All posts for the month March, 2020

Na’aman and Hazael  

Published March 18, 2020 by amaic
Naaman visits Elisha to be cured


Damien F. Mackey


Hazael’s being Na’aman (if that is who he was) would account for the curious fact that Yahweh had commissioned the prophet Elijah at Sinai to anoint a Syrian.

For Na’aman was a Syrian who had (in his own fashion) converted to Yahwism.



Dr. Velikovsky had put together quite a reasonable case for EA’s Ianhama to have been the biblical Na’aman the leper.


Might this Ianhama, though, have been a bit too early for the healing of Na’aman by the prophet Elisha: “Yanhamu began his service under Amenophis III” (E. Campbell, The Chronology of the Amarna Letters, Section C. “Yanhamu and the South”, 1964, p. 93) – the miraculous biblical incident having occurred not very long, apparently, before the assassination of Ben-Hadad I? The latter event I would estimate to have been significantly later than the time of pharaoh Amenhotep ‘the Magnificent’.


Another possibility for the historical identification of the haughty Syrian captain, Na’aman, I would tentatively suggest, would be Hazael himself, whom Dr. Velikovsky had wonderfully identified with Aziru of the EA series.

Hazael was, like Na’aman, a Syrian (I Kings 19:15): “The Lord said to [Elijah], ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram’.”

2 Kings 5:1: “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram”.


Na’aman, Hazael, dwelt in very close contact with king Ben-Hadad I.

Compare Na’aman’s words to Elisha (2 Kings 5:18-19):


‘But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master [אֲדֹנִי] enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this’.

‘Go in peace’, Elisha said [,]


with the fact that Hazael had close personal access to his “master” (same Hebrew word, adoni

used in both instances) (2 Kings 8:14-15):


Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master [אֲדֹנִי]. When Ben-Hadad asked, ‘What did Elisha say to you?’ Hazael replied, ‘He told me that you would certainly recover’.  But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.


Hazael’s being Na’aman (if that is who he was) would account for the curious fact that Yahweh had commissioned the prophet Elijah at Sinai to anoint a Syrian. For Na’aman was a Syrian who had (in his own fashion) converted to Yahwism.


Moreover, the former Syrian captain was militarily astute, “Na’aman …. was a valiant soldier” (2 Kings 5:1), who may have begun the demise of the House of Ahab himself by fatally shooting Ahab with an arrow (Emil G. Hirsch, et al., “Naaman”):


And the Syrian captain would have considered the disposal of Ben-Hadad I as being a Divinely commissioned task, especially after this (2 Kings 8:13): “Hazael said, ‘How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?’ ‘The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram’, answered Elisha”.


Finally, as Velikovsky had found Na’aman to have been “a generous man”, as is apparent from 2 Kings 5:5: “So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing”, so, too, was Hazael an extremely generous man (2 Kings 8:9): “Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus”.



The Statutes of Omri

Published March 17, 2020 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



“For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab,

and you walk in their counsels; that I should make you a desolation, and the inhabitants

thereof an hissing: therefore you shall bear the reproach of my people”.

 Micah 6:16



With the obscure King Omri (qua Omri) now expanded into Jeroboam I:


Great King Omri missing from Chronicles


then it becomes somewhat clearer what may have been “the statutes of Omri” as referred to by the prophet Micah.

They were the unorthodox religious laws and teachings of Jeroboam I.

And they had much of their inspiration from Egypt, where Jeroboam lived prior to his reign in Israel. King Jeroboam even uses the very same description of his golden calves that the MBI Israelites had used of theirs in the desert:



(Exodus 32:4): ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’.


(I Kings 12:28): ‘Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’.


Here, then, are the statutes of Omri = Jeroboam I (I Kings 12:26-33):


Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam’.

After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’. One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.



Micah compares, but also distinguishes between, “the statutes of Omri … and all the works of the house of Ahab”.

For, as we read in the above-mentioned article, Omri and Ahab – though universally thought to have been successive rulers of Israel – in reality belonged to separate houses, that of Jeroboam and that of Ahab.


Great King Omri missing from Chronicles

Published March 17, 2020 by amaic
Image result for samaria omri


Damien F. Mackey



“The royal dynasties of Israel and Judah are usually designated as ‘founders’ houses‘, i.e. Saul’s house, David’s house, Jeroboam’s house, Baasha’s house, and Jehu’s house.

Yet the name Omri’s house is conspicuously missing from the Bible.

Instead, the same dynasty is always called Ahab’s house, although Omri was

the dynastic founder and Ahab was his successor”.

T. Ishida




Suspecting yesterday morning (16th September, 2019), once again, that there may be some degree of duplication amongst the listings of the kings of Israel of the Divided Monarchy period, which thought prompted me later that day to write:


Bible Bashing Baasha problem king of Israel. Part One: Reprising my earlier Baasha View

and then reading through the accounts of the kings of Israel in Kings and Chronicles, I was really surprised to find that Omri does not figure directly in Chronicles.

