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Elijah as Micaiah – why not?

Published October 21, 2018 by amaic
Image result for prophet elijah like melchizedek

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

No commentaries that I have read pertaining to the prophet Micaiah will – whilst regarding him as Elijah’s contemporary, and of similar ilk – take that a step further by suggesting that Micaiah might have been Elijah.

 

  

 

A typical example of this that I shall present here is Rabbi David J. Zucker’s very useful article, “The Prophet Micaiah in Kings and Chronicles”. In the “Introduction” to Zucker’s article, we read: http://jbqnew.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/413/jbq_413_2_ahabmicaiah.pdf

 

….

One side effect of turning his back on the history and personalities of the kingdom of Israel was that the Chronicler could not (or chose not to) refer to the cycle of stories surrounding Elijah and Elisha so prominent in Kings (I Kgs. 18-19, 21; II Kgs. 1-2 – Elijah; I Kgs. 19; II Kgs. 2-13 – Elisha).

 

The Chronicler, however, did choose to refer to one prominent northern prophet, Micaiah ben Imlah, a contemporary of Elijah and Elisha. Chronicles essentially repeats the narrative of the Ahab-Micaiah confrontation, which appears in I Kings 22. The Chronicler includes this episode, despite the fact that it refers to the northern kingdom’s ruler, Ahab, and that its locale is Samaria. The most probable reason for the inclusion is that this narrative also features Judah’s King Jehoshaphat.

 

Zucker then proceeds to discuss:

 

AHAB-MICAIAH

 

In the single chapter in Chronicles where Ahab appears as a personality in his own right (II Chron. 18) … his presence is minimized when compared to the earlier history of First Kings, where Ahab is found in several chapters (18-22).

Since Ahab does not appear elsewhere in Chronicles, it is difficult to make sense of his statement to his southern counterpart, King Jehoshaphat, concerning the prophet Micaiah: ‘I hate him [Micaiah ben Imlah] because he never prophesies anything good for me, but always misfortune’ (II Chron. 18:7, cf. I Kgs. 22:8).

 

My comment: Should not this statement by King Ahab, who had called Elijah ‘my enemy’ – coupled with the singularity of Micaiah himself: ‘There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD …’ – make us think immediately of the loner prophet Elijah?

 

Clearly, there was no love lost between Ahab and Elijah.

 

I Kings 18:17-18: “When [Ahab] saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’ ‘I have not made trouble for Israel’, Elijah replied. ‘But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals’.”

And I Kings 21:20-24:

“Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’ ‘I have found you’, he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin’. And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel’. Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country’.”

 

Zucker continues:

 

The context for this statement [to Micaiah] is an event late in the life of King Ahab, a proposed joint Israel-Judah battle against their mutual enemy, the king of Aram. They plan to recapture the territory of Ramoth-gilead. Four hundred of the prophets based in Samaria claim that the kings of Judah and Israel will prevail. Then the Judean king, Jehoshaphat, turns to King Ahab. He calls for an independent endorsement for this possible encounter. ‘Is there not another prophet of Y-H-V-H here through whom we can inquire?’ he asks (18:6, cf. I Kgs. 22:7). Ahab then replies, pointing out that there is someone, the aforementioned Micaiah ben Imlah, although he never prophesies anything good for me.

 

My comment: Rabbi Zucker will now ask the questions that I have just answered.

 

What is the basis for Ahab’s hatred of Micaiah? Where and when has Micaiah spoken ill of Ahab? Since Ahab only appears in this one chapter of Chronicles, the answer cannot be found in that book. Logically, we would expect it to be revealed in the earlier books of Kings ….

 

My comment: Exactly where “it” is to be found, I believe.

But Rabbi Zucker does not proceed to make what I would consider to be the connection begging to be made, that Micaiah is Elijah.

 

… yet even a close perusal of the relevant chapters provides no solution. Just as Micaiah ben Imlah only appears in this one chapter of Chronicles, so does he appear in only one chapter of Kings (I Kings 22).

 

My comment: In Rabbi Zucker’s next comment, the seeming “mystery” surrounding Micaiah’s comment is perfectly explained by the fact that the prophet is being, as Zucker continues, “sarcastic”. There is no “mystery” as far as Ahab is concerned. He knows what the prophet is like. Elijah’s sense of irony and mockery had been fully on display during his contest with the Baalists on Mount Carmel. So much so that we find contemporary writers, such as Leah Bronner, writing about Elijah’s biting ‘Polemics Against Baal’.

 

To add to the mystery, when the prophet Micaiah is summoned to appear before Ahab and Jehoshaphat, he first seems to endorse the coming battle; he foretells success (II Chron. 18:14) in a tone that may be sarcastic. Ahab then upbraids Micaiah, saying: ‘How many times must I adjure you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Y-H-V-H?’ (vs. 15). This rebuke makes it clear that these two have met on several occasions in the past.

… when Ahab says to Jehoshaphat that Micaiah ‘never prophesies anything good,’ it is apparent that there have been multiple occasions where Micaiah has opposed Ahab. To what, then, does Ahab refer?

 

My comment: Rabbi Zucker will now turn to the Mount Carmel incident as being one such of those ‘multiple occasions’ when Ahab was opposed by the prophet Micaiah. But, even now, he will not connect Micaiah with Elijah, but only with some obscure, “unnamed attendant” of Elijah’s.

 

One needs to turn to Kings to offer a possible answer to this matter. I Kings 18 relates the Ahab-Elijah-prophets of Baal contest on Mount Carmel. On that occasion, an attendant accompanies Elijah. Elijah sends this figure out to seek whether there is any hint of the coming rain, which will end the three year drought. Six times the servant goes and looks westward toward the Mediterranean, but sees nothing. Finally, on the seventh occasion the servant reported ‘A cloud as small as a person’s hand is rising in the west’ (I Kgs. 18:44).

Nothing more is said about this unnamed attendant in that chapter. In the next chapter an attendant, presumably the same person, accompanies Elijah when the prophet flees from the wrath of Jezebel. They travel south from Samaria as far as Beersheba in Judah. There Elijah leaves his servant behind (I Kgs. 19:3) and travels alone into the desert, eventually reaching Mount Horeb where he will experience a theophany with God.

 

My comment: Although Zucker will tell of Ahab’s turning his bitter wrath upon Elijah, he will maintain his line of argument – Micaiah is a recipient of the king’s wrath due to his association with Elijah.

 

At the Baal prophets’ episode, when King Ahab meets Elijah, he dismisses him in scathing language. Ahab caught sight of Elijah, [and] Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’ (I Kgs. 18:17). On a later occasion, Ahab describes Elijah as an enemy (I Kgs. 21:20). Ahab detests Elijah, and Elijah’s opposition. In like manner, Ahab associates that opposition with people connected with Elijah, and in particular (I suggest) Elijah’s unnamed attendant, Micaiah.

 

My comment: Perhaps it is “the Midrash” to which Zucker refers next that has prevented Jewish scholars, at least, from proposing an identification of Micaiah with Elijah.

 

There is some support for this idea in rabbinic literature: the Midrash names Micaiah as one of the four students of Elijah. ….

[End of quotes]

 

 

The prophet Elijah, a most mysterious character, who, like Melchizedek, seems to appear right out of nowhere, and whom King Ahab found to be frustratingly hard to pin down geographically, as attested by the godly ‘Obadiah (I Kings 18:10): ‘As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master [Ahab] has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you’, ought to become somewhat easier to trace if he is also – as according to this article – Micaiah son of Imlah. For now at least, in this name “Imlah”, we have a further clue (patronymic) towards the assembling of a biographical identikit of Elijah.

 

 

 

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Ben-Hadad I and Tiglath-pileser III

Published October 19, 2018 by amaic
Image result for neo-assyrian kings

 

Ben Hadad and Tiglath-pileser;

kings Hazael and Sennacherib

 

Part One:

Ben-Hadad I and Tiglath-pileser III

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

“Even the greatest king … in the region, Iarim Lim of Iamkhad, had only twenty kings in train. …. But Ben-Hadad’s coalition, raised for the siege of Ahab’s capital of Samaria, could boast of thirty-two kings. Surely Ben-Hadad I was no secondary king in his day, but a ‘Great King’; the dominant king … in the greater Syrian region – a true master-king.”

Mackey’s thesis

 

 

Ben-Hadad I and Tiglath-pileser III

 

Ben-Hadad I became something of a hired gun for the kingdom of Judah against Israel.

 

In 1 Kings 15:18, Ben-Hadad is designated as the son of son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion. In this passage, King Asa of Judah makes a treaty with Ben-Hadad to help protect himself against the king of Israel, who was threatening Judah. (This is also recorded in 2 Chronicles 16:2–4.) Ben-Hadad sent soldiers against Israel and King Baasha and conquered a number of towns, bringing some relief to Judah.

https://www.gotquestions.org/Ben-Hadad-in-the-Bible.html

Tiglath-pileser III became something of a hired gun for the kingdom of Judah against Israel.

 

Since the time that the kingdom of Israel and Judah had split into two separate parts, both kingdoms fought against each other for power. This situation created a long lasting rivalry that span hundreds of years. It was around 740 B.C., and King Pekah of Israel, and King Ahaz of Judah were going to war with each other. King Pekah of Israel decided to join forces with the King of the Arameans against King Ahaz and Judah. King Ahaz then appealed to Tiglath-Plilezer … so that he would aid him against this alliance.

https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/tiglath-pileser-iii/

 

 

But it cost Asa the king of Judah.

 

By an invasion of Northern Israel [Ben-Hadad] obliged Baasha to withdraw from Ramah and confine himself to the neighborhood of his own capital (1Ki 15:16 ff). Judah obtained relief, but the price paid for it was too great. Asa had surrendered his treasures, and very likely some of his independence. …

For his shortsightedness in laying himself under obligation to Benhadad and relying upon the help of Syria rather than upon the Lord his God, Asa was rebuked by the prophet Hanani (2Ch 16:1 ff). Benhadad had extended his territories by the transaction and seems to have exercised henceforward some sort of sovereignty over both the Hebrew kingdoms.

https://www.internationalstandardbible.com/B/benhadad.html

 

But it cost Ahaz the king of Judah.

 

King Ahaz then appealed to Tiglath-Plilezer by paying him with the treasure from the Temple so that he would aid him against this alliance. The Assyrian king complied, but he took advantage of the situation. He appears multiple times on the Bible Timeline for each event. God was angry with Ahaz, so he allowed King Tiglath-Pilezer to march into Judah and to harass him while he was there.

https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/tiglath-pileser-iii/

 

Ben-Hadad subsequently took some key cities of Israel (“Ijon”, “Abelbethmaachah”, “all the land of Naphtali”, etc.).

