MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED, Chapter 10  


 

MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED

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CHAPTER X
THE DIVIDED KINGDOM


 I. BIBLICAL DATA

UPON the death of Solomon the children of Israel met Rehoboam at Shechem for the coronation ceremony. The people of Israel under the inspiration and leadership of Jeroboam, who had fled to Egypt from Solomon, appealed to the new king for a reduction of taxes. He promised a reply in three days. In the meantime he took counsel with the older men who had been his father's advisors. They insisted that he lighten the burden of the masses. He also conferred with certain young men who urged him to give no relief but to threaten heavier levies. With this turn of affairs the ten tribes instituted a revolt against Rehoboam, saying,

"What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, 0 Israel: now see to thine own house, David" (I Kings 12: 16).

With this declaration of the issue the revolting tribes deserted the house of David and made Jeroboam king of the new government. Prior to this time there had been a slight cleavage between Judah on the one hand and the eleven tribes on the other. When, however, the revolution broke out, the small tribe of Benjamin adhered to the Davidic throne, and the chasm between the rival kingdoms became very deep--almost impassable.

This disruption of the kingdom occurred in the year 3143 A. H. On account of its far-reaching consequences, which seriously affected the life of the Chosen People for the next 264 years, this catastrophe proved to be an epoch-making event. In unity there is always strength, but in division comes inevitable weakness. Not only was there a weakening of the kingdom by this rupture, but there were also constant strife and war between these rival governments which from time to time reduced the country to a state of desolation.

When we reach this period of the monarchy, we encounter some of the most serious problems concerning Biblical chronology. The difficulties are so very real that many chronologers of the past have resorted to various methods and means in their efforts to discover the facts. The favorite procedure in removing an obstacle has been [ 250 ]

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either to discredit the Biblical account in toto or to resort to the favorite trick of the chronologers-emending the text. Even believing, conservative, commentators and chronologers, being unable to see the correct interpretation, have often concluded that the text has been corrupted by copyists. On the other hand, the radical critics, who reject the doctrine of the infallibility of the Sacred Records, have no scruples against making any changes in the original that will help harmonize the data as they see things, and that will fit the account into their preconceived theory of the historic situation. These efforts to clarify the facts, either made by friends or foes, must be pronounced as illogical, unscientific, and vicious in the extreme.

Instead of assuming that there are errors in the text, the scholarly, scientific investigator will examine microscopically the Sacred Record in which the difficulty is found and view it in the light of each passage that may have any connections therewith. The fundamental postulate with which one must approach the Scriptures is that God was honest and frank in making His revelation to man, saying exactly what He meant and meaning precisely what He said. Whenever the student thus approaches any difficult subject in the Scriptures, he will seek for the facts in the case and the proper interpretation of the data without making any effort to force upon the language a strained and abnormal meaning. Of course, he will make allowances for any figures of speech, understanding their significance in the light of current usage. To approach the Scriptures with this attitude is scientific and scholarly. But one may object that, in order to be scientific, the student must assume a negative attitude, throwing a question mark around every fact. Unfortunately such a standard for scholarship in the theological world has been erected in certain quarters. This criterion is contrary to common sense and general practice in the secular realm. For instance, in the courts of the land the assumption is that the defendant is innocent until he is proved guilty. Furthermore, the negative attitude, which is by nature hostile, invariably and inevitably, as a rule, distorts facts and beclouds the issue. Proof of this position is constantly in evidence in courts as well as in the disputes of every-day life.

Keeping these thoughts in mind let us now tackle the difficult problem of working out the chronology of Israel during the period of the disruption. Whenever we come to any data which appear to be contrary to some fact that has already been established, we shall

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accept the new statement at its face value, even though it may for the time being appear inconsistent. Upon further and careful investigation we shall discover, as a rule, to our mental and spiritual satisfaction, other facts which will illuminate the situation and remove the difficulty.

A. From Rehoboam and Jeroboam to Athaliah and Jehu

The last year of Solomon's reign was 3142 A.H. (983 B.C.E.). The following year we shall call year 1 of the disruption. These facts are presented in tabular form on page 272. From this date forward to the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel we shall have two primary columns: the one to the left gives the record and years of the kings of Judah and the second, those of Israel, the northern kingdom. According to I Kings 14: 21 Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, reigned in Jerusalem 17 years. Hence in Judah's column we give him 17 years. This date is 3159 A.H. From verse 20 of this chapter we learn that Jeroboam reigned in the northern kingdom 22 years. Hence, since these two kings mounted their thrones in the same year, the year 1 for each is 3143 A.H. Reboboam's 17th year, his last, is year 17 of Jeroboam.

From I Kings 15:1 we learn that Abijah, Rehoboam's son, reigned in Jerusalem. Our English versions render the Hebrew verb malak, "began to reign." This is a very unfortunate translation, for the same form is rendered "reigned" in verse 2. As we study the books of Kings and Chronicles, we must bear this fact in mind. Abijah's year 1 was Jeroboam's year 18. Since the former reigned 3 years, his last year was the twentieth of Jeroboam. But in the ninth verse we are told that Asa king of Judah reigned in the 20th year of Jeroboam. Since Asa succeeded his father, Abijah, and since the latter's year 3 was year 20 of Jeroboam, we must conclude that Asa ascended the throne that year.

Asa's third year is also attributed to both Nadab as his year 2 and to Baasha as his year 1. Therefore, year 23 of the disruption is divided between Nadab and Baasha. By the locking and the interlocking of Asa's years 2 and 3 with the chronology of Jeroboam, Nadab, and Baasha, we see that Jeroboam's year 20, attributed to Asa, was but the occasion of his accession to the throne and not his year 1.

