Highlights From the Book of: Second Kings | Bible Reading: 2 Kings

Highlights From Bible Reading: 1 Kings | texts explained and practical lessons

KINGS, BOOKS OF

Books of the Holy Scriptures relating the history of Israel from the last days of King David until the release of King Jehoiachin from prison in Babylon.
Originally the two books of Kings comprised one roll called Kings (Heb., Mela•khimʹ), and in the Hebrew Bible today they are still counted as one book, the fourth in the section known as the Former Prophets. In the Greek Septuagint the Books of the Kings were called Third and Fourth Kingdoms, the Books of Samuel having been designated First and Second Kingdoms. In the Latin Vulgate these books were together known as the four books of Kings because Jerome preferred the name Regum (Kings), in harmony with the Hebrew title, to the literal translation of the Septuagint title Regnorum (Kingdoms). Division into two books in the Septuagint became expedient because the Greek translation with vowels required almost twice as much space as did Hebrew, in which no vowels were used until the second half of the first millennium of the Common Era. The division between Second Samuel and First Kings has not always been at the same place in the Greek versions. Lucian, for one, in his recension of the Septuagint, made the division so that First Kings commenced with what is 1 Kings 2:12 in our present-day Bibles.

HIGHLIGHTS OF SECOND KINGS

Continuation of the history of Judah and of Israel begun in First Kings; it reaches to the destruction of Samaria and then of Jerusalem, due to unfaithfulness
The writing of it was likely completed in Egypt about 27 years after Jerusalem’s destruction by Babylon
After Elijah, Elisha serves as Jehovah’s prophet
Elijah predicts Ahaziah’s death; he also calls down fire upon two disrespectful military chiefs and their companies of 50 sent to get the prophet (1:2-17)
Elijah is taken away in a windstorm; Elisha receives his official garment (2:1-13)
Elisha divides the Jordan and heals water in Jericho; his inspired advice saves the allied armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom from perishing for lack of water and results in defeat of Moabites; he increases a widow’s oil supply, resurrects a Shunammite woman’s son, renders poisonous stew harmless, multiplies a gift of bread and grain, heals Naaman of leprosy, announces that Naaman’s leprosy would come upon greedy Gehazi and his offspring, and causes a borrowed axhead to float (2:14–6:7)
Elisha warns the king of Israel in advance of surprise attacks by the Syrians; a Syrian force comes to seize him but is stricken with temporary mental blindness; the Syrians besiege Samaria, and Elisha is blamed for the resulting famine; he foretells the end of the famine (6:8–7:2)
The commission given to Elijah is completed when Elisha tells Hazael that he will become king of Syria and sends a messenger to anoint Jehu as king over Israel (8:7-13; 9:1-13)
Jehu acts against Ahab’s house, eradicating Baal worship from Israel (9:14–10:28)
Elisha, on his deathbed, is visited by Jehu’s grandson King Jehoash; he foretells three victories over Syria (13:14-19)
Israel’s disrespect for Jehovah leads to exile in Assyria
The calf worship started by Jeroboam continues during the reigns of Jehu and his offspring—Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II, and Zechariah (10:29, 31; 13:6, 10, 11; 14:23, 24; 15:8, 9)
During Israel’s final days, King Zechariah is assassinated by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, Menahem’s son Pekahiah by Pekah, and Pekah by Hoshea (15:8-30)
During Pekah’s reign, Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria, exiles many Israelites; in the ninth year of Hoshea, Samaria is destroyed and Israel is taken into exile because of disrespecting Jehovah; Israel’s territory is populated by other peoples (15:29; 17:1-41)
Religious reforms in Judah bring no lasting change; Babylon destroys Jerusalem and takes God’s people into exile
Jehoram of Judah marries Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel; Jehoram apostatizes, as does his son Ahaziah after him (8:16-27)
When Ahaziah dies, Athaliah tries to kill off the seed of David so that she herself can rule; Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, is rescued by his aunt and eventually made king; Athaliah is killed (11:1-16)
As long as High Priest Jehoiada lives and advises him, Jehoash restores true worship, but ‘sacrificing on the high places’ persists during his reign and that of his successors—Amaziah, Azariah (Uzziah), and Jotham (12:1-16; 14:1-4; 15:1-4, 32-35)
Jotham’s son Ahaz practices idolatry; Ahaz’ son Hezekiah makes good reforms, but these are undone by the subsequent bad reigns of Manasseh and Amon (16:1-4; 18:1-6; 21:1-22)
Amon’s son Josiah undertakes firm measures to rid the land of idolatry; he is killed in a battle with Pharaoh Nechoh (22:1–23:30)
Judah’s last four kings are unfaithful: Josiah’s son Jehoahaz dies in captivity in Egypt; Jehoahaz’ brother Jehoiakim reigns after him; Jehoiakim’s son and successor Jehoiachin is carried into Babylonian exile; Jehoiakim’s brother Zedekiah reigns until Jerusalem is conquered by the Babylonians and most survivors of the conquest are taken into exile (23:31–25:21)

Aug. 17 Bible reading: 2 Kings 1-4


(2 KINGS 1:1)

“After the death of Aʹhab, Moʹab revolted against Israel.”

*** si p. 69 par. 2 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
It was completed about 580 B.C.E. and covers the period beginning with the reign of Ahaziah of Israel in about 920 B.C.E. and ending in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile, 580 B.C.E.—1:1; 25:27.

*** it-1 p. 152 Archaeology ***
The Moabite Stone was one of the earliest discoveries of importance in the area E of the Jordan. (PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 325) Found in 1868 at Dhiban, N of the Arnon Valley, it presents Moabite King Mesha’s version of his revolt against Israel. (Compare 2 Ki 1:1; 3:4, 5.) In part the inscription says: “I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-[. . .], king of Moab, the Dibonite . . . As for Omri, king of Israel, he humbled Moab many years (lit., days), for Chemosh [the god of Moab] was angry at his land. And his son followed him and he also said, ‘I will humble Moab.’ In my time he spoke (thus), but I have triumphed over him and over his house, while Israel hath perished for ever! . . . And Chemosh said to me, ‘Go, take Nebo from Israel!’ So I went by night and fought against it from the break of dawn until noon, taking it and slaying all . . . And I took from there the [vessels] of Yahweh, dragging them before Chemosh.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 320)

(2 KINGS 1:2)

“It was then that A•ha•ziʹah fell down through the grating in his roof chamber in Sa•marʹi•a and was injured. So he sent messengers and said to them: “Go, inquire of Baʹal-zeʹbub the god of Ekʹron to find out whether I will recover from this injury.””

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
A house accident, in which the king fell through a grating (perhaps one covering a daylight shaft) in his roof chamber, left him bedridden and seriously ill. (2Ki 1:2) As if the true God no longer existed, Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire of the Philistine god Baal-zebub (meaning “Owner of the Flies”) as to his prospects of recovery.

*** it-1 p. 233 Baal-zebub ***
BAAL-ZEBUB
(Baʹal-zeʹbub) [Owner of the Flies].
The Baal worshiped by the Philistines at Ekron. There are indications that it was a common practice among the Hebrews to change the names of false gods to something similar but degrading. Hence, the ending “zebub” may be an alteration of one of the titles of Baal shown in the Ras Shamra texts as “Zabul” (“Prince”), or Zebul. Some scholars, however, suggest that the name was given to the god by his worshipers because of his being viewed as the producer of flies and therefore able to control this common pest of the Middle East. Since the giving of oracles was associated with Baal-zebub, others favor the view that Baal-zebub was a god who was regarded as giving oracles by the flight or buzzing of a fly.—2Ki 1:2.

*** it-1 p. 843 Fly ***
The name of the god venerated by the Philistines at Ekron, “Baal-zebub,” means “Owner of the Flies.” This has given rise to the thought that his worshipers may have regarded him as being able to control these insects. Since the giving of oracles was associated with Baal-zebub, others have suggested that the name may denote that this god gave oracles by means of the flight or buzzing of a fly.—2Ki 1:2, 6; see BAAL-ZEBUB; GADFLY.

(2 KINGS 1:3)

“But the angel of Jehovah said to E•liʹjah the Tishʹbite: “Rise up, go to meet the messengers of the king of Sa•marʹi•a and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baʹal-zeʹbub the god of Ekʹron?”

*** nwt p. 1694 Glossary ***
Beelzebub. A designation applied to Satan, the prince, or ruler, of the demons. It is possibly an alteration of Baal-zebub, the Baal worshipped by the Philistines at Ekron.—2Ki 1:3; Mt 12:24.

(2 KINGS 2:1)

“When Jehovah was about to take E•liʹjah up to the heavens in a windstorm, E•liʹjah and E•liʹsha went out from Gilʹgal.”

*** it-1 p. 961 Gilgal ***
2. Although some view it otherwise, the Gilgal mentioned in connection with Elijah and Elisha is evidently not the same as No. 1. Before being taken up to the heavens in a windstorm, Elijah, accompanied by Elisha, went from Gilgal down to Bethel and then to Jericho. (2Ki 2:1-5) This route suggests a location near Bethel. Also, their going “down” implies that this Gilgal was in a mountainous region. The Gilgal in the Jordan Valley would not fit this description. Hence this Gilgal is usually linked with Jil Jiliya, a large village atop a hill about 11 km (7 mi) N of Bethel. Elisha later rendered harmless a poisonous stew there. (2Ki 4:38-41) Perhaps this or still another Gilgal is the one described at Deuteronomy 11:29, 30 as having Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal in front of it.

(2 KINGS 2:2)

“E•liʹjah said to E•liʹsha: “Stay here, please, because Jehovah has sent me on to Bethʹel.” But E•liʹsha said: “As surely as Jehovah is living and as you are living, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethʹel.”

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
ELISHA STUCK TO HIS ASSIGNMENT
Before God ‘took Elijah up to the heavens in a windstorm,’ he sent the prophet from Gilgal to Bethel. Elijah suggested that his companion not accompany him, but Elisha replied: “I will not leave you.” As the trip continued, two more times Elijah urged Elisha to stay behind but to no avail. (2 Ki. 2:1-6) Just as Ruth had clung to Naomi, so Elisha stuck with Elijah. (Ruth 1:8, 16, 17) Why? Evidently because Elisha appreciated his God-given privilege of ministering to Elijah.
Elisha set a fine example for us. If we receive some privilege of service in God’s organization, we will value it highly if we bear in mind that we are serving Jehovah. No greater honor exists.—Ps. 65:4; 84:10.

(2 KINGS 2:3)

“Then the sons of the prophets in Bethʹel came out to E•liʹsha and said to him: “Do you know that today Jehovah is taking your master away from headship over you?” At this he said: “I already know it. Be silent.””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
“Sons of the Prophets.” As Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar explains (Oxford, 1952, p. 418), the Hebrew ben (son of) or benehʹ (sons of) may denote “membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class).” (Compare Ne 3:8, where “a member of the ointment mixers” is literally “a son of the ointment mixers.”) “The sons of the prophets” may thus describe a school of instruction for those called to this vocation or simply a cooperative association of prophets. Such prophetic groups are mentioned as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. (2Ki 2:3, 5; 4:38; compare 1Sa 10:5, 10.)

(2 KINGS 2:4)

“E•liʹjah now said to him: “E•liʹsha, stay here, please, because Jehovah has sent me on to Jerʹi•cho.” But he said: “As surely as Jehovah is living and as you are living, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jerʹi•cho.”

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
ELISHA STUCK TO HIS ASSIGNMENT
Before God ‘took Elijah up to the heavens in a windstorm,’ he sent the prophet from Gilgal to Bethel. Elijah suggested that his companion not accompany him, but Elisha replied: “I will not leave you.” As the trip continued, two more times Elijah urged Elisha to stay behind but to no avail. (2 Ki. 2:1-6) Just as Ruth had clung to Naomi, so Elisha stuck with Elijah. (Ruth 1:8, 16, 17) Why? Evidently because Elisha appreciated his God-given privilege of ministering to Elijah.
Elisha set a fine example for us. If we receive some privilege of service in God’s organization, we will value it highly if we bear in mind that we are serving Jehovah. No greater honor exists.—Ps. 65:4; 84:10.

(2 KINGS 2:9)

“As soon as they had gone across, E•liʹjah said to E•liʹsha: “Ask what you want me to do for you before I am taken from you.” So E•liʹsha said: “Please, may I receive a double portion of your spirit?””

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
“ASK WHAT I SHOULD DO FOR YOU”
As the two men were traveling, Elijah said to Elisha: “Ask what I should do for you before I am taken from you.” Just as Solomon’s request made years earlier was of a spiritual nature, so was Elisha’s. He asked that ‘two parts of Elijah’s spirit might come to him.’ (1 Ki. 3:5, 9; 2 Ki. 2:9) In Israel, a man’s firstborn son was to receive a double portion of an inheritance. (Deut. 21:15-17) In effect, then, Elisha asked to be recognized as Elijah’s spiritual heir. Moreover, Elisha evidently wanted to have the same courageous spirit as that of Elijah, who was “absolutely jealous for Jehovah.”—1 Ki. 19:13, 14.

*** w05 8/1 p. 8 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
2:9—Why did Elisha ask for ‘two parts in Elijah’s spirit’? To carry out the responsibility as a prophet to Israel, Elisha would need the same spirit that Elijah had shown, that of courage and fearlessness. Realizing this, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elisha was appointed by Elijah as his successor and had been his attendant for six years, so Elisha viewed Elijah as his spiritual father; Elisha was like the firstborn spiritual son of Elijah. (1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:12) Hence, just as the literal firstborn received two parts of his father’s inheritance, Elisha asked for and received two parts of spiritual inheritance from Elijah.

*** w03 11/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Questions From Readers
Why did Elisha ask for “two parts” of Elijah’s spirit?
Just before Elijah finished his assignment as a prophet in Israel, the younger prophet Elisha requested from him: “Please, that two parts in your spirit may come to me.” (2 Kings 2:9) Spiritually speaking, Elisha was evidently claiming a double portion such as that given to a firstborn son. (Deuteronomy 21:17) A brief consideration of the account will make this clear and will help us to draw lessons from what happened.
In harmony with Jehovah’s direction, the prophet Elijah had anointed Elisha as his successor. (1 Kings 19:19-21) For some six years, Elisha served as Elijah’s faithful attendant and was determined to do this to the end. Even on Elijah’s last day as a prophet in Israel, Elisha stuck to his mentor. Although Elijah urged Elisha to stop following him, the younger prophet stated three times: “I will not leave you.” (2 Kings 2:2, 4, 6; 3:11) Indeed, Elisha viewed the older prophet as his spiritual father.—2 Kings 2:12.
However, Elisha was not the only spiritual son of Elijah. Elijah and Elisha associated with a group of men known as “the sons of the prophets.” (2 Kings 2:3) The account in Second Kings indicates that these “sons” also felt a close bond with their spiritual father, Elijah. (2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15-17) Yet, as the anointed successor, Elisha was the foremost among Elijah’s spiritual sons—he was like the firstborn. In ancient Israel, a literal firstborn son received two parts of his father’s inheritance, whereas the other sons each received one part. Hence, Elisha asked for two parts of Elijah’s spiritual inheritance.
Why did Elisha make this request at that particular time? Because he was about to take on a weighty task—that of succeeding Elijah as prophet in Israel. Elisha realized that in order to fulfill the responsibilities related to this daunting assignment, he needed spiritual power far beyond his own capabilities, power that only Jehovah could provide. He needed to be as fearless as Elijah had been. (2 Kings 1:3, 4, 15, 16) Thus, he asked for two parts of Elijah’s spirit, a spirit of courage and of being “absolutely jealous for Jehovah”—desirable qualities produced by God’s spirit. (1 Kings 19:10, 14) How did Elijah respond?
Elijah knew that Elisha had asked for something that was not his but only God’s to give. So Elijah modestly replied: “You have asked a difficult thing. If you see me when taken from you, it will happen to you that way.” (2 Kings 2:10) And, indeed, Jehovah allowed Elisha to see Elijah ascend in a windstorm. (2 Kings 2:11, 12) Elisha’s request was granted. Jehovah provided him with the spirit he needed to take on his new task and to face coming trials.
Today, anointed Christians (sometimes called the Elisha class) and God’s servants in general can draw much encouragement from this Bible account. At times, we may feel overwhelmed and inadequate in the face of a new assignment, or we may be losing some of our courage to continue with our Kingdom-preaching work as we face increasing indifference or opposition in our territory. Yet, if we beg Jehovah for his support, he will give us holy spirit as we need it to cope with challenges and changing circumstances. (Luke 11:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 4:13) Yes, just as Jehovah strengthened Elisha for his weightier responsibilities, he will help all of us, young and old, to accomplish our ministry.—2 Timothy 4:5.

*** w97 11/1 p. 30 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
Once they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha: “Ask what I should do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha asked for “two parts” of Elijah’s spirit—that is, the double portion that would normally be due a firstborn son. Indeed, Elisha had honored Elijah just as a firstborn son would honor his father. Furthermore, he was anointed to become Elijah’s successor as Jehovah’s prophet in Israel. So his request was neither selfish nor inappropriate. Nevertheless, knowing that only Jehovah could grant this request, Elijah modestly replied: “You have asked a difficult thing.” Then he added: “If you see me when taken from you, it will happen to you that way; but if you do not, it will not happen.”—2 Kings 2:9, 10; Deuteronomy 21:17.

*** it-1 p. 712 Elijah ***
Elisha takes up Elijah’s official garment that had fallen off him, and “two parts” (like a firstborn son’s portion) in Elijah’s spirit, a spirit of courage and of being “absolutely jealous for Jehovah the God of armies,” come on him.—2Ki 2:1-13; 1Ki 19:10, 14; compare De 21:17.

*** it-1 p. 714 Elisha ***
Before Elijah leaves, Elisha asks him for “two parts in [his] spirit,” that is, a double part, which was due the firstborn son. This position he occupies because of his official appointment as Elijah’s successor at the time that Elijah threw his official garment over him. (2Ki 2:9)

(2 KINGS 2:10)

“He replied: “You have asked a difficult thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it will happen for you that way; but if you do not, it will not happen.””

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
How did Elijah respond to his attendant’s request? “You have asked a difficult thing,” said the prophet. “If you see me when taken from you, it will happen to you that way; but if you do not, it will not happen.” (2 Ki. 2:10) Elijah’s answer apparently had a twofold significance. First, only God could determine whether Elisha would receive what he had requested. Second, if Elisha was to receive it, he had to maintain his resolve to stay with Elijah, come what may.

(2 KINGS 2:11)

“As they were walking along, speaking as they walked, suddenly a fiery chariot and fiery horses made a separation between the two of them, and E•liʹjah ascended to the heavens in the windstorm.”

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
Elijah did not ascend to the heavens that are the spiritual dwelling place of Jehovah and his angelic sons. See The Watchtower of September 15, 1997, page 15.

*** w13 8/15 pp. 29-30 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
What he saw when Elijah ascended in the windstorm undoubtedly made a very great impression on Elisha. After all, a person does not see a fiery war chariot and fiery horses every day! They provided proof of Jehovah’s positive response to Elisha’s request. When God answers our prayers, we do not have a vision of a flaming war chariot and fiery horses. But we can discern that God uses great power to ensure that his will is done. And when we observe that Jehovah is blessing the earthly part of his organization, in effect we “see” his celestial chariot in action.—Ezek. 10:9-13.

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
WHAT ELISHA SAW
How did God view Elisha’s request for two parts of Elijah’s spirit? The account says: “It came about that as they were walking along, speaking as they walked, why, look! a fiery war chariot and fiery horses, and they proceeded to make a separation between them both; and Elijah went ascending in the windstorm to the heavens. All the while Elisha was seeing it.” That was Jehovah’s answer to Elisha’s request. Elisha saw Elijah taken from him, received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and became the prophet’s spiritual heir.—2 Ki. 2:11-14.

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 1 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
2:11—What were “the heavens” to which “Elijah went ascending in the windstorm”? These were neither the distant parts of the physical universe nor the spiritual place where God and his angelic sons dwell. (Deuteronomy 4:19; Psalm 11:4; Matthew 6:9; 18:10) “The heavens” to which Elijah ascended were the atmospheric heavens. (Psalm 78:26; Matthew 6:26) Racing through earth’s atmosphere, the fiery chariot evidently transferred Elijah to another part of the earth, where he continued living for a time. Years later, in fact, Elijah wrote a letter to Jehoram, the king of Judah.—2 Chronicles 21:1, 12-15.

*** w03 9/1 p. 30 Do You Treasure Elderly Fellow Believers? ***
At that point, Elisha had already assisted Elijah for some six years. Yet, he desired to serve with Elijah as long as possible. In fact, the account adds: “It came about that as they were walking along, speaking as they walked, why, look! . . . Elijah went ascending.” (Verse 11) Elijah and Elisha were conversing until the very last moment of Elijah’s ministry in Israel. The younger prophet apparently was eager to absorb as many words of instruction and encouragement as possible from the older, more experienced prophet. Clearly, he treasured his older friend.

*** w97 9/15 p. 15 Will You Be Faithful Like Elijah? ***
To Which Heavens Did Elijah Ascend?
IT CAME about that as [Elijah and Elisha] were walking along, speaking as they walked, why, look! a fiery war chariot and fiery horses, and they proceeded to make a separation between them both; and Elijah went ascending in the windstorm to the heavens.”—2 Kings 2:11.
What is meant by the word “heavens” in this case? The term sometimes applies to the spiritual dwelling place of God and his angelic sons. (Matthew 6:9; 18:10) “Heavens” may also denote the physical universe. (Deuteronomy 4:19) And the Bible uses this term to refer to earth’s immediate atmosphere, where birds fly and winds blow.—Psalm 78:26; Matthew 6:26.
To which of these heavens did the prophet Elijah ascend? Evidently, he was transferred through earth’s atmosphere and placed on a different part of the globe. Elijah was still on earth years later, for he wrote a letter to King Jehoram of Judah. (2 Chronicles 21:1, 12-15) That Elijah did not ascend to the spiritual abode of Jehovah God was later confirmed by Jesus Christ, who declared: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man,” that is, Jesus himself. (John 3:13) The way to heavenly life was first opened up to imperfect humans after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.—John 14:2, 3; Hebrews 9:24; 10:19, 20.

*** it-1 p. 712 Elijah ***
There Elisha is rewarded for his faithfulness by seeing a fiery war chariot and fiery horses and Elijah ascending in a windstorm to the heavens. Elisha takes up Elijah’s official garment that had fallen off him, and “two parts” (like a firstborn son’s portion) in Elijah’s spirit, a spirit of courage and of being “absolutely jealous for Jehovah the God of armies,” come on him.—2Ki 2:1-13; 1Ki 19:10, 14; compare De 21:17.
Elijah does not die at this time, nor does he go into the invisible spirit realm, but he is transferred to another prophetic assignment. (Joh 3:13) This is shown by the fact that Elisha does not hold any period of mourning for his master. A number of years after his ascension in the windstorm Elijah is still alive and active as a prophet, this time to the king of Judah. Because of the wicked course taken by King Jehoram of Judah, Elijah writes him a letter expressing Jehovah’s condemnation, which is fulfilled shortly thereafter.—2Ch 21:12-15; see HEAVEN (Ascension to Heaven).

*** it-1 p. 715 Elisha ***
On the way, a band of juvenile delinquents comes out and shows great disrespect both to him and his office as prophet. “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” they jeer. They mean for him either to keep on going up to Bethel or to get off the earth just as his predecessor was supposed to have done. (2Ki 2:11)

*** it-1 p. 1064 Heaven ***
Ascension to Heaven. At 2 Kings 2:11, 12 the prophet Elijah is described as “ascending in the windstorm to the heavens.” The heavens here referred to are the atmospheric heavens in which windstorms occur, not the spiritual heavens of God’s presence. Elijah did not die at the time of such ascension, but he continued to live for a number of years after his heavenly transportation away from his successor Elisha. Nor did Elijah upon death ascend to the spiritual heavens, since Jesus, while on earth, clearly stated that “no man has ascended into heaven.” (Joh 3:13; see ELIJAH No. 1 (Elisha Succeeds Him).) At Pentecost, Peter likewise said of David that he “did not ascend to the heavens.” (Ac 2:34) In reality, there is nothing in the Scriptures to show that a heavenly hope was held out to God’s servants prior to the coming of Christ Jesus. Such hope first appears in Jesus’ expressions to his disciples (Mt 19:21, 23-28; Lu 12:32; Joh 14:2, 3) and was fully comprehended by them only after Pentecost of 33 C.E.—Ac 1:6-8; 2:1-4, 29-36; Ro 8:16, 17.

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
Jehovah’s invisible heavenly war equipment is represented by fiery horses and chariots. (2Ki 2:11, 12) Elisha, on one occasion, prayed for the eyes of his terrified attendant to be opened to see that “the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha” to protect him from the surrounding forces of Syrians sent out to capture him.—2Ki 6:17.

(2 KINGS 2:12)

“While E•liʹsha was watching, he was crying out: “My father, my father! The chariot of Israel and his horsemen!” When he could no longer see him, he took hold of his own garments and ripped them into two pieces.”

