The Second Book of Kings
Chapter Fifteen.

2-Kings. Chapter 15.
Brit-Am Commentary to 2-Kings. Chapter 15.

King Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah.
Zechariah King of Israel.
The One Month Reign of King Shallum and Ephraimites East of the Jordan!
King Menachem of Israel.
King Pekahiah of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah.



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2 Kings 15
Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah

2 Kings 15

King Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah
[2-Kings 15:1] In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah, king of Judah, became king.

Azariah (meaning "God will Help") is also known as Uziah ("Strength of God", 2-Chronicles 26:1ff, Isaiah 6:1, etc).
Azariah at the age of 16 began to reign alongside his father who had been exiled by his dissatisfied officials to Lachish in the south of Judah.

Chariot taken as booty by the
Assyrians from Lachish in the Kingdom of Judah.
It may represent one of the innovations of Azariah
that were later copied by other polities of the time.

Chariot Lachish

Concerning Amaziah the father of Azariah it says in 2-Kings 14:19:
And they formed a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish and killed him there.

The Sages (Midrash Seder Olam) explained that Amaziah fled to Lachish but the conspirers against him pursued him there and grievously wounded him. He lingered on for another fifteen years during which time his son Azariah in Jerusalem ruled
alongside him. Eventually he died of his wounds.

[2-Kings 15:2]  He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.

These 52 years include 15 years that he reigned alongside his father, i.e. he reigned ca. 37 years after the death of his father. During much of this time however he himself was stricken with "leprosy" and his son Jotham reigned alongside him as we shall see.
(Source Yehudah Kiel, "Daat Mikra").

Jecholiah of Jerusalem the mother of Azariah belonged to one of the important families of Jerusalem.
The name Jecholiah (pronounced "Yehocaliah") means either "God will Provide" from the root "calcal" provide or "God Can Do" from the root "YiCoL" "to be able".
(Source Yehudah Kiel, "Daat Mikra").

cf. Josephus:
Antiquities Book 9; ch.10; s.3
After the same manner did Uzziah, the son of Amaziah, begin to reign over the two tribes in Jerusalem, in the fourteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam. He was born of Jecoliah, his mother, who was a citizen of Jerusalem. He was a good man, and by nature righteous and magnanimous, and very laborious in taking care of the affairs of his kingdom. He made an expedition also against the Philistines, and overcame them in battle, and took the cities of Gath and Jabneh, and brake down their walls; after which expedition he assaulted those Arabs that adjoined to Egypt. He also built a city upon the Red Sea, and put a garrison into it. He, after this, overthrew the Ammonites, and appointed that they should pay tribute. He also overcame all the countries as far as the bounds of Egypt, and then began to take care of Jerusalem itself for the rest of his life; for he rebuilt and repaired all those parts of the wall which had either fallen down by length of time, or by the carelessness of the kings, his predecessors, as well as all that part which had been thrown down by the king of Israel, when he took his father Amaziah prisoner, and entered with him into the city. Moreover, he built a great many towers, of one hundred and fifty cubits high, and built walled towns in desert places, and put garrisons into them, and dug many channels for conveyance of water. He had also many beasts for labor, and an immense number of cattle; for his country was fit for pasturage. He was also given to husbandry, and took care to cultivate the ground, and planted it with all sorts of plants, and sowed it with all sorts of seeds. He had also about him an army composed of chosen men, in number three hundred and seventy thousand, who were governed by general officers and captains of thousands, who were men of valor, and of unconquerable strength, in number two thousand. He also divided his whole army into bands, and armed them, giving every one a sword, with brazen bucklers and breastplates, with bows and slings; and besides these, he made for them many engines of war for besieging of cities, such as cast stones and darts, with grapplers, and other instruments of that sort.

[2-Kings 15:3] And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done,

It may be that the righteousness of Azariah was mainly in effect during his co-eval reign with Amaziah his father.

[2-Kings 15:4]  except that the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

[2-Kings 15:5] Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death; so he dwelt in an isolated house. And
Jotham the king's son was over the royal house, judging the people of the land.

He became a leper as punishment for trying to make himself the equivalent of a priest and serve in the Temple.