 

So Benhadad listened to king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.

1 Kings 15:20

 

Tiglath-pileser III subsequently took some key cities of Israel (“Ijon”, “Abel Beth-Maakah”, “all the land of Naphtali”, etc.).

 

In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.

2 Kings 15:29

 

Ben-Hadad besieged Samaria.

 

Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.

2 Kings 6:24

 

Tiglath-pileser III besieged Samaria.

 

Having taken care of Damascus, Tiglath-pileser turned his attention to the other partner in this alliance, Samaria. ….

Tiglath-pileser’s annals acknowledge that Pekah was assassinated by residents of the northern kingdom, but they do not specifically identify the individuals involved in the plot. Tiglath-pileser took credit for installing Hoshea as king in Samaria, but from the Biblical point of view this installation should be viewed more as a confirmation of what had already taken place. The annals add the detail of how much tribute Tiglathpileser took away from Samaria at this time, which is not mentioned in the Biblical account.

 

“They overthrew their king Pekah and I placed Hoshea as king over them. I received from them 10 talents of gold and 1,000(?) talents of silver as their [tribute and brought them to Assyria.”

https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1980/01/the-last-years-of-samaria

 

A far greater significance is added to all this when we understand that Tiglath-pileser III was the same king as Shalmaneser (so-called V), the known besieger of Samaria:

 

According to 2 Kings 18:9-11, Shalmaneser (V) was the Assyrian king who conquered Samaria after a siege of three years.

“In the fourth year of the King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it and at the end of the three years he took it. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. The king of Assyria carried the Israelites away to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes” (R.S.V.).

Unfortunately for the historian, Shalmaneser V’s annals have never been found.

 

Mackey’s comment: Oh, yes, but they have “been found”, in Tiglath-pileser III’s records.

 

 

Greatness of Ben-Hadad I.

 

As I wrote in my thesis regarding the mighty Ben-Hadad I (Volume One, p. 66):

 

Even the greatest king … in the region, Iarim Lim of Iamkhad, had only twenty kings in train. …. But Ben-Hadad’s coalition, raised for the siege of Ahab’s capital of Samaria, could boast of thirty-two kings. Surely Ben-Hadad I was no secondary king in his day, but a ‘Great King’; the dominant king in fact in the greater Syrian region – a true master-king.

 

Greatness of Tiglath-pileser III.

 

Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BCE) was among the most powerful kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and, according to many scholars, the founder of the empire …. Tiglath Pileser re-organized the government, curtailed the power of the provincial rulers, re-structured the military, and revitalized the empire. Under his reign, the Assyrian Empire expanded and populations were forcibly re-located throughout the region to maximize the efficiency of the communities and discourage revolt. He was an adept administrator and is regularly regarded as one of the greatest military leaders in history.

….

Having secured his position and stabilized the government, he next turned his attention to the military, which also underwent drastic reformation. Previously, the army had been made up of conscripts who were forced to fight, often against their will, and primarily in the summer (the traditional time for campaigns as the crops would have already been planted and the harvest was still ahead). The new king changed this policy so that now there was a levy of a certain number of men each province had to provide who would be thoroughly trained to be a member of the Assyrian army and could campaign year-round. In doing so, Tiglath Pileser III created the first professional army in history. ….

According to the historian Gwendolyn Leick, Tiglath Pileser III “was a tireless campaigner, leading his powerful army for every year but one of his 17-year reign. He began by subduing Aramaean tribes in Babylonia, where he garnered support on a grand tour of the major sanctuaries” …..  Once the king of Babylon had sued for peace, Tiglath Pileser III left the city alone and paid homage to the gods of the land at the temples (as Leick alludes to regarding the `grand tour’). He then marched north to defeat the kingdom of Urartu, which had long been a powerful enemy of the Assyrians, in 743 BCE. With Urartu under Assyrian control, he then marched west into Syria and punished the kingdom of Arpad, which had been Urartu’s ally, in 741 BCE. He lay siege to the city for three years and, when it fell, he had it destroyed and the inhabitants slaughtered. He then divided Arpad’s kingdom into provinces under the rule of Assyrian governors (who were eunuchs, as per his policy) and deported huge segments of the population to other regions. ….

 

 

Tiglath-pileser (so-called III) looms as even greater yet, when he is coupled with his alter ego, Shalmaneser (so-called V). See e.g. my article:

 

Book of Tobit a guide to neo-Assyrian succession

 

https://www.academia.edu/37602841/Book_of_Tobit_a_guide_to_neo-Assyrian_succession

Parallel neo-Assyrian Kings

Published October 18, 2018 by amaic
Image result for book of tobit

Book of Tobit a guide to neo-Assyrian succession

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

Biblical scholars, such as Edwin Thiele, can be so committed to the supposedly unassailable accuracy of neo-Assyrian chronology that they are prepared to sacrifice multiple biblical synchronisms in order to ‘rectify’ the biblical chronology.

 

Here, instead, far from my passive acceptance of the received neo-Assyrian chronology, I shall be questioning the very number and succession of the neo-Assyrian kings.

 

 

Introduction

 

The extent of the neo-Assyrian succession that will occupy my attention in this article will be limited to that embraced by the Book of Tobit, i.e., from “Shalmaneser” (1:13: GNT) to “Esarhaddon” (1:21: GNT).

 

Whilst the standard textbook arrangement of neo-Assyrian monarchs runs something like this (my reason for including Tiglath-pileser III will become clear from Table 2):

 

Table 1

 

Tiglath-Pileser III 745–727 BC son of Ashur-nirari (V)
Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sargon II 722–705 BC
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

my revision would truncate this by reducing these conventionally five kings to a mere three, as according to the succession given in the Book of Tobit, whose accuracy I accept.

Hence:

 

Table 2

 

Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

The relevant parts of Tobit, all occurring in chapter 1, are verses 10, 12-13, 15, 21 (GNT):

 

‘Later, I was taken captive and deported to Assyria, and that is how I came to live in Nineveh.

…. Since I took seriously the commands of the Most High God, he made Emperor Shalmaneser respect me, and I was placed in charge of purchasing all the emperor’s supplies.

…. When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor.

…. two of Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him and then escaped to the mountains of Ararat. Another son, Esarhaddon, became emperor and put Ahikar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the financial affairs of the empire. …’.

 

The royal succession is here clearly given. “Shalmaneser”, who deported Tobit’s tribe of Naphtali (see Tobit 1:1), was succeeded at death by “his son Sennacherib”, who was, in turn, upon his assassination, succeeded by his “son, Esarhaddon”.

 

No room here for a Sargon II.

 

And Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” appears to have replaced Tiglath-pileser III as the Assyrian king who is said in 2 Kings 15:29 to have deported to Assyria the tribe of Naphtali: “… Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria”.

 

Is the Book of Tobit therefore contradicting the Second Book of Kings?

 

Objections to Tobit

 

It is common for scholars to point to what they consider to be the historical inaccuracies of those books generally described as “Apocryphal”.

To give some examples (https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/111-apocrypha-inspired-of-god-the): “Professor William Green of Princeton wrote: “The books of Tobit and Judith abound in geographical, chronological, and historical mistakes” (1899, 195). A critical study of the Apocrypha’s contents clearly reveals that it could not be the product of the Spirit of God”.

 

And (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=27KsQg7): “The books of Tobit and Judith contain some serious historical inaccuracies …”.

 

And – but more sympathetically (http://douglasbeaumont.com/2014/11/10/journey-through-the-deuteroncanonicals-tobit/):

 

The book of Tobit has occasionally been identified as being in the literary form of religious novel (much like Esther or Judith). Although it has sometimes been considered to be partially fictional (in the same way that Jesus’ proverbs are), Tobit was taken to be historical by Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Cyprian, Ephrem, Ambrose, Augustine, and Aquinas. Despite its solid historical pedigree, however, Tobit is often attacked for its historical errors (much like other biblical books are attacked by skeptics today). Further, Tobit’s manuscript history is messy. These alleged historical errors seem to have been caused by (and can be explained by) Tobit’s multiple manuscript versions and scribal inconsistency.

[End of quotes]

 

 

The common historical objections to the accuracy of Tobit are those already referred to, pertaining to both Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II.

Thus, for example, we read at (http://taylormarshall.com/2012/03/defending-the-book-of-tobit-as-history.html):

 

  1. Objection: It was Theglathphalasar [Tiglath-pileser] III who led Nephthali (IV Kings, xv, 29) into captivity (734 B.C.). But Tobit wrongly says that it was (i, 2), Salmanasar [Shalmaneser].
    ….
  2. Objection: Tobit wrongly states that Sennacherib was the son of Salmanasar (i, 19) whereas he was in verified history the son of Sargon.

 

These cease to be problems, however, if – as I have argued in a thesis and in various articles – Tiglath-pileser III was the same as Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” [= history’s Shalmaneser V], and Sargon II was the same as Tobit’s “Sennacherib” [= history’s Sennacherib].

 

Might not the Book of Tobit have the last laugh on its critics?

 

Revised Neo-Assyrian Succession

 

Whether or not my truncation of five neo-Assyrian kings to become three is valid, there are certainly some strong points in favour of such a reduction.

 

Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser

 

That Shalmaneser (so-called V) may be in need of a more powerful historical alter ego seems to me to be apparent from the fact that certain considerable deeds have been attributed to so virtually unknown and insignificant a king.

According, for instance, to 2 Kings 17:3-5:

 

Shalmaneser the king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea [king of Israel] became his vassal and paid tribute to him.  But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and he did not offer tribute to the king of Assyria as he had year after year; so the king of Assyria arrested him, and confined him in a house of imprisonment. So the king of Assyria went up in all the land, then he went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years.

 

Despite this, Shalmaneser qua Shalmaneser has left hardly a trace. According to one source, “there is no known relief depiction of Shalmaneser V” (http://emp.byui.edu/satterfieldb/rel3).