In Asa's 15th year occurred the mighty revival which had a salutary effect upon the nation and doubtless averted God's judgments upon it at that time.

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We are informed in II Chronicles 16:1 that Baasha king of Israel went against Asa king of Judah in the 36th year of the latter's reign. Since Asa's year 3 is Baasha's year 1, Asa's year 26 is Baasha's last year, his 24th (I Kings 15:33) . Asa's year 36 then is the year 56 of the disruption, which was 10 years after Baasha was dead. It is utterly unthinkable that a king having been c1ead this long could have waged war. As the text appears in our English Versions, there is a clear and unmistakable contradiction. Since our assumption is that the Scriptures were inspired infallibly of God without any mistake, and since this error appears in the translation, it is necessary that we examine minutely the original text. The Hebrew idiom rendered in the ordinary English Version "in the 6 and 30th year of the reign of Asa" also may be translated "Asa being a son of 36 years in his kingdom." This rendering is just as grammatical and accurate as our text reading. Whenever a passage of Scripture can be rendered in two different ways and at the same time both translations are correct grammatically, one must select that one which does not contradict any testimony, and which accords with all the known facts. The Hebrew word, ben, has great latitude and covers many relationships, both that which is its primary meaning and others derived therefrom. When one remembers that Asa was the grandson of Rehoboam, at whose accession the kingdom was divided, it is natural to think of his dynasty as having begun with that event. Hence, when we look at the 36th year of the disruption, we see that it was the 16th year of Asa and the 14th of Baasha. Baasha was alive, vigorous and active, as seen from the records, and lived 10 years thereafter. Since, therefore, by adopting the translation suggested above, there is no contradiction whatsoever but perfect harmony, we are to accept this rendering as that which was intended by the sacred writer.

As seen above, Baasha's year 24 was Asa's year 26; but according to I Kings 16:8 Elah mounted the throne of Israel and reigned in Asa's 26th year and is accredited with 2 years. Therefore, Asa's year 26 was given as year 24 to Baasha and year 1 to Elah. Hence, Asa's year 27 was Elah's year 2.

But according to I Kings 16:9, 10, 15 Zimri murdered Elah and reigned 7 days in Asa's year 27. At this time the army of Israel was encamped against the Philistine city, Gibbethon. When the news of the murder reached the camp, the army proclaimed Omri as king, raised the siege, and returned to Tirzah. the capital,

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and besieged it. Zimri, seeing that there was no escape, went to the king's house and burned it over him. With this turn of affairs the people were divided:  Half followed Tibni and the other half, Omri. Hence, there were two rival governments in the northern kingdom. Asa's year 27 was, therefore, year 1 of both Omri and Tibni. But according to I Kings 16:23 Omri reigned over Israel 12 years: 6 years in Tirzah and 6 in Samaria, which he established at that time as his capital. Tibni, therefore, reigned as a rival with Omri for 5 years, and possibly a fraction of another. As to how he met death the Word is silent. Omri from this time on became the sole sovereign. Since Asa's year 27 was his year 1, and since he reigned 12 years, Asa's year 38 was his 12th and last year. According to I Kings 16:29 Ahab, the son of Omri, mounted the throne in the 38th year of Asa and reigned 22 years in Israel. Therefore, Asa's 38th year is attributed bath to Omri as his last and to. Ahab as his first. Since Asa reigned 41 years and his 38th was Ahab's year 1, his 41st was Ahab's year 4. According to I Kings 22:41 Jehoshaphat reigned aver Judah in the 4th year of Ahab. Was this his accession or first regnal year? This question can be answered only by marshaling the data and synchronizing certain years of the reigns of these two monarchs. II Kings 1:17 informs us that Jehoram, the son of Ahab and brother of Ahaziah, reigned in Israel in the 2nd year of Jehoram the son of Jehashaphat, but from II Kings 3:1 we learn that Jehoram, Ahab's son, reigned in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat of Judah. Thus the first year of Jehoram king of Israel is said by the first passage to. be the 2nd year of Jehoram king of Judah and also the 18th of Jehoshaphat, his father. If year 1 of Jehoram of Israel is the 18th of Jehoshaphat of Judah, then likewise the first year of Jehoram of Judah was the 17th year of Jehoshaphat, his father. A glance at the chronology thus far worked out, as indicated in the tables, p. 272f., shows that in Israel the year in which the king died was counted to bath him and his successor. There have been five instances of a new king's ascending the throne in Israel, and in each of these cases the coronation year was counted to. both the deceased monarch and to. his successor. This method of reckoning we may call the Israelite made of computation. In Judah, however, thus far we have discovered an entirely different system of recording the reigns of each sovereign. The year when a new

