually the entire Delta a decade vassal. Within this general certainty. Hoshea in that direction. 59 The Babylonian of local kingdoms. to this campaign. 60 The siege probably began before When Shalmaneser V spent 726 in September/October 724 and ended by Assyria. In the ninth and Assyria had a protracted period of hostile year of Hoshea the King of Assyria interaction from 730-720 that included captured Samaria.46 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Israel and Assyria (730-720 Be) The HB/OT's description of the fall of Tiglath-pileser died on campaign in December Israel from 2 Kings 17: 1-6 (NRSV): "In 727. However. the citizens may have overthrown . and the biblical texts condense to the King of Assyria. for he had sent messengers to large gaps and contradictions in the Assyrian King So of Egypt. Hoshea apparently again became December 722. ruler of the city of Sais. says Shalmaneser V for this campaign is a description by the ravaged Samaria. however. Hoshea. for other gods. new Assyrian king. Since Samaria at the time involved in rebellion and withheld his was apparently an Assyrian province without annual tribute. a reference that may belong 1st-century AD Jewish historian Josephus. sources like 2 Kings 17 suggest that a more specific ring-leader in the west. Probably his official enthronement ceremony. and offered no tribute records. therefore the King of theological explanation that attributes the Assyria confined him and imprisoned fall of Israel to divine punishment for the him. his death. Samaria to sign vassal treaties with him. and then evidently rebelled again.. rebellion broke out in the west led Hoshea son of Elah began to reign in by the city of Tyre. It is likely that with the who claims to be quoting an earlier source removal of its king in 725. There are in Hoshea. Shalmaneser V. Israel was that is relying on archives from Tyre. 57 Tyre was once again the a king. Even before the primary aim of besieging Tyre. and his son and successor Samaria over Israel. Shalmaneser V led the chance to escape from the economic burden Assyrian army into the west by 725 with of tribute payments to Assyria. the sources for this period are But the King of Assyria found treachery particularly difficult to unravel. "58 rebellion. Either just before or immediately upon the twelfth year of King Ahaz of Judah.

Assyrian texts explicitly and I imposed upon them the [same] tribute as name Samaria as a rebel and refer to the the previous king [Le. After conquering Gaza. At this time. I gathered 50 such as Gaza and provinces such as Arpad chariots from them. against Samaria. and burned Raphia. I carried off 9. by the year 720. for example." 61 In any case. He also and Assyria was racked by conflict over deported over 27. and Sargon claims to have plundered thousands of people and burned Raphia: "I razed. offered Samaria offered little resistance. Assyrians resubjugated Samaria by 722 but classified the people as Assyrian citizens. Assyrian records do not (akg-images/Erich Lessing) describe a prolonged siege of the city. status for Samaria in 720. rebellion took root across the foreigners into the area: Empire. At this point. "They carried out a coronation. involving kingdoms booty 27. Sargon moved Judean territory after a failed revolt in 714-71 I Be. it is likely that The prophet Hosea. however. The Assyrians then moved down the Mediterranean coast to Gaza." 62 capital of Samaria in 720 BC. who destroyed the Israelite together with their great property. Sargon had to push his troops south to meet an advancing Ethiopian force at Raphia. the trade and commerce throughout Sargon II eventually emerged from outside Syria-Palestine. typically beardless and curly-haired. I took as Yaubi'di of Hamath. fighting against the Assyrians in various cities of southwest Syria-Palestine. He came west late cooperation between Assyria and the . and inflicted losses on With the coast secure. He claims to but not through me. In any case. a message from the god Yahweh that Sargon finally secured lasting provincial proclaimed. just above the Wadi el-'Arish. and Damascus.033 inhabitants King Sargon II of Assyria. Assyrian reliefs show Ethiopian soldiers.. The fighting 47 in 720. Pictorial reliefs from Sargon's reign show Yaubi'di being flayed alive after his capture. their Assyrian governor and installed a Since the other major coalition members native king whose name has not survived.000 people and resettled the throne. Shalmaneser V]. I set my eunuch over them. seemingly left the city intact.290 people who lived there. Sargon controlled by the citizens for the purpose of revolt. In the west. The ringleader Yaubi'di tried to halt the Assyrians' approach to Syria-Palestine. Sargon encountered in 720 what Tiglath-pileser had feared in 734. The Assyrians defeated the Ethiopians. destroyed. the have established an Assyrian governor. perhaps another native ruler enthroned Thus. the military into the Assyrian army.. had already been defeated. Shalmaneser V died in 722. and incorporated the remaining elements of Finally. a coalition of rebellious states formed under the leadership of I besieged and conquered Samarina. he also initiated the royal line and usurped the throne of a trade relationship with the Egyptian rulers Assyria after suppressing an uprising from in the Delta an9 established a policy of sections of the military. but Sargon defeated him at the familiar battleground of Qarqar.63 leadership of an unnamed hostile king.

in its campaign against Israel. He promptly organized a Assyrian Empire. which 2 Kings 20 associates with an Assyrian at the close of the 720 campaign. The throughout the 720s. a trading post near Egypt. It is possible that Sargon control of the government over to two pushed his territory's border with Egypt officials who subsequently led Judah south to the Wadi el-'Arish and appointed into the revolt. and placed a usurper named Yamani that would last until the end of the on the throne. Judah probably involved the influx of refugees rebelled against Assyria around 714. The from the destroyed northern kingdom. Yamani fled to the Ethiopian king Shabako for asylum." The text probably dates from had succeeded the aged Piye and invaded 720 or 717 but seems to indicate only the the Delta in 715. around 727. Judah apparently suffered some losses. 64 At the end of the revolt in 712 or Judah would rebel against Assyria on two 711. These two officials are Hezekiah to supervise the southwest corner condemned by the prophet Isaiah in a text of the E. it is difficult to understand why and Perhaps as a result of its loyalty in 720. Second invasion later in Hezekiah's reign. and Hezekiah remained Assyrian kings frequently rewarded on the throne. where renewal of Judean loyalty and not rebellion. kingdoms that remained loyal in the Given the fact that Hezekiah had midst of nearby rebellions by giving remained loyal to Assyria for more than a them expanded territory taken from rebels. whom Sargon Hezekiah's control. Because he was not had appointed to quell a rebellion two years personally responsible for the revolt. opened hostilities with the typical protocol for Assyrian vassals Assyria in the east. perhaps Kings 18: 8 says that around the same time belongs here. how he would have become involved in this Judah experienced a period of political rebellion. however. The only thing that can be said with the next six years (720-714). and from Babylon. Sargon claims to have reopened Hezekiah suffering a life-threatening illness. The HB/OT does not address those prominence and territorial expansion over issues. and Moab. Sargon led his own contributed forces to the Assyrian army personal forces. who had seized the It is even possible that Judah in 720 followed throne in 721. The biblical story of and Egypt.48 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Delta Egyptians (against the Ethiopians) earlier. This expansion certainty is that. the following hypothetical establishment of trade between Assyria sequence of events. biblical and extra-biblical sources allow. that is placed in the context of the Ashdod After this period of expansion. Merodach-baladan. Only one inscription inspiration for this revolt came from Egypt. major revolt against Assyrian domination In Judah. "which where the new Ethiopian pharaoh Shabako is far away. of Sargon mentions subduing Judah. decade. No siege of Jerusalem is recorded. but may also have been tied to Sargon's however. and the other rebels Judah and Assyria (714-70 1 Be) capitulated. When The Assyrians despoiled the Judean Sargon became occupied in Urartu in stronghold of Azekah and took away 714-713. the people of the Philistine city of Philistine territory that had been under Ashdod overthrew their king. and came in 712 or 711. Edom. occasions: 714-711 and 705-701. . down the Mediterranean coast and captured Ashdod. Ahaz. implying that around 714 Hezekiah expanded Judean control into the Hezekiah became incapacitated and turned vicinity of Gaza. perhaps in Gaza. King Hezekiah had inherited the in the west that included other Philistine throne from his father. rather than the main army. for whatever reason. He territories. Assyrian apparently did not follow Israel in becoming records also list Judah as a participant involved in the rebellions against Assyria but do not explicitly name Hezekiah..m pire from 720-714. revolt. The Assyrian reaction illustrated in Assyrian inscriptions.

(Image courtesy of Hezekiah apparently undertook a series of www. but Hezekiah Jerusalem. and the coalition probably and supply system to send provisions to hoped for support from Shebitku. Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley into several kingdoms united in rebellion. In 705. Jerusalem. The wall was deprived of territory in southwestern Judah 23ft (7m) wide and served to enclose previously and the destruction of the city of Azekah. each stamped with an emblem. struggled Hebrew letters lmlk (which were used to to secure the kingdom. approximately 20ft (6m) The second Judean rebellion against thick. for a revolt against Assyria. forging new shields Sidon. and weapons. consisted of the use of four-handled storage apparently the third heir born to Sargon jars. and the enclosed western side of the city." an underground conduit one-third Sargon died on the battlefield and revolt of a mile long that brought water from the broke out across the Empire. His allies included reorganized the military.org) . He also erected a had between 720 and 714. the but the first to survive childhood. Most of these lmlk have had for rebellion was indignation over jars were discovered in the areas of northern having suffered in 711 for a rebellion that he did not initiate. Hezekiah strengthened and of Judah as the ringleader. In the west. and inaugurated a royal storage and Edom. of four regional supply cities from which the One possible motivation Hezekiah may stores probably originated. The fighting 49 Hezekiah survived. perhaps in preparation Perhaps as early as 711 or at least by 705. Sennacherib. he strengthened the city wall and probably lost the enhanced status he placed new towers upon it. to enclose part of the western hill of Assyria began about 10 years later. Ekron. In without losing Jerusalem. this time Assyrian texts specify Hezekiah Elsewhere. Perhaps he recovered preparations for rebellion and defense that from his illness in time to surrender are evidenced in texts and archeology. fortification wall. the new cities throughout the kingdom. This system king of Ethiopia. Tunnel. Ammon. Moab. Ashkelon. particularly his being The remains of the additional wall built by King Hezekiah at Jerusalem in the late 8th century Be.HolyLandPhotos. unprotected areas of the city. Sargon's son. and four years passed signify"for the king"). and the name of one before he could campaign in the west. Workers dug the so-called "Siloam while fighting a tribal group in the north.

'See. Jerusalem and the Shephelah that would be This was a force of the Ethiopian Shebitku. A Hebrew inscription describing voluntary capitulation of other rebels like construction was found on an inside wall.6s Assyrians secured the major areas leading Sennacherib's campaign to put down eastward into Judean territory. but the sources Archeological evidence of destruction differ and do not permit certainty in the is present at cities like Ramet Rahel.150 people. and appeared in the Philistine cities of Ekron and may have been under the command of the Gath. At this point. The sources suggests Sennacherib followed Assyrians claim to have captured 46 cities the well-trodden path of campaigning and exiled 200. The siege and capture of Lachish was before pressing south to Philistia. and Ammon. is one-third of a mile long. "'66 had the obvious political effect of increasing By defeating this Egyptian force. Beersheba. and Gezer. details. This requirement out to fight against you. Even so. but some even who was also in control of the Delta. the the power of the capital city. Moab. The Assyrians the late 8th century to strengthen Jerusalem against sacked Ashkelon and Ekron and received the enemy siege.. and brings water from the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley outside the city. where he the most significant accomplishment of the . he has set priestly offices illegitimate. on the front lines of defense. into Sennacherib seems to have confronted a collection pool within the city (Y Kinory/Ancient Art a combined Egyptian and Ethiopian force and Architecture Collection Ltd) that had marched up from Egypt to Eltekeh in the Philistine territory west of Jerusalem. event in Judean history. Sennacherib the rebellion in 701 is the best-documented then invaded southwestern Judah. the combination of the Beth-Shemesh..50 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be The "Siloam Tunnel" built by King Hezekiah of Judah in met his first major opposition. "When the king centralizing of Judean worship in Jerusalem [Sennacherib] heard concerning King by declaring all other sacrificial sites and Tirhakah of Ethiopia. although this down the Mediterranean coast and number seems too large for the geographical conquered the Phoenician city of Sidon area. The tunnel Edom. Biblical texts also attribute a major crown prince Tirhakah (Taharqa) mentioned religious reform to Hezekiah that required the in 2 Kings 19: 9.

t N I 50 miles 50 km . The fighti ng 5I ISENNACHERIB ~ MEDITERRANEAN SEA Battles a combined Egyptian and Ethiopian force near Eltekeh.

sent me machinery and troops. 71 was at Lachish. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered its land out of the hand of the king of Assyria . (British Museum. He.52 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 BC Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish. who used political and religious rhetoric to call the city to surrender: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you."'67 Sennacherib apparently refused this offer and dispatched a contingent of soldiers led by the "Rabshakeh. Hezekiah inscribed with the phrase. . withdraw from me. also found at other cities in Judah and Philistia. my royal city. however. and made winged emblem. (British Museum. whatever you impose on me I will bear.. 68 The Assyrians built either a siege wall of earthwork around the city or a series of blockades/outposts to control all incoming and outgoing traffic. since it was a heavily fortified city Ashdod. Jerusalem was never taken. and Sennacherib The jars. Hezekiah . saying. his elite troops (and) his best soldiers. the sources agree that TOP 8th-century BC storage jars found at Lachish. differing traditions surrender of Jerusalem: "King Hezekiah of about what precipitated this conclusion. Padi. returned home to Nineveh. and thus diminished his land. for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. I locked up within BonOM Close-up of an 8th-century Judean storage jar Jerusalem." or Imlk. "belonging to the king. Hezekiah made an initial offer of capitulation that did not include the There are. soldiers defending the city with arrows.. from the time of Hezekiah that shows the stamp of a I surrounded him with earthworks. like a bird in a cage.. their Lachish and depicted Assyrian siege yearly payment. 'I have done wrong. king of Gaza.. he states: King Hezekiah in anticipation of an Assyrian invasion around 70 I Be. that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?70 Ultimately. and torches. which stones. London) His cities which I had despoiled I cut off from his land and gave them to Mitini. A wall relief in Sennacherib's palace in I imposed dues and gifts for my lordship upon Nineveh commemorated the battle for him." an Assyrian diplomatic spokesperson. controlling access to southwestern Judah. as well as a Hebrew inscription. in addition to the former tribute.. London) He [Hezekiah] himself. with 30 talents conclusion that while the Assyrian army ofgold [and other tribute]. he had brought in as reinforcements to The available sources favor the strengthen Jerusalem. remained on the throne. to place Jerusalem under siege and force its surrender. it unthinkable for him to exit by the city gate. as well as Israelite after my departure to Nineveh. his royal city. In Sennacherib's probably formed part of a supply network instituted by account. Imlk. king of Ekron and Silli-bel.. Second Kings 18-19 69 may contain the actual speech of the Rabshakeh. The LORD will surely deliver us . Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the LORD by saying. king of campaign.