Be that as it may, there is so little evidence for him, anyway, that I was led to the conclusion, in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

that Shalmaneser must have been the same ruler as Tiglath-pileser III (Volume One, p. 147):

 

Unfortunately, very little is known of the reign of this ‘Shalmaneser’ [V] to supplement

[the Book of Tobit]. According to Roux, for instance: … “The short reign of … Shalmaneser V (726-722 B.C.) is obscure”. And Boutflower has written similarly: …. “The reign of Shalmaneser V (727-722) is a blank in the Assyrian records”. It seems rather strange, though, that a king who was powerful enough to have enforced a three year siege of Israel’s capital of Samaria (probably the Sha-ma-ra-in of the Babylonian Chronicle), resulting in the successful sack of that city, and to have invaded all Phoenicia and even to have besieged the mighty Tyre for five years … and to have earned a hateful reputation amongst the Sargonids, should end up “a blank” and “obscure” in the Assyrian records.

The name Tiglath-pileser was a throne name, as Sargon appears to have been – that is, a

name given to (or taken by) the king on his accession to the throne. In Assyrian cuneiform, his name is Tukulti-apil-ešarra, meaning: “My confidence is the son of Esharra”. This being a throne name would make it likely that the king also had a personal name – just as I have argued … that Sargon II had the personal name of Sennacherib.

The personal name of Tiglath-pileser III I believe to have been Shalmaneser.

 

And on p. 148 I continued:

 

Boutflower had surmised, on the basis of a flimsy record, that Tiglath-pileser III had died in battle and had been succeeded by Shalmaneser: …. “That Tiglathpileser died in battle is rendered probable by the entry in the Assyrian Chronicle for the year 727 B.C. ….: “Against the city of …. Shalmaneser seated himself on the throne”.” Tiglath-pileser is not even mentioned.

[End of quotes]

 

But the following may constitute the real crunch.

On pp. 371-372 of my university thesis I discussed the following fascinating piece of research by S. Irvine, who, however, may not have – due to his being bound to a conventional outlook – fully appreciated just what he had uncovered (Isaiah, Ahaz, and the Syro-Ephraimitic Crisis, Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series No. 123, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1990):

 

According to my revised neo-Assyrian chronology (as argued in detail in Chapter 6), Tiglath-pileser III himself was heavily involved in the last days of the kingdom of Israel. And indeed Irvine has discussed the surrender of Hoshea to Assyria, interestingly, and quite significantly, to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria, in connection with what he refers to as “ND4301 and ND4305 … adjoining fragments of a summary inscription found during the 1955 excavations at Nimrud and subsequently published by D. J. Wiseman”….. Here is Irvine’s relevant section of this: ….

 

Line 11 reports that Hoshea … submitted personally to Tiglathpileser. Where and when this occurred is not altogether clear, for the Akkadian text is critically uncertain at this point. Wiseman reads, ka-ra-ba-ni a-di mah_-ri-ia, and translates, “pleading to my presence”. This rendering leaves open the date and place of Hoshea’s submission. More recently, R. Borger and H. Tadmor restored the name of the southern Babylonian town, Sarrabanu, at the beginning of the line …. On linguistic grounds this reading is preferable to “pleading” (karabani). It appears then that Hoshea paid formal homage to Tiglathpileser in Sarrabanu, where the Assyrian king was campaigning during his fourteenth year, Nisan 731 – Nisan 730. The event thus occurred well after the conclusion of the Assyrian campaigns “against Damascus” (Nisan 733 – Nisan 731).

 

This may have vital, new chronological ramifications. If this were indeed the “fourteenth year” of the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, who reigned for seventeen years …. and if he were Shalmaneser V as I am maintaining, then this incident would have been the prelude to the following Assyrian action as recorded in 2 Kings 17:5: “Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it”. These “three years” would then approximate to Tiglath-pileser III’s 14th-17th years. “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria” (v. 6). That event, as we know, occurred in c. 722 BC. And it may just be that this apocalyptical moment for Israel is recorded in the fragments of Tiglath-pileser III now under discussion.

I continue with Irvine’s account: ….

 

The Assyrian treatment of Israel at large, presumably once described in 1. 10, is also uncertain. According to Wiseman’s translation, the text refers cryptically to “a district” and “their surrounding areas” …. Alternatively, Borger and Tadmor restore the Akkadian along the lines of III R 10,2:15-18: “[House of Omri] in [its] en[tirety …together with their pos]sessions [I led away] to [Assyria]” …. This reading is conjectural but possible. If it is correct, the text reports the wholesale deportation of Israel. The truth of this sweeping claim is a separate question ….

 

Further on, Irvine will propose that this “statement exaggerates the Assyrian action against Israel”, though he does not deny the fact of an Assyrian action. Thus:

…. “Not all the people could have been exiled, for some people obviously must have remained for the new king Hoshea to rule”. But if this were, as I am maintaining, the time of Hoshea’s imprisonment by Assyria, with the subsequent siege and then capture of Samaria, his capital city, then there may have been no king Hoshea any more in the land of Israel to rule the people.

….

 

Sargon II/Sennacherib

 

Without going over old ground here I shall simply refer readers to a recent article:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

 

according to which Sargon II, Sennacherib, the same person, represent ‘two sides of the one coin’. This conclusion arose, not from any direct intention to defend the Assyrian succession in Tobit 1 (from Shalmaneser straight on to Sennacherib), but from the significant overlap beyond mere co-regency that I found there.

And I notice that this connection has been taken up by A. Lyle (Ancient History: A Revised Chronology: An Updated Revision …, Volume 1) (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=w), when he writes: “Sennacherib is conventionally listed as a separate king. There are some who believe that he is the same king as Sargon, including this revised chronology”.

I believe that this serves to solve a host of problems, many of which I discussed in my thesis. For example, there is the constant problem for conventionalists of whether to attribute something to Sargon II or to Sennacherib, an irrelevancy in my scheme of things. Wm. Shea seems to struggle with this (SARGON’S AZEKAH INSCRIPTION: THE EARLIEST EXTRABIBLICAL REFERENCE TO THE SABBATH? Biblical Research Institute Silver Spring, MD

(https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:_96AnfQDj1gJ:www.auss):

 

The Azekah Text

 

The “Azekah Text,” so called because of the Judahite site attacked in its record, is an Assyrian text of considerable historical significance because of its mention of a military campaign to Philistia and Judah. …. In this tablet the king reports his campaign to his god. An unusual feature of this text is the name of the god upon whom the Assyrian king calls: Anshar, the old Babylonian god who was syncretized with the Assyrian god Assur. This name was rarely used by Assyrian kings, and then only at special times and in specific types of texts, by Sargon and Sennacherib. The text is badly broken. In fact, until 1974 its two fragments were attributed to two different kings, Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon. In that year, Navad Na’aman joined the two pieces, showing that they once belonged to the same tablet. When Na’aman made the join between the two fragments, he attributed the combined text to Sennacherib, largely on the basis of linguistic comparison. Because the vocabulary of the text was similar to the language used in Sennacherib’s inscriptions, Na’aman argued that Sennacherib was the author. However, since Sennacherib immediately followed Sargon on the throne, it would be natural to expect that the mode of expression would be similar. In all likelihood some of Sargon’s scribes continued to work under Sennacherib, using the same language.

 

[End of quote]

Likewise, G. Gertoux has appreciated the need to recognise a substantial overlap – though not a complete one, as in the cased of my reconstructions – between Sargon II and Sennacherib. This is apparent from what he has written in his Abstract to Dating Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah:

http://www.academia.edu/2926387/Dating_the_Sennacheribs_Campaign_to_Jud

 

The traditional date of 701 BCE for Sennacherib’s campaign to Judah, with the siege of Lachish and Jerusalem and the Battle of Eltekeh, is accepted by historians for many years without notable controversy. However, the inscription of Sargon II, found at Tang-i Var in 1968, requires to date this famous campaign during his 10th campaign, in 712 BCE, implying a coregency with Sennacherib from 714BCE. A thorough analysis of the annals and the reliefs of Sargon and Sennacherib shows that there was only one campaign in Judah and not two. The Assyrian assault involved the presence of at least six kings (or similar): 1) taking of Ashdod by the Assyrian king Sargon II in his 10th campaign, 2) taking of Lachish by Sennacherib during his 3rd  campaign, 3) siege of Jerusalem dated 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah; 4) battle of Eltekeh led by  Nubian co-regent Taharqa; 5) under the leadership of King Shabataka during his 1st year of reign; 6) probable disappearance of the Egyptian king Osorkon IV in his 33rd year of reign. This conclusion agrees exactly with the biblical account that states all these events occurred during the 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah dated 712 BCE (2Kings 18:13-17, 19:9; 2Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 20:1, 36:1, 37:9).

[End of quote]

 

Less perspicacious in this matter, however, was Edwin Thiele, who, in his much lauded text book, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Academie Books, Grand Rapids, 1983), had been prepared to sacrifice biblical chronology on the altar of a presumed highly accurate conventional neo-Assyrian chronology.

I wrote about this, for instance, on p. 22 of my thesis:

 

Firstly, regarding the Hezekian chronology in its relationship to the fall of Samaria, one

of the reasons for Thiele’s having arrived at, and settled upon, 716/715 BC as the date for the commencement of reign of the Judaean king was due to the following undeniable

problem that arises from a biblical chronology that takes as its point of reference the conventional neo-Assyrian chronology. I set out the ‘problem’ here in standard terms. If Samaria fell in the 6th year of Hezekiah, as the Old Testament tells it, then Hezekiah’s reign must have begun about 728/727 B.C. If so, his 14th year, the year in which Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, must have been about 714 B.C. But this last is, according to the conventional scheme, about ten years before Sennacherib became king and about thirteen years before his campaign against Jerusalem which is currently dated to 701 B.C. On the other hand, if Hezekiah’s reign began fourteen years before Sennacherib’s campaign, that is in 715 B.C, it began about twelve to thirteen years too late for Hezekiah to have been king for six years before the fall of Samaria. In short, the problem as seen by chronologists is whether the starting point of Hezekiah’s reign should be dated in relationship to the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C, or to the campaign of Sennacherib in 701 B.C.

[End of quote]

 

Another knotty problem, that dissolves completely, though, if Sargon II be Sennacherib.

 

Thiele’s influential work has in fact had a disastrous effect, serving to destroy a three-way biblical synchronism for the sake of upholding a hopelessly flawed conventional Assyriology.

Still on p. 22, I wrote:

….

 

The Fall of Samaria

 

This famous event has traditionally been dated to c. 722/21 BC … and, according to the

statement in 2 Kings, it occurred “in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel” (18:10). While all this seems straightforward enough, more recent versions of biblical chronology, basing themselves on the research of the highly-regarded Professor Thiele … have made impossible the retention of such a promising syncretism between king Hoshea and king Hezekiah by dating the beginning of the latter’s reign to 716/715 BC, about six years after the fall of Samaria.

