Constantine ‘the Great’ and Judas Maccabeus

Published December 2, 2019 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey


“And just as Judas Maccabeus is promised divine aid in a dream before his victory 

over Nicanor, so Constantine dreams that he will conquer his rival Maxentius”.

 Paul Stephenson



Some of the Greek (Seleucid) history, conventionally dated to the last several BC centuries, appears to have been projected (appropriated) into a fabricated Roman imperial history of the first several AD centuries.

Most notably, in this regard, is the supposed Second Jewish Revolt against emperor Hadrian’s Rome, which – on closer examination – turns out to have been the Maccabean Jewish revolt against Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’, of whom Hadrian is “a mirror image”. See e.g. my series:


Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian. Part One: “… a mirror image

beginning with:


For more on this, see:


Judas Maccabeus – Judas the Galilean




Judas Maccabeus and the downfall of Gog

Now, last night (2nd December, 2019), as I was reading through a text-like book on Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor (The Overlook Press, NY, 2010), written by Paul Stephenson, I was struck by the similarities between the Dyarchy (Greek δι- “twice” and αρχια, “rule”) – which later became the Tetrarchy (Greek τετραρχία) of the four emperors – on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the Diadochoi following on from Alexander the Great. Concerning the latter, we read (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1968, 75:103): “With Alexander’s death, the leadership of several successors (Diadochoi) was ineffectual, and finally a fourfold division of the empire took place”.

Compare the Roman Tetrarchy with the “fourfold division” of Alexander of Macedon’s empire.

Added to this was the parallel factor of the ‘Great Persecution’ against Christians (c. 300 AD, conventional dating), and, of course, the infamous persecution of the Jews by Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’.


And I have already pointed to similarities between one of the four Roman emperors, of the time of Constantine, Galerius, and Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’:


King Herod ‘the Great’, Sulla, and Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’. Part Two: Add to the mix Gaius Maximianus Galerius

But these are the sorts of similarities of which Paul Stephenson (author of the book on Constantine) is also aware (on p. 128 below he uses the phrase “the remarkable coincidences”).


  1. 109:


Lactantius’ On the Deaths of the Persecutors is the best and fullest account of the period 303-13 and this is indispensable. But it is also an angry screed, with no known model in Greek or Latin literature, nor in Christian apologetic. Not only did Lactantius delight in the misfortune and demise of the persecuting emperors, he also attributed them to the intervention of the god of the Christians, defending the interest of the faithful. Such an approach rejected the very premise on which martyrs had accepted death at the hands of their persecutors: that their god did not meddle in earthly affairs to bring misfortune upon Roman emperors. This was the first step in articulating a new Christian triumphalist rhetoric, which we shall explore more fully in later chapters.

In doing so, Lactantius drew on an Old Testament model, the Second Book of Maccabees, which still forms an accepted part of the Orthodox canon. Thus, the opening refrain of each text thanks God for punishing the wicked, and the agonizing death of Galerius mirrors that of Antiochus Epiphanes (2 Maccabees 9). And just as Judas Maccabeus is promised divine aid in a dream before his victory over Nicanor, so Constantine dreams that he will conquer his rival Maxentius.


  1. 127


Lactantius took great pleasure relating [Galerius’] death as divine punishment for his persecutions, describing his repulsive symptoms and the failure of pagan doctors and prayers to heal him.


Here I (Damien Mackey) will take the description from:


“And now when Galerius was in the eighteenth year of his reign, God struck him with an incurable disease. A malignant ulcer formed itself in the secret parts and spread by degree. The physicians attempted to eradicate it… But the sore, after having been skimmed over, broke again; a vein burst, and the blood flowed in such quantity as to endanger his life… The physicians had to undertake their operations anew, and at length they cauterized the wound… He grew emaciated, pallid, and feeble, and the bleeding then stanched. The ulcer began to be insensible to the remedy as applied, and gangrene seized all the neighboring parts. It diffused itself the wider the more the corrupted flesh was cut away, and everything employed as the means of cure served but to aggravate the disease. The masters of the healing art withdrew. Then famous physicians were brought in from all quarters; but no human means had any success… and the distemper augmented. Already approaching to its deadly crisis, it had occupied the lower regions of his body, his bowels came out; and his whole seat putrefied. The luckless physicians, although without hope of overcoming the malady, ceased not to apply fermentations and administer remedies. The humors having been repelled, the distemper attacked his intestines, and worms were generated in his body. The stench was so foul as to pervade not only the palace, but even the whole city; and no wonder, for by that time the passages from waste bladder and bowels, having been devoured by the worms, became indiscriminate, and his body, with intolerable anguish, was dissolved into one mass of corruption.”


  1. 128


… Already dying [Galerius] issued the following edict [ending persecution] ….

…. Lactantius cites the edict in full. The story has much in common with the account of the death of Antiochus, persecutor of the Jews in the Second Book of Maccabees. Lactantius must have been struck by the remarkable coincidences, and borrowed Antiochus’ worms and stench.



The plot now thickens, with the heretical Arius also dying a horrible (Antiochus-Galerius) type of death:


  1. 275


Under imperial instruction, Arius was to be marched into church and admitted into full communion, but he never made it. Tradition holds that he died on the way, a hideous death reminiscent of Galerius’, which in Lactantius’ account drew heavily upon the death of Antiochus, persecutor of the Jews in 2 Maccabees. ….


Part Two:

Constantine more like ‘Epiphanes’  

Some substantial aspects of the life of Constantine seem to have been lifted

right out of the era of king Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ and the Maccabees.


As briefly noted in Part One:

Constantine’s victory over Maxentius is somewhat reminiscent of the victory over Nicanor by the superb Jewish general, Judas Maccabeus.

“And just as Judas Maccabeus is promised divine aid in a dream before his victory over Nicanor, so Constantine dreams that he will conquer his rival Maxentius”.


Other comparisons can be drawn as well.

For instance, Constantine’s army, too, was significantly outnumbered by that of his opponent.

Again, after Constantine’s victory the head of Maxentius was publicly paraded:

“His body was recovered, his head removed, then mounted on a lance and paraded triumphantly by Constantine’s men”.


Cf. 2 Maccabees 15:30-33):


Then Judas, that man who was ever in body and soul the chief defender of his fellow citizens, and had maintained from youth his affection for his compatriots, ordered Nicanor’s head and right arm up to the shoulder to be cut off and taken to Jerusalem. When he arrived there, he assembled his compatriots, stationed the priests before the altar, and sent for those in the citadel. He showed them the vile Nicanor’s head and the wretched blasphemer’s arm that had been boastfully stretched out against the holy dwelling of the Almighty. He cut out the tongue of the godless Nicanor, saying he would feed it piecemeal to the birds and would hang up the other wages of his folly opposite the temple.


Prior to his battle with Nicanor, Judas, according to 2 Maccabees (15:15-16), received from the deceased prophet Jeremiah, in “a dream, a kind of waking vision, worthy of belief” (v. 11), a golden sword.


Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him he said, ‘Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall shatter your adversaries’.


Could this be the origin (in part) of the Excalibur (King Arthur) legends?

For Constantine apparently occupies a fair proportion of Arthurian legend according to:

Constantine the Great, who in AD 306 was proclaimed Roman emperor in York, forms 8% of Arthur’s story, whilst Magnus Maximus, a usurper from AD 383, completes a further 39%. Both men took troops from Britain to fight against the armies of Rome, Constantine defeating the emperor Maxentius; Maximus killing the emperor Gratian, before advancing to Italy. Both sequences are later duplicated in Arthur’s story.


In Part One I had likened somewhat the fourfold division of the empire of Alexander the Great and the tetrarchy of Constantine’s reign, including the case of the emperor Galerius with whom I had previously identified Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’:


King Herod ‘the Great’, Sulla, and Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’. Part Two: Add to the mix Gaius Maximianus Galerius

And, as I pointed out in the following article, historians can find it difficult to distinguish between the buildings of (the above-mentioned) Herod and those of Hadrian:


Herod and Hadrian


Of chronological ‘necessity’ they must assume that, as according to this article:

In the later Hadrianic period material from the earlier Herodian constructions was reused, resetting the distinctive “Herodian” blocks in new locations.