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
Jehovah’s invisible heavenly war equipment is represented by fiery horses and chariots. (2Ki 2:11, 12) Elisha, on one occasion, prayed for the eyes of his terrified attendant to be opened to see that “the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha” to protect him from the surrounding forces of Syrians sent out to capture him.—2Ki 6:17.

(2 KINGS 2:23)

“He went up from there to Bethʹel. As he was going along the way, some young boys came out from the city and began to jeer at him, and they kept saying to him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!””

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 6 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
2:23, 24. The main reason for this mocking of Elisha appears to be that a bald man was wearing Elijah’s official garment. The children recognized Elisha as Jehovah’s representative and simply did not want him around. They told him to “go up,” that is, keep going up to Bethel or be taken up as Elijah had been. The children evidently reflected the antagonistic attitude of their parents. How vital that parents teach their children to respect God’s representatives!

*** si p. 74 par. 34 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
34 Jehovah tolerates no disrespect for his official servants. When the delinquents mocked Elisha as the prophet of Jehovah, He brought swift recompense. (2:23, 24)

*** it-1 pp. 245-246 Baldness ***
Jehovah’s prophet Elisha was bald. After he had succeeded to the prophetic office of Elijah, he was proceeding uphill from Jericho toward Bethel when he was mocked by a mob of children who cried: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” The primary reason for their jeers seems to have been not that Elisha was bald but that they saw a bald man wearing Elijah’s familiar official garment. They did not want any successor of Elijah around. He should either keep going his way up to Bethel or ascend in a windstorm to the heavens as the former wearer of that official garment had done. (2Ki 2:11) To answer this challenge of his being Elijah’s successor and to teach these young people and their parents proper respect for Jehovah’s prophet, Elisha called down evil upon the jeering mob in the name of the God of Elijah. It was a test of his prophetship. Jehovah manifested his approval of Elisha by causing two she-bears to come out of the nearby woods and to tear to pieces 42 of them.—2Ki 2:23, 24.

*** it-1 p. 435 Child, Children ***
Great disrespect was shown to God’s appointed prophet Elisha by a group of small boys who derided him, crying out: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” They wanted Elisha, who was wearing Elijah’s familiar garment, either to go on his way up to Bethel or to get off the earth as Elijah was supposed to have done. (2Ki 2:11) They did not want him around. Elisha finally turned and called down evil upon them in the name of Jehovah. “Then two she-bears came out from the woods and went tearing to pieces forty-two children of their number.”—2Ki 2:23, 24.

(2 KINGS 2:24)

“Finally he turned around and looked at them and cursed them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out of the forest and tore 42 of the children to pieces.”

*** w92 11/1 p. 9 Going to Shiloh—Good Children and Bad ***
Second Kings 2:23, 24 tells us that a band of youths jeered God’s prophet: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” In response, Elisha “called down evil upon them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out from the woods and went tearing to pieces forty-two children of their number.” Such Syrian brown bears could be ferocious when surprised or when their cubs seemed threatened. (2 Samuel 17:8; Proverbs 17:12; 28:15) God used them to execute divine justice against those who grossly despised his representative and thus despised Jehovah himself.

*** si p. 74 par. 34 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
34 Jehovah tolerates no disrespect for his official servants. When the delinquents mocked Elisha as the prophet of Jehovah, He brought swift recompense. (2:23, 24)

*** it-1 pp. 245-246 Baldness ***
Jehovah’s prophet Elisha was bald. After he had succeeded to the prophetic office of Elijah, he was proceeding uphill from Jericho toward Bethel when he was mocked by a mob of children who cried: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” The primary reason for their jeers seems to have been not that Elisha was bald but that they saw a bald man wearing Elijah’s familiar official garment. They did not want any successor of Elijah around. He should either keep going his way up to Bethel or ascend in a windstorm to the heavens as the former wearer of that official garment had done. (2Ki 2:11) To answer this challenge of his being Elijah’s successor and to teach these young people and their parents proper respect for Jehovah’s prophet, Elisha called down evil upon the jeering mob in the name of the God of Elijah. It was a test of his prophetship. Jehovah manifested his approval of Elisha by causing two she-bears to come out of the nearby woods and to tear to pieces 42 of them.—2Ki 2:23, 24.

(2 KINGS 3:4)

“Now Meʹsha the king of Moʹab was a sheep raiser, and he used to pay 100,000 lambs and 100,000 unshorn rams as tribute to the king of Israel.”

*** w92 3/1 p. 24 Visit the Land, Visit the Sheep! ***
Wool was an important trading commodity. That is implied in the comment that a Moabite king “became a sheep raiser, and he paid to the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs and a hundred thousand unshorn male sheep.” (2 Kings 3:4) Yes, they were “unshorn” sheep; their abundant wool added to their worth.

*** it-1 p. 99 Amos ***
His home was the town of Tekoa, some 16 km (10 mi) S of Jerusalem, at an elevation of about 820 m (2,700 ft). To the E, and sloping toward the Dead Sea, which lay about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) below, was the bleak wilderness of Judah, where, in his early life, the prophet found employment as a humble sheep raiser. (Am 1:1) The Hebrew word no•qedhimʹ here translated “sheep raisers” occurs in only one other place in the Bible (2Ki 3:4) and is related to naqqad, the Arabic word for a special breed of sheep, rather unattractive but highly valued for its fleece.

*** it-2 pp. 381-382 Mesha ***
2. King of Moab in the time of Kings Jehoshaphat of Judah and Ahab, Ahaziah, and Jehoram of Israel. The Moabites, under subjugation to the northern kingdom of Israel, paid King Ahab a tribute of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 unshorn male sheep, apparently of a breed noted for their quality of wool. Following Ahab’s death, Mesha rebelled against Israel’s King Ahaziah. But Ahaziah died after a short rule and was succeeded by his brother Jehoram, who secured an alliance with Jehoshaphat of Judah and an unidentified king of Edom, in order to bring Mesha again under subjection. Taking a difficult route S of the Dead Sea, their forces ran out of water. But Elisha the prophet gave assurance that if ditches were dug in the dried-up torrent valley, Jehovah would fill them with water.—2Ki 1:1; 3:4-19.

(2 KINGS 3:5)

“As soon as Aʹhab died, the king of Moʹab revolted against the king of Israel.”

*** gm chap. 4 pp. 46-47 par. 19 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
19 Later on, Israel and Judah became two nations, and Israel conquered the neighboring land of Moab. At one time Moab, under King Mesha, revolted, and Israel formed an alliance with Judah and the neighboring kingdom of Edom to war against Moab. (2 Kings 3:4-27) Remarkably, in 1868 in Jordan, a stela (a carved stone slab) was discovered that was inscribed in the Moabite language with Mesha’s own account of this conflict.

*** it-1 p. 152 Archaeology ***
The Moabite Stone was one of the earliest discoveries of importance in the area E of the Jordan. (PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 325) Found in 1868 at Dhiban, N of the Arnon Valley, it presents Moabite King Mesha’s version of his revolt against Israel. (Compare 2 Ki 1:1; 3:4, 5.) In part the inscription says: “I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-[. . .], king of Moab, the Dibonite . . . As for Omri, king of Israel, he humbled Moab many years (lit., days), for Chemosh [the god of Moab] was angry at his land. And his son followed him and he also said, ‘I will humble Moab.’ In my time he spoke (thus), but I have triumphed over him and over his house, while Israel hath perished for ever! . . . And Chemosh said to me, ‘Go, take Nebo from Israel!’ So I went by night and fought against it from the break of dawn until noon, taking it and slaying all . . . And I took from there the [vessels] of Yahweh, dragging them before Chemosh.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 320)

*** it-1 p. 625 Dibon ***
Mesha, king of Moab, revolted against Israelite domination many centuries later, “as soon as Ahab died,” according to the Bible account at 2 Kings 3:4, 5. The Bible does not say precisely how long this uprising lasted, and it is possible that, as Mesha boasts on the Moabite Stone, he managed to annex several Israelite cities to “Qarhah” at that time.

(2 KINGS 3:11)

“At that Je•hoshʹa•phat said: “Is there no prophet of Jehovah here through whom we may inquire of Jehovah?” So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered: “There is E•liʹsha the son of Shaʹphat, who used to pour out water on the hands of E•liʹjah.””

*** w13 8/15 p. 29 Elisha Saw Fiery Chariots—Do You? ***
Elisha served Elijah for perhaps six years. During that time, Elisha was the one ‘who poured out water upon Elijah’s hands.’ (2 Ki. 3:11) In those days, people customarily ate with their hands, without forks, knives, or other eating utensils. After a meal, a servant poured water on his master’s hands to cleanse them. So at least some of Elisha’s tasks were menial. Nevertheless, he considered it a privilege to be Elijah’s attendant.

*** ia chap. 11 p. 98 He Watched, and He Waited ***
Soon after this, Jehovah would assign Elijah to train Elisha, who would become known as the one “who poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Ki. 3:11) Elisha acted as Elijah’s attendant, evidently offering practical assistance to an older man.

*** w97 11/1 p. 31 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
Evidently, some of his duties were menial, for he became known as the one who “poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” (2 Kings 3:11)

*** w97 11/1 p. 31 An Example of Self-Sacrifice and Loyalty ***
It was customary for a servant to pour water over the hands of his master for washing, particularly after meals. This practice was similar to the washing of feet, which was an act of hospitality, respect, and in certain relationships, humility.—Genesis 24:31, 32; John 13:5.

*** it-1 p. 217 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Pouring water on another’s hands. Elisha was identified as the minister or servant of Elijah by the expression “[he] poured out water upon the hands of Elijah.” This was a service performed particularly after meals. In the Middle East it was not the custom to use knives and forks, but fingers, and the servant would afterward pour water over the hands of his master for washing. (2Ki 3:11)

*** it-1 p. 714 Elisha ***
For perhaps six years Elisha served as Elijah’s attendant. Elijah served as head prophet, and Elisha worked closely with him, being known as the one who “poured out water upon the hands of Elijah” when Elijah washed his hands.—2Ki 2:3-5; 3:11.

(2 KINGS 3:17)

“for this is what Jehovah says: “You will not see wind, and you will not see rain; yet this valley will be filled with water, and you will drink from it, you, your livestock, and your other animals.”’”

*** it-1 p. 681 Edom ***
With regard to the campaign against Moab, the predicted flooding of the previously dry torrent valley where the allied armies camped may have resulted from a desert thunderstorm on the higher plateau. Such storms in modern times can send torrents of water rushing down the wadis toward the Arabah. Or the water may have appeared by purely miraculous means.—2Ki 3:16-23.

(2 KINGS 3:19)

“You must strike down every fortified city and every choice city, you should cut down every good tree, you should stop up all the springs of water, and you should ruin every good plot of land with stones.””

*** it-2 p. 1123 Trees ***
On invading the land, the Israelites were instructed not to destroy the fruit-bearing trees when attacking the cities, although centuries later the kings of Judah and Israel were authorized by God to devastate the ‘good trees’ of the kingdom of Moab. The reason appears to be that Moab was outside the Promised Land. It was punitive warfare against Moab, and the Israelite action was a protection against Moabite revolt or retaliation. (De 20:19, 20; 2Ki 3:19, 25; compare Jer 6:6.)

(2 KINGS 3:20)

“And in the morning, at the time of the morning grain offering, water was suddenly coming from the direction of Eʹdom, and the land became filled with the water.”

*** it-1 p. 681 Edom ***
With regard to the campaign against Moab, the predicted flooding of the previously dry torrent valley where the allied armies camped may have resulted from a desert thunderstorm on the higher plateau. Such storms in modern times can send torrents of water rushing down the wadis toward the Arabah. Or the water may have appeared by purely miraculous means.—2Ki 3:16-23.

(2 KINGS 3:22)

“When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water, and to the Moʹab•ites on the opposite side, the water looked red like blood.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
3:22. The reflection of the early morning light created the illusion that the water was blood, perhaps because the soil in the freshly made ditches contained red clay. Jehovah may choose to use natural phenomena to accomplish his purposes.

*** it-2 p. 382 Mesha ***
This occurred, and the reflection of the early morning sun upon the water made it look like blood to the Moabites, possibly because of red clay in the freshly cut ditches. The illusion deceived them into thinking the allied armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom had turned on one another. It was not unreasonable for them to think this, in view of the fact that they knew of the jealousy between Israel and Judah. Also, the Edomites were no lovers of the men of Judah, who were allied with Israel on this occasion.—2Ki 3:20-23; compare 2Ch 20:10, 11, 24, 25.
Thinking their enemies had slaughtered one another, the Moabites shouted, “So now, to the spoil, O Moab!” and entered the camp of Israel, only to be put to flight. Israel followed up by destroying the Moabite cities, stopping up their springs, and filling their tracts of land with stones, until they got to the city of Kir-hareseth (Kir of Moab).—2Ki 3:23-25.

(2 KINGS 3:23)

“They said: “This is blood! The kings have surely slaughtered one another with the sword. So, then, to the spoil, O Moʹab!””

*** it-2 p. 382 Mesha ***
This occurred, and the reflection of the early morning sun upon the water made it look like blood to the Moabites, possibly because of red clay in the freshly cut ditches. The illusion deceived them into thinking the allied armies of Israel, Judah, and Edom had turned on one another. It was not unreasonable for them to think this, in view of the fact that they knew of the jealousy between Israel and Judah. Also, the Edomites were no lovers of the men of Judah, who were allied with Israel on this occasion.—2Ki 3:20-23; compare 2Ch 20:10, 11, 24, 25.
Thinking their enemies had slaughtered one another, the Moabites shouted, “So now, to the spoil, O Moab!” and entered the camp of Israel, only to be put to flight. Israel followed up by destroying the Moabite cities, stopping up their springs, and filling their tracts of land with stones, until they got to the city of Kir-hareseth (Kir of Moab).—2Ki 3:23-25.

(2 KINGS 3:26)

“When the king of Moʹab saw that the battle was lost, he took with him 700 men armed with swords to break through to the king of Eʹdom; but they were not able to.”

*** it-1 p. 945 Kingdoms Surrounding Israel ***
Moab Nu 22:4-7; 25:1-3; 2Ki 3:26, 27

*** it-2 p. 382 Mesha ***
When King Mesha found himself trapped, he took 700 swordsmen and tried in a counterattack to break through to the king of Edom (perhaps because he thought that there he would meet with the weakest resistance), but he was unable to do so. “Finally he took his firstborn son who was going to reign in place of him and offered him up as a burnt sacrifice upon the wall.”—2Ki 3:26, 27.
The majority of commentators agree that Mesha offered up his own son as a sacrifice to his god Chemosh. The few who think otherwise say it was a captured son of the king of Edom that was sacrificed, citing Amos 2:1 as evidence, where reference is made to Moab “burning the bones of the king of Edom for lime.” Though grammatically the Hebrew will allow for such an interpretation, this latter suggestion seems contrary to other known facts. For example, it was unheard of for Moabites and Ammonites, Israel’s neighbors, to offer up their enemies as sacrifices to their gods, but it was a known practice of their religion to offer their own children as burnt sacrifices to appease the anger of their gods. (De 12:30, 31; Mic 6:6, 7) It is therefore understandable why this Chemosh worshiper, Mesha, faced with imminent danger of defeat, would have resorted to such drastic measures.

(2 KINGS 3:27)

“So he took his firstborn son who was going to reign in his place and offered him up as a burnt sacrifice on the wall. And there came to be great indignation against Israel, so they withdrew from against him and returned to their land.”

*** it-2 pp. 175-176 Kir of Moab ***
As a last resort, it appears that the king of Moab publicly sacrificed his own firstborn son, probably to appease the god Chemosh. (2Ki 3:5, 9, 25-27) The Hebrew text (2Ki 3:27) may also be understood to refer to the firstborn son of the king of Edom, and some suggest that this is alluded to at Amos 2:1. But this is less likely.

*** it-2 p. 382 Mesha ***
When King Mesha found himself trapped, he took 700 swordsmen and tried in a counterattack to break through to the king of Edom (perhaps because he thought that there he would meet with the weakest resistance), but he was unable to do so. “Finally he took his firstborn son who was going to reign in place of him and offered him up as a burnt sacrifice upon the wall.”—2Ki 3:26, 27.
The majority of commentators agree that Mesha offered up his own son as a sacrifice to his god Chemosh. The few who think otherwise say it was a captured son of the king of Edom that was sacrificed, citing Amos 2:1 as evidence, where reference is made to Moab “burning the bones of the king of Edom for lime.” Though grammatically the Hebrew will allow for such an interpretation, this latter suggestion seems contrary to other known facts. For example, it was unheard of for Moabites and Ammonites, Israel’s neighbors, to offer up their enemies as sacrifices to their gods, but it was a known practice of their religion to offer their own children as burnt sacrifices to appease the anger of their gods. (De 12:30, 31; Mic 6:6, 7) It is therefore understandable why this Chemosh worshiper, Mesha, faced with imminent danger of defeat, would have resorted to such drastic measures.

*** it-2 p. 421 Moab ***
Already at the close of the ninth century B.C.E., Amos wrote that Moab would suffer calamity for “burning the bones of the king of Edom for lime.” (Am 2:1-3) While some take this to mean that 2 Kings 3:26, 27 refers to King Mesha’s offering up, not his own son, but the firstborn of the king of Edom, this is an unlikely inference. One Jewish tradition, though, does link the event mentioned by Amos with the war waged against Mesha and claims that sometime after this conflict the Moabites dug up the bones of the king of Edom and then burned them for lime. But the Bible record provides no basis for determining the time involved.

(2 KINGS 4:10)

“Please, let us make a small room on the roof and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lampstand. Then, whenever he comes to us, he can stay there.””

*** it-1 p. 1155 House ***
Often a roof chamber or upper chamber was built on the housetop. This was a pleasant, cool room that often served as a guest room. (Jg 3:20; 1Ki 17:19; 2Ki 1:2; 4:10)

(2 KINGS 4:11)

“One day he came there, and he went to the room on the roof to lie down.”

*** w97 10/1 p. 30 Shunem—Marked by Love and Violence ***
We can imagine Elisha returning thankfully after a long, fatiguing journey, to the little roof chamber she and her husband had prepared for him. He probably visited their home often, since his ministry spanned 60 years. Why did this Shunammite woman insist that Elisha stay at their home every time he passed that way? Because she valued Elisha’s work. This humble, selfless prophet acted as the conscience of the nation, reminding kings, priests, and commoners of their duty to serve Jehovah.

(2 KINGS 4:13)

“Then he said to Ge•haʹzi: “Please tell her, ‘Here you have gone to all this trouble for us. What can be done for you? Should I speak in your behalf to the king or to the chief of the army?’” But her reply was: “I am living among my own people.””

*** w97 10/1 p. 30 Shunem—Marked by Love and Violence ***
The Bible says that she ‘restricted herself’—or went to a lot of trouble—in order to provide the prophet Elisha regular meals and accommodations.—2 Kings 4:8-13.

(2 KINGS 4:29)

“He immediately said to Ge•haʹzi: “Wrap your garments around your waist and take my staff in your hand and go. If you encounter anyone, do not greet him; and if anyone should greet you, do not answer him. Go and place my staff on the boy’s face.””

*** it-1 p. 654 Dress ***
Sash, belt, or girdle. A sash was often worn over the inner or the outer garments. When one engaged in some form of physical activity or work, he would ‘gird up his loins’ by wearing a sash, often pulling the ends of the garment up between his legs and tucking these ends under the sash so that he would have freedom of movement. (1Ki 18:46; 2Ki 4:29; 9:1)

(2 KINGS 4:38)

“When E•liʹsha returned to Gilʹgal, there was famine in the land. The sons of the prophets were sitting before him, and he said to his attendant: “Put the large pot on and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
“Sons of the Prophets.” As Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar explains (Oxford, 1952, p. 418), the Hebrew ben (son of) or benehʹ (sons of) may denote “membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class).” (Compare Ne 3:8, where “a member of the ointment mixers” is literally “a son of the ointment mixers.”) “The sons of the prophets” may thus describe a school of instruction for those called to this vocation or simply a cooperative association of prophets. Such prophetic groups are mentioned as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. (2Ki 2:3, 5; 4:38; compare 1Sa 10:5, 10.) Samuel presided over a group at Ramah (1Sa 19:19, 20), and Elisha seems to have held a similar position in his day. (2Ki 4:38; 6:1-3; compare 1Ki 18:13.)

(2 KINGS 4:40)

“They later served it to the men to eat, but as soon as they ate from the stew, they cried out: “There is death in the pot, O man of the true God.” And they could not eat it.”

*** it-1 p. 991 Gourd ***
GOURD
[Heb., paq•qu•ʽothʹ, plural].
The Hebrew word rendered “gourds” appears in the Bible only with reference to an incident occurring during a time of famine in Elisha’s day. Someone had gathered some unfamiliar wild gourds and sliced them in with a stew. Upon tasting it, “the sons of the prophets” feared food poisoning and stopped eating, but Elisha miraculously saved the stew from being wasted.—2Ki 4:38-41.
Although a number of other suggestions have been made, the colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis), a plant related to the watermelon, is generally favored as the plant whose fruit probably corresponds to the “wild gourds” of the Scriptural record. The vine of the colocynth trails like the cucumber and also has similar foliage. The fruit is about the size of an orange; it has a thick, smooth rind with green and yellow mottlings, and it contains a very bitter and poisonous spongy pulp, from which the colocynth of medicine is derived. The characteristics of the colocynth would fit the Bible narrative of a wild gourd that was apparently poisonous, as suggested by its very taste. (2Ki 4:40) When most other plants have withered, it is still green and hence is a temptation to one unfamiliar with it.

Aug. 24 Bible reading: 2 Kings 5-8


(2 KINGS 5:1)

“Now Naʹa•man the army chief of the king of Syria was a prominent man who was held in esteem by his lord, because through him Jehovah had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty warrior, although he was a leper.”

*** it-1 p. 286 Ben-hadad ***
He must also be the king who sent his leprous army chief Naaman to be cured by Elisha during Jehoram’s reign. The Syrian king worshiped the god Rimmon (whose name forms part of that of Tabrimmon, the father of Ben-hadad I).—2Ki 5:1-19.

*** it-1 p. 715 Elisha ***
Heals Naaman. During his reign, King Ben-hadad II of Syria sends his highly respected army chief Naaman, a leper, to the king of Israel to be healed of his leprosy. This valiant man had, although leprous, saved Syria. Evidently the leprous condition of Naaman does not bar him from holding such a high office in Syria, whereas it would have removed him from holding such office in Israel. (Le 13:46)

*** it-2 p. 456 Naaman ***
2. A Syrian army chief of the tenth century B.C.E., during the reigns of Jehoram of Israel and Ben-hadad II of Syria. Naaman, ‘a great, valiant, mighty man held in esteem,’ was the one by whom “Jehovah had given salvation to Syria.” (2Ki 5:1) The Bible gives no details as to how or why Naaman was used to bring this salvation to Syria. One possibility is that Naaman headed the Syrian forces that successfully resisted the efforts of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III to overrun Syria. Since, by remaining free, Syria formed a buffer state between Israel and Assyria, this may have served the purpose of slowing down Assyria’s aggressive push in the W until Jehovah’s due time to allow the northern kingdom to go into exile.
Cured of Leprosy. Naaman was a leper, and while the Syrians did not demand his isolation as Jehovah’s law required of lepers in Israel, yet to learn how he might be cured of this loathsome disease was indeed welcome news.

(2 KINGS 5:3)

“She said to her mistress: “If only my lord would visit the prophet in Sa•marʹi•a! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.””

*** w08 2/15 pp. 9-10 par. 14 Walk in Jehovah’s Ways ***
14 Centuries later, a little Israelite girl taken captive by a marauding band became a servant in the home of the Syrian army commander Naaman, a man afflicted with leprosy. Having heard about the miracles God performed through the prophet Elisha, the girl courageously told Naaman’s wife: ‘If my master would go to Israel, Jehovah’s prophet would cure him of his leprosy.’ Naaman did go to Israel, and he was miraculously healed. (2 Ki. 5:1-3) What a fine example that girl is for youngsters who rely on Jehovah for the courage to witness to teachers, schoolmates, and others!

*** w05 8/1 p. 10 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:3. The little Israelite girl had faith in God’s ability to perform miracles. She also had the courage to speak about her faith. Do you young ones strive to fortify your faith in God’s promises and muster up courage to share the truth with your teachers and fellow students?

(2 KINGS 5:12)

“Are not the A•baʹnah and the Pharʹpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Can I not wash in them and become clean?” With that he turned and went away in a rage.”