[End of quote]

 

That vital three-way synchronism, the Fall of Samaria; 6th year Hezekiah; 9th year Hoshea; coupled with the known neo-Assyrian connections attached to it, is a solid biblico-historical rock of foundation that needs to be staunchly preserved and defended, and not overturned on the basis of a flimsy and unconvincing Mesopotamian ‘history’.

 

Esarhaddon

 

In my thesis, I, flushed with my apparent success in reducing Sargon II, Sennacherib, to just the one king, became ‘too cute’ afterwards in the case of Esarhaddon by trying to make his entire reign fit within that of his father Sennacherib.

I would have been far better off having paid closer heed to the Book of Tobit, as I had done in the cases of Esarhaddon’s predecessors.

 

I now fully accept the triple succession of neo-Assyrian kings as laid out in Tobit 1, namely:

 

“Shalmaneser”

(= Tiglath-pileser III), the father of

“Sennacherib”

(= Sargon II), the father of

“Esarhaddon”.

 

However!!! 

 

I have recently added to Esarhaddon, also, an alter ego, in the same fashion as I had to his predecessors (according to the Book of Tobit): “Sennacherib” (= Sargon II) and “Shalmaneser” (= Tiglath-pileser III), identifying the “son” with the conventionally-supposed “father”.

Esarhaddon I now consider to have been the same as his supposed son, Ashurbanipal.

 

See the implied connection between Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in my recent article:

 

“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” : dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Four: Archaeological precision about foundation alignment

 

https://www.academia.edu/37596969/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Four_Archaeological_precision_about_foundation_alignment

 

with more in the future presumably to be written about this fascinating new connection.  

Also a Seleucid and more battles of Thermopylae

Published October 15, 2018 by amaic

Image result for seleucid thermopylae

Not so ‘Hot Gates’ of Thermopylae

 

Part Two:

Also a Seleucid and more battles of Thermopylae

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Thermopylae is a mountain pass near the sea in northern Greece

which was the site of several battles in antiquity, the most famous being

that between Persians and Greeks in August 480 BCE”.

 Mark Cartwright

The OTHER Battles of Thermopylae:

https://steemit.com/history/@iaberius/the-other-battles-of-thermopylae

are given here as follows:

 

  • 353 BC Battle of the Thermopylae. It took place during the Third Sacred War. Phocis and Thebes clashed over Delphi’s control. The Phocians made heroic resistance in the Thermopylae against the ally of the Thebanians, King Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great.

 

  • 279 BC Battle of Thermopylae. An alliance of the Greeks (Beotians, Phocians, Etholians, Megarenses and Athenians) defended the passage against the invasion of the Breno’s Celts. Breno tried to use the hidden path used by Persian army two thousand years earlier, but the Greeks were prepared this time. A garrison defends the rough road, so Breno deviates to Delphi. In a second attempt, he succeeds in passing thanks the fog. However, the Greeks had been evacuated in the Athenian ships. Every one of the contingent goes to defend their city.

 

  • 191 BC Battle of Thermopylae. In this battle, the Seleucids clashed Romans, who came to Greece as allies of Macedonians. Marco Acilio Glabrio surrounded with his troops the army of King Antiochus III. They used the old mountain pass, and thus won the battle.

 

  • 267 AD Battle of Thermopylae. Several barbarian tribes assaulted the Roman Empire. First, they looted the Balkans, and then they extended their raid for Greece. One of these people, the Heruli, arrived at Thermopylae passage, where they tried to stop them without success. As a result, they devastated the entire Attica and the Peloponnese peninsula. Even the city of Sparta was plundered.

 

 

Regarding the supposed Seleucid one of Antiochus (so-called) III, we read:

http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_thermopylae_191.html

 

The battle of Thermopylae of 191 B.C. ended the Greek phase of the war between Rome and the Seleucid emperor Antiochus III. Antiochus had crossed into Greece from Asia Minor at the head of small army, hoping to find allies amongst the Greeks. He had been disappointed in this expectation – only the Aetolian League, who had invited him into Greece in the first place, offered him troops, and even then not as many as he had hoped.

 


Regions of
Ancient Greece

 

The Romans responded by sending an army to Greece, commanded by the consul M. Acilius Glabrio. He was more successful in finding allies, most notably gaining the support of Philip V of Macedonia, who only a few years before had been crushingly defeated by the Romans at Cynoscephalae (Second Macedonian War). Between them Philip and the Romans quickly recaptured all of Antiochus’ conquests in Thessaly.

Antiochus decided to defend the pass of Thermopylae, where the greater Roman numbers would not be so telling. This position allowed him to remain in communication with Aetolia, and protected the crucial naval base at Chalcis. Antiochus defended the pass himself, with his 10,500 men, posting his slingers on the heights above the pass and his phalanx behind strong earthworks. The Aetolians were given the task of guarding his left flank, leaving 2,000 men at Heraclea in Trachis and posting 2,000 men in the forts that guarded the Asopus gorge and the mountain tracks that the Persians had used.

 

Unfortunately for Antiochus the Romans had read the history books. They may have had as many as 40,000 men, and so on the night before the Roman attack they could afford to send 2,000 men around his western flank. On the day of the battle the Romans began with a frontal assault on his position. The first attack failed under a hail of missile weapons from the heights, and even when a second attack broke through the first Seleucid line, they were held off by Antiochus’ dug-in phalanx.

 

The turning point of the battle came when the Roman flanking force appeared behind Antiochus’ position, and defeated the Aetolian troops guarding the col of Callidromus. The Seleucid army in the pass broke and fled, suffering heavy losses in the retreat. Antiochus was only able to rally 500 men at Elatea. He then retreated to Chalcis, before setting sail for Ephesus and Asia Minor.

 

The war in Greece continued across the summer of 191, and saw Philip V recover some of the areas he had lost to the Aetolians after the Second Macedonian War. The Aetolians were then given permission to appear to the Senate, effectively suing for peace. At the same time the Romans turned their attention to an invasion of Asia Minor, winning a major naval battle at Corycusbefore winter ended the campaign of 191.

 

Queen Elizabeth 1 as Judith

Published October 15, 2018 by amaic
Image result for elizabeth 1 warrior

World Renowned Judith of Bethulia

 

Part Six:

Queen Elizabeth 1 as Judith

 

  

“While I do not argue that Elizabeth was the first English monarch to be paralleled

with Judith … Elizabeth was both the first monarch to be compared to Judith in a sustained and systematic way for religio-political purposes, and also

the first monarch to affirm the analogy in her own words”.

 Aidan Norrie

 

 

Taken from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/rest.12258

 

Elizabeth I as Judith: reassessing the apocryphal

widow’s appearance in Elizabethan royal

iconography

 

….

Historians and literary scholars have long noted and analysed the appearance of biblical analogies as part of Tudor and Stuart royal iconography. Using the example of a biblical figure, monarchs demonstrated the divine precedent for their decisions, and subjects in turn could counsel their monarch to emulate the actions of a divinely favoured biblical figure. Queen Elizabeth I of England was the subject of the greatest number of biblical analogies drawn in the early modern period: analogies were drawn both by apologists and by Elizabeth herself throughout the entire span of the queen’s reign, and for almost a century after her death. …. Elizabeth’s comparisons with Deborah the Judge, Queen Esther, Daniel the Prophet, King Solomon, and King David have all received varying levels of attention in the existing scholarship: but the analogy to Judith, the chaste widow of the Apocrypha, has generally escaped detailed analysis. …. Judith was invoked in various ways throughout Elizabeth’s reign, and the diverse analogies reflect the changing religio-political climate of the time. This article offers a re-examination of the comparisons drawn between Elizabeth and Judith during the queen’s life. In doing so, I argue that contrary to claims in some of the existing scholarship, Judith was routinely and consistently offered to Elizabeth as biblical precedent for dealing with Roman Catholics – with violence, not just diplomatic rhetoric – and for the providential sanctioning of female rule; and that Elizabeth, in drawing the parallel to Judith herself, inserted her own voice into these debates. ….

 

Judith’s story can be found in the eponymous book of the Apocrypha. A prophecy was brought, foretelling that Bethulia, Judith’s city, would be lost to the invading Assyrians because of the Jews’ disobedience. Judith attempted to prevent this happening, and prayed to God that he would give her a ‘sworde to take vengeance of the [invading] strangers’. …. She and her handmaiden allowed themselves to be captured by the Assyrians, claiming that they had deserted. The Assyrians took her to Holofernes, the General of the Army. Judith lied to Holofernes that God had forsaken the Jews because they ate his offerings before the requisite time had past, and that he would not defend them until the sacrifices were re-offered, which would take many days to organize. Holofernes was pleased with this news, and allowed Judith to stay in the camp. On the fourth night at the camp, after a banquet, Holofernes passed out, drunk. His servants left the tent, and Judith remained inside, alone. She picked up Holofernes’ sword, grasped his hair, prayed, ‘Strengthen me,

O Lord God of Israel, this day,’ and then ‘shee smote twise upon his necke with all her might, and she took away his head from him.’ …. She stowed the head in her handmaiden’s bag, and the two left the camp. She returned to Bethulia, and showed the head, saying, ‘Beholde the head of Holofernes the chiefe captaine of the army of Assur . . . the Lord hath smitten him by the hand of a woman.’ …. Without their general, the Assyrian army fell into disarray, and the attack was abandoned.

 

In the existing scholarship, the most comprehensive study of Elizabeth as Judith remains England’s Eliza, by Elkin Calhoun Wilson. The first chapter of Wilson’s book is called ‘Judith in the Broadsides’, which, despite its title, focuses on ‘the concept of Gloriana taking form’ throughout Elizabethan literature, including pamphlets and dramatic productions. …. Rather than systematically analysing Elizabeth as Judith, Wilson used the concept of the widow Judith – the chaste, God-fearing woman who saved her people – and attempted to trace this theme in depictions of the queen. Wilson ends his discussion of Judith, however, by noting the familiarity the English felt for Judith: ‘in the study of Elizabeth idealized as Elisa [sic], Diana, and Gloriana, it is always to be remembered that the Judith . . . is an elder cockney cousin of these court ladies; in her homely style she testifies to their honest English stock.’ ….

 

John N. King’s study of Tudor iconography remains the key work that argues for Judith’s potency and longevity. King observes that, ‘Judith, in her victory over Holofernes (now considered a type for militant Catholicism) . . . embodies triumphal power conventionally relegated to kings.’ …. By arguing that Judith’s gender did not prevent her from saving the Israelites, Elizabeth’s apologists were able to assert that God’s defence of England would continue, even with a female king on the throne. …. The analogy to Judith thus asserted Elizabeth’s position as England’s providential monarch, who would be given the necessary strength by God to overcome England’s enemies.