But, of further chronological ‘necessity’, historians must also assume that some of Hadrian’s architecture, for its part, was “recarved” and “recut”, to allow Constantine later to make use of it:

…. The first pair of roundels on the south side depicts Antinous, Hadrian, an attendant and a friend of the court (amicus principis) departing for the hunt (left tondo) and sacrificing to Silvanus,  the Roman god of the woods and wild (right tondo).


Tondi Adrianei on the Arch of Constantine, Southern side – left lateral, LEFT: Departure for the hunt, RIGHT: Sacrifice to Silvanus



The first pair of roundels on the south side depicts a bear hunt (left tondo) and a sacrifice to the goddess of hunting Diana (right tondo).




On the north side, the left pair depicts a boar hunt (left tondo) and a sacrifice to Apollo (right tondo). The figure on the top left of the boar hunt relief is clearly identified as Antinous while Hadrian, on horseback and about to strike the boar with a spear, was recarved to resemble the young Constantine. The recarved emperor in the sacrifice scene is likely to be Licinius or Constantius Chlorus.



Tondi Adrianei on the Arch of Constantine, Northern side – left lateral, LEFT: Boar hunt, RIGHT: Sacrifice to Apollo



On the north side, the right pair depicts a lion hunt (left tondo) and a sacrifice to Hercules (right tondo). The figure of Hadrian in the hunt scene was recut to resemble the young Constantine while in the sacrifice scene the recarved emperor is either Licinius or Constantius Chlorus. The figure on the left of the hunt tondo may show Antinous as he was shortly before his death; with the [first] signs of a beard, meaning he was no longer a young man. These tondi are framed in purple-red porphyry. This framing is only extant on this side of the northern facade. ….


Fred S. Kleiner (A History of Roman Art, p. 326, my emphasis) will go as far as to write that “every block of the arch [of Constantine] were [sic] reused from earlier buildings”:


The Arch of Constantine was the largest erected in Rome since the end of the Severan dynasty nearly a century before, but recent investigations have shown that the columns and every block of the arch were reused from earlier buildings. …. Although the figures on many of the stone blocks were newly carved for this arch, much of the sculptural decoration was taken from monuments of Trajan, Hadrian …. Sculptors refashioned the second-century reliefs to honor Constantine by recutting the heads of the earlier emperors with the features of the new ruler. ….


The highly paganised (Sol Invictus) polytheistic worshipping, family murdering, Constantine makes for – somewhat like Charlemagne – a very strange, exemplary Christian emperor.

And Constantine’s rushed ‘conversion’ during his Persian campaign, just before his death: “Since he was converted into Christianity later in his life, he was not baptized until a little time before his death. He died on May twenty second, A.D. 337 on the way to campaign against the Persians”, is something of a carbon copy of that of Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’, upon his flight from Persia, terminally ill. Besides all this, he would become a Jew himself and visit every inhabited place to proclaim there the power of God.

The whole account of it is vividly narrated in 2 Maccabees 9:1-29.





Senenmut’s originality in use of cryptograms

Published November 28, 2019 by amaic
Image result for senenmut cryptograms


Damien F. Mackey



Before long [Hat]she[psut] will put aside all pretence and declare herself as the

first ruler of the land, duly (though bizarrely) adding a manly beard to her statues.

King Solomon will enter the land at her request and will greatly assist her as Senenmut (Senmut), her multi-tasking Steward, her quasi-royal consort, and her (you name it) – Senenmut being, according to some “the real power behind the throne”.


Essential here is my identification of Hatshepsut with King Solomon’s “Queen of Sheba”:


Hatshepsut’s progression from Israel, Beersheba, to woman-ruler of Egypt


The following sequence (i-v) is basically how I see the extraordinary progression of the career of Hatshepsut Maatkare, from


  1. a princess in King David’s realm, beginning in the king’s old age, through vicissitudes and desolation, and rebellion in the kingdom of Israel, to become
  2. the Queen of Beersheba, appointed there by her maternal ‘grandfather’, Tolmai of (southern) Geshur (“Gezer”), who would succeed Amenhotep I as ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia, as Thutmose I, to her
  3. visit and marriage to King Solomon in Jerusalem at the height of his wisdom and power, to her
  4. subsequent marriage in Egypt to Thutmose II, whom she would succeed as
  5. woman-ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia alongside her ‘nephew’ Thutmose III.


and my identification (in the same article) of Hatshepsut’s quasi-royal Steward, Senenmut, with King Solomon himself.


The following article provides us with an excellent account of the wise King Solomon and his “encyclopedic knowledge”:



Solomon’s own intellectual investments certainly paid off. His knowledge and wisdom far surpassed the leading sages and scholars of his day. Whether it was the sons of the East who were celebrated for the sciences and sagacity, or the Egyptians who were legendary for their knowledge of medicine, geometry, mathematics, astronomy and gnomic wisdom, Solomon was smarter and wiser still. He even topped a formidable list of “Who’s Who” among the great intellectuals in the ancient world. In verse 31 we read that Solomon was wiser than all men—better than the best and brighter than the brightest. This included such notables as the learned Levitical priests Ethan and Heman, and the more enigmatic Calcol and Darda, both sons of Mahol (a family with smart genes, evidently) who were prominent for their erudite contributions. If these men were renowned, Solomon was more so. Solomon’s fame was widespread, not just at home in Jerusalem, Judah or Israel, but in the surrounding nations, or as we might say today, globally. Note that this acclaim is not attributed to a pagan thinker, or to a secularist, if you will, but rather to an Israelite, to a person of faith, to a man of God.


If we were to update the point to the present, perhaps we might say that Solomon’s intellectual reputation would exceed Ox-Bridge, the Ivies, and Canada’s most celebrated institutions (not to mention other worldwide notables). He would be considered smarter than the best in the West and wiser than the academics in Asia. Shouldn’t there be a few persons or institutions of Christian persuasion with a comparable reputation today?


The boast about Solomon’s scholarship was not an empty one. Solomon was not only a prolific writer and composer, but he also possessed encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. Of the 3,000 proverbs he composed, 375 of them are preserved for us in the Old Testament book of Proverbs that makes the fear of God the prerequisite for wisdom and knowledge. Also, Solomon’s grand total of 1005 songs include Psalm 72, which tackles kingly politics, and Psalm 127, which addresses the subjects of providence and parenting. Solomon’s number one hit, of course, was the Song of Songs, a lovely lyrical meditation on the holy meaning of marriage and sexuality that simultaneously symbolizes the ardent nature of God’s love for His people.


Solomon was shrewd to express his ideas in the influential genres of maxims and music. After all, our lives and the world are very much governed by proverbs, since apt and timely thoughts frequently fix our notions and determine our conduct (says Matthew Henry). As we read in Proverbs 15:1, for example, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” These are good words to believe in and to live by. And as Plato noted, rhythm and melody insinuate themselves in a life-shaping way into the innermost parts of the soul. Music has this mysterious ability to inscribe itself deep in our hearts. …. How smart it is, then, to devote considerable energy to the transformative republics of letters and lyrics in which Solomon’s own contributions are nothing short of astounding.


If this was not enough, Solomon was also an accomplished natural philosopher or scientist whose knowledge of trees, plants and animals is highlighted in verse 33. If we combine Solomon’s compositional achievements with his extensive knowledge of dendrology and botany, as well as zoology, ornithology, entomology and ichthyology, then we can see why it would be appropriate to acknowledge him, anachronistically so, as a true “Renaissance man.” Indeed, Solomon was the ancient world’s polymath par excellence.