*** it-1 pp. 12-13 Abanah ***
ABANAH
(A•baʹnah).
One of the two rivers of Damascus referred to by the Syrian army commander Naaman when scorning Elisha’s instructions to bathe himself in the waters of the Jordan as a cure for his leprosy.—2Ki 5:12.
This river is generally identified with the Nahr Barada, which rises in the Anti-Lebanon mountains to the NW of Damascus and, after traversing the mountains, emerges from a gorge just to the W of Damascus. Then it courses through the northern part of the city and fans out to irrigate a large area before finally losing itself in a body of marshes to the E of the city. Its waters, used to irrigate fields and orchards by means of canals and conduits, create an extensive verdant oasis. It can well be said that Damascus owes its existence to the Barada. It has long been the source of water for the city’s cisterns, fountains, and baths. Classical writers called it Golden River (Chrysorrhoas). So, Naaman’s high opinion of the river appears to have had a solid basis.
The word “Amana” or “Amanah” is used instead of “Abanah” at 2 Kings 5:12 in An American Translation, also in the translation published by The Jewish Publication Society of America, and the margin of the Masoretic text as well as the Syriac Peshitta so read. At Song of Solomon 4:8 reference is made to “Amana” in many translations, and it is understood to refer to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in which the river here discussed has its source. Hence, the river may have taken on the name of the mountains in which it originated.

*** it-1 p. 116 Anti-lebanon ***
The Abanah River (modern Barada) is also called “Amanah” at 2 Kings 5:12 in the Syriac Peshitta and the Aramaic Targums, and this river, the principal one of Damascus, has its source in the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon mountains.

*** it-2 p. 626 Pharpar ***
PHARPAR
(Pharʹpar).
One of the two “rivers of Damascus” that Naaman considered superior to “all the waters of Israel.” (2Ki 5:12) The fact that Naaman mentioned the Pharpar second may indicate that it was the smaller stream. This river is usually linked with the Nahr el-ʼAʽwaj. Besides the Nahr Barada (identified with the Abanah), it is the only independent stream in the Damascus area. But the volume of the ʼAʽwaj is about one quarter that of the Barada. The smaller streams that unite to form the ʼAʽwaj take their rise on the eastern slopes of Mount Hermon and merge about 30 km (19 mi) SW of Damascus. From this point the river winds its way through a deep rocky channel until finally losing itself in a swamp to the SE of Damascus. The airline distance spanned by this river (including its sources) is about 64 km (40 mi).
The major objection raised to the above identification is that the ʼAʽwaj is not actually a ‘river of Damascus,’ since it flows about 15 km (9.5 mi) and more to the S of that city. For this reason some favor identifying the Pharpar with the Nahr Taura, a branch of the Nahr Barada. However, Naaman’s reference to Damascus could have included the Plain of Damascus through which the Nahr el-ʼAʽwaj courses.

(2 KINGS 5:16)

“However, E•liʹsha said: “As surely as Jehovah whom I serve is living, I will not accept it.” He urged him to accept it, but he kept refusing.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 2 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:15, 16—Why did Elisha not accept Naaman’s gift? Elisha refused the gift because he recognized that the miracle of healing Naaman was performed by Jehovah’s power, not his own. It would have been unthinkable on his part to profit from his God-appointed office. True worshippers today do not reach out for personal gain from Jehovah’s service. They take to heart Jesus’ admonition: “You received free, give free.”—Matthew 10:8.

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

(2 KINGS 5:17)

“Finally Naʹa•man said: “If not, please, let your servant be given two mule-loads of soil from this land, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any gods other than Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Naaman returns to Elisha and vows that from now on he will serve Jehovah the God of Israel faithfully. He takes back with him some Israelite soil, “the load of a pair of mules,” upon which he will sacrifice to Jehovah, without doubt looking toward the temple of Jerusalem. As an officer of the king of Syria he will carry on his work, which includes going with the king into the house of the false god Rimmon. As the king is supported by him he will have to bow with the king, but he says he will no longer worship Rimmon. He will be performing, not a religious duty, but only his duty in service of the king. He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

(2 KINGS 5:18)

“But may Jehovah forgive your servant for this one thing: When my lord goes into the house of Rimʹmon to bow down there, he supports himself on my arm, so I have to bow down at the house of Rimʹmon. When I bow down at the house of Rimʹmon, may Jehovah, please, forgive your servant for this.””

*** w05 8/1 p. 9 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
5:18, 19—Was Naaman requesting forgiveness for having to participate in a religious act? The Syrian king evidently was old and weak and had to lean upon Naaman for support. When the king bowed down in worship to Rimmon, Naaman did also. For Naaman, though, it was a purely mechanical act, strictly for the purpose of supporting the body of the king and not for rendering worship. Naaman was asking Jehovah to forgive him for performing this civil duty. Believing Naaman, Elisha said to him: “Go in peace.”

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Naaman returns to Elisha and vows that from now on he will serve Jehovah the God of Israel faithfully. He takes back with him some Israelite soil, “the load of a pair of mules,” upon which he will sacrifice to Jehovah, without doubt looking toward the temple of Jerusalem. As an officer of the king of Syria he will carry on his work, which includes going with the king into the house of the false god Rimmon. As the king is supported by him he will have to bow with the king, but he says he will no longer worship Rimmon. He will be performing, not a religious duty, but only his duty in service of the king. He offers Elisha a gift, which is refused. This harmonizes with the principle that the miracle is by Jehovah’s power, not his, and he will not profit from the office Jehovah has given him.—2Ki 5:9-19; compare Mt 10:8.

*** it-2 p. 456 Naaman ***
Naaman next requested that Jehovah forgive him when, in the performance of his civil duties, he bowed before the god Rimmon with the king, who evidently was old and infirm and leaned for support upon Naaman. If such was the case, then his bowing would be mechanical, being solely for the purpose of dutifully supporting the king’s body and not in personal worship. Elisha believed Naaman’s sincere request, replying, “Go in peace.”—2Ki 5:18, 19.

(2 KINGS 5:23)

“Naʹa•man said: “Go on, take two talents.” He kept urging him, and he wrapped up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and gave them to two of his attendants, who carried them before him.”

*** it-1 p. 242 Bag ***
Syrian army officer Naaman gave greedy Gehazi “two talents of silver in two bags [Heb., chari•timʹ], with two changes of garments, and gave them to two of his attendants, that they might carry them.” Since a talent was equal to about 34 kg (92 lb t), it is evident that such a container (cha•ritʹ) must have been of ample size and strength to hold a talent plus a change of garment and, hence, when filled was about as much as one man could carry. (2Ki 5:23)

(2 KINGS 5:24)

“When he reached Oʹphel, he took them from their hand and put them in the house and sent the men away. After they left,”

*** it-2 p. 558 Ophel ***
Scholars believe that the term ʽOʹphel at 2 Kings 5:24 refers to some prominent hill or fortified place in the vicinity of Samaria to which Elisha’s attendant Gehazi took the riches he obtained from Naaman. This indicates that the word was applied to mounds other than the one in Jerusalem.

(2 KINGS 6:1)

“The sons of the prophets said to E•liʹsha: “Look! The place where we are staying with you is too cramped for us.”

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
“Sons of the Prophets.” As Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar explains (Oxford, 1952, p. 418), the Hebrew ben (son of) or benehʹ (sons of) may denote “membership of a guild or society (or of a tribe, or any definite class).” (Compare Ne 3:8, where “a member of the ointment mixers” is literally “a son of the ointment mixers.”) “The sons of the prophets” may thus describe a school of instruction for those called to this vocation or simply a cooperative association of prophets. Such prophetic groups are mentioned as being at Bethel, Jericho, and Gilgal. (2Ki 2:3, 5; 4:38; compare 1Sa 10:5, 10.) Samuel presided over a group at Ramah (1Sa 19:19, 20), and Elisha seems to have held a similar position in his day. (2Ki 4:38; 6:1-3; compare 1Ki 18:13.)

(2 KINGS 6:2)

“Please let us go to the Jordan. Let each of us take a log from there and make a place there where we can dwell.” He said: “Go.””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
The record mentions their building their own dwelling place and the use of a borrowed tool, which may indicate that they lived simply. Though often sharing quarters and food in common, they might receive individual assignments to go out on prophetic missions.—1Ki 20:35-42; 2Ki 4:1, 2, 39; 6:1-7;

(2 KINGS 6:5)

“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the axhead fell into the water, and he cried out: “Alas, my master, it was borrowed!””

*** it-2 p. 697 Prophet ***
The record mentions their building their own dwelling place and the use of a borrowed tool, which may indicate that they lived simply. Though often sharing quarters and food in common, they might receive individual assignments to go out on prophetic missions.—1Ki 20:35-42; 2Ki 4:1, 2, 39; 6:1-7;

(2 KINGS 6:13)

“He said: “Go and find out where he is, so that I may send men to capture him.” Later the report was made to him: “He is in Doʹthan.””

*** it-1 p. 950 Prophetic Activity of Elijah and Elisha ***
[Picture on page 950]
Ruins of Dothan. Here Elisha and his attendant miraculously saw that, although they were surrounded by a Syrian military force, the mountainous region was full of angelic war chariots of fire sent by Jehovah (2Ki 6:13-17)

(2 KINGS 6:16)

“But he said: “Do not be afraid! For there are more who are with us than those who are with them.””

*** w98 6/15 pp. 12-13 Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Organization? ***
One Who Saw the Heavenly Hosts
4 The king of Syria sent a heavy military force by night to Dothan to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up early in the morning and went out, perhaps to get some fresh air on the flat roof of their Middle Eastern dwelling, why, what a shock he got! A whole army of Syrians with horses and war chariots was surrounding the town, waiting to capture God’s prophet. The servant cried out to Elisha: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Evidently, calmly and with conviction, Elisha responded: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The servant must have wondered, ‘Where are they? I can’t see them!’ Sometimes that might also be our problem—failure to see with the eyes of understanding, or to perceive, the heavenly hosts.—2 Kings 6:8-16; Ephesians 1:18.
5 Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. What happened next? “Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) Yes, he saw the heavenly hosts, angelic armies waiting to protect God’s servant. Now he could understand Elisha’s confidence.
6 Do we sometimes have a problem of perception similar to what Elisha’s servant had? Are we prone to see only the physical side of situations threatening us or the Christian work in certain lands? If so, can we expect a special vision to enlighten us? No, because we have something that Elisha’s servant did not have—a whole book containing many visions, the Bible, which can give us insight into the heavenly organization.

*** w98 6/15 p. 18 par. 5 Jehovah’s Organization Supports Your Ministry ***
5 Satan has used every means at his disposal to try to stop the witnessing work of Christ’s brothers and their loyal companions. Yet, as so many experiences show, neither threats, intimidation, physical violence, prisons, concentration camps, nor even death has silenced Jehovah’s Witnesses. And this has been the case down through history. Time and again, Elisha’s words have served as an encouragement: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” One reason is that faithful angels outnumber the Devil’s hordes!—2 Kings 6:16; Acts 5:27-32, 41, 42.

(2 KINGS 6:17)

“Then E•liʹsha began to pray and say: “O Jehovah, open his eyes, please, that he may see.” Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes and he saw, and look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around E•liʹsha.”

*** w98 6/15 pp. 12-13 Do You Appreciate Jehovah’s Organization? ***
One Who Saw the Heavenly Hosts
4 The king of Syria sent a heavy military force by night to Dothan to capture Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up early in the morning and went out, perhaps to get some fresh air on the flat roof of their Middle Eastern dwelling, why, what a shock he got! A whole army of Syrians with horses and war chariots was surrounding the town, waiting to capture God’s prophet. The servant cried out to Elisha: “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Evidently, calmly and with conviction, Elisha responded: “Do not be afraid, for there are more who are with us than those who are with them.” The servant must have wondered, ‘Where are they? I can’t see them!’ Sometimes that might also be our problem—failure to see with the eyes of understanding, or to perceive, the heavenly hosts.—2 Kings 6:8-16; Ephesians 1:18.
5 Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. What happened next? “Immediately Jehovah opened the attendant’s eyes, so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) Yes, he saw the heavenly hosts, angelic armies waiting to protect God’s servant. Now he could understand Elisha’s confidence.
6 Do we sometimes have a problem of perception similar to what Elisha’s servant had? Are we prone to see only the physical side of situations threatening us or the Christian work in certain lands? If so, can we expect a special vision to enlighten us? No, because we have something that Elisha’s servant did not have—a whole book containing many visions, the Bible, which can give us insight into the heavenly organization.

*** it-1 p. 428 Chariot ***
Figurative Use. In a figurative and prophetic sense, chariots are symbols of war just like the bow and sword. (Isa 21:7, 9; Zec 9:10) “The war chariots of God” are said to be “in tens of thousands, thousands over and over again,” denoting God’s invincible power to destroy his enemies.—Ps 68:17; 2Ki 6:17.

*** it-1 p. 647 Dothan ***
Centuries later the king of Syria dispatched a heavy military force to Dothan to arrest Elisha. Here the prophet’s fearful attendant had his eyes miraculously opened to see the fiery war equipment of God in “the mountainous region . . . all around Elisha,” that is, either on the same hill where Dothan stood or on the nearby hills to the E, S, and W of Dothan. (2Ki 6:11-17) The Syrians, in encircling the city, may have also posted themselves in these surrounding hills, from which they then ‘came down’ when Elisha went out of the city to meet them. The enemy forces were rendered harmless, however, when miraculously struck with a type of blindness, Jehovah perhaps using the angelic forces in accomplishing this.—2Ki 6:18, 19; compare Ge 19:1, 10, 11.

*** it-1 p. 1145 Horse ***
Jehovah’s invisible heavenly war equipment is represented by fiery horses and chariots. (2Ki 2:11, 12) Elisha, on one occasion, prayed for the eyes of his terrified attendant to be opened to see that “the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire all around Elisha” to protect him from the surrounding forces of Syrians sent out to capture him.—2Ki 6:17.

(2 KINGS 6:18)

“When the Syrians came down to him, E•liʹsha prayed to Jehovah and said: “Please, strike this nation with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, just as E•liʹsha had requested.”

*** si p. 71 par. 10 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
When the Syrians attack, the prophet again prays to Jehovah, and the Syrians are struck with mental blindness and led to the king of Israel. Instead of their being put to death, however, Elisha tells the king to spread a feast for them and send them home.

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

*** it-1 p. 647 Dothan ***
Centuries later the king of Syria dispatched a heavy military force to Dothan to arrest Elisha. Here the prophet’s fearful attendant had his eyes miraculously opened to see the fiery war equipment of God in “the mountainous region . . . all around Elisha,” that is, either on the same hill where Dothan stood or on the nearby hills to the E, S, and W of Dothan. (2Ki 6:11-17) The Syrians, in encircling the city, may have also posted themselves in these surrounding hills, from which they then ‘came down’ when Elisha went out of the city to meet them. The enemy forces were rendered harmless, however, when miraculously struck with a type of blindness, Jehovah perhaps using the angelic forces in accomplishing this.—2Ki 6:18, 19; compare Ge 19:1, 10, 11.

*** it-1 p. 716 Elisha ***
Now, as the Syrian hosts close in, Elisha prays for the opposite kind of miracle, “Please, strike this nation with blindness.” Elisha says to the Syrians, “Follow me,” but he does not have to lead them by the hand, indicating that it is mental rather than physical blindness. They do not recognize Elisha, whom they came to take, nor do they know where he is taking them.—2Ki 6:8-19.
With what sort of blindness did Jehovah strike the Syrians who tried to seize Elisha?
As to this form of blindness, William James, in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59), states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.”

(2 KINGS 6:19)

“E•liʹsha now said to them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and let me lead you to the man you are looking for.” However, he led them to Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

*** it-2 p. 245 Lie ***
While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it. Jesus Christ counseled: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.” (Mt 7:6) That is why Jesus on certain occasions refrained from giving full information or direct answers to certain questions when doing so could have brought unnecessary harm. (Mt 15:1-6; 21:23-27; Joh 7:3-10) Evidently the course of Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, and Elisha in misdirecting or in withholding full facts from nonworshipers of Jehovah must be viewed in the same light.—Ge 12:10-19; chap 20; 26:1-10; Jos 2:1-6; Jas 2:25; 2Ki 6:11-23.

(2 KINGS 6:20)

“When they arrived in Sa•marʹi•a, E•liʹsha said: “O Jehovah, open their eyes so that they may see.” So Jehovah opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Sa•marʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 343 Blindness ***
The blindness that was brought on the military force of the Syrians at the word of Elisha was evidently mental blindness. If the entire army had been struck with physical blindness, they would all have had to be led by hand. But the account simply says that Elisha told them: “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me.” On this phenomenon William James in his Principles of Psychology (1981, Vol. 1, p. 59) states: “A most interesting effect of cortical disorder is mental blindness. This consists not so much in insensibility to optical impressions, as in inability to understand them. Psychologically it is interpretable as loss of associations between optical sensations and what they signify; and any interruption of the paths between the optic centres and the centres for other ideas ought to bring it about.” This was apparently the kind of blindness removed by Jehovah when the Syrian army reached Samaria. (2Ki 6:18-20) Such mental blindness also may have been involved in the case of the men of Sodom, since the account shows that, instead of being distressed at loss of the faculty of sight, they persisted in trying to find the door of Lot’s house.—Ge 19:11.

(2 KINGS 6:25)

“So there was a great famine in Sa•marʹi•a, and they besieged it until a donkey’s head was worth 80 silver pieces, and a fourth of a cab measure of dove’s droppings was worth 5 silver pieces.”

*** nwt p. 1694 Glossary ***
Cab. A dry measure of 1.22 L (1.11 dry qt), based on the estimated volume of the bath measure. (2Ki 6:25)—See App. B14.

*** it-1 p. 196 Ass ***
Although unclean, asses were eaten in Samaria because of the severity of the famine during King Ben-hadad’s siege of the city, and even the most inedible part, the bony, thinly fleshed head of an ass became, in effect, a luxury food costing 80 silver pieces (if shekels, $176).—2Ki 6:24, 25.

*** it-1 p. 381 Cab ***
CAB
A measure that, according to rabbinic sources, was 1⁄18 ephah (2Ki 6:25), and hence also 1⁄18 bath measure. (Eze 45:11) If the bath measure is to be viewed as having a capacity of 22 L (5.81 gal; 4.99 dry gal), as archaeological evidence seems to indicate, then the cab measure would have a capacity of 1.22 L (2.58 liquid pt; 2.2 dry pt).

*** it-1 p. 648 Dove’s Dung ***
DOVE’S DUNG
The description of the siege of Samaria by Syrian King Ben-hadad relates that the famine created became so severe that “an ass’s head got to be worth eighty silver pieces, and the fourth of a cab measure of dove’s dung was worth five silver pieces.” (2Ki 6:24, 25) The cost of an ass’s head was approximately $176 (if the “silver pieces” were shekels) and “the fourth of a cab measure [0.3 L; 0.55 dry pt] of dove’s dung” was worth about $11. This indicates that, because of the scarcity of food, such a thing as the bony, thinly fleshed ass’s head became an expensive food item (although the ass was an unclean animal according to the Mosaic Law), and even dove’s dung was very costly. The reference to dove’s dung has occasioned considerable discussion as to whether the term is literal and as to the use to which it was put by the buyer.
Arguments have been advanced that the term “dove’s dung” may have been applied to a certain plant. However, there is no evidence that the plants referred to by those favoring this view were ever known by the name dove’s dung or that such plants would be accessible to the people bottled up in Samaria by the siege.
Those who acknowledge a literal meaning of the expression are, in turn, divided as to the use made of the substance. Some point out that dove’s dung has long been used as a fertilizer by people in the Middle East in the cultivation of melons, but it seems reasonable that persons bordering on death by starvation would be concerned with food for immediate consumption rather than with a crop that would not be available for perhaps several months.
Many prefer the view that the dove’s dung was actually used for food, pointing out that the subject is that of famine and the terrible extremes to which humans are driven by the pangs of hunger. Though purposely extreme and cruel in order to create a weakening fear, the threat by Sennacherib’s officer, Rabshakeh, that a siege by Assyria would cause the people of Jerusalem to have to “eat their own excrement and drink their own urine” may have had some basis in fact. (2Ki 18:27) While the thought of using literal dung for human consumption is extremely repulsive, that in itself is no basis for rejecting this view. The fact that the hunger was so great in Samaria that women would boil and eat their own children indicates that they had reached the point of consuming anything available. (2Ki 6:26-29) While some point out that dung would have little value as a nutrient, this factor alone would not disprove the possibility of its being purchased for food, for starving persons are frequently irrational, eating anything to deaden the pangs of hunger.
Perhaps an even more likely suggestion is that of certain rabbins who hold that the dung was used for fuel. There is some Biblical parallel in this, since the prophet Ezekiel was instructed to picture the equally dire siege conditions due to come upon Jerusalem by cooking his food with dung as the fuel. (Eze 4:12-17) Dried cattle dung, called cow chips by some, serves as a common fuel in many parts of the earth till this day. If this view should be correct, then the account might simply be stating the cost of the food (in this case an ass’s head) and the cost of the fuel for cooking it. The succeeding verses indicate that the people were as yet not eating the flesh raw.

*** it-2 p. 427 Money ***
In times of scarcity, prices rose sharply. The 80 silver pieces (c. 240 days’ wages) that at one time might have bought eight homers (1,760 L; 50 bu) of barley would, in time of siege, only procure the thinly fleshed head of an ass, an animal unfit for food according to the terms of the Mosaic Law.—2Ki 6:25; compare Ho 3:2.

(2 KINGS 7:2)

“At that the adjutant whom the king relied on said to the man of the true God: “Even if Jehovah should open floodgates in the heavens, could this possibly take place?” To that he said: “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat from it.””

*** it-1 p. 220 Attitudes and Gestures ***
It was the custom of kings or men of authority to lean on the arm of a servant or one in an inferior position, as did King Jehoram of Israel. (2Ki 7:2, 17)

(2 KINGS 7:6)

“For Jehovah had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of war chariots and horses, the sound of a huge army. So they said to one another: “Look! The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hitʹtites and the kings of Egypt to come against us!””

*** it-1 p. 692 Egypt, Egyptian ***
Government and law were centered on the king or Pharaoh, regarded as a god in human form. He ruled the land through subordinates, or ministers, and through feudal chiefs, whose power in times of royal weakness rivaled that of the king. Perhaps these latter chieftains were indeed viewed by those under their domain as virtual kings, thus accounting for the Biblical mention of “the kings [plural] of Egypt” when referring to specific times. (2Ki 7:6; Jer 46:25)

(2 KINGS 7:17)

“The king had appointed the adjutant whom he relied on to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him to death at the gate, just as the man of the true God had told the king when he came down to him.”

*** it-1 p. 220 Attitudes and Gestures ***
It was the custom of kings or men of authority to lean on the arm of a servant or one in an inferior position, as did King Jehoram of Israel. (2Ki 7:2, 17)

(2 KINGS 8:10)

“E•liʹsha replied to him: “Go and tell him, ‘You will certainly recover,’ but Jehovah has shown me that he will certainly die.””

*** it-1 pp. 1046-1047 Hazael ***
Elisha said to Hazael: “Go, say to [Ben-hadad], ‘You will positively revive,’” but the prophet continued, saying: “And Jehovah has shown me that he will positively die.” He further said to Hazael: “Jehovah has shown me you as king over Syria.” On Hazael’s return, in reply to the king’s question as to Elisha’s answer, Hazael said: “He said to me, ‘You will positively revive’”; but then, on the next day, Hazael suffocated the king with a wet coverlet and began to rule in his place.—2Ki 8:7-15.
The words of Elisha to Hazael have been the subject of considerable conjecture. According to the margin of the Masoretic text, as well as the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, and 18 Hebrew manuscripts, the text reads: “Say to him, ‘You will,’” whereas the main body of the Masoretic text says, “Say, ‘You will not.’”
If the reading is taken that Hazael was told to tell Ben-hadad “‘You will positively revive,’” Elisha’s answer to Ben-hadad’s inquiry may have been in the form of a riddle, meaning that Ben-hadad’s sickness itself would not kill him but that he would nevertheless die (as he did, by the hand of Hazael). At any rate, Hazael verbally gave the king the first part of Elisha’s answer: “You will positively revive,” but the rest of the answer Hazael carried out in violent action.—2Ki 8:10.

(2 KINGS 8:12)

“Hazʹa•el asked: “Why is my lord weeping?” He replied: “Because I know what harm you will do to the people of Israel. Their fortified places you will set on fire, their choice men you will kill with the sword, their children you will dash to pieces, and their pregnant women you will rip open.””

*** it-1 p. 1047 Hazael ***
Particularly during the reign of Jehu’s son Jehoahaz of Israel, Hazael became a great oppressor of Israel, fulfilling what the prophet Elisha had foreseen—that Hazael would consign Israel’s fortified places to the fire, kill their choice men with the sword, dash to pieces their children, and rip up their pregnant women. (2Ki 13:3, 22; 8:12)

(2 KINGS 8:15)

“But the next day, Hazʹa•el took a coverlet, dipped it in water, and held it over his face until he died. And Hazʹa•el became king in his place.”