There is an opinion that the term "leper" used here does not mean "leper" in the modern Sense. Leprosy in our time applies to Hansen's Disease. Some forms of this sickness are highly contagious but others much less so. It is said to have originated in India and spread westward at a much later date.
"Leprosy" in the Bible may be a different type of affliction.
There is even an opinion that the leprosy that struck Azariah is what we now term "Psoriasis". This is a usually mild skin disease partially associated with a genetic factor. Azariah would have been stricken with a particularly virulent form of it.

[2-Kings 15:6] Now the rest of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

[2-Kings 15:7] So
Azariah rested with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the City of David. Then Jotham his son reigned in his place.

The Book of Chronicles gives us much more information about Azariah.
In this series of Brit-Am Biblical Commentaries we hope to give separate treatment to the Book of Chronicles.
We will therefore for the sake of interest merely summarize the relevant entry about Azariah (Uzziah) without much commentary.

2-Chronicles 26 tells us how Azariah built up Elath (modern day Elat on the Gulf of Akaba),  "He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper" 2-Ch.26:5). Azariah fought against the Philistines, conquered territory from them and built up cities in their area. He also fought  against "Arabians", and against the Meunites. The Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. He built up Jerusalem, and Judah. He established fortresses, wells, and irrigation works in desert areas. His reign was marked by an abundance of livestock and agricultural plenty "for he loved the soil" (2-Ch.26:10).
His army numbered 307,500 warriors. These were all well armed.

Azariah seems to have encouraged innovation and technical achievement. This is indicated by his agricultural, irrigation, and fortification enterprises.

So too we are told:
15 And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong.

Research, innovation and invention seem to be Israelite characteristics. In principle I personally am all for progress and progression. When it comes to practice however I am not always as enterprising as I should be. When faced with new computer programs and techniques etc that should be learned I find myself trying to avoid them. Such is life.

Azariah entered the Temple Area apparently on Yom Kippur. He intended to offer incense in the Holy of Holies. This task was reserved for the High Priest. The priests officiating remonstrated with him and while they were arguing Azariah was stricken with leprosy on his forehead. This could have been a type of Psoriasis which has both genetic and psychosomatic characteristics. Azariah was confounded at this event and half-fled and half was forcibly evicted from the Temple area. Henceforth Azariah lived out his life in a secluded residence while his son Jotham reigned in his place.

21 King
Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.

The Uzziah Tablet

Uzziah Tablet

# In 1931 an archeological find, now known as the
Uzziah Tablet, was discovered by Professor E.L. Sukenik [father of  General Yigal Yadin] of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ...The inscription on the tablet is written in [later Aramaic Type  letters]  Hebrew.... This style is dated to around AD 30-70, around 700 years after the supposed death of Uzziah of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Nevertheless the inscription is translated, "Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah, king of Judah. Not to be opened." It is open to debate whether this really is the tomb of King Uzziah or simply a later creation. It may be that there was a later reburial of Uzziah here after the Second Temple Period. #

The Uzziah Earthquake
There was a great earthquake in the Days of King Azariah:

Amos (1:1) dated his prophecy to "two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel". 
Zechariah (14:5) says that in the End Times the Mount of Olives shall split in two and,
# you shall flee, As you fled from the earthquake, In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. #

Isaiah 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."

Zechariah King of Israel.
Reward, Punishment, the Four Generation Rule, and the 1000 Generation Recompense.

[2-Kings 15:8] In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria six months.

Samaria was the capital of Israel. it was also the name of the Province surrounding the city and sometimes is used as a name for the Kingdom of Israel altogether.

[2-Kings 15:9] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.

[2-Kings 15:10] Then Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck and killed him in front of the people; and he reigned in his place.

[2-Kings 15:11] Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, indeed they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

[2-Kings 15:12] This was the word of the LORD which He spoke to
Jehu, saying, 'Your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.' And so it was.

Jehu had been promised that for four generations his descendants would reign over Israel.
cf. 2-Kings 10:30
And the LORD said to
Jehu, 'Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation' [2-Kings 10:30].

