[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).
Twenty-Sixth Study.—Israel and Judah during the Reigns of Pekahiah, Pekah and Hoshea.
[The material of this "study" is furnished by Professor Beecher. The "editing" of this material would strictly involve a series of notes indicating the points in reference to which the editor differed in his opinions from the author of the "study." The space at command forbids this. For this "study" and for others in which, in order to be consistent, the same chronological plan is adopted, the author, not the editor, will be responsible.]
I. BIBLICAL LESSON.
Prepare for recitation 2 Kgs. 15:22-18:12, and parallel passages, in the order of the following topics:
1. Reign of Pekahiah, two years, 50th and 51st of Uzziah, 15:22-26.
2. Reign of Pekah, twenty years, 52d of Uzziah to 20th of Jotham, 15:25-31,32,37; 16:1,5; 2 Chron. 28:5-15; Isa. 7:1-9; 1 Chron. 5:6,26.
3. Closing Years of Uzziah, 15:5; 2 Chron. 26:21-23; Isa. 6.
4. Reign of Jotham, sixteen years, 2d of Pekah to 17th. 2 Kgs. 15:7,30,32-38; 2 Chron. 27; 26:21,23; 1 Chron, 3:12; 5:17; Isa. 7:1; 1:1; Hos. 1:1; Mic. 1:1.
5. Reign of Ahaz, sixteen years, 17th of Pekah to 3d of Hoshea, 2 Kgs. 16:1,2; 17:1; 18:1.
6. Reign of Hoshea, nine years, from 12th of Ahaz to 6th of Hezekiah, 17:1,6; 18:1,9,10.
7. The Prophets of this Period.
8. Biblical Statements concerning Pul or Tiglath-pileser.
9. Statements of Bible concerning the King who took Samaria.
II. THE MONUMENTAL HISTORY OF THIS PERIOD.2
2. Shalmaneser IV. He is named in the canon as succeeding Tiglath-pileser, B. C. 727, and reigning five years. He made expeditions B. C. 725, 724, 723, but the names of the places are lost.
3. Sargon. From Smith's "Canon," pp. 125-130; " Assyr. Disc.," ch. 15; "Records of the Past," vols. VII., IX., XI.; Lyon's "Keilschrifttexte Sargon's," or other sources, verify and fill out the following, comparing the particulars with those given in the Bible, and especially with biblical lesson, under 6:
III. THE CHRONOLOGY.
1. We have now reached certain disputed questions as to the chronology, which it is important for every one to understand, and to decide for himself, or leave undecided, according as the evidence seems to him to warrant. The great sources of information for the chronology before the Persian period are the following:
2. Several different kings were kings both of Babylon and of Assyria. This brings the canon of Ptolemy and the Assyrian canon into contact. For example, Sargon's first year as king of Babylon is known to have been his thirteenth year as king of Assyria. This was 709 B. C. It follows that Sargon's first year in Assyria was 721 B. C., his actual accession having taken place the previous year. Counting from the " first year" of each king, the reigns with which we have to do are given in the Assyrian list as follows:
Counting from the actual accession, in each case, the left hand numeral would be one unit larger.
3. The chronology of the marginal Bibles gives 721 B. C. as the date of the final capture of Samaria. Common opinion now identifies this with the capture of Samaria made by Sargon, " in the beginning of " his reign, dating the event the latter part of 722 B. C. If you will carefully work up the biblical numbers, by the process of parallel columns, you will probably obtain the date 719 B. C., with a possible variation of a year either way, instead of 721, as the biblical date; and with this the Assyrian accounts agree, if we regard that first capture as a preliminary event, and not as final.
4. From this point back, the chronology is in dispute. The following will give some idea of the opinions that are current: First. On the assumption that the sixth year of Hezekiah was 719 B. C., and that the biblical numerals are correct, and are to be understood in the sense in which they most naturally check one another, we obtain the following:
This would give 894 B. C. as the accession year of Jehu, the 18th year of Shalmaneser II., and, counting from the actual accession (not from the "first year,") would give:
5. This table represents one view of the chronology. The marginal Bibles give a variation of the same view; several variant forms of it have been proposed. Many living scholars treat this view as if it were worthy of no more respect than a puff of smoke; but it can hardly be shown to contradict any point of detail given either in the Bible or in the Assyrian inscriptions. It makes Ahaz, Pekah, and Hoshea contemporaries of Tiglathpileser. It locates the events when Menahem and Uzziah were contemporary, as in the reign of Assur-daan; but if the mutilated Assyrian records were completely restored, it is supposable that they might do the same, in any one of half a dozen different ways. But this cast of the chronology, in its various forms, gives an interval of from fifty to sixty-two years between the close of the reign of Rimman-nirari and the accession of Assur-daan. For this interval, the Assyrian list has only the ten years of the reign of Shalmaneser III. This is a difference that seriously affects all chronological problems for western Asia and Egypt, from this period and earlier.
6. Not to argue the matter at length, it is essential to an intelligent understanding of the question to notice that, back to the times of Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian Eponym list is one strand of a rope of five strands; but the canon of Ptolemy closes at 747 B. C.; the earliest eclipse mentioned in the Eponym list is that of 763 B. C.; for the times of Tiglathpileser and later, and for the times of Rimman-nirari and earlier, we have abundant documents, giving genealogical facts and dates of events, but substantially none for the times between the two; the interval itself, as we have seen, included a time of decadence of the Assyrian empire; if the biblical numbers are here correct, in the meaning in which they have commonly been understood, then the writers or the copyists of the Assyrian canon, for some reason or other, either by accident or by design, omitted forty or fifty years from their list; the simple question as to the evidence is: Is the presumption against their having done this so strong as to compel us either to reject the biblical numerals, or to find new meanings for them?
7. A second view of the chronology is that held by most Assyriologists, and by most of the writers for Smith's Bible Dictionary, and their followers. The variations among the different forms of it are very great, but there is a pretty general agreement on the following points:
8. A third view of the chronology attempts so to interpret the biblical numerals as to reconcile them with the hypothesis that the Eponym list is continuous. That this can be done, hypothetically, at least, is conclusively shown by Mr. L. F. Badger, in THE OLD TESTAMENT STUDENT, for June, 1886.
It would be well, in the circumstances, for the average student to count the chronological question an open one, except so far as he has settled it for himself, by examining the evidence. Probably, the evidence is not yet all in. For the purposes of these " studies," it is not necessary to decide between the conflicting opinions. To prevent misapprehension, however, I wish to put two points on record:
1) The deportation had begun previously, in the times of Pekah, or perhaps, of Menahem, 2 Kgs. 15:29; 1 Chron. 5:6,26. Some importation to the Samaritan country continued as late as the times of Esarhaddon, Ezra 4:2,10. But the Bible certainly represents the capture of Samaria in the ninth year of Hoshea, with the change of inhabitants then made, as being the sudden and complete extinction of Samaria as a political power.
2) Owing to the great importance of the chronological material, the " textual," " special," and "geographical" topics are omitted.