*** it-2 p. 908 Shalmaneser ***
Inscriptions Concerning Hazael and Jehu. In fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy through Elisha, Hazael, the chamberlain of King Ben-hadad of Damascus, killed his master and became king, probably toward the close of the reign of King Jehoram (c. 917-905 B.C.E.). (2Ki 8:7-15) An inscription of Shalmaneser III confirms this, stating: “Hadadezer [Adad-idri, evidently Ben-hadad II of Damascus] (himself) perished. Hazael, a commoner (lit.: son of nobody), seized the throne.” Conflicts with Hazael are mentioned in Shalmaneser’s 18th and 21st years, with the Assyrian gaining victories but never being able to take Damascus.—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 280.

(2 KINGS 8:16)

“In the fifth year of Je•hoʹram the son of Aʹhab the king of Israel, while Je•hoshʹa•phat was king of Judah, Je•hoʹram the son of King Je•hoshʹa•phat of Judah became king.”

*** it-1 pp. 462-463 Chronology ***
Whereas some Biblical chronologers endeavor to synchronize the data concerning the kings by means of numerous coregencies and “interregnums” on the Judean side, it appears necessary to show only one coregency. This is in the case of Jehoram, who is stated (at least in the Masoretic text and some of the oldest manuscripts of the Bible) to have become king “while Jehoshaphat was king of Judah,” thus giving some basis for assuming a coregency. (2Ki 8:16) In this manner the overall period comes within the 390-year limit.

*** it-1 pp. 1270-1271 Jehoram ***
3. The firstborn son of Jehoshaphat who, at the age of 32, became king of Judah. (2Ch 21:1-3, 5, 20) It appears that for a number of years Jehoram was in some way associated with his father in the kingship. (2Ki 1:17; 8:16) The eight years of rulership credited to Jehoram count from 913 B.C.E. (2Ki 8:17) So during these years both the northern and southern kingdoms had rulers with the same name. They were also brothers-in-law because Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and sister of Jehoram of Israel.—2Ki 8:18, 25, 26; see No. 2 above.

(2 KINGS 8:17)

“He was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1271 Jehoram ***
The eight years of rulership credited to Jehoram count from 913 B.C.E. (2Ki 8:17) So during these years both the northern and southern kingdoms had rulers with the same name. They were also brothers-in-law because Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and sister of Jehoram of Israel.—2Ki 8:18, 25, 26; see No. 2 above.


(2 KINGS 9:1)

“E•liʹsha the prophet then called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him: “Wrap your garments around your waist, and quickly take this flask of oil with you and go to Raʹmoth-gilʹe•ad.”

*** it-1 p. 654 Dress ***
Sash, belt, or girdle. A sash was often worn over the inner or the outer garments. When one engaged in some form of physical activity or work, he would ‘gird up his loins’ by wearing a sash, often pulling the ends of the garment up between his legs and tucking these ends under the sash so that he would have freedom of movement. (1Ki 18:46; 2Ki 4:29; 9:1)

(2 KINGS 9:5)

“When he arrived, the army chiefs were seated there. He said: “I have a message for you, O chief.” Jeʹhu asked: “For which one of us?” He said: “For you, O chief.””

*** w11 11/15 p. 3 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
The Scriptures introduce Jehu as he sat with military chiefs when the Israelites were fighting the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Jehu was a high-ranking officer, if not the commander of Israel’s army.

*** w11 11/15 p. 3 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
2 Ki. 8:28; 9:1-10.

(2 KINGS 9:8)

“And the whole house of Aʹhab will perish; and I will annihilate from Aʹhab every male, including the helpless and weak in Israel.”

*** it-1 p. 717 Elisha ***
There is yet an unfinished work of Elijah for Elisha to carry out, namely, the anointing of Jehu as God’s executioner against the wicked house of Ahab. (2Ki 9:1-10) He carries it out over 18 years after Jehovah gave the command to Elijah. Elisha gets to see the fulfillment of the prophecies at 1 Kings 19:15-17 and 21:21-24.

(2 KINGS 9:10)

“As for Jezʹe•bel, the dogs will eat her up in the plot of land at Jezʹre•el, and no one will bury her.’” With that he opened the door and fled.”

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24) In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, and the flesh of his wife Jezebel became food for the dogs. (1Ki 21:19; 22:38; 21:23; 2Ki 9:10, 35, 36)

(2 KINGS 9:11)

“When Jeʹhu went back to the servants of his lord, they asked him: “Is everything all right? Why did this crazy man come to you?” He answered them: “You know that sort of man and his sort of talk.””

*** it-2 p. 696 Prophet ***
Their total concentration and zealous boldness in their mission might cause their behavior to appear strange, even irrational, to others, just as a prophet so appeared to military chiefs when Jehu was anointed. Yet, on realizing that the man was a prophet, the chiefs accepted his message with full seriousness. (2Ki 9:1-13;

(2 KINGS 9:12)

“But they said: “That is not true! Tell us, please.” Then he said: “This is what he said to me, and then he added, ‘This is what Jehovah says: “I anoint you as king over Israel.”’””

*** it-2 p. 696 Prophet ***
Their total concentration and zealous boldness in their mission might cause their behavior to appear strange, even irrational, to others, just as a prophet so appeared to military chiefs when Jehu was anointed. Yet, on realizing that the man was a prophet, the chiefs accepted his message with full seriousness. (2Ki 9:1-13;

(2 KINGS 9:13)

“At this each of them quickly took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the horn and said: “Jeʹhu has become king!””

*** it-2 p. 696 Prophet ***
Their total concentration and zealous boldness in their mission might cause their behavior to appear strange, even irrational, to others, just as a prophet so appeared to military chiefs when Jehu was anointed. Yet, on realizing that the man was a prophet, the chiefs accepted his message with full seriousness. (2Ki 9:1-13;

(2 KINGS 9:14)

“Then Jeʹhu the son of Je•hoshʹa•phat the son of Nimʹshi conspired against Je•hoʹram. Je•hoʹram had been on guard at Raʹmoth-gilʹe•ad, he with all Israel, because of King Hazʹa•el of Syria.”

*** w11 11/15 p. 3 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
Likely, there had been underlying resentment and resistance to the policies of the ruling house and to Jezebel’s influence. In any case, Jehu made a studied effort to find the best way to carry out his commission.
King Jehoram had been wounded in battle and had withdrawn to the city of Jezreel, hoping to recuperate. Jehu knew that if his plan was going to succeed, no word of it must reach Jezreel. “Do not let anyone go out in escape from the city to go and make report in Jezreel,” said Jehu. (2 Ki. 9:14, 15) Perhaps he anticipated at least some resistance from troops loyal to Jehoram. Jehu wanted to rule out the possibility of such resistance.

*** it-2 pp. 732-733 Ramoth-gilead ***
Ahab’s son Jehoram, along with Ahaziah of Judah, also fought the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Second Kings 9:14 says: “Jehoram himself had happened to be keeping guard at Ramoth-gilead . . . because of Hazael the king of Syria.” So it may be that Jehoram had taken the city earlier and was defending it (not attacking it) when Ahaziah joined him in the fight against Hazael. In the fighting, Jehoram was wounded and he retired to Jezreel to recover.—2Ki 8:25–29; 9:14, 15; 2Ch 22:5-8.
At Ramoth-gilead, Elisha’s attendant anointed Jehu, the military chief, to be the next king.—2Ki 9:1-14.

(2 KINGS 9:15)

“King Je•hoʹram later returned to Jezʹre•el to recover from the wounds that the Syrians inflicted on him when he fought King Hazʹa•el of Syria. Jeʹhu now said: “If you agree, do not let anyone escape from the city to go and report this in Jezʹre•el.””

*** w11 11/15 p. 3 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
Likely, there had been underlying resentment and resistance to the policies of the ruling house and to Jezebel’s influence. In any case, Jehu made a studied effort to find the best way to carry out his commission.
King Jehoram had been wounded in battle and had withdrawn to the city of Jezreel, hoping to recuperate. Jehu knew that if his plan was going to succeed, no word of it must reach Jezreel. “Do not let anyone go out in escape from the city to go and make report in Jezreel,” said Jehu. (2 Ki. 9:14, 15) Perhaps he anticipated at least some resistance from troops loyal to Jehoram. Jehu wanted to rule out the possibility of such resistance.

(2 KINGS 9:17)

“As the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezʹre•el, he saw the throng of Jeʹhu’s men approaching. At once he said: “I see a throng of men.” Je•hoʹram said: “Take a cavalryman and send him to meet them, and let him say, ‘Are you coming in peace?’””

*** w11 11/15 p. 3 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
As he sped toward his destination, a watchman on a tower saw “the heaving mass of Jehu’s men.” (2 Ki. 9:17) Very likely, Jehu took a considerable force with him in order to be sure of accomplishing his purpose.

*** w93 6/15 pp. 6-7 Bible Geography Is It Accurate? ***
Centuries later, King Jehu rode up the valley to the city of Jezreel to execute Jehovah’s judgment on Jezebel and the apostate house of Ahab. From the watchtower in Jezreel, it would have been easy to see toward the east the approach of Jehu’s troops at a distance of 12 miles [19 km]. Hence, there would have been plenty of time for King Jehoram to send out a first and then a second messenger on horseback and, finally, for kings Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah to hitch up their chariots and meet Jehu before he reached the city of Jezreel. Jehu promptly executed Jehoram. Ahaziah fled but was later wounded, and he died at Megiddo. (2 Kings 9:16-27) Regarding battle sites such as the above, George Smith writes: “It is striking that in none of the narratives . . . is there any geographical impossibility.”

(2 KINGS 9:20)

“The watchman then reported: “He reached them, but he has not returned, and the driving is like the driving of Jeʹhu the grandson of Nimʹshi, for he drives like a madman.””

*** w11 11/15 p. 4 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
Perceiving that courageous Jehu was in one of the chariots, the watchman exclaimed: “It is with madness that he drives.” (2 Ki. 9:20) If Jehu normally drove in a similar way, his haste on this particular mission must have made it a furious drive indeed.

*** w05 8/1 p. 11 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
9:20. Jehu’s reputation as a furious chariot driver gave evidence of his zeal in carrying out his commission. Are you personally known as a zealous Kingdom proclaimer?—2 Timothy 4:2.

*** w98 1/1 p. 13 par. 8 “Is Your Heart Upright With Me?” ***
8 Jehu had a reputation for driving his chariot furiously—an evidence of his zeal to accomplish his task. (2 Kings 9:20) Jesus, the Greater Jehu, is described as being ‘eaten up’ with zeal. (Psalm 69:9) Not surprisingly, then, true Christians today are noted for their zeal. Both within the congregation and to the public, they “preach the word . . . urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

(2 KINGS 9:21)

“Je•hoʹram said: “Hitch up!” So his war chariot was hitched up and King Je•hoʹram of Israel and King A•ha•ziʹah of Judah each went out in his own war chariot to meet Jeʹhu. They encountered him in the plot of land of Naʹboth the Jezʹre•el•ite.”

*** w93 6/15 pp. 6-7 Bible Geography Is It Accurate? ***
Centuries later, King Jehu rode up the valley to the city of Jezreel to execute Jehovah’s judgment on Jezebel and the apostate house of Ahab. From the watchtower in Jezreel, it would have been easy to see toward the east the approach of Jehu’s troops at a distance of 12 miles [19 km]. Hence, there would have been plenty of time for King Jehoram to send out a first and then a second messenger on horseback and, finally, for kings Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah to hitch up their chariots and meet Jehu before he reached the city of Jezreel. Jehu promptly executed Jehoram. Ahaziah fled but was later wounded, and he died at Megiddo. (2 Kings 9:16-27) Regarding battle sites such as the above, George Smith writes: “It is striking that in none of the narratives . . . is there any geographical impossibility.”

(2 KINGS 9:26)

“‘“As surely as I saw the blood of Naʹboth and the blood of his sons yesterday,” declares Jehovah, “I will repay you in this very plot of land,” declares Jehovah.’ So now pick him up and throw him into the plot of land, according to the word of Jehovah.””

*** w14 2/1 p. 13 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
If Jezebel feared that ownership of the vineyard would pass to Naboth’s heirs, she may have felt driven to arrange for the murder of Naboth’s sons.

*** w14 2/1 pp. 13-14 He Endured in the Face of Injustice ***
Two “good-for-nothing men” testified falsely against Naboth, and he was stoned to death as a result. Not only that—Naboth’s sons were killed as well! (1 Kings 21:5-14; Leviticus 24:16; 2 Kings 9:26)

(2 KINGS 9:27)

“When King A•ha•ziʹah of Judah saw what was happening, he fled by way of the garden house. (Later Jeʹhu pursued him and said: “Strike him down also!” So they struck him down in the chariot on his way up to Gur, which is by Ibʹle•am. But he continued his flight to Me•gidʹdo and died there.”

*** it-1 p. 63 Ahaziah ***
Coordinating the two accounts (2Ki 9:21-28; 2Ch 22:7-9), the following evidently took place: Jehu, on nearing Jezreel, met Jehoram and Ahaziah. Jehu struck down Jehoram, but Ahaziah fled. At this time Jehu did not pursue Ahaziah but continued to Jezreel to finish his executional work there. Meanwhile the fleeing Ahaziah tried to make his way back to Jerusalem; however, he only got as far as Samaria, where he tried to hide himself. Jehu’s men, pursuing Ahaziah, discovered him in Samaria and captured him, and he was brought to Jehu, who was near the town of Ibleam, not far from Jezreel. When Jehu saw Ahaziah, he ordered his men to kill him in his chariot. They struck and wounded him on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam; but Ahaziah was allowed to escape, and he fled to Megiddo, where he died of his wounds. He was then taken to Jerusalem and buried there. The accounts of his death are not contradictory but complementary.
Second Chronicles 22:7 points out that Ahaziah’s death “was from God,” and thus Jehu acted as God’s executioner in slaying this man who fellowshipped with the condemned house of Ahab.

*** it-2 p. 23 Jehu ***
Apparently Ahab’s grandson Ahaziah, who had come out of the city with Jehoram, tried to make his way back to his own capital, Jerusalem, but got only as far as Samaria and hid there. He was captured later and taken to Jehu near the town of Ibleam, not far from Jezreel. Jehu ordered his men to kill him in his war chariot. They wounded him mortally, on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam, but he escaped and fled to Megiddo, where he died. Then he was taken to Jerusalem and buried there.—2Ki 9:17-28; 2Ch 22:6-9.

(2 KINGS 9:28)

“Then his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and they buried him in his grave with his forefathers in the City of David.”

*** it-2 p. 23 Jehu ***
Apparently Ahab’s grandson Ahaziah, who had come out of the city with Jehoram, tried to make his way back to his own capital, Jerusalem, but got only as far as Samaria and hid there. He was captured later and taken to Jehu near the town of Ibleam, not far from Jezreel. Jehu ordered his men to kill him in his war chariot. They wounded him mortally, on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam, but he escaped and fled to Megiddo, where he died. Then he was taken to Jerusalem and buried there.—2Ki 9:17-28; 2Ch 22:6-9.

(2 KINGS 9:30)

“When Jeʹhu came to Jezʹre•el, Jezʹe•bel heard of it. So she painted her eyes with black paint and adorned her head and looked down through the window.”

*** it-1 p. 515 Cosmetics ***
When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel, in addition to attending to her coiffure or doing her head up beautifully, “proceeded to paint her eyes with black paint.” (2Ki 9:30) At least some women in Israel, like those in other Middle Eastern lands of antiquity, used eye paint. (Eze 23:40) Eye paint was often black, which color would contrast with the white of the eye and tend to make the eyes look larger. (Jer 4:30) Scriptural references to eye painting do not associate the practice with faithful women of Israel in general, though one of Job’s daughters was named Keren-happuch, which possibly means “Horn of the Black (Eye) Paint [that is, a receptacle for makeup].”—Job 42:14.

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Jezreel 2Ki 9:30-37

(2 KINGS 9:31)

“As Jeʹhu came in through the gate, she said: “Did it go well with Zimʹri, the killer of his lord?””

*** it-2 p. 76 Jezebel ***
There she greeted the conqueror upon his triumphal entry, saying: “Did it go all right with Zimri the killer of his lord?” This sarcastic greeting was probably a veiled threat, for Zimri, after killing his king and usurping the throne, committed suicide seven days later when his life was threatened.—2Ki 9:30, 31; 1Ki 16:10, 15, 18.

*** it-2 p. 1235 Zimri ***
3. Fifth king of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Zimri ruled in Tirzah for seven days in about 951 B.C.E. He had previously been chief of half the chariots under King Elah, but when the army was away at Gibbethon, and King Elah had remained behind, Zimri killed him and all the rest of Baasha’s house and made himself king. His rule was very short because the army made Omri king and immediately returned to besiege Tirzah, whereupon Zimri burned the king’s house down over himself. Zimri is noted for doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. (1Ki 16:3, 4, 9-20) Jezebel’s last words recalled the consequences that befell Zimri. As Jehu triumphantly rode into Jezreel, she taunted from the window: “Did it go all right with Zimri the killer of his lord?”—2Ki 9:30, 31.

(2 KINGS 9:36)

“When they returned and told him, he said: “This fulfills the word of Jehovah that he spoke through his servant E•liʹjah the Tishʹbite, saying, ‘In the plot of land of Jezʹre•el, the dogs will eat the flesh of Jezʹe•bel.”

*** jr chap. 10 pp. 120-121 par. 15 Are You Daily Asking, “Where Is Jehovah?” ***
15 Jeremiah recorded the account about Jezebel, the wicked wife of King Ahab of Samaria. His account included Elijah’s declaration that dogs would eat up Jezebel in the plot of the land of Jezreel. (1 Ki. 21:23) And in harmony with what Jeremiah recorded, you know that some 14 years later, Jezebel was thrown out of a window, trampled upon by Jehu’s horse, and eaten by dogs. (2 Ki. 9:31-37) Research into Elijah’s prophecy and its fulfillment, even in its details, must have strengthened Jeremiah’s faith in God’s word.

*** it-1 p. 644 Dog ***
At times Jehovah’s judgment against his enemies was that their dead bodies would be eaten or their blood licked up by scavenger dogs. Because of the course of gross unfaithfulness followed by Kings Jeroboam, Baasha, and Ahab, any who belonged to their respective households and who died in the city were to be devoured by dogs. (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:24) In fulfillment of Jehovah’s word, the dogs licked up Ahab’s blood, and the flesh of his wife Jezebel became food for the dogs. (1Ki 21:19; 22:38; 21:23; 2Ki 9:10, 35, 36)

(2 KINGS 10:10)

“Know, then, that not a single word of Jehovah’s that Jehovah has spoken against the house of Aʹhab will go unfulfilled, and Jehovah has done what he spoke through his servant E•liʹjah.””

*** it-1 p. 209 Athaliah ***
When Jehoash reached seven years of age, God-fearing High Priest Jehoiada brought the lad out of secrecy and crowned him rightful heir to the throne. Hearing the tumult, Athaliah rushed to the temple and, upon seeing what was happening, cried, “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” High Priest Jehoiada ordered her taken outside the temple grounds to be executed at the horse gate of the palace; she was perhaps the last of Ahab’s abominable house. (2Ki 11:1-20; 2Ch 22:1–23:21) How true it proved to be: “Nothing of Jehovah’s word will fall unfulfilled to the earth that Jehovah has spoken against the house of Ahab”!—2Ki 10:10, 11; 1Ki 21:20-24.

(2 KINGS 10:12)

“Then he got up and went on his way to Sa•marʹi•a. The binding house of the shepherds was on the way.”

*** it-1 p. 315 Binding House of the Shepherds ***
BINDING HOUSE OF THE SHEPHERDS
A place on the road from Jezreel to Samaria where, by a cistern, Jehu met and slew the brothers of King Ahaziah of Judah. (2Ki 10:12-14) Its name apparently indicates a house where the sheep were bound to facilitate the work of shearing. Some versions render behth-ʽeʹqedh as “meeting house,” indicating an inn where “the shepherds” (ha•ro•ʽimʹ) met; others simply transliterate the Hebrew name, viewing it as the name of a town. It is generally identified with Beit Qad (Bet Qad) about 6 km (3.5 mi) ENE of modern Jenin. There are several cisterns at this place.

(2 KINGS 10:15)

“As he went from there, he encountered Je•honʹa•dab the son of Reʹchab, who was coming to meet him. When he greeted him, he said to him: “Is your heart fully with me, just as my heart is with your heart?” Je•honʹa•dab replied: “It is.” “If so, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand, and Jeʹhu pulled him up into the chariot with him.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 11 par. 9 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
10:15. Just as Jehonadab wholeheartedly accepted Jehu’s invitation to get up into the chariot with him, the “great crowd” willingly support Jesus Christ, the modern-day Jehu, and his anointed followers.—Revelation 7:9.

*** w98 1/1 pp. 12-13 pars. 3-6 “Is Your Heart Upright With Me?” ***
Then he met up with a supporter. “He got to encounter Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. When he blessed him, he accordingly said to him: ‘Is your heart upright with me, just as my own heart is with your heart?’ To this Jehonadab said: ‘It is.’ ‘If it is, do give me your hand.’ So he gave him his hand. At that he made him get up into the chariot with him. Then he said: ‘Do go along with me and look upon my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.’ And they kept him riding with him in his war chariot.”—2 Kings 10:15, 16.
4 Jehonadab (or, Jonadab) was not an Israelite. Nevertheless, in harmony with his name (meaning “Jehovah Is Willing,” “Jehovah Is Noble,” or “Jehovah Is Generous”) he was a worshiper of Jehovah. (Jeremiah 35:6) Certainly, he had an uncommon interest in seeing Jehu’s “toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” How do we know? Well, his meeting with Israel’s anointed king was no accident. Jehonadab was “coming to meet him,” and this at a time when Jehu had already slaughtered Jezebel and others in the house of Ahab. Jehonadab knew what was happening when he accepted Jehu’s invitation to get up into his chariot. He was unmistakably on Jehu’s—and Jehovah’s—side in this conflict between false and true worship.
A Modern-Day Jehu and a Modern-Day Jehonadab
5 Today, things will soon change as radically for all mankind as they did for Israel back in 905 B.C.E. The time is now close when Jehovah will cleanse the earth of all the bad results of Satan’s influence, including false religion. Who is the modern-day Jehu? None other than Jesus Christ, to whom are addressed the prophetic words: “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, with your dignity and your splendor. And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness.” (Psalm 45:3, 4) Jesus is represented on earth by “the Israel of God,” anointed Christians “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Galatians 6:16; Revelation 12:17) Since 1922 these anointed brothers of Jesus have fearlessly warned of Jehovah’s coming judgment acts.—Isaiah 61:1, 2; Revelation 8:7–9:21; 16:2-21.
6 Anointed Christians have not been alone. Just as Jehonadab came out to meet Jehu, many from the nations have come out to support Jesus, the Greater Jehu, and his earthly representatives in their stand for true worship. (Zechariah 8:23) Called by Jesus his “other sheep,” in 1932 they were recognized as a modern-day equivalent of Jehonadab of old and were invited to ‘get into the chariot’ of the modern-day Jehu. (John 10:16) How? By ‘observing the commandments of God’ and sharing with the anointed in “the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” In modern times, this includes preaching the good news of God’s established Kingdom under Jesus as King. (Mark 13:10) In 1935 these “Jonadabs” were identified as the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17.

*** jv chap. 12 pp. 165-166 The Great Crowd to Live in Heaven? Or on Earth? ***
Jehu was commissioned by Jehovah to be king over the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and to execute Jehovah’s judgment on the wicked house of Ahab and Jezebel. When Jehu was en route to Samaria to eradicate Baal worship, Jehonadab (Jonadab), the son of Rechab, went out to meet him. Jehu asked Jehonadab: “Is your heart upright with me?” and Jehonadab answered: “It is.” “Do give me your hand,” Jehu invited, and he took Jehonadab up into his chariot. Then Jehu urged: “Do go along with me and look upon my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” (2 Ki. 10:15-28) Jehonadab, though not an Israelite, agreed with what Jehu was doing; he knew that Jehovah, the true God, should be given exclusive devotion. (Ex. 20:4, 5) Centuries later, Jehonadab’s descendants were still demonstrating a spirit that Jehovah approved, so He promised: “There will not be cut off from Jonadab the son of Rechab a man to stand before me always.” (Jer. 35:19) The question thus arose, Are there people on earth today who are not spiritual Israelites with a heavenly inheritance but who are like Jehonadab?
The Watchtower of August 1, 1932, explained: “Jehonadab represented or foreshadowed that class of people now on the earth . . . [who] are out of harmony with Satan’s organization, who take their stand on the side of righteousness, and are the ones whom the Lord will preserve during the time of Armageddon, take them through that trouble, and give them everlasting life on the earth. These constitute the ‘sheep’ class that favor God’s anointed people, because they know that the anointed of the Lord are doing the Lord’s work.” Those manifesting such a spirit were invited to have a share in taking the Kingdom message to others just as the anointed were doing.—Rev. 22:17.
There were some (though relatively few at that time) associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses who realized that the spirit of God had not engendered in them the hope of heavenly life. They came to be known as Jonadabs, for, like ancient Jonadab (Jehonadab), they counted it a privilege to be identified with Jehovah’s anointed servants, and they were glad to share in the privileges to which God’s Word pointed them.