demise and gradual withdrawal from the west. a tradition that is similar to a Assyrians in 70 I Be. Assyrian texts and archeological later Greek story about a miraculous defeat remains attest to the presence of double walls. Sennacherib did not turn its power (698-627). territory.000 Assyrian soldiers Judean city of Lachish before its destruction by the by an angel. groups of semi-nomads. Judah and Babylonia Perhaps news of trouble back home reached (597-586 Be) Sennacherib and thus he allowed Hezekiah to capitulate without losing Jerusalem. with the empire they had known for more He may have been Chaldean from than a century. and a large central building complex. At the time of Assyria's southern Babylonia in ethnicity. especially southern kingdoms. against the Babylonians and Medes. London) indicate that Hezekiah sent a very large tribute to Nineveh and suffered substantial devastation of wider Judean territory. At the time Assyria's policy of retaining seaport and of his rise. a move in keeping with beginning of Assyria's downfall. however. the Babylonians and Medes had formed an alliance and captured the Assyrian religious center of Ashur. as semi-independent modern Iran. fortified towers. Sennacherib stationed a garrison period in which Judah was a submissive at Lachish to maintain future control of the vassal while Assyria reached the pinnacle of area. "Neo-Babylonian Empire" that wrested During this period (626-612). marked the provinces in 701. The rise of Nabopolassar any of the rebellious kingdoms into in Babylonia in 626. The His origins are unclear. In all Hezekiah's failed revolt inaugurated a long likelihood. began to move into Assyrian vassals and thereby buffers with Egypt. evidence suggests that Egypt captured . as well Nabopolassar was the founder of the as the administrative capital of Nineveh. but later Greek Egyptians must have concluded that their historians suggested he served one of interests were best served by continuing their the last Assyrian kings before leading economic and power-sharing arrangements a rebellion in the city of Babylon. The fighting 53 Biblical texts attribute this to the miraculous A rendering of the possible appearance of the ancient overnight slaying of 185. Egypt control of the Ancient Near East away under Psammetichus I sided with Assyria from Assyria beginning in 626 BC. as opposed to northern the Medes from the northwest region of and central kingdoms. Assyrian records Museum. In the end. By 612. (British of Sennacherib in Egypt.

(British Museum. On the way. Despite the impression of Egyptians and Assyrians counterattacked independence given to him by the biblical Haran from the west but were unable to take writers. 73 that pictures the Assyrian siege of Lachish in 70 I Be. for reasons that Carchemish in the summer of 60S. the remnants of the Carchemish. up a temporary headquarters at Riblah. he killed Josiah at Megiddo. Carchemish. Assyrian army retreated to Haran. time a new pharaoh. In an and controlled the main north-south route apparent exercise of his control over Judah.54 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Part of the relief from Sennacherib's palace in Nineveh are unknown. the (641-610). 100 miles the pharaoh placed Jehoahaz II's older (160km) west of Nineveh. the major . the city. Necho the majority of his reign. withdrew but maintained nominal control When Nineveh fell to the Babylonians over Syria-Palestine up to the area of and Medes in 612. Necho fell back and set cities like Riblah. marched The turning point for all of Syria-Palestine northward through Syria-Palestine to assist came a few years later with the battle of the Assyrians. From June/July Hezekiah's great-grandson. London) In the fall of 610. on the seaboard. men impaled outside the city. and three on the throne. The Upon Josiah's death. probably to be brother. established military outposts at withdraw from Haran. the Babylonians and Medes forced the Assyrians and Egyptians to Ashdod. At this Jerusalem as an Egyptian vassal. a segment of the Judean picture shows Judean archers fighting from a tower. This battle marked the end of Assyria perhaps even as a vassal. men people placed his younger son. Jehoahaz II and women exiting the city with their goods. This Egyptian dominance Necho summoned Jehoahaz II to Riblah had an impact on affairs in Judah under and imprisoned him there. Jehoiakim on the throne in within reach of Egyptian assistance.72 he may have been subservient. and Haran. King Josiah through to August/September of 609. to Egypt during as a factor in the Ancient Near East. On his return south in 609. Necho II.

direct assault on Carchemish from the south. who had now ascended the Jerusalem. perhaps throne even though he had been an royal officials. remain independent. when left Syria-Palestine open for the Babylonians. (Werner Forman Archive) Egyptian appointee. in place. Jehoiakim withheld tribute in rebellion Babylonians surprised the Egyptians with a against Babylonia around 600 or 599. The Babylonians apparently decided contest for western dominance between the that they could not allow Egypt to remaining powers of Egypt and Babylonia. When Nebuchadrezzar suggest that they did not initially attempt spent the next year in Babylon rebuilding his a direct assault on Carchemish. but spent chariot forces. Before his Syria-Palestine establishing vassal kingdoms. the Egypt. an action . who hold their hands in the posture of a plea for leniency. The fighting 55 In this scene from the relief in Sennacherib's palace in local administrations that they encountered Nineveh showing the Assyrian siege of Lachish (70 I Be). The Babylonians were led by the Crown Nebuchadrezzar invaded Egypt but was Prince Nebuchadrezzar II. however. 74 Perhaps envisioning a resurgence of northern Syria. Nebuchadrezzar led the main army out During the following period of 605-603. In April of 605. Nebuchadrezzar and Jehoiakim officially switched Judah's apparently sent auxiliary forces from the loyalty from Egypt to Babylonia. in late 601. however. Necho advanced northward the two years before 605 isolating the into Syria-Palestine. Babylonian texts defeated by Necho. Moabites. Thus. marched throughout of the siege itself are known. Arameans. of Akkad toward the specific target of Nebuchadrezzar. Babylonian Chaldeans. No details of his march or throne in Babylon. possibly conquering city by driving a wedge southward across Gaza. and policy at this time was evidently to leave the Ammonites into Judean territory. hence. The Babylonian response began in late The Egyptian army withdrew to Egypt and November or early December 598. Jehoiakim was left on the Assyrian soldiers lead away two Judean captives. arrival in the west.

however.. Nebuchadrezzar en route to Jerusalem. the Babylonian was in keeping with Babylonian policy at the army arrived in Judah and laid siege to time to avoid disrupting stability and creating ] erusalem. 597: 2 Kings 24-25 skips from the beginning to the end of his reign.. officials. He took ]ehoiachin. and office while the Babylonians were still trained soldiers. 77 bands of the Ammonites . (akg-images/Erich Lessing) . " 75 These groups probably captured ]udean outposts in Probably because ]ehoiachin was not the Negeb and caused inhabitants of the personally responsible for the revolt and outlying territories to flee into Jerusalem. and booty from it and sent it to Babylon. Other biblical materials Year 7 [598-597t month Kislev [December-]anuary]: the king ofAkkad moved An Assyrian relief that shows soldiers of the Medes. surrendered without resistance. Nebuchadrezzar Although there are differing biblical did not destroy]erusalem or provincialize traditions about what happened to Judah. craftsmen. offered immediate surrender. and ]ehoiachin. a group from the northwest region of modern Iran that formed an his army in Hatti land [westt laid siege to the alliance with the Babylonians against the Assyrians in the late city ofJudah Uerusalem] and on the second 7th century Be. left the dynasty intact. inherited both his father's royal appointed 21-year-old Zedekiah. bands of appointed in it a king of his liking. and the Zedekiah's loyalty to Babylon after 597 Babylonians took control of the city on was short-lived. bands of the Moabites. servants. His 18-year-old son. The biblical account in March 15 or 16. took heavy the Arameans. Three months later. it appears that he died in mother. ]ehoiachin's throne and ill-advised rebellion in December uncle. along with his ]ehoiakim 76 . Evidently]ehoiachin immediately vacuums that stronger enemies could fill. to the throne. This lenient move 598. into exile.56 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be that the HB/OT interprets as divine day of the month Adar [15 or 16 March] punishment: "The LORD sent against he captured the city and seized its king. He him bands of the Chaldeans.

On the ninth day of the fourth rebellion against Babylonia in the late month the famine became so severe in the city 590s or early 580s. to break into Syria-Palestine and force the probably to ensure his loyalty. Thus. Zedekiah's of maintaining stability. on the tenth day of long-standing Judean religious beliefs in the the month. however. and annual tribute and entered into open laid siege to it. and he was sent to Babylonia currently ruling families. Biblical texts add that Zedekiah and During this renewed rebellion in the a military escort attempted to flee south west. Biblical . in 595 or 594. in the tenth month. King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon inviolability of Jerusalem. the Babylonians breached Egyptian victory. who then sent coordinate a rebellion in the west in them to another post. an aggressive campaign against Ethiopia Near the end of July 586. coupled with reign. and brought to Nebuchadrezzar at Riblah. texts depict Judah appealing to Egypt for Then a breach was made in the city wall. eyes of Zedekiah. 80 horses and troops and sending royal officials to Egypt for direct negotiations. to raze Jerusalem. an aggressive new pharaoh. in the late fall of 589. then put out the more directly. Tyre. Nebuchadrezzar Egyptian force of Hophra/Apries was able brought Zedekiah to Babylon in 594-593. Jerusalem to the commander of a particular Ammon. Nebuchadrezzar sons were killed in front of him. to the Egyptian throne in 595. Zedekiah freed the slaves in order to add Elam initiated hostilities against Babylon new levies for defense. Zedekiah's and broke down the city walls. palace. the border of Egypt and another toward captain of the royal guard. Zedekiah withheld came with all his army against Jerusalem. temporarily. Biblical and extra-biblical that there was no food for the people of the land. . sent one contingent down the coast toward Nebuchadrezzar sent Nebuzaradan. 18 months after in 592/591 that resulted in a sweeping the siege began. his eyes apparently decided henceforth to replace were put out.. the written sources indicate established a base of operations at Riblah. came to the Egyptian throne in 589. a severe treatment of Jerusalem. To celebrate this victory. relocate rebellious in chains: "They slaughtered the sons of kingdoms' centers of power. Within the capital. The fighting 57 like the prophetic books of Jeremiah and military tactics included establishing Ezekiel.. initiated and the Babylonians reinstated the siege. and Sidon 78 in order to location such as Lachish. and houses. who had come retreated without a confrontation. and rule them Zedekiah before his eyes. however. cities. About There he evidently divided his army and one month after the city's capture. Sometime shortly after commanders and garrisons at key Judean Nebuchadrezzar returned to Babylon in 597. they bound him in fetters Nebuchadrezzar set out from Babylonia to and took him to Babylon. siege in January 587. The Egyptians seem to have Pharaoh Psammetichus II. concert with Elam and others in the east. an in response to these events. Hophra or toward the Transjordan but were captured Apries. Probably as a result And in the ninth year of his [Zedekiah's] of this Egyptian resurgence. the city wall in the north or west: Psammetichus II embarked on a victory tour of Syria-Palestine in 591.. The combination of these factors led the Probably in keeping with the stipulated Babylonians to change their earlier policy punishments of his vassal treaty. but the revolt failed. Messages on ostraca (inscribed Zedekiah apparently hosted a conference in potsherds) and papyrus were sent from Jerusalem with officials from Edom. Moab. He led his forces to central Syria and western policy. For his part."81 make Jerusalem the first example of this new In keeping with the Babylo"nians' new policy. Jerusalem where they placed the city under He burned the temple. 79 Babylonians to withdraw from the city After Zedekiah's return to Jerusalem. provide more potential a network of communication among information. Perhaps During the siege of Jerusalem.