Solomon’s prodigious efforts had a goal—shalom, or peace. His labour was devoted to securing the common good of the surrounding nations, and he worked especially hard to procure the well-being of his own people. As 1 Kings 4:25 memorably recalls, “Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.” As if he were a new Adam, Solomon embodied the original cultural mandate of Genesis 1, which is constitutive of human identity as God’s image and likeness. On this foundation, Solomon’s fruitful labours illustrate for us the deep meaning and permanent nobility of the tasks of education, learning and culturemaking. If we could ask God for anything at all, shouldn’t we beseech him to restore a profound understanding of this abiding purpose in us?


Solomon’s efforts were not without recognition. As we have already seen, Solomon was internationally famous for his knowledge and wisdom. He was a veritable “tourist attraction” (as Walter Brueggemann says), for commoners and kings alike came from all over the world to obtain his insights. As the world’s centerpiece of culture and scholarship, many strangers came to Solomon where they were exposed, not only to Solomon’s knowledge and wisdom, but also to Yahweh—Solomon’s God.


His most famous guest, of course, was the Queen of Sheba. In the account of her visit in 1 Kings 10, we read that the Queen spoke with Solomon about all that was in her heart, and Solomon himself answered all her questions. As the texts states, he explained everything to her. I wish I could have overheard that conversation.


Upon hearing his wisdom and observing his prosperity, the Queen was overwhelmed. There was no more spirit left in her. Though skeptical of the things she had heard about Solomon at first, she came to believe that not even half of his magnificence had been reported to her. She proceeded to bless Solomon’s servants and subjects who attended to him and heard his teachings daily. Most importantly, she blessed God who had blessed Solomon and enabled him to become Israel’s wise, just, and righteous king. The Queen’s visit shows that the quest for truth and wisdom can ultimately lead to its divine source, demonstrating the evangelistic or missional potential of education and scholarship pursued avidly in God.

[End of quote]


So, if Solomon were Senenmut, as I am firmly maintaining, then we would hardly expect the latter to have been any sort of ‘dumbbell’. Nor was he. The word “genius” is frequently applied to Senenmut, as regards his administration, his architecture, literature, and so on.

We read about his grand status in Egypt. “Senenmut did not underestimate his own abilities”:


Senenmut (or Senmut or Sen-En-Mut) held the titles of ‘Overseer of the Gardens of Amun’, ‘Steward of Amun’, ‘Overseer of all Royal Works’ and ‘Tutor to the Royal Heiress Neferure’. His dates are uncertain but he advised Queen Hatshepsut on many topics and is generally credited with the design of her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri (Djeser-Djeseru). …. his tomb has the earliest astronomical ceiling. …. Over 25 other statues of the man described as ‘greatest of the great’ survive. They show him holding Neferure, or kneeling for an act of worship with outstretched arms. Without evidence, it has long been suggested that he was Hatshepsut’s lover. The influence of Hatshepsut’s temple garden is undocumented but as Gothein wrote ‘Here stands out for the very first time in the history of art a most magnificent idea – that of building three terraces, one above the other, each of their bordering walls set against the mountain-side, and made beautiful with pillared corridors, the actual shrine in a cavity in the highest terrace which was blasted out of the rock’. [See Marie-Luise Gothein on Egyptian gardens] Senenmut’s dates are unknown but Hatshepsut reigned from 1479–1458 BC [sic] and Senemut is reported to have been about 50 in the 16th year of her reign … and no event in his life is recorded after this date ….


Senemut did not underestimate his own abilities:


He says: “I was the greatest of the great in the whole land;
one who heard the hearing alone in the privy council, steward of [Amon],
Senemut , triumphant.”
“I was the real favorite of the king, acting as one praised of his lord
every day, the overseer of the cattle of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was ‘… of truth, not showing partiality; with whose injunctions
the Lord of the Two Lands was satisfied; attached to Nekhen, prophet
of Mat, Senemut .”
“I was one who entered in [love], sand came forth in favor, making
glad the heart of the king every day, the companion, and master of .the
palace, Senemut .”
“I commanded … in the storehouse of divine offerings of Amon
every tenth day; the overseer of the storehouse of Amon, Senemut .”
“I conducted … of the gods every day, for the sake of the life,
prosperity, and health of the king; overseer of the … of Amon, Senemut.”
“I was a foreman of foremen, superior of the great, … [overseer] of
all [works] of the house of silver, conductor of every handicraft, chief of
the prophets of Montu in Hermonthis, Senemut .”
“I was one I… to whom the affairs of the Two Lands were [reported;
that which South and North contributed was on my seal, the labor of
all countries … was [under] my charge.”
“I was one, whose steps were known in the palace; a real confidant
of the king, his beloved: overseer of the gardens of Amon, Senemut.”


[End of quotes]


Senenmut could also boast: “… now, I have penetrated into every writing of the priests and I am not ignorant of (everything) that happened from the first occasion in order to make flourish my offerings” (Urk. IV 415.14–16; Morenz 2002, p. 134).46”


“An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms”. We read about this in Hatshepsut, from Queen to Pharaoh (ed. By Catharine H. Roehrig, Renée Dreyfus, Cathleen A. Keller), pp. 117-118:


An aspect of Senenmut’s originality was his invention of a number of composite devices, or cryptograms. Two of these appear on two block statues from Karnak that depict Senenmut and the King’s Daughter, Neferure … incised near the head of the princess …. The first cryptogram shows a flying vulture, with a protective wedjat eye superimposed on its body, grasping a set of ka arms in its talons. It faces a striding male figure with a composition was and ankh device instead of a head and holding a tall was sceptre and an ankh sign in the usual manner of Egyptian divinities. (The was symbolised power, the ankh eternal life). These cryptograms have been interpreted as standing for Hatshepsut’s prenomen (Maatkare) and nomen (Khenemet Amun Hatshepsut), respectively … and thus as constitutingnew ways of writing the king’s cartouches on the statue. Senenmut stresses their originality in an additional text inscribed on both statues on the left of the princess’s head: “Images which I have made from the devising of my own heart and from my own labor; they have not been found in the writing of the ancestors”.


The most common device associated with Senenmut, however, is the uraeus cryptogram, which takes the form of a cobra crowned with bovine horns and a solar disc rearing up form a pair of ka arms …. This emblem was initially interpreted as a rebus rendering of the kingly Horus name of Hatshepsut, Wosretkaw, … and subsequently as a rebus of her prenomen: Maat (the cobra) + ka + Re (the sun disk) = Maatkare.’ …. Alternatively, it has been understood … as referring to the harvest god- dess Renenutet, Mistress of Food, who takes the form of the cobra, guardian of the granary from rodent predators (ka here meaning “provisions” or “food”).” As recent scholars have noted, it quite likely referred to both the king and the goddess. ….





Baasha and Ahab

Published November 28, 2019 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



Baasha of Israel is so Ahab-like that I feel it necessary to return to an old theory of mine,

once written up but then discarded, due to complications, that Baasha was Ahab.



Previously I had written on this:


What triggered this article was the apparent chronological problem associated with the reign of King Baasha, thought to have been the third ruler of Israel after Jeroboam I and his son, Nadab.

There is a definite problem with King Baasha of Israel, who bursts onto the biblical scene during discussion in the First Book of Kings about Jeroboam I’s wicked son, Nadab (15:27), and who, though he (Baasha) is said to have reigned for 24 years (15:33), is actually found as king of Israel from Asa of Judah’s 3rd to 36th years (cf. 15:33; 2 Chronicles 16:1), that is, for 33 years.

Thus we have the headache for chronologists of their having to account for how Baasha – although he should have been dead by about the 26th year of King Asa – could have invaded Asa’s territory about a decade after that, in Asa’s 36th year (2 Chronicles 16:1).


While some can offer no explanation at all for this, P. Mauro, who has complete faith in the biblical record (and with good reason, of course), has ingeniously tried to get around the problem as follows (The Wonders of Bible Chronology, Reiner, p. 48):


Baasha’s Invasion of Judah


In 2 Chron. 16: 1-3 it is stated that “in the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah.” But the 36th year of Asa would be nine years after the death of Baasha, this being what Lightfoot referred to in speaking of “Baasha fighting nine years after he was dead.” The Hebrew text, however, says, not that it was the 36th year of the reign of Asa, as in our A. V., but that it was the 36th year of the kingdom of Asa. So it is evident that the reckoning here is from the beginning of the separate kingdom of Judah. Hence the invasion of Judah by Baasha would be in the 16th year of Asa, and the 13th of his own reign, as tabulated [in Mauro’s lists].