That I was not mistaken or deluding myself about this was confirmed when I read the following in Wilfred J. Hahn’s article “Omri: The Merger King”:


King Omri was one of the most influential kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be difficult to discern this from the Bible alone without careful study. As only 13 verses (1 Kings 16:16-28) recount the history of this man, it would be easy to overlook his significance. Unusually, no direct mention is even made of his reign in the books of Chronicles, apart from referring to his son, Ahab, and grandsons Ahaziah and Joram. The only biblical indication we get of the repute of his legacy is found in Micah 6:16.


[End of quote]


Another famous name amongst the kings of Israel (Divided Kingdom) who is missing from Chronicles is Jeroboam II.

Regarding this surprising omission I have noted “that some of the most defining political and military events received little attention from the theologically-oriented writer of the Scriptures” … may not necessarily be entirely true. Jeroboam so-called II may figure more prominently in the Scriptures than is thought – but under an alter ego.


And now I am going to suggest the very same thing, that we may need to begin to look for the – seemingly neglected in the Scriptures, but undoubtedly famous – Omri (qua “Omri”) under the guise of Jeroboam I.

That Omri, currently designated as the sixth king of Israel (Divided Kingdom):



Jeroboam I


needs to be located significantly earlier than this is quite apparent from the fact that Omri was involved in war with Ben-Hadad I’s father, Tab-rimmon, who was, in turn (it can be estimated), a contemporary of Abijah king of Judah.

I Kings 15:18: “Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon”. That this Tab-rimmon had warred with Ahab’s father, Omri, is apparent from Ben-Hadad’s statement to Ahab in I Kings 20:34: “So Ben-Hadad said to [Ahab], ‘The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may set up marketplaces for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria’.”


King Omri of Israel, whose fame extended down even to the neo-Assyrian period – referred to by the Assyrian kings as “House of Omri (Bīt Humri) – did not need for the Scriptures also to mention an “Omri’s house”, because the king already had his “Jeroboam’s house”.


Thus Omri was actually the first, not the sixth, king of Israel (Divided Monarchy).


Omri and Tibni

Published March 12, 2020 by amaic

Image result for omri and tibni


Damien F. Mackey


“‘I will return the cities my father took from your father’, Ben-Hadad offered.

‘You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria’.”

I Kings 20:34


Ben-Hadad I of Syria has, in this treaty statement of his to the victorious King Ahab of Israel, provided us with some chronological details of the utmost importance towards a revision of the earliest period of the Divided Monarchy.


What the King of Syria is basically saying here to Ahab is that:


Ben-Hadad’s own father, who we know from I Kings 15:18 to have been Tab-rimmon – {“Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus”} – had taken cities from Ahab’s father, who we know to have been Omri, the founder of Samaria, and had even set up his market in Omri’s capital city of Samaria.


No doubt the cunning Ben-Hadad I well knew his recent Syro-Israelite history.

His statement, however, must create a massive chronological headache (or so I should think) for the conventional biblico-historians.


Well Tab-rimmon, as we learn from I Kings 15:19, had not only reigned contemporaneously with Abijah, king of Judah (a contemporary and foe of Jeroboam I (I Kings 15:6)), but had actually signed a treaty with the same Abijah (15:19). No doubt their alliance would go a long way towards accounting for the fact that Abiijah of Judah was able to defeat the mighty Jeroboam of Israel in battle (2 Chronicles 16:13-19), so emphatically, in fact, that (v. 20): “… Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime …”.

Putting all of this together, it must necessitate that Jeroboam and Omri, contemporaneous with Tab-rimmon, were one and the same king. For there is nothing whatsoever to indicate that Israel had two kings ruling at the same time – and this would have been impossible, anyway, given the might of Jeroboam, of Omri.

Admittedly the given reign lengths are substantially different:


I Kings 14:20: “[Jeroboam] reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors”.


I Kings 16:23: “In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah”.


But geographical factors also need to be taken into account.

Jeroboam appears to have begun at Shechem, but may later have moved to Peniel (or Penuel) (I Kings 12:25), and to Tirzah (14:17).

Tirzah would make perfect sense in my context, because that is from where Omri ruled for six years of his reign. Then Omri built Samaria as his capital (16:24): “[Omri] bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill”.

So while the longer reign length attributed to Jeroboam I could pertain to his total reign, the shorter one attributed to Omri would perhaps refer only to his time in Tirzah, and Samaria.


The reign of Tab-rimmon would have coincided with the early reign of Asa, who, I have argued elsewhere, was actually the same person as Abijah (traditionally thought to have been Asa’s father). The Syrian king would not have fought with Asa. The latter’s reign had begun with a decade of peace (2 Chronicles 14:1): “…. In his days the land had rest for ten years”. But that situation would have ensued only after Asa (as Abijah) had smashed Jeroboam I in battle.

Then, after this era of peace, Asa, who had become a foe of Tab-rimmon’s son, Ben-Hadad I, found himself having to form a hasty treaty with the latter in the face of king Baasha of Israel’s belligerence against Judah (I Kings 15:16-18).


Now that we have determined that Omri must have been in serious conflict with the Syrian king, Tab-rimmon, then it becomes quite clear who was the enigmatic Tibni, foe of Omri (16:21-22):


Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri.But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.


Tibni could only have been Tab-rimmon, who, for a while, had had the better of the king of Israel.