MOAB Egyptian force of Hophra/Apries t N I o 50 miles o 50 km .58 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be MEDITERRANEAN SEA Babylonians temporarily lift siege of Jerusalem and divert forces to meet an Egyptian army at Raphia. Siege of Jerusalem subsequently reinstated.

especially in the area directly most of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were north.82 but probably of Jerusalem. however. The fighting 59 texts contain differing accounts of the is little evidence of destruction outside deportations that followed. destroyed. military cities of Lachish and Azekah. annihilation of rebellious kingdoms but only the removal of the old royal center A reconstructed model of the "Ishtar Gate" of and family. entail the complete Sidon. and Moab. Berlin) . With the exception of the major Nebuchadrezzar II at the ancient city of Babylon. The Babylonians evidently chose this exiled. the Babylonians then pressed their The new Babylonian policy apparently new policy of removal and reduction toward did not. there (© bpk. The Babylonians under a hand-picked leader. as well as about 800 Judeans from area for a new administrative capital of Judah surrounding areas. With Jerusalem rendered the city of Jerusalem desolate. Tyre. Ammon.

who evidently came to Assyria. secondly. Pekah may have records a few specific pieces of biographical been a member of a division of 50 or information for him: firstly. he joined King Rezin of Damascus in a mobile infantry group. we can imagine Pekah progressed from a common soldier. short tunic and boots. a breastplate. while he was independently. He affected the reigns of five level of regional control that Damascus had different Israelite kings. strong local ties to its men's ancestral The significant part of Pekah's career hometowns in the area. to the sole underwent. Judah. Pekah was probably involved in continual Probably due to his desire to replace deployments and redeployments designed Assyrian control. thirdly. soldier divisions probably the central administration in Samaria had formed reaction forces and mobilized to been pro-Assyrian in its foreign policy since besiege and retake towns that had fallen the time of Jehu (c. to gain control over the Israelite territories On other occasions. and is known working to form a coalition to oppose to us from both the HB/OT and Assyrian Assyrian dominance and to reassert the inscriptions. The HB/OT the standing army. where territory. In this context. foot soldiers carrying a spear or javelin.· he reigned with similar divisions and at times operating for 20 years in Israel. not stationed in an attack on Jerusalem. yet having of being a soldier in ancient Israel. to a royal officer. launched his effort to throw off Assyrian personal shield. what experiences he and his fellow soldiers to a rebel leader. it seems sentiments of his Aramean neighbor to that during the course of his military career the north. Pekah's life also anyone town but moving from camp to provides a glimpse of the experiences camp throughout the region. group. namely.841). Rezin immediately to counter Aramean moves into Israelite initiated hostilities against Israel. Pekah perhaps found that most directly bordered his own. while battle gear was These actions took place during the final likely to include scale armor. years of the reign of Jeroboam II in Samaria. At times. At times joining to the preceding king. Pekah's division was probably king. a soldier like Tiglath-pileser III assumed the throne. altered the course of Israelite policy in Pekah was an Israelite soldier from Gilead relation to Aram-Damascus. before he 100 infantrymen under the command became king he served as a military officer of one ranking officer. and dramatically possessed under Hazael in the 9th century. and perhaps a helmet. As an infantry began around 750 when Rezin of Damascus. 83 and the period of the Assyrian Empire's In a tumultuous border region like the decline in the years just before Transjordan area of Gilead. son of Remaliah: rebel. Standard dress was probably a Aramean dominance in Syria-Palestine. son of Remaliah. himself temporarily garrisoned in a town Gilead in the northern Transjordan and in order to fortify it against Aramean . office~ I<ing Pekah. was arguably the Galilee north of Samaria and west of the most significant figure in Israel's history Jordan River. he was probably already during the 8th century Be.Portrait of a soldier Pekah. it almost certainly operated as who had recently usurped the throne. As a "regular" soldier in ruler of the northern kingdom. While Rezin tried under Aramean occupation and plunder. and perhaps a sword at control of the west. Although all reconstructions of sympathize with the anti-Assyrian ancient persons remain tentative. and to reestablish their side. and in the Transjordan.

To a soldier hailing from and have changed. An him as the primary ally of Rezin for the armor-bearer was a personal attendant next two decades." successors. At times. the rank of shalish designated a Perhaps for this reason.87 but Pekah's in later biblical and extra-biblical texts imply experience as a "captain" was more likely that when Rezin finally gained control of as a member of a group of commanding Gilead and Galilee. control of only the capital city and its (Vorderasiatische Museum. to support. 750s): "In those days. The seal. the LORD began to send King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah. which had been prominent the end of the reign of Jeroboam II. advancement. It is not difficult to imagine We cannot be certain about what that a border-region native like Pekah would happened next. He probably represented a or group of attendants who kept the . Berlin) immediate vicinity. Portrait of a soldier 61 significant faction of the Israelite population that saw the Damascus-led anti-Assyrian policy as the proper course for the kingdom at the time. pictures him striding and \Nearing a who sat in Samaria probably had firm short tunic but without a crown. his son Pekahiah (736-735). It was possibly at this point serving in a territory so heavily influenced that King Pekahiah established Pekah as a by the anti-Assyrian efforts of Damascus. shalish ("officer"."8s By the time of Jeroboam's A seal inscribed with the picture and name of"Pekah. Thus. of the functions of and perhaps developed l Pekah emerged as a rival claimant to the out of the older position of the nose kelim throne in the Kingdom of Israel near ("armor-bearer"). and in Israel during the early stages of military both Assyrian and biblical texts present development before the 9th century. the king although broken. the presentations personal assistant to the king. 84 Because of this division within the kingdom. but when Pekahiah have grown weary of the constant warfare succeeded his father Menahem to the within and destruction of his ancestral Israelite throne in 736. Pekah continued his presence as a rival ruler and fostered further division among the people of Israel over which foreign policy to follow. with Pekah holding Galilee and Gilead. Pekah's status may territory. Rezin and Pekah even jointly harassed Judah as early as the time of King Jotham (c. these years also saw a steady loss of territory and control by the central government in Samaria. 86 This move would Empire without any strong presence in appear to have been an attempt to reunify the region and the resulting hostilities with the government and regain lost territory Aram-Damascus may have been difficult that was under Pekah's rule or influence. perhaps suggesting it comes from the time before he ascended the throne. which is how the government in Samaria to an Assyrian HB/OT remembers Pekah. The HB/OT's assignment of a 20-year reign to Pekah may include these years of divided rule. "captain") within his the stubborn loyalty of the central Israelite military administration. 88 The office shared some these areas under Aramean oversight. For the next 15 years after 750. Pekah emerged from the officers or elite warriors within the military Israelite ranks and was installed as ruler of organization. Menahem (746-737) and who became king in Samaria around 734 Be.

upon Pekah's the Israelite military became increasingly usurpation the Judean king. conspired against him with fifty of Israel. it is laid siege to Jerusalem shortly after Pekah's likely that he served only as one member coup: "Then King Rezin of Aram and King among Pekahiah's group of "captains. and reigned in place God's will to bring destruction upon them: ofhim. this found in the Samaria region." Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel came up to rather than as a personal attendant of the wage war on Jerusalem. anti-Assyrian movement. a short tunic. of rebel groups in particular areas that When Ephraim saw his sickness. Pekah's royal accompanied him into battle. and twenty thousand in Judah in one day. but was an correspondence.62 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be equipment of a warrior. and his capital as a promiscuous woman and in the citadel of the palace along with Argob sickening wound and to declare that it was and Arieh. as way to the broader shalish office when noted in the last chapter. bears the Hebrew name attempt to resubjugate Judah and gain a Pekah and pictures a striding figure with level of authority equal to those who had a wig. however. led a contingent of 50 men from Gilead separated from Rezin. 9o Plead with your mother [Samaria?]. 92 open rebellion against Assyria. and usurped control leave the city. plead .. his independence. and also For over a century. Prophets began to describe Pekah the Gileadites. Around 735. 89 It perhaps gave control over the southern kingdom. revolt by a royal officer."91 Seen more this capacity appears on an 8th-century seal specifically from Pekah's perspective. As the Assyrians systematically of the entire northern kingdom: subdued the members of the coalition and killed Rezin. the God of Syria. and attacked him in Samaria. But. anti-Assyrian coalition. A possible representation of Pekah in but could not conquer him. they besieged Ahaz king. and Judah were sympathetic to Rezin's his wound. it shows him without a crown these events by claiming that he killed and is thus similar to the seals of other 120. Pekah late 734. a pro-Assyrian overthrow Pekah son of Remaliah. 93 . The seal. when the Assyrians withdrew from the west all of them valiant warriors. Another biblical tradition upraised right hand. Pekah did not last in the role of Pekah son of Remaliah killed one hundred Pekahiah's captain. He would never again the palace citadel. His coup was both an internal palace that she put away her whoring from her face.000 Judean warriors in a single day: officers but not those of kings. which siege was not simply about establishing a was used to affix personal identifications to unified front against Assyria. often being predecessors in Samaria had successfully charged with finishing off enemies who had maintained at least powerful influence if not been mortally wounded. and sent to the great king. Pekah made his move on the throne in Samaria. assassinated Pekahiah in his capital at Samaria. asserted centralized around the monarchy. his [Pekahiah's] movement apparently formed within captain. and Rezin's coalition entered into their ancestors. so Rezin and Pekah Given the long-standing history of led a coalition force south from Samaria and Pekah's rebellious activity.. and retreated into into Samaria. and a javelin in an gone before him. then Ephraim went to Assyria. If the representation expands Pekah's personal involvement in is Pekah. because they after having conquered Hamath in northern had abandoned the LORD... and the product and her adultery from between her breasts. Pekah withdrew from Jerusalem. Ahaz. however. He refused to join the beginning in the 10th century. he killed him. sometime between army down the Mediterranean coast in September and November 734. When Tiglath-pileser III led the Assyrian As the HB/OT indicates.

attacked overthrow movement. and killed him. and departed the region in early the sentiments of rebellion against. "94 repeatedly throughout the reign of his Exactly when and how Pekah met his assassin and ultimately result in Israel's end is unknown. He was probably able to destruction by 720. as the new ruler of him. . and summer 731: "[They killed] Pekah. Portrait of a soldier 63 In this atmosphere. but was eventually barricaded in his capital. Assyria that would surface and I installed Hoshea [as king] over them. Tiglath-pileser deposed and killed by Hoshea: "Then designated Hoshea. freedom from."95 Pekah had Israel. Tiglath-pileser did not hold out in Samaria until around October need to attack Samaria. in introducing control. their king. probably returning Judah to Israel's succeeded. a previously unknown Hoshea son of Elah made a conspiracy figure who was perhaps the leader of the against Pekah son of Remaliah. While Pekah remained or November 731. however.

power ("patrons") entered into cooperative The central government also practiced land relationships with the local farmers and consolidation by giving land grants producers ("clients"). inequality. years of peace and stability were groups. Rather than allowing the no private ownership of land in the modern goods to "trickle down" to the village sense. especially for the farmers/producers. a family-based mode of production in which The forging of offensive and defensive family units cooperated to share labor and alliances. and buildings. for example. the merely interludes in a progression of wars. and they depended upon him personnel and materials. both kingdoms existed Assyria. the rulers acquired luxury items that were passed on through inheritance. Such wartime as agrarian societies that were primarily developments began to shift the dependent upon plant cultivation and animal socio-economic structures of Israel and husbandry for survival. and were significant cities like Samaria and poverty. periods century. Prior to the mid-9th to military and administrative functionaries . and the oppression of Israel Throughout the period of the monarchies and Judah by kingdoms like Aram-Damascus. incursions into and destructions within The major military conflicts between 853 the kingdoms . the farmers kept the some prosperity. the need for military and labor. materials. this patronage relationship was of prolonged conflict were the norm for Israel reciprocal between the ruling and producing and Judah.significantly affected their and 586. . majority of their surplus resources in order to however. increased need for Israel and Judah to Society and economy "stock up" on military personnel. and the enemy for protection and support. brought about changes in socio-economic structures and religious the social and economic structures. like ivory for themselves while continuing This agrarian society also operated on a to drain the surplus of the villages. While there was rulers (patrons). This patron-client system: certain local leaders practice increasingly denied farmers the who had access to goods and the centers of resources needed to sustain production. Even though there Judah toward oppression. family units maintained plots of land farmers.the development of alliances established He depended upon the farmers for goods by commercial trade. villages provided a portion of their surplus The elements that accompanied these conflicts to a local leader who had limited power. and Babylonia. These belief systems. After meeting their own needs. Jerusalem. administration dictated the distribution evidence from texts and archeology of resources according to the demands of suggests that these villages revolved around interregional trade and foreign domination. a great deal of the population lived The economy gradually changed from in small farming villages of 100-250 people. distributed these profits to the local provide for their own survival. changes were often the result of political alliances established through commercial trade. In this from imports and exports and allowed for subsistence economy. a family-based subsistence economy to a In the period prior to the outbreak of major centralized economy in which the royal military conflicts in the mid-9th century. in Israel and Judah. produced profits distribute the risk of crop failure.The world around war The effects of conflict From the 9th to the 6th century Be. however. The central administration.

and oil for use by the central needs of peasants had to be increasingly used government. Biblical and archeological other than the firstborn heir. and wine. many of these younger were especially grain. have had to surrender any claim to the lands The economic strain increased as Israel in order to gain the seed needed to plant for and Judah became subject to foreign powers. and in bad years they may production demands. goods that could have provided for the of grain. of imposed"cash cropping. sons probably joined ./I The rulers forced As Israel and Judah continued to engage farmers and villages to transform their lands in political alliances and military conflicts. The capital city's increased need for these materials also required the local and and establishing large estates controlled regional royal functionaries to give up more by wealthy elites. increasingly subsumed into the boundaries these rulers shifted the burden to the of royally designated estates. oil. Hence. In order must have forced some members of farming to meet these two demands. stored. into vineyards and olive orchards and to the demand for military resources increased. survival. threatened the prosperity they had previously The ancestral lands of peasant farmers were known. probably through probably had to pay rent or taxes on the increased rent payments and higher lands they worked. the kingdoms families into military service. produce only the specialized cash crops Thus. (akg-images/Erich Lessing) soldiers. wine.voluntarily or the royal administration engaged in a process otherwise . Some villagers may even have found The village farmers lost not only resources themselves working like tenant farmers on because of the need to supply the military. This economic strain also required tributes to ruling empires. With little other indicators suggest that these commodities recourse for survival. Such facilities were used to support the to purchase materials for fortified palaces and increased royal demands for wine and oil throughout the city walls or to provide stores and supplies for periods of Israel's major wars. In order to maintain this prosperity. the very lands that had been in their families but also because of the need to pay the for generations. The farmers farmers/producers. The world around war 65 An olive press.the military. Thus. and insufficient to provide for male children transported. Many villagers' needed to produce particular commodities lands and inheritance were now probably that were easily gathered. Specialization of oil and wine . a new urban elite of their share of the economic resources and class displaced family-based Village structures.

family members.66 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Remains of a "casemate" wall from the northern Israelite these loans. The effects of this cash cropping on the village farmers were devastating. also register the terrace-farming of vineyards and olive trees delivery of olive oil and wine and may be and engage in continuous sowing and reaping records of the receipt of such items from in order to support the royal land agenda. and served to bolster the defenses of a inevitable foreclosures occurred. Under Religion pressure to grow only specialized crops. the farmers offered their inherited city of Hazor. . they had to invest the 9th/8th centuries and were found in time. which date from of crop failure. About 6S notations like crop rotation and fallowing to spread risks written on potsherds. To get opposed them. Ancient Art and Architecture Collection Ltd) frequently became landless debt-slaves to members of the ruling elite. Religious beliefs and had to take out loans from the ruling elite practices became avenues by which the royal who had control of basic subsistence resources houses legitimized their policies and others granted by the central government. while the intensified grain charged with supervising such loans and production was centered in the lowland foreclosures increasingly came to be controlled areas. Many peasants and Judean religion. When the almost compartments. the multiplication of rock-cut olive corrupted to serve their interests. Various biblical production was especially prevalent in the texts suggest that even the courts of law hill country. Farmers and grape processing stations around Samaria also lost the ability to use agricultural practices in the 8th century. for by the ruling elites. and resources into establishing a storehouse in Samaria. or even their own walls with the space between them divided into smaller persons as collateral. the farmers lost their ability to raise what they War fundamentally affected Israelite needed for local subsistence. and thus came to be example. royal estates outside of the capital. These structures consisted of two parallel lands. peasants city (Ronald Sheridan. labor. Archeological remains show. Instead.

