Kings of Ancient Israel

August 13, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — plusfactor @ 2:55 pm

Hoshea (“salvation”) was the last king of Israel and son of Elah. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 732 BC-721 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 732 BC-722 BC.
There are two versions of how he became king. According to the author of 2 Kings, Hoshea conspired against and slew his predecessor, Pekah (2 Kings 15:30); Shalmaneser V then campaigned against Hoshea, and forced him to submit and render tribute (17:3). However, an undated inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III boasts of making Hoshea (“A-ú-si-‘ “) king after his predecessor had been overthrown, and extracted 10 talents of gold and 10,000 talents of silver in tribute. It may be that both Tiglath-Pileser and Shalmaneser invaded Israel and both extracted tribute; Assyrian records show that Shalmaneser campaigned in Phoenicia in the years 727 BC and 725 BC.
Hoshea eventually withheld the tribute he promised Shalmaneser, expecting the support of “So, the king of Egypt”. There is some mystery as to the identity of this king of Egypt: some scholars have argued that So refers to the Egyptian city Sais, and thereby refers to king Tefnakht of the 24th Dynasty; however the principal city of Egypt at this time was Tanis, which suggests that there was an unnecessary correction of the text and Kenneth Kitchen is correct in identifying “So” with Osorkon IV of the 22nd Dynasty.
The account in 2 Kings 17:4 states that Shalmaneser arrested Hoshea, then laid siege to Samaria; some scholars explain that Shalmaneser must have summoned Hoshea to his court to explain the missing tribute, which resulted in the imprisonment of the king of Israel, and the Assyrian army sent into his land. Regardless of the sequence of events, the Assyrians captured Samaria after a siege of three years. However, Shalmaneser died shortly after the city fell, and the Assyrian army was recalled to secure the succession of Sargon II. The land of Israel, which had resisted the Assyrians for years without a king, again revolted. Sargon returned with the Assyrian army in 720 BC, and pacified the province, deporting the citizens of Israel beyond the Euphrates (some 27,290 according to the inscription of Sargon II), and settling people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim in their place (2 Kings 17:6, 24). The author of the Books of Kings states this destruction occurred “because the children of Israel sinned against the Lord” (2 Kings 17:7-24), not because of a political miscalculation on Hoshea’s part.
What happened to Hoshea following the end of the kingdom of Israel, and when or where he died, is unknown.


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