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monarch ascended the throne was counted as a full one to the outgoing king and was also reckoned as the year of accession for the new sovereign. His first regnal year began with the first of Nison after he mounted the throne. This is known as the Judahite system. According to the Israelite method Jehoshaphat's 18th year was Ahab's 22nd and last and the first of Jehoram, his son. Since this year, 79 of the disruption, was Jehoshaphat's 18th year, his first regnal year was Ahab's 5th. Therefore, the 4th year of Ahab was Asa's 41st and Jehoshaphat's year of accession. From the Scriptures studied we see that Jehoshaphat's years 17 and 18 were years 1 and 2 of Jehoram, his son. Also we learned that Ahab's years 21 and 22 were years 1 and 2 of Ahaziah, his son. We may canclude, therefore, that Jehoram of Judah reigned with his father as pro-rex during these 2 years, for in II Kings 8:16 it is stated that Jehoram of Israel's 5th was the 1st year of Jehoram of Judah. In view of these facts it is evident that Jehoram reigned with Jehoshaphat simply as pro-rex at that time. We may also canclude that during these 2 years Ahaziah in Israel reigned as co-rex with his father. This is an unusual case, but an examination of the historic records shows that at that time Ahab made a military alliance with Jehoshaphat against the Syrians, who were holding Ramath-gilead. (See I Kings 22.) While these two kings were away in battle, it was natural far them to have someone upon the throne. The proper persons, of course, were their sons and successors. Ahaziah of Israel fell through the lattice in the upper chamber of the royal palace and was sick (II Kings 1). As a result of this accident he died and his brother Jehoram mounted the throne. Ahab was killed in battle; hence, Jehoram became the legal successor and reigned 12 years. By taking into consideration all the statements in regard to the political situation which existed during years 78 and 79 of the disruption, we can recast mast accurately the political state which existed at that time. We do not have to emend the text, nor assume that there was a copyist's error. A very interesting and enlightening statement occurs in II Kings 8:16 relative to the reign of Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat, along with his father in the 5th year of Jehoram king of Israel. Thus Jehoshaphat's year 22 was the 1st year of Jehoram, his son, as co-rex. Since Jehoshaphat reigned only 25 years, the 87th of the disruption was Jehoram's first year as sole-rex. Further, since

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he reigned 8 years, the year 90 of the disruption was his last. This year also was the 12th of Jehoram king of Israel. We are told in II Kings 9:29 that Ahaziah of. Judah reigned in the 11th year of  Jehoram of Israel, but in 8:25, 26 appears the statement that he reigned in the 12th year of the same king and ruled far 1 year only. Evidently, therefore, Ahaziah reigned as co-rex with his father in the latter's 7th year and became sole-rex in his 8th. This 90th year of the disruption, therefore, is ascribed to both Ahaziah of Judah and his father. Here we have the only instance in Judah of a year's being counted both to the outgoing king and to the new sovereign. This, therefore, is the Israelite method imparted from the northern kingdom into Judah. How was this? The answer doubtless is that, since Jehoram, his father, married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the Israelite method was adapted in Judah together with many of the foreign customs of the northern kingdom. Being the offspring of. such a wicked woman, he was not reckoned as a true Jewish king. (See II Kings 8:25-27.) In this section we have traced the course of the chronology of the two kingdoms for 90 years. If we add the full number of years that are accredited to the kings of Judah, we have a total of 95. The surplus, 5 years, is to be accounted far by the fact that the first 4 years of Jehoram of Judah's reign were the last 4 of his father, and by the additional fact that, since Ahaziah reigned as co-rex with Jehoram, his father, the year 90 of the disruption is counted as year 1 of Ahaziah and at the same time the 8th of his father. In reality, as we have seen, there were only 90 years. The total number of years accredited to the eight kings of Israel is 98. This excess of 8 years is due to the fact that by the Israelite method the last year of an outgoing king was counted twice. This phenomenon accounts for 6 of the excess years. Ahaziah's 2 years are the same as the last 2 of Ahab, his father. This fact accounts far the remaining 2. Hence, when all the facts are recognized, we see clearly that this period was only 90 years long and we understand the principle by which the excess years entered into the count.

B. From Athaliah and Jehu to the Fall of Samaria

Jehu, one of the captains of the Israelite army fighting against Ramoth-gilead, was anointed by one of the sons of the prophets to. be king of Israel. Read the full account in II Kings 9 and 10. Having been inducted officially into. office by this ceremony, Jehu immediately proceeded to blot out the house of Ahab. Leaving the

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battle front he found Jehoram king of Israel in Jezreel far treatment of the wounds received in battle. Upon meeting the king, Jehu slew him and later killed Ahaziah of Judah, having overtaken him near Ibleam. From here he fled to Megiddo and died of his wounds. Hence, with one stroke both thrones were made vacant. Jehu became king in Israel. and Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, slew all the sons royal save Joash and usurped the throne in Judah. Thus in the year 91 of the disruption the reigns in bath kingdoms started evenly. 

Athaliah reigned 6 years in Jerusalem and was slain during the 7th according to II Kings 11:4-21 and 12:1. A conspiracy led by Jehaiada resulted in Athaliah's death and the coronation of Joash (Jehoash), who. had been secretly protected in the temple during Athaliah's reign. His administration lasted, according to II Kings 12:1, 40 years. The 7th year of Jehu of Israel is accredited to Joash  as his first year, although Athaliah is said to have reigned 6 years and was slain in her 7th.

From II Kings 10:36. we learn that Jehu reigned 28 years. His year 1 was the first of Athaliah's which, in turn, was the 91st of the disruption. Since his year 7 was year 1 of Joash of Judah, his 28th year, the last, was the 22nd year of Joash.

Jehoahaz, the, son of Jehu, became king in Israel in the 23rd year of Joash of Judah according to II Kings 13:1 and reigned 17 years. This was the year 119 of the disruption. Hence, it was Jehoahaz's year 1. His 17th and last year equals the 39th year of Joash king of Judah. But we are taod in II Kings 13:10 that Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz of Israel, reigned in Samaria in the 37th year of Joash of Judah. Evidently, therefore, Jehoash was co-rex with his father Jehoahaz. The period during which he was associated with his father in the government was 3 years, which are the 15th, 16th, and 17th of Jehoahaz and the 37th, 38th, and 39th of Joash of Judah.

 Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz is called Joash the son of Joahaz king of Israel in II Kings 14:1. These are just the shortened forms of their names. Here we are told that Amaziah, the son of Joash king of Judah, reigned in the 2nd year of Jehoash king of Israel and continued his administration far 29 years. The 17th year of Jehoahaz of Israel was the 39th year of Joash of Judah. The latter's 40th year would, therefore, be the 1st year of Jehoash of Israel as sole king. The following year was Jehoash's 2nd year and the first of Amaziah king of Judah. This is the year 137 of the

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disruption. Some chronologers, however, have understood the 2nd year of Jehoash of Israel, mentioned in 14:1, to refer to his 2nd year as co-rex. Upon this hypothesis, Amaziah's year 1 would be the 38th year of Joash king of Judah. Therefore, according to this opinion, Amaziah reigned as co-rex with his father Joash. This interpretation shortens the chronology by 3 years. Such an abridgement cannot be correct because it is checked, as we shall see later, by the sabbatic periods. Therefore, since there is no indication in the text that Amaziah reigned as co-rex with his father, and since such a theory clashes with the sabbatic year reckoning, we shall accept the statement of II Kings 14:1 that Jehoash' s year 2, which equals Amaziah's year 1, was the 2nd year of his reign as sole-rex. Hence, Joash of Judah's year 40 was year 1 of Jehoash of Israel.

Jeroboam, the son of Jehoash king at Israel, began his reign in the 15th year of Amaziah king of Judah according to II Kings 14:17, 23. This date, however, was the 16th year of Jehoash of Israel. Therefore, in this instance, we find the Israelite method of reckoning occurring for the only time in this period which we are now discussing. Evidently the reforms of Jehu were so very drastic and thoroughgoing that times and seasons changed in the northern kingdom and the former peculiar Israelite method of reckoning the regnal years was lost sight of except in this one instance. Since Amaziah's 15th year was year 1 of Jeroboam of Israel, Amaziah's last and 29th year was Jeroboam's 15th.

But the next step in the unfolding of the chronologica1 problem is found in II Kings 15:1, 2, which states that Uzziah (Azariah) king of Judah reigned in the 27th year of Jeroboam of Israel and continued for 52 years. Since Amaziah's last year was 165 of the disruption and since Uzziah's year 1 was 177 of this era, there was a gap of 11 years between Amaziah and Uzziah. Chronologers have wrestled with this problem and have resorted to many different devices to explain it, all of which do. violence to the text and dislocate the subsequent chronology. Since Amaziah's 29th year was the 15th of Jeroboam , and since Uzziah's year 1 was the 27th of Jeroboam , plainly there were 11 years during which no one sat upon the throne of Judah. We are justified, therefore, in designating this period as an interregnum. This explanation accepts the facts as they are stated in the text without distorting any statement and makes, as we shall see, the chronology consistent with our sabbatic periods.

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Since Jeroboam II reigned in Israel 41 years (II Kings 14: 23) , his last year was the 15th of Uzziah king of Judah. The next chronological fact stated is that in the 38th year of Uzziah Zechariah, son of Jeroboam, reigned aver Israel 6 months (II Kings 15: 8). Between the 15th and 38th years of Uzziah the throne of Israel was vacant so far as the Biblical record is concerned. Therefore in the northern kingdom there was an interregnum of 22 years.

In the 39th year of Uzziah of Judah Shallum reigned 1 month in Israel (II Kings 15:13). Also according to verse 17 of this chapter Menahem reigned in this 39th year and continued for 10 years. Was this date his accession or his first regnal year? This question can be answered by noting the fact, stated in verse 23, that Menahem's successor, Pekahiah, reigned in the 50th year of Uzziah. Therefore Menahem's year 1 was the 40th year of Uzziah. Since Uzziah's 50th year was Pekahiah's year 1, and since he reigned 2 years, his 2nd year was Uzziah's 51st. Pekah, the successor of Pekahiah of Israel, reigned in the 52nd year of Uzziah (II Kings 15:27) and continued far 20 years.

 Jotham, Uzziah's son and successor in Judah, reigned in the 2nd year of Pekah king of Israel (II Kings 15:32, 33) and continued for 16 years. But in II Kings 15:30 we are told that Hoshea, the son of Elah, made a conspiracy against Pekah of Israel, slaying him, and reigned in his stead in the 20th year of Jotham of Judah. According to this verse Jotham reigned 20 years, but in verse 33 below only 16 years are accredited to him. There is, therefore, a plain contradiction between the two statements or there must be an explanation far speaking of his 20th year, whereas in reality he reigned only 16. Since in verses 32, 33 we have the regular formula far stating the beginning and the extent of a king's reign, and since here we learn that he ruled 16 years, we must conclude that this statement is to be taken at its literal, face value. With this understanding of the matter we must seek same reason for the unusual statement that Hoshea slew Pekah in the 20th year of Jotham, son of Uzziah. This verse does not say that Jotham reigned 20 years, but simply that the murder of Pekah occurred in the 20th year of Jotham. There is a vast difference between the assumption which is read into this verse, and which contradicts the plain statement of verse 33, an the one hand and the Scriptural declaration that Jotham reigned only 16 years (II Kings 15: 33, II Chron. 27: 8). Since

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the Scriptures are accurate in their minutest details as has been demonstrated by recent archeological discoveries, we must conclude that there was some special reason far the Holy Spirit's speaking of the 20th year of Jotham. An examination of the characters of both Jotham and Ahaz, his son and successor, in the 4th year of whose reign the murder was committed, will possibly give us a clue to the unusual expression. Jotham was a godly, pious, good man; Ahaz, an the other hand, was an impious, carnal, and wicked person. One commentator spoke of him as an impious upstart and hypocrite, which judgment is an accurate characterization of the man. Dr. Lightfoot has said that it seemed good to the Holy Spirit to speak in terms of the reign of pious Jotham in his grave rather than of impious Ahaz an the throne. This explanation is a possible one. Therefore we must conclude that there is no necessary contradiction in the two statements under consideration.

