SEDER OLAM - Revisited

סדר עולם - חדש



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Index of names


Generations  1-14
(3760 - 2080 BCE)

Generations 15-21
(2080 - 1240 BCE)

Generations 22-28
(1240 - 400 BCE)

Generations 29-35
(400 BCE - 440 CE)

Generations 36-42
(440 - 1280 CE)

Generations 43-49
(1280 - 2120 CE)

Generation 50

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Chronology during the 25th generation

King Joash repairs the Temple

The House of Jehu, kings of Israel

The Kurkh Stele

King Amaziah of Judah

The Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III

 Previous <<   Generation 25   >> Next

Hebrew years 2880 to 3000 (880-760 BCE)
  ~~~ Part I ~~~ Part II ~~~ 

Chronology of the two kingdoms during the 25th generation

Year CE Differ. Kingdom of
Kingdom of
Sources Text
2900 -860 22 The Temple is repaired II Kings 12:7 Y23 Joash
2900 -860 28 Jehu dies II Kings 10:35-36 reigned 28Y
2900 -860 22 Jehoahaz son of Jehu reigns II Kings 13:10 Y23 Joash
2900 -860 Elisha the Prophet dies II Kings 2:11 estimate
2907 -853 Shalmanezer III wins battle of Qarqar against a large coalition Historical
2913 -847 36 Jehoash son of Jehoahaz reigns II Kings 13:10 Y37 Joash
2914 -846 1 Hazael king of Aram dies, Ben-Hadad II Kings 13:24 ~Y1 Jehoash
2915 -845 2 Amaziah son of Joash reigns II Kings 14:1 Y2 Jehoahaz
2917 -843 17 Jehoahaz son of Jehu dies II Kings 13:1 reigned 17Y
2917 -843 40 Joash is murdered by 2 servants II Kings 12:22 reigned 40Y
2919 -841 Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III Historical
2929 -831 16 Jehoash son of Jehoahaz dies II Kings 13:10 reigned 16Y
2929 -831 14 Jeroboam son of Jehoash reigns II Kings 14:23 Y15 Amaziah
2940 -820 -16 Azariah son of Amaziah born II Kings 14:21,15:2 reigned 16Y old
2944 -816 29 Amaziah flees to Lachish; killed there II Kings 14:2,17 reigned 29Y
2956 -804 27 Azariah son of Amaziah reigns II Kings 15:1-2 Y27 Jeroboam
2960 -800 -2 Amos the Prophet Amos 1:1
2962 -798 Earthquake Amos 1:1 assumption
2970 -790 41 Jeroboam son of Joash dies II Kings 14:23 reigned 41Y
2993 -767 37 Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigns and dies II Kings 15:8 reigned 6 months
2994 -766 38 Shallum son of Jabesh kills Zechariah II Kings 15:13 reigned 1 month
2994 -766 38 Menahem son of Gadi kills Shallum and reigns II Kings 15:14
2995 -765 "Pul" campaign; tributes paid Historical
-2 Adjustment from Canaanite to Babylonian calendar 120Y

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Year 2900 – 860 BCE – Joash repairs the Temple

In the 23rd year of Joash's reign, he repaired the Temple of Jerusalem. This act seems to have been inscribed in a text that was found in Jerusalem and called the Jehoash [Joash] inscription. The authotities consider that this document is a forgery but there are other expert opinions that do not agree based on the material used for it. The text says:

[I am Yeho'ash, son of A]hazyahu, k[ing over Ju]dah, and I executed the re[pai]rs. When men's hearts became replete with generosity in the (densely populated) land and in the (sparsely populated) steppe, and in all the cities of Judah, to donate money for the sacred contributions abundantly, in order to purchase quarry stone and juniper wood and Edomite copper / copper from (the city of) ‘Adam, (and) in order to perform the work faithfully (= without corruption). (Then) I renovated the breach(es) of the Temple and of the surrounding walls, and the storied structure, and the meshwork, and the winding stairs, and the recesses, and the doors. May (this inscribed stone) become this day a witness that the work has succeeded, (and) may God (thus) ordain His people with a blessing.
--- Transcription (source Wikipedia)
Jehoash inscription
Joash inscription

Some oak beams have been found in the Temple Mount area of Jerusalem (in the so-called "Solomon's Stables") and been analysed with datation method (tree rings and Carbone-14). The conclusion was that some of these beams dated back from about 880 BC, which is, with usual margin of error associated with the datation methods, well inside the timeframe of the reparations carried out by King Joash in the Temple.

Oak beams dating from the First Temple
Oak beams dating from the First Temple
(photo credit: Matti Friedman, source Times of Israel, May 2013)

To avoid being conquered by Hazael king of Aram, Joash sent a large tribute to him, made of all the idolatry items that were in the treasures of his royal house.