The four successors of the Dynasty of Jehu were Jehoahaz, Joash, Jeroboam-2, Zechariah.
Jehu (as we saw in 2-Kings ch. 10) had received this promise as a reward for having killed Joram son of Ahab, extirpated the House of Ahab, and (with the help of Jehonadab the Rechabite) killed the priests of Baal.

Yehudah Kiel ("Daat Mikra" on "Sefer Malachim") makes an interesting observation:
"Zechariah did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin" [2-Kings 15:9].  These sins included the worship of golden calves in Beth-el and in Dan and in preventing the Israelites from the north from making the thrice-yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices on Pesach (passover), Succoth (Tabernacles), and Shavuoth (Pentecost).

God is Merciful. The Attributes of the Almighty are:
6...'The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.'  (Exodus 34:6-7).

For four generations the descendants of Jehu had repeated the same offences:

Of Jehu himself its says:
2-Kings 10:
29 However
Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan. 30 And the LORD said to Jehu, 'Because you have done well in doing what is right in My sight, and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in My heart, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.' 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.

Jehoahaz the son of Jehu did the same:
2-Kings 13:
2 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. He did not depart from them.

Joash (Jehoash) the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu did the same:
2-Kings 13:
11 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them.

Jeroboam-2 great-grandson of Jehu followed the same path.
2-Kings 14:
23...Jeroboam the son of
Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. 24 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.

Finally Zechariah himself acted in the same way and was killed after 6 months.

The Almighty visits "the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation'  (Exodus 34:6-7).  This holds with the descendants of the wicked continue to do wicked deeds. They are then punished not only for their own misdemeanors but also for those of their forebears. If they repent and change their ways in time they may avert disaster. Zechariah did not. He was punished for his own sins but because his immediate ancestors were bad eggs like himself no leniency was shown and the punishment was relatively immediate.

In the same way as the Almighty punishes HE can also reward.
It is true that the Almighty visits "the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation" but this (as the Sages point out) only applies when the children and their children keep on doing evil.
On the other hand they who do good are promised that they will be shown,
# mercy for thousands [of generations], forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin # (Exodus 34:7).

For a moderate investment of a little effort, forbearance, some superficial self-sacrifice, helping others, and refraining from doing things we usually do not really want to do anyway we may receive immense rewards.

Now I know that, unlike myself, most of you are quite prepared to be paragons of virtue for no reward at all. It is enough to do good for the sake of it.
Even so, the fact that reward has been promised and somehow in some way will definitely be given does help.

The One Month Reign of King Shallum and Ephraimites East of the Jordan!

[2-Kings 15:13] Shallum the son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah; and he reigned a full month in Samaria.

Shallum the son of Jabesh: The Commentaries "Olam HaTanach" and Daat Mikra both incline to the view that Shallum belonged to a clan that gave its name  to (or took it from?) Jabesh-Gilead east of the Jordan in the territory of half-Manasseh. The fact that Shallum and Menachem who succeeded him and other kings (such as Jehu) came from this region is said to be indicative of its wealth and influence.

One source opined that the region east of the Jordan that only encompassed two and a half of the Tribes (Reuiben, Gad, half-Manasseh) contributed about half of the economy.

Amos berates the "cows of the Bashan" meaning the rich wives of Cattle ranchers in Bashan east and notheast of the Jordan. These may have had residences in Samaria where their husbands left them to live it up. They would spend their live in luxury and consumerizing for the sake of it while making demands on their husbands for more money. Their men-folk would then get the extra funds by exploiting the poor and vulnerable.

Amos 4:
1 Hear this word, you cows of
Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria,
      Who oppress the poor,
      Who crush the needy,
      Who say to your husbands,  'Bring wine, let us drink!'

       2 The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness:
      Behold, the days shall come upon you
      When He will take you away with fishhooks,
      And your posterity with fishhooks.

       3 You will go out through broken walls,
      Each one straight ahead of her,
      And you will be cast into Harmon,
      Says the LORD.

These verses actually predict the future exile of the Ten Tribes.
See the Brit-Am Commentary to Amos:

We show there that the Name for Bashan was also rendered as Basilia and this name later became that of Scandinavia.
Amos 1:3-4 in effect says in the Hebrew original that the exiles will be taken partly to the mountains of Mani (Armenia and the Caucasus) and  partly overseas in ships. This is what happened.