[End of quote]


Whilst Mauro may be correct here – and I had initially accepted his explanation as being the best way out of this dilemma – I now personally would favour quite a different interpretation; one that is far more radical, greatly affecting the early history of northern Israel. I now consider Mauro’s albeit well-intentioned explanation to be splitting hairs: the ‘reign’ and ‘kingdom’ of Asa being surely one and the same thing, and so I think that it is not, as he says, “evident that the reckoning here is from the beginning of the separate kingdom of Judah”. It clearly refers to Asa (a sub-set of Judah) and not to Judah. My explanation now would be that Baasha of Israel was in fact reigning during the 36th year of King Asa of Judah, and that Baasha and Ahab were one and the same king. I came to this conclusion based on, firstly the distinct parallels between Baasha and Ahab; and, secondly, the parallels between their supposed two phases of the history of Israel, especially with Zimri, on the one hand, and Jehu – whom Jezebel actually calls “Zimri” (2 Kings 9:31) – on the other; and, thirdly, on the very similar words of a prophet in relation to the eventual fall of the House of Baasha and to the House of Ahab (cf. 1 Kings 16:4; 21:24). I had previously thought, as other commentators customarily do as well – and necessarily, based on the standard chronology that has Zimri reigning some 40 years before Jehu – that Queen Jezebel was just being scornful when she had called Jehu, ‘Zimri”, likening him to a former regicide; for Jehu was indeed a regicide (2 Kings 9:23-28). But I have recently changed my mind on this and I now believe that the queen was actually calling Jehu by his name, “Zimri”.


So, the basis for this article will be the likenesses of Baasha and his house to Ahab and his house, and the reforming work of Jehu now as Zimri. But also the words of a prophet in relation to the eventual fall of the House of Baasha (the prophet Jehu son of Hanani), and of the House of Ahab (the prophet Elijah). From this triple foundation, I shall arrive at a re-casted history of early northern Israel that I think will actually throw some useful light on my earlier revisions of this fascinating period.

It will mean that the scriptural narrative, as we currently have it, presents us with more of a problem than merely that of aligning Baasha with the 36th year of Asa (which will now cease to be a problem).


This history must be significantly re-cast.


What has happened, I now believe, is that these were originally two different accounts, presumably by different scribes using alternative names for the central characters, of the same historical era. Since then, translators and commentators have come to imagine that the narratives were about two distinctly different periods of Israel’s history, and so they presented them as such, even at times adjusting the information and dates to fit their preconceived ideas. So, apparently (my interpretation), some of the narrative has become displaced, with the result that we now appear to have two historical series where there should be only one, causing a one-sided view of things and with key characters emerging from virtually nowhere: thus Baasha, as we commented above, but also the prophet Elijah, who springs up seemingly from nowhere (in 17:1).


Admittedly, one can appreciate how such a mistake might have been made. The use of different names can be confusing, retrospectively, for those who did not live in, or near to, those early times. It will be my task here to attempt to merge the main characters with whom I now consider to be their alter egos, in order to begin to put the whole thing properly together again – at least in a basic fashion, to pave the way for a more complete synthesis in the future.


My new explanation will have the advantage, too, of taking the pressure off the required length of the life of Ben-hadad I, a known contemporary of Ahab’s, who must also be involved in a treaty with king Asa of Judah against (the presumedly earlier than Ahab) king Baasha of Israel (1 Kings 15:18-21). The same Ben-hadad I will later be forced to make a treaty with Ahab, after the latter had defeated him in war (20:34).


Whilst my explanation will manage to do away with one apparent contradiction, Baasha still reigning in Asa’s 36th year when it seems, mathematically, that he could not have been, my theory does encounter a new contradiction from 1 Kings 21:22, where the prophet Elijah tells Ahab that his house will become “like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah”, as if the house of Baasha and Ahab were quite distinct and separated in time. My bold explanation for this is that the original text (21:22) would have simply threatened the house of Ahab with the same fate as that of Jeroboam’s house, but that an editor, basing himself on Jehu’s denunciation of Baasha in 16:4, thought that this too needed to be included in 21:22 as a separate issue, not realising that Baasha’s house was Ahab’s house. The way the narrative reads, with Baasha’s early arrival on the scene, he is not recorded as having done sufficient evil deeds, one might think, to have warranted so severe a condemnation from the prophet Jehu son of Hanani – until, that is, Baasha is ‘filled out’ with the wicked deeds of his alter ego, king Ahab.


But with Baasha now (in my scheme) completely removed from roughly the first half of king Asa of Judah’s long reign of 41 years (15:10), what will now fill that apparent void?




Baasha’s sudden irruption onto the scene has its later ‘justification’,

I would suggest, in the far more detailed biography of Ahab.


As to reign length, we have almost a perfect match in that Baasha reigned for 24 years (I King 15:33) and Ahab for 22 (16:29).

But that becomes quite a perfect match when we further realise that Baasha reigned for 2 years at Tirzah.

Though, in conventional terms, Samaria (at the time of Baasha) was not yet a capital city, according to my revision it would already have been. And king Ahab of Israel is said specifically to have reigned for 22 years “in Samaria”.

Putting it all together, we get Baasha’s 2 years at Tirzah, and then a further 22 years (making his total 24 years); 22 years being the length of Ahab’s reign.

In other words, Baasha-Ahab (if it is the same person) reigned for 2 years at Tirzah, and then for 22 years at Samaria, a total of 24 years of reign.


This must have been after Ahab’s presumed father, Omri, had built Samaria (16:24).

I say ‘presumed’, because I have, in my related articles:


Great King Jeroboam II missing from Chronicles




Great King Omri missing from Chronicles


Omri and Tibni

followed T. Ishida in his view that the Bible does not mention a House of Omri, but does refer to one of Ahab, thereby allowing for me to make the tentative suggestion that Ahab was probably related to Omri only though marriage.

And that would further allow now for Ahab’s direct father to be, not Omri, but – as Baasha’s father: “Ahaziah of the house of Issachar” (1 Kings 15:27). In “Omri and Tibni” I had noted (T. Ishida’s view) the possibility of Ahab’s connection to Issachar:


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] ….


I would modify this, though, to say instead, not “the Omrides”, but the Ahabites “were members of the Tribe of Issachar”.




Saint Augustine and Luther

Published November 26, 2019 by amaic

Nehemiah and Martin Luther


Part Two:
Saint Augustine and Luther



“Actually, Augustine and Luther were similar in many ways.

Both achieved fame and influence from the geographical and political edge of the known civilized world …. Both were self confident and self reflective at the same time.

Both were well educated and exceptional in the use of language.

Both enjoyed and even reveled in controversy, and a good bit of what each wrote was against something or someone.

Both were troubled and sought a sense of self that would bring a measure of peace”.


Farley Snell



Farley Snell thus introduces his paper, “Augustine and Luther: A Tale of Two Worlds” (2014):–A%20TALE%20OF%20TWO%20WORLDS.pdf



Augustine and Luther Compared and Contrasted


Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) and Martin Luther (1484-1546 CE) are not only two of Western Christianity’s most influential thinkers. Their lives and views provide a window into the times in which they lived, and an opportunity for us to embrace, alter or reject what they thought.


Augustine was a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in North Africa from 395 until his death in 430. He is most widely remembered for his autobiographical meditation Confessions in which he tells of his various personal struggles culminating in his conversion in 386, while in Italy for the only time in his life. What has attracted the most attention is his sexual struggle (people often quote his prayer, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet”), and what has drawn the most blame is his consequent view on sex and human nature. His ideas on sexuality and marriage– understood by few, and dismissed by many– have fomented debate, especially in the modern era.


