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Chronology of the 24th generation
Shoshenq sacks Jerusalem
(2785 AM - 975 BCE)
King Asa of Judah
(2801 AM - 959 BCE)
Omri establishes Samaria as capital of the kingdom of Israel
(2834 AM - 926 BCE)
King Ahab of Israel
Ben-Hadad of Aram
(2839 AM - 921 BCE)
Elijah and the prophets of Baal
Aram and Israel
Death of Elijah the Prophet
(2860 AM - 900 BCE)
The Mesha stele
The two kings Jeroham
(2865 AM - 895 BCE)
Taking into account the various considerations mentioned earlier about the chronology of Kings, an issue that has puzzled historians in the past because of the apparent discrepancies of the Biblical text, this is how this chronology should be for the present 24th generation. As a reminder, the reader must understand that, because of the difference of about 8 months between the calendars of the two kingdoms, all the years indicated below are to be understood +/- one year. I have tried to accomodate the reasonable necessary adjustments based on that fact.
During the reign of Rehoboam in Judah, his people sinned greatly, as they built altars to idol gods and also practised sodomy, which is an abomination in the eyes of God (I Kings 14:24). Divine punishment was due and it came from the powerful ally of Jeroboam:
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; and he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he even took away all; and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made. And king Rehoboam made in their stead shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house. --- I Kings 14:25-27
Shoshenq, king of the Meshwesh (called Ma in Egypt), ally to Jeroboam, was too happy to attack the weakened kingdom of Judah and spoil their Temple. This surely was welcome by Jeroboam who was at war against Rehoboam all the days of his life (I Kings 15:6). The sack of the Temple was also a sign of the weakening of the faith in both Israel and Judah: the people of Judah especially would no longer feel that they were protected by God, after this sack. The name Shoshenq is a Greek adaptation of the Egyptian name which was ššnq. This name was not uncommonly written ššq, without the letter n, and was therefore even closer to the Hebrew name Shishaq or indeed Sh-Sh-Q without the vowels that are unneeded in Hebrew.
Shoshenq relief depicting his army around him and Hebrews enemies in front
The left side of the relief in Karnak depicts city rulers, and the city name in a cartouche, that Shoshenq conquered. In total, there has been some 156 names of cities. Many of them are damaged in he relief, and others cannot be identified with certainty, but scholars are in agreement that the following ones are listed.
Details of the list of cities conquered in Canaan
(for a complete list, click here)
The war against Judah continued in the time of Rehoboam’s son, Abijam, who also did evil in the eyes of God (I Kings 15:7).
Abijam’s son, Asa, started to reign in 2801 in Judah. He restored the good ways towards God, destroyed the altars, and put away the sodomites from his kingdom. God granted him a long reign of 41 years (I Kings 9:12).
During that time, God relieved the hardship on the kingdom of Judah and punished the kingdom of Israel which went into crisis. After Jeroboam had died, his successor and son Nadav was assassinated one year later by Baasa from the tribe of Issachar. Baasa then reigned over Israel in the stead of the house of Ephraim, founded by Jeroboam:
And it came to pass that, as soon as he was king, he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him; according unto the saying of the Lord, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Ahijah the Shilonite. --- I Kings 15:29
But Baasa was a belligerent king who did not pursue peace with the kingdom of Judah. So Asa made a pact with the Aram kingdom in the northern border with Israel:
And there was war between Asa and Baasa king of Israel all their days. And Baasa king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants; and king Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Aram, that dwelt at Damascus, saying: 'There is a league between me and thee, between my father and thy father; behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasa king of Israel, that he may depart from me.' And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. --- I Kings 15:16-20
Baasa reigned 24 years, and made the kingdom of Israel sin again (I Kings 15:33-34). He was succeeded by his son Elah who just reigned for about a year before being assassinated by one of his two army chiefs, Zimri, who then killed the entire house of Baasa. But, after a week, the rest of the Israelite army decided to show support to the other army chief, Omri, and proclaimed him as king. His army marched onto Tirzah, the capital of the house of Baasa, where Zimri had settled, and besieged it. Seeing that the battle was lost, Zimri set fire on his house and killed himself in it (I Kings 16:18). The conflict was however not over because it triggerred a civil war:
Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath; so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. --- I Kings 16:21-22
After having reigned 6 years over part of the kingdom, Omri finally gained the upper hand in the civil war and started to reign over all the kingdom of Israel. He had initially settled in Tirzah, and then moved the capital to a hill near Sichem, that he called Samaria (Shomron in Hebrew) after the name of the owner of the land:
And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver; and he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill, Samaria. --- I Kings 16:24
The ruins of Omri's capital, also called Sebastiya, are located north-west from the modern-day palestinian city of Nablus.