Regarding the rich cows of Bashan,
In the State of Israel nowadays the median income is low while the average is not i.e. the ordinary worker is poorly paid but a lot of the moderately rich have incomes equivalent to those of the USA. The upper classes drive up the prices to levels they can afford but the lower classes suffer. There is a de facto freeze on building in Judah and Samaria. Building start -ups elsewhere in the country are also impeded by needless bureaucracy etc. The results is a severe lack of housing. Lower income groups who do not own their homes suffer. On the other hand real-estate values are artificially inflated so that many of those who do own property are quite pleased with the situation.

Getting back to the land of Gilead:
This was an extremely rich area and still could be once again.

The on-line Brit-Am republication of Franz Kobler , " The Vision was There", tells us concerning Lawrence Oliphant in 1856:
# He chose Gilead in what is now Jordan, "the most fertile part of Palestine", and felt that he had found the future Land of Promise. His book, The Land of Gilead, published in 1880, contains a detailed description of the country and the people. His project envisaged the foundation of an Ottoman Chartered Company with the object of colonising a million and a half acres. The future settlers who were to be granted Turkish citizenship were to be drawn from the Russian Pale of Settlement, from Rumania, and from the Turkish Empire. The settlement was to enjoy autonomy within the framework of the Ottoman Empire. #

 Lawrence Oliphant had a plan to settle Jewish settlers in Gilead.
Prophecy however indicates that the coming Israelite re-settlement of this area will be cone by Ephraim.

Zechariah 10:
7 Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man,
      And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine.
      Yes, their children shall see it and be glad;
      Their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.

       8 I will whistle for them and gather them,
      For I will redeem them;
      And they shall increase as they once increased.

       9  I will sow them among the peoples,
      And they shall remember Me in far countries;
      They shall live, together with their children,
      And they shall return.

  10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt,
      And gather them from Assyria.
      I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon,
      Until no more room is found for them.

Ephraim will initially settle east of the Jordan.
The word translated in Zechariah 10:10 as Egypt is Mitsrayim which could also refer to a region in present-day Kurdistan.

The Return of Ephraim
The Exiles from the Lost Ten Tribes were taken to Assyria as well as to "Mitsraim" which is translated as Egypt
and this could be the meaning though the term "Mitsraim" was an alternative for "Matsor" or this northern area of Kurdistan.                 
At all events the exiles of Israel who were exiled to those areas will return
and at least part of them may return through the area of "Matsor" .
The Almighty says HE will bring the returnees to Gilead and Lebanon but there will not be enough room for all of them.
Gilead means Syria and Lebanon means Lebanon. These areas will be re-populated by the Lost Ten Tribes represented by "Ephraim".



Micah foresaw Ephraim returning to east of the Jordan!

Micah 7:
14 Shepherd Your people with Your staff,
      The flock of Your heritage,
      Who dwell solitarily in a woodland,
      In the midst of Carmel;
      Let them feed in
Bashan and Gilead,
      As in days of old.

We see here that the Israelites when they return will at first be in Bashan and Gilead meaning east of the Jordan.

King Menachem of Israel.

[2-Kings 15:14] For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, came to Samaria, and struck Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and killed him; and he reigned in his place.

King Menachem is referred t in Assyrian inscriptions as "Meinikhimme al Samerinaa" i.e. Menachem of Samaria.
The Hebrew says, "Menachem ben Gadi" which is understood to mean "Menachem from the Tribe of Gad" (Daat Mikra).
"Tirzah" was to the east of Samaria. It was renowned for its beauty,

Song of Solomon 6:
 4 O my love, you are as beautiful as
      Lovely as Jerusalem,

Tirzah was one of the five daughters of Zelophehad from the Tribe of Manasseh (Numbers 26:33).
These daughters gave their names to regions in the western portion of Menasseh as shown by archaeological findings.