*** si p. 74 par. 33 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Note how Jehonadab received a blessing in being invited to go along in Jehu’s chariot to see the destruction of the Baal worshipers. And why? Because he took positive action in coming out to greet the zealous Jehu. (2 Ki. 10:15, 16)

*** it-1 p. 217 Attitudes and Gestures ***
Joint participation, or sharing together, was also denoted by a handshake or grasping of another’s hand.—2Ki 10:15; Ga 2:9.

*** it-2 p. 1046 Surety ***
Apparently in this way Jehu confirmed Jehonadab’s affirmative reply to the question, “Is your heart upright with me, just as my own heart is with your heart?” For he said to Jehonadab: “If it is, do give me your hand.”—2Ki 10:15.

(2 KINGS 10:16)

“Then he said: “Come along with me, and see my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” So they had him ride with him in his war chariot.”

*** w98 1/1 pp. 12-13 pars. 3-6 “Is Your Heart Upright With Me?” ***
Then he met up with a supporter. “He got to encounter Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. When he blessed him, he accordingly said to him: ‘Is your heart upright with me, just as my own heart is with your heart?’ To this Jehonadab said: ‘It is.’ ‘If it is, do give me your hand.’ So he gave him his hand. At that he made him get up into the chariot with him. Then he said: ‘Do go along with me and look upon my toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.’ And they kept him riding with him in his war chariot.”—2 Kings 10:15, 16.
4 Jehonadab (or, Jonadab) was not an Israelite. Nevertheless, in harmony with his name (meaning “Jehovah Is Willing,” “Jehovah Is Noble,” or “Jehovah Is Generous”) he was a worshiper of Jehovah. (Jeremiah 35:6) Certainly, he had an uncommon interest in seeing Jehu’s “toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah.” How do we know? Well, his meeting with Israel’s anointed king was no accident. Jehonadab was “coming to meet him,” and this at a time when Jehu had already slaughtered Jezebel and others in the house of Ahab. Jehonadab knew what was happening when he accepted Jehu’s invitation to get up into his chariot. He was unmistakably on Jehu’s—and Jehovah’s—side in this conflict between false and true worship.
A Modern-Day Jehu and a Modern-Day Jehonadab
5 Today, things will soon change as radically for all mankind as they did for Israel back in 905 B.C.E. The time is now close when Jehovah will cleanse the earth of all the bad results of Satan’s influence, including false religion. Who is the modern-day Jehu? None other than Jesus Christ, to whom are addressed the prophetic words: “Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, with your dignity and your splendor. And in your splendor go on to success; ride in the cause of truth and humility and righteousness.” (Psalm 45:3, 4) Jesus is represented on earth by “the Israel of God,” anointed Christians “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Galatians 6:16; Revelation 12:17) Since 1922 these anointed brothers of Jesus have fearlessly warned of Jehovah’s coming judgment acts.—Isaiah 61:1, 2; Revelation 8:7–9:21; 16:2-21.
6 Anointed Christians have not been alone. Just as Jehonadab came out to meet Jehu, many from the nations have come out to support Jesus, the Greater Jehu, and his earthly representatives in their stand for true worship. (Zechariah 8:23) Called by Jesus his “other sheep,” in 1932 they were recognized as a modern-day equivalent of Jehonadab of old and were invited to ‘get into the chariot’ of the modern-day Jehu. (John 10:16) How? By ‘observing the commandments of God’ and sharing with the anointed in “the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” In modern times, this includes preaching the good news of God’s established Kingdom under Jesus as King. (Mark 13:10) In 1935 these “Jonadabs” were identified as the “great crowd” of Revelation 7:9-17.

(2 KINGS 10:19)

“So summon all the prophets of Baʹal, all his worshippers, and all his priests to me. Do not let a single one be absent, because I have a great sacrifice for Baʹal. Anyone who is absent will not live.” But Jeʹhu was acting with cunning to destroy the worshippers of Baʹal.”

*** w11 11/15 p. 5 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
Jehu announced that he intended to hold “a great sacrifice” for Baal. (2 Ki. 10:18, 19) “This is a clever play on words on the part of Jehu,” says one scholar. While the term employed here “generally means ‘sacrifice,’ it is also used of the ‘slaughter’ of apostates.”

(2 KINGS 10:20)

“Jeʹhu continued: “Declare a solemn assembly for Baʹal.” So they proclaimed it.”

*** w89 3/15 p. 25 An Accurate Eyewitness Report! ***
An Accurate Eyewitness Report!
A recently published Ugaritic text (KTU 1.161) confirms the reliability of 2 Kings 10:19, 20. To destroy the Baal worshipers, King Jehu commanded: “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” (A false god, possibly represented by the statuette at the left.) According to Vetus Testamentum, a magazine published in the Netherlands, this expression is “genuine Canaanite” and means “‘a closed circle’: any outsider could be punished with a curse.” “We now perceive that the author of the passage in 2 Kings apparently betrays good knowledge of Canaanite religious terminology,” comments Vetus Testamentum.
[Picture Credit Line on page 25]
Louvre Museum, Paris

(2 KINGS 10:25)

“As soon as he finished offering up the burnt offering, Jeʹhu said to the guards and the adjutants: “Come in and strike them down! Do not let a single one escape!” So the guards and the adjutants struck them down with the sword and threw them out, and they kept going as far as the inner sanctuary of the house of Baʹal.”

*** it-1 p. 47 Adjutant ***
At Jehu’s command, his runners and adjutants, likely including Bidkar, struck down the Baal worshipers. (2Ki 9:25; 10:25)

(2 KINGS 10:26)

“Then they brought out the sacred pillars of the house of Baʹal and burned each one.”

*** it-2 p. 835 Sacred Pillar ***
Before entering the Promised Land, the Israelites were commanded not to erect any sacred pillars and were instructed to break down or shatter the already existing sacred pillars of the Canaanites. (Ex 34:13; Le 26:1; De 12:3; 16:22) The manner in which these were to be destroyed indicates that they were probably made of stone. At 2 Kings 10:26, however, mention is made of burning sacred pillars, suggesting that some were made of wood. In this case, though, the reference may be to the sacred pole, or Asherah.—See SACRED POLE.

(2 KINGS 10:29)

“However, Jeʹhu did not turn away from the sins that Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat had caused Israel to commit as regards the golden calves that were in Bethʹel and in Dan.”

*** w11 11/15 p. 5 Jehu Champions Pure Worship ***
The end of this story provides a warning. Jehu ‘did not turn aside from following the golden calves in Bethel and Dan.’ (2 Ki. 10:29) How is tolerance of idolatry possible in the case of one who seemed so zealous for pure worship?
Jehu may have believed that the independence of the kingdom of Israel from Judah required the religious separation of the two kingdoms. Hence, like former kings of Israel, he attempted to keep them separate by perpetuating calf worship. But this would show a lack of faith in Jehovah, who had made him king.

*** it-1 p. 947 Divided Kingdom ***
Dan 2Ki 10:29

(2 KINGS 10:31)

“But Jeʹhu did not take care to walk in the Law of Jehovah the God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins that Jer•o•boʹam had caused Israel to commit.”

*** it-1 p. 394 Calf ***
Even King Jehu, who eradicated Baal worship in Israel, let calf worship remain, likely in order to keep the ten-tribe kingdom distinct from the kingdom of Judah. (2Ki 10:29-31)

(2 KINGS 11:1)

“Now when Ath•a•liʹah, A•ha•ziʹah’s mother, saw that her son had died, she rose up and destroyed the entire royal line.”

*** it-2 p. 158 Kingdom ***
Children of the king may be referred to as “the offspring of the kingdom.”—2Ki 11:1.

(2 KINGS 11:2)

“However, Je•hoshʹe•ba the daughter of King Je•hoʹram, A•ha•ziʹah’s sister, took Je•hoʹash the son of A•ha•ziʹah and stole him away from among the sons of the king who were to be put to death, keeping him and his nurse in an inner bedroom. They managed to keep him concealed from Ath•a•liʹah, so he was not put to death.”

*** it-2 p. 1093 Thief ***
The aunt of young Jehoash saved his life by ‘stealing him away from among his brothers,’ who were killed by wicked Athaliah.—2Ki 11:1, 2; 2Ch 22:11.

(2 KINGS 11:4)

“In the seventh year, Je•hoiʹa•da sent for the chiefs of hundreds of the Caʹri•an bodyguard and of the palace guards and had them come to him at the house of Jehovah. He made a pact with them and had them swear to it at the house of Jehovah, and then he showed them the son of the king.”

*** it-1 p. 419 Carian Bodyguard ***
CARIAN BODYGUARD
(Caʹri•an).
A body of troops that aided Jehoiada in the overthrow of Athaliah and the installation of Jehoash as king of Judah.—2Ki 11:4, 13-16, 19.
Many scholars consider the Carian bodyguard to be another name for the Cherethites, mentioned as serving in the military forces of David and Solomon. In the view of some scholars, the Cherethites also functioned as a special bodyguard for these kings. (2Sa 8:18; 1Ki 1:38; 1Ch 18:17) This connection of the Carian bodyguard with the Cherethites is additionally based on the fact that the Masoretic text says “Carian bodyguard” at 2 Samuel 20:23, while the reading in its margin, as well as in many Hebrew manuscripts, is “Cherethites.”
There is an ancient district of Caria in the SW part of Asia Minor. Because Ezekiel 25:16 and Zephaniah 2:5 associate the Cherethites with the Philistines, and because the Greek Septuagint rendering of these texts has “Cretans” instead of Cherethites, some believe that perhaps those in the Carian bodyguard had originally come from the district of Caria by way of Crete.

(2 KINGS 11:6)

“another third will be at the Gate of the Foundation, and another third will be at the gate behind the palace guards. You will take turns watching over the house.”

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
Gate of the Foundation. A temple gate, the location of which is uncertain.—2Ki 11:6; 2Ch 23:5.

(2 KINGS 11:12)

“Then Je•hoiʹa•da brought the king’s son out and put on him the crown and the Testimony, and they made him king and anointed him. They began to clap their hands and say: “Long live the king!””

*** w91 2/1 p. 31 “The Diadem and the Testimony” ***
“The Diadem and the Testimony”
“THEN [Jehoiada the priest] brought the son of the king out and put upon him the diadem and the Testimony; and so they made him king and anointed him.” (2 Kings 11:12) This is how the book of Kings describes the coronation of King Jehoash. Did you notice that besides “the diadem,” or royal headgear, Jehoiada also put “the Testimony” upon the young king. What was the Testimony? And why was it part of this coronation ceremony?
The Hebrew word here translated “Testimony” usually refers to the Ten Commandments or to God’s Law in general. (Exodus 31:18; Psalm 78:5, Revised Standard Version) In harmony with this, the parallel account at 2 Chronicles 23:11 reads in The Jerusalem Bible (1966): “Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, crowned him, and imposed the Law on him.” However, at 2 Kings 11:12, this translation substitutes the word “armlets” for “the Testimony,” although the same Hebrew word appears in both verses. Why?
A noted German Bible commentary, Herders Bibelkommentar, explains that some translators cannot imagine that the king would wear the Law on his head or on his arm. Since, when discussing King Saul, 2 Samuel 1:10 mentions an armlet (or, bracelet) along with the diadem that he wore, they believe that the text at 2 Kings 11:12 originally must have read “the diadem and the armlets.” But this is mere speculation. Replacing “the Testimony” with “armlets” represents a radical textual change.
The New Jerusalem Bible (1985) therefore restores the thought of the Law, or the law covenant, rendering the phrase “and gave him a copy of the covenant.” But did Jehoiada give Jehoash “the Testimony”? True, the Hebrew word translated “put” can also be rendered “gave.” But in both Kings and Chronicles, it only appears once, referring both to the diadem and to the Testimony. Moreover, it is followed immediately by the Hebrew word “upon.” Hence, “put upon” must be the correct translation. Both the diadem and the Testimony were “put upon” young King Jehoash, as the New World Translation shows.
So why—and how—did the high priest “put” the Testimony upon the young king? Consider the observation of German scholar Otto Thenius: “The Law, a book in which Mosaic decrees were recorded. This was symbolically held on the king’s head, after he had been adorned with the diadem.” (Die Bücher der Könige) Similarly, Professor Ernst Bertheau remarks: “The laying of the Law [upon the king] indeed carried a symbolic sense, that the king was obliged to rule in accordance with it.”—Die Bücher der Chronik.
God commanded that when the king took his seat upon the throne, he should write for himself a copy of the Law, studying and applying it all his life. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) Putting “the Testimony” upon the new king may have been a brief symbolic gesture illustrating that even though he was now king, he was not above Jehovah’s Law. Unhappily, after the death of high priest Jehoiada, Jehoash forgot this vital lesson and gradually left Jehovah’s worship, eventually dying at the hands of assassins.—2 Chronicles 24:17-25.

(2 KINGS 11:16)

“So they seized her, and when she reached the place where the horses enter the king’s house, she was put to death there.”

*** it-1 p. 896 Gate, Gateway ***
Some have held that the Horse Gate was one providing communication between two parts of the temple-palace quarter. They reach this conclusion from the account of Athaliah’s execution, which reports that, on being led out of the temple by the soldiers, “she came to the entry of the horse gate of the king’s house.” (2Ch 23:15; 2Ki 11:16) However, this was likely an entry just to the precincts of the royal palace and not the Horse Gate through which the horses passed in and out of the city itself.

(2 KINGS 11:19)

“Further, he took the chiefs of hundreds, the Caʹri•an bodyguard, the palace guards, and all the people of the land to escort the king down from the house of Jehovah, and they came to the king’s house by the way of the gate of the palace guard. He then sat on the throne of the kings.”

*** it-1 p. 419 Carian Bodyguard ***
CARIAN BODYGUARD
(Caʹri•an).
A body of troops that aided Jehoiada in the overthrow of Athaliah and the installation of Jehoash as king of Judah.—2Ki 11:4, 13-16, 19.
Many scholars consider the Carian bodyguard to be another name for the Cherethites, mentioned as serving in the military forces of David and Solomon. In the view of some scholars, the Cherethites also functioned as a special bodyguard for these kings. (2Sa 8:18; 1Ki 1:38; 1Ch 18:17) This connection of the Carian bodyguard with the Cherethites is additionally based on the fact that the Masoretic text says “Carian bodyguard” at 2 Samuel 20:23, while the reading in its margin, as well as in many Hebrew manuscripts, is “Cherethites.”
There is an ancient district of Caria in the SW part of Asia Minor. Because Ezekiel 25:16 and Zephaniah 2:5 associate the Cherethites with the Philistines, and because the Greek Septuagint rendering of these texts has “Cretans” instead of Cherethites, some believe that perhaps those in the Carian bodyguard had originally come from the district of Caria by way of Crete.

Sept. 7 Bible reading: 2 Kings 12-15


(2 KINGS 12:10)

“Whenever they saw that there was a great deal of money in the chest, the secretary of the king and the high priest would come up and collect and count the money that had been brought to the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 242 Bag ***
The Hebrew word tserohrʹ is derived from a verb meaning “wrap up” (Ex 12:34) and describes a common form of receptacle tied with a cord or string, either as a “bundle” (Ge 42:35) or as a “bag” with only the neck being drawn together and tied. (Pr 7:20; Ca 1:13) It appears that the money received from the chest of temple contributions was bound into such bundles, doubtless of uniform quantities. (2Ki 12:10)

(2 KINGS 12:13)

“However, none of the money brought to the house of Jehovah was used to make basins of silver, extinguishers, bowls, trumpets, or any sort of gold or silver article for the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 788 Extinguishers ***
EXTINGUISHERS
Mezam•meʹreth, the Hebrew word variously translated “snuffers” (AS), “knives” (JB), and “extinguishers” (NW), is derived from a root (za•marʹ) meaning “trim; prune.” Hence some believe that scissorlike utensils designed for trimming the lampwicks are meant. However, all that is definitely known about these utensils is that they were made of gold or copper and were used in connection with the services at the temple.—1Ki 7:50; 2Ki 12:13; 25:14; 2Ch 4:22; Jer 52:18.

(2 KINGS 13:3)

“So Jehovah’s anger grew hot against Israel, and he gave them into the hand of King Hazʹa•el of Syria and into the hand of Ben-haʹdad the son of Hazʹa•el all their days.”

*** it-1 p. 1047 Hazael ***
Particularly during the reign of Jehu’s son Jehoahaz of Israel, Hazael became a great oppressor of Israel, fulfilling what the prophet Elisha had foreseen—that Hazael would consign Israel’s fortified places to the fire, kill their choice men with the sword, dash to pieces their children, and rip up their pregnant women. (2Ki 13:3, 22; 8:12)

(2 KINGS 13:5)

“So Jehovah provided Israel with a savior to free them from Syria’s grip, and the Israelites were able to dwell in their homes as before.”

*** it-1 p. 287 Ben-hadad ***
3. The son of Hazael, king of Syria. (2Ki 13:3) Ben-hadad III was evidently associated with his father in the oppression of Israel in the days of Jehoahaz (876-c. 860 B.C.E.) and in the Syrian capture of Israelite cities. Jehovah, however, raised up “a savior” for Israel, apparently in the persons of Jehoahaz’ son Jehoash (c. 859-845 B.C.E.) and his successor Jeroboam II (c. 844-804 B.C.E.). (2Ki 13:4, 5) In fulfillment of Elisha’s final prophecy, Jehoash recaptured “from the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities that he had taken from the hand of Jehoahaz,” defeating the Syrian forces on three occasions. (2Ki 13:19, 23-25) Jeroboam II followed up his father’s victories over Syria, returning Israel’s boundaries to their former state, thus serving as a savior for Israel. (2Ki 14:23-27) Ben-hadad III is not mentioned in connection with Jeroboam’s conquests and may not have been living by that time.

(2 KINGS 13:7)

“Je•hoʹa•haz was left with an army of only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers, because the king of Syria had destroyed them, trampling them like the dust at threshing time.”

*** it-2 p. 1097 Threshing ***
Threshing also illustrates the crushing treatment men sometimes mete out to others. (2Ki 13:7)

(2 KINGS 13:17)

“Then he said: “Open the window toward the east.” So he opened it. E•liʹsha said: “Shoot!” So he shot. He now said: “Jehovah’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! You will strike down Syria at Aʹphek until you finish it off.””

*** it-1 p. 120 Aphek ***
5. A city mentioned at 1 Kings 20:26 as the site of the defeat of the Syrian Ben-hadad II. The retreating Syrians pulled back to the city, only to have its wall fall upon 27,000 of them. (1Ki 20:29, 30) It likewise seems to be the place prophetically indicated to King Jehoash by the dying prophet Elisha as the point where the Syrians would suffer future defeats at the hands of Israelites. (2Ki 13:17-19, 25) Some scholars would place the Aphek mentioned in these texts about 5 km (3 mi) E of the Sea of Galilee, where the modern village of Afiq or Fiq is found. However, so far no remains older than the fourth century B.C.E. have been found at the site. But at nearby ʽEn Gev on the shore of the Sea of Galilee remains of a large fortified city of the tenth to eighth centuries B.C.E. have been discovered.

(2 KINGS 13:21)

“As some men were burying a man, they saw the marauder band, so they quickly threw the man into E•liʹsha’s burial place and ran off. When the man touched the bones of E•liʹsha, he came to life and stood on his feet.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 11 par. 3 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
13:20, 21—Does this miracle support the veneration of religious relics? No, it does not. The Bible does not show that the bones of Elisha were ever venerated. It was God’s power that made this miracle possible, as was the case with all the miracles Elisha performed when he was still alive.

*** w91 11/15 p. 5 Does Devotion to Relics Please God? ***
Certain advocates of the veneration of relics cite 2 Kings 13:21, which says: “It came about that as they were burying a man, why, here they saw the marauding band. At once they threw the man into [the prophet] Elisha’s burial place and went off. When the man touched the bones of Elisha, he immediately came to life and stood upon his feet.” This was a miracle involving the lifeless bones of one of God’s prophets. But Elisha was dead and “conscious of nothing at all” at the time of the miracle. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) Hence, this resurrection must be attributed to the miracle-working power of Jehovah God, who effected it by means of his holy spirit, or active force. It is also noteworthy that the Scriptures do not say that Elisha’s bones were ever venerated.

*** it-1 p. 352 Bones ***
A miracle performed in connection with Elisha (posthumously) was the immediate raising to life of a man whose dead body was thrown into Elisha’s burial place and touched his bones. This was proof that it was God’s power, not Elisha’s, that performed the miracles Elisha had accomplished, and it was a powerful attestation or a seal of God as to the genuineness of his faithful prophet.—2Ki 13:20, 21.

(2 KINGS 13:22)

“Now King Hazʹa•el of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Je•hoʹa•haz.”

*** it-1 p. 1047 Hazael ***
Particularly during the reign of Jehu’s son Jehoahaz of Israel, Hazael became a great oppressor of Israel, fulfilling what the prophet Elisha had foreseen—that Hazael would consign Israel’s fortified places to the fire, kill their choice men with the sword, dash to pieces their children, and rip up their pregnant women. (2Ki 13:3, 22; 8:12)

(2 KINGS 14:1)

“In the second year of Je•hoʹash the son of Je•hoʹa•haz the king of Israel, Am•a•ziʹah the son of King Je•hoʹash of Judah became king.”

*** it-2 p. 80 Joahaz ***
1. Variant spelling of the name of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, as found in certain translations (AS, JP, Ro, RS) of 2 Kings 14:1. There the Masoretic text reads Yoh•ʼa•chazʹ, but on the authority of Hebrew manuscripts that read Yehoh•ʼa•chazʹ, other translations (AT, JB, Mo, NW) render the name Jehoahaz.—See JEHOAHAZ No. 2.

(2 KINGS 14:2)

“He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Je•ho•adʹdin of Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1265 Jehoaddin ***
JEHOADDIN
(Je•ho•adʹdin) [Jehovah Is Pleasure].
Mother of Judah’s King Amaziah; wife of Jehoash. (2Ki 14:1, 2) In the Hebrew text the name is written “Jehoaddin,” with a marginal note saying it should be read as “Jehoaddan,” as at 2 Chronicles 25:1.

(2 KINGS 14:8)

“Then Am•a•ziʹah sent messengers to Je•hoʹash son of Je•hoʹa•haz son of Jeʹhu the king of Israel, saying: “Come, let us confront each other in battle.””

*** it-1 p. 88 Amaziah ***
Amaziah’s second campaign was tragic from start to finish. The 100,000 from Israel who were dismissed raided towns of Judah on their return north. Perhaps it was this that provoked Amaziah foolishly to challenge Jehoash of the strong northern kingdom, saying: “Do come. Let us look each other in the face.” Jehoash’s response: How foolish for a thorny weed to confront a massive cedar only to be trampled by a wild beast! Amaziah refused to listen; he was apparently puffed up with his recent victory, and Jehovah had doomed Amaziah to defeat because of his idolatry. The battle was joined at Beth-shemesh, Judah fled, Amaziah was captured, a breach of about 178 m (584 ft) was made in Jerusalem’s wall, and much temple treasure and many hostages were carried back to Samaria.—2Ki 14:8-14; 2Ch 25:13, 17-24.

(2 KINGS 14:9)

“King Je•hoʹash of Israel sent this message to King Am•a•ziʹah of Judah: “The thorny weed in Lebʹa•non sent a message to the cedar in Lebʹa•non, ‘Give your daughter to my son as a wife.’ However, a wild beast of Lebʹa•non passed by and trampled down the thorny weed.”

*** it-1 p. 424 Cedar ***
Figurative Use. In the Scriptures the majestic cedar is used figuratively to represent stateliness, loftiness, and strength, either real or apparent. (Eze 31:2-14; Am 2:9; Zec 11:1, 2) Thus, King Jehoash of Israel intended his reply to King Amaziah of Judah to be a withering insult when he compared Amaziah’s kingdom to a “thorny weed” while likening his own kingdom to a mighty cedar of Lebanon. (2Ki 14:9; compare Jg 9:15, 20.)

(2 KINGS 14:13)

“King Je•hoʹash of Israel captured King Am•a•ziʹah of Judah, son of Je•hoʹash son of A•ha•ziʹah, at Beth-sheʹmesh. Then they came to Jerusalem, and he made a breach in the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Eʹphra•im to the Corner Gate, 400 cubits.”

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Gate of Ephraim. The Gate of Ephraim was located in the Broad Wall 400 cubits (178 m; 583 ft) E of the Corner Gate. (2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 25:23) It was an exit N in the direction of the territory of Ephraim. It, too, has been identified by some researchers with the Middle Gate (Jer 39:3), by others with the First Gate. (Zec 14:10) It is thought to be (or correspond to) the Gennath or Garden Gate spoken of by the Jewish historian Josephus. (The Jewish War, V, 146 [iv, 2]) Near the Gate of Ephraim there was a public square in which the people made booths to celebrate the Festival of Booths in Nehemiah’s time. (Ne 8:16) This gate is not named in Nehemiah’s reconstruction text, evidently because it did not need extensive repairs.