According to II Kings 16:1, 2, Ahaz of Judah reigned in the 17th year of Pekah king of Israel. Was this date, which is the year 244 of the disruption, Ahaz's accession or first regnal year? According to the Judahite method of reckoning, which we have seen obtained in the tabulation of the reigns of the Davidic kings, the entire year during which the sovereign died was accounted to the deceased king as his last year and was reckoned simply as the accession year of the incoming ruler. Since this 17th year of  Pekah of Israel was the 16th and last year of Jotham of Judah, we must conclude that the statement of II Kings 16:1 refers to Ahaz's accession and not to his first regnal year. Therefore year 18 of Pekah was year 1 of Ahaz, and Pekah's 20th and last year was Ahaz's 3rd. From II Kings 17:1 we learn that Hoshea, son of Elah, who, as we have seen above, murdered Pekah in Jotham's 20th year (in reality Ahaz's 4th), reigned in the 12th year of Ahaz. Who was on the throne of Israel during the period of 8 years from the murder of Pekah until Hoshea mounted it in the 12th year of Ahaz? On this point the Scriptures are silent. If anyone occupied it, we have no way of knowing. Hence the years 248 to 255 of the disruption may properly be designated as an interregnum in the northern kingdom. The real explanation of this state of affairs may be seen in the turbulent, revolutionary character of the times. Since year 1 of Hoshea of Israel was year 12 of Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea's year 5 was Ahaz's 16th and last year; but we are told in II Kings 18:1 that Hezekiah, Ahaz's son, reigned in Judah in

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the 3rd year of Hoshea of Israel. But from our tabulated forms we see that this year was the 14th of Ahaz, year 258 of the disruption. Nevertheless it is attributed to Hezekiah. Evidently, therefore, Hezekiah must have reigned as co.-rex with his father. Again the question must be answered as to whether or not this year was Hezekiah's accession or his first regnal year. The answer to this question is found in II Kings 18:9, where we are informed that Hoshea's year 7 was Hezekiah's year 4. Therefore Hoshea's year 6 was Hezekiah's year 3; and his year 4 was Hezekiah's year 1. Therefore Hezekiah's years 1 and 2 as co-rex were years 15 and 16 of Ahaz. Hezekiah's year 3 was his first year as sole-rex. From verse 10 of this chapter we see that Hezekiah's 6th year was Hoshea's 9th and last, which was the year 264 of the disruption.

The downfall of Israel was foretold at least 50 years before it occurred. Hosea announced this coming catastrophe: "And Jehavah said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease. And it shall came to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel" (Hos. 1:4, 5). Amos, a contemporary of Hosea, likewise foretold the passing of the kingdom of Israel: "Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah" (Amos 9:8). These predictions were fulfilled in the overthrow of the northern kingdom. It, as a political entity, was to pass away and it did so. Now let us resume the investigation of the events in the northern kingdom which culminated in the overthrow of the government. From the monuments we note that Hoshea was an appointee of the Assyrian king who engineered the revolt which resulted in the overthrow of Pekah's government. Owing his authority to Shalmaneser king of Assyria, Hoshea swore fealty to him and paid tribute. Finally he conspired with So king of Egypt and refused to send the annual levy to Assyria thereafter. At last, Shalmaneser went up against the land of Israel and besieged Samaria, its capital, 3 years. In the 9th year of Hoshea, which was year 264 of the disruption, Samaria was taken. According to the Assyrian monuments, 27,290 captives were departed to certain provinces of the

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Empire beyond the Tigris. Then the Assyrians placed a governor in charge of the land. In order to understand the historical situation attending the fall of Samaria, one must note carefully II Kings 18:9, 10. In verse 9 we are told that Shalmaneser besieged Samaria; but in the next statement we read, "and at the end of 3 years they took it," etc. Shalmaneser began the siege, but, according to the Assyrian inscriptions, Sargon captured the city and at that time deported 27,290 of the flower of the population to Assyria. Evidently then Shalmaneser died or his government was overthrown by Sargon, who, according to certain intimations of the historian, instituted the revolt and mounted the throne. This change of government at Nineveh seems to be echoed in the Scriptural language that Shalmaneser besieged Samaria, but that "they took it." In view of the intimations of the Assyrian records and the Biblical account, it is a gratuitous assumption to suppose that Samaria was first captured by Shalmaneser, who deported certain ones from the country, and then later, a second siege was conducted by Sargon and others, who removed the entire population from the land. This mythical reconstruction of the historical facts relative to the fall of the northern kingdom has been invented to bolster up a non Scriptural hypothesis. A careful study of the facts as they are presented in II Kings 17 will throw a bright ray of light an the stirring events of that time. Verses 7-18 set forth the divine interpretation of the underlying causes which were operative in both Judah and Israel, which were bringing them rapidly to the precipice of national destruction, and which at that time issued in the complete collapse of the northern kingdom. The writer of Kings in the remaining part of the book, however, shows that the same destructive farces which had brought about Israel's downfall were silently yet actively operative in Judah and finally worked aut in the destruction of Judah about a century and a quarter later. One must be careful in his study of II Kings 17:19-23, because the term Israel is here used in two. different senses. Its significance, however, in verse 23 is a reference to the northern kingdom. Here we read: "so Israel was carried away out of their awn land to Assyria unto this day"-to the day of the writing of the book of Kings. Were all the inhabitants of the land deported? This question must be answered in the light of all the data. In the first .place, let us note the fact that the Assyrian policy, established by

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Tiglath-pileser III, was to deport the leading citizens of a conquered territory and to settle them in same other province of his domains. This principle of government, we learn from the Assyrian history, was continued by his successors. But, in the second place, let us note the fact that, when the kingdom of Judah suffered under the sledge-hammer blows of Babylon in the reign of Jehoiachin, the same sacred historian declared that Nebuchadnezzar "carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths; none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land" (II Kings 24:14). The first statement of this quotation declares that all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were taken, but the writer instantly shows that he does not mean it in the absolute sense of the term. Zedekiah was placed upon the throne by Nebuchadnezzar and reigned over the kingdom far 11 years. At the expiration of this period Judah went down in defeat before the Babylonian armies.