# Tirzah superseded Shechem as capital of the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 14:17, etc.), and itself gave place in turn to Samaria. Here reigned Jeroboam, Nadab his son, Baasha, Elah and Zimri (1 Kings 15:21, 33; 1 Kings 16:6, 8, 9, 15). #

The whole area of Samaria is very attractive and some spots are incredibly beautiful.
Daat Mikra suggests that Menachem had been some kind of royal official who set himself up in opposition to Menachem using Tirzah the former capital as his base and from there taking over the whole kingdom.

[2-Kings 15:15] Now the rest of the acts of Shallum, and the conspiracy which he led, indeed they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

The Sages said that up unto Shallum the Kings of Israel were at the same level as the Kings of Judah but after that they were of a much lower

[2-Kings 15:16] Then from Tirzah, Menahem attacked Tiphsah, all who were there, and its territory. Because they did not surrender, therefore he attacked it. All the women there who were with child he ripped open.
Tiphsah is otherwise known as Thapsacus. It was on the Euphrates River in the north. Some say it was close to Carcamish on the Euphrates.
Other sources suggest that its territory extended eastward to Gaugamela on the Tigris River.

The 1911 Britannica notes that "after various attempts at identification, it has apparently been correctly identified by J. P. Peters (Nation, May 23, 1889) and B. Moritz (Sitz.-Ber. d. Berl. Akad., July 25, 1889). The name may survive in Kal'at Dibse, "a small ruin 8 m[iles] below Meskene, and 6 m[iles] below the ancient Barbalissus."

Meskene is the place known in ancient times as Emar but Thapsacus (Tiphsah) may have been more to the east.

See the Maps below derived from those  supplied by Biblos Com.


Thapsacus was on the border area between Israel and the north. Daat Mikra suggests that it was part of the region that King Jeroboam-2 had reconquered. Its population was probably Aramaeans. They had rebelled against Israel and may have exterminated the local Israelites as was tyhe practice of the Aramaeans. See the Prophecy by Elisha concerning Hazael,

'Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child.'  (2-Kings 8:12).

      ' For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four,
      I will not turn away its punishment,
      Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. (Amos 1:3).

Josephus however ( Antiquities of the Jews, Book 9 section 228 ) states that the inhabitants of Thapsacus at the time were Israelites and it was his own people whom Menachem massacred!!
We disagree with this but such events in history have happened.

The identification of Tiphsah with Thapsacus on the Euphrates (at least the one intended in 2-Kings 15:16) is not accepted by many modern commentators.
They may accept that the Empire of King Solomon reached unto the Euphrates and that once again Jeroboam-2 had extended his dominion up to it a few years previously. By this time however they claim circumstances had changed, Menachem himself was not firmly established in his own capital, other nations had come to the fore, and there was no reason or logic in Menachem campaigning so far away. 

Our impression however is different.
The Israelites from the time of Joshua had reached up to the Euphrates and beyond. Tribal groups had scattered and settled throughout the area. Other peoples were also to be found there. These were either remnants of the original natives or newcomers who had percolated into the region and occupied available areas. The result was that Israelite groups were to be found in some cases as isolated groups, minorities in their own territories and lacking territorial contiguity with their fellow Hebrews. There were periods when foreigners ruled over them and at other times they asserted suzerainty.

It could be that indeed the Aramaeans in Tiphsah had attacked Israelites in that area and Menachem was responding in kind.
As for campaigning far from home when the situation in his own neighborhood was uncertain we may point out that this was not unknown in ancient times. Roman history is full of such instances.
Menachem may well have derived an infusion of Israelite manpower through his activities in the north as well as goods, wealthy, and weaponry from the spoils.
The Maccabees (Hasmoneans) much later in Judah though operating over a smaller range carried out a similar  policy.
In Maccabean times there was the home base area of Judah in the south as well groups of Judaeans scattered throughout the region.
These Judaeans were in constant danger of being massacred by their neighbors. The Maccabees would conquer the neighboring regions,
in many cases bring the Jewish inhabitants back into Judah and then re-expand through planned colonization and pacification sometimes accompanied by proselytization amongst the natives though it is not certain what this actually meant in practice..

[2-Kings 15:1 7] In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi became king over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria.

[2-Kings 15:18] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.

[2-Kings 15:19] Pul king of Assyria came against the land; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his control.