But his significance lies beyond this narrow (and even inaccurate) focus. His ideas have persisted, been debated, altered, rejected by some, affirmed by others. This is especially true of his own version of the idea of original sin (whereby all persons are born with a defective moral nature and with guilt). The same can be said of his ideas on grace and free will, accompanied by his teaching on predestination, which were reworked over the centuries, and which played a major role in Reformation thought. When Thomas Aquinas, the great Catholic thirteenth century theologian, stated that “grace does not destroy nature, but completes it,” he drew on the newly rediscovered works of Aristotle to discuss “nature,” and on Augustine to discuss “grace.” 2


Augustine’s understanding of God influenced most subsequent forms of western mysticism, as well as Anselm’s ontological proof of the existence of God in the eleventh century.

His treatment of the two “cities” in City of God formed a basis for western monasticism. It played out in the medieval struggles between emperor and pope, and to some extent in discussions of church and state. His discussion of time (Confessions, XI) and his effort at a Christian philosophy of history in City of God have had continued influence. His version of the just war theory has been appealed to in many instances, but considered an oxymoron by many critics.


Luther was an Augustinian monk who taught at a newly formed university in Wittenberg in what was then Electoral Saxony (part of present day Germany). In 1517 his criticism of papal indulgences eventually led to the breakup of western Christianity (eastern and western Christianity parted ways in 1054), a breakup that had dramatic and continuing political and social impact on Europe and subsequently the New World.


In popular imagery he is remembered for being the champion of individual conscience (as a result largely of his “Here I stand” speech before the imperial Diet at Worms in 1520). He is credited with wresting authority from the papacy by appealing to Scripture alone (sola scriptura). In like manner, he is appreciated for having made the Bible available to common folk (he translated both Testaments into German). His idea of the “priesthood of all believers” is seen as freeing the individual from the domination of the clergy. His views of the “two realms” (the distinction between the political and religious realms) and his words on the peasants’ revolt have been seen as supporting the totalitarianism of the Third Reich. The holocaust in like manner has been traced to his anti-Semitism. His central teaching—justification apart from works of the law—has been embraced by many, but attacked by others.


Actually, Augustine and Luther were similar in many ways. Both achieved fame and influence from the geographical and political edge of the known civilized world (Augustine in Hippo in North Africa and Luther in Wittenberg in Electoral Saxony). Both were self confident and self reflective at the same time. Both were well educated and exceptional in the use of language.


Both enjoyed and even reveled in controversy, and a good bit of what each wrote was against something or someone. Both were troubled and sought a sense of self that would bring a measure of peace. Consequently, both—though in distinctive ways—had a negative appraisal of human effort and championed divine initiative or grace.

One could say that both ended their lives embittered. All of this within an understanding of scripture and Christian teaching.


But they lived in different worlds. For one thing, Augustine lived in a time when the Roman Empire sought with some success unity and stability, and a coherent and unified Christian doctrine and church to be the foundation of the Empire’s goals. By Luther’s time, what was left of the old imperial aspiration—in the form of the Holy Roman Empire—was weakened by external threats from the Ottoman Empire and by disintegration from within. And the Roman Church was itself beset by forces such as the conciliar movement.


More to the point, however, was that each struggled to give definition to the self in radically different intellectual settings. Augustine records his long search (ending in his conversion) in his historic autobiographical meditation, the Confessions. His experience of being driven by external satisfactions (what has traditionally been called “lusts the flesh”) left him unsatisfied, as did his preoccupation with what is partial, epitomized by the individual. Augustine felt the need, within himself and within the reality of which he was a part, to discover what is lasting rather than passing, and what is whole rather than what was partial—and to find his place within it. (This is one of the meanings of “mysticism.”) This was his “world.” 3 ….


[End of quote]



Likewise, we read at:


Luther and Augustine



That Augustine was an influence on Martin Luther is undeniable; different historians and theologians, however, vary in opinion as how great this influence actually was. Luther joined the Order of Saint Augustine at Erfurt in July 1505, and received a spiritual formation that focused on “Great Father Augustine” (which also was the title of a hymn then in Augustinian use).


The Order used Augustine’s thought in the theological preparation given to its candidates. One of Augustine’s superiors, Johann von Stauptiz O.S.A. (1468-1524), gave Augustine especial emphasis. It is certain, therefore, that Luther had read and studied many of Augustine’s writings, that he memorised passages from Augustine, and that he cited Augustine more than any other non-Scriptural source.


It is known, for example, that Luther used a copy of the printed collection of some works by Augustine that had been published in Strassburg by Martinus Flach in 1489 under the title of Opuscula plurima, for Luther with his own hand wrote annotations on its margins in 1509. And in 1516 Luther was known to have been studying the eighth volume of the Opera Omnia (the world’s first complete printed collection of Augustine’s works) edited by Johannes Amerbach in eleven volumes in Basel in 1506


Specialist studies of Luther’s writings have determined the wide range of Augustine’s works that Luther cited. Luther was one of the first major figures to have readily available to him the ‘entire Augustine’ in the Johann Amerbach printed edition of Augustine’s Opera omnia (“Complete Works”) mentioned above. Luther was not only trained in a theology that was heavily Augustinian, but also found resonance in Augustine’s thought for some of the theological issues with which he himself struggled, e.g., sin, grace, predestination, the interpretation of Scripture, and faith.


He initially made his own the basic tenets of Augustine’s theology. This is most evident in his work as a professor at the University of Wittenberg before the time he posted his now-famous ninety-five theses on the castle church there on 31st October 1517. Luther encouraged his fellow professors to read Augustine’s works. Augustine was the patron saint of the university. With the public eruption of the Protestant Reformation in 1517, Luther did not abandon Augustine, but used him selectively and sometimes out of context in an effort to support the changed direction of his own line of thought.


There became large areas of thought where Luther diverged from Augustine, e.g., in matters regarding the authority and magisterium of the Church. Even so, Augustine’s thought was still frequently used as the base from which Luther’s theology proceeded. As Luther matured, his theology became increasingly independent of Augustine, but he continued to praise Augustine. Further historical and theological research remains to be done on Augustine’s influence on Luther at various stages of the latter’s life.


In the development of his theology, Martin Luther turned to the writings and thought of Augustine more than to any other individual source except the Bible. In Augustine of Hippo (354-430) there was a firm position on many of the issues that were to become the focus of controversy during the Protestant Reformation. Indeed, for this reason Augustine has been regarded as a determinative church source for the theology that constituted the Protestant Reformation.


It has been demonstrated that Luther began studying Augustine as early as 1509, when he was twenty-six years of age and in his third year as a member of the Order of Saint Augustine. He quickly became enthralled by the writings of Augustine. Luther became thoroughly acquainted with them. This was not merely because he was a member of the Order of Saint Augustine, but rather because of the intrinsic value and truth he found in them. Later he wrote, “I do not defend Augustine because I am an Augustinian. Before I began reading his works he meant nothing to me.” The theology of Augustine was held in great esteem by Luther, and promoted widely while he was at Wittenberg. Luther even described Augustine as a leading advocate for reform in the church.

Even so, further specialist study needs to be done on the thought of Luther at various periods of his life, for there were times when he used Augustine’s writings possibly only because they were a convenient resource. There are also instances wherein Luther quoted Augustine quite selectively to suit his own purpose, and suggested that Augustine resonated with Lutheran reasoning when the fuller context of Augustine’s writing in fact would demonstrate that this was untrue.


As Luther grew older and more independent in his thought, Luther turned less to Augustine. Even in his early writings at the time when the Reformation erupted, Luther did not merely reproduce Augustine’s thought. It is true to say that sometimes the germ of Luther’s ideas were already present in Augustine’s writings, but it is not correct to attribute to Augustine more credit for Luther’s own thinking than that. Even in the writing of the most mature Luther, Augustine was often the starting point, but only that.






Was Luther Augustinian? This blog says that this question is difficult to answer from a historical perspective because more concrete evidence must be documented to show that Luther was influenced by Augustine. ….