 

While I do not argue that Elizabeth was the first English monarch to be paralleled with Judith … the examples assembled here demonstrate that Elizabeth was both the first monarch to be compared to Judith in a sustained and systematic way for religio-political purposes, and also the first monarch to affirm the analogy in her own words. The importance of these two facts is often sidelined in the scholarship that does discuss the Judith analogy. Helen Hackett’s study of Elizabeth and the cult of the Virgin Mary is excellent, but dismisses Judith’s longevity by claiming, ‘biblical heroines like Deborah and Judith dominated early Elizabethan royal iconography.’ ….

 

 

St Benedict and Elijah

Published October 14, 2018 by amaic
Image result for elijah and ravens

 

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

“Some details of the story about Benedict – the father’s entreaty, the saint

walking to the child and lying prostrate on him – make us think especially of Elisha,

but the analogies with Elijah are more numerous”.

Adalbert de Vogüé

 

 

 

Hagiography and the Cult of Saints: The Diocese of Orléans, 800-1200 (p. 129).

By Thomas Head:

 

…. In the eleventh century members of the religious communities of the Orléanais produced sermons for use on the feats of their patrons which were based on patristic and Carolingian texts. Aimo of Fleury, for example, began his Sermo in festivitatibus s. Benedicti with a long comparison of Benedict with the prophet Elijah ….

 

 

The Life of St. Benedict–Gregory the Great (p. 151).

By Adalbert de Vogüé:

Some details of the story about Benedict – the father’s entreaty, the saint walking to the child and lying prostrate on him – make us think especially of Elisha, but the analogies with Elijah are more numerous. Like Elijah, Benedict says a prayer aloud which the narrator reports verbatim, and this supplication follows the act of prostration and so immediately precedes the re-animation. The order of events serves to prove Gregory’s thesis – the miracle must be seen as the result of prayer. For this reason, like Elijah and unlike Elisha, Benedict prays after lying on the child, just before obtaining his revival. Further, in speaking of the “return” of the child’s “soul” and of “giving him to his father”, Gregory again unequivocally echoes Elijah’s epic.

 

 

Benedict and the Famine (drought)

 

Adalbert de Vogüé also writes (op. cit., p. 131):

 

The famine in Campania … recalls the drought which prevailed at the time of Elijah when he asked another widow to give him all that remained for her to live on, promising her in return that she would never lack oil or wheat again …. By his faith and generosity in giving away his last reserves, Benedict resembles the attitude of this woman.

But the miracle of the jar filling with oil is less like Elijah’s than Elisha’s deed. ….

 

Benedict and the Ravens

Another Reason I Like St. Benedict

By Daria Sockey:

http://dariasockey.blogspot.com/2013/07/another-reason-i-like-st-benedict.html

 

If you take a magnifying glass to your St. Benedict medal you will see a raven standing at his feet. Or if you don’t have a magnifying glass (or a St. Benedict medal) just google “St. Benedict raven”, and have a great time looking at all the paintings, icons, statues and Benedictine college sports mascots that depict this bird. ….

 

….

 

www.gifts-of-faith.com

The story is that when Benedict tried to reform a lax monastery, a couple of monks who did NOT want to be reformed tried to do away with him by serving him poisoned bread. But a helpful raven flew in through the window, snatched the loaf out of the saint’s hand, and made off with it.

I hope the raven didn’t eat it.

Ravens are not generally thought of as “nice” birds, but God seems to like them an awful lot. He sent one to the prophet Elijah with loaves of (non-poisoned) bread while he was hiding out in the desert from his enemies. He inspired the psalmist to marvel at His providence for the “young ravens that call upon Him” in Psalm 147.  I’m pretty sure there’s a few more Ravens to the Rescue of Saints stories out there, but can’t think of them at the moment.

Anyway, it’s the kind of thing that animal lovers like myself get excited about.

 

 

 

Benedict and silence

 

Elijah, Benedict and the gift of silence:

http://catholicityandcovenant.blogspot.com/2016/06/elijah-benedict-and-gift-of-silence.html#!/2016/06/elijah-benedict-and-gift-of-silence.html

 

At the Holy Eucharist on the Friday of the Second Week after Trinity

I Kings 19:9,11-16 – Ps. 26:7-9,13-14 – Matthew 5:27-32

It was a time of tumult and division and violence.

Elijah the prophet confronts Ahab the king.

Ahab kills the prophets of Israel …

Elijah kills the prophets of the king’s cults.

Elijah flees for his life.

He comes to the mount of Horeb, “the mount of God”.

It was here that God had appeared to Moses, in the bush which while aflame, was not consumed.

This, in other words, was a ‘thin place’, a place of encounter and revelation.

I think we can guess what Elijah may have desired.

Surely he desired the God of the great wind, the God of earthquake, the God of the fire …

Bringing judgement, tearing down, overcoming foes in shock and awe.

“But the Lord was not in the wind … the earthquake … the fire”.

Where is God encountered by Elijah?

In “a sound of sheer silence”.

It seems so out of place in an age of tumult and division and violence …

Amidst Elijah’s fears and uncertainities.

Silence seems so vulnerable and insignificant.

But again and again in the story of Scripture, silence is the place of encounter and revelation.

The silence of the Virgin’s womb … where God takes flesh and dwells amongst us.

The silence of Jesus before his accusers … where hatred and violence become subject to divine love and forgiveness.

The silence of the tomb on that first day of the week, early in the morning … where death is swallowed up in Life.

Christians haven’t always grasped this meaning of silence.

Too often, amidst challenge and uncertainty, we desire to speak often and loudly …

Rather than follow Elijah to Mount Horeb.

But there have been times in the Church’s life when silence has been understood.

 

 

In the 6th century, as western Europe experienced the trauma of the fall of the Roman Empire …

As the political, social, economic and cultural order collapsed …

A monk called Benedict wrote a rule for the community which formed around him.

He said “the disciple is to be silent and to listen” [2].

The oratory – the church – at the heart of his community was to be a place of “the most profound silence” [3].

As Europe fell apart, Benedict’s communities were characterised by silence.

It seems like an incredibly foolish response to the circumstances … as with the silence Elijah experienced on Mount Horeb.

But these Benedictine communities flourished, becoming centres of prayer, service and study which proved more enduring than the Roman Empire.

The temptation facing the Church in times of challenge and crisis is to be loud, to want the power of wind, earthquake and fire.

Elijah on Mount Horeb, Benedict in his monastic community lead us to a different way …

The way of silence, where God is encountered, where our words cease and God’s presence is experienced …

Where silence gives deep meaning to the reading of Scripture and the celebration of the Eucharist …

Where silence calls us to humility, generosity and service.

It is a call to us to cherish those times of silence in the Liturgy …

To embrace the silence of this parish church …

To nurture times of silence in daily living.

God is not in the wind, the earthquake, the fire – in the shock and awe of the loud, the powerful, the muscular.

God is in the sound of sheer silence, in the most profound silence …

Where the heart encounters the One who is Eternal, the Triune God who is closer to us than we are to ourselves.

——————-

[1] I Kings 19:8

[2]  Rule of St Benedict, 6.

[3] Rule of St Benedict, 52.

 

 

King Amon of Judah and Aman (Haman) of Esther

Published October 14, 2018 by amaic

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face”.

 

Esther 7:8

 

 

“Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done.

Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt”.

2 Chronicles 33:21-23

 

Amon …. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. …. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace.

 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”.

 2 Kings 21:19, 23-24

 

 

Introductory

 

A notable feature of the extremely brief biography of king Amon of Judah, as given above in 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings, is that one so young as he, in his early twenties, whose reign was so short, seemingly, “two years”, could have outdone in wickedness his father Manasseh, who reigned for “fifty-five years” (2 Kings 21:1), and who was – according to the prophet Jeremiah – a very cause of the Babylonian catastrophe that was then about to befall Jerusalem and the Jews (Jeremiah 15:4): “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”.

 

Jeremiah’s statement here immediately prompts a further consideration.

Why would the prophet single out Manasseh, by now supposedly well dead, when other evil kings of Judah would fill in the gap between Manasseh and the Babylonian incursions?

Prior to the Fall of Jerusalem certain idolatrous progeny of king Josiah of Judah would reign: namely, (i) Jehoahaz; (ii) Eliakim (re-named Jehoiakim); (iii) Jehoiachin; and (iv) Mattaniah (re-named Zedekiah).

 

Also in need of explanation is the testimony of 2 Chronicles that “Amon increased his guilt”. “Two years” of reign might seem hardly enough time for one notably to “increase” one’s guilt, at least to the extent that it would be considered worth mentioning.

There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!

The solutions to be proposed in this article will serve to solve not a few problems – although they will cause new ones as well. The positives, however, will well outweigh the negatives.

 

 

Part One:

Amon during the Babylonian Era

 

 

Duplicate Kings of Judah

 

 

  • Amon’s royal alter ego

 

 

Commentators, suspecting that Amon ruled “in a critical period”, wish that they could know far more about him. Thus we read in the Jewish Encyclopedia (“Amon, King of Judah”): http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1420-amon-king-of-judah

 

It is rather unfortunate that so little is known of the reign of Amon, king of Judah; for he lived evidently in a critical period. The endeavors of the prophets to establish a pure form of YHWH worship had for a short time been triumphant in Hezekiah’s reign; but a reaction against them set in after the latter’s death, and both Manasseh and his son Amon appear to have followed the popular trend in reestablishing the old Canaanitish form of cult, including the Ashera and Moloch worship. Whether Manasseh “repented,” as the chronicle tells us, is more than doubtful. There is no record of this in the book of Kings, and absolutely no indication of such a change in the subsequent course of events. ….

 

{The repentance of Manasseh is yet another issue that we intend to address in this article}.

 

Above we read that at least two of Josiah’s sons, Eliakim and Mattaniah, were re-named.

The same, we think, must have applied to King Amon, for this name “Amon” is not Hebrew, but is the name of the Egyptian “king of the gods” Amon (also Amun, Amen, Ammon).

It is found, for instance, in the name Tutankhamun.

“Living Image of Amun”

 

The first step in our search for the complete King Amon (Part One) could therefore be to find an initial alter ego for him. And the likeliest possible alter ego for Amon among the evil later kings of Judah is the similarly short-reigning Jehoiachin, an historically-attested king.