Pul is identified with Tiglathpileser of Assyria. It is said that Pul was the name of Tiglathpileser before he became monarch.
In a study we made we came to different conclusion (see "Lost Israelite Identity": "Menasseh")
The indications are that there were two kings name Pul one of whim may have been Tiglathpileser. Both were involved with the fate of Israel. The first Pul was a separate ruler who preceded Tiglathpileser though Tiglathpileser at the beginning of his reign may also have referred to himself as Pul.

[2-Kings 15:20] And Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from all the very wealthy, from each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land.

Wikipedia tells us:

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

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

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

To pay the tribute,
Menahem exacted fifty shekels of silver - about 1 1/4 pounds or 0.6 kg - from all the mighty men of wealth of the kingdom. (2 Kings 15:20) To collect this amount, there would have had to be at the time some 60,000 "that were mighty and rich" in the kingdom.

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

King Menachem Recalled in an Assyrian Inscription
Located within the Israel Museum is an artifact known as the Iran Stele named after the place where
it was discovered. The artifact records the military campaigns of the Assyrian ruler
Tiglath-Pileser during
his first nine years as king.
The text on this artifact also mentions that
Menahem of Israel, who reigned in Samaria,
sent him a gift of silver, and that because of this gift
he allowed
Menahem to continue to rule.
The text states:

 'I received tribute from . . .
Rezon of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria, Hiram of Tyre, . . . gold, silver, . . .'
'In my former campaigns I considered all the cities . . . that I carried away as booty and . . . the
place of Samaria only did I leave their king.'

ANET 283
Newsletter Summer 2010

[2-Kings 15:21] Now the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

[2-Kings 15:22] So
Menahem rested with his fathers. Then Pekahiah his son reigned in his place.

  King Pekahiah.

[2-Kings 15:23] In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years.

The name Pekahiah (pronounced more like "Pekach-iyah") has been explained as meaning "the Lord opened his eyes"; in Greek "Phaceia".
Pekah in Hebrew as well as meaning "open eyes" also connotes "intelligence, perspicacity".

[2-Kings 15:24] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.

King Pekah.

[2-Kings 15:25] Then Pekah the son of Remaliah, an officer of his, conspired against him and killed him in Samaria, in the citadel of the king's house, along with Argob and Arieh; and with him were fifty men of Gilead. He killed him and reigned in his place.

The name Pekah (pronounced more like "Pekach") probably means the same as Pekahiah but lacks the "-yah" (meaning "God")  suffix.
Perhaps this is an ironical reflection of Israelite history?
They did not change their ways. They went from bad to worse.
The name of one king ("Pekahiah") reflects the wish that the Almighty might open his eyes and lead him back to the right path.
The name of the king ("Pekah") merely reflects the wish that  his eyes might be opened. The Almighty has already been forgotten!
Pekah killed Pekahiah along with Argob and Arieh and fifty mean from Gilead. Pekahiah son of Menachem was from the Tribe of Gad.
The name Argob (as pointed out by Daat Mikra) was also that of an area east of the Jordan cf.
# Ben-Geber, in Ramoth Gilead; to him belonged the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, in Gilead; to him also belonged the region of Argob in Bashan?sixty large cities with walls and bronze gate-bars (1-Kings 4:14).#
So too, the name "Arieh" means lion and the Tribe of Gad was likened unto a lion,
Deuteronomy 33:
20 And of Gad he said:  Blessed is he who enlarges Gad; He dwells as a lion, And tears the arm and the crown of his head.

[2-Kings 15:26] Now the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, indeed they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

In the time of Pekah (who succeeded Pekahiah) the exile of the northern Tribes in the Galilee was to take place.
The exile of the two and a half tribes east of the Jordan may have already occurred as we shall see below.