As I noted above, Ben-Hadad I’s statement to Ahab “must create a massive chronological headache … for the conventional biblico-historians”.

Or at least it ought to.

But, as so often happens, the standard chronology must universally be defended, even if it means stripping the biblical text of its essential meaning. And so we read, for example, at:


And thou shall make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria;
which confirms it that it is Ahab, and not Benhadad, that is speaking; for Benhadad’s father never had any power nor residence in Samaria, whereas Omri, the father of Ahab, had, he built it, and made it his royal seat; and, in like manner, Ahab promises Benhadad that he should have his palace at Damascus, the metropolis of Syria, and exercise power there, and over all Syria; whereby Ahab renounced all right he had to the kingdom, and any of the cities of it ….


That is not the way that I read the text.

Nor is it the way that D. D. Luckenbill was reading it back in 1911, when in his article “Benhadad and Hadadezer” (The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 275), he wrote: “… but because of “Ahab’s unseasonable lenity” [Ben-Hadad] was released on condition that he restore the cities his father had taken from Ahab’s father (Omri), and that the Israelites be allowed to “make streets,” that is, have bazaars in Damascus”.

Vol. 27, No. 3 (Apr., 1911), pp. 267-284 (18 pages)Benhadad and HadadezerD. D. Luckenbill

I have – following T. Ishida – concluded that the House of Jeroboam I – hence of (my) Omri) – was an entity separate from the House of Ahab (my Baasha), even though Ahab is usually designated as a son of Omri. This relationship may thus have been through marriage.

Ishida has more to say on such dynastic matters, according to:


Tomoo Ishida instead suggested that the narrative of dynastic instability in the Kingdom of Israel suggests an underlying rivalry between tribes for its throne.[1] In the biblical narrative, the House of Jeroboam was from the Tribe of Ephraim, while the House of Baasha was from the Tribe of Issachar.[1] The Omrides are connected in this narrative with the city of Jezreel, where they maintained a second palace. According to the Book of Joshua, Jezreel was controlled by the Tribe of Issachar. Ishida views the narrative as suggesting that the Omrides themselves were members of the Tribe of Issachar.[1]

The assassinated king Elah and Omri thus shared a “common tribal origin”, and were possibly kinsmen. Omri and the Tribe of Issachar’s opposition to Zimri indicates that Zimri was not a member of their tribe.[1]

Ishida views both Zimri and his successor Tibni as likely members of the Tribe of Ephraim, its candidates in an attempt to reclaim the throne.[1]

But he also suggests another hypothesis, that Tibni originated from the city of Gina (also known as Beth-haggan) mentioned in the Amarna letters (14th century BC). In the Biblical narrative, this city was under the control of the Tribe of Manasseh. So Tibni could instead be the Tribe of Manasseh’s candidate for the throne.[1]

Similarly, genealogist David Hughes speculated that Zimri and Tibni were members of the Tribe of Ephraim, and siblings to each other.[2] He further speculated that they were descendants of Hoshea, son of Azaziah, one of the rulers of the Tribe of Ephraim.[2] Hoshea and Azaziah are characters briefly mentioned in the Books of Chronicles (I Chronicles 27:20), where Hoshea is a contemporary of David:


…of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah


Finally, Tibni is referred to as “son of Ginath”, which seems further to complicate my identification. For Tab-rimmon’s father was (as we read in Ben-Hadad I’s statement to Ahab), one “Hezion”.

According to A. Hylton in “Solomon’s Satans for criticism”:

Solomon’s foe, Hadad – the Hadar (or Hadad) of Genesis 36:39 – had “allied himself with Rezon of Damascus and established himself in the region of Aram”:


Not many people have been unfortunate enough to be given the title satan. Jobab was given that title by Abraham Abulafia, but unfortunately for Hadad the Edomite and Rezion the son of Eliada they were given the title satan by the Scriptures themselves. In this paper we will reflect on Hadad the Edomite. We think that the author of Kings understood that Hadad the Edomite of 1 Kings 11:14-25 was the same person as Hadar (d) the King who succeeded Baalhanan son of Achbor (David) as king in Edom who in turn succeeded Saul of Rehovoth (Saul) (Gen 36:37-39) and the ancestor to Ben Hadad I (1 Kgs 15:18-20). We will argue that he was a vassal of Pharaoh King of Egypt and that having returned from exile failed to gain enough support in Edom to revolt against Solomon so he moved north to Aram and aligned himself with Rezon of Damascus and established himself in the region of Aram. After he worked with Rezon ruler of Damascus against Solomon he left behind a line of kings called Ben Hadad. Hadad was not his only name we will suggest it was with Hadad Hezion or Hadad Tab-rimmon (1 Kings 15:18-21). ….


My tentative explanation for this would be that “Ginath” was an Egyptian name, given to the son of Hadad, as “Genubath” in Egypt. I tentatively conclude that Ginath was Genubath.

Previously I wrote on this:


As for “Genubath”, the son of Hadad, Velikovsky had rather strikingly identified his name amongst those giving tribute to Thutmose III, very soon after the latter’s First Campaign. Velikovsky wrote about it (in ch. iv) in “Genubath, King of Edom” (pp. 179-180):


Hadad had returned to Edom in the days of Solomon, after the death of Joab [I Kings 11:21-22]. Since then about forty years had elapsed. Genubath, his son, was now the vassal king of Edom …. Tribute from this land, too, must have been sent to the Egyptian crown; there was no need to send an expedition to subdue Edom.