Your right hand. The HB/OT is an extensive structures they had instituted. or universal throughout households of the divine warrior. Israelite and Judean kings also God and cosmic forces of evil represented explicitly instituted changes in religious by other gods.. biblical texts insisted practices that served military needs.... Ask of me. This theology appeared in Israel and Judah. as well as evidence from pictured God as siding with the king against extra-biblical writings and archeology.your right hand. is the one who will fight for you. that is. These texts. the Israelites transformed those redistribution or re-use. who goes before places like Bethel and Jerusalem functioned you. glorious in practice often became intertwined with the power . wrath . You shall break them with a pre-monarchical period. Royal sanctuaries at enemy. used such source for these religious beliefs and beliefs to give themselves moral and practices.. 99 battles into larger conflicts between their At times. For . shattered the government's interests. a LORD. "I have set my king on Zion. and was unconditionally loyal to Israel. 1198 empires. and that the various in several ancient royal hymns that have wars helped to shape the official religion been preserved in the biblical book of Psalms in diverse ways." in battle. and fear them. and envisioned show that the official religion was not static. a concession expressed through the practice of priests and that probably helped explain defeats suffered sacrifices. Especially in Israel's rod of iron. and dash them in pieces like struggles against stronger and dominating a potter's vessel. the elements of religious name. and that simultaneously honor both the rule One strand of Israelite religion came to of God and the rule of the king: see the god Yahweh as a "divine warrior" who fought alongside Israel's troops and Then he [Yahweh] will speak to them in his provided the decisive factor in their victories. all enemies of the kingdom. By casting their own offering was consumed on the altar and historical battles as events in which God was the remainder went to the priest for involved.96 The LORD your God. the Israelites came to see Yahweh as a warrior who acted in violent ways By making an explicit connection on behalf of the weaker group in order to between the divine warrior and the provide deliverance from oppression and royal establishment. 97 religious ideology and managed economic resources. The LORD is a warrior. the LORD is his Under this system. Do not as administrative and economic centers. Even so. the king himself as the human representative uniform. The world around war 67 The official dynasty-sponsored religion that Yahweh's first loyalty was to justice throughout the 9th to 6th centuries centered and righteousness and that he was not on the worship of the god Yahweh. Israel's of ancient Israelite and Judean religious religion developed a "royal theology" that texts. this belief system security for existence: legitimated the monarchy's policies and the socio-economic order that they produced. a LORD. and I will make the nations ancient poems preserved in the HB/OT your heritage.. my holy This belief appears in some of the most hill. since only a portion of the said about their gods. for it is the LORD your God who priests in local areas promoted the dominant fights for yoU. Amidst the military a historical annal. it is explicitly a collection conflicts led by the king and capital. While the Bible is evidently not religious legitimacy.. and the ends of the earth your and may have had its roots in Israel's possession. Sacrifices and offerings given by Such a belief was also similar to what the people served as sources of revenue for other Ancient Near Eastern kingdoms the government. it promoted the exclusive worship The king and his royal officials. who of Yahweh without denying the existence sought to maintain the social and economic of other deities.. This worship was "monolatrous.

ceremonies in which each treaty partner defenseless. as the influence of foreign undertook a religious reform that closed kingdoms became increasingly powerful all outlying sanctuaries and decreed that in Israel and Judah. When seen worship of "all the host of heaven": in the historical context of Judah's conflicts with Assyria between 714 and 701. and served them. because they are poor and their livelihood . he erected altars for motives. This mixing of cultures of Jerusalem. and Phoenicia through his marriage to Jezebel. as King Ahab ofIsrael in the capital. the You shall pay them their wages daily before experience of suffering defeat at their hands sunset. the throne from his father around 727. who inherited a sign of the supremacy of Assyria's gods. as instituted by the Israelites and Judeans well as the influence of official Assyrian themselves. who reigned during the and Jerusalem temple. worshiped all the host of heaven. exploitation of peasants generated some of describes official Israelite sponsorship of the the social legislation in the "Torah" section worship of the Phoenician god Baal in the of the HB/OT (GenesiS-Deuteronomy). The actions readied Certainly when the Assyrians destroyed Judah for revolt against Assyria near the the northern kingdom in 720 and resettled end of the 8th century. social and political developments. possible. it is likely For he rebuilt the high places that his father that these actions had political effects if not Hezekiah had destroyed. honored the other's gods and swore the and picture Yahweh as most closely tied treaty in the name of both sets of deities. who had an alliance with consolidation. and held a Passover peak of Assyria's power in the 7th century festival to which he invited remnants of the and is said to have sponsored Judean destroyed northern kingdom. Such a reform consolidated power Baal. the making of treaties evidently involved often those outside the centers of power. foreigners into the territory. tacit recognition and perhaps outright used religious traditions to challenge the sponsorship of the chief gods of one's allies. made a sacred pole. into Israelite territory. cash cropping. 9th century. for example. since elements. these settlers Alongside these changes that were brought their own religious traditions.68 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be example. It is The biblical story of King Ahab of Israel. on religion resulted from the influence While the wars of the 9th to the 6th of both friendly and hostile foreign powers. drew in potential assistance had done. that royal land for example. reorganized the priesthood Manasseh of Judah. and from the old northern kingdom. IOO He evidently destroyed local may explain the biblical description of King religious shrines. the HB/OT describes how the was probably interpreted by some as Judean king Hezekiah. and vulnerable in society. I02 centralized economic resources to prepare for a siege of the city. other groups within the kingdoms. whether other Israelites or aliens and practices. centuries saw some aspects of Israelite and Cooperative alliances in particular may have Judean religion become co-opted by the been responsible for introducing the worship royal establishment or influenced by foreign of other gods into Israel and Judah. much of the population all sacrificial rituals must take place at seemingly absorbed and imitated their the central sanctuary in the capital city religious practices. Moreover. While the Assyrians did not who reside in your land in one of your towns.IOI Various Assyrian texts also Several of the biblical law codes presented suggest that the making of Virtually every there as coming directly from Yahweh kind of political treaty involved worship command fair treatment of the poor. force their religion on vassal kingdoms. the majority of war's effects religion. to those groups: The submission of Israel and Judah to hostile foreign powers is also likely to have You shall not withhold the wages ofpoor and caused changes to their religious beliefs needy laborers.

was entirety of both kingdoms. While their bread with fearfulness. face of a rising tide of rebellion coming from Egypt. about politics and advocated particular as well as the unjust consequences that courses of action they believed Yahweh emerged from those conflicts. violence of all those who live in it. and economic Beyond these condemnations of officials. an Israel and Judah rested only upon how Yahweh ethos expressed in Israel's Torah. that restore them after their destruction. a foreign policy during the years of 605 to 586 religious leader taken into exile to Babylonia and advocated loyalty to Babylonia in the after 597. Thus contain specific references to the emerging says the Lord GOD concerning the inhabitants practices of royal land consolidation and ofJerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat social exploitation of peasant farmers. otherwise they might cry to the Yahweh desired social and economic practices LORD against you. 105 Many of these individuals publicly argued against unjust political.. for instance. their bones. buying the represented one reaction to the new social poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. This judgment a religious leader in Judah who confronted would take the form of destruction and exile. who political and social situations. a message that tear the skin off my people. who preached to the people of the northern kingdom in the mid-8th century. and drink their the prophets themselves do not appear to water in dismay. groups of priests or religious figures outside These convictions led the prophets to the royal court and may have functioned as condemn Israel's ruling officials and wealthy an alternative perspective to the monarchy's elites as standing under divine judgment. The prophet Amos. relations in the name of Yahweh. The world around war 69 depends on them. proclaimed. 106 they proclaimed that the new socio-economic structures violated the God-ordained historic Whatever future the prophets envisioned for ethos of Israel as a covenant community. The HB/OT and selling the sweepings of the wheat. The prophet Micah spoke a similar Although commonly thought of as predictors message to the 8th-century leaders of the of the future. This ethos might redeem them from their violence and meant. 104 has preserved stories about and speeches associated with several of the major prophets. Yahweh commanded him. The biblical prophets' speeches also (A)nd say to the people of the land. because their land shall be have been peasants and did not advocate stripped of all it contains. as elsewhere throughout the Ancient Near East. the prophets came to see Israel's The prophets often spoke explicitly and Judah's involvement in various conflicts. were more accurately Listen you heads ofJacob and rulers of the spokespersons or orators who offered house of Israel! Should you not know justice? - a message from Yahweh into particular you who hate the good and love the evil. and you would incur guilt. according to the prophet Ezekiel. the kings Jehoiakim and Zedekiah about their Thus. and Religious figures called "prophets" bring to ruin the poor of the land . Prophets Hear this. you that trample on the needy. however. on account of the the establishment of an egalitarian society.. as acts that wanted the rulers of Israel and Judah to would bring divine judgment upon the take. . according to the prophets. prophets in ancient Israel southern kingdom: and Judah. The prophet Jeremiah. royal theology. and the flesh off was not limited to issues of religious belief. 103 characterized by mutual obligations and just relations among the different levels in the These laws may have come from other Israelite community. social. and political developments.

there is little reason to doubt that point during his reign.the biblical account can imply that the biblical portraits of individuals. or someone very much like them. control that increased in these years due to This observation does not negate the trade alliances and military development.Portraits of civilians Three faces of Israel and Judah The history of ancient Israel and Judah has they. power grabbing. frequently in the 9th century (868-853). The biblical texts are heavily socio-economic structures of his day. What brought Naboth into the memory Nonetheless. however. The main story about him portraits and personal stories of individual appears in 1 Kings 21. and thoughts. even recording some of their what one would expect for the times in which significant deeds and characteristics. by using peasant farmers worked each day. 108 It seems more likely that he was intimate and detailed as they may be. even received a land grant from the crown and the Bible depicts all characters. are a wealthy landowner of a large estate. One cannot simply assume Jezreel. or he may have been long after the times of the persons they one of the "elders" and "nobles" who describe. In any case. even at some earlier point. attitudes.107 and he apparently civilians. the former capital of the northern preserves a large amount of character Kingdom of Israel. At the very about individual civilians from the past. At some described. Many. these they are set. Naboth probably the ones who are also mentioned in more possessed a plot of land on which several contemporary. or motivations must be Naboth the vineyard owner hypothesized from usually impersonal annals. native to foreigner. He may have been the number of female characters. least. as either. although it is claiming to describe their actual words. for example. while allowing for creativity of history was that his vineyard was next to and embellishment. Naboth one-sided in their coverage. the historical realities Assyria and Babylonia preserve the names that they are said to experience often match of individuals. difficulties associated with using scripture as a In keeping with the typical family-based historical source. Naboth was the owner of a vineyard in the Bible is a collection of texts that Jezreel. consolidation. Ahab offered to buy . if not simply a local landowner without any the majority. for many of the civilians King Ahab's winter palace in Jezreel. rather always comprehensive and accurate. In many ways. of the stories were also written significant status. left us with a unique resource for learning experienced life in ancient Israel. Many biblical stories are intimate lived during the reign of King Ahab of Israel engagements with individuals. Naboth's the HB/OT reads like a collection of in-depth experiences as a landowner represented well character biographies of people who range the local impact of the royal policies of land from royal to peasant. non-biblical sources. even if some of the figures have been While written records from kingdoms like created by later writers. and he may have Some of the characters may be fictitious. and economic and Yahwistic to non-Yahwistic. the possessed a piece of farming land that was number of male characters vastly supersedes his family's inheritance. following dynasty. literary artistry associated with storytelling. possible his story belongs to the time of the emotions. than a peasant farmer. For Israel and Judah. persons are often royal or military officials and any ideas about their personalities. in some instances perhaps as many sat in political and judicial authority in as 500 years later. Thus.