Josephus (Antiquities Book 9; ch.11, s.1) tells us concerning these last monarchs:
And after this manner it was that this Menahem continued to reign with cruelty and barbarity for ten years. But when Pul, king of Assyria, had made an expedition against him, he did not think meet to fight or engage in battle with the Assyrians, but he persuaded him to accept of a thousand talents of silver, and to go away, and so put an end to the war. This sum the multitude collected for Menahem, by exacting fifty drachme as poll-money for every head;  after which he died, and was buried in Samaria, and left his son Pekahiah his successor in the kingdom, who followed the barbarity of his father, and so ruled but two years only, after which he was slain with his friends at a feast, by the treachery of one Pekah, the general of his horse, and the son of Remaliah, who laid snares for him. Now this Pekah held the government twenty years, and proved a wicked man and a transgressor. But the king of Assyria, whose name was Tiglath-Pileser, when he had made an expedition against the Israelites, and had overrun all the land of Gilead, and the region beyond Jordan, and the adjoining country, which is called Galilee, and Kadesh, and Hazor, he made the inhabitants prisoners, and transplanted them into his own kingdom. And so much shall suffice to have related here concerning the king of Assyria.

[2-Kings 15:27] In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years.

[2-Kings 15:28] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.

The Beginning of Israelite Exile.

[2-Kings 15:29] In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.

Me'am Loaz in the light of Abarbanel summarizes the most accepted traditional Jewish conception of the order of Exile:
# Scripture now tells us of the second exile that happened to the Israelites. The first was when Pul King of Assyria attacked the two and half tribes east of the Jordan and exiled Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh and brought them to  Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan (1-Chronicles 5:26). he also took the golden calf  from Dan and went off with it.  Eight years later in the time of Pekah son of Rammaliah and Uzziahu [of Judah] Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. This is what is recalled in the verse above [2-Kings 15:29]. Isaiah prophesied concerning this exile, "HE BROUGHT INTO CONTEMPT THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI" [Isaiah 9:1]. Tiglathpileser then took the second gold calf which was in Beth-el as spoken by Hosea (10: 6), "The idol also shall be carried to Assyria". Nine years later more Israelites were exiled in the time of  King Hosea son of Elah. Later in the time of King Hezekiah of Judah, Salmaneser of Assyria invaded and exiled the inhabitants of Samaria. Eight years later Sancherib came and took from the Kingdom of Judah the inhabitants of 150 provinces in the territories of Judah and Simeon....#

We will return to this subject. It is interesting to note here however that four (instead of three as usually reckoned) stages of exile are given for the inhabitants of Israel followed by an exile from Judah and Simeon. These exiles were apparently exiled tot he same areas as the other tribes and are considered as part of them.

Cam Rea: "Sometimes They Come Back. The Assyrian Exile"
associates the settlements named in the verse above [2-Kings 15:29] with Israelite Tribes and shows how archaeological evidence reveals the complete destruction of Israelite settlements after the Assyrian invasions.
We also spoke of this and adduced additional sources in our work "Lost Israelite Identity".

This was the exile of the northern Galilee.
It also includes the Gilead which was east of the Jordan.
The tribes east of the Jordan were Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh. Most of these had already been exiled presumably before-hand though another opinion says that it was shortly afterwards. At all events they too were taken away.

1-Chronicles 5:
25 And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of
Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pilneser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.

Source of Illustration:

# This relief is from Tiglath-Pilesar's palace at Nimrud, his capital city. It depicts the capture of the city of Ashteroth-Karnaim in Gilead, which was annexed along with Galilee in 732 B.C...#

Exiles from Gilead
Exiles from Gilead

See also:

Tiglath-pileser III makes mention of conquering Naphtali, and his conquest of the coast in his inscription.

*** on the border of the Land of Omri [viz. Israel] ...
the wide land of
Naphtali in its entirety,
I brought within the border of Assyria.
My official (tartan) I set over them as governor.
Hanno of Gaza fled before my weapons.

Note that the land of Northern Israel is referred to as Land of Omri. Omri in Assyrian pronunciation was Ghomri or Gomri which is almost identical to names given to the Cimmerians (Gimria, Gumri) or in Biblical terms Gomer.
The Exile northern Israelites were destined to amalgamate with the Cimmerians and become known also as Gomer.

So too Israel as associated with Joseph and the future redemption in Jewish mystical tradition may be referred to as Gomer.

GOMER is a Name of Israelites!
According to Rabbi
Yisrael Alter ("Beis Yisroel"), Rabbi of of Gur!