*** it-1 p. 894 Gate, Gateway ***
Corner Gate. This gate was evidently located in the NW angle of the city wall, W of the Gate of Ephraim. (2Ki 14:13; 2Ch 25:23) It was on the E side of the Valley of Hinnom, apparently in the W wall of the old city at the point where it joined the Broad Wall.

(2 KINGS 14:23)

“In the 15th year of Am•a•ziʹah the son of Je•hoʹash the king of Judah, Jer•o•boʹam the son of King Je•hoʹash of Israel became king in Sa•marʹi•a, and he reigned for 41 years.”

*** si p. 153 par. 2 Bible Book Number 32—Jonah ***
At 2 Kings 14:23-25 we read that Jeroboam the king of Israel extended the boundary of the nation according to the word that Jehovah spoke through Jonah. This would place the time of Jonah’s prophesying at about 844 B.C.E., the year of the accession of Jeroboam II of Israel and many years before Assyria, with its capital at Nineveh, began to dominate Israel.

(2 KINGS 14:25)

“He restored the boundary of Israel from Leʹbo-haʹmath clear to the Sea of the Arʹa•bah, according to the word that Jehovah the God of Israel spoke through his servant Joʹnah the son of A•mitʹtai, the prophet from Gath-heʹpher.”

*** ia chap. 13 pp. 108-109 par. 4 He Learned From His Mistakes ***
4 The Bible reveals a little about Jonah’s background. (Read 2 Kings 14:25.) He was from Gath-hepher, just two and a half miles (4 km) from Nazareth, the town where Jesus Christ would grow up some eight centuries later. Jonah served as a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam II of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The time of Elijah was long past; his successor, Elisha, had died during the reign of Jeroboam’s father. Although Jehovah had used those men to wipe out Baal worship, Israel was willfully going astray again. The land was now under the influence of a king who “continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes.” (2 Ki. 14:24) So Jonah’s service could not have been easy or pleasant. Yet, he carried it out faithfully.

*** w09 1/1 p. 25 He Learned From His Mistakes ***
At 2 Kings 14:25, we learn a little about Jonah’s background. He was from Gath-hepher, just two and a half miles [4 km] from Nazareth, the town where Jesus Christ would grow up some eight centuries later. Jonah served as a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam II of the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. The time of Elijah was long past; his successor, Elisha, had died during the reign of Jeroboam’s father. Although Jehovah had used those men to wipe out Baal worship, Israel was willfully going astray again. The land was now under the influence of a king who “continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes.” (2 Kings 14:24) So Jonah’s service could not have been easy or pleasant. Yet, he carried it out faithfully.

*** it-2 p. 843 Salt Sea ***
SALT SEA
One of the Biblical designations for the large lake or sea now generally known as the Dead Sea. The Salt Sea (Yam ha-Melah) forms the southern termination of the Jordan River.
Name. The first and most frequent designation of this sea in the Bible, “Salt Sea,” is quite appropriate, since it is one of the saltiest bodies of water on the earth. (Ge 14:3; Nu 34:3, 12; Jos 15:2, 5) It is also called the sea of the Arabah (De 4:49; 2Ki 14:25), being in the huge rift of which the Arabah is a part. Sometimes, though, the name “Salt Sea” is added after “sea of the Arabah” as if to explain exactly which body of water is meant by the later name. (De 3:17; Jos 3:16; 12:3)

(2 KINGS 14:28)

“As for the rest of the history of Jer•o•boʹam, all that he did and his mightiness, how he fought and how he restored Damascus and Haʹmath to Judah in Israel, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Israel?”

*** it-1 p. 572 Damascus ***
As king of Damascus, Hazael continued an aggressive policy toward Israel. (2Ki 10:32) Extending Damascene power as far as the Philistine city of Gath, he even invaded Judah, intimidating King Jehoash (898-859 B.C.E.) so that the Judean king paid a huge tribute to spare Jerusalem from Syrian attack. (2Ki 12:17, 18; 13:3, 22; 2Ch 24:23, 24) Under Hazael’s successor, Ben-hadad III, the yoke of Damascus was loosened from Israel’s territory as Jehoash of Israel (c. 859-845 B.C.E.) inflicted three defeats on Syria. (2Ki 13:24, 25) Then Jeroboam II of Israel (c. 844-804 B.C.E.) pushed deep into Syria as far as “the entering in of Hamath,” and “restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel.” (2Ki 14:23-28) This is generally understood to mean the making of these kingdoms tributary, similar to their position under Solomon.—1Ki 4:21.

*** it-2 p. 38 Jeroboam ***
However, the outstanding achievement of his reign was the restoration of land that had earlier been lost by the kingdom. In fulfillment of Jonah’s prophecy, Jeroboam “restored the boundary of Israel from the entering in of Hamath clear to the sea of the Arabah [Dead Sea].” He is also credited with restoring “Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel.” (2Ki 14:25-28) This may mean that Jeroboam made the kingdoms of Damascus and Hamath tributary, as they had once been to Judah during the reign of Solomon.—Compare 1Ki 4:21; 2Ch 8:4.

(2 KINGS 15:1)

“In the 27th year of King Jer•o•boʹam of Israel, Az•a•riʹah the son of King Am•a•ziʹah of Judah became king.”

*** it-2 p. 1146 Uzziah ***
After the death of his father, 16-year-old Uzziah was made king by the people of Judah. (2Ki 14:21; 2Ch 26:1) According to 2 Kings 15:1, however, Uzziah became king in the 27th year of Israelite King Jeroboam (II). As this would place the beginning of Uzziah’s rule approximately 12 years after the death of his father, this must refer to his ‘becoming king’ in a special sense. It may be that in the 27th year of King Jeroboam, the two-tribe Judean kingdom was freed from subjection to the northern kingdom, a subjection that perhaps began when Israelite King Jehoash defeated Uzziah’s father Amaziah. (2Ch 25:22-24) So it may be that Uzziah became king a second time in the sense of being free from the domination of Israelite King Jeroboam (II).

(2 KINGS 15:5)

“Jehovah afflicted the king, and he remained a leper until the day of his death; and he stayed in a separate house, while the king’s son Joʹtham was in charge of the house, judging the people of the land.”

*** w05 8/1 p. 11 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
15:1-6—Why did Jehovah plague Azariah (Uzziah, 15:6, footnote) with leprosy? “As soon as [Uzziah] was strong, his heart became haughty . . . , so that he acted unfaithfully against Jehovah his God and came into the temple of Jehovah to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” When the priests “stood up against Uzziah” and told him to “go out from the sanctuary,” he became enraged against the priests and was struck with leprosy.—2 Chronicles 26:16-20.

(2 KINGS 15:16)

“It was then that Menʹa•hem came from Tirʹzah and struck down Tiphʹsah and all who were in it and its territory, because it did not open its gates to him. He struck it down and ripped open its pregnant women.”

*** it-2 p. 371 Menahem ***
MENAHEM
(Menʹa•hem) [One Who Comforts].
Son of Gadi and king of Israel for ten years from about 790 B.C.E. Upon learning that Shallum had assassinated King Zechariah, Menahem went from Tirzah to Samaria and killed the assassin there. He then assumed rulership. Evidently during the early part of his reign Menahem struck down Tiphsah “and all that was in it and its territory out from Tirzah, because it did not open up.” The town was apparently reluctant to open its gate to him. (LXX, Vg, Sy) Harsh treatment was meted out to the populace: “All its pregnant women he ripped up.”—2Ki 15:10, 13-17.

(2 KINGS 15:19)

“King Pul of As•syrʹi•a came into the land, and Menʹa•hem gave Pul 1,000 talents of silver in return for his support in strengthening his hold on the kingdom.”

*** si p. 69 par. 3 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
There are the inscriptions of Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (Pul), which name several kings of Israel and Judah, including Menahem, Ahaz, and Pekah.—15:19, 20; 16:5-8.

*** w88 2/15 p. 26 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Tiglath-pileser III (also called Pul) is the first Assyrian king mentioned by name in the Bible. He advanced into the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Menahem (791-780 B.C.E.). The Bible says Menahem paid him a thousand talents of silver to withdraw.—2 Kings 15:19, 20.
In his own annals, found at Calah, Tiglath-pileser confirms this Biblical fact, saying: “I received tribute from . . . Menahem of Samaria.”

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
Tiglath-pileser III. The first Assyrian king to be mentioned by name in the Bible is Tiglath-pileser III (2Ki 15:29; 16:7, 10), also called “Pul” at 2 Kings 15:19. At 1 Chronicles 5:26 both names are used, and this caused some in the past to view them as separate kings. However, Babylonian and Assyrian King Lists give both names to the same individual. The suggestion is made by some that this king was originally known as Pul and that he assumed the name Tiglath-pileser upon ascending to the Assyrian throne.—See PUL No. 1.

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
It was during the reign of Menahem of Israel (c. 790-781 B.C.E.) that Tiglath-pileser III entered the domain of that northern kingdom. Menahem made a payment to him of a thousand silver talents ($6,606,000) and thus obtained the withdrawal of the Assyrian. (2Ki 15:19, 20)

*** it-2 p. 371 Menahem ***
During his reign, King Pul (Tiglath-pileser III) invaded Israel, and Menahem was forced to pay that Assyrian monarch “a thousand talents of silver.” ($6,606,000) He acquired this sum by imposing an assessment of 50 silver shekels upon each of “the valiant, mighty men” of Israel. Since a talent of silver equaled about 3,000 shekels, the silver was obtained from about 60,000 persons. Menahem gave the silver to the Assyrian king, “that his hands might prove to be with him to strengthen the kingdom in his own hand.” Upon receiving this amount, Pul withdrew from the land.—2Ki 15:19, 20.

*** it-2 p. 1102 Tiglath-pileser (III) ***
At 2 Chronicles 28:16 Ahaz is spoken of as sending “to the kings of Assyria for them to help him.” While the plural “kings,” occurring in the Hebrew Masoretic text, appears in the singular (“king”) in the Septuagint and in other ancient manuscripts, there are modern translations that favor the Hebrew plural. (JP, NW) Some scholars view the plural here as merely indicating the sum of majesty and greatness ascribed to the one monarch (Tiglath-pileser III) as the “king of kings.” Yet attention is also called to the boastful claim of the Assyrian monarch recorded at Isaiah 10:8: “Are not my princes at the same time kings?” It is thus possible that the reference to “Pul the king of Assyria” (2Ki 15:19) may also be applied in the sense of his being the ruler of an Assyrian province prior to becoming head of the entire empire.

*** it-2 p. 1101 Tiglath-pileser (III) ***
This king first appears in the Bible account as “Pul.” (2Ki 15:19) First Chronicles 5:26 also states that God “stirred up the spirit of Pul the king of Assyria even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser the king of Assyria, so that he took into exile” peoples of certain tribes of Israel. The ancient secular records apply both names to the same individual, the name “Pulu” appearing in what is known as “The Babylonian King List A,” while “The Synchronistic Chronicle” lists “Tukultiapilesharra” (Tiglath-pileser). (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. Pritchard, 1974, pp. 272, 273) It is also of note that, in the Hebrew, the above-quoted scripture uses the verb “took” in the singular rather than in the plural. It is commonly suggested that “Pul” was the monarch’s personal name and that he assumed the name “Tiglath-pileser” (the name of an earlier and famous Assyrian king) upon ascending the throne.
It appears that during the early part of his reign, Tiglath-pileser III was occupied in hammering out stronger borders for the empire in the S, E, and N. The menacing shadow of Assyria, however, soon loomed large over the lands of Syria and Palestine to the W.
The Assyrian inscriptions prominently mention Azriau of Ia-ú-da-a-a (Judah) in connection with a campaign by Tiglath-pileser III in Syria. (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, pp. 282, 283) This would seem to be a reference to King Azariah of Judah, more commonly known as Uzziah (829-778 B.C.E.), but the matter is a debated one, because some hold that the small kingdom of Samʼal in Syria was on occasion also called Judah. The likelihood of such a pagan king having a name including the name of Jah (the abbreviated form of Jehovah) and living at the same time as the Judean king of the same name seems slight; however, the Bible does not mention Tiglath-pileser III in connection with Azariah (Uzziah), and the Assyrian records are considerably mutilated.
During the reign of King Menahem of Israel (c. 790-781 B.C.E.), Tiglath-pileser III (Pul) advanced into Palestine, and Menahem sought the Assyrian’s favor by paying him tribute to the amount of “a thousand talents of silver” ($6,606,000 in current values). Temporarily appeased, Tiglath-pileser withdrew his forces. (2Ki 15:19, 20) The Assyrian documents refer to Me-ni-hi-im-me (Menahem), along with Rezon (Rezin) of Damascus and Hiram of Tyre, as tributary to Tiglath-pileser.
Subsequently, in the time of King Ahaz of Judah (761-746 B.C.E.), King Pekah of Israel formed a confederation with King Rezin of Damascus and attacked Judah. (2Ki 16:5, 6; Isa 7:1, 2) Though assured by the prophet Isaiah that within a short time the two conspiring kingdoms would be wiped off the scene, King Ahaz chose to send a bribe to Tiglath-pileser to come to his rescue. (2Ki 16:7, 8; Isa 7:7-16; 8:9-13) An Assyrian inscription describes the tribute paid by Ia-u-ha-zi (Jehoahaz, or Ahaz) of Judah and other kings of that area as follows: “gold, silver, tin, iron, antimony, linen garments with multicolored trimmings, garments of their native (industries) (being made of) dark purple wool . . . all kinds of costly objects be they products of the sea or of the continent, the (choice) products of their regions, the treasures of (their) kings, horses, mules (trained for) the yoke.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 282) The aggressive Assyrian responded to Ahaz’ urging by invading Israel, capturing several northern cities, and overrunning the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, carrying many off into exile. (2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:6, 26) Damascus was attacked and fell to the Assyrian forces, and its King Rezin was slain. Here at Damascus, Tiglath-pileser III received the visit of King Ahaz of Judah, coming either to express gratitude or submission to Assyria.—2Ki 16:9-12.
Isaiah had been inspired to foretell that Jehovah would use the king of Assyria like “a hired razor” to “shave” the kingdom of Judah. (Isa 7:17, 20) Whether the “hired razor” referred specifically to Tiglath-pileser III, whom Ahaz bribed, or not, the record does show that he caused great distress to the Judean king and that Ahaz’ bribe proved to be “of no assistance to him.” (2Ch 28:20, 21) This may have marked the initial phase of the “flood” of Assyrian invasion of Judah, which eventually was to ‘reach up to the very neck of the kingdom,’ as it clearly did in Hezekiah’s time.—Isa 8:5-8; 2Ki 18:13, 14.
Tiglath-pileser III, in his inscriptions, says concerning the northern kingdom of Israel: “They overthrew their king Pekah (Pa-qa-ha) and I placed Hoshea (A-ú-si-ʼ) as king over them. I received from them 10 talents of gold [$3,853,500], 1,000(?) talents of silver [$6,606,000] as their [tri]bute and brought them to Assyria.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 284) Thus the Assyrian king assumes credit for the assumption of the kingship of Israel by Hoshea following his conspiratorial assassination of Hoshea’s predecessor, Pekah (c. 758 B.C.E.).—2Ki 15:30.

(2 KINGS 15:20)

“So Menʹa•hem raised the silver from Israel by exacting it from the prominent, wealthy men. He gave the king of As•syrʹi•a 50 silver shekels for each man. Then the king of As•syrʹi•a turned back and did not stay in the land.”

*** it-2 p. 371 Menahem ***
During his reign, King Pul (Tiglath-pileser III) invaded Israel, and Menahem was forced to pay that Assyrian monarch “a thousand talents of silver.” ($6,606,000) He acquired this sum by imposing an assessment of 50 silver shekels upon each of “the valiant, mighty men” of Israel. Since a talent of silver equaled about 3,000 shekels, the silver was obtained from about 60,000 persons. Menahem gave the silver to the Assyrian king, “that his hands might prove to be with him to strengthen the kingdom in his own hand.” Upon receiving this amount, Pul withdrew from the land.—2Ki 15:19, 20.

(2 KINGS 15:29)

“In the days of King Peʹkah of Israel, King Tigʹlath-pil•eʹser of As•syrʹi•a invaded and captured Iʹjon, Aʹbel-beth-maʹa•cah, Ja•noʹah, Keʹdesh, Haʹzor, Gilʹe•ad, and Galʹi•lee—all the land of Naphʹta•li—and he took the inhabitants into exile in As•syrʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 16 Abel-beth-maacah ***
Abel of Beth-maacah was captured by Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria during the reign of Pekah, and its inhabitants were sent into exile. (2Ki 15:29) This city, called in Assyrian texts Abilakka, appears in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III in the list of cities he conquered.

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
With regard to the “sixty-five years” at Isaiah 7:8, which Isaiah prophesied would be the period within which Ephraim would be “shattered to pieces,” the Commentary on the Whole Bible (by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) states: “One deportation of Israel happened within one or two years from this time [the time of Isaiah’s prophecy], under Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15. 29). Another in the reign of Hoshea, under Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17. 1-6), was about twenty years after. But the final one which utterly ‘broke’ up Israel so as to be ‘not a people,’ accompanied by a colonization of Samaria with foreigners, was under Esar-haddon, who carried away Manasseh, king of Judah, also, in the twenty-second year of his reign, sixty-five years from the utterance of this prophecy (cf. Ezra 4.2, 3, 10, with 2 Kings 17.24; 2 Chronicles 33.11).”

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
During the reign of Israelite King Pekah at Samaria (c. 778-759 B.C.E.), Assyrian King Pul (Tiglath-pileser III) came against Israel, captured a large section in the N, and deported its inhabitants to eastern parts of his empire. (2Ki 15:29)

*** it-2 p. 595 Pekah ***
Apparently also at this time Tiglath-pileser captured the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, as well as a number of cities in northern Israel. (2Ki 15:29) Thereafter Hoshea the son of Elah killed Pekah and became Israel’s next king.—2Ki 15:30.
A fragmentary historical text of Tiglath-pileser III reports about his campaign against Israel: “All its inhabitants (and) their possessions I led to Assyria. They overthrew their king Pekah (Pa-qa-ha) and I placed Hoshea (A-ú-si-ʼ) as king over them.”—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 284.

(2 KINGS 15:30)

“Then Ho•sheʹa the son of Eʹlah formed a conspiracy against Peʹkah the son of Rem•a•liʹah, and he struck him and put him to death; and he became king in his place in the 20th year of Joʹtham the son of Uz•ziʹah.”

*** it-1 p. 1149 Hoshea ***
Second Kings 15:30 states that Hoshea put Pekah to death and “began to reign in place of him in the twentieth year of Jotham.” Since Judean King Jotham is credited with only 16 years (2Ki 15:32, 33; 2Ch 27:1, 8), this may refer to the 20th year counting from the start of Jotham’s kingship, which would actually be the fourth year of the reign of Jotham’s successor Ahaz.—See JOTHAM No. 3.

*** it-2 p. 119 Jotham ***
Since Jotham ruled only 16 years, the reference at 2 Kings 15:30 to the “twentieth year of Jotham” evidently is to be understood to mean the 20th year after his becoming king, that is, the fourth year of Ahaz. The writer of the Kings account may have chosen not to introduce Jotham’s successor Ahaz at this point because of yet having to supply details about Jotham’s reign.

*** it-2 p. 595 Pekah ***
Apparently also at this time Tiglath-pileser captured the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, as well as a number of cities in northern Israel. (2Ki 15:29) Thereafter Hoshea the son of Elah killed Pekah and became Israel’s next king.—2Ki 15:30.
A fragmentary historical text of Tiglath-pileser III reports about his campaign against Israel: “All its inhabitants (and) their possessions I led to Assyria. They overthrew their king Pekah (Pa-qa-ha) and I placed Hoshea (A-ú-si-ʼ) as king over them.”—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 284.

*** it-2 p. 1101 Tiglath-pileser (III) ***
Tiglath-pileser III, in his inscriptions, says concerning the northern kingdom of Israel: “They overthrew their king Pekah (Pa-qa-ha) and I placed Hoshea (A-ú-si-ʼ) as king over them. I received from them 10 talents of gold [$3,853,500], 1,000(?) talents of silver [$6,606,000] as their [tri]bute and brought them to Assyria.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 284) Thus the Assyrian king assumes credit for the assumption of the kingship of Israel by Hoshea following his conspiratorial assassination of Hoshea’s predecessor, Pekah (c. 758 B.C.E.).—2Ki 15:30.

(2 KINGS 15:35)

“However, the high places were not removed, and the people were still sacrificing and making sacrificial smoke on the high places. He was the one who built the upper gate of the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
“Upper gate of the house of Jehovah.” This may have been a gate leading to the inner court, possibly “the new gate of Jehovah,” where Jeremiah was tried; also where Jeremiah’s secretary Baruch read the scroll before the people. (Jer 26:10; 36:10) Jeremiah may have called it “the new gate” because it had not been so anciently built as the others; possibly it was “the upper gate of the house of Jehovah” built by King Jotham.—2Ki 15:32, 35; 2Ch 27:3.

Sept. 14 Bible reading: 2 Kings 16-18


(2 KINGS 16:2)

“Aʹhaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 16 years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the eyes of Jehovah his God as David his forefather had done.”

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahaz ***
1. The son of King Jotham of Judah. Ahaz began to reign at the age of 20 and continued for 16 years.—2Ki 16:2; 2Ch 28:1.
Since Ahaz’ son Hezekiah was 25 when he began to reign, this would mean that Ahaz was less than 12 years old when fathering him. (2Ki 18:1, 2) Whereas puberty in males is usually reached between the ages of 12 and 15 in temperate climates, it may come earlier in warmer climates. Marriage customs also vary. Zeitschrift für Semitistik und verwandte Gebiete (edited by E. Littmann, Leipzig, 1927, Vol. 5, p. 132) reported that child marriage is frequent in the Promised Land even in modern times, one case being cited of two brothers aged 8 and 12 who were married, the wife of the older attending school with her husband. However, one Hebrew manuscript, the Syriac Peshitta, and some manuscripts of the Greek Septuagint at 2 Chronicles 28:1 give “twenty-five years” as the age of Ahaz when beginning to reign.

(2 KINGS 16:3)

“Instead, he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and he even made his own son pass through the fire, following the detestable practices of the nations that Jehovah had driven out from before the Israelites.”

*** ip-1 chap. 1 p. 8 An Ancient Prophet With a Modern Message ***
Some say that to “pass through the fire” may simply indicate a purification ceremony. It seems, though, that in this context the phrase refers to a literal sacrifice. There is no question that child sacrifice was practiced by Canaanites and apostate Israelites.—Deuteronomy 12:31; Psalm 106:37, 38.

*** ip-1 chap. 1 p. 8 par. 7 An Ancient Prophet With a Modern Message ***
Ahaz, for instance, not only tolerated idolatry among his subjects but personally engaged in it, making his own offspring “pass through the fire” in a ritual sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech. (2 Kings 16:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 4)

*** w97 7/15 p. 14 par. 3 Are You Pursuing Virtue? ***
His father, King Ahaz of Judah, evidently worshiped Molech. “Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and for sixteen years he reigned in Jerusalem; and he did not do what was right in the eyes of Jehovah his God like David his forefather. And he went walking in the way of the kings of Israel, and even his own son he made pass through the fire, according to the detestable things of the nations whom Jehovah drove out because of the sons of Israel. And he kept sacrificing and making sacrificial smoke on the high places and upon the hills and under every luxuriant tree.” (2 Kings 16:2-4) Some claim that ‘passing through the fire’ signified some sort of purification ritual and not human sacrifice. However, the book Molech—A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament, by John Day, observes: “There is evidence in classical and Punic [Carthaginian] sources, as well as archaeological evidence, for the existence of human sacrifice . . . in the Canaanite world, and so there is no reason to doubt the Old Testament allusions [to human sacrifice].” Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 28:3 specifically says that Ahaz “proceeded to burn up his sons in the fire.” (Compare Deuteronomy 12:31; Psalm 106:37, 38.) What wicked acts!

(2 KINGS 16:6)

“At that time King Reʹzin of Syria restored Eʹlath to Eʹdom, after which he drove the Jews out of Eʹlath. And the Eʹdom•ites entered Eʹlath, and they have occupied it down to this day.”

*** it-1 p. 704 Elath ***
Then, during the rule of Ahaz (761-746 B.C.E.), it was wrested from Judah by the Syrians and was reoccupied by the Edomites, thereafter never returning to the Judeans. (2Ki 16:6) The Masoretic text here reads “Syria” or “Aram” (Heb., ʼAramʹ) instead of “Edom” (ʼEdhohmʹ). Most current scholars, however, accept the latter reading, in the margin, believing that a scribe confused the Hebrew letter daʹleth (ד) with the similar-shaped letter rehsh (ר).

(2 KINGS 16:9)

“The king of As•syrʹi•a responded to his request, and he went up to Damascus and captured it and led its people into exile to Kir, and he put Reʹzin to death.”