A third line of evidence is found in II Kings 17:24-41 which divides into the following sections: verses 24-33; 34-40; and 41. According to verses 24-26, the Assyrians having deported the flower of the nation brought in certain Asiatic immigrants and settled them in the land of Israel. By having a heterogeneous population in a land, the Assyrians thought to reduce to the minimum the possibility of armed insurrection. This policy we see in operation here. Soon the newcomers had difficulty with the wild beasts and reported the same to Nineveh. They attributed their troubles to their lack of knowledge of the god of the land. Hence one of the exiled priests was brought back to teach them his religion. The sacred writer tells us that these immigrants continued to worship their gods and added Jehovah as one more to their pantheon. This fact is clear from verse 33: "they feared Jehovah and served their own gods," etc.

A class of people different from those wham we have been discussing is presented in verses 34-40. We are told that these here mentioned "fear not Jehovah, neither do they after their statutes," etc. A careful perusal of this section shows that the people of whom the writer was speaking were those to whom God gave His law when He brought them out of Egypt. They, of course, were none other than the people of the northern kingdom and were of those who, in Hebrew colloquial language, are the "Am-haarets." Let us note carefully the contrast between the two classes. The immigrants feared Jehovah and served their own

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gods, whereas the ones discussed in verses 34-40 did according to their former manner, in that they did not fear; that is, worship Jehovah, nor do. according to His statutes. These facts indicate clearly that this latter class can be none other than the great mass of the people of the northern kingdom among wham the Asiatics had been colonized.

Our writer reverts to his discussion of the newcomers in verse 41 by stating that those nations served their graven images and at the same time feared Jehovah.

A fourth line of argument in support of our proposition is the fact that after the down fall of the northern kingdom, the historians of the period and the prophets living after that calamity all speak of Israel as still being in the land. (I hope to write a treatise showing the fallacy of British-Israelism.)

C. From the Fall of Samaria to the Overthrow of Jerusalem

From the reigns of Rehoboam in Judah and Jeroboam in Israel to the fall of Samaria was a period of 264 years. During this time the chronology of the rival kingdoms is lacked and interlocked by the many Scriptural statements relative to the reigns of the monarchs of the two. governments. The chronological history of one kingdom dovetails into that of the other so that we may be certain that the reckoning thus far is absolutely correct. From this paint, however, onward to the days of Josiah we do not have such a check, neither is there need far it.

Hezekiah reigned 29 years, his last year being 287 of the disruption. His son Manasseh succeeded him to the throne and reigned 55 years. Hence his last year was 342 of this era. He was one of the mast profligate and debased of the kings of Judah. When, however, he sinned, God permitted him to be taken to Babylon in chains (II Chron. 33:10-13) but, when he repented, he was restored to his throne, Amon, his son, followed him, reigned 2 years, but surpassed him in wickedness. Then Josiah came to the throne in 345 of the disruption and reigned 31 years. This brings us to the year 375 of this era. According to II Kings 23:31-35, Pharaoh-necoh king of Egypt deposed Jehoahaz, son of Josiah, who. succeeded his father an the throne and reigned only 3 months. In his stead Pharaoh installed Eliakim, another son of Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz's 3 months fell within the limits of his father's last year for, if they had not, and he had been an the throne at the

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first of the year, he would have been given one year according to the Judahite method. That this position is correct will be proved when we check the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim by the 23 years mentioned in Jeremiah 25.

Jehoiakim reigned in the year 376 of the disruption and continued an the throne 11 years, his death year being 386 of the disruption, which is in the Ptolemaic system 597 B.C.E.

Jehoiachin mounted the throne upon his father's death and reigned 3 months. At that time Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem, deposed Jehoiachin, installed Mattaniah, whase name he changed to Zedekiah, and departed the deposed monarch to Babylon. Jehoiachin's 3 months likewise fell within the 11th year of Jehoiakim, for, when the reigns of these monarchs are checked by longer periods found in the prophets, it is ascertained that his 3 months are included in his father's last year.

Zedekiah reigned 11 years (II Kings 24:18). In the 9th year of his administration the king of Babylon besieged the city of Jerusalem, which fell in the 4th month of Zedekiah's 11th year. In the 5th month and an the 7th day Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's guard, burned the temple and the royal palace. This year was 586 B.C.E. in the Ptolemaic system. Nebuchadnezzar placed Gedaliah as governor in Judaea over the remnant of the land after the complete collapse of Jewish resistance in this fatal year, 586 B.C.E., which was 3539 A.H.

Jeremiah 25 is one of the mast impartant passages in the entire revelation of God from a chronological standpoint, in that it synchranizes Biblical chronology with Babylonian history. "The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah (the same was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: From the thirteenth year of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, even unto this day, these three and twenty years, the word of Jehovah hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising up early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. And Jehovah hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them (but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear), saying, Return ye now everyone from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that Jehovah hath given unto you and to your fathers, from of old and even for evermore: and go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the work of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith Jehovah; that ye may provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own hurt. Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Because ye have not heard my words, behold. I will send and take all the families of the north, saith Jehovah, and I will send unto Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against

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this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith Jehovah, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it desolate for ever. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall make bondmen of them, even of them: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands" (Jeremiah 25: 1-14).

