Inductive Bible Studies,

[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.]



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.

(1) 2 Kgs. 16:3,4; 2 Chron. 28:1-4, his policy;

(2) Isa. 38:8; 2 Kgs. 20:11; 23:12, his "dial " and "chamber;"

(3) 2 Chron. 28:6-15, invasion by Pekah;

(4) 2 Kgs. 16:6; 2 Chron. 28:5, by Rezin;

(5) 2 Kgs. 16:5; Isa. 7:1-16, by Rezin and Pekah;

(6) 2 Chron. 28:17,18, by Edomites and Philistines;

(7) 2 Chron. 28:16,21; 2 Kgs. 16:7,8,10, tributary to Tiglathpileser;

(8) 2 Kgs. 16:9,10; Isa. 8:4, Tiglath-pileser conquered Damascus, and ravaged Samaria;

(9) 2 Chron. 28:20,21,24; 2 Kgs. 16:17,18; Isa. 7:1725, he distressed, rather than helped Ahaz;

(10) 2 Kgs. 16:10-16; 2 Chron. 28:22-25; Isa. 8:6; 10:20, etc., Ahaz worshiping the Syrian gods "that had smitten him."

6. Reign of Hoshea, nine years, from 12th of Ahaz to 6th of Hezekiah, 17:1,6; 18:1,9,10.

(1) 17:3, invaded and made tributary by Shalmaneser;

(2) 17:4; imprisoned for conspiracy with So;

(3) 18:9; 17:5, Samaria besieged by Shalmaneser, 4th of Hezekiah;

(4) 18:10-12; 17:6, captured after three years, 6th of Hezekiah;

(5) 17:24-41, inhabitants deported,1 and replaced by immigrants;

(6) 17:7-23, reflections on the history.

7. The Prophets of this Period.

(1) Hos. 1:1; Isa. 1:1, etc.; Mic. 1:1; 2 Chron. 28:9, etc., the names; some of them surviving from the times of the previous study.

(2) From Hosea, Micah, and the first thirty-five chapters of Isaiah, gather such additional facts of the history as you can.

(3) Are the severe rebukes found in the prophetic books contradictory to what is said in Kings and Chronicles, of the goodness of Uzziah and Jotham, so as to be an argument against the historicity of these books?

8. Biblical Statements concerning Pul or Tiglath-pileser.

(1) 2 Kgs. 15:19,20, Pul invaded Menahem, and levied tribute;

(2) 1 Chron. 5:6,23,26,Pul and Tiglath-pileser—perhaps at different dates—deported the two and a half tribes, especially the settlers of the Anti-Lebanon regions;

(3) 2 Chron. 28:16,21; 2 Kgs. 16:7,8,10, Tiglath-pileser took tribute from Ahaz;

(4) 2 Kgs. 16:9; Amos 1:5, captured Damascus, deporting the inhabitants;

(5) 2 Kgs. 15:29, in the time of Pekah, ravaged the region near the waters of Merom, Galilee, Gilead, Abel-bethmaachah, etc., deporting the inhabitants;

(6) during his reign and those of his successors and predecessors, the Israelites and their neighbors were kept in a condition of perpetual intrigue with one another, the Assyrians, and Egypt; to fill out this statement, collect from the prophets of the period the passages that mention Assyria or Egypt.

9. Statements of Bible concerning the King who took Samaria.

(1) Mentions Shalmaneser, see 6. (1) and (3);

(2) names Sargon only once, and that in connection with a later date, Isa. 20:1;

(3) does not say that the king who took the city was Shalmaneser;

(4) mentions the breaking of the rod that had smitten Philistia (Palestine?), in the year of the death of Ahaz, and the substitution of a worse enemy in its stead, Isa. 14:28-32.


1. Tiglath-pileser.

(1) From Smith's "Canon" pp. 64-65, 121-124; "Assyrian Discoveries," pp. 282-286; " The Records of the Past," vol. V., p. 51 seq., or any other sources at your command, verify and fill out the following statements:

(a) Tiglath-pileser II. was the founder of a new dynasty. He came to the throne B. C. 745, so that, by the most usual mode of counting, his " first year " was B. C. 744.

(b) The notes of one copy of the canon attribute to him expeditions to Arpad, B. C. 743-740, and expeditions to Philistia (Palestine?) 734 B. C., and to Damascus, 733 and 732 B. C. Certain fragmentary inscriptions, describing the events from his first to his seventeenth year, without intermediate dates, mention two or more expeditions to these regions.

(c) In one of these occurs the statement, ' Hoshea to the kingdom over them I appointed." This is immediately preceded by some statement concerning Pekah, conjectured to be an account of Pekah's death.