When Thutmose III returned from one of his inspection visits to Palestine he found in Egypt tribute brought by couriers from the land, “Genubatye”, which did not have to be conquered by an expeditionary force.


When his majesty arrived in Egypt the messengers of the Genubatye came bearing their tribute.3 [3. Breasted: Records, Vol. II, Sec. 474].


It consisted of myrrh, “negroes for attendants”, bulls, calves, besides vessels laden with ivory, ebony, and skins of panther.

Who were the people of Genubatye? Hardly a guess has been made with regard to this peculiar name. The people of Genubatye were the people of Genubath, their king, contemporary of Rehoboam. ….



Maacah mother of Abijah, Asa

Published March 4, 2020 by amaic



Damien F. Mackey



Commentators naturally have difficulty with the queen mother, Maacah, who is said to have been the mother of, supposedly, two successive kings of Judah, Abijah (Abijam) and his son, the long-reigning Asa.


I Kings 15:1, 2: “Abijah became king of Judah…. His mother’s name was Maacah [Maakah] daughter of Abishalom”.


I Kings 15:9, 10: “Asa began to reign over Judah …. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom”.

Some go so far as to translate ‘his mother’ (אִמּוֹ) as ‘his grandmother’ – although the Hebrew word here invariably means “mother”. See e.g.:


2 Chronicles provides the same information, but adds the variation that Maacah was the daughter of one “Uriel”.


2 Chronicles 13:1, 2: “Abijah became king of Judah …. His mother’s name was Maakah, a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah”.


Concerning Asa and Maacah in 2 Chronicles we are told that (15:16): “King Asa also deposed his mother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley”.

Again, “mother” (אֵם) here is sometimes replaced by “grandmother”.


Attempted explanations


Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch has, in her article,”Maacah”, offered her own possible solutions to the problem:


The regnal formula of Asa, king of Judah from 908 to 867 b.c.e., claims that his mother is Maacah the daughter of Abishalom (1 Kgs 15:10). This is problematic because the same woman is alleged to be the mother of Asa’s father, Abijah/Abijam (1 Kgs 15:2). An alternative tradition, calling Abijah’s mother Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, is most likely an attempted harmonization of this difficulty (2 Chr 13:2). Either Abijah and Asa are brothers, not father and son, or Maacah was Asa’s grandmother, not his mother. Thus, Maacah is the wife of Rehoboam (2 Chr 11:20–23), whose favored status with her husband ensured Abijah’s succession. This tradition also offers the variant spelling “Absalom” for Maacah’s father. If this refers to the half-Geshurite son of David, Maacah and Rehoboam’s marriage would be politically advantageous. After serving as queen mother during Abijah’s short reign, Maacah continues in that position under her son or grandson, Asa. If Asa is her grandson, this atypical retention of Maacah’s title adds support to the contention that the queen mother was an official functionary in the Judean court and not simply the female parent of the king. Maacah’s role appears most clearly to be an office when Asa removes her from her position as gebirah (“great lady”) after she makes a cult object associated with the goddess Asherah. Ackerman suggests that the primary and generally accepted responsibility of the queen mother’s office was to devote herself to the cultic worship of Asherah. Thus, the lack of biblical evidence for this office might be partly explained by the Bible’s reluctance to admit Asherah worship was ever part of the official royal court. ….


And, at we read, again favouring Maacah as “the grandmother of Asa”:


…. The references to the second Maacah pose certain problems, as a literal reading of all the passages related to her indicates that she is the daughter of Absalom, who, according to ii Samuel 14:27, had only one daughter, Tamar. The above references also indicate that Maacah is the mother of Abijah. According to ii Chronicles 13:2 (mt), Abijah’s mother is Micaiah, daughter of Uriel. Finally the references show Maacah also to be the mother of Asa.

In order to resolve these contradictions, the Masoretic Text of ii Chronicles 13:2 must be corrected in accordance with the Septuagint, which reads “Maacah daughter of Uriel.”

(Everywhere else in the Masoretic Text as well as in the Septuagint Abijah’s mother is called Maacah daughter of Absalom.) With this correction the problems are more easily resolved. Maacah is then the granddaughter of Absalom, the daughter of Uriel and Tamar, the mother of Abijah, and the grandmother of Asa. Some of the original confusion results from the fact that the Bible often used the term “children” for “grandchildren” and even descendants who are generations removed (cf. Gen. 31:28; i Kings 15:11, et al.).


  1. Rudolph (see bibl.) adopts the view of M. Noth (see bibl.) that ii Chronicles 13:2 represents the original text of i Kings 15:2 which is now influenced by i Kings 15:10. Then Abijah would be the son of Rehoboam’s wife Micaiah daughter of Uriel, and Asa the son of Abijah’s wife Maacah, who would have been the literal daughter of an unknown Absalom, not the granddaughter of David’s son Absalom. King Asa deposed Maacah from being queen mother because of an abominable image she had made for Asherah (i Kings 15:13). S. Yeivin maintains that Maacah is Abijah’s mother, while Micaiah daughter of Uriel is Asa’s mother, and that Asa is Rehoboam’s son, and Abijah’s half brother. ….