This passage, especially verses 1 to 3, enables us to check the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim, because it begins with the year of Jeremiah's call, which event is dated as the 13th year of Josiah and continues to Jeremiah's 23rd year, which, in turn, is the 4th year of Jehoiakim. When we count the years from the 13th of Josiah to the 4th of Jehoiakim, we have exactly 23. This fact is . the proof that the 3 months of Jehoahaz fell within the last year of his father, Josiah. This 3rd year of Jehoiakim was the beginning of the Babylonian exile, which in the Ptolemaic dates is 605 B.C.E. and 3520 A.H. in the Biblical chronology. That there was a war against Judah in this year and that captives were departed to Babylon are clear from Daniel 1:1-7. We must understand that the Babylonian captivity began in this year, because subsequent chronology is dependent upon this fact. Nebuchadnezzar fought against Jeruselem in this year, not as king of Babylon, but as crown prince, who succeeded his father Nabopolasser the next year.

This 3rd year of Jehoiakim was the beginning of the desolations of Jerusalem mentioned by Daniel in chapter 9:1, 2. Unfortunately some commentators have mistakenly understood that the exile began in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, because in this year Jeremiah gave the revelation that many of the nations of western Asia and northern Africa should submit themselves to the yoke of the king of Babylon. As seen above, the Chaldeans first struck at Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's 3rd year, but the prophecy concerning Babylon's subjugation of the surrounding nations was given in the following year. In harmony with this position is the statement of Jeremiah 25 : 17, 18 that Jerusalem was the first to feel the power of Babylon's strong hand. With the kingdom of Judah already suffering under the

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initial blow of Nebuchadnezzar as visible proof of his power and as a warning to others not to resist, Jeremiah made this astounding prediction in Jehoiakim's 4th year. The destruction wrought, therefore, in Judah gave point and cogency to his prophecy and doubtless struck terror to the hearts of the neighboring states.


II. EXTRA-CANONICAL DATA

Under section one, we have traced the course of events in both the northern and southern kingdoms. During this time Israel was in very close touch with neighboring countries, especially Egypt, 'Syria, and Assyria. In this section, however, we shall call attention only to those contacts, which assist in the chronological question, and which show in a marked degree the accuracy of the sacred writings.

A. Egypt

Everyone who is familiar with the writings of the Egyptologists knows that there is little unanimity among these experts. In fact, they vary as much as one thousand years in some of the chronological data which they present. At the present stage of investigation it is impossible for one to be dogmatic. The diversity of opinion relates largely to the earliest stages of her history. When, however, we come to the tenth century before the common era, the differences are not so great.

We are told that Shishak came against King Rehoboam in the fifth year of his reign, taking away the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king's palace, besides many shields of gold, etc. (I Kings 14:25, 26; II Chronicles 12:2-9).

As we know, Shishak was the founder of the twenty-second or Bubastite Dynasty. Near the close of his twenty-first year Shishak commissioned his chief of public works to execute a memorial of his conquests on the walls of the temple of Amon at Karnak. In this great bas-relief he mentioned the name of 130 cities of the kingdom of Judah, which he took during his invasion of Palestine. When I was in Luxor (1937), I had the privilege of looking upon this inscription. Shishak does not give us the exact date of his conquest of Palestine. Authorities differ in regard to it. Although we cannot settle this chronological question, the inscription on the walls at Karnak is confirmatory evidence of the Biblical record. As one will see if he turns to the tables at the end of this chapter, the fifth year of Rehoboam, when the invasion occurred, was 978

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B.C.E. or 3147 A.H. record. Thus the monument confirms the Biblical record.

B. Moab

The celebrated Moabite stone brings additional confirmation of the Biblical account. Herewith, I give a translation of it: "I Mesha am son of Chemosh- (Gad?), King of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab 30 years, and I reigned after my father. And I erected this high place to Chemosh at Kahara (a Stone of Salvation for he saved me from all despoilers (?) and let me see my desire upon all my enemies. Omri was King of Israel, and oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said, Let us go and I will see my desire on him and on his house, and Israel said I shall destroy it for ever. Now Omri took the land Medeba and occupied it his days and half his son's days (or he and his son and his son's) son forty years. And Chemosh had mercy on it in my days; and I built Baal Meon, and made therein the reservoir and I built Kirjathaim. And the men of God dwelled in the land (At) aroth from of old, and the King of Israel restored (At) aroth, and I assaulted the city and captured it."

Mesha claims that his father reigned over Moab for 30 years. Following that period his country was under the domination of Israel for 40 years-during the reigns of Omri, Ahab, and Jehoram. (See II Kings 1:1 and 3:1-27.) A glance at the chart at the end of this chapter shows that Omri began to reign in 936 B.C.E., Ahab in 925, and Jehoram in 904. Thus it was during the reigns of these 3 monarchs that Israel held sway over Moab, but in the reigns of Ahaziah and Jehoram Mesha rebelled and finally gained freedom for the land. Thus this famous monument is corroborative evidence of the accuracy of the Scriptural account.

C. Assyria

The most important discoveries have been made in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. The mounds, covered by centuries of dirt and sand, have yielded their secrets in a great measure to us. We now find confirmatory evidence concerning many things recorded in the Scriptures. The monuments from the Assyrian rulers are of special importance to Bible students. I can, however, examine only those which have special bearing upon the chronological question.