(2) Compare these inscriptions with the biblical accounts, especially with this biblical lesson under 8. in the following particulars:

(a) Ahaz then king of Judah, and tributary to Tiglath-pileser;

(b) Pekah the contemporary king of Israel;

(c) Hoshea his successor;

(d) Menahem not mentioned in the contexts that mention Ahaz;

(e) Rezin then king of Damascus;

(f) his conquest of Rezin and Damascus;

(g) his capture of Marum, Gali, Abil, etc., on the border, and receiving tribute from the whole land of Bitomri;

(h) his frequent mention of Hadrach, cf. Zech. 9:1;

(i) his habit of deporting captives;

(j) his subjugation of Gaza, Ashkelon, etc.

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:

(a) The inscriptions concerning him are numerous and full. He was the founder of a new dynasty.

(b) The canon and most of the records count his reign as beginning B. C. 722, the following year being his "first year." One cylinder described by George Smith, "Canon," p. 129; "Assyr. Disc." p. 289, counts his reign as beginning two years later, thus perhaps giving seven years to Shalmaneser IV.

(c) Sargon says:

(1) that "in the beginning" of his reign, he took Samaria by siege, capturing 27,280 persons, and appointing tribute;

(2) that having spent his first year in a Babylonian campaign, he, in his second year, defeated an alliance formed against him, including Hamath, Damascus, Arpad, and Samaria, with their allies, Sebech (called So, in the Bible) of Egypt, and Hanun, king of Gaza;

(3) that later, this Hamath-Samaritan alliance was still in existence, but that he at length entirely destroyed it;

(4) that he " swept away Samaria and the whole house of Omri ";

(5) that at several dates, up to his seventh year, he deported the inhabitants, and replaced them with others.

(d) Was Sargon's capture of Samaria, B. C. 722, the final overthrow of Samaria described in the Bible (the view commonly held)? Or was this an earlier event in the series that culminated in the overthrow? It is quite commonly supposed that Sargon, when he began operations against Samaria, was a general of Shalmaneser, becoming king before the final capture.


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:

(1) The Canon of Ptolemy. Ptolemy was an Alexandrian astronomer, living after the Christian era. His canon is a list of sovereigns, Roman, Persian, Grecian, and Babylonian, arranged in a single list, back from the time of the author, so that each calendar year is named as such a year of such and such a king. For example, the year that began with the spring equinox of 538 B. C. is the first year of Cyrus; 539 B. C.; is the seventeenth and last year of Nabonadius, the predecessor of Cyrus on the throne of Babylon. This list goes back to Nabonassar king of Babylon, whose first year corresponded with 747 B. C.

(2) The Assyrian Eponym Canon. This is a list of names of officers, an officer for each year, enabling us to name any given calendar year as the year when so and so was Eponym, in the reign of such and such a king. Several copies of this list have been exhumed, none of them complete, some of them mere fragments. They differ slightly among themselves. Some of them have notes of important events that occurred in certain years. The different copies bring up the list to B. C. 650 or later, and gave a continuous list for about 250 years before that date.

(3) The Hebrew chronology, as given in the Bible and Josephus.

(4) Additional statements of dates. From the records of different peoples.

(5) Astronomical calculations.

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:  


All dates B. C.

Sargon, 17 years. 721-705,   Shalmaneser III., 10 years,
Shalmaneser IV., 5 years, 726-722,   Rimman-nirari III., 29 years,
Tiglath-pileser II., 18 years, 744-727,   Samas-rimman, 13 years,
Assur-nirari II., 10 years, 754-745,   Shalmaneser II., 35 years.
Assur-daan III.,48 years, 772-755,      

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:

All dates B. C.

724, First year of Hezekiah,

739-724, Ahaz, 16 years,

727-719, Hoshea, 9 years,

736-728, Int. between Pekah and Hoshea,

756-737, Pekah, 20 years,

755-740, Jotham, 16 years,

758-757, Pekahiah, 2 years,

807-756, Uzziah, 52 years,

768-759, Menahem, 10 years,

770, 769, Zechariah and Shallum,

 792-771, Int. between Jeroboam II. and Zechariah,

833-793, Jeroboam II., 41 years,

818-808, Int. between Amaziah and Uzziah,

847-819, Amaziah, 29 years,

848-833, Jehoash of Israel, 16 years,

865-849, Jehoahaz, 17 years,

893-866, Jehu, 28 years,

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:

All dates B. C.

912-877, Shalmaneser, 35 years,

877-864, Samas-rimman, 13 years,

864-835, Rimman-nirari, 29 years.

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:

(1) The lists in the Eponym canon are strictly continuous, so that the dates given above for the accession of Shalmaneser II. and his two successors should be B. C. 860, 825, and 812.

(2) The Assyrian contact with Azariah and Menahem, as well as that with Ahaz, Pekah, and- Hoshea, occurred within the years of the reign of Tiglathpileser, as given in the Eponym list.

(3) All biblical statements that are inconsistent with this-including a pretty large proportion of those biblical statements that are exact, and not merely general-must be regarded as incorrect.

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) I see no reason to regard the biblical and Assyrian records as hopelessly in conflict.

(2) As the matter now stands, I see no reason why a fair historical critic should, in case of conflict, prefer the Assyrian records to the biblical


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.