For Part One of this series see:


Nehemiah and Martin Luther

Nebuchednezzar and Cambyses

Published November 26, 2019 by amaic

Did King Darius make up the story of Cambyses’s madness?



Damien F. Mackey



Dear Sir, I am reading your Nabonidus papers. Re: the madness of Cambyses, this is a story made up by Darius to justify his seizure of power from the sons of Cyrus. Cyrus would have known if Cambyses was prone to madness and would not have entrusted the throne to him. Cambyses was not mad; he did die from a wound; but not one self inflicted for having killed the Apis Bull. The Apis Bull died a natural death and was replaced. There was no “imposter” Bardiya. Darius killed the real Bardiya and made up the imposter and Cambyses madness stories to cover up his seizure of power. Herodotus was taken in, or otherwise induced to endorse the false propaganda. Yours ….



Damien Mackey’s response:



Or is it “Cambyses” as a Persian king that has been “made up”?


For, might not “Cambyses” actually be the mad King Nebuchednezzar himself?

After all, Cambyses had (as I have noted in articles) another name, “Nebuchednezzar”.


And Nebuchednezzar also smashed Egypt – particularly in his guise as Ashurbanipal (who had a burning fiery furnace). See e.g. my series:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Two: Ashurbanipal; Nabonidus; Cambyses; Artaxerxes III



most relevant, in this case, being Part Two:



And his death also occurred apparently soon after he was in Egypt.


And he, too, was highly superstitious and pious.

And he, too, messed around with the traditional rites.


And I have also suggested that the Udjahorresne who had assisted Cambyses in Egypt was the very same individual as Tirhakah’s son and heir, Ushanahuru:


Cambyses mentored in Egypt by Udjahorresne. Part Two: Meeting and identifying Udjahorresne


Tirhakah being, of course, a contemporary of Ashurbanipal (= Nebuchednezzar).


My best regards,



Jehoash and Jeroboam II

Published November 25, 2019 by amaic

King Jeroboam II

a ‘saviour’ of Israel


Damien F. Mackey


“The LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians;

and the children of Israel lived in their tents as before”.

2 Kings 13:5


וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, מוֹשִׁיעַ, וַיֵּצְאוּ, מִתַּחַת יַד-אֲרָם; וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאָהֳלֵיהֶם, כִּתְמוֹל שִׁלְשׁוֹם.


That “saviour” (מוֹשִׁ֔יעַ) has been variously identified by commentators and revisionist scholars as king Jehoash of Israel; Jeroboam II of Israel; Adad-nirari III of Assyria; Zakir of Hamath; and pharaoh Seti I of Egypt. Thus I wrote previously on this:



Various candidates have been suggested for the “deliverer”, or “saviour” (מוֹשִׁיעַ), of the prayers of Jehoahaz of Israel: e.g., Adad-nirari III of Assyria; Zakir of Hamath – neither of whom is named in the biblical account – Jehoash of Israel, or his son, Jeroboam II. Dr John Bimson had considered, for one, the possibility that Jehoash, amongst other candidates, may have been this “saviour”, whilst also stating the objections to this view (“Dating the Wars of Seti I”, p. 22):


There has been much discussion over the identity of the anonymous “saviour”. One view is that the verse refers to Joash [Jehoash], Jehoahaz’s successor, who defeated Ben-Hadad [II] three times and regained some of the lost Israelite cities (II Kings 13:24-25); or to Jeroboam II, son of Joash, who restored Israel’s Transjordanian territory and even conquered Damascus and Hamath (II Kings 14:25-28). But as J. Gray remarks: “The main objection to this view is that this relief is apparently a response to the supplication of Jehoahaz (v. 4), whereas relief did not come until the time of Joash and Jeroboam” … [Reference: I and II Kings: A Commentary, 2nd edn., 1970, p. 595, where references can be found to scholars who favour Joash and/ or Jeroboam as the deliverer]. Other scholars do not acknowledge this difficulty, pointing to II Kings 13:22 (“Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz”) as evidence that deliverance did not come until after the reign of Jehoahaz … [Reference: K. A. Kitchen in NBD, p. 58].


Some commentators have suggested a three-year co-regency between Jehoahaz and Jehoash. And so it could be argued that the relief for Jehoahaz’s Israel would have begun to arise right near to the end of Jehoahaz’s reign, when there began the co-rule of the now more energetic Jehoash. However, this deliverance was only gradual and its proper effects would become manifest only after Jehoahaz had passed away.


Dr. Bimson’s second option for Israel’s “savior” was pharaoh Seti I, the father of Ramses II ‘the Great’, of the 19th Egyptian dynasty. Bimson had provided a useful account of the similarities between Israel’s wars against Syria at this approximate time and Seti I’s campaigns into Syro-Palestine, leading him to consider the possibility that Seti I may in fact have been the “saviour” of Israel. (It needs to be noted that Dr. Bimson himself does not stand by these views today). Here, nevertheless, is part of … Bimson’s … account of Seti’s I’s campaigns in a revised context (op. cit., pp. 20, 22):


In the chronology which we are testing here, the time of Jehoahaz corresponds to the time when Seti I campaigned in Palestine and Syria. It therefore seems very probable that the Aramaean [Syrian] oppression of Israel is the event of which we have … read on Seti’s Beth-Shan stelae”


Aram is “the wretched foe”. Several parallels confirm that we are reading about the same events in both sources. Firstly we have seen that the stelae refer, in Rowe’s words, to “an invasion by tribes from the east side of the Jordan”; the Old Testament records that in Jehu’s reign Hazael occupied all of Transjordan as far south as the Arnon; it was therefore presumably from there that he launched his further offensives into the centre of Israel in the reign of Jehoahaz.

Furthermore, we have seen that the attacking forces of Seti’s day were operating from a base called Yarumtu, or Ramoth, probably Ramoth-gilead. ….

Once west of the Jordan, the immediate objective of Seti’s opponents was apparently the capture of towns in Galilee and the Plain of Esdraelon. In the time of Jehoahaz this was part of the kingdom of Israel. II Kings 13:25 speaks of towns in Israel which Ben-Hadad “had taken from Jehoahaz … in war”. Unfortunately the captured towns are not named, but we know they lay west of the Jordan, since all the territory east of the Jordan had been lost in the previous reign.

The invaders whom Seti confronted also had objectives further afield; they were attempting “to lay waste the land of Djahi to its full length”. We have seen that Djahi probably comprised the Plain of Esdraelon and the coastal plain to the north and south, extending southwards at least as far as Ashkelon. The capture of towns such as Beth-shan was probably an attempt to gain control of the Plain of Esdraelon, which provided access from the Jordan to the coastal strip, both to the north and (via the pass at Megiddo) the south. The coastal plain to the south was certainly one of Hazael’s objectives.


In short, the movements and objectives of Hazael’s forces exactly parallel those of the forces opposed by Seti I, so far as they can be reconstructed. This is not to say that specific moves recorded in the Biblical and Egyptian accounts are to be precisely identified .… Seti’s two stelae from Beth-shan show that the invaders pushed westwards on more than one occasion, so it would be a mistake to envisage one invasion by the Aramaeans, repulsed by one attack by Seti. The important point is that in both sources we find the same objectives, the same direction of attack, and the probability that in both cases the enemy was operating from the same base.


Furthermore, commenting on the text of the smaller stela, Albright notes that since the attacking Apiru [Habiru] “are determined in the hieroglyphic text by ‘warrior and plural sign’ [not merely ‘man, plural sign’], they were not considered ordinary nomads” …. The stela is not describing mere tribal friction, as is conventionally assumed, but an attack by an organised and properly equipped military force. This would certainly fit an attack on Israel by Hazael’s troops in the late 9th century BC.