Naboth's life ultimately you shall return. Naboth of blasphemy against God and treason (akg-images/Erich Lessing) . Yet Naboth witnesses. family's ancestral inheritance. two crimes punishable royal vegetable garden.lll Naboth was executed by stoning: refused to sell because the land was his "The two scoundrels came in . every one of you. and may represent the presence of which two hired witnesses falsely accused goddess worship in local and household settings. His life represented a protest Upon his refusal. Naboth fell victim against these unjust practices. it automatically returned to its punishment upon Ahab and his dynastic line. Jezebel. since apparently only be transferred through inheritance and all of Naboth's sons were killed as well. have been discovered throughout the territories he deserved. a protest to the ruling dynasty's increasing imposition that proclaimed divine judgment on of control. previous owners at the end of SO years: The experiences of Naboth of Jezreel became known to history as a cautionary And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and tale. He appealed 'Naboth cursed God and the King. such as these. Although he attempted to resist the you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to royal land consolidation under way in all its inhabitants.. Several biblical death. The king offered to by death according to biblicallaw.. to help her dejected husband acquire the land and assert the royal authority that she believed Small female figurines from the 9th to 7th centuries.lo9 could have their rights violated by the crown."112 After Naboth's execution. 113 that if economic hardship required that the But God sent the prophet Elijah to announce a land be sold. to your showed how even wealthy land owners property and every one of you to your family. saying. determined those who perpetrated such injustice. It shall be a jubilee for you: the 9th century.' So they to the traditional Israelite ethos that land took him outside the city. Ahab's queen. and stoned him to must remain in the family. Ahab took laws stipulated that the family land could possession of the vineyard. IIO give Naboth a better vineyard or to pay him On the strength of the legally-required two the market value of the property. orchestrated a conspiracy in of Israel and Judah. Portraits of civilians 71 Naboth's vineyard in order to turn it into a against the king.

. Since probably only a of the king and people. keeper of the shall be gathered to your grave in peace. scribes served to record events.. Huldah was married Josiah enacted a widespread religious reform in to a member of either the court officials or Judah that called the people into a covenant temple personnel. son in the house of the LORD'."116 Scholars have of Neriah. Her role was not to official correspondence.. The book of Jeremiah recorded and communicating messages from God his profession and indicated that he was a concerning specific situations. (c. papyrus. accepted its authenticity. At this secretary.72 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Huldah the prophetess proclaimed that Yahweh would judge Judah for its disobedience by bringing destruction Huldah lived in the capital city Jerusalem upon the land but Josiah. the scribe. he went into mourning of a professional guild that functioned within and ordered the high priest to make an the bureaucracy and fulfilled tasks of writing inquiry of Yahweh concerning the fate and record keeping. and texts from Baruch the scribe Mari and Assyria testify to female prophets in those cultures. which is found . Such writing was authenticate the book.. because your heart was penitent .120 or disobedience to Yahweh. 'I have found the book of the law [an alternate form of the name Baruch]. "belonging to Berechiah secretary. But as to the King of prophetess Huldah the wife of Shallum Judah ." References in another often concluded that this was an early form of biblical text and recovered bulla also suggest the biblical book of Deuteronomy. potsherds. Shaphan. particularly that Baruch came from a family of scribes the section of various blessings and curses and that his brother was the "quartermaster" that will come upon the people for obedience under King Zedekiah. In a two-part oracle. note transactions in the temple. Baruch was a member was read to Josiah. The moment of notoriety for Huldah came perhaps even serving as his personal in the 18th year of King Josiah (622). "scribe" (Hebrew.119 A bulla . small percentage of the Judean population The high priest Hilkiah. since Josiah evidently primarily done on clay. you son of Tikvah."llS Depending on whether her husband worked with the "wardrobe" of the In response to Huldah's proclamation.. but to interpret the or leather. along with the was literate. and practices from other cultures meaning of its contents for the king and indicate that scribes often trained in schools people.that has been recovered from he called "the book of the law" in the temple: ancient Judah attests to his profession and "The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the contains the words. When the book As an ancient scribe. in 2 Kings 22. king or of the priests.. because he was during the reign of King Josiah of Judah repentant." It is unclear precisely centralized worship in the Jerusalem temple. lIS wardrobe. and compose took the book to Huldah. They probably had Baruch the son of Neriah worked as a similar functions to male prophets. sopher) in Jerusalem during which included serving as intermediaries the final three decades of Judah's existence between the divine and human realms. She herself was apparently of obedience to Yahweh's commands and a court "prophetess. royal secretary.an impression in clay time.114 describes her as "the and it will not be quenched.lll Huldah run by the temple or royal palace. during a repair project on the Jerusalem made by a stone seal used to secure the strings temple. my wrath will be kindled against this place.608-586). would die before he had to (641-610) and was one of the few female witness the destruction first-hand: religious figures to be recorded in the HB/OT. Her main story. close companion of the prophet Jeremiah. and three others. son of Harhas. the high priest Hilkiah found what around a letter . what role such female prophets played in ancient Israel.. although the HB/OT names four other prophetesses.

and Baruch read the scroll to them. and forming the biblical book that bears his and Jeremiah dictated a replacement scroll name. an Baruch went with Jeremiah outside Jerusalem advocacy that argued it was Yahweh's will to serve as a legal witness to the prophet's for Judah to surrender to Babylonia: "but purchase of a piece of ancestral land in Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you Anathoth. Baruch apparently played a for treason. the political advocacy of the prophet. Baruch served the by its proclamations of divine judgment. Portraits of civilians 73 A representation of Ishtar. who subsequently burned the scroll and under kings Jehoiakim and Zedekiah ordered that Jeremiah and Baruch be arrested (c. the reading then brought Baruch before all the (Werner Forman Archive) royal officials of King Jehoiakim. of Jerusalem under King Zedekiah (c. Warned in advance to flee.605-586). Baruch was Jeremiah's biographer and was By the time of the Babylonian siege responsible for most of the book's narratives. in order that they may kill us or of Judah. around the year released from prison and allowed to remain 605 as Babylon was establishing its dominance in the land. a purchase presented as a Ueremiah] against us. prophet Jeremiah during the tumultuous the officials sent the scroll to be read to the years of Judah's rebellions against Babylonia king. The goddess appears here with her foot on a to a gathering of people during a fast at the lion and next to a worshipper in audience.588). Jeremiah and probably Baruch with Baruch preserved in the book suggest that him had been imprisoned in Jerusalem. Indeed. Some biblical scholars even think that to Baruch along with additional materials. when the in Syria-Palestine. major role in preserving Jeremiah's preaching Jeremiah and Baruch escaped capture. But a few years later. An official who overheard motivations for its military undertakings." 121 the Babylonians. Apparently disturbed In this capacity. Jeremiah dictated a scroll of Babylonian-appointed ruler of Judah was . to hand us over to the sign of hope for the eventual restoration Chaldeans. 122 When Jerusalem finally fell to take us into exile in Babylon. The worship of Ishtar probably provided some of Assyria's religious Jerusalem temple. Baruch and Jeremiah were According to Jeremiah 36. the Mesopotamian goddess his preaching to Baruch and sent him to read it of war. the reactions of some Judeans to however. When he was no mere recorder but actively shaped the Babylonian siege was temporarily lifted.

. One scribe holds a hinged. into the land of Egypt. where he Jewish literary tradition.. and the other their will. not included in the Jewish and Protestant although the episode may have occurred canons of the HB/OT bear his name. Three writings apparently ended his career. earlier.74 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be assassinated. 11123 Baruch settled in Baruch became a major figure in later a town in the northeastern delta. also the prophet message and to symbolize the possibility Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah .125 Baruch. came of hope for his devastated people... wooden tablet..everyone whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard positioned Baruch to carryon the prophet's had left with Gedeliah . 126 The disheartened by his lack of significance or development of this later tradition suggests effectiveness in his career. (Ronald Sheridan/Ancient Art and who feared Babylonian reprisals for the Architecture Collection Ltd) assassination: ".124 the book of Jeremiah tells of a even though they were evidently written personal prophecy of comfort that Baruch centuries after his death by later Jewish received from Jeremiah. a gift that of a time of unfaithfulness and rebellion.. In this setting. perhaps being taken by force against shows two Assyrian scribes recording the spoils of war. apparently authors and do not exist in Hebrew.. . Baruch and Jeremiah went to A relief from the southwest palace in Nineveh that Egypt. received a promise that Baruch came to be seen as a symbol that Yahweh would preserve his life in the of loyalty and obedience in the midst midst of war and destruction. with a group of Judean officials a papyrus scroll..

and left destroyed areas in ruins. and the Babylonians reorganized the government Judah should not be thought of as an "empty of Judah with a new capital. and local leaders. kingdom at Jerusalem collapsed. Jerusalem in late 586 was a zone of dilapidated areas between itself and nearly deserted town. Thus. as well as most of the royal officials. immediately north of Jerusalem remained 2) Gedeliah son of Ahikam. they the late 590s. the Babylonians put into First." Although the Babylonians deported organization collapsed shortly thereafter. was appointed by that the Babylonians chose this limited area . three things appear certain: in the territory. biblical and extra-biblical evidence allows When the city fell at the close of a prolonged some more detailed speculation. peripheral and burnt houses. at the time when the Babylonians effect the new policy that they had adopted destroyed Jerusalem and some other major in response to a growing Egyptian threat in Judean cities in the summer of 586. and the end of 3) Gedeliah was subsequently assassinated Judah's major wars likewise consisted of and his government collapsed. and many Judean people. to have a clear conclusion. since approximately a governmental structures in a particular month after Jerusalem's capture a Babylonian chosen area. Egypt. and the area capital city. the Babylonian of Judah's major military conflicts to an end: destruction should not be seen as total. In fact. was to conduct no military appears that the Babylonians allocated about operations other than war and to leave one month to accomplish the exiling conquered territories devastated and of people from Jerusalem and the gathering impoverished with only relatively minor of the city's spoil. that new land. The Babylonians had likewise restructured governmental immediately executed the Davidic king systems. Hence. siege in mid-July. Babylonia's goal appears to contingent arrived to raze the city and leave have been the establishment of a buffer it desolate. removed the ruling the Babylonians and Judeans reacted to that dynasty. This policy entailed making treated subjugated territories differently than drastic changes in the government of their predecessors had. 127 It other hand. and economic rebuilding of conquered top priests. several developments that unfolded after the Beyond these general happenings. and eliminated the historic Beth-shemesh and Lachish. areas of the kingdom like the Negev. and Shephelah also fell into decline. it is likely Davidic family. Valley. the collapse in various ways. The Babylonian practice. Jordan In the period following these events.How the war ended Judah as a Babylonian province A series of military conflicts that spanned Babylonia to rule over a depleted Judah more than two and a half centuries is unlikely from a new center in Mizpah. Archeological evidence shows 1) the Babylonians subjugated Judah. several developments brought the history In light of these practices. they had also practiced the physical Zedekiah. and took many territories. a Judean virtually unscathed and even experienced royal official not from the ruling growth during this time. Within this sequence majority of the population seemingly remained of events. While the Assyrians rebellious kingdoms. when the former center of the destroyed political and religious buildings. the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586. with dismantled walls. that most of the devastated areas were removed the Davidic family from southwest of Jerusalem in places like power. on the inhabitants into exile to Babylonia.

artisans. to neighboring kingdoms like Edom. Such facilities helped produce also indicate that refugees who had fled the grain needed for subsistence. there may also have been some limited and workers. there are settlements in some areas throughout Judah. the Babylonians their men to Gedeliah at Mizpah . The exact number of people reoccupation of parts of Jerusalem. Moab.. as well as the emergence of village as only the poorest of the land. they established a new Now when all the captains of the forces and administrative center for Judah at Mizpah their men heard that the king of Babylon had in the territory of Benjamin just north of appointed Gedeliah as governor. but they probably In order to administrate the remaining gathered in the region of Mizpah from territory. which is told mainly to surrounding cities like Gibeon and in 2 Kings 25 and Jeremiah 40-41. has a Bethlehem. and trade. remaining is unknown. and established a submissive government. At this location. The biblical texts Babylonians appointed Gedeliah ruler over . as did the remnants of the Judean for leniency even before the destruction army commanders: of Jerusalem. see below). Probably while the siege was underway. Archeological remains indicate noticeable slant in favor of those deported a population of 400 to 500 people in to Babylonia and describes those remaining Mizpah. 11128 stationed a garrison of troops (apparently small enough to be later liquidated by a contingent These were probably junior officers of only ten men. in the major elements of the remaining population. aftermath of Jerusalem's destruction. officers. soldiers. gathered the of several small army units. scribes.76 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be A modern threshing floor. the biblical texts record that the the devastated areas. other indications that they also included Evidence from burial caves suggests that priests. supply. (Image courtesy of www..HolyLandPhotos. the Babylonians reorganized Judah into a Although the biblical story of the people territory centered in Mizpah and extending who remained in the land.org) and Ammon returned to the new center at Mizpah. Thus. they came with Jerusalem.