*** it-1 p. 414 Captivity ***
Assyria, it seems, was the first to introduce the policy of uprooting and removing the entire populations of captured towns from their homeland and repopulating the territory with captives from other parts of the empire. This deportation policy of Assyria was not enforced against only the Jews, for when Damascus, the capital of Syria, fell under the crushing military onslaught of this second world power, its people were banished to Kir, as foretold by the prophet Amos. (2Ki 16:8, 9; Am 1:5) The practice had a twofold effect: It discouraged the few remaining ones from subversive activity; and the surrounding nations that may have been friendly with those taken captive were less inclined to give aid and assistance to the new foreign element brought in from distant places.

*** it-1 p. 572 Damascus ***
During the reign of King Ahaz of Judah (761-746 B.C.E.), Rezin of Damascus, in league with Pekah of Israel, swept through Judah to Elath on the Gulf of ʽAqaba. This so frightened King Ahaz that he sent a bribe to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria, asking him to divert Syrian pressure from Judah. With alacrity, the Assyrian attacked Damascus, captured it, put Rezin to death, and exiled many of the Damascenes. (2Ki 16:5-9; 2Ch 28:5, 16) Thereby Jehovah’s prophecies through Isaiah and Amos were fulfilled (Isa 8:4; 10:5, 8, 9; Am 1:3-5),

*** it-1 p. 1047 Hazael ***
However, Shalmaneser III evidently failed to take Damascus itself. This was apparently left for Tiglath-pileser III to accomplish, in the days of Syrian King Rezin. This fulfilled Jehovah’s prophecy through Amos: “I will send a fire onto the house of Hazael, and it must devour the dwelling towers of Ben-hadad. And I will break the bar of Damascus.”—Am 1:4, 5; 2Ki 16:9.

*** it-1 p. 1219 Isaiah ***
The name given to the boy by God’s command was Maher-shalal-hash-baz, meaning “Hurry, O Spoil! He Has Made Haste to the Plunder; or, Hurrying to the Spoil, He Has Made Haste to the Plunder.” It was said that before this son would know how to call out, “My father!” and “My mother!” the threat to Judah existing from the conspiracy of Syria and the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel would be removed.—Isa 8:1-4.
The prophecy indicated that relief would come to Judah soon; relief did come when Assyria interfered with the campaign against Judah by King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel. The Assyrians captured Damascus and, later, in 740 B.C.E., despoiled and destroyed the kingdom of Israel, fully carrying out the prophetic meaning of the boy’s name. (2Ki 16:5-9; 17:1-6) However, instead of trusting in Jehovah, King Ahaz tried to stave off the threat made by Syria and Israel, resorting to bribery of the king of Assyria to gain his protection. Because of this, Jehovah allowed Assyria to become a great threat to Judah and actually to flood into the land right up to Jerusalem itself, as Isaiah had warned.—Isa 7:17-20.

*** it-2 p. 174 Kir ***
KIR
The place from which the Aramaeans came to Syria, although not necessarily their original home. (Am 9:7) Through his prophet Amos (1:5), Jehovah indicated that the Aramaeans would return to Kir, but as exiles. This prophecy was fulfilled when Tiglath-pileser III, after being bribed by Judean King Ahaz to do so, captured Damascus, the Aramaean capital, and led its inhabitants into exile at Kir.—2Ki 16:7-9.

(2 KINGS 16:10)

“Then King Aʹhaz went to meet King Tigʹlath-pil•eʹser of As•syrʹi•a at Damascus. When he saw the altar that was in Damascus, King Aʹhaz sent U•riʹjah the priest a plan of the altar, showing its pattern and how it was made.”

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
As a vassal king, Ahaz was apparently summoned to Damascus to render homage to Tiglath-pileser III and, while in that city, admired the pagan altar there, copied its design, and had priest Urijah build a duplicate to be placed before the temple in Jerusalem. Ahaz then presumed to offer sacrifices on this “great altar.” The original copper altar was set to one side until the king should decide what use to make of it. (2Ki 16:10-16)

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
Additionally, Judah was now in a subservient position toward Assyria, and Ahaz of Judah traveled to Damascus, which had also fallen to the Assyrians, and evidently rendered homage to Tiglath-pileser.—2Ki 15:29; 16:5-10,

(2 KINGS 16:18)

“And the covered structure for the Sabbath that had been built in the house and the king’s outer entryway he shifted away from the house of Jehovah; he did so because of the king of As•syrʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
Meanwhile he mutilated much of the copper temple equipment and rearranged other features in the temple area all “because of the king of Assyria,” perhaps to pay the heavy tribute imposed on Judah or possibly to conceal some of the temple wealth from the greedy Assyrian’s eyes. The temple doors were closed and Ahaz “made altars for himself at every corner in Jerusalem.”—2Ki 16:17, 18; 2Ch 28:23-25.

(2 KINGS 17:1)

“In the 12th year of King Aʹhaz of Judah, Ho•sheʹa the son of Eʹlah became king over Israel in Sa•marʹi•a; he ruled for nine years.”

*** si p. 149 par. 4 Bible Book Number 30—Amos ***
The last stronghold of Israel, the fortified city of Samaria, after being besieged by the Assyrian army under Shalmaneser V, fell in the year 740 B.C.E. (2 Ki. 17:1-6)

*** it-1 pp. 1148-1149 Hoshea ***
4. Last king of the northern kingdom of Israel, which came to its end in 740 B.C.E.; son of Elah. He did what was bad in Jehovah’s sight, yet not to the same degree as his predecessors. (2Ki 17:1, 2) Hoshea had no hereditary claim to the throne, nor did he receive a special anointing from God to be king. Rather, it was by conspiracy against and murder of King Pekah that the usurper Hoshea gained the throne. Second Kings 15:30 states that Hoshea put Pekah to death and “began to reign in place of him in the twentieth year of Jotham.” Since Judean King Jotham is credited with only 16 years (2Ki 15:32, 33; 2Ch 27:1, 8), this may refer to the 20th year counting from the start of Jotham’s kingship, which would actually be the fourth year of the reign of Jotham’s successor Ahaz.—See JOTHAM No. 3.
It appears that Hoshea was not fully recognized as king over Israel until sometime later, however. Second Kings 17:1 states that, in the 12th year of Ahaz, Hoshea “became king in Samaria over Israel for nine years.” So, it may be that at this point Hoshea was able to establish full control from Samaria. Possibly Assyrian backing at this point aided him, for the records of Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III make the claim that he put Hoshea on the throne.—See chart “Outstanding Dates During the Period of the Kings of Judah and of Israel” in CHRONOLOGY article.

(2 KINGS 17:5)

“The king of As•syrʹi•a invaded the entire land, and he came to Sa•marʹi•a and laid siege to it for three years.”

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Shalmaneser V, who succeeded Tiglath-pileser, invaded the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel and laid siege to its well-fortified capital Samaria. After a three-year siege, Samaria fell (in 740 B.C.E.), as Jehovah’s prophets had said would happen.—Micah 1:1, 6; 2 Kings 17:5.

(2 KINGS 17:6)

“In the ninth year of Ho•sheʹa, the king of As•syrʹi•a captured Sa•marʹi•a. He then led the people of Israel into exile in As•syrʹi•a and made them dwell in Haʹlah and in Haʹbor at the river Goʹzan and in the cities of the Medes.”

*** si p. 145 par. 14 Bible Book Number 28—Hosea ***
Israel was deserted by her lovers among the idolatrous neighbor nations and reaped the whirlwind of destruction from Assyria in 740 B.C.E. (Hos. 8:7-10; 2 Ki. 15:20; 17:3-6, 18)

*** si p. 156 par. 4 Bible Book Number 33—Micah ***
Samaria was ruined by the Assyrians in 740 B.C.E. when they took the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity. (2 Ki. 17:5, 6)

*** gm chap. 4 pp. 47-48 par. 20 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
20 Then, in the year 740 B.C.E., God allowed the rebellious northern kingdom of Israel to be destroyed by the Assyrians. (2 Kings 17:6-18) Speaking of the Bible account of this event, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon comments: “One might have a suspicion that some of this is hyperbole.” But is it? She adds: “The archaeological evidence of the fall of the kingdom of Israel is almost more vivid than that of the Biblical record. . . . The complete obliteration of the Israelite towns of Samaria and Hazor and the accompanying destruction of Megiddo is the factual archaeological evidence that the [Bible] writer was not exaggerating.”11

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Sargon II succeeded Shalmaneser and may have completed the conquest of Samaria, as the beginning of his reign is said to coincide with the year the city fell. The Bible says that after Samaria fell, the king of Assyria “led Israel into exile in Assyria.” (2 Kings 17:6) An Assyrian inscription, found at Khorsabad, confirms this. On it Sargon states: “I besieged and conquered Samaria, led away as booty 27,290 inhabitants of it.”

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
With regard to the “sixty-five years” at Isaiah 7:8, which Isaiah prophesied would be the period within which Ephraim would be “shattered to pieces,” the Commentary on the Whole Bible (by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) states: “One deportation of Israel happened within one or two years from this time [the time of Isaiah’s prophecy], under Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15. 29). Another in the reign of Hoshea, under Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17. 1-6), was about twenty years after. But the final one which utterly ‘broke’ up Israel so as to be ‘not a people,’ accompanied by a colonization of Samaria with foreigners, was under Esar-haddon, who carried away Manasseh, king of Judah, also, in the twenty-second year of his reign, sixty-five years from the utterance of this prophecy (cf. Ezra 4.2, 3, 10, with 2 Kings 17.24; 2 Chronicles 33.11).”

*** it-1 p. 100 Amos, Book of ***
The highly fortified city of Samaria itself was besieged and captured in 740 B.C.E., and the Assyrian army took the inhabitants “into exile beyond Damascus,” as foretold by Amos. (Am 5:27; 2Ki 17:5, 6)

*** it-1 p. 993 Gozan ***
At 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:11 some translations read “Habor, the river of Gozan” (AS, RS), instead of “Habor at [or, by] the river Gozan” (NW, Yg), thus also making Gozan a place in these texts. But the rendering “Habor, the river of Gozan,” does not harmonize with 1 Chronicles 5:26. In this passage Habor is listed between Halah and Hara; and Hara, not Habor, is listed before Gozan. This indicates that Habor and “the river of Gozan” (AS) are not synonymous. Hence, those who identify Gozan as a place throughout are obliged to reject the Chronicles reference. However, since the Hebrew allows for a consistent rendering of “river Gozan” in all three texts, there is reason to believe that it was in the vicinity of a river called Gozan that the king of Assyria settled some of the exiled Israelites of the northern kingdom. The Qezel Owzan of NW Iran has been suggested as a possible identification of “the river Gozan.” It rises in the mountains SE of Lake Urmia (in what used to be the land of the Medes) and finally empties as the Sefid Rud or White River (the name applied to its lower course) into the SW section of the Caspian Sea. According to another view, the Gozan is a river of Mesopotamia.

*** it-1 p. 1014 Habor ***
HABOR
(Haʹbor).
A city or district to which the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III exiled numerous Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom. (1Ch 5:26) Some scholars have linked this Habor with Abhar, a town located on the Qezel Owzan River of NW Iran about 210 km (130 mi) W of Tehran. At 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:11 some favor the reading “Habor, the river of Gozan” (AS, RS), and they suggest identifying the Habor with a tributary of the Euphrates, the Khabur River of SE Turkey and NE Syria. However, in agreement with 1 Chronicles 5:26, this phrase may instead be translated “Habor at [or, by] the river Gozan.”—NW, Yg; see GOZAN.

*** it-1 p. 1148 Hosea, Book of ***
Fulfilled Prophecies. The prophetic words of Hosea 13:16 concerning Samaria’s fall were fulfilled. Hosea’s prophecy also showed that Israel would be deserted by her lovers among the nations. (Ho 8:7-10) Indeed, they were of no assistance when Samaria was destroyed and inhabitants of Israel became Assyrian captives in 740 B.C.E.—2Ki 17:3-6.

(2 KINGS 17:10)

“They kept setting up for themselves sacred pillars and sacred poles on every high hill and under every luxuriant tree;”

*** it-2 p. 835 Sacred Pole ***
Both Israel and Judah disregarded God’s express command not to set up sacred pillars and sacred poles; they placed them upon “every high hill and under every luxuriant tree” alongside the altars used for sacrifice. It has been suggested that the poles represented the female principle, whereas the pillars represented the male principle. These appendages of idolatry, likely phallic symbols, were associated with grossly immoral sex orgies, as is indicated by the reference to male prostitutes being in the land as early as Rehoboam’s reign. (1Ki 14:22-24; 2Ki 17:10) Only seldom did kings such as Hezekiah (and Josiah) come along, who “removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars to pieces and cut down the sacred pole.”—2Ki 18:4; 2Ch 34:7.

(2 KINGS 17:16)

“They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah their God, and they made metal statues of two calves and a sacred pole, and they bowed down to all the army of the heavens and served Baʹal.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16)

(2 KINGS 17:18)

“So Jehovah was very angry with Israel, so that he removed them from his sight. He did not let any remain but the tribe of Judah alone.”

*** si p. 145 par. 14 Bible Book Number 28—Hosea ***
Israel was deserted by her lovers among the idolatrous neighbor nations and reaped the whirlwind of destruction from Assyria in 740 B.C.E. (Hos. 8:7-10; 2 Ki. 15:20; 17:3-6, 18) However, Hosea had foretold that Jehovah would show mercy to Judah and save her, but not by military might. This was fulfilled when Jehovah’s angel slew 185,000 of the Assyrians threatening Jerusalem. (Hos. 1:7; 2 Ki. 19:34, 35)

(2 KINGS 17:21)

“He ripped Israel away from the house of David, and they made Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat king. But Jer•o•boʹam caused Israel to stray from following Jehovah, and he caused them to commit a great sin.”

*** it-1 p. 1231 Israel ***
During the next 390 years following the death of Solomon and the breaking up of the united kingdom and on down to the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., the term “Israel” usually applied only to the ten tribes under the rule of the northern kingdom. (2Ki 17:21-23)

(2 KINGS 17:24)

“The king of As•syrʹi•a then brought people from Babylon, Cuʹthah, Avʹva, Haʹmath, and Seph•ar•vaʹim and settled them in the cities of Sa•marʹi•a in place of the Israelites; they took possession of Sa•marʹi•a and lived in its cities.”

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
The Bible further says that after the Israelites were moved out, the king of Assyria brought people from other regions “and had them dwell in the cities of Samaria instead of the sons of Israel; and they began to take possession of Samaria and to dwell in its cities.”—2 Kings 17:24.
Do Assyrian records confirm this too? Yes, Sargon’s own annals, recorded on the Nimrud Prism, say: “I restored the city of Samaria . . . I brought into it people from the countries conquered by my own hands.”—Illustrations of Old Testament History, R. D. Barnett, page 52.

*** it-1 p. 62 Ahaz ***
With regard to the “sixty-five years” at Isaiah 7:8, which Isaiah prophesied would be the period within which Ephraim would be “shattered to pieces,” the Commentary on the Whole Bible (by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown) states: “One deportation of Israel happened within one or two years from this time [the time of Isaiah’s prophecy], under Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15. 29). Another in the reign of Hoshea, under Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17. 1-6), was about twenty years after. But the final one which utterly ‘broke’ up Israel so as to be ‘not a people,’ accompanied by a colonization of Samaria with foreigners, was under Esar-haddon, who carried away Manasseh, king of Judah, also, in the twenty-second year of his reign, sixty-five years from the utterance of this prophecy (cf. Ezra 4.2, 3, 10, with 2 Kings 17.24; 2 Chronicles 33.11).”

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
It was perhaps first during Sargon’s reign that people from Babylon and Syria were brought into Samaria to repopulate it, the Assyrian king later sending an Israelite priest back from exile to instruct them in “the religion of the God of the land.”—2Ki 17:24-28; see SAMARIA No. 2; SAMARITAN.

*** it-1 p. 222 Avvites ***
AVVITES
(Avʹvites).
Inhabitants of Avva, who were among the peoples whom the Assyrians used to replace exiled Israelites after capturing Samaria in 740 B.C.E. (2Ki 17:24) All these transplanted inhabitants came to be known as Samaritans.

*** it-1 p. 1233 Israel ***
The policy of the Assyrians, inaugurated by Shalmaneser’s predecessor Tiglath-pileser III, was to remove captives from conquered territory and transplant in their place peoples from other parts of the empire. Thus, future uprisings were discouraged. In this instance the other national groups brought into Israel’s territory eventually became intermingled both racially and religiously and were known thereafter as Samaritans.—2Ki 17:24-33; Ezr 4:1, 2, 9, 10; Lu 9:52; Joh 4:7-43.

(2 KINGS 17:26)

“It was reported to the king of As•syrʹi•a: “The nations that you have taken into exile and resettled in the cities of Sa•marʹi•a do not know the religion of the God of the land. So he keeps sending lions among them, which are putting them to death, because none of them know the religion of the God of the land.””

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaria ***
Lions began to multiply in the land, probably because the land, or a large part of it, had lain waste for a time. (Compare Ex 23:29.) The settlers doubtless felt, superstitiously, that it was because they did not understand how to worship the god of the land. Therefore the king of Assyria sent back a calf-worshiping Israelite priest from exile. He taught the settlers about Jehovah, but in the same manner as Jeroboam had done, so that they learned something about Jehovah but actually continued to worship their own false gods.—2Ki 17:24-41.

(2 KINGS 17:28)

“So one of the priests whom they had taken into exile from Sa•marʹi•a came back to live in Bethʹel, and he began to teach them how they should fear Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
Bethel continued as an idolatrous sanctuary till the fall of the northern kingdom to Assyria in 740 B.C.E. Thus Jeremiah, over a century later, could refer to it as a warning example to those trusting in false gods to their eventual shame. (Jer 48:13) Even thereafter Bethel continued as a religious center, for the king of Assyria sent one of the exiled priests back to Israel to teach the lion-plagued people “the religion of the God of the land,” and this priest settled in Bethel, teaching the people “as to how they ought to fear Jehovah.” The results clearly indicate that he was a priest of the golden calf, since “it was of Jehovah that they became fearers, but it was of their own gods that they proved to be worshipers,” and things continued on the same false and idolatrous basis initiated by Jeroboam.—2Ki 17:25, 27-33.

(2 KINGS 17:29)

“However, each different nation made their own god, which they placed in the houses of worship on the high places that the Sa•marʹi•tans had made; each different nation did so in their cities where they were living.”

*** it-1 p. 1025 Hamath ***
In the eighth century B.C.E. Hamath and her neighbors, including the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel, were overrun by the Assyrians in their sweep to world domination. Assyria’s policy was to exchange and relocate her captives, and so people of Hamath were brought in to replace inhabitants of Samaria who, in turn, were moved to Hamath and other places. (2Ki 17:24; 19:12, 13; Isa 10:9-11; 37:12, 13) In the high places of Samaria, the Hamathites then set up images of their god Ashima, even though this worthless god had proved to be helpless against the Assyrians.—2Ki 17:29, 30; 18:33, 34; Isa 36:18, 19.

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaritan ***
SAMARITAN
(Sa•marʹi•tan) [probably, Of (Belonging to) Samaria].
The term “Samaritans” first appeared in Scripture after the conquest of the ten-tribe kingdom of Samaria in 740 B.C.E.; it was applied to those who lived in the northern kingdom before that conquest as distinct from the foreigners later brought in from other parts of the Assyrian Empire. (2Ki 17:29)

(2 KINGS 17:30)

“So the men of Babylon made Sucʹcoth-beʹnoth, the men of Cuth made Nerʹgal, the men of Haʹmath made A•shiʹma,”

*** it-1 p. 192 Ashima ***
ASHIMA
(A•shiʹma).
A deity worshiped by the people from Hamath whom the king of Assyria settled in Samaria after his taking the Israelites into captivity. (2Ki 17:24, 30) Ashima, according to the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 63b), was represented as a hairless he-goat, and for this reason some have identified Ashima with Pan, a pastoral god of fertility. Another suggestion is that the name Ashima may be a deliberate alteration of “Asherah” (the Canaanite fertility goddess) to combine it with the Hebrew word ʼa•shamʹ (“guilt”; Ge 26:10). However, nothing can be stated with any certainty aside from what is contained in the Bible.

*** it-1 p. 562 Cuth, Cuthah ***
CUTH, CUTHAH
(Cuʹthah).
Both “Cuth” and “Cuthah” refer to the same original home of a people moved by the king of Assyria to the cities of Samaria after Israel’s exiling in 740 B.C.E. (2Ki 17:23, 24, 30) The deportees from Cuthah and other locations were, however, plagued with man-killing lions and, on appealing to the Assyrian king for aid, were supplied with a priest formerly of the northern kingdom of Israel. Since the worship practiced in Israel had long been disapproved by God (1Ki 13:33, 34; 16:31-33), this priest’s services failed to produce genuine worshipers of Jehovah, so that “it was of their own gods that [the colonists] proved to be worshipers,” those from Cuthah continuing to serve their god Nergal. The race formed by the intermarrying of the ‘people of Cuthah’ and other nations with the remaining Israelites came to be generally called “Samaritan.” According to Josephus, these were “called Chuthaioi (Cuthim) in the Hebrew tongue, and Samareitai (Samaritans) by the Greeks.” (Jewish Antiquities, IX, 290 [xiv, 3]) The designation “Cuthim” was apparently used because of the predominance of people from Cuthah among the original settlers.—2Ki 17:24-41.
The discovery of contract tablets at Tell Ibrahim (Imam Ibrahim), about 50 km (30 mi) NE of Babylon, containing the name Kutu (the Akkadian equivalent of Cuth), has led most geographers to identify Tell Ibrahim with the Biblical Cuthah. The indications are that Cuthah was at one time among the more important cities in the Babylonian Empire and was also probably quite extensive, as the mound marking it today is some 18 m (60 ft) high and 3 km (2 mi) in circumference. What is believed to have been the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Nergal is pointed out amid these ruins in accord with the Biblical statement that “the men of Cuth” were devotees of that god.—2Ki 17:29, 30.

*** it-2 p. 493 Nergal ***
NERGAL
(Nerʹgal).
A Babylonian deity especially worshiped at Cuthah, a city that history says was dedicated to Nergal. The people of Cuth (Cuthah), whom the king of Assyria settled in the territory of Samaria, continued worshiping this deity. (2Ki 17:24, 30, 33) Some scholars suggest that Nergal was originally associated with fire and the heat of the sun and that later he came to be regarded as a god of war and hunting as well as a bringer of pestilence. The appellatives applied to Nergal in religious texts indicate that he was basically viewed as a destroyer. He is called “the raging king,” “the violent one,” and “the one who burns.” Nergal also came to be regarded as the god of the underworld and the consort of Eresh-Kigal. The human-headed and winged lion is thought to have been the emblem of Nergal.

(2 KINGS 17:31)

“and the Avʹvites made Nibʹhaz and Tarʹtak. The Seʹphar•vites would burn their sons in the fire to A•dramʹme•lech and A•namʹme•lech, the gods of Seph•ar•vaʹim.”

*** it-2 p. 1068 Tartak ***
TARTAK
(Tarʹtak).
A deity worshiped by the Avvites, whom the king of Assyria settled in the territory of Samaria after he took the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom into exile. (2Ki 17:31) According to the Babylonian Talmud, Tartak had the form of an ass. (Sanhedrin 63b) Based on the conclusion that the name Tartak may be comparable to the Pahlavi (Persian) word tar-thakh (intense darkness, hero of darkness), it has been suggested that Tartak may have been a demon of the lower regions. Aside from the brief reference to Tartak in the Scriptures, however, nothing can be stated with any certainty concerning the nature of this deity.

(2 KINGS 17:41)

“So these nations came to fear Jehovah, but they were also serving their own graven images. Both their sons and their grandsons have done just as their forefathers did, down to this day.”

*** w90 12/1 pp. 3-4 Which God Do You Worship? ***
Fusion Worship
Take the example of the ancient Samaritans. Many of these were originally foreigners that the Assyrians introduced into Palestine to replace the exiled ten northern tribes of Israel. Previously, they had followed pagan gods, but now they made an effort to learn about Jehovah, the God of Israel. Did they then abandon their old religion? No. The Bible reports: “It was according to their former religion that they were doing. And these nations came to be fearers of Jehovah, but it was their own graven images that they proved to be serving.” (2 Kings 17:40, 41) So the Samaritans, while nominally recognizing Jehovah, still served their old gods, thus practicing a kind of fusion religion.

(2 KINGS 18:1)

“In the third year of Ho•sheʹa the son of Eʹlah the king of Israel, Hez•e•kiʹah the son of King Aʹhaz of Judah became king.”

*** it-1 p. 1102 Hezekiah ***
1. King of Judah, 745-717 B.C.E. He apparently became king when his father Ahaz died, in “the third year of Hoshea” king of Israel (perhaps meaning Hoshea’s third year as tributary king under Tiglath-pileser III), counting his reign officially from Nisan of the following year (745 B.C.E.). (2Ki 18:1)

(2 KINGS 18:2)

“He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Aʹbi the daughter of Zech•a•riʹah.”