The hill where Omri king of Israel founded his capital Samaria in 926 BCE, a bit west from present-day Sebastia
Omri was succeeded by his son Ahab.
Ahab reigned in Samaria. He married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon, a Phoenician. His spouse influenced him towards the cult of foreign gods: Ahab started to worship Baal and built a pagan temple in Samaria. The idolatry was complete in the kingdom in his days:
And Ahab made the Asherah [idolatry]; and Ahab did yet more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, than all the kings of Israel that were before him. --- I Kings 16:33 Jezebel also ordered all the prophets of God to be killed, but Obadiah, who was the prophet attached to the royal house, and who lived in fear of the king, managed to save 100 of them in two caves (I Kings 18:4).
A couple of years after Ahab rose to power, the good king Asa died in Judah. He was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat who followed him in the path of God (I Kings 22:43).
In Samaria, the prophet Elijah showed himself in front of King Ahab and asked him to assemble all the prophets of Baal and Astarte unto Mount Carmel to challenge them to prove the existence of their gods: there were 850 of them in total (I Kings 18:19). After they failed, Elijah rebuilt an old altar of God, which had been destroyed, and called upon God to make a miracle in front of the people assembled:
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said: 'The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.' And Elijah said unto them: 'Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.' And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. And Elijah said unto Ahab: 'Get you up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.' --- I Kings 18:39-41
Elijah executes the prophets of Baal (Gustave Doré, 1868)
Jezebel then threatened to kill Elijah so he fled and hid in a cave on Mount Horeb, the mountain of God, in the Sinai (I Kings 19:18). There God gave him the mission to go back and prophesize the death of the people of the kingdom of Israel to near complete annihilation:
And the Lord said unto him: 'Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you come, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi shall you anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shall you anoint to be prophet in your room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him that escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet will I leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.' --- I Kings 19:15-18
Elijah confronts Ahab and Jezebel (Sir Francis Dicksee, 1873)
Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, raised a large army and invaded the kingdom of Israel. When he besieged the city of Samaria, Ahab however received a divine message that God will deliver the enemy to him. Ahab’s army, made of all the men of war of his kingdom, had then barely 7000 men according to the prophecy. They were those who had never adopted the cult of Baal. The large Aramaean army was nonetheless defeated and Ben-Hadad had to escape for his life. Their defeat made them believe that they couldn’t beat the Israelites in the hill regions so should rather focus on conquering the plains.
A year later, Ben-Hadad invaded the plains and established his camp at Aphek, the old Philistine stronghold. But again, the Israelites defeated them as God wanted to show that he was not just the God of the hills (I Kings 20:28). After the battle, and against the divine will, Ahab spared the life of Ben-Hadad and they made a peace covenant together. This displeased God who sent a prophet to Ahab:
And he [the prophet] said unto him: 'Thus says the Lord: Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.' And the king of Israel went to his house sullen and displeased, and came to Samaria. --- I Kings 20:42-43
Probably tired of power, or maybe out of fear of God following his mistake concerning Ben-Hadad, Ahab named his son Ahaziah king to rule in his stead. Peace lasted for 3 years between Aram and Israel (I Kings 22:1). Then Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, son of Asa, made an alliance with Israel against Aram to take back their territory in Gilead. In the battle, Ahab was fatally wounded and died soon after. He had reigned over Israel for 22 years. His son Ahaziah worshipped idols following his mother and only reigned for two years before falling from a balcony and dying from his accident some time later. During his illness, he sent a messenger to the city of Ekron to find out from their god there, Baal-zebub, if he would recover. But God sent Elijah to him to sentence him to death for having invoked another god than the God of Israel. (II Kings 1:2-16)
The Biblical name of Ekron, one of the five cities of the Philistines in the times of the Judges, has been found inscribed on a limestone slab discovered in the debris of the ancient city, some 35 km west from Jerusalem, which was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 603 BCE. The inscription says:
The temple which he built, Achish (Ikausu) son of Padi, son of YSD, son of Ada, son of Ya’ir, ruler of Ekron, for PTGYH his lady. May she bless him, and protect him, and prolong his days, and bless his land.
--- Israel Museum, Jerusalem, for web site, click here; for an archaelogical news bulletin, click here
Ekron inscription (Israel Museum, Jerusalem, photo: Amalyah Oren)
As Ahaziah had no heir, his brother Jeroham, second son of Ahab, took the throne. He destroyed the temples of Baal in the kingdom of Israel, so he was not as bad in the eyes of God as his father and brother had been. Maybe he did it out of hate for his step-mother Jezebel, who was still alive and worshipping Baal. He nonetheless kept away from God’s commandments and made the people of his kingdom sin (II Kings 3:1-3).
Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire (II Kings 2:11). The Prophet was replaced in his role by Elisha.
Elijah taken to Heaven (Gustave Doré, 1868)
As soon as Ahab of Israel died, Mesha the king of Moab, vassal of Israel, rebelled and waged a war against Jeroham the new king of Israel, son of Ahab. The Biblical text narrates these events:
Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-master; and he rendered unto the king of Israel the wool of a hundred thousand lambs, and of a hundred thousand rams. But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. And king Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time, and mustered all Israel. And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying: 'The king of Moab has rebelled against me; will you go with me against Moab to battle?' And he said: 'I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.' And he said: 'Which way shall we go up?' And he answered: 'The way of the wilderness of Edom.' So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days' journey; and there was no water for the host, nor for the beasts that followed them. And the king of Israel said: 'Alas! for the Lord has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.' But Jehoshaphat said: 'Is there not here a prophet of the Lord that we may inquire of the Lord by him?' And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said: 'Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.' --- II Kings 3:4-11
Eventually the three kings were told by Elisha the Prophet that, because of the presence of the king of Judah among them, they will smite the Moabites, and they did. Mesha escaped sure death at battle and offered his own son and heir to the fire as a sacrifice to his gods. The Israelites, when seeing this abomination, abandoned the battlefield and Mesha returned to Moab (II Kings 3:26-27).
Archaeologists have found a stele in 1868 that mentions these historical characters and therefore puts some weight on the truth of the Bible. The so-called Mesha Stele mentions the House of Omri because the seat of the kingdom of Israel was in Samaria from the time that Omri moved the capital there, and because the reigning kings, from Ahab to Jeroham, were Omri’s son and grandson respectively. The House of Omri simply means the Dynasty of Omri. The stele recollects the earlier events and successes of the rebellion of Moab against Israel after 40 years of yoke since the time of Omri. Some extracts of the translation of the stele are as follows:
I am Mesha, son of Chemosh-gad, king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I have reigned after my father. And I have built this sanctuary for Chemosh in Karchah, a sanctuary of salvation, for he saved me from all aggressors, and made me look upon all my enemies with contempt. Omri was king of Israel, and oppressed Moab during many days, and Chemosh was angry with his aggressions. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he said, Let us go, and I will see my desire upon him and his house, and Israel said I shall destroy it for ever. Now Omri took the land of Madeba, and occupied it in his day, and in the days of his son, forty years. […] And the king of Israel fortified Jahaz, and occupied it, when he made war against me, and Chemosh drove him out before me, and I took from Moab two hundred men in all, and placed them in Jahaz, and took it to annex it to Dibon. --- King, James, Rev., Moab’s Patriarchal Stone, London, 1878, chapter V
Mesha Stele (Louvre)
Soon after these events, the old Jehoshaphat decided to leave the power to his son, as Ahab had done in his kingdom. And Jehoshaphat had also named Jeroham him out of friendship with Ahab. The two kingdoms were at peace together in the time of the two kings Jeroham.
In Aram, Ben-Hadad was old and ill. He was murdered by Hazael who reigned in his stead. Just before, Elisha the Prophet had been on a visit to Damascus and prophesised to Hazael that Aram will ruin Israel. Surely the latter wanted to accelerate the prediction by getting rid of the old king !
In the Biblical text, the names Jeroham and Joram are at times mixed for both kings, as to show that they both followed the same path, away from God’s commandments. This was particularly true because the king of Judah married a daughter of Ahab, thus making him also a son of Ahab by marriage:
And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being the king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign. Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife; and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Howbeit the Lord would not destroy Judah, for David His servant's sake, as He promised him to give unto him a lamp and to his children always. --- II Kings 8:16-19
The text however reveals a more complicated relation because it is further mentioned that Ahaziah, the heir and son of Jeroham of Judah, had for mother Athaliah, the daughter of Omri who was the father of Ahab (II Kings 8:26). So it is possible that, while Jeroham was married to a daughter of Ahab, he also had a relationship with Athaliah, daughter of Omri, sister or half-sister of Ahab.
Both Jeroham and Joram, who started to reign in the same year also died in a same year. Jeroham of Judah died first and was succeeded by his son Ahaziah. As of Jeroham of Israel, he would be killed in a coup later that year 888 BCE.
Chronology of the Kings - until Jeroham
(new dynasty with change of colour)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 This Shonshenq must not be confused with Shonsheq I, generally assumed to be the Shishak of the Bible; the Shishak of the Bible was the Shoshenq king of the Meshwesh of Egypt, and grandfather of Shonshenq I (who founded the 22nd Dynasty and reigned from 943 BCE) and of Siamun of the Tanite Dynasty.
Go to >> Part III