Although most modern Bible translations insert the title"governor" and assume that the Babylonians annexed Judah into a directly controlled province immediately after Jerusalem's fall. and the policy could have towns that you have taken over. there are some indications that Gedeliah may have been installed as a new king and Judah left as a greatly reduced vassal kingdom. however. Some references in Jeremiah 40-41. The dearth of Babylonian records does not and store them in your vessels. who is over the house. they annexed it as an imperial Syria-Palestine that were closest to the province shortly thereafter. but as and capital city and in a reduced condition. but with a new ruling family you before the Chaldeans who come to us. I am staying at Mizpah to represent kingdoms. (Wellcome Library. The HB/OT . The exact nature of Gedeliah's position remains unclear. How the war ended 77 Judah. it appears that the Babylonians appointed one of the chief officials who was not from the Davidic ruling family to govern the reorganized territory. In any case. the royal secretary under King Josiah. Yet the Babylonians were perhaps Even if the Babylonians allowed Judah to following the former Assyrian practice of not persist as a vassal kingdom after Jerusalem's provincializing the kingdoms of southern destruction. the new Babylonian policy toward rebellious kingdoms probably did not entail lands and houses. rather than a governor. since his grandfather was Shaphan." a phrase that designated the chief minister of the royal court. Gedeliah was apparently from a socially prominent Judean family. resources." perhaps indicating that Gedeliah was a royal official before being among Gedeliah's officers. Thus. London) as a king. mention "the king" in the period following Jerusalem's destruction and in connection A seal discovered at Lachish inscribed with the words. 129 He may also have been one of the high-ranking officials within the Judean court of Zedekiah before 586. and live in the permit certainty. gather wine and summer fruits and oil. oversee subsistence immediately turning them into provinces. since the biblical texts do not specify his office. for you. distribute of his administration at Mizpah. and perhaps even collect taxes: Rather. the Babylonians may have allowed kingdoms like Judah to remain vassal As for me. as well as a seal found at Mizpah. with people whom the HB/OT lists as being "belonging to Gedeliah. A bulla discovered at Lachish before its destruction identifies someone named Gedeliah as having been "over the household. 130 taken different forms with regard to different kingdoms. The apparent Egyptian border. appointed by the Babylonians as ruler of Judah after If the Babylonians appointed Gedeliah 586 Be. the biblical catalyst for this development was the texts attribute to Gedeliah the authority to assassination of Gedeliah and the collapse promise Babylonian protection.

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if the "king" here is twenty-third year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Gedeliah. The precise date of these climactic events remains uncertain." it may indicate that Gedeliah ruled as king. a campaign warned him that King Baalis of Ammon particularly aimed at Moab and Ammon: had employed Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate him." but do not A Judean seal found at Mizpah containing the Hebrew provide the year. While the Babylonians may have allowed Judah to remain a vassal kingdom But in the seventh month. but Ishmael escaped to Ammon. into exile of the Judeans seven hundred eventually succeeded in assassinating and forty-five persons. At this time. I35 While the structure inscription "belonging to Jaazaniah. made war emphasize that Ishmael was "of the royal both on the Moabites and the Ammanites." of the biblical narrative implies that the Jaazaniah was an official under Gedeliah at Mizpah after assassination happened in 586 shortly after 586 Be (2 Kgs 25: 23). The biblical texts place them in "the seventh month. the Jewish historian Josephus reports that King describes how some of the Judean soldiers Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon campaigned that gathered to Gedeliah at Mizpah had again in Syria-Palestine. the army officers from Mizpah took the people they had rescued from Ishmael. as well suggest that the Babylonians took punitive as taking captives. and even massacring of Gedeliah and the overthrow of his 80 mourners on their way to the ruins administration.uk) ruled for about five years. of Judah after the Babylonian destruction. occurred in 582/581. it more likely than governor. and fled to Egypt because they feared Babylonian reprisals for the civil unrest in Judah."I3? These references Gedeliah and his officers in Mizpah. after occupying it. they struck down Gedeliah so that he died. Baruch the scribe. along with the Judeans and Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 134 After the assassination. it was probably in 582/581 Nethaniah son of Elishama. How the war ended 79 came with ten men. destroying the small action in response to the assassination Babylonian garrison. servant of the king.I32 But the texts also Coele-Syria and. Jeremiah 52: 30 also records another although not a son of the previous king deportation of 745 Judeans by the Zedekiah." probably indicating that he was a member of the extended Davidic family. I33 Ishmael no doubt represented Babylonians in this year: "in the opposition to a non-Davidic ruler in Judah twenty-third year of Nebuchadrezzar.co. Even so. Ishmael son of after 586. rather Jerusalem's destruction. Because the seal refers to the "king. as well as Jeremiah the prophet. Nebuchadnezzar marched against to Gedeliah's authority. with a contingent of ten men." and imply. 136 family. which was the king. for in the fifth year Ishmael as "one of the chief officers of the after the sacking ofJerusalem. that they finally reduced the kingdom to . and a desire to reinstate the old ruling family. and perhaps others. and that this action occurred of Jerusalem: in 582/581. after Gedeliah had (©2004 Credit: Topham PicturepointITopfoto. I31 The biblical texts describe And so it happened. of the royal family. that Ishmael initially submitted [582/581 Be]. the soldiers loyal to Gedeliah pursued Ishmael to Gibeon and rescued the captives. Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took Ishmael.

80 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be a province.000 Judeans to Babylonia. At the end of this concluding sequence and those who had fled in smaller groups of events. . and answering the question Hence. Judah likely became a part of of the kingdom formerly known as Judah the Babylonian province that included the existed in different communities in separate territory of the old northern Kingdom of locations: those remaining in the land of Israel and was governed from Samaria. to surrounding kingdoms like Egypt. and 582/581 had probably sent about Throughout the following decades. the various deportations in 597. these 20. at the end of this period. the people of where and with whom their future lay. Judah. 586. those living together in Babylonia. but had also groups faced the tasks of forging identities left a collection of citizens living in the for themselves in the midst of their new depleted territory of the former kingdom. situations.

trauma for the people of Judah with the two communities would encounter one consequences on several levels. picture draws a sharp distinction between and Ezekiel." This process produced competing More specifically. the in Babylonia as a result of the deportations majority of Judeans probably remained in . presents the destruction of conditions before and after 586 and implies Jerusalem in 586 as inaugurating a 47-year that there was a nearly complete exile. Hence. however. can these years be Thus. helped to back portions of Judah's people continued to live up the exiles' claim that they were the true in their ancestral territory while some settled community of Judah. the biblical books like 2 Kings. emerged in the decades community continuous with the preceding after 586: those who remained in the land culture persisted in the old territory of of Judah (now a Babylonian province Judah. For example. these ended in 586 Be produced new life situations communities tried to forge identities for for the peoples who had previously called themselves and envision their futures. of people. and that only a meager lived in Babylonia while awaiting divine population of poor people remained in the restoration to their homeland. The fall of Judah and the subsequent The biblical sources relevant to this period deportations were traumatic on another were produced or at least edited by the level because they gave rise to diverse deported community living in Babylonia communities of "Judeans" living throughout and thus. Only in this biblical in places like Egypt. perspective. however. Eventually.Conclusion and consequences Forging identities (586-539 Be) The two and a half centuries of war that of 597. and seem to deliberately conceal together in their ancestral land and many their presence there throughout 586 to 539. Obviously. were through an association with the so-called "promised land" and Jerusalem temple. land. of course. the Babylonian destruction visions that led to an ideological rift between of Jerusalem was a cultural and theological the two communities. themselves "Israelites" and "Judeans". and those who lived the so-called Babylonian exile. 586. another again when the Persians destroyed the HB/OT as a whole indicates that Judeans the Babylonian Empire and began to send had long found their sense of who they the Judean "exiles" home in 539. at least two major communities seen as a time when Judah lived in exile. and 582/581. Jeremiah. especially a particular perspective. like all written sources. In fact. Especially the latest materials is true that at least after the collapse of added to biblical texts 138 minimize the Gedeliah's government in Mizpah by number and status of those remaining in 582/581. the "Judeans" no longer dwelt Judah. descended from the inhabitants of Archeological remains demonstrate that a the Judean Kingdom. While it land of Judah. 2 Chronicles. and drawing on their memories and ideas of the pushed those peoples to think intentionally heyday of Judean power in the "promised about their present and future existence. "Babylonian exile" (586-539) in which that the center of cultural and religious life the "true" community of the Judean people shifted to Babylonia. The HB/OT. Judah was not an empty land during centered at Mizpah). significant This perspective. these trends had to be Judeans remaining in the land reformulated after the destruction in 586. Naturally. represent the Ancient Near East. found themselves in Babylonia.

82 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be MEDITERRANEAN SEA Beersheba EDOM t N I 50 miles I i 50 km .

they retained kingdom. worship at the ruins of the Jerusalem temple. Note that many of the names stopped in Judah after the destruction of of the Judean settlements contain the word the temple. Such worship the upper and artisan classes. and future. and gave them community identity in particular ways. still populated Babylonian Empire (c. the primary sources but practiced only one-way deportation to are the book of Ezekiel. provide details of the lives of the Judeans unlike the Assyrians. in the land of Judah some of the poor This continued cultic activity forged people who owned nothing. have established Mizpah to function as a While some Judeans undoubtedly assimilated . for example. several specific texts suggest "Tel" ("mound") and thus imply that the that Yahweh worship of some kind persisted deportees were mainly moved into areas at various locations. vineyards and fields at the same time. then. very little is known about some people apparently continued to the community that remained in the land. assumes that cultic rituals were taking Since deportation had removed much of place at the destroyed temple. differently than the pre-destruction society. center. Even incurred divine judgment and thus brought in the time immediately after Jerusalem's about the kingdom's destruction. Tel-Abib 142). 140 "have gone far from the LORD. characterized by apparently redistribution of property and mourning and repentance. and carried out resources to the benefit of the lower classes: through meal and incense offerings rather "Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left than animal sacrifices. present. Advantageous in this Only a few biblical and extra-biblical sources regard was the fact that the Babylonians. for example. perhaps as much as 75 percent of combined administrative and religious the earlier population. Conclusion and consequences 83 the land. in much the same way that Jerusalem Because the focus of the relevant biblical had functioned previously. texts is elsewhere. Yet such activities specifically an administrative center at Mizpah. himself one of the instructed the remaining community to exiles. says the community in the land resume their normal life and agriculture labeled the deportees as those who under Babylonian rule.g. as the population of the northern Kingdom and Isaiah 40-55. Thus. however. Additionally. Although the HB/OT been devastated during wars between the gives the impression that all cultic activity two empires.539). the people in Judah did not taken into exile in 597 and carried out his meld into a society of blended ethnic groups preaching among the deportees in Babylonia. the people remaining in the land sought to forge an identity for Judeans in Babylonia themselves that could explain their past. "139 Mourning and repentance rituals served to Although the inhabitants in this community help the people explain and cope with the officially shifted from being Judean citizens catastrophic events that had befallen their to being Babylonian citizens. The who lived in exile near the end of the fact that Judah was. Gedeliah had the prophet Ezekiel."141 In the aftermath of the deportations and destructions. and created a vision of identity that saw those seemingly continued the characteristic taken to Babylonia as the sinners who had elements of their previous lifestyle. the words of a prophet of Israel did after its destruction in 720. a prophet who was Babylonia. there was was probably informal. In the HB/OT. The deportees by Judeans allowed the continuation of the probably totaled in the tens of thousands worship of Yahweh to become a key element and were primarily settled in the depleted in the construction and maintenance of the area between Assyria and Babylonia that had community's identity. did not resettle deported to Babylonia between 597 and foreigners into conquered territories 582/581. This community was likely constituted The book of Lamentations. Note how destruction. The Babylonians may in need of redevelopment (e.

Prophets like Ezekiel activities like normal Babylonian citizens. 147 A bright future awaited Even so. Kings like minds prophetic proclamations that an Jehoiachin. the future restoration.l 44 Non-royal deportees were likewise them alL . but Babylonian a future Davidic leader and bring about the records note that he and his sons received restoration of the exiles: "I will make them grain rations and that he was later released one nation in the land. and one king shall be king over court. since Babylonian texts contain the in Babylonia constructed a competing vision names of Judeans who were involved in of identity to that of the community that commercial. the Judean community ways. As with those remaining in Judah. and and religious identity was the production perhaps the reading of Torah in local and editing of written texts that have now meeting places. unlike the Assyrians before come from the exile community. Biblical texts produced biblical texts record the use of ethnic titles during this period. biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah that the Babylonians. Babylonian policy apparently was to the Davidic royal line among the exiles in settle deportees in groups according to their Babylonia also furthered a sense of religious origins and ethnicity and allow them some and national identity and fostered hope for limited self-governance.. the majority of the texts that now appear in religious practices of Sabbath observance and the HB/OT were either written or given their circumcision became important designators final edited form by this exilic community of ethnic identity. The HB/OT itself reveals that synagogues.. Since good. these good figs. My servant David shall be king not oppressed or restricted in significant over them. and I will bring them back to this land. tax revenues. on the mountains from prison and given a place in the royal of Israel. and community that Yahweh planned to restore military service. helped to confirm in the audience's but certainly were not slaves. so I will regard as good the exiles the continuation of Yahweh worship in from Judah . though the synagogues' full there was widespread literary activity among realization seems to have developed later in the community in Babylonia.84 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be into Babylonian culture in these contexts. praise. Along the same lines. the cultural and theological the"good figs" that had been sent into exile. and economic remained in the land. the the Roman period. I will set my eyes upon them for Babylonia formed part of this effort. proclaimed that Yahweh had abandoned the Overall. 148 the Jerusalem temple had been the stipulated place for animal sacrifices. them. For example. the Judean king when Jerusalem "anointed one" ("Messiah") would emerge as fell in 597. 143 of descendants from this family throughout The Judean exiles received different the time of the Babylonian Empire also treatment depending on their social status.. real-estate. for example. In fact."146 Thus. 145 The survival among the deportees. disorientation of being displaced from their but a bleak future was in store for the "bad homeland left the exiles needing to forge figs" that remained in the land of Judah: a social and religious identity that could account for their present and envision their Thus says the LORD. were imprisoned. who Babylonia and that they represented the true provided needed labor. as witnessed by the in order to serve their effort to construct an . Judeans in exile The major tool by which the Judean apparently had a non-sacrificial religion that community in Babylonia forged its social focused on gatherings of prayer. The continued presence of members of In fact. continued like "the elders of Judah" and the "elders to number the years in exile as part of among the exiles" to designate leaders King Jehoiachin's reign. the God of Israel: Like future. Such gatherings may become part of the Jewish and Christian have been the early forerunners of Jewish scriptures. did not force ethnic intermingling. to the homeland. the exiles served as something like land of Judah and accompanied the exiles to land-tenants to the Babylonian king.