My tentative solution


Abijah (Abijam) and Asa have the same mother, Maacah, because, as I think, Abijah is Asa.


This is obviously a very bold statement, indeed, especially considering that, whereas Abijah is said to have reigned for a very short period of time (I Kings 15:2): “… he reigned in Jerusalem three years”, Asa reigned for almost four decades longer than that (2 Chronicles 16:13): “Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his ancestors”.


What makes even bolder my tentative claim (Abijah is Asa) are the seemingly vastly different reputations of, now Abijah, now Asa.

Abijah receives a very bad press from I Kings (e.g. 15:3): “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been”.

By contrast (vv. 11-12): “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made”.


Apart from the common Maacah factor, though, there is to be considered the quite different account of Abijah in 2 Chronicles, which presents him as a Yahwist along the lines of a David, or a Hezekiah (13:2-12):


There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah went into battle with an army of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.

Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, ‘Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master. Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.

‘And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of David’s descendants.

You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didn’t you drive out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.

‘As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him. God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed’.


As John Scarsbrook has rightly noted about Abijah, “… in 1 Kings nothing good is recorded of him, while in 2 Chronicles nothing directly bad”.


The same writer continues in his article “Abijah”:


The record of Abijah in 1 Kings closes with a brief summary of his reign which was characterized by constant strife. The relentless feud with Jeroboam and the northern tribes was a persistent feature of his life while his father lived, and this continued throughout his own three-year reign until his death. Jeroboam was an Ephraimite, Rehoboam was of Judah, they were of the same kin, yet they were adversaries. It is sad to think that friction between brethren can be perpetuated and even passed on to the next generation without resolution.

When we turn our attention to 2 Chronicles chapter 13, a rather different picture emerges.

There is no record of Abijah following in ‘the sins of his father’, but rather, almost the whole of the narrative is taken up with just one day in his life, a day when a great victory was won, ‘because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers’, 2 Chr. 13. 18. It has been a feature of battles down the course of history for the army general to address his troops with encouraging words just prior to engaging the enemy. In Abijah’s case this was done not only to strengthen the resolve of his own forces, but from a vantage point and with enough volume to challenge and intimidate the much larger force of Jeroboam. Abijah’s well constructed oration was based (as with all good preachers) around three points. First, he challenged the validity of Jeroboam’s authority by reminding him that the whole kingdom rightfully belonged to David and his descendents. This was confirmed by ‘the Lord God of Israel’, by an unchangeable, incorruptible, ‘covenant of salt’, a perpetual promise, v. 5; Jeroboam was just a usurper.  Secondly, he reminded the ten tribes that the true priesthood of Israel belonged to the line of Aaron and the only acceptable offerings were those associated with the altar and order appointed by the Lord. Jeroboam had surrounded himself with false people, v. 7, false gods, v. 8, and a false priesthood, v. 9. Thirdly, Abijah reveals the main weapon in his armoury, ‘God himself is with us for our captain’, v. 12, and because of this he concludes, ‘ye shall not prosper’.

Such fine words would have done credit to Hezekiah or Josiah in their day, but coming from a man who ‘walked in all the sins of his father’, they seem strangely hollow. Idolatry was still rife even in Judah and the legacy left to Asa, the son of Abijah, was ‘altars of strange gods . . . high places . . . images and groves’, 2 Chr. 14. 3. If our words are to carry weight, then our life must show evidence of reality. Good practice must always go before, and accompany, good preaching! All that Abijah said was true, but it was totally lost on Jeroboam!

While Abijah was rallying his troops, Jeroboam was laying plans for the battle! A detachment of soldiers was moved surreptitiously to the rear of Judah’s army. An ambush was laid which doubtless would have won the day, with Abijah needing to fight on two fronts. But Judah, instead of trying to outmanoeuvre their adversary, ‘cried unto the Lord’, and, remembering the promise of Numbers chapter 10 verse 9, ‘the priests sounded with the trumpets’. Surely there are lessons here for us. When the adversary seems to surround us, when ‘the enemy shall come in like a flood’, Isa. 59. 19, we have a sure defence and well proven armour, Eph. 6. 11-18.

The Lord, ever true to His word, enabled Judah to accomplish a remarkable victory against overwhelming odds. It was a mortal blow to Jeroboam; he never recovered strength again in the days of Abijah. How sad that the nation, and indeed we in our present day, so often fail to appreciate the vast resources at our disposal in times of need. ….


My own explanation of the stark contrast between the inveterate sinner, Abijah, and the exemplary Yahwism of his oration to Jeroboam I, ‘As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him’, backed up by his shattering victory, is to be found in the life of Asa.

Asa’s early reign was characterised by his full-on devotion to Yahweh (2 Kings 15:10-15, 17-18):


They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

…. Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. He brought into the temple of God the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated [,]


and he had, like Abijah, the greatest of military success (2 Chronicles 14:2-15):


Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

‘Let us build up these towns’, he said to Judah, ‘and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side’. So they built and prospered.

Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.

Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.



Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you’.

The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen on them. They looted all these villages, since there was much plunder there. They also attacked the camps of the herders and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.


The 2 Chronicles account of Abijah, the good one, reflects this aspect of Asa (his Dr. Jekyll).


But, later, there is another side (Mr. Hyde) to Asa, which, I think, in the case of Abijah, I Kings is entirely preoccupied with. It is a case of diametric opposition.

King Asa of Judah, from the 36th year of his reign (2 Chronicles 16:1) – which period covers a relatively small portion of his reign – begins a slide which will gather momentum (vv. 7-12):


At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: ‘Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war’.

Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.

The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.


That is also the Abijah whom I Kings was intent on portraying.


The size of Asa’s army, “three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows”, compares quite favourably with Abijah’s “four hundred thousand able fighting men” perhaps at an earlier stage.


These figures are, of course, quite unrealistic, with the Hebrew word elef (אָלֶף), of various meanings, being translated – exaggeratedly in this case – as “thousand”.


Very much in favour of the need to extend the length of Abijah’s reign (into the long reign of Asa, as I see it) is what we read about Abijah’s impressive deeds in 2 Chronicles 13:19-22:


Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died.

But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

The other events of Abijah’s reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.


Most unlikely all of this for a reign of only “three years”, especially the “twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters”!



Amenhotep II and III

Published March 2, 2020 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



Part One:

His father was a Thutmose


Having a double set of the combination: Thutmose – Amenhotep in the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt:


Tuthmosis III
Amenhotep II

Tuthmosis IV
Amenhotep III

inevitably makes me wonder if, as in the case of Egypt’s Old-Middle Kingdoms, some duplications may have occurred, thereby unwarrantedly extending the already lengthy ancient Egyptian history.

I have greatly streamlined those Old-Middle Kingdom dynasties in:


Moses, Egypt, Kings before the Exodus

wherein there occur such repetitive combinations as: Pepi – Merenre (Sixth Dynasty) and Amenemhet – Sesostris (Twelfth Dynasty).


What makes me wonder even more in the case of the above Eighteenth Dynasty repetitions is that Thutmose III and IV, as well as bearing the same nomen (Thutmose, “Born of the god Thoth”), also had the same praenomen, Menkheperre (“Lasting are the Manifestations of Re”).

Oh, and they shared the Horus name, Kanakht.


Obviously the reign lengths, as conventionally assigned, differ greatly, with Thutmose III reigning for 54 years and Thutmose IV for only about a decade.

He is like a microcosm of the great Thutmose III. Suspiciously, “little is known” about him:

“Little is known about his brief ten-year rule. He suppressed a minor uprising in Nubia in his 8th year (attested in his Konosso stela) around 1393 BC [sic] and was referred to in a stela as the Conqueror of Syria,[3] but little else has been pieced together about his military exploits. Betsy Bryan, who penned a biography of Thutmose IV, says that Thutmose IV’s Konosso stela appears to refer to a minor desert patrol action on the part of the king’s forces to protect certain gold-mine routes in Egypt’s Eastern Desert from occasional attacks by the Nubians.[4] Thutmose IV’s rule is significant because he established peaceful relations with Mitanni and married a Mitannian princess to seal this new alliance”.


Thutmose III was indeed a Conqueror of Syria:

“The fifth, sixth and seventh campaigns of Thutmose III were directed against the Phoenician cities in Syria and against Kadesh on the Orontes. In Thutmose’s 29th year, he began his fifth campaign, where he first took an unknown city (the name falls in a lacuna) which had been garrisoned by Tunip.[36] He then moved inland and took the city and territory around Ardata;[37] the town was pillaged and the wheatfields burned. Unlike previous plundering raids, Thutmose III garrisoned the area known as Djahy, which is probably a reference to southern Syria.[29] This permitted him to ship supplies and troops between Syria and Egypt. Although there is no direct evidence for it, it is for this reason that some have supposed that Thutmose’s sixth campaign, in his thirtieth year, commenced with a naval transportation of troops directly to Byblos, bypassing Canaan entirely.[37] After the troops arrived in Syria by whatever means, they proceeded into the Jordan River valley and moved north, pillaging Kadesh’s lands.[38] Turning west again, Thutmose took Simyra and quelled a rebellion in Ardata, which apparently had rebelled again.[39] To stop such rebellions, Thutmose began taking hostages from the cities in Syria. The cities in Syria were not guided by the popular sentiment of the people so much as they were by the small number of nobles who were aligned to Mitanni: a king and a small number of foreign Maryannu. Thutmose III found that by taking family members of these key people to Egypt as hostages, he could drastically increase their loyalty to him.[38] Syria rebelled again in Thutmose’s 31st year and he returned to Syria for his seventh campaign, took the port city of Ullaza[38] and the smaller Phoenician ports[39] and took more measures to prevent further rebellions.[38]

All the excess grain which was produced in Syria was stored in the harbors he had recently conquered and was used for the support of the military and civilian Egyptian presence ruling Syria.[38] This left the cities in Syria desperately impoverished. With their economies in ruins, they had no means of funding a rebellion.[40]


Part Two:

Strong, a sportsman, hunter


Some patterns of similarity emerge also with Amenhotep II and III.