 

 

 

Amon-as-Jehoiachin offers the two immediate advantages of this king’s:

 

(i) having gone into Babylonian captivity and continuing on there for about four decades (Jeremiah 52:31) – thereby enabling for him to have, as is said of Amon, “increased his guilt”;

 

and

 

(ii) having as his father one Jehoiakim, who – since the latter was appointed and re-named by pharaoh Necho – was an Egyptian vassal – hence providing an explanation for why his son Jehoiachin might also have the Egyptian name Amon.

 

Whilst, admittedly, Jehoiachin’s age and length of reign in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8): “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months”, do not perfectly match those of Amon (“twenty-two years” of age and “two years” of reign) – one of those newly-created problems referred to above – the differences can largely be accounted for by co-regency.

Indeed, a calculation of the reigns of Jehoiakim and his son, Jehoiachin, in relation to those of the contemporaneous Babylonian (Chaldean) kings will bear this out. The most important date in the Old Testament, synchronising two biblical kings with a secular king, and also including a number for Jeremiah, is this one from the Book of Jeremiah (25:1-3):

 

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.  So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: ‘For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened’.

 

Since Jehoiakim’s 4th year corresponded to the 1st year of King Nebuchednezzar II, then Jehoiakim’s last year in Jerusalem, his 11th (2 Kings 23:36): “ Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years”, must correspond to Nebuchednezzar’s 8th year of reign.

Jehoiachin then succeeded his exiled father, Jehoiakim, as king in Jerusalem.

It is commonly agreed that Nebuchednezzar II reigned for 43 years, which would mean that, by the end of his reign, 35 years after Jehoiakim’s exile, in the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar’s son-successor, Evil-Merodach,

 

(i) Jehoiakim would be in about his 46th year, whilst

 

(ii) Jehoiachin would be in about his 35th year.

 

However, according to Jeremiah 52:31, Jehoiachin was then in his 37th year: “And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”.

That two-year discrepancy (35th, 37th) is just the amount of co-regency required – if we have properly calculated it – for an accurate merging of the reign of Amon with that of Jehoiachin.

 

Perhaps more difficult to explain is the apparent discrepancy in the case of the “mother”.

Compare these two texts:

 

“[Amon’s] mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah” (2 Kings 21:19).

“[Jehoiachin’s] mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem” (2 Kings 24:8).

 

Different names, different geography!

But “mother” can have a somewhat broad meaning, not always intending biological mother.

It can also refer to the Gebirah, גְּבִירָה “the Great Lady”, who can be the grand-mother.

“Gebirah = grandmother Maacah, 1 Kings 15:8-24 …”. (Agape Bible Study)

 

I Chronicles 3:16 seems to have Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, as the latter’s brother.

 

We shall return to this in Part Two when we further extend Amon as a captive in a foreign land, where we shall find him designated as a “son of” his actual aunt, and not his mother.

 

 

  • Manasseh’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, we turn to consider the possibility (already alluded to above) that Amon’s father, Manasseh, was the same as Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim. This new identification, whilst seeming to solve a host of problems, does, once again, create new ones, such as the need now to re-arrange the list of late Judaean kings. And this will, in turn, affect a part of Matthew’s “Genealogy of Jesus Christ”.

 

Advantages of this identification

 

It would immediately explain why Jeremiah would attribute the Babylonian catastrophes to Manasseh, instead of to a supposedly later idolatrous king of Judah, such as Jehoiakim.

For, if Manasseh were Jehoiakim, as we are thinking, then that problem simply dissolves.

From 2 Kings 24:6 it appears that King Jehoiakim, though taken into captivity in chains, had actually died in peace. That would accord nicely with the biblical testimony that Manasseh finally repented (“humbled himself before the Lord”), returned to Jerusalem, then rebuilt and fortified the capital city (2 Chronicles 33:14).

From the above calculations for Jehoiakim in relation to the Babylonians, his alter ego, Manasseh, would have been, with the advent of the Medo-Persian era, in about the 50th year of his 55 years of reign.

Twelve years old at the commencement of his reign (2 Kings 21:1), now plus 50.

We might even be able to identify him with the mysterious “Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah” of Ezra 1:8, into whose hands Cyrus gave “the treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken”.

{Was “Sheshbazzar” also the “Shaashgaz” of Esther 2:14?}

King Manasseh would have died only a few years after this famous Ezra 1:8 incident.

 

Again we ask: What about that very strong tradition that the prophet Isaiah was martyred during the reign of King Manasseh? There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Manasseh, under this name, had martyred Isaiah. Might we, though, find the incident in the account in which his alter ego (as we think), Jehoiakim, had a fleeing prophet pursued into Egypt (Jeremiah 26:20-23)? The prophet is there named “Uriah” (or Urijah), which name is, in its variant Azariah, compatible with “Uzziah” (Isaiah’s name in Judith – see next page).

 

{King Uzziah of Judah: 2 Chronicles 26:1, was also named Azariah: 2 Kings 15:1)}.

 

 

Seal of the prophet Isaiah?

 

We know this of “the great prophet Isaiah” from Sirach 48:24-25: “His powerful spirit looked into the future, and he predicted what was to happen before the end of time, hidden things that had not yet occurred”. His foretelling of Cyrus (e.g. Isaiah 45:1): “Cyrus is my anointed [“messiah”: מְשִׁיח] king”, is one such case, and, owing to Isaiah’s propensity for predicting hidden and distant things, commentators must scramble to create a Deutero-, even a Trito-Isaiah. Chances are, though, that, according to our revision – which shunts the age of Isaiah (and the late neo-Assyrian kings) right into the age of Isaiah’s younger contemporary, Jeremiah (and the neo-Babylonian kings) – Cyrus was already a teenager by the time of the reign of Jehoiakim; the reign that bore the burden, as we think, for Isaiah’s martyrdom.

Cyrus may therefore have been known to Isaiah as a young prodigy, perhaps, for instance under the tutelage of Ahikar, nephew of Tobit, a governor of Elam (Susa) from where Cyrus would one day reign. Ahikar had previously been the mentor of Sennacherib’s eldest son, the treacherous “Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit 14:10, and the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith.

 

Ahikar and Isaiah had met at least once, in the midst of the Judith drama, Ahikar as “Achior”, and Isaiah as “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon” (Judith 6:15).

 

Now, regarding the king’s mother’s name, which had loomed as somewhat awkward in the case of Amon-Jehoiachin, Manasseh’s “mother’s name … Hephzibah” (2 Kings 21:1) stands up quite well against Jehoiakim’s “mother’s name … Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah” (2 Kings 23:36). Thus, Zibah and Zebudah.

 

We read above that Jehoiakim was taken into Babylonian captivity in chains, and so, too, was Jehoiakim’s alter ego, Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:11): “So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon”. “’Manasseh King of the Jews’ appears in a list of 22 Assyrian tributaries of Imperial Assyria on both the Prism of Esarhaddon and the Prism of Ashurbanipal” (E.M. Blaiklock and R.K. Harrison, The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, 1983)”.

The approximately 43-year reigning Ashurbanipal (c. 669 – c. 626 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Manasseh, must therefore be the same as the 43-year reigning Nebuchednezzar (c. 605 – c. 562 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Jehoiakim.

 

As with Jehoiakim’s death, apparently, so was Manasseh’s passing peaceful (2 Kings 21:18): “And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza”. This unknown location, presumed to be somewhere in the city of Jerusalem, is where we shall learn that Amon, too, was buried.

And we shall find that it was not in Jerusalem but was in the land of exile of these two kings.

 

 

  • Hezekiah’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, and Manasseh as Jehoiakim, then we ought now look to consider the possibility that Manasseh’s father, King Hezekiah, was the same as Jehoiakim’s father, King Josiah. This question is asked at Bible Hermeneutics: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1298/who-was-a-greater-king-hezekiah-

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

About Hezekiah, we read in 2 Kings 18:5-6:

 

Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

 

But then about Josiah a couple chapters later in 2 Kings 23:25:

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

 

How can the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah both be the greatest, especially when it is said of both that neither before nor after him was there a king like him? Is this a contradiction?

[End of quote]

 

This is an excellent question, and our proposed answer to it is that Hezekiah and Josiah were equally great, because Hezekiah was Josiah.

Once again, this new suggestion will have its advantages, but will also create its problems – some of these being rather severe. For instance, according to various scriptural texts as we now have them (e.g., 2 Kings 21:25-26; 2 Chronicles 33:25; Zephaniah 1:1; Matthew 1:10), Josiah was the son of Amon, who, in turn, post-dates Hezekiah.

 

This is how (our current) Matthew 1 sets out the relevant series of kings of Judah (vv. 9-11):

 

 

…. Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah …

at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

Obviously, this is totally different from our proposed:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin ….

 

Our exit-clause suggestion: “Amon the father of Josiah” needs to be amended to read, as according to the ESV Matthew 1:10: “Amos the father of Josiah”.

“Amos” (Amoz) would then be meant to indicate – at least according to our revision – not Amon (“Amos” being a name entirely different from “Amon”), but Ahaz.

Amos (or Amoz) is a name associated with Amaziah (Abarim Publications), which name, in turn, at least resembles Ahaziah (= Ahaz).

Allowing for our duplicate kings, Matthew 1:9-11 could now read as:

 

…. Ahaz [Amos] the father of Hezekiah [= Josiah],

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh [= Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon [= Jehoiachin]

… at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

With the recognition of these several duplicate kings, then another problem might be solved. Early kings Joash and Amaziah, omitted entirely from Matthew’s Genealogy, and whose combined reigns amounted to some 7 decades, could now be included in Matthew’s list.

 

The Hezekiah and Josiah narratives are so similar for the most part as to strengthen the impression that we are dealing with just the one goodly king of Judah.

Although the 55-year reign of Manasseh is supposed to have separated Josiah from Hezekiah, one can only marvel at the fact that Hezekiah, Josiah, have virtually the same lists of priests and officials.

 

Previously we had written on this phenomenon (original version here modified):

 

“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”

2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

The reigns of the pious, reforming kings Hezekiah (c. 716-697 BC, conventional dating) and Josiah (c. 640-609 BC, conventional dating) are so alike – with quite an amazing collection of same-named officials – that we need to consider now the possibility of an identification of Hezekiah with Josiah.