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Year 2900 – 860 BCE – The House of Jehu, kings of Israel

Jehu reigned for 28 years over Israel, and was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz. During his reign, Hazael the king of Aram waged war against Israel and Judah until his death. His son Ben-Hadad however could not defeat Jehoahaz, who succeeded to conquer back all the territories that his father Jehu had lost to Hazael. The Stele of Zakkur, found in 1903 near Alep in Syria, testifies of the existence of this king and father of the kingdom of Aram:

I am Zakkur, king of Hamath and Luash […] Bar-Hadad, son of Hazael, […]
--- Transcription (source Wikipedia)

Stele of Zakkur
Stele of Zakkur (Louvre)

In the year that Jehoahaz came to power, Elisha the Prophet died.

When Jehoahaz son of Jehu died, he was succeeded by his son Jehoash who had been placed on the throne a couple of years before, a way to ensure the succession while the old king was still alive (II Kings 13:10).

In Judah, Joash did the same when he got old and placed his son Amaziah on the throne. Joash’s life however ended brutally when he was murdered by two of his servants.

Before Jehu died, God promised to him that four generations of his descendants will reign over Israel. The first to reign was his son Jehoahaz. He was followed by his son Jehoash. Then Jeroboam II reigned, and he was succeeded by his son Zechariah who will finally be murdered, thus ending the House of Jehu.

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Year 2907 – 853 BCE – The Kurkh Stele

In 859 BCE, Shalmanezer III started to reign over Assyria. Six years later, he had to face a major coalition formed by all the states at the west of his kingdom, from Egypt to Aram. This coalition included the kingdom of Israel ruled by Jehoahaz son of Jehu. Shalmanezer won a decisive battle in Qarqar in 853 BCE against this coalition, thus opening the door for him to invade the Levant. This victory was recorded in the Kurkh Stele found in turkey in 1861, but the scribes of these annals made some mistakes in the text, for example by referring to the king of Israel as being Ahab and to the king of Aram as being Ben-Hadad (they wrote Adad-idri), whereas both kings had died many years before. No doubt that they were ignorant of the actual names of some rulers, because the coalised states were still unknown or foreign to their records, so they simply put names that they knew would illustrate the corresponding kingdoms. Ahab had been a known name from the kingdom of Israel, and so had been Ben-Hadad. The Assyrian scribes wanted to correctly note which kingdoms took part in the defeated coalition. They also greatly exagerated the number of chariots brought by each of these small kingdoms, in a goal to increase the glory of Shalmanezer to have defeated them all.

The Kurkh Stele
The Kurkh Stele (British Museum; photo by the author)

The bottom of the stele and the continuation of the text on the reverse side of the stela bears the following mention:

2000 chariots, 10000 footmen of a-ha-ab-hu [=Ahab] matu [=land of] sir-i-la-a-a [=Israel].
--- Menant, Annales des Rois d'Assyrie, 1874, page 112

This battle of Qarqar took place during the reign of Jehoahaz son of Jehu king of Israel. This reign signalled a turn in the existence of this kingdom because most of the Israelite army had been destroyed in the war against the traditional enemy of Aram, before the battle of Qarqar:

For there was not left to Jehoahaz of the people save 50 horsemen, and 10 chariots, and 10000 footmen; for the king of Aram destroyed them, and made them like the dust in threshing.
--- II Kings 13:7

It is impossible for the king of Israel to have supplied 2000 chariots for the battle of Qarqar, in support of the king of Aram, as Jehoahaz only had 10 chariots left according to the Biblical text. But he did have 10000 footmen that were those sent, probably at the request of Aram, to support the coalition.

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Year 2915 – 845 BCE – Amaziah of Judah

In Judah, Amaziah had succeeded to his father Joash before the latter was murdered by two servants. Amaziah started to reign when he was 25 years old and did what was right in the eyes of God at the beginning of his reign of 29 years (II Kings 14:1-2). He soon punished the murderers of his father:

And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was established in his hand, that he slew his servants who had slain the king his father; but the children of the murderers he put not to death; according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, as the Lord commanded saying: 'The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.'
--- II Kings 14:5-6

Amaziah was successful in his military campaigns against Edom, which had gained independence from Judah since the troubled reigns of the two Jeroham kings. Amaziah conquered present-day Petra in Jordan which was called Sela (סלע) in the Biblical text, which means the Rock (and Petra also means Rock in Greek):

He slew of Edom in the Valley of Salt ten thousand, and took Sela ((סלע) by war, and called the name of it Joktheel (יקתאל), unto this day.
--- 2 Kings 14:7
The circumstances of this war and the aftermath is described in great details in 2 Chronicles 25. Amaziah sinned after the war as he served to the pagan gods of the Edomites he just conquered. He then sought to vanquish Jehoash, king of Israel. Commentaries agree to say that Amaziah felt strong after his conquest of Edom, alone without the help of the kingdom of Israel, and now thought arrogantly to get rid of the king of Israel and re-unite the Israelite tribes under one kingdom. This however was a bad omen because God did not want the kings of Judah to mix with the kingdom of Israel. Jehoash responded with contempt and advised Amaziah to desist from his thoughts.

A civil war ensued between Judah and Israel. In the battle of Beit-shemesh, 
Jehoash crushed the Judean army and captured Amaziah. He then went up to Jerusalem, smashed a good part of its walls, and took all the gold and silver vessels found in the Temple (II Kings 14:14). This act of disrespect for the House of God soon caused the death of Jehoash, as he had entered the Temple against the divine commandment that only the priests could do so. Amaziah was then released from his emprisonment in Samaria but ultimately, after 15 years, he lost his throne as conspirators decided to overthrow him for a succession of bad politics that had already cost the sack of the Temple (II Kings 14:17). Amaziah fled to the city of Lachish in the 29th year of his reign, but was followed there and killed. His son, Azariah, being 4 years old at the time, was too young to reign. He was proclaimed king of Judah when he reached the age of 16 years old.

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Year 2920 – 840 BCE – The Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III

The Black Obelisk is a stele that was found in the ruins of the palace Nineveh. It was made to commemorate the reign of Shalmanezer III who ruled Assyria in 858-824 BCE. It is made of black limestone and is composed of four sides. One of the side shows an Israelite king bowing and paying tribute to Shalmanezer.

Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III
The king of Israel bowing to Shalmanezer III (Black Obelisk, British Museum)

The find is important because of the text that accompanies the stele. In two occurrences, the name of Hazael king of Aram is mentioned. Hazael was contemporary of the campaigns of Shalmanezer III because he died in about 846 BCE, which was the first year of the reign of Jehoash, king of Israel. Some historians have wrongly assumed that the Israelite king mentioned on the obelisk was "Jehu son of Omri". Jehu was not the "son of Omri" so this mention could only mean a reference to Omri as the founder of the Israelite dynasty that ruled in Samaria: Omri was indeed the one who established the city of Samaria as the capital of the kingdom of Israel, around 826 BCE, when he moved his seat from Tirzah. What about Jehu? This king was not contemporary to Shalmanezer III’s campaign so his mention on the obelisk cannot be relevant. The issue here is simply that the cuneiform text has been misinterpreted. The text actually shows:

Cuneiform text from the Black Obelisk
The Israelite king mentioned on the Black Obelisk
(Mason, Caroline, and Alexander, Pat, Picture Archive of the Bible, Lion Publishing, 1987)

It is obvious that the text mentions Ya-u-a, in fact more probably Ya-Gu-a, which should have rather been translated into Jehoash, instead of Jehu. So Je-ho-a[sh] was the correct contemporary Israelite king that was mentioned on the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer III.

On another side of the obelisk, there is also mention of Shalmanezer's victory against "Hazael of Damascus", a king of Aram also cited in the Bible.

Cuneiform alphabet
Cuneiform alphabet

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