. have been written before 586." one another again when the Babylonian which includes the biblical books of Joshua. and Esther. After the death of and may have originated as a unified work. of Persia around 539. rebuilding. probably began to take shape Babylon. This emphasis above the other seats of the kings who were again underscored the conviction that with him in Babylon. of course. Empire gave way to the new world power Judges. the work answers the questions exile did not represent the weakness or failure of what happened and what will happen in of Judah's God but were carried out on his terms of religious faithfulness. these allow religious concerns to shape their prophetic texts served to reinterpret the presentation. Prophets like Jeremiah even recast Judah's fate depended upon faithfulness to Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon as the" servant" their God. and I have given him even the wild faithfulness would lead to a good life in the animals of the field to serve him. For example. Isaiah. there was a rapid succession These books offer an extensive narrative of relatively unsuccessful Babylonian kings presentation of Israelite and Judean history that reached a climax with Nabonidus. King Evil-merodach of empires. that eventually became today's biblical books. 149 The prophetic and deportations of the 6th century. characters In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King presented as living in the capitals of foreign Jehoiachin of Judah . exilic editors collected While an earlier version of this work may the speeches of prophets like Hosea. Israel's and orders. and 1 and 2 Kings. 15 1 Daniel. the present and Jeremiah. 2 Kings 25 concludes the Deuteronomistic Some of the biblical texts composed or History with the report of King Jehoiachin's compiled among the exiles emphasized the release from prison in Babylon and possibility of living a faithful and prosperous achievement of an exalted seat in life by submitting to Babylonian authority as the Babylonian court: divinely ordained. but their unfaithfulness generated whom Yahweh used to enact his plan: divine punishment. ruler who emerged from a western part of . Nebuchadrezzar. Biblical stories like those of Joseph. a from its beginning to the middle of the exile. in the year that he began to reign. Hence. heroes as models of a faithful lifestyle in he spoke kindly to him. Rather than being deficiencies. and and editing during the time of the exilic shaped them into the literary compilations community. These books are. Conclusion and consequences 85 identity. This interpretation again allowed the exilic community to see their Now I have given all these lands into the present circumstances as part of Yahweh's hand ofKing Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. selective in their reporting and often In the hands of the exilic community. 150 present and restoration in the future. my plan and generated hope that renewed servant. 152 deportation was not an end in itself but was part of a divine plan moving toward restoration. and gave him a seat the courts of foreign kings. during this period and held up their released King Jehoiachin ofJudah from prison. 1 and 2 Samuel. a plan that not simply to report but to interpret the also included a return to the promised land events that resulted in the destructions after a period of cleansing. destruction and deportation as simply the these characteristics suggest that the first part of Yahweh's plan to make Israel Deuteronomistic History was composed and Judah a faithful people. and resistance The most significant example of scripture's role in shaping the exilic The two major Judean communities that community's sense of identity is the emerged after 586 came into contact with so-called "Deuteronomistic History. On messages proclaimed that the destruction and the whole. Return.. recontextualized and expanded form underwent significant expansion their words in light of the new situation.

he is 6: 3-5. and he has charged me The "Cyrus Cylinder" contains a cuneiform inscription in to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. as a regent. the Persians. 153 The historical sources for the entire Persian period. the God of Israel . Any which King Cyrus of Persia permits a deported people of those among you who are of his people . but eventually captured . and rebuild its temple. The HB/OT preserves Zechariah. (c) The British Museum/HIPlTopfoto.may to return to their homeland. During these years of Babylonian the" Cyrus Cylinder" is a piece of Persian decline.are now permitted mention Judeans. it suggests that the allowance of such returns was Persian policy in the late 6th century. Virtually all of these sources different versions (in both Hebrew and focus exclusively on the deportees rather Aramaic) of an "Edict of Cyrus" that than on the community that remained in inaugurated these events: the land.uk) the God who is in Jerusalem. a move likely designed to refortify away from the capital. Babylonian religious sites: records indicate that Cyrus began as a lesser ally of Nabonidus. especially for events Probably as a result of this policy. For example. Although it does not their God be with them! . Nehemiah. is that the Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD. 154 . has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. and rebuild the similar decree appears for the Jews in Ezra I: 1-4 and house of the LORD.co. policy of sponsoring the rebuilding of local rose to power under Cyrus II. building: they allowed deportees to return This ruler alienated much of the population home and rebuild their local temples and through religious reforms and spent a decade capitals. I gathered all their inhabitants and Alexander the Great of Greece around 333. leaving his son ruling distant areas of the Empire. What the available biblical and Persian texts suggest. Haggai. This event inaugurated the whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a so-called "Persian period" or "Achaemenid long time. an Indo-European propaganda that seemingly testifies to the people centered in the area of modern Iran. I returned (the images of) the gods to the the city of Babylon without a fight in sacred centers [on the other side of] the Tigris October 539. Persians adopted a different policy of empire the God of heaven. however. the concerning Judah.86 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be the Empire outside the capital (555-539). returned (to them) their dwellings.. A to go up to Jerusalem in Judah. are very limited. Ezra. and the Judeans living in Babylonia received the main sources are biblical writings like 1 and opportunity to return to Jerusalem and 2 Chronicles.. and I let them dwell in eternal period" that lasted until the ascendancy of abodes.

are from later Nehemiah in 445. years and suggest that the lists may reflect The significance of these developments periods after 539. Conclusion and consequences 87 The mound of remains that marks the site of ancient waves over nearly a century.000 people in the early 530s.000 people under the reform led by the priest Ezra in 458. commemorated the city's destruction in 70 I Be with a pictorial relief on the wall of Sennacherib's palace in The combined biblical traditions suggest Nineveh (see book cover). After 539. return PerSian-appointed governor Zerubbabel from Babylonia in the early Persian period. all-at-once. dedicated to 2) a movement that completed the the interests of the deportees. diverse rests in the situation they created within the traditions preserved in the Bible about how land of Judah. The Assyrians about 4. and supply lists of names that imply the 3) a return concerned with religious return of about 50. give the rebuilding of the temple under the impression of a massive. . Both the Cyrus Cylinder of war and shaped the land's future well and the Edict of Cyrus imply that the beyond the 6th century. the original return was specifically connected former Kingdom of Judah existed as a with those who would rebuild the temple Persian province called "Yehud. a situation that represented the process of return occurred and under the resolution of the effects of centuries whose leadership. The biblical texts. There are. the return of Judeans from Babylonia Yehud was part of the larger imperial district was a gradual process that occurred in several called "Abar Nahara" ("across the river"). the major fortified city in southwestern Judah in beginning with an initial return of both the Assyrian and Babylonian periods. perhaps Lachish." with its and thus was probably very limited. (R Sheridan. leadership of a Persian-appointed governor 4) an effort aimed at refortifying named Sheshbazzar. Most religious and economic center in Jerusalem. ISS The names of the Jerusalem's walls led by the governor officials in these lists. in fact. and the high priest Joshua around 515. however. Ancient Art at least four phases of return: and Architecture Collection) 1) an initial return under Sheshbazzar in 538. likely.

governors from locals in the province. the people somewhat united by ethnicity and Persians sent members of the Davidic line shared religious practices. of such conflict may have been that while but rather diverse communities living in the Babylonians apparently appointed various geographical and political contexts. Hence. This situation of external from the Jordan River to just west of Azekah. The centuries of of internal conflict in Yehud between the war throughout the Assyrian and Babylonian returnees and those who had remained in periods ultimately concluded with pockets the land. The HB/OT attests to opposition of former Judean citizens.. Egypt. During this time. existed as one of many provinces in the Although the refortification of Jerusalem's Persian Empire and virtually disappeared walls around 445 returned that city to its from historical view amidst the conflicts status as the center of the area. it remained among powers like Persia and Egypt. Ezra and Nehemiah). and its temple: "Then the people of the Babylon.88 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be which included most areas west of the ruling class of priests associated with Euphrates. now rightly called from locals to the rebuilding of Jerusalem "Jews. and elsewhere. Persia took the time of the rebuilding of the temple and an active role in the administration of this city walls until the rise of the Greek Empire province. often appointing its political and (c."156 One cause was not a restored kingdom with set borders. Perhaps more significantly. The province of Yehud itself the Jerusalem temple emerged and consisted primarily of the area from just disenfranchised those local political and above Bethel to just below Beth-zur and religious leaders. the land discouraged the people of Judah. the return of Only from the Bible's perspective can we some deported Judeans created a situation say that the" exile" ended. inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah. and legacy of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah made them afraid to build. . Thus.515-333). This constitution back from Babylonia and reestablished would give shape to the Jews' participation the rule of the Judean elite. a new in the subsequent eras of world history. a smaller version of its former self with a Also important for understanding the population of probably no more than consequences of Israel's and Judah's many about 500 people throughout the first centuries of war is the fact that the province century of Persian rule.g. provincialization and internal conflict an area about 25 miles (40km) north-south would characterize Yehud's existence from and 30 miles (48km) east-west. Not until the of Yehud after the rebuilding did not 2nd century Be would Jerusalem again comprise the sole location of the former achieve a significant population. Yehud simply religious leaders (e." living in dispersed places like Yehud.

Scholars Ben Gurion University of the Negev Press. Fighting Techniques Day.. Routledge. Free Press. Oosten. Michigan Press. eds.. Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Israel. I. Silberman. The Oxford History of the Ahlstrom. Barnes. and Archaeological Perspectives. 0. Daily Life in Biblical Times. and N. C.. Winona Lake (2004) Freedman. I. Studies in the Chronology of the Grand Rapids (2001) Divided Monarchy of Israel. Press. New York (2000) Borowski. Sheffield (1992) Society of Biblical Literature Press. W. University of Gale. Eerdmans. New York (2006) Ancient Israel. B. New York (2002) the Reality of Ancient Israel. Minneapolis. From the Upper Sea to the Lower Bright. Baker Academic. Dictionary.. et al. of the Ancient World.Further reading Ahituv. B. S. T. SOHO. and K.N. Inscriptions. Silberman.E. Combat Skills and Tactics. eds. Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Leiden (1992) Texts.. Louisville (2000) Babylonia in Honour of A. Israel and Judah in the Eighth Historical. University of Helsinki Press. R. Westminster Sea: Studies on the History of Assyria and John Knox. JSOT Literature of the Sixth Century B. Missoula (1974) Press. David Society of Biblical Literature Press... Assyria. Finkelstein. The Use of Numbers and Thomas Dunne Books.. Free Press.. M. The Fall of Samaria. T&T Clark.. Oren. M. The Origin Cogan. J. The Bible Atlanta (1991) Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Becking. Doubleday. H.. Praeger. Who Were the Babylonians?. Great Battles of Biblical History.Current Debate: Biblical. The Rescue of Jerusalem: The Know and When Did They Know It? Alliance between Hebrews and Africans What Archaeology Can Tell Us About in 701 BC. Atlanta (2003) London (2001) Anglim. Chapman. New York (1970) .. R. G. (1993) Oxford (1998) Albertz. Dawson.C. 3000 BC-AD 500. The Military History of Ancient Cline. M. J. Palestine. Beer-Sheva (1998) Coogan. Cassell. Grayson.. The Anchor Bible Chavalas.. S. E. New York (2002) Quantifications in the Assyrian Royal Arnold. The Creation of History in Tradition. Brill. Finkelstein. New York (1992) Mesopotamia and the Bible: Comparative Fretheim. London (1995) Frame.H.K. R. G. Grand Abingdon. In Search of 'Ancient Israel'.C.. Westport (2003) Canaan to Modern Israel. Society of Biblical Literature Press... and Seventh Centuries B.. M.... A History of Israel.L. The History of Ancient Biblical World. The Gendered Language of Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Warfare in the Israelite-Assyrian Encounter. W. In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel. The First Armies.. Leiden (2004) Eisenbrauns. Oxford University Press. and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Atlanta (2003) Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Brettler. M. London (2004) Equipment. What Did the Biblical Writers Aubin.. and N. Scholars Press. ed.. Imperialism and Religion: of Early Israel ... P. Explorations. ed. Deuteronomistic History. Helsinki (1995) Atlanta (2004) Dever..E.. D. Israel in Exile: The History and Davies. Ann Arbor (2004) The John Day Co. Nashville (1983) Rapids (2002) Gabriel. and E... Younger. D. De Odorico. Fortress.