Bimson now proceeds to consider other of Seti I’s inscriptions:


Turning from the Beth-shan stelae to the other sources of Seti’s campaigns, we may now suggest that some of Seti’s larger measures, not just his forays into northern Israel, were also directed against the growing power of Damascus. “… at the close of the ninth century, Hazael and Ben-hadad had imposed Aramaean rule upon vast South-Syrian territories, including Samaria, as far as the northern boundary of Philistia and Judah”. [Reference: H. Tadmor, Scripta Hierosolymitana 8, 1961, p. 241.]. It is logical that Egypt would see this expanding power as a threat to her own security and act to curb it. Seti’s military action in Palestine’s southern coastal plain (first register of his Karnak reliefs) may well have been aimed at establishing a bulwark against southward Aramaean advances along the coastal strip. …. His campaign into Phoenicia and Lebanon may have been to protect (or reclaim?) the coastal cities of that region (important to Egypt for supplies of timber and other commodities) from the westward expansion of Hazael’s rule. ….

We have already noted Faulkner’s suggestion that the reference to a campaign by Seti into “the land of Amor”, on the damaged Kadesh relief, refers to the conquest of “an inland extension of Amorite territory into the country south of Kadesh, possibly even as far south as Damascus” [Reference: Faulkner, JEA 33, 1947, p. 37, emphasis added].




What this shows, I think, is that the revision of history that has the 19th Egyptian dynasty situated considerably lower than the conventional C13th BC view has a lot to recommend it. Whether or not Dr. Bimson managed to get the precise correspondence, he seems to have been, at least, not far off the mark.


Fine tuning of the biblical and revised Egyptian dates may still be required.


My own tentative suggestion at this stage for the “saviour”? Jeroboam II.

More than king Jehoash, whose efforts did not satisfy, but, rather, angered the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 13:19): “The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times’,” Jeroboam II was a “deliverer”, a “saviour”. In fact 2 Kings 14:27 tells us straight out: “And since the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved (וַיּוֹשִׁיעֵם) them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash”.

Compare here the root word וֹשִׁיעֵ (from the verb, yasha, to save/deliver) with the identical וֹשִׁיעַ in the word for “saviour: מוֹשִׁיעַ

The mighty Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25): “… was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

[End of quotes]



“My own tentative suggestion at this stage for the “saviour”? Jeroboam II”.

Having since determined that Jeroboam II was the same king as Jehoash of Israel, I would now modify that remark to include Jehoash as well.

None of the other suggested candidates above for the ‘saviour’ is named in the Bible.



My new look late Judah, Israel and Assyria


Matthew’s Genealogy tells that Jehoram was the father of Uzziah, the father of Jotham. Where, then, are the long-reigning kings, Joash and Amaziah?

And how do the kings of Israel and Assyria align with this revised scenario?



My simple explanation as to why Matthew the Evangelist has ‘omitted’ Joash and Amaziah from his list of the kings of Judah, in his ‘Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah’ (Matthew 1:8-9), is that he has not actually omitted them – that Joash and Amaziah are to be found as, respectively, Uzziah and Jotham: “… Jehoram the father of Uzziah … the father of Jotham …” (vv. 8-9).


With about seven decades now to be snatched away from the standard calculation of biblical history, due to the merging of Joash (40 years) into Uzziah, and Amaziah (29 years) into Jotham – {(40 + 29) = 69 years of excessive chronological baggage that must needs be deleted} – there must follow a radical curtailing of the associated histories of Israel and Assyria. And this, I have already taken care of, by folding the last supposedly six kings of Israel into only three:



‘Eradicating’, through revision, some of the late kings of Israel

and by my:


Folding [of] four ‘Middle’ Assyrian kings into first four ‘Neo’ Assyrian kings

What we now find – and what seriously needs to be properly accounted for – is that there is no room whatsoever for the long-reigning (41 years) king Jeroboam II as a single entity.

He, too, must have – like those two kings of Judah, Joash and Amaziah – a significant alter ego (as will be worked out further on).


According to the combined information to be found in the above articles, either one of the Jehu-ide kings, Jehoahaz (son of Jehu), or his son, Jehoash, had given tribute to the Assyrian king Adad-nirari. Of these two kings, Jehoash now appears to have been the more likely. Thus:


While excavating the inner chamber of a small Neo-Assyrian temple at Tell al-Rimah in 1967, British archaeologist David Oates discovered a victory stele belonging to Assyrian King Adad-nirari iii. The impressive stele proves the existence of “Jehoash the Samarian” ….

[End of quote]



(In my revision, Adad-nirari so-called III is the same as I and II of that name)



Now, as I have determined, Adad-nirari was the penultimate Assyrian king prior to the end of the kingdom of Israel with its king Hoshea and the Fall of Samaria.

Adad-nirari was followed by Tiglath-pileser (= Shalmaneser), who actually named his father as Adad-nirari.


We need to do some calculations here. (Note: readers always need to check my calculations)



Taking king Jehoash of Israel – {likely as a contemporary of Adad-nirari} – as our starting point, he comes to the throne during the 37th year of Joash (Uzziah) of Judah.

In Jehoash’s 2nd year, Amaziah (Jotham) of Judah begins to reign, and the latter continues to reign 15 years after the death of Jehoash of Israel.

Leaving aside, for the time being, the troublesome Jeroboam II, those last 15 years of Amaziah/Jotham would include about two years for Zechariah/Pekahiah, and would be exhausted by about 13 years of the reign of (Shallum)/Pekah.

That makes sense because Pekah and Rezin “first” emerged during reign of king Jotham (2 Kings 15:37): “It was while [Jotham] was king that the Lord first sent King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah”.

Pekah’s 20 year reign would continue into approximately the 7th year of Ahaz of Judah. That makes sense because Ahaz had dreadful trouble with the combined Rezin and Pekah during his early reign (16:5): “King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel attacked Jerusalem and besieged it …”.

Finally, the 9-10 years of Pekah’s successor, Menahem/Hoshea:


Menahem and Hoshea of Israel. Part One: Listing several quite compelling comparisons



would conclude very early in the reign of Ahaz’s noble son, Hezekiah, which is almost perfect (2 Kings 18:1): “In the third year of the reign of Hoshea son of Elah as king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah …”.


Obviously, there is no room here to accommodate the supposed 41 years of Jeroboam II.

A different explanation for this mighty king is required.



Jeroboam II and the Jehu-ide Dynasty



… this apparently great king of Israel [Jeroboam II] has very little indeed in the way

of scriptural coverage … there must be a significant ‘alter ego’ awaiting him.



So far I have concluded that there is no room for Jeroboam II as a separate entity, reigning for 41 years, in my revised history of the late kings of Israel. As previously discussed:


Great King Jeroboam II missing from Chronicles


this apparently great king of Israel has very little indeed in the way of scriptural coverage.

Therefore, as I concluded in that article, there must be a significant alter ego awaiting him.


In the case of the earlier kings of Israel, like Omri, for instance, who – just like Jeroboam II – would appear (at first glance) to have been neglected in the Scriptures:


Great King Omri missing from Chronicles


alter egos need to be added, to fill them out: Jeroboam I = Omri, whose foe Tibni = Tab-rimmon with Zimri being Jehu:


Zimri and Jehu



And Jeroboam II is Jehoash


Jeroboam II, a most significant king of Israel, was – I must now conclude – Jehoash, Jeroboam’s supposed father.

This would mean that the ‘four generations’ of Jehu-ide kings (2 Kings 10:30): “The Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation’,” must have included the dynastic founder, Jehu. Thus:


  1. Jehu
  2. Jehoahaz, father of
  3. Jehoash/Jeroboam II
  4. Zechariah.


Then follows another set of duplicate kings (as already determined):


The slain Zechariah is the slain Pekahiah;

The murderer Shallum is the murderer Pekah, and

Menahem is Hoshea, the last king of Israel.


Jehoash = Jeroboam II comparisons


“… Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, became king of Israel in Samaria” (2 Kings 13:10)

“… Jeroboam, son of Jehoash [read Jehoahaz], became king of Israel in Samaria” (14:23)


“[Jehoash] did what is displeasing to Yahweh, he did not give up the sin into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel …” (13:11)

“[Jeroboam] did what is displeasing to Yahweh and did not give up any of the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel …” (14:24)


“The rest of the history of Jehoash, his entire career, his prowess, how he waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?” (13:12)

“The rest of the history of Jeroboam, his entire career, his prowess, what wars he waged, how he … is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?” (14:28)


Comment: It would be nice to know what this (Jerusalem Bible) verse went on to say about “how he …”.


