[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]
PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).
Eighteenth Study.—Israel and Judah during Omri's Dynasty.
[The material of this " study " is furnished by Professors Beecher and Harper. It is edited by Professor Harper.]
I. PRELIMINARY NOTES.
1. From this point forward, much interesting and valuable light is shed upon Israelitish history by the Assyrian inscriptions. So far as possible, collect material of this kind from articles and books which may be within reach.
2. The material may be abused as well as used. Great judgment and caution must be employed in the comparison of Assyrian with Israelitish records. We must not be too hasty in accepting what seem to be wonderful coincidences; nor should we be disappointed and troubled if material is found which cannot be at once reconciled with the biblical statements.
3. For an admirable presentation of this very question see Prof. Francis Brown's Assyriology, its Use and Abuse. Charles Scribner's Sons.
4. For general reading upon the following "study" there may be suggested:
II. BIBLICAL LESSON.1
Prepare for recitation 1 Kgs.16:8-2 Kgs. 8, and 2 Chron. 16:11-22:4, according to the following topics:
1. Omri's Reign.
2. Ahab's Reign.
3. Asa succeeded by Jehoshaphat.
4. Jehoshaphat's Visit to Ahab.
5. Ahaziah and Jehoram of Israel.
6. The Rest of Jehoshaphat's Reign.3
7. Last Years of the Dynasty of Omri.
III. TEXTUAL TOPICS.
1. 1 Kgs. 16:19. How could anything have been done toward leading the people to sin in a reign of seven days?
2. 1 Kgs. 16:24. The origin and usage of the word Samaria.
3. 1 Kgs. 16:31. (a) Israel's connection with Zidon; (b) the religion of Jezebel's family.
4. 1 Kgs. 16:34. The historical allusion in this statement; its meaning; purpose of its insertion.
5. 1 Kgs. 20:3. The custom here alluded to.
6. 1 Kgs. 20:10,11. Various interpretations of these proverbial expressions.
7. 1 Kgs. 20:23,24. "Gods of the hills;" "take the kings away."
8. 1 Kgs. 20:31. "Sackcloth on our loins" (cf. 2 Sam. 3:31; 2 Kgs. 6:30); "ropes upon our heads."
9. 1 Kgs. 20:33,34. "Whether it were his mind;" "thou shall make streets in Damascus."
10. 1 Kgs. 20:35,36. Meaning of this transaction?
11. 1 Kgs. 20:42. What led Ahab, in the circumstances, to let Ben-hadadgo ?
12. 1 Kgs. 21:3. What is to be inferred from this verse as to the religion of Naboth? On what ground does he refuse to sell (cf. Num. 36:7,8; Lev. 25:27, 28)?
13. 1 Kgs. 21:4-7. Ahab's character as revealed in this event; his dependence upon Jezebel.
14. 1 Kgs. 21:9. "Set Naboth on high among the people."
15. 1 Kgs. 21:19. How was this fulfilled (22:38)?
16. 1 Kgs. 21:29. The fulfillment; the principle involved.
17. 1 Kgs. 22:3,4. "Is ours;" "I am as thou art."
18. 1 Kgs. 22:6,7. What kind of prophets? Why is he not satisfied with their statement?
19. 1 Kgs. 22:11,12. The force of this symbolical action? Other similar symbolical transactions?
20. 1 Kgs. 22:15. In what sense must Micaiah's answer be understood?
21. 1 Kgs. 22:19-23. Important points involved in this statement.
22. 1 Kgs. 22:48. "Ships of Tarshish," "Ophir," " Ezion-geber."
23. 2 Kgs. 3:11. "Which poured water on the hands of Elijah."
24. 2 Kgs. 3:15. "When the minstrel played, the hand of the Lord came upon him."
25. 2 Kgs. 3:16-20. Various explanations of this passage.
26. 2 Kgs. 3:27. Whose son? Whose was the "wrath "?
IV. SPECIAL TOPICS.
1. Kings of Israel.
2. Kings of Judah.
3. Omri's Reign and Character.
5. Ahab's Wars with Syria.
6. The Naboth Affair. Consider in view of the details of this event:
7. Jehoshaphat's Reign and Visit to Ahab.
8. The Battle of Ahab and Jehoshaphat against the Syrians.
9. The War of Jehoram and Jehoshaphat against the Moabites.
10. The Mesha-stone.7
11. The Inscriptions of Shalmaneser II. of Assyria8.
1. Make a list of the more important cities and countries referred to in this " study."
2. Group these cities and countries according to their geographical situation.
1) Current opinion, as represented in the articles in Smith's Bible Dictionary, in the Lange commentaries, the Speaker's commentary, etc., regards the chronological numerals given in this part of the Bible as very corrupt. My own studies lead me to a different conclusion. The forty-two of 2 Chron.22:2 should, of course, be twenty-two, as it is in Kings. With this exception, I am not convinced of the incorrectness of any chronological number given in the Hebrew (or English) text of this and the " Seventeenth Study."
