Smith's Bible Dictionary


Pe'kah. (open-eyed). Son of Remaliah, originally a captain of Pekaiah, king of Israel, who murdered his master and seized the throne, and became the 18th sovereign of the northern kingdom, B.C. 757-740. Under his predecessors, Israel had been much weakened through the payment of enormous tribute to the Assyrians, (see, especially, 2Ki_15:20, and by internal wars and conspiracies. Pekah seems to have steadily applied himself to the restoration of power.

For this purpose, he contracted a foreign alliance, and fixed his mind on the plunder of the sister kingdom of Judah. He must have made the treaty by which he proposed to share its spoil with Rezin, king of Damascus, when Jotham was still on the throne of Jerusalem, 2Ki_10:37, but its execution was long delayed, probably in consequence of that prince's righteous and vigorous administration. 2Ch_27:1. When, however, his weak son, Ahaz, succeeded to the crown of David, the allies no longer hesitated, but entered upon the siege of Jerusalem, B.C. 742.

The history of the war is found in 2 Kings 13 and 2 Chronicles 28. It is famous as the occasion of the great prophecies in Isaiah 7-9. Its chief result was the Jewish port of Elath on the Red Sea; but the unnatural alliance of Damascus and Samaria was punished through the complete overthrow of the ferocious confederates by Tiglath-pileser.

The kingdom of Damascus was finally suppressed, and Rezin put to death, while Pekah was deprived of at least half his kingdom, including all the northern portion, and the whole district to the east of Jordan. Pekah himself, now fallen into the position of an Assyrian vassal was, of course, compelled to abstain from further attacks on Judah. Whether his continued tyranny exhausted the patience of his subjects, or whether his weakness emboldened them to attack him, is not known; but, from one or the other cause, Hoshea, the son of Elah, conspired against him, and put him to death.


Taken from: Smith's Bible Dictionary by Dr. William Smith (1884)