 

The Domain of Man’s important Chart 37 shows up some striking comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah (we do not necessarily endorse every single detail given in this chart): http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.html

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

Hezekiah Narrative
2 Chron. 29-32
2 Kings 18-20
Book of Isaiah
Josiah Narrative
2 Chron. 34-35
2 Kings 22-23
Book of Jeremiah
“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
2 Kings 19:1; 20:2-19; 2 Chron. 32:20,26
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
(2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28)
Revival of Laws of Moses
“according to what was written”
2 Chron. 30:5,16, 18; 31:2-7,15
Discovery of the Book of the Law (of Moses)
2 Kings 22:8-10; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
Passover Celebration Passover Celebration
“For since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
2 Chron. 30:26
“Not since the days of the Judges (Samuel) who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.”  2 Kings 23:22
Year not given
14th day of the second month
Year 18
14th day of the first month
17,000 sheep and goats, 1,000 bulls
(not including the sacrifices of the first seven days)  (1 Chron. 30:24)
30,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 cattle
Participating tribes:  Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Asher, Zebulun & Issachar
(2 Chron. 31:1)
Participating tribes: Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Simeon & Naphtali
(2 Chron. 34:9,32)
Temporary priests consecrated for service Employed “lay people” 2 Chron. 35:5
“. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 31:1 “. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 23:14
High places and altars torn down High places and altars torn down
“. broke into pieces the bronze snake” “. burned the chariots dedicated to the sun”
Name Comparisons
Hezekiah Narrative Josiah Narrative
…. ….
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, palace administrator Eliakim “son” (?) of Josiah (future Jehoiakim)
Zechariah (descendant of Asaph)
Azariah, the priest (from family of Zadok)
Zechariah
Zechariah
(variant of Azariah)
Shaban/Shebna/Shebniah, scribe Shaphan, scribe
(son of Azaliah son of Meshullam)
Hashabiah/Hashabniah  (2 Chron. 35:9)
Jeshua
Isaiah son of Amoz, prophet
Joshua, “city governor”
Hoshaiah (Jer. 42:1; 43:2)
Asaiah, “king’s attendant”
Ma’aseiah, “ruler of the city”
Jerimoth Jeremiah son of Hilkiah
Conaniah and his brother Shemei, supervisors
(2 Chron. 31:12)
Conaniah/Cononiah, along with his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel (2 Chron. 35:9)
Hananiah the prophet, son of Azzur/Azur (Azariah)  (Jer. 28)
Nahath Nathan-el/Nathan-e-el/El-Nathan/Nathan-Melech
2 Kings 23:11
Mattaniah, Mahath Mattaniah (future Zedekiah)
Jehiel Jehiel, “administrator of God’s temple”

 

Our comment: Other names could be added to Chart 37, such as Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the high-priest Joakim of the Book of Judith (for Hezekiah); and “Jehoiakim the High Priest, son of Hilkiah” (Baruch 1:7) (for Josiah).

 

Shallum/Meshillemoth (reign of Ahaz) Meshullam (the Kohathite)
Shellemiah son of Cushi (Jer. 36:14)
No mention of a prophetess

[Our comment: What about Judith?]

Huldah, wife of Shallam/Meshullam,
prophetess (spokeswoman of the “Lord”)
Shemaiah Shemaiah
Jozabad Jozabad
Jeiel Jeiel

 

The author of the article The Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles: Meals in the Persian Period”, for instance, who accepts the conventional view that Hezekiah and Josiah were two different kings, has pointed nonetheless to certain similarities:

http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Doc15/meals.pdf

 

…. The descriptions of the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles are centralized festivals, held in Jerusalem and linked in both cases to the feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chr 30:13, 21 and 2 Chr 35:17) …. In 2 Chronicles 30 this two-week celebration is followed by various reform activities by all Israel in the territories of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. In Chronicles this festive celebration forms the climax of the reign of Josiah, followed only by his death at the hands of Necho. These two Unleavened Bread and Passover feasts enhance the reputation of two of the Chronicler’s favorite kings, Hezekiah and Josiah.

The meals in both cases are accompanied by a full array of the clergy …. The addition of the Passover of Hezekiah and baroque expansion and development of the three-verse celebration of the Passover of Josiah may conform the story of this eighth and seventh century kings to the tradition of royal banquets …. Unlike the Persian banquets, the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles were not characterized by excessive drinking. In fact, alcohol is not mentioned at all. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

John Mayne investigates the matter in “Hezekiah and Josiah: Comparisons and Contrasts”: https://www.academia.edu/12836231/Hezekiah_and_Josiah_Comparisons_and_Contrasts

 

Abstract:

 

Hezekiah and Josiah were the joint authors of unparalleled and unprecedented religious reforms that found their purpose in Yahweh, and their presence in Jerusalem. Through dissecting their methods and motivations, we can begin to uncover the full extent to which their reforming stratagem converged, diverged, or existed in parallel.  Factoring in the contribution of the Historian and Chronicler, the geopolitical situation, personal devotion to Yahweh, monarchical relationships with the prophetic conscience and each king’s lasting historical legacy, we can begin to also shed light on what role their transformative measures carried out on the macro scale of Israelite history. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

The least reconcilable detail of comparison at this stage has to be this one:

 

Hezekiah                                               Josiah

 

25 years at ascension, reigned 29 years 8 years at ascension, reigned 31 years

 

Whilst we do not have any convincing solution for this one, we can at least say again that the two-year difference in reign length might be accounted for by a co-regency.

The inerrancy of the Bible applies only to original manuscripts, and numbers can be tricky. For example, this is how the NRSV translates 1 Samuel 13:1: “Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . two years over Israel.”

And, in the case of our main character, Amon-Jehoiachin, whereas 2 Kings 24:8 has this: “Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he began to reign,” 2 Chronicles 36:9 says that: “Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he began to reign”. Presumably both cannot be right.

 

There is a further complicating factor that Sirach has separate entries for Hezekiah (48:17-22) and for Josiah (49:1-3), and he continues on (v. 4) as if these were two distinct individuals: “All the kings, except David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were terrible sinners, because they abandoned the Law of the Most High to the very end of the kingdom”.

 

On the positive side, there may be yet other significant advantages to be derived from this new crunching of the era of Isaiah into the era of Jeremiah.

Isaiah’s father, Micah (refer back to Judith 6:15), now also becomes a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, who will favourably recall the older prophet. Jeremiah, now threatened with death in the reign of King Jehoiakim (the son of King Hezekiah as according to our reconstruction) (Jeremiah 26:1, 8), will tell this of Micah (26:18):

“Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

 

“Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets”.’

 

Moreover, the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, who various commentators think most resembles (in literal terms) the prophet Jeremiah – although we know that Jesus Christ is the most perfect Suffering Servant – can now be Jeremiah himself as a younger contemporary of Isaiah, and well-known to the latter (Isaiah 53:2): “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. Isaiah, here, was clearly describing a younger contemporary known to himself and to the local citizens.

Jesus Christ was not a contemporary who had grown up before their eyes, though He himself is the quintessential “Suffering Servant” in the sense that both the Church and Benedict XVI tell of Jesus perfectly fulfilling the Old Testament and making it new.

 

“The Atonement of Christ, as both the eternal high priest and sacrificial victim, not only fulfils the Old Testament in the sense of transfiguring its symbols into a new reality; it also gives rise to a new sovereignty, a new kingship”.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/no-bloodless-myth-jesus-as-priest-and-

 

 

 

Part Two:

Amon during the Medo-Persian Era

 

 

Introductory section

 

—————————————————————————-

The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself,

meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been

by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.

—————————————————————————-

 

As with his father, Manasseh-Jehoiakim, our composite king, Amon-Jehoiachin is scarcely attested during the long reign of Nebuchednezzar II. The two names emerge in Baruch 1:3-4: “Baruch read the book aloud to Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and to all the people who lived in Babylon by the Sud River”.

Nebuchednezzar II, perhaps “the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17), and from a barbarous race, would experience a marvellous conversion (Daniel 4:37), but his son, Belshazzar, would not. And this has a parallel with Manasseh-Jehoiakim, who ‘humbled himself before the Lord’, while his son, Amon-Jehoiachin did not. For, as we have read: “Amon increased his guilt”. Perhaps King Belshazzar, or Evil-Merodach as he was also known – {which name has nothing to do with Evil, though the king himself had much to do with it} – recognised a kindred spirit in the Jewish king, because – as we have also read – the new Babylonian king “graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”. Evil-Merodach did even more than that for Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 52:33): “He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon”. Amon-Jehoiachin was now second-ranked in the kingdom.

And this explains why King Evil-Merodach, or Belshazzar, making wild promises to Daniel when faced with the Writing on the Wall, could promise Daniel only third place in the kingdom (Daniel 5:16): ‘If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom’.

Note that Daniel says of King Belshazzar (v. 22): ‘But you, Belshazzar [Nebuchednezzar’s] son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this’, precisely what 2 Chronicles 33:23 says of King Amon, “… he did not humble himself before the Lord”.

That was to be the end of King Belshazzar and the Babylonian kingdom, which would now be superseded by the Medo-Persian kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31): “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two”.

 

But it was by no means yet the end of the second-in-command, Amon-Jehoiachin, who must by now have been very close in age to the “sixty-two” years of King Darius the Mede.

 

As for Daniel so favoured by Nebuchednezzar II, who had lately – despite his protests (5:17): ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else’ – been elevated to third in Belshazzar’s kingdom, his fortunes were on the verge of skyrocketing (6:3): “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king [Darius] planned to set him over the whole kingdom”.

Sadly, though, the situation became messy between Darius and his administrators and satraps, who greatly envied Daniel, with the result that Daniel ended up in the lions’ den (6:16).

 

Before we can proceed further with the burgeoning career of Amon-Jehoiachin, now in the kingdom of Medo-Persia, we need to make the point that the Medo-Persian kings, and the duration of that kingdom, have been vastly over-extended by the conventional historians.

This will have relevance for what is to follow.