“Then Jehoash slept with his ancestors …. Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel” (13:13)

“The Jeroboam slept with his ancestors …. They buried him in Samaria with the kings of Israel …” (14:29)


Compare also


2 Kings 13:22-25:


Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.

Hazael king of Aram died, and Ben-Hadad his son succeeded him as king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-Hadad son of Hazael the towns he had taken in battle from his father Jehoahaz. Three times Jehoash defeated him, and so he recovered the Israelite towns.




2 Kings 14:25-27:


He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.

The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering; there was no one to help them. And since the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam ….



Jeroboam II can be a chronological nightmare




The interregna that Philip Mauro, following Martin Anstey, thought that the Bible

was pointing to were due to a faulty interpretation of the sequence of the kings of Israel, several or more of whom were – as we have found – duplicates.




For much of my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

I would follow Philip Mauro’s intendedly biblically-based chronology, which meant, in the case of Jeroboam II, the insertion of a significant interregnum after his death.


Thus I wrote (Volume One, Ch. 11, p. 255):


And though I noted in Chapter 5 that I am concerned with precise biblical dates for EOH [Era of Hezekiah] only, I also stated that the interregna, combined, were too substantial a chronological factor to be passed over.


I also mentioned there that standard chronologists (including Thiele) have generally not taken into account these interregna. Nor, indeed, have revisionists Courville and Gammon; though other revisionists (e.g. Hickman, Sieff) have, as I shall discuss in a moment. Here is how Mauro has calculated the 22-year interregnum for Israel:[1]


There was also an interregnum in Israel between the reign of Jeroboam II and that of Zechariah; for Jeroboam’s 41st year, which was his last, coincided with the 15th of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Zechariah did not succeed until the 38th of Uzziah (2 Kings 14:29; 15:8). This makes an interval of 22 years.


Mauro had noted a paragraph earlier that “Uzziah did not come to the throne until the 27th year of Jeroboam II (2 Kings 15:1)”. He also calculated an 8-year interregnum period for Israel between Hoshea’s slaying of Pekah and Hoshea’s becoming king of Israel.[2] ….


[End of quotes]


I now realise that it is better to align the kings of Israel with Uzziah of Judah’s alter ego, Joash, instead, as I have done in this series.

The interregna that Philip Mauro, following Martin Anstey, thought that the Bible was pointing to were necessitated due to a faulty interpretation of the sequence of the kings of Israel, several or more of whom were – as we have found – duplicates.

It is a situation akin to what has occurred as a result of the chronological over-stretching of the Egyptian dynasties, forcing artificial ‘Dark Ages’ to be inserted into ancient history. In the case of the faulty chronology of Israel as currently interpreted, it is not ‘Dark Ages’ but, I guess, the similar, interregna, whose insertion a literal interpretation of the data would seem to demand.



[1] The Wonders of Bible Chronology, p. 59. He also discusses there an 11-year interregnum for Judah.

[2] Ibid, pp. 57, 59-60.

‘Eradicating’, through revision, some of the late kings of Israel

Published November 24, 2019 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



 Part One:

Menahem to be merged with Hoshea



“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”.

 2 Kings 15:19

“… Hoshea I placed as ruler over them … I received a tribute of … 1,000 talents of silver”.

Tiglath-pileser III/Pul



If there be any validity to my radical shortening of the Assyrian king lists (‘Middle’ to ‘Neo’):


Folding four ‘Middle’ Assyrian kings into first four ‘Neo’ Assyrian kings

then there must follow a corresponding truncating of those kings of Israel tied to Assyria.


Can Menahem of Israel (749-738 BC, these conventional dates vary), for instance, be merged with Hoshea of Israel (732-722 BC)?


There are indeed some notable similarities between Menahem and Hoshea.



Act of assassination


Menahem murdered Shallum (2 Kings 15:14).

Hoshea murdered Pekah (15:30).


Assassinated (previous) king was apostate


“The rest of the history of Shallum … all that is recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel” (15:15).

“The rest of the history of Pekah … is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel” (15:31).


Ruled in Samaria for about a decade


“[Menahem] reigned for ten years in Samaria” (15:17).

“[Hoshea] … in Samaria … reigned for nine years” (17:1).


Non-Yahwistic ruler


“[Menahem] did what is displeasing to Yahweh” (15:18).

“[Hoshea] did what is displeasing to Yahweh” (17:2).


Attacked by invading King of Assyria


“In [Menahem’s] times, Pul king of Assyria invaded the country …” (15:19).

“Shalmaneser king of Assyria made war on Hoshea …” (17:3).


Mackey’s note: In my “Folding four … Assyrian kings” article above, I have identified “Pul”, i.e., Tiglath-pileser, with Shalmaneser.

And, if Menahem was Hoshea, then this would only serve to reinforce my identification.


King of Israel pays tribute to King of Assyria


“… Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver” (15:19).

“… Hoshea … submitted to him and paid him tribute” (17:3). [Likewise a thousand talents of silver:]



Part Two:

Need to reduce the later monarchs of Israel


 What are the potential biblico-historical ramifications of Menahem, Hoshea,

now being tentatively identified as the one and very same king of Israel,

during the reign of a rampant Tiglath-pileser (“Pul”), king of Assyria?



Logically (if Menahem/Hoshea be just the one king of Israel), it ought to follow, now, that:


  • the biblically-unfavoured king Shallum, whom Menahem murdered, was
  • the biblically-unfavoured king Pekah, whom Hoshea murdered.


During this most bloody phase in the history of Israel – {though somewhat less bloody if I am correct in reducing the number of bloodthirsty kings}- the king who was murdered was himself, in turn, a king murdered.


This fiendish situation occurred twice according to the standard interpretation of 2 Kings:


  • Shallum murdering Zechariah (2 Kings 15:10) and then himself being murdered; and
  • Pekah murdering Pekahiah (2 Kings 15:25) and then himself being murdered.


More than likely, though (at least as I am thinking), this despicable double-murder situation happened only the once: i.e., Shallum/Pekah murdered Zechariah/Pekahiah, and then Shallum/Pekah was murdered by Menahem/Hoshea.


Six of the later kings of Israel here reduced to only three – all of whom were contemporaneous with the neo-Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser (“Pul”)/Shalmaneser.


As with Menahem/Hoshea, the combination of Zechariah/Pekahiah is an adequate fit.

Compare the following, word for word in some instances:


2 Kings 15:8-11


Zechariah … became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned six months. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his predecessors had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah. He attacked him in front of the people, assassinated him and succeeded him as king. The other events of Zechariah’s reign are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.


2 Kings 15:23-26


Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years.  Pekahiah did evil in the eyes of the Lord.

He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. One of his chief officers, Pekah son of Remaliah, conspired against him. Taking fifty men of Gilead with him, he assassinated Pekahiah, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the royal palace at Samaria. So Pekah killed Pekahiah and succeeded him as king. The other events of Pekahiah’s reign, and all he did, are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.


Less promising a fit, it seems, is my combination Shallum/Pekah, though we know virtually nothing of Shallum. His reign “in Samaria one month” (2 Kings 15:13) is highly doubtful given that (v. 15): “The other events of Shallum’s reign … are written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel”.

Of Shallum’s ‘other half’, Pekah (according to my reconstruction), it is likewise written (v. 31): “As for the other events of Pekah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?”


But his length of reign is given far more reasonably as “twenty years” (v. 27).


Modern chronologies cannot cope with this length of time, however, and so reduce Pekah’s reign to less than a decade:


737-732  740-732  736-732  Pekah  Pekah ben Remalyahu

Reigned over Israel in Samaria for 20 years. Death: Hoshea son of Elah conspired against him and killed him.