I wish to call attention to two inscriptions of Shalmaneser. The first, bearing on our question, is known as the Kurkh Monolith. The translation may be seen in Rawlinson's Cuneiform Inscriptions, Volume III, page 8. This monument speaks of Shalman-

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eser's leaving Nineveh in his sixth year, his crossing the Tigris and the Euphrates, his war against Syria and her allies, and his capturing 12,000 chariots, 1200 carriages, and 20,000 men from Benhadad of Syria; 700 chariots, 700 carriages, and 10,000 men of Irhuleni of Hamath; 2,000 chariots, and 10,000 men of Ahab of Sirhala (Israel).

The second monument is known as the Bull inscription. It may be found in Rawlinson's Cuneiform, Inscriptions, Volume III, page 5. Shalmaneser speaks in this record of his crossing the Euphrates river in his 18th year and of his conquest at that time.

"In my 18th year the sixteenth time the river Euphrates I crossed. Hazael of Syria. . . I overthrew. 18,000 men of his army with weapons I destroyed. 1,121 of his chariots, 470 of his carriages, with his camp, I took from him. To save his life he fled. After him I pursued, in Damascus his royal city I besieged him. . . . In those days the tribute of Tyre and Zidon, of Jehu son of Omri, I received."

This war is also referred to on the black obelisk of this same monarch. The inscription is as follows:

 "Tribute of Jehu son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls of gold, cups of gold, bottles of gold, vessels of gold, maces, royal utensils, and rods of wood I received from him."

We can see from these quotations that Shalmaneser came into contact with Israel twice: First in the 6th year of his reign and later in his 18th. His 6th year was 854 B.C.E. (Assyrian date), 905 (Ptolemaic reckoning), and 3220 AH. In I Kings 22:1, 2, we read that there was a truce between Israel and Syria for 3 years; but in the 3rd year Ahab formed an alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah and went to war against the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. The account is found in I Kings 22. These 3 years of truce were evidently the 19th, 20th, and 21st years of Ahab, in the last of which we find Ahab joined in an alliance of 12 nations with Ben-hadad king of Syria against Shalmaneser of Assyria. The confederated kings were defeated according to the Assyrian monuments. This coalition evidently was broken up immediately after the battIe, because we see Ahab of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah warring against Ramoth-gilead in an effort to reclaim certain portions of the Transjordanic territory, which had earlier been seized by the Syrians.

Shalmaneser's 6th year could not have been later than the 21st of Ahab, for in his 22nd and last year he was not in alliance with Ben-hadad of Syria, but at war with him. At this time, the 21st

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year of Ahab's reign, 905 B.C.E. and 854 B.C.E. (Assyrian date), Ben-hadad and Ahab fought against Shalmaneser and were defeated. In this year Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, was associated with his father as co-rex-during his father's absence at the battIe-front. In the following year he was no longer in alliance with Ben-hadad, but with Jehoshaphat was fighting against him at Ramoth-gilead.

In Shalmaneser's 18th year, which was 842 B.C.E. (Assyrian date), 893 B.C.E. (Ptolemaic count), and 3232 A.H., he made his sixteenth campaign west of the Euphrates. On this occasion he fought against Hazael of Damascus and received tribute from the kings of Tyre and Sidon and from Jehu of Israel. Evidently Jehu was on the throne of Israel at that time. Had this campaign been made the year before, Jehu would not have been king, for Jehoram was still reigning.

The set-up of the forces of the conflict in the 6th year of Shalmaneser was not possible a year later, because Israel and Syria were then at war. Neither could the campaign of his 18th year have been earlier, for Jehu, who paid tribute at this time, only came to power during that year. The situation reflected on the monuments fits exactIy that set forth in the Scriptures. The synchronism is perfect. There is no reason for doubting any point of the entire situation; therefore, we see confirmation of the accuracy and genuineness of the Sacred Writings. This synchronism is also determinative. It helps to fix every other well-established date at which Assyria came in contact with Israel and Judah.

We, therefore, have been able to synchronize the Assyrian dates with the Ptolemaic system by means of the sixth and the eighteenth years of Shalmaneser. We see that 860 B.C.E. of the Assyrian reckoning was in reality 911 in the Ptolemaic system and 3214 in the anno homonis dates. Beginning with 962 B.C.E. in the Ptolemaic dating and counting forward for 129 years, we have an unbroken period that is established by the Assyrian eponym method of counting time. These years through the synchronism afforded by the Shalmaneser monuments have been detached from 782 B.C.E. and pushed backward. Thus there is a gap of 51 years in Assyrian chronology. This period so far as our present knowledge is concerned is a perfect blank. From 782 B.C.E. and forward the Assyrian dates agree with the Ptolemaic reckoning. The Assyrian eponym list reaches from 962 B.C.E. (the first year of king Asa) to 647 B.C.E. (the 49th year of Manasseh).

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This list has been compiled by Assyriologists from fragmentary accounts that have been discovered. Admittedly there are gaps, as seen above, here and there. One of these was 51 years in duration. It occurred between 834 and 783 B.C.E. There have arisen, therefore, two camps of Assyriologists: the advocates of the longer chronology and the adherents of the shorter scheme. In view of the synchronism noted above, I am convinced that the longer chronology is correct.

There are other points of contact between Israel and Assyria, which are most interesting and very illuminating, but these do not affect the chronological problem as it has been worked out in Section I and presented in the tabulation below.

III. CHRONOLOGICAL CHART The tabulation below continues the chronology of the monarchical period from the disruption of the kingdom to the time of the Babylonian captivity. This is the pictorial representation of the facts presented in the foregoing discussion. As in the chart at the conclusion of chapter VIII, each line represents a year. We have already learned that there were two methods of computing time during the first part of this period: The Judaite and the Israelite reckonings.
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