Damien F. Mackey
New revision so far of kingdom of Israel
Duplicates need to be identified and removed from the list of the early kings of Israel (Divided Monarchy era) in order for the chronology of that era to make sense.
Just as neo-Assyrian and neo-Babylonian history have been dupli-tripli-cated here and there (and likewise, of course, Egyptian history), so have the corresponding ‘histories’ of Israel and Judah. For the latter, for example, see my article:
‘Taking aim on’ king Amon – such a wicked king of Judah
The conventional biblico-history of the kingdom of northern Israel presents us with about half a dozen names from the inception of the kingdom, with Jeroboam, until the presumed time of Omri, who was initially opposed by one Tibni. That list reads as follows:
Omri – Tibni
This is by no means the true picture, however – at least according to my recent series of articles on the subject.
Firstly, Jeroboam so-called I has to be merged with his namesake Jeroboam so-called II, who, despite his power and successes, does not rate a mention in Chronicles:
Great King Jeroboam II missing from Chronicles
Then that composite Jeroboam (I and II) has to be merged with Omri, who, despite his power and successes, does not rate a mention in Chronicles:
Great King Omri missing from Chronicles
Omri, as we learned, was clearly a contemporary and foe of the Syrian king, Tab-rimmon, father of Ben-Hadad I (as was Jeroboam I of Israel, who was also a contemporary of Abijah of Judah). That fact greatly supports my view that Jeroboam was Omri.
Tab-rimmon quite likely, then, becomes the Tibni with whom Omri fought.
For more on this, see my article:
Omri and Tibni
We also learned in this set, following T. Ishida, that, whilst the Bible will make references to the House of Jeroboam, and to the House of Ahab, it never refers to the House of Omri.
In my context, that would have been unnecessary anyway, because the House of Jeroboam was the House of Omri.
The Assyrian kings, on the other hand, will prefer to designate the founding dynasty of northern Israel as the “House of Omri” (Bīt Humri).
That first northern dynasty will terminate with the assassination of the rather insignificant Nadab at the hands of Baasha of Issachar (I Kings 15:25-27):
Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king over Israel during the second year of the reign of King Asa over Judah. He reigned over Israel for two years, practicing what the LORD considered to be evil, living the way his father did, committing sins, and leading Israel to sin. So Ahijah’s son Baasha from the household of Issachar conspired against him and killed Nadab ….
Baasha, who now, clearly, was Ahab:
Baasha and Ahab
cannot have been directly the son of Omri as is generally thought.
The separate House of Baasha, or House of Ahab, arose from Ahijah of Issachar, whereas the house to which Omri belonged, the House of Jeroboam, was of Ephraïmite origins.
Interesting, then, that Ahab especially favoured Jezreel in Issachar:
“Many new cities sprang up during Ahab’s reign. Among them Jezreel, in the province of Issachar, which became one of the favorite royal residences”.
- J. Katzenstein will, in “Who Were the Parents of Athaliah?
- J. KATZENSTEIN
In the opinion of scholars generally, Athaliah, queen of Judah, was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, king and queen of Israel. ….
The Bible, however, contains two references to Athaliah as the daughter of Omri … and two more as the daughter of Ahab …. (Josephus refers to her only as the daughter of Ahab …).
[End of quote]
I Kings 16:7
Moreover, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger by the things he did, and becoming like the house of Jeroboam – and also because he destroyed it.
I Kings 21:20-22
[Elijah said to Ahab] “… because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat …’.”
The text continues, adding here “and that of Baasha son of Ahijah”, which seems directly to contradict my view that Ahab and Baasha were the one same king.
I would take this latter phrase to be an editorial addition by a mistaken scribe who considered Ahab to be an entity separate from Baasha.
“During the reign of Asa of Judah (c. 911-870 B.C.E.), Israel runs through seven kings: Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, Omri, and Ahab (ca. 910-853 B.C.E.)”.
Robin Gallaher Branch
This, however, was not the conclusion that I reached in Part One of this series:
https://www.academia.edu/40435470/Elah_and_Ahaziah._Part_One_New_revision_so_far_of_kingdom_of_Israel according to which Baasha-Ahab was the one king, and Tibni was likely the Syrian king, and foe of Jeroboam-Omri, Tab-rimmon.