Miller. and J. J .C. Hayes. Brill. eds. Paulist. and Judah. J. Brill. S.E. o.G. and E. Hendrickson. Text and History: Historiography Hayes. Woman's Body and the Social Body of Ancient Israel 1250-587 B.R. J.. T.. N.. Mattingly.. The Third Intermediate Period in Judah.. E. eds.90 Essential Histories • Ancient Israel at War 853-586 Be Galil. (2002) Historiography. History and Historical Writing Matthews. Eisenbrauns.E.. Grand Rapids (1994) Liver. Battles of the Lipschits. Random House. the Old Testament. and P. Historical Perspective. Younger. Grabbe. Eisenbrauns.M. Scholars Press. Hosea 2: Metaphor and Rhetoric in about the Formation of Israel?. in Ancient Israel: Studies in Biblical Westminster John Knox.P. and J. K. A History of History in Honor of John H. JSOT Press.C. Peabody (1993) Sheffield (2001) McDermott. Leuven Philadelphia (1977) (2000) Herzog. Sheffield Academic Press. eds. J. The Assyrian. Peoples of the Old Testament World. P. J. Sennacherib's Campaign to Kitchen. The Context of Scripture. and M. Scribner. Knoppers. eds.. Leiden.... Oeming. The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem: Bible: A Modern Military Evaluation of Jerusalem under Babylonian Rule. McConville. Judah and Hoerth. Social World Keefe. Eisenbrauns. Wilmington. A. and L. C. Louisville (2001) Gallagher. and D. The Military History of the Land Hughes. Westminster. and the Research: Essays on Ancient Israelite Syro-Ephraimitic Crisis. Winona Lake (2000) (1997-2002) Kofoed.. (1999) Matthews. Eisenbrauns. T. Culture. Benjamin.. London (2006) Philadelphia (1986) . ed.. A BriefHistory ofAncient Israel. eds.K. J. Winona Lake (2006) Baker. Isaiah.E. Force Publishing House.. Hayes. Brill. J.L. ed. eds.H. Neo-Assyrian Historical History and Literature. Yamauchi. J. Religion in Judah under the Kelle. (1988) Literature Press. Aris and Phillips. What Are They Saying Kelle.H. Israelite Lipinski. o. Eerdmans. V. Stager. Sheffield Academic Press. A New and the Study of the Biblical Text. Louisville. 0. G.. W. Brill.R. Michael Period. A Time for War: A Study of and the Judeans in the Neo-Babylonian Warfare in the Old Testament. Israel's Assyrians 732-609 B. Hong Kong (1995) Hayes. Inscriptions and Syria-Palestine.B. and K.C. L. and Judaean History. On the Reliability of the Old Sheffield (1997) Testament.. V.M. Allenson. The Secrets of the Times: Myth and of Israel in Biblical Times. The Aramaeans: Their History. and J.. John Knox. New York (1987) Reconsidering Israel and Judah: Recent Hallo. Gishon.. G. Winona Lake (2003) Glazier.H.. A. ed. Westminster. G. Blenkinsopp... J. Alliance Atlanta (1988) Bible Seminary Press. W. Prophets and Israel's Past: Essays on the London (1973) Relationship of Prophetic Texts and Israelite Miller. Society of Biblical New York. T&T Ancient Israel and Judah. Israel's Past in Present Irvine. Jerusalem (1964) Sheffield (1990) Long. the Judeans in the Persian Period. Israel Defense History of Biblical Chronology. Life in Biblical Israel.. Studies on the Deuteronomistic History.. Leiden Eisenbrauns. Moore. Judah Hobbs. B. in Hosea. Peeters. Ahaz. Can a "History of Israel" Warminster (1986) be Written?.K. eds. and M. and Religion.. The Chronology of the Kings of Israel King... Winona Lake (2004) New York (1978) Lipschits. B. Chronology for the Kings of Israel and Eisenbrauns. Grand Rapids (2003) Guild. Historiography. V. Clark. Kitchen..). K. and M. Hooker. Leiden (1999) Egypt (1100-650 B. Atlanta (2005) McKay. Winona Atlanta (1990) Lake (1999) Ishida. Delaware (1989) Lipschits.B. Winona Lake (2005) Judah and Its Implications for Biblical Kuan. A. Leiden (1996) Westminster John Knox. and J.

Atlanta Hezekiah. M. A History of the Ancient Oppenheim. Chicago (1960) Van de Mieroop. H. Sidgwick and Jackson. Pitard. History. Brill... Princeton University Press.. Clark. London (2006) Winona Lake (2004) Nelson.C. The Religion ofAncient Israel. S.. ed. New York (2004) Vaughn. Ancient Damascus: A Historical Jerusalem in Bible and Archaeology. Grand Noth... M. The Conquest of Lachish by (2001) Sennacherib. Thiele. Campaigns to the West. A. D. Eisenbrauns. Chicago (1977) Van der Woude. Brill. Louisville (2003) in the Light of Archaeological Study. A. M. History of Assyria.S..F.. M. Ancient Mesopotamia: Near East c. 1. R. The Historical Books. Egypt.. Rapids (1983) University of Sheffield Press. Zondervan. Inscriptions of Shalmaneser III Princeton (1992) (859-824 BCE) Relating to his Saggs. Archaeology in the Chronicler's Account of Social Setting..P. Carta. Is the Bible Fact or Fiction? An the Old Testament. The Mysterious Numbers of Nashville (1998) the Hebrew Kings. 3000-323 B. Killebrew..W.. Further reading 9I Miller.E. Winona Lake Von Soden. and Person. University of Archaeology. B. and T. and Israel in Empire: A Historical Study of the Ancient Times. New York (1963) the Biblical World. Grand Rapids (1994) Biblical History of Israel. The Might That Was Assyria. eds. The Deuteronomic School: History. Philosophy and Practice in Tetley. Portrait of a Dead Civilization. Theology. Civilizations of the Ancient Westminster John Knox. Peabody (2000) Moore.. Tel Aviv (1982) of Chicago Press... V. The Construction of the Assyrian Redford. P. Rapids (1989) Paulist.. University Oxford (2003) of Chicago Press. Sheffield Ussishkin. Westminster Yadin.. Earliest Times until its Fall to the Assyrians Atlanta (2003) in 732 B. Y. Jerusalem (2006) Yamada. ed.. Eerdmans. Hendrickson.. The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of McGraw-Hill. Blackwell. Abingdon. E. The Reconstructed Chronology Writing a History of Ancient Israel. The Ancient Orient: An (1987) Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near Provan.C. Study of the Syrian City-State from the Society of Biblical Literature Press. The Deuteronomistic History.. Canaan. Grand Introduction to Biblical Historiography. Long. Longman.. and A.C. Eisenbrauns. Scholars Press.T... W. W. A. L.. Louisville (2000) Near East. A East. Tel Aviv University Institute Olmstead.D. The World of Organ. A.. J. London (1984) Leiden (2000) . The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands John Knox. Sasson.B. T&T of the Divided Kingdom. R.. D.. Atlanta (1999) (2002) Vaughn. Rainey. and Literature. A. Eerdmans.

NRSV 50 Isa. 7. 4: 26. 15: 25 10 1 Kgs. 18: 29-30.Endnotes 1 see 2 Kgs. 8: 20. NRSV 9 see Judg. 28 12 1 Kgs.113A: 264 75 2 Kgs. 1: 10-11. NRSV ct. 22 58 2 Kgs. NRSV 43 2 Kgs. 26: 13. 18: 14. 14: 25. 2 Chr. 9: 19. 17: 4b the Old Testament. 18: 17-19: 7 29 ct. 9-10 78 Jer.117A: 286 15 1 Kgs. 560 60 2 Kgs.119B: 303 32 1 Kgs.117C: 288 57 2 Kgs.113A: 263 73 ct. 36 30 1 Kgs. 20 77 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Related to 38 2 Kgs. 16. 16: 9. Isa. see also 10: Version (NRSV) 32-33. 24: 6. 35. NRSV. 28: 7 13 1 Kgs. NRSV 28 Context of Scripture 2. 2 Chr. 29 26 1 Kgs. 564 39 2 Kgs. 22 72 see 2 Kgs.39: 161 68 see 2 Kgs. 9: 25. see also 14: 28 5 see 1 Kgs. 3: 4 65 2 Kgs. 17: 2 17 Context of Scripture 2. 2 Kgs. 15: 29 14 2 Kgs. 36: 6 37 2 Kgs. 10. NRSV the Old Testament. NRSV 55 Hos. 27: 1-3 40 Context of Scripture 2. 13: 3. 2 Kgs. 1 Kgs. 22: 4 70 2 Kgs. 17: 4a 20 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to 59 2 Kgs. 8: 18 and 8: 26 69 ct. 17: 6. 2 Kgs. 16: 19 41 2 Kgs.113F: 270 79 Jer. 22: 47-49 52 2 Kgs.118A: 293 22 see also 1 Kgs. 9: 15-19 48 2 Kgs. 24 24 Context of Scripture 2. 1: 9-13 2 Chr. New Revised Standard 42 2 Kgs. 24: 2. 12: 17-18 3 2 Kgs. 16: 1. ct. 8: 27. 14: 47. 11: 23-25 44 2 Kgs. 15: 20. 22: 44 71 Context of Scripture 2. author's translation 2 Chr. 8: 4. 17: 5-6. 18. NRSV 67 2 Kgs. 22: 47 66 NRSV 27 1 Kgs. 2 Kgs. 15: 25 53 Context of Scripture 2. NRSV 36 2 Kgs. 1-2 47 2 Kgs.118£: 296. 15: 19. 1: 1.119B: 303 56 2 Kgs. NRSV. 35 34 2 Kgs. 9: 5 54 Context of Scripture 2.117G: 292 16 2 Chr. 23 and 2 Chr. 4: 20-21 46 see Amos 1-2 7 compare Josh. ct. 8: 18 74 see Jer. 14: 25-27 45 see Amos 1: 3-5 6 1 Kgs. 17-20 62 Context of Scripture 2. NRSV 76 2 Kgs. 7: 1. 16. 13 2 2 Kgs. 22-23 33 Context of Scripture 2. 16: 31. 2 Kgs. 2 Chr. 11 2 Kgs. 47: 1 35 Context of Scripture 2. 16: 2. 61 Hos. 17: 4a 19 see 1 Kgs. NRSV. 18: 10 21 see 1 Kgs. 16: 24 63 Context of Scripture 2. 23 1 Kgs.20-22 25 2 Kgs. 20. 16: 15-2 Kgs. 14 4 1 Sam. 1-12 and Judg. 3. 3: 9. 51: 59 . 7: 16-22 49 2 Kgs. 2 Kgs. 20. 17: 3 18 Context of Scripture 2. 22: 34 51 2 Chr. 15: 37 8 see 1 Kgs. NRSV 31 1 Kgs. 33. 15: 11.23: 137 64 Isa.

3: 1-2. 9: 22. 15: 30. Ezek. 14: 1-17. 25. NRSV 85 2 Kgs. 33. NRSV 134 2 Kgs. Exod. 9: 54. 96 Exod.g. NRSV 155 Ezra 2. NRSV 156 Ezra 4: 4. 25: 12 100 see 2 Kgs. 15: 25 123 Jer. NRSV . cf. 40: 10. 18: 15 128 2 Kgs. 6. NRSV 129 see 2 Kgs. NRSV. 23 126 Baruch. Ezek. 8: 1 21-24. 3: 22. 5 136 Antiquities X: 180-182 98 Ps. 24: 5-6. Jer.. 34 22-23. 1 Kgs. NRSV 106 Ezek.117C: 288 133 Jer. 2 Chr. 18. 9: 26 154 Ezra 1: 2-3. 110 138 see. Judg. e.g. 21: 8 149 see Has. 10-11 107 see also 2 Kgs. 22: 34 120 JeI. 22: 8. 16: 5. 43. 11: 14-15 102 2 Kgs. 10: 17-18. 135 2 Kgs. NRSV 82 2 Kgs. 37-50 111 Deut. NRSV. Jer. NRSV. 3: 15 103 Deut. 40: 13-16 93 Has. NRSV.. NRSV 146 Ezek. 25: 10. NRSV 150 Jer. NRSV 108 see 1 Kgs. 15: 7-11 144 see 2 Kgs.NRSV cf. 6. NRSV. 2: 2. 25: I. 125 Jer. 24: 14-16 151 Gen. 2 Chr.. 32. NRSV 87 e. 43: 3. NRSV. 25: 7. 18. 2 Kgs. 25: 27-28 104 Amos 4: 4. 137 NRSV see also Ps. Jer.g. 37: 22. 22: 143 Jer. 17: 6. 29-31 140 see Jer. 25: 25. cf. 25: 25. 16 141 Ezek. 7 116 2 Kgs. NRSV 112 1 Kgs. Ezek. 27: 6. NRSV 132 Jer. 39: 10. 17. 2 Chr. 40 99 see Lev. Ezra 6: 3-5 115 2 Kgs. NRSV 131 JeI. NRSV 142 see Ezek. 22: 17-20. 127 see 2 Kgs. 2 Baruch. 32 86 see 2 Kgs. NRSV. 15: 3. Isa.g. 37 109 Lev. 5: 13. 1 Sam. 24-25. 24. 12: 19. 2 Kgs. 15: 25. 45 83 see 1 Kgs. Lev. 41: 1 94 Context of Scripture 2.124: 315 113 2 Kgs. NRSV 117 2 Kgs. Exod. Endnotes 93 80 2 Kgs.. 29: 1. 36. 1: 30. 15: 37. 21: 3. cf. 22: 14. 18-20 81 2 Kgs. 19 124 see Jer. cf. NRSV 90 2 Kgs. NRSV 153 Context of Scripture 2. 45: 1 88 e. 45 Ezek 23: IS. 1-3. 41: 1 see also Deut. 22: 16-17. NRSV 110 Exod. 7: 1 130 Jer. Neh. 2. NRSV. 51: 59 84 2 Kgs. 36: 114 cf. 2 kgs. 41: 1 95 2 Kgs. 43: 6-7. 1: 2 105 Mic. 3. 25: 11-12 2 Sam. 40: 9-10 101 1 Kgs. NRSV 145 e. NRSV 118 2 Kgs. 19: 15 152 2 Kgs. 6. 7-8. 25: 27-28. 25: 24 92 2 Chr. 9: 21-26 148 Jer. Jer. 22: 8 91 2 Kgs. 2: 5-6. 22: 28. NRSV 147 see Ezek. 7: 2. 21: 13. 3 Baruch 89 see Judg. cf. 41: 2-7 97 Deut. 24: 14-15. 7 139 Jer. 15: 27 121 Jer. 15: 4. 25: 23. NRSV 122 JeI. 2 Kgs. 52 119 Jer. 28: 6. Deut.