To understand these numbers, the following points should be noted:
(1) The year, in these narratives, is not properly a measure of time, but is the period between two spring equinoxes. A given number of years is the number of such periods wholly or partly covered by the event mentioned. It may or may not agree with the actual measure of the time. Jesus lay in the grave three days, though the whole time of his lying there was less than the length of two days.
(2) When a king died during a year, the whole year was counted to his reign. Sometimes the same year was also counted to his successor. When it was not so counted, the successor might actually reign several months before his "first year" began.
(3) When a king is said to have come to the throne in a certain year of another king, the beginning of his first year may coincide with either the beginning of the specified year of the other king, or with the close of that year.
To make a study of the chronology of these lessons, take sheets of ruled paper, and write in a column the numerals from 1 to 90,inclusive. At the head of this column write A. Di. (Anno Discidii, the year of the disruption). Head a parallel column "Israel," and write in it the numbers from 1 to 22,indicating the years of Jeroboam, opposite the first twenty-two numbers of the first column. Head a third column "Judah," and write in the same way the numbers from 1 to 17, indicating the years of Rehoboam. Then write the three years of Abijam parallel with the years 18-20, A. Di. Asa began to reign the twentieth of Jeroboam, 1 Kgs. 15:9; this may mean that his first year coincided with Jeroboam's twentieth, or that it began at the close of the twentieth; if you give it the former meaning, you will presently become involved in difficulties; give it the latter, and you are ready to fill up the column of Judah with the forty-one years of Asa. As you proceed, you will find instances In which the numbers given require you to infer that some of the reigns mentioned were partly co-reigns, in which a father associated his son with him on the throne; but you need not be afraid of this inference, provided it contradicts no part of the evidence.
This process will give you the true meaning of these numerals, if they have a true meaning; evidently, no process of aggregating and averaging, or of conjectural correction can do this. Having ascertained the dates of the events in terms of A. Di., you can easily take the date B. C. which any particular theory assigns to the accession of Jeroboam, and reduce any date A. Di. to the corresponding date B. C.
As I understand the dated events of these two studies, they are as follows:
Ahaziah of Judah came to the throne justat the new year of A. Di. 90, 2 Chron. 21:19. Hence 2 Kgs. 9:29 counts it the eleventh of Jehoram of Israel, while all the other places count it the twelfth.
If, as most Assyriologists hold, Shalmaneser came to the throne 860 B. C., making his " first year " to be 859 B. C., then the year when Ahaziah died and Jehu came to the throne (the year before that which is counted as the first year of Jehu) was 842 B. C. On the other hand, if the year of Ahaziah's death was 884 B. C., as given in the margins of most marginal Bibles, then the accession of Shalmaneser occurred 18 years before that. There is no doubt as to the synchronism of the events; whatever evidence dates the one dates the other also.
If the dates in our marginal Bibles were reduced to years A. Di., they would differ but slightly from those given above.—W. J. B.
2) This marriage of Jehoshaphat's son, Jehoram, with Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, must have been early enough so that Ahaziah, the son of it, could become twenty-two years old at the time of his accession, 2 Kgs. 8:18,25,26; 9:29, etc.; and late enough for Jehoram and Athaliah to be of sufficient age to marry; it cannot have been much earlier or later than the sixth or seventh year of Jehoshaphat.
3) Whatever may have been the condition of the tribe of Simeon at the disruption, it was practically absorbed into the kingdom of Judah before the close of Jehoshaphat's reign.
4) It is likely that the seven years of famine were caused, not by drouth, but by raids and wars. The date of them seems to be very exactly fixed by the fact that they apparently began after the raising of the Shunamite's son, and therefore after the ascension of Elijah, and ended soon enough to have at least one prosperous year before the death of Jehoram of Israel. The history of the Shunamite woman, previous to the raising of her son, belongs to the period before the ascension of Elijah, and shows that Elisha had been a distinguished prophet for many years before he was set apart to be the successor of Elijah.
5) Shalmaneser had to defeat this Syrian-Hittite confederacy a good many times; this shows that the earlier defeats were not decisive-may have been claimed by the confederates as victories. The confederacy doubtless had brains at its head, perhaps those of Naaman the Syrian.
6) Schrader, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T. Vol. 1, p. 179 seq.
7) THE OLD TESTAMENT STUDENT, 1885, Sept., page 25, seq.
8) Schrader. The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the O. T., vol. I, pp. 182-195; THE OLD TESTAMENT STUDENT, 1885, Sept., p. 25, seq.