 

Conventional Persian history lacks an adequate archaeology

 

The reality (e.g., the archaeological evidence), is somewhat less than the current ‘history’, with one scholar, H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, going so far as to declare that: “The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable”. (“Was the ever a Median Empire?”, 1988). The few Medo-Persian kings whom we encounter in Daniel are far outnumbered by a super-abundant conventional listing (even with Cambyses omitted):

 

  • Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, founder of the greatness of the Achaemenids and of the Persian Empire (c. 559–529 B.C.)
  • Darius I (Darius the Great), king of ancient Persia (521–486 B.C.)
  • Xerxes I (Xerxes the Great), king of ancient Persia (486–465 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes I, king of ancient Persia (464–425 B.C.), of the dynasty of the Achaemenis
  • Xerxes II, king of ancient Persia (424 B.C.)
  • Darius II, king of ancient Persia (423?–404 B.C.)
  • Tissaphernes, Persian satrap of coastal Asia Minor (c.413–395 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes II, king of ancient Persia (404–358 B.C.)
  • Mausolus, Persian satrap, ruler over Caria (c.376–353 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes III, king of ancient Persia (358–338 B.C.)
  • Darius III (Darius Codomannus), king of ancient Persia (336–330 B.C.)The biblical Nehemiah, Ezra, belonged to the reign of an “Artaxerxes”. But which one?The big problem is, the “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was a “king of Babylon”, though he was sometimes found in Susa – which location was well-known also to Daniel (8:1-2): “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.  In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam …’.Nehemiah, the high official of the “king of Babylon” was more than likely Daniel himself, serving Nebuchednezzar. The wall of Jerusalem, just lately destroyed by the Babylonians, would be quickly rebuilt by Nehemiah after his prudent, wise and prayerful – indeed most Daniel-like (cf. Daniel 2:14, 18, 27-28) – approach to the unpredictable king, “Artaxerxes” (Nehemiah 1:11): ‘Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man. I was cupbearer to the king’.Having made this strong point about Medo-Persian ‘history’ (it is only the tip of an iceberg), our attention can now be focussed again upon Amon-Jehoiachin.  of the Book of Esther There is much here, in just this one verse, requiring to be unpackaged.“After these things …”. The Persian king, who had survived an attempted assassination plotted by two of his officials, but foiled by Mordecai the Jew (2:21-23), had married Esther (1-18).  We shall explain this further on the next page.“… the son of Hammedatha …”. Hammedatha was not the father, as one might immediately be inclined to think, but the mother, at least the “mother” in that broad sense of the term as discussed in Part One (pp. 3-4). That makes “Hammedatha” Haman’s (Jehoiachin’s) aunt, and not his biological mother.Let us now elaborate on some of these points.For a time Daniel (our Nehemiah) – who had even during the reign of Nebuchednezzar II begun to rebuild fallen Jerusalem, and who had been raised to third in the Babylonian kingdom only to see Darius the Mede (= Cyrus = “Ahasuerus”) take the throne and begin to reorganise his empire (Daniel 6:1-2), and who (as Nehemiah) had returned to Jerusalem in the 1st year of Cyrus to commence the rebuilding of the Temple – fades into the background (he may still have been in Jerusalem) to be ‘overshadowed’ in the biblical narrative by the Benjaminite Jew, Mordecai. {“The name “Mordecai” is of uncertain origin but is considered identical to the name Marduka or Marduku …attested as the name of officials in the Persian court in thirty texts”}: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai Despite Mordecai’s timely intervention to save the Persian king from those plotting his assassination – these probably having been incited by Haman – nothing is done to increase his being honoured in the kingdom. Instead, Haman takes all the honours, for, as we read above: “King Ahasuerus … advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”. This Haman (Amon-Jehoiachin), who appears to have been – according to the testimony of Esther, as she prays, a “king” (Esther 4:36-38): ‘And now they are not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they have covenanted with their idols to abolish what your mouth has ordained, and to destroy your inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to quench your altar and the glory of your house, to open the mouths of the nations for the praise of vain idols, and to magnify forever a mortal king’[,]must have been an extremely charismatic and competent character for, firstly, Evil-Merodach (as we read) to elevate him above the rest, and, now, for that Babylonian king’s successor, Ahasuerus, to do the very same thing for him. As we wrote at the beginning:And this is borne out in part by 2 Kings 21:25: “As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”
  • But now the next question needs to be answered: If Haman were, in fact, a Jewish king, why does the Book of Esther call him an “Agagite” (etc.)? Previously we have written on this:
  • There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!
  • This well-respected Mordecai may possibly have been the highly-respected and wealthy Jew, Joakim, the husband of the beautiful Susanna, as recorded in the Book of Daniel. If so, then Susanna – {said by Hippolytus to have been the sister of Jeremiah} – may well have been Esther herself, since Jewish tradition claims that Mordecai’s avuncular protection of Esther (2:7) indicated that Mordecai was actually married to her.
  • She was Queen “Hammutal” (Hamutal), mother of two of Jehoiachin’s uncles, Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31) and Zedekiah (24:18).
  •  
  • “… promoted Haman the Agagite …”. The name “Haman”, as we once had imagined, must have been the Persian name given to this character, e.g., “Achaemenes” (Persian Hak-haman-ish). But we now know its precise origins: Aman (var. Haman) is Amon, an Egyptian name. It is the name of the captive king, Amon (or Jehoiachin), of Judah.
  • “King Ahasuerus …”. He is both Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, and not, as commentators tend to think, Xerxes ‘the Great’ (c. 486–465 B.C, conventional dating) – a largely fictitious creation of the Greco-Romans, but also a composite mix of real Assyro-Babylonian-Persian kings (e.g. Sennacherib; Nebuchednezzar II; Cyrus).
  • {The LXX implicates Haman in the assassination plot}
  • According to Esther 3:1: “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”.
  •  
  • Amon is Aman (Haman)
  • For there is still some honey to be extracted from that old carcase. (Cf. Judges 14:9)
  • The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself, meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.
  • There can be fierce debate over whether Artaxerxes I or II is meant.

Haman’s Nationality

 

This is a far bigger problem than the traditional view might suggest. Though Scripture can present Haman variously as an “Amalekite”; an “Agagite” (MT); a “Bougaean” (Septuagint); and a “Macedonian” (AT) – and though the drama is considered to be a continuation of the long-running feud between the tribe of Benjamin (started by king Saul, but now continued by Mordecai) and the Amalekites (Agag thought to be an Amalekite name, cf. 1 Samuel 15:8) – the problem with this tradition is that King David had long ago wiped out the Amalekites.

 

“Bougaean” is quite a mystery … Haman was certainly a ‘Boogey-Man’ for the Jews.

 

And “Macedonian” for Haman appears to be simply an historical anachronism.

 

Perhaps our only consolation is that we can discount “Persian” as being Haman’s nationality, since king Ahasuerus speaks of Haman as “an alien to the Persian blood” (Esther 16:10).

 

But what about a Jew? Surely we can immediately discount any Jewish ethnicity for Haman. After all, this “alien” was the Adolf Hitler of the ancient world: a Jew hater!

 

{Though some suspect that Hitler himself may have had Jewish blood in his veins}.

 

Surely not Haman, however? No hint of Jewishness there!

But, wait a minute. Jewish legend itself is not entirely lacking in the view that Haman may in fact have been a Jew. Let us read what Louis Ginzberg (Legends of the Jews) had to say on this, as quoted by another Jewish writer (emphasis added):

 

Power struggle between Jews

….

EUGENE KAELLIS

 

Purim is based on the Book of Esther, the most esoteric book in the Hebrew Testament. …. Its hidden meaning can be uncovered only by combining a knowledge of Persian practices during the Babylonian Captivity, the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great, his Edict … and Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews which … contains a great deal of relevant and credible history.

Using these sources, one can arrive at a plausible interpretation completely in accord with historically valid information. Esther, it turns out, describes an entirely intra-Jewish affair set in the Persian Empire, with the two major antagonists as factional leaders: Mordecai, whose followers advocate rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple, and Haman, also a Jew, whose assimilationist adherents oppose the project.

Ginzberg furnishes substantial evidence that Mordecai and Haman were both Jews who knew each other well .

 

[Our comment: They had gone into captivity together (Esther 2:5, 6): “Mordecai … had been carried into exile … by Nebuchadnezzar … among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah”].

 

From this, and from some other evidences, a total picture began to emerge. Haman, a king as we saw – obviously a sub-king under Ahasuerus ‘the Great’ – was none other than the ill-fated king Jehoiachin (or Coniah), the last king of Judah. Like Haman, he had sons. But neither Coniah, nor his sons, was destined to rule. The story of Esther tells why – they were all slain. ….

 

As for “Agagite”, or “Amalekite”, it seems to have been confused with the Greek word for “captive”, which was Jehoiachin’s epithet. Thus we have written before:

 

Our view now is that the word (of various interpretations) that has been taken as indicating Haman’s nationality (Agagite, Amalekite, etc.), was originally, instead, an epithet, not a term of ethnic description. In the case of king Jehoiachin, the epithet used for him in 1 Chronicles 3:17 was: (“And the sons of Jeconiah), the captive”.

In Hebrew, the word is Assir, “captive” or “prisoner”. Jeconiah the Captive!

 

Now, in Greek, captive is aichmálo̱tos, which is very much like the word for “Amalekite”, Amali̱kíti̱s. Is this how the confusion may have arisen?

 

 

Haman the “cut-off” one

 

Thanks to the continued alertness of Mordecai, and to the heroic intervention of Queen Esther – a type of Our Lady of Fatima (today being the 13th of October, 2018) – Haman the (Hitlerian) Jew’s “Final Solution” plan to exterminate all of the people of Mordecai, who had refused to bow the knee (proskynesis) to Haman (Esther 3:2), was brilliantly turned on its head due to the Lord’s ‘rival operation’.

 

 

 

Had not the Book of Jeremiah early predicted this, it even cutting short the name of Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah), to render it as “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24-30)?:

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to’.

 

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?
O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!

This is what the Lord says:
‘Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah’.

 

This is how Jehoiachin, as Amon, came to die – and it was a violent death (2 Kings 21:23): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace”.

It bears favourable comparison to the violent death of Haman, also in his palace (or “house”) (Esther 7:8-10):

 

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‘A gibbet reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house [palace]. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king’.

The king said, ‘Impale him on it!’ So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

 

What the Book of Esther does not tell us, but we find it in the account of the violent death of King Amon (2 Kings 21:24): “Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”. For the conflict between the Haman-ites, “the people of the land [of Susa]”, and the loyal Jews, had not fully been resolved with the death of Haman.

It, like Fatima, was awaiting a 13th of the month fulfilment, “… the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar” (Esther 9:1).

Only then do we find that (vv. 5-12):

 

The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, ‘The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted’.

 

Queen Esther, no doubt well aware of what Jeremiah had foretold of Haman (as “Coniah”), and not wanting any of his seed left alive to rule over the Jews, seems to go into overkill here (v. 13-14): “‘If it pleases the king’, Esther answered, ‘give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles’. So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman”.

 

Daniel 9:26’s “And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing” must surely refer to the “anointed” (that is, ruler), King Amon, now “cut off” (dead) and having “nothing” – “none of his offspring will prosper” – all of his ten sons impaled!