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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Jehu king of Israel
Tel-Dan stele
(2873 AM - 887 BCE)

Death of Jezebel

Joash king of Judah
(2879 AM - 881 BCE)

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Hebrew years 2760 to 2880 (1000-880 BCE)
  ~~~ Part I ~~~ Part II ~~~ Part III ~~~

Year 2873 – 887 BCE – Jehu king of Israel

Elisha the Prophet, upon divine order, anointed Jehu from Gilead as king of Israel:

And he [Elisha] arose, and went into the house; and he poured the oil on his head, and said unto him [Jehu]: 'Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, even over Israel. And you shall smite the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab every man-child, and him that is shut up and him that is left at large in Israel. And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasa the son of Ahijah. And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her.'
And he opened the door, and fled.
II Kings 9:6-10

Jehu then went to Jezreel, where Jehoram son of Ahab was seated, and killed him. He also killed Ahaziah king of Judah who was with Joram at the time. The Biblical text mentions that Ahaziah reigned one year in Judah because, after one year, he spent more time in Israel than in Judah. This is the reason why Jehu killed him, as he was part of the royal circle of Israel and was with the king of Israel at the time of his death. As Ahaziah was from the house of Omri and Ahab, he was struck by the same divine order that said the House of Ahab shall perish.

Then Jehu entered the city of Jezreel and ordered Jezebel, who was mocking him as a king murderer, to be thrown out of her window, and she died. As the prophecy had it, the dogs ate her corpse and she could not be buried.

The death of Jezebel
The death of Jezebel (Gustave Doré, 1868)

Then Jehu went to the other cities to destroy all the family and supporters of the House of Ahab, as ordered by God. Last, Jehu executed all the prophets of Baal who lived in the kingdom of Israel. However the task was not complete, as Jehu left in place the two golden idols that Jeroboam had made:

Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan.
--- II Kings 10:28-29

So the divine blessing for Jehu was of mixed result:

And the Lord said unto Jehu: 'Because you have done well in executing that which is right in My eyes, and have done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.'
But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, wherewith he made Israel to sin. In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short; and Hazael smote them in all the borders of Israel.
--- II Kings 10:30-32

Hazael, the king of Aram, started to conquer all the land of the Israelite kingdom located at the east from the Jordan River, in the territories of Gad, Reuben and half of Manasseh, including Gilead. The Biblical text mentions that he attacked the Israelites in all the borders, and obviously the most relevant border between Israel and Aram was in the North of Israel, in the fortress of Tel Dan which had been fortified by Ahab.
It is there, in Tel Dan of Northern Israel, that an important stele was found in 1993: it bears witness of these events and is one of the rare archaeological finds that mentions the House of David. It is in fact the oldest mention of the name David as a royal dynasty. It contains the following text (it is in Proto-Canaanite / Phoenician language, which was used at the time in Israel and Judah):

Line 6- of my kings. And I killed two [power]ful kin[gs], who harnessed two thou[sand cha-]
Line 7- riots and two thousand horsemen. [I killed Jo]ram son of [Ahab]
Line 8- king of Israel, and I killed [Achaz]yahu son of [Joram kin]g
Line 9- of the House of David.
--- Transcription (source: New World Encyclopedia)

Tel Dan Stele
Tel-Dan stele

But who killed the two kings? It was Jehu. However, as Hazael defeated the forces of Jehu in Tel Dan and took the Northern territory from his kingdom of Israel, Hazael approprated to himself Jehu's victory over the two previous kings. In other words, the logical sentence would have been:
Hazael defeated Jehu, Jehu defeated the two kings, therefore Hazael defeated the two kings. Appropriation of history, and also of cult, was not rare in History which, as it is said, is written by the victors !

Hazael king of Aram
Hazael king of Aram (Musée du Louvre)

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Year 2879 – 881 BCE – Joash king of Judah

In Judah, after Ahaziah was killed by Jehu, his mother Athaliah seized power and killed all the royal family. One child however was taken away and hidden to be saved: her grandson Joash, son of Ahaziah. Athaliah reigned for 6 years (II Kings 11:3). Then a rebellion occurred among the army, who proclaimed Joash, who was 7 years old, king of Judah and they executed Athaliah. 

The death of Athaliah
The death of Athaliah (Gustave Doré, 1868)

Joash was proclaimed king in the 7th year of the reign of Jehu in Israel (II Kings 12:2), and he was 7 years old (II Kings 12:1). He enjoyed a long reign of 40 years, because he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days. This is because he was raised not in a royal family environment but instructed by Jehoiada the priest (II Kings 12:3).

Copyright © Albert Benhamou 2013 - All rights reserved.