King Pekah of Israel in alliance with Rezin King of Aram-Syro attacked Judah. The Israelites and Aramaeans appear to have been in some kind of de facto alliance with the Philistines and Edomites who also broke out in war against Judah at the same time. King Ahaz of Judah sent treasures to Assyria asking for assistance which was given. This is discussed in the next chapter (2-Kings 16) and we will deal with it there. 

[2-Kings 15:30] Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck and killed him; so he reigned in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

An inscription of Tiglath Pileser  says: "Pekah their king they had overthrown, I placed Hoshea over them. From him I received 10 talents of gold and 1000 talents of silver."

[2-Kings 15:31]  Now the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, indeed they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.
Kings of Ancient Israel

United Monarchy of Israel
Saul - Ish-bosheth
David,  Solomon, Rehoboam

Northern Kingdom of Israel
Jeroboam I, Nadab
Baasha, Elah
Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Joram/Jehoram
Jehu, Jehoahaz, Joash/Jehoash, Jeroboam II , Zechariah
Menahem, Pekahiah
Pekah, Hoshea

King Jotham of Judah

[2-Kings 15-32] In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, began to reign.
Jotham in Hebrew is pronounced as "Yotam". Alternate dialectical forms of pronunciation include "Yosom" (Ashkenazi Hebrew) and "Yothom"
Yemenite and possibly Biblical Hebrew). The name Jotham can mean  "Orphan" and express a plea to the Almighty to act as a Father should towards His people.
Another explanation of the name is "Ya-tom" i.e. "God is Perfect".

Kings of Judah
Saul - David - Solomon - Rehoboam - Abijah - Asa - Jehoshaphat - Jehoram - Ahaziah - Athaliah - J(eh)oash - Amaziah - Uzziah/Azariah - Jotham - Ahaz - Hezekiah - Manasseh - Amon - Josiah - Jehoahaz - Jehoiakim - Jeconiah/Jehoiachin - Zedekiah

Roughly speaking the Kings of Judah, Jotham, Ahaza, and Hezekiah are those who reigned at the time the northern Ten Tribes were taken by stages into Exile. After Hezekiah the Kingdom of Israel no longer existed. Only the Kingdom of Judah remained.

[2-Kings 15-33] He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok.

Jotham was co-regent with his father Uzziah who is also known as Azariah. King Uzziah had been smitten with leprosy and so Jothan ruled besides him and may have died before him. Jotham was a righteous ruler.

[2-Kings 15-34] And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD; he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done.

[2-Kings 15-35] However the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He built the Upper Gate of the house of the LORD.

He built impressive buildings in the vicinity of the Upper Gate what already existed (Me'am Lo'az).

[2-Kings 15-36] Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah-

More information concerning Jotham is found in the Book of Chronicles:

2-Chronicles 27:
3 He built the Upper Gate of the house of the LORD, and he built extensively on the wall of
Ophel. 4 Moreover he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests he built fortresses and towers. 5 He also fought with the king of the Ammonites and defeated them. And the people of Ammon gave him in that year one hundred talents of silver, ten thousand kors of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. The people of Ammon paid this to him in the second and third years also. 6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.

cf. Josephus, "Antiquities" Book 9; Chapter 2;
2. Now Jotham the son of Uzziah reigned over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem, being a citizen thereof by his mother, whose name was Jerusha. This king was not defective in any virtue, but was religious towards God, and righteous towards men, and careful of the good of the city (for what part soever wanted to be repaired or adorned he magnificently repaired and adorned them). He also took care of the foundations of the cloisters in the temple, and repaired the walls that were fallen down, and built very great towers, and such as were almost impregnable; and if any thing else in his kingdom had been neglected, he took great care of it. He also made an expedition against the Ammonites, and overcame them in battle, and ordered them to pay tribute, a hundred talents, and ten thousand cori of wheat, and as many of barley, every year, and so augmented his kingdom, that his enemies could not despise it, and his own people lived happily.

[2-Kings 15-37] In those days the LORD began to send Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah.
Rezin of Aram (Syria) and Pekah of Israel began to attack Judah in the time of Jotham.
Their attacks were to intensify during the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham.

[2-Kings 15-38] So Jotham rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Ahaz his son reigned in his place.

To Be Continued!
After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.14
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.16