That new foundation would now lead me to conclude that Baasha’s ill-fated son of two years’ reign, Elah, was the same as Ahab’s ill-fated son of two years’ reign, Ahaziah.
Before further considering that possibility, though, I need to point out that, of the supposed “seven kings” of Israel listed above by Robin Gallaher Branch, five of these (as I count it) are not even mentioned (at least by those names) in Chronicles, these five being:
Nadab; Elah; Zimri; Tibni; Omri.
Even the highly significant king Baasha is only briefly mentioned there (2 Chronicles 16:1-6), two chapters after which (18:1) Ahab (who I believe to have been this very Baasha) emerges.
None of the supposed four kings between Baasha and Ahab (namely, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, Omri) receives even the least mention in Chronicles.
And about Baasha’s predecessor, Nadab, we read:
… Kings appeals to “the book of the chronicles of the kings” for further details about various matters that are not recorded in 1 & 2 Chronicles. For example, regarding Nadab, the second king of Israel, 1 Kings 15:31 states: “Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?” However, none of Nadab’s acts are recorded in 1 & 2 Chronicles. (In fact, the inspired chronicler records very little activity of the kings of the northern kingdom.) ….
Comparing Elah and Ahaziah
Much – though not all – of the biblical information that we have about Elah of Israel can be matched satisfactorily, I think, with that pertaining to Ahaziah of Israel.
Of king Elah we read (I Kings 16:8):
During the twenty-sixth year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Baasha’s son Elah became king over Israel and reigned at Tirzah for two years.
Appropriately, as Elah succeeded Baasha, as son, Ahaziah will succeed Baasha’s alter ego, Ahab (as I am arguing), as son. Moreover, Elah, Ahaziah, will reign for two years.
But the regnal coincidence with the kingdom of Judah does not match up.
2 Kings 22:51:
Ahaziah, son of Ahab, became king of Israel in Samaria during Jehoshaphat’s seventeenth year as king of Judah. Ahaziah ruled Israel for two years.
Whereas Elah’s beginning is said to have coincided with Asa of Judah’s Year 26, Ahaziah’s is said to have coincided with Jehoshaphat’s Year 17.
Also, Elah’s reign was “at Tirzah”, whilst Ahaziah’s reign was “in Samaria”.
But both of these locations were being used from the time of Omri, so it is possible that the two year reign embraced two separate palaces.
Appropriately, again, the brief reign of Elah, of Ahaziah, was evil (I Kings 16:13):
… all the sins that Baasha and his son Elah had committed and because of what they did to lead Israel into sin, thus provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their idolatry.
2 Kings 22:52-53
[Ahaziah] did what the Lord considered evil. He followed the example of his father and mother and of Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) who led Israel to sin. Ahaziah served Baal, worshiped him, and made the Lord God of Israel furious, as his father had done.
Death in the palace also seems to be a common denominator, though the manner of death does not.
I Kings 16:9-10:
But [Elah’s] servant Zimri, who commanded half of his chariot forces, conspired against Elah while he was drinking himself drunk in the home of Arza, who managed the household at Tirzah. Zimri went inside, attacked him, and killed him ….
2 Kings 1:16-17:
‘…. You will not get up from the bed you are lying on. Instead, you will die there’.
So Ahaziah died as the Lord had predicted through Elijah.
The prophet Elijah had attributed Ahaziah’s woes and ultimate death to his idolatrous consultation of Baal-zebub (v. 16): ‘This is what the Lord says: You sent messengers to seek advice from Baalzebub, the god of Ekron. Is this because you think there is no God in Israel whose word you can seek?’ That may explain why the king (as Elah) “was drinking himself drunk”. For, according to Marvin A. Sweeney (I & II Kings: A Commentary, p. 200), “Targum Jonathan … understands Zimri’s [surely must mean Elah’s] drunkenness as religious idolatry”.
Baal-zebub (or Baal) worship apparently involved intoxication.
If my reconstruction of the kingdom of northern Israel is correct – with my folding of several of these kings as duplicates – then the brief-reigning Elah, son of Baasha (= Ahab), becomes the most likely candidate for the brief-reigning Ahaziah, son of Ahab.
However, as I noted at the beginning of this article, “Much – though not all – of the biblical information that we have about Elah of Israel can be matched satisfactorily, I think, with that pertaining to Ahaziah of Israel”.