Being fathered by a predecessor “Thutmose”.

Sharing the name Aakhepeh[-erure].


Having as wife:

[Amenhotep II] “Tiaa (Tiya) “Great Royal Wife” Daughter of Yuya and Thuya”.

[Amenhotep III] Having a Great Royal Wife, “Tiy, daughter of Yuya and Tuya”.


Having as son-successors a Thutmose, and then an Amenhotep:

[Amenhotep II] “Children Thutmose IV, Amenhotep …”.

[Amenhotep III (and Tiy)] “Their eldest son, Thutmosis … died as a child. This left the kingdom to their second son, Amenhotep … who changed his name and is better known as Akhenaten”.



Well known about Amenhotep II is that he was a very physically strong sportsmen and hunter.

But so, too, was Amenhotep III:


Amenhotep III the hunter


Amenhotep III’s reign encompassed peace and because of this there was no real need to have a ‘warrior’ pharaoh to protect Egypt, so instead the role of ‘Hunter’ became more prominent. Amenhotep still needed to seem strong and powerful. Skills taught to pharaohs previously to fulfil the role of being a warrior were transferrable to the role of being a hunter. Hunting was an important role as the representation of a hunter was Ma’at.

Inscriptions praised the pharaoh for his physical power as a sportsman giving emphasis on his strength, endurance, skill and also his courage. Two scarabs were also issued promoting his success as a hunter. One scarab is pictured on this page from 1380BC [sic] in the 18th Dynasty.

To the Right is the bottom of the scarab presenting the hieroglyphics and below is the picture of the detailed top of the artefact with markings indicating the head, wings and scorching on its legs imitating its feathering. This scarab records that the king killed 102 lions within his first ten years of his reign. He stated that he did this with only a bow and arrow. This presents his strength and power without having to win thousands of wars.


Historian A. Gardiner wrote in 1972 a quote the relates strongly to the topic of a hunter ‘with the accession of Amenhotep III, Dynasty 18 attained the zenith of its magnificence, though the celebrity of this king is not founded upon any military achievement. Indeed, It is doubtful whether he himself ever took part in a warlike campaign’.’ This quote is explaining further how Amenhotep III was more involved with a warrior role than a military role. He may of [have] not had war but he managed to keep his magnificence through hunting as the skills were transferrable.


Hunting was an important role in the 18th dynasty and specifically during Amenhotep’s reign as it was up to him to withhold the concept of ma’at. It was significant as the role of being a warrior was not necessarily needed throughout his reign, so the role of a hunter arose to ensure that the pharaoh was presented as strong.

Amenhotep contributed to this role by creating the commemorative scarabs and recording any hunting successes. This provided the people with reassurance that their pharaoh could protect them and also it is significant because it provides historians and archeologists with evidence about the pharaoh and hunting.


Sometimes the strength and sporting prowess of Amenhotep II are presented as if being his main claim to fame. The following piece exemplifies his outstanding sporting skills:


Notably, Amenhotep II was well known for his athletic abilities as a young man. A number of representations of him depict his participation in successful sporting pursuits. He lived in the Memphite region where he trained horses in his father’s stables, and one of his greatest athletic achievements was accomplished when he shot arrows through a copper plate while driving a chariot with the reins tied about his waist. This deed was recorded in numerous inscriptions, including a stele at Giza and depictions at Thebes. So famous was the act that it was also miniaturized on scarabs that have been found in the Levant. Sara Morris, a classical art historian, has even suggested that his target shooting success formed the basis hundreds of years later for the episode in the Iliad when Archilles is said to have shot arrows through a series of targets set up in a trench. He was also recorded as having wielded an oar of some 30 ft in length, rowing six times as fast as other crew members, though this may certainly be an exaggeration. ….


Similar patterns emerge, again, with the course of the reign – some early military activity followed by years of peace and prosperity, allowing for major building projects.


Amenhotep II:

Some references refer to his first expedition taking place as early as his 2nd year of rule, though others provide that it was during his 7th. Still other references indicate that he made both of these campaigns. Regardless, he fought his was across the Orontes river and claims to have subdued all before him. One city, Niy, apparently had learnt their lesson under his father, and welcomed Amenhotep II. But at Tikhsi (Takhsy, as mentioned in the Theban tomb of Amenemheb – TT85), he captured seven prices, returning with them in the autumn. They were hung face down on the prow of his ship on the return journey, and six of them were subsequently hung on the enclosure wall of the Theban temple. The other was taken south into Nubia where his was likewise hung on the walls of Napata, “in order to cause to be seen the victorious might of His Majesty for ever and ever”.

According to the Stele recording these events, this first campaign netted booty consisting of 6,800 deben of gold and 500,000 deben of copper (about 1,643 and 120,833 pounds respectively), as well as 550 mariannu captives, 210 horses and 300 chariots.


All sources agree that he once again campaigned in Syria during his ninth year of rule, but only in Palestine as for as the Sea of Galilee.

Yet these stele, erected after year nine of Amenhotep II’s rule, that provide us with this information do not bear hostile references to either Mitanni or Nahrin, the general regions of the campaigns. This is probably intentional, because apparently the king had finally made peace with these former foes. In fact, an addition at the end of the Memphis stele records that the chiefs of Nahrin, Hatti and Sangar (Babylon) arrived before the king bearing gifts and requesting offering gifts (hetepu) in exchange, as well as asking for the breath of life. Though good relations with Babylon existed during the reign of Tuthmosis III, this was the first mention of a Mitanni peace, and it is very possible that a treaty existed allowing Egypt to keep Palestine and part of the Mediterranean coast in exchange for Mitannian control of northern Syria. Underscoring this new alliance, with Nahrin, Amenhotep II had inscribed on a column between the fourth and fifth pylons at Karnak, “The chiefs (weru) of Mitanni (My-tn) come to him, their deliveries upon their backs, to request offering gifts from his majesty in quest of the breath of life”.

The location for this column in the Tuthmosid wadjyt, or columned hall, was significant, because the hall was venerated as the place where his father received a divine oracle proclaiming his future kingship. It is also associated with the Tuthmosid line going back to Tuthmosis I, who was the first king to campaign in Syria. Furthermore, we also learn that Amenhotep II at least asked for the hand of the Mitannian king, Artatama I, in marriage. By the end of Amenhotep II’s reign, the Mitanni who had been so recently a vile enemy of Egypt, were being portrayed as a close friend.


After these initial campaigns, the remainder of Amenhotep II’s long reign was characterized by peace in the Two Lands, including Nubia where his father settled matters during his reign. This allowed him to somewhat aggressively pursue a building program that left his mark at nearly all the major sites where his father had worked. Some of these projects may have even been initiated during his co-regency with his father, for at Amada in Lower Nubia dedicated to Amun and Ra-Horakhty celebrated both equally, and at Karnak, he participated in his father’s elimination of any vestiges of his hated stepmother, Hatshepsut. There was also a bark chapel built celebrating his co-regency at Tod. ….


Amenhotep III:

While as usual, an expedition into Nubia in year five of his reign was given grandiose attention on some reliefs, it probably amounted to nothing more than a low key police action. However, it may have pushed as for as south of the fifth cataract. It was recorded on inscriptions near Aswan and at Konosso in Nubia. There is also a stele in the British Museum recording a Nubian campaign, but it is unclear whether it references this first action, or one later in his reign.

There was also a Nubian rebellion reported at Ibhet, crushed by his son. While Amenhotep III was almost certainly not directly involved in this conflict, he records having slaughtered many within the space of a single hour. We learn from inscriptions that this campaign resulted in the capture of 150 Nubian men, 250 women, 175 children, 110 archers and 55 servants, added to the 312 right hands of the slain. Perhaps to underscore the Kushite subjection to Egypt, he had built at Soleb, almost directly across the Nile from the Nubian capital at Kerma, a fortress known as Khaemmaat, along with a temple.


The Prosperity and International Relationships


However, by year 25 of Amenhotep III’s reign, military problems seem to have been settled, and we find a long period of great building works and high art. It was also a period of lavish luxury at the royal court. The wealth needed to accomplish all of this did not come from conquests, but rather from foreign trade and an abundant supply of gold, mostly from the mines in the Wadi Hammamat and further south in Nubia.


Amenhotep III was unquestionably involved with international diplomatic efforts, which led to increased foreign trade. During his reign, we find a marked increase in Egyptian materials found on the Greek mainland. We also find many Egyptian place names, including Mycenae, Phaistos and Knossos first appearing in Egyptian inscriptions.

We also find letters written between Amenhotep III and his peers in Babylon, Mitanni and Arzawa preserved in cuneiform writing on clay tablets.From a stele in his mortuary temple, we further learn that he sent at least one expedition to punt.


It is rather clear that the nobility prospered during the reign of Amenhotep III. However, the plight of common Egyptians is less sure, and we have little evidence to suggest that they shared in Egypt’s prosperity. Yet, Amenhotep III and his granary official Khaemhet boasted of the great crops of grain harvested in the kings 30th (jubilee) year. And while such evidence is hardly unbiased, the king was remembered even 1,000 years later as a fertility god, associated with agricultural success. ….


Estimated reign lengths vary somewhat, with 38 years commonly attributed to Amenhotep III, whilst figures for Amenhotep II can vary from, say, 26-35 years:

“The length of [Amenhotep II’s] reign is indicated by a wine jar inscribed with the king’s prenomen found in Amenhotep II’s funerary temple at Thebes; it is dated to this king’s highest known date – his Year 26 – and lists the name of the pharaoh’s vintner, Panehsy. Mortuary temples were generally not stocked until the king died or was near death; therefore, Amenhotep could not have lived much later beyond his 26th year.

There are alternate theories which attempt to assign him a reign of up to 35 years, which is the absolute maximum length he could have reigned. …”.


Complicating the matter of reign length somewhat is the possibility of co-regencies – even perhaps quite lengthy ones: (a) between Amenhotep II and his father, Thutmose III, and (b) between Amenhotep III and his son, Akhnaton.

The most extreme estimate for (a) is “twenty-five years or more” (Donald B. Redford): Whilst for (b):

“In February 2014, the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities announced what it called “definitive evidence” that Akhenaten shared power with his father for at least 8 years …”.