*** it-1 p. 61 Ahaz ***
1. The son of King Jotham of Judah. Ahaz began to reign at the age of 20 and continued for 16 years.—2Ki 16:2; 2Ch 28:1.
Since Ahaz’ son Hezekiah was 25 when he began to reign, this would mean that Ahaz was less than 12 years old when fathering him. (2Ki 18:1, 2) Whereas puberty in males is usually reached between the ages of 12 and 15 in temperate climates, it may come earlier in warmer climates. Marriage customs also vary. Zeitschrift für Semitistik und verwandte Gebiete (edited by E. Littmann, Leipzig, 1927, Vol. 5, p. 132) reported that child marriage is frequent in the Promised Land even in modern times, one case being cited of two brothers aged 8 and 12 who were married, the wife of the older attending school with her husband. However, one Hebrew manuscript, the Syriac Peshitta, and some manuscripts of the Greek Septuagint at 2 Chronicles 28:1 give “twenty-five years” as the age of Ahaz when beginning to reign.

(2 KINGS 18:4)

“He was the one who removed the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the sacred pole. He also crushed the copper serpent that Moses had made; for down to that time the people of Israel had been making sacrificial smoke to it and it used to be called the copper serpent-idol.”

*** it-1 p. 505 Copper Serpent ***
The Israelites kept the copper serpent and later improperly began to worship it, making sacrificial smoke to it. Hence, as part of his religious reforms, Judean King Hezekiah (745-717 B.C.E.) had the more than 700-year-old copper serpent crushed to pieces because the people had made an idol of it. According to the Hebrew text, the account at 2 Kings 18:4 literally reads, “he (one) began to call it Nehushtan.” Some translations leave the word “Nehushtan” untranslated. (AT; Ro; RS) In Koehler and Baumgartner’s lexicon, suggested meanings of the Hebrew term nechush•tanʹ are “bronze serpent” and “serpent-idol of bronze.” (Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, Leiden, 1983, p. 653) The New World Translation appropriately says that the copper serpent “used to be called the copper serpent-idol.”

(2 KINGS 18:5)

“He trusted in Jehovah the God of Israel; there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah after him nor among those prior to him.”

*** it-1 p. 1102 Hezekiah ***
Hezekiah was outstanding as a king who “kept sticking to Jehovah,” doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes and following his commandments. From the beginning of his reign he proved himself zealous for the promotion of true worship, not only in Judah but in all the territory of Israel. In following the ways of Jehovah as David his forefather had done, it could be said of Hezekiah that “after him there proved to be no one like him among all the kings of Judah, even those who had happened to be prior to him.” For this “Jehovah proved to be with him.”—2Ki 18:3-7.

(2 KINGS 18:6)

“He held fast to Jehovah. He did not turn away from following him; he continued to keep the commandments that Jehovah had given to Moses.”

*** it-1 p. 1102 Hezekiah ***
Hezekiah was outstanding as a king who “kept sticking to Jehovah,” doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes and following his commandments. From the beginning of his reign he proved himself zealous for the promotion of true worship, not only in Judah but in all the territory of Israel. In following the ways of Jehovah as David his forefather had done, it could be said of Hezekiah that “after him there proved to be no one like him among all the kings of Judah, even those who had happened to be prior to him.” For this “Jehovah proved to be with him.”—2Ki 18:3-7.

(2 KINGS 18:8)

“He also defeated the Phi•lisʹtines clear to Gazʹa and its territories, from watchtower to fortified city.”

*** it-1 p. 901 Gaza ***
From this time onward, Gaza appears to have been generally loyal to Assyria. Hence, it may be that King Hezekiah’s striking down the Philistines as far as Gaza was a phase of his revolt against Assyria. (2Ki 18:1, 7, 8)

*** it-2 pp. 633-634 Philistia ***
Prophetic References. The prophecy of Joel indicated that because of their selling “the sons of Judah” and “the sons of Jerusalem” to “the sons of the Greeks,” the Philistines would experience like treatment. (Joe 3:4-8) Since the words of the prophet Joel appear to have been recorded in the ninth century B.C.E., the defeats of the Philistines at the hands of Uzziah (2Ch 26:6-8) and Hezekiah (2Ki 18:8) could have been included in the fulfillment of this prophecy.
However, a larger fulfillment evidently came after the Israelites returned from Babylonian exile. Notes commentator C. F. Keil: “Alexander the Great and his successors set many of the Jewish prisoners of war in their lands at liberty (compare the promise of King Demetrius to Jonathan, ‘I will send away in freedom such of the Judaeans as have been made prisoners, and reduced to slavery in our land,’ Josephus, Ant. xiii. 2, 3), and portions of the Philistian and Phoenician lands were for a time under Jewish sway.” (Commentary on the Old Testament, 1973, Vol. X, Joel, p. 224) (Compare Ob 19, 20.) Noteworthy, too, is the fact that Alexander the Great took the Philistine city of Gaza. Many of the inhabitants were slain, and the survivors were sold into slavery. A number of other prophecies likewise pointed to the execution of Jehovah’s vengeance upon the Philistines.—Isa 14:31; Jer 25:9, 20; 47:1-7; Eze 25:15, 16; Am 1:6-8; Zep 2:5; Zec 9:5-7; for details see ASHDOD; ASHKELON; EKRON; GATH; GAZA No. 1.

(2 KINGS 18:9)

“In the fourth year of King Hez•e•kiʹah, that is, the seventh year of Ho•sheʹa the son of Eʹlah the king of Israel, King Shal•man•eʹser of As•syrʹi•a came up against Sa•marʹi•a and began to lay siege to it.”

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
In 742 B.C.E. the Assyrian army under Shalmaneser V besieged Samaria. (2Ki 18:9,

*** it-2 p. 865 Sargon ***
In his annals Sargon made the claim: “I besieged and conquered Samaria (Sa-me-ri-na).” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by James B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 284) However, that appears to be simply a boastful claim by Sargon or those who sought to glorify him, in which the accomplishment of the preceding ruler was claimed for the new monarch. A Babylonian chronicle, which may be more neutral, states concerning Shalmaneser V: “He ravaged Samaria.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 73) The Bible, at 2 Kings 18:9, 10, states simply that Shalmaneser ‘laid siege’ to Samaria and that “they got to capture it.” Compare 2 Kings 17:1-6, which says that Shalmaneser the king of Assyria imposed tribute on Hoshea, the king of Samaria, and then states that later “the king of Assyria captured Samaria.”

(2 KINGS 18:10)

“They captured it at the end of three years; in the sixth year of Hez•e•kiʹah, which was the ninth year of King Ho•sheʹa of Israel, Sa•marʹi•a was captured.”

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
In 742 B.C.E. the Assyrian army under Shalmaneser V besieged Samaria. (2Ki 18:9, 10) When Samaria fell in 740 B.C.E., thus ending the ten-tribe kingdom, its inhabitants were taken into exile “in Halah and in Habor at the river Gozan and in the cities of the Medes.” This was because, as the Scriptures say, “they had not listened to the voice of Jehovah their God, but kept overstepping his covenant, even all that Moses the servant of Jehovah had commanded. They neither listened nor performed.”—2Ki 18:11, 12; 17:6; see SARGON.

*** it-2 p. 865 Sargon ***
In his annals Sargon made the claim: “I besieged and conquered Samaria (Sa-me-ri-na).” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by James B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 284) However, that appears to be simply a boastful claim by Sargon or those who sought to glorify him, in which the accomplishment of the preceding ruler was claimed for the new monarch. A Babylonian chronicle, which may be more neutral, states concerning Shalmaneser V: “He ravaged Samaria.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 73) The Bible, at 2 Kings 18:9, 10, states simply that Shalmaneser ‘laid siege’ to Samaria and that “they got to capture it.” Compare 2 Kings 17:1-6, which says that Shalmaneser the king of Assyria imposed tribute on Hoshea, the king of Samaria, and then states that later “the king of Assyria captured Samaria.”

*** it-2 pp. 865-866 Sargon ***
Sargon’s aggressive reign brought the Assyrian Empire to a new peak of power and produced the last great Assyrian dynasty. Historians would credit Sargon with a rule of 17 years. Since he is supposed to have begun his rule at or shortly after the fall of Samaria in Hezekiah’s sixth year (2Ki 18:10), and since his son and successor to the throne, Sennacherib, invaded Judah in Hezekiah’s 14th year (2Ki 18:13), a 17-year rule for Sargon could be possible only if Sennacherib were a coregent at the time of his attacking Judah. It seems equally likely that the historians’ figure is in error. They certainly cannot rely on the eponym lists to establish these reigns, as is shown in the article CHRONOLOGY. The general unreliability of the Assyrian scribes and their practice of “adjusting” the different editions of the annals to suit the ruler’s ego are also discussed there.

(2 KINGS 18:11)

“Then the king of As•syrʹi•a took Israel into exile in As•syrʹi•a and settled them in Haʹlah and in Haʹbor at the river Goʹzan and in the cities of the Medes.”

*** it-1 p. 993 Gozan ***
At 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:11 some translations read “Habor, the river of Gozan” (AS, RS), instead of “Habor at [or, by] the river Gozan” (NW, Yg), thus also making Gozan a place in these texts. But the rendering “Habor, the river of Gozan,” does not harmonize with 1 Chronicles 5:26. In this passage Habor is listed between Halah and Hara; and Hara, not Habor, is listed before Gozan. This indicates that Habor and “the river of Gozan” (AS) are not synonymous. Hence, those who identify Gozan as a place throughout are obliged to reject the Chronicles reference. However, since the Hebrew allows for a consistent rendering of “river Gozan” in all three texts, there is reason to believe that it was in the vicinity of a river called Gozan that the king of Assyria settled some of the exiled Israelites of the northern kingdom. The Qezel Owzan of NW Iran has been suggested as a possible identification of “the river Gozan.” It rises in the mountains SE of Lake Urmia (in what used to be the land of the Medes) and finally empties as the Sefid Rud or White River (the name applied to its lower course) into the SW section of the Caspian Sea. According to another view, the Gozan is a river of Mesopotamia.

*** it-1 p. 1014 Habor ***
HABOR
(Haʹbor).
A city or district to which the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III exiled numerous Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom. (1Ch 5:26) Some scholars have linked this Habor with Abhar, a town located on the Qezel Owzan River of NW Iran about 210 km (130 mi) W of Tehran. At 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:11 some favor the reading “Habor, the river of Gozan” (AS, RS), and they suggest identifying the Habor with a tributary of the Euphrates, the Khabur River of SE Turkey and NE Syria. However, in agreement with 1 Chronicles 5:26, this phrase may instead be translated “Habor at [or, by] the river Gozan.”—NW, Yg; see GOZAN.

(2 KINGS 18:13)

“In the 14th year of King Hez•e•kiʹah, Sen•nachʹer•ib the king of As•syrʹi•a came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.”

*** ba pp. 14-15 Can This Book Be Trusted? ***
But these ruins had more to tell. On the walls of one well-preserved chamber was a display showing the capture of a well-fortified city, with captives being marched before the invading king. Above the king is this inscription: “Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a nîmedu -throne and passed in review the booty (taken) from Lachish (La-ki-su).”6
This display and inscription, which can be viewed in the British Museum, agree with the Bible’s account of the capture of the Judean city of Lachish by Sennacherib, recorded at 2 Kings 18:13, 14. Commenting on the significance of the find, Layard wrote: “Who would have believed it probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah [king of Judah] and Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by Sennacherib himself, and confirming even in minute details the Biblical record?”7

*** w93 6/1 pp. 5-6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
Today this display and inscription can be viewed in the British Museum. It agrees with the historical event recorded in the Bible at 2 Kings 18:13, 14: “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and proceeded to seize them. So Hezekiah the king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying: ‘I have sinned. Turn back from against me. Whatever you may impose upon me I shall carry.’ Accordingly the king of Assyria laid upon Hezekiah the king of Judah three hundred silver talents and thirty gold talents.”
Other inscriptions were found among the ruins of Nineveh giving additional details of Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and the tribute paid by Hezekiah. “Perhaps one of the most remarkable coincidences of historic testimony on record, the amount of the treasure in gold taken from Hezekiah, thirty talents, agrees in the two perfectly independent accounts,” wrote Layard. Sir Henry Rawlinson, who helped decipher Assyrian writing, announced that these inscriptions “placed beyond the reach of dispute [Sennacherib’s] historic identity.” Furthermore, Layard asks in his book Nineveh and Babylon: “Who would have believed it probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah and Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by Sennacherib himself, and confirming even in minute details the Biblical record?”

*** si p. 156 par. 5 Bible Book Number 33—Micah ***
The invasion of Judah in Hezekiah’s reign, as foretold by Micah, was well chronicled by Sennacherib. (Mic. 1:6, 9; 2 Ki. 18:13) He had a large four-paneled relief made on the wall of his palace at Nineveh depicting the capture of Lachish. On his prism he states: “I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities . . . I drove out (of them) 200,150 people . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.” He also lists tribute paid to him by Hezekiah, although he exaggerates the amount. He makes no mention of the calamity that befell his troops.—2 Ki. 18:14-16; 19:35.

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
His annals, recorded on both the Oriental Institute Prism and the Taylor Prism, say: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them)

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
2 Kings 18:13,

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
The Bible says that “Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and proceeded to seize them.”

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
These events, with the exception of the destruction of the Assyrian troops, are also recorded on a prism of Sennacherib and one of Esar-haddon.—PICTURES, Vol. 1, p. 957.

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
Sennacherib. Sennacherib, the son of Sargon II, attacked the kingdom of Judah during Hezekiah’s 14th year (732 B.C.E.). (2Ki 18:13; Isa 36:1) Hezekiah had rebelled against the Assyrian yoke imposed as a result of the action of his father Ahaz. (2Ki 18:7) Sennacherib reacted by sweeping through Judah, reportedly conquering 46 cities (compare Isa 36:1, 2)

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
During the century and more that followed the overthrow of the northern kingdom, other notable exiles began. Before Sennacherib’s humiliating defeat at God’s hand in 732 B.C.E., he attacked various places in Judah. It is claimed by Sennacherib in his annals that he captured 200,150 from towns and fortresses in Judah’s territory, though, judging from the tone of the annals, the number is probably an exaggeration. (2Ki 18:13)

(2 KINGS 18:14)

“So King Hez•e•kiʹah of Judah sent word to the king of As•syrʹi•a at Laʹchish: “I am at fault. Withdraw from against me, and I will give whatever you may impose on me.” The king of As•syrʹi•a imposed on King Hez•e•kiʹah of Judah a fine of 300 silver talents and 30 gold talents.”

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 385 pars. 4-5 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
Perhaps hoping to protect Jerusalem from an immediate assault by the relentless Assyrian army, Hezekiah agrees to pay Sennacherib an enormous tribute of 300 silver talents and 30 gold talents.—2 Kings 18:14.
5 Since there is not enough gold and silver in the royal treasury to pay the tribute, Hezekiah retrieves what precious metals he can from the temple. He also cuts down the temple doors, which have been overlaid with gold, and sends them to Sennacherib. This satisfies the Assyrian, but only for a while. (2 Kings 18:15, 16)

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 385 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
Worth more than $9.5 million (U.S.) at current values.

*** ba pp. 14-15 Can This Book Be Trusted? ***
But these ruins had more to tell. On the walls of one well-preserved chamber was a display showing the capture of a well-fortified city, with captives being marched before the invading king. Above the king is this inscription: “Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a nîmedu -throne and passed in review the booty (taken) from Lachish (La-ki-su).”6
This display and inscription, which can be viewed in the British Museum, agree with the Bible’s account of the capture of the Judean city of Lachish by Sennacherib, recorded at 2 Kings 18:13, 14. Commenting on the significance of the find, Layard wrote: “Who would have believed it probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah [king of Judah] and Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by Sennacherib himself, and confirming even in minute details the Biblical record?”7

*** w93 6/1 pp. 5-6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
Today this display and inscription can be viewed in the British Museum. It agrees with the historical event recorded in the Bible at 2 Kings 18:13, 14: “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and proceeded to seize them. So Hezekiah the king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying: ‘I have sinned. Turn back from against me. Whatever you may impose upon me I shall carry.’ Accordingly the king of Assyria laid upon Hezekiah the king of Judah three hundred silver talents and thirty gold talents.”
Other inscriptions were found among the ruins of Nineveh giving additional details of Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and the tribute paid by Hezekiah. “Perhaps one of the most remarkable coincidences of historic testimony on record, the amount of the treasure in gold taken from Hezekiah, thirty talents, agrees in the two perfectly independent accounts,” wrote Layard. Sir Henry Rawlinson, who helped decipher Assyrian writing, announced that these inscriptions “placed beyond the reach of dispute [Sennacherib’s] historic identity.” Furthermore, Layard asks in his book Nineveh and Babylon: “Who would have believed it probable or possible, before these discoveries were made, that beneath the heap of earth and rubbish which marked the site of Nineveh, there would be found the history of the wars between Hezekiah and Sennacherib, written at the very time when they took place by Sennacherib himself, and confirming even in minute details the Biblical record?”

*** w88 2/15 p. 27 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Jerusalem’s king Hezekiah, frightened by this threat, “sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish” and offered to buy him off with a heavy tribute.—2 Kings 18:13, 14.
Does Sennacherib confirm that he was at Lachish? Definitely! He displayed scenes of this siege on large panels in his immense palace that archaeologists studied at Nineveh. These detailed panels in the British Museum show Lachish under attack. Inhabitants stream out in surrender. Captives are led by. Some are impaled on posts. Others pay homage to Sennacherib himself, the very person mentioned in the Biblical account. An inscription in wedge-shaped cuneiform writing says: “Sennacherib, king of the world, king of Assyria, sat upon a nímedu-throne and passed in review the booty (taken) from Lachish.”
The Bible says that Hezekiah paid as tribute “three hundred silver talents and thirty gold talents.” (2 Kings 18:14, 15) This payment is confirmed in Sennacherib’s annals, though he claims to have received “800 talents of silver.”

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, was the site of excavations that unearthed the immense palace of Sennacherib, containing about 70 rooms, with sculptured slabs lining over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of the walls. One depicted Judean prisoners being led into captivity following the fall of Lachish in 732 B.C.E. (2Ki 18:13-17; 2Ch 32:9; PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 952)

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
These events, with the exception of the destruction of the Assyrian troops, are also recorded on a prism of Sennacherib and one of Esar-haddon.—PICTURES, Vol. 1, p. 957.

*** it-1 p. 204 Assyria ***
and then, from his camp at Lachish, he demanded of Hezekiah a tribute of 30 gold talents (c. $11,560,000) and 300 silver talents (c. $1,982,000). (2Ki 18:14-16; 2Ch 32:1; compare Isa 8:5-8.)

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Assyria 2Ki 15:19, 20, 29; 17:1-6; 18:13-35

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Assyrian soldiers taking Jews from Lachish into exile

(2 KINGS 18:15)

“So Hez•e•kiʹah gave all the silver that could be found at the house of Jehovah and in the treasuries of the king’s house.”

*** w93 6/1 p. 6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
Of course, some details of Sennacherib’s record do not agree with the Bible. For example, archaeologist Alan Millard notes: “The most striking fact comes at the end [of Sennacherib’s record]. Hezekiah sent his messenger, and all the tribute, to Sennacherib ‘later, to Nineveh’. The Assyrian army did not carry them home in triumph in the usual way.” The Bible states that the tribute was paid before the king of Assyria returned to Nineveh. (2 Kings 18:15-17) Why the difference? And why was Sennacherib unable to boast about conquering the Judean capital, Jerusalem, in the way he boasted of his conquest of the Judean fortress Lachish? Three Bible writers give the answer. One of them, an eyewitness, wrote: “The angel of Jehovah proceeded to go forth and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses. Hence Sennacherib the king of Assyria pulled away and went and returned and took up dwelling in Nineveh.”—Isaiah 37:36, 37; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21.

(2 KINGS 18:17)

“The king of As•syrʹi•a then sent the Tarʹtan, the Rabʹsa•ris, and the Rabʹsha•keh with a vast army from Laʹchish to King Hez•e•kiʹah in Jerusalem. They went up to Jerusalem and took up a position by the conduit of the upper pool, which is at the highway of the laundryman’s field.”

*** ip-1 chap. 29 p. 386 par. 7 A King’s Faith Is Rewarded ***
7 Sennacherib dispatches Rabshakeh (a military title, not a personal name) along with two other dignitaries to Jerusalem to demand the city’s surrender. (2 Kings 18:17)

*** it-1 p. 957 Assyrian Empire ***
[Picture on page 957]
Sennacherib’s representative taunts Jehovah and demands Jerusalem’s capitulation

*** it-2 p. 211 Laundryman’s Field ***
LAUNDRYMAN’S FIELD
Apparently an area close to the city of Jerusalem where laundrymen worked.
Isaiah and his son Shear-jashub were to meet King Ahaz by the “highway of the laundryman’s field”; later, Sennacherib’s emissaries came to the same vicinity. (2Ki 18:17; Isa 7:3; 36:2) While this “highway of the laundryman’s field” was obviously outside the city, it was near enough that the taunts of Sennacherib’s messengers could be heard by those on the city walls.—2Ki 18:18, 26, 27; Isa 36:1, 2.
A “conduit” is mentioned in connection with the “highway of the laundryman’s field.” This could not refer to what is called Hezekiah’s tunnel, as that had not yet been constructed in Ahaz’ day. The conduit therefore seems to have been one that ran through the torrent valley of Kidron down to the S end of the City of David. The laundryman’s field appears to have been located either in this part of the valley or somewhat farther S, near the suggested site of En-rogel.

*** it-2 p. 651 Pool ***
The Biblical references to the “old pool” (Isa 22:11), “upper pool” (2Ki 18:17; Isa 7:3; 36:2), and “lower pool” (Isa 22:9) give no indication about their exact position in relation to the city of Jerusalem. Scholars generally believe that the “lower pool” (perhaps the same as “the Pool of the Canal” mentioned at Ne 3:15) may be identified with Birket el-Hamra at the southern end of the Tyropoeon Valley. But opinions vary considerably regarding the placement of the “upper pool.”—See POOL OF THE CANAL.

*** it-2 p. 725 Rabsaris ***
RABSARIS
(Rabʹsa•ris) [Chief Court Official].
The title of the chief court official in the Assyrian and Babylonian governments. The Rabsaris was one of the committee of three high Assyrian dignitaries that was sent by the king of Assyria to demand the surrender of Jerusalem in King Hezekiah’s time.—2Ki 18:17.
The Rabsaris was one of the Babylonian officials taking control of Jerusalem for Nebuchadnezzar when the city fell in 607 B.C.E., and Nebushazban is named as the Rabsaris in connection with Jeremiah’s being directed to dwell with Gedaliah. (Jer 39:3, 13, 14; 40:1-5) Excavations have unearthed inscriptions bearing the title.—Bulletin of the Israel Exploration Society, Jerusalem, 1967, Vol. XXXI, p. 77; Le palais royal d’Ugarit, III, Paris, 1955, No. 16:162, p. 126.

*** it-2 p. 725 Rabshakeh ***
RABSHAKEH
(Rabʹsha•keh) [from Akkadian, probably meaning “Chief Cupbearer”].
The title of a major Assyrian official. (2Ki 18:17) A building inscription of the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III says: “I sent an officer of mine, the rabsaq, to Tyre.” Also, from a tablet in the British Museum an inscription of King Ashurbanipal reads: “I ordered to add to my former (battle-) forces (in Egypt) the rabsaq -officer.”—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. Pritchard, 1974, pp. 282, 296.
While Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, was laying siege to the Judean fortress of Lachish, he sent a heavy military force to Jerusalem under the Tartan, the commander-in-chief, along with two other high officials, the Rabsaris and the Rabshakeh. (2Ki 18:17; the entire account appears also at Isa chaps 36, 37.) Of these three superior Assyrian officials, Rabshakeh was the chief spokesman in an effort to force King Hezekiah to capitulate in surrender. (2Ki 18:19-25) The three stood by the conduit of the upper pool.

*** it-2 p. 1068 Tartan ***
TARTAN
(Tarʹtan).
Assyrian writings indicate that the title Tartan applied to an officer of high rank, probably second only to the king. Concerning the order of the titles in Assyrian eponym lists, James B. Pritchard, editor of Ancient Near Eastern Texts (1974, p. 274), comments: “Later on, the position of the official within the hierarchy was decisive for the sequence, the highest official (tartanu) following the king immediately, while important palace officers . . . and the governors of the foremost provinces took their turn in well-established order.” (See CHRONOLOGY [Eponym (limmu) lists].) An inscription by Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, now in the British Museum, reads, in part: “I became very angry on account of these happenings, my soul was aflame. I called the turtan -official, the governors, and also their assistants and gave immediately the order.”—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 296.
King Sennacherib sent the Tartan along with other officials, including the Rabshakeh, the king’s chief cupbearer who acted as spokesman, to deliver an ultimatum of capitulation to Jerusalem. The Tartan is listed first, possibly because his was the superior position. (2Ki 18:17, 28-35)

(2 KINGS 18:18)

“When they called for the king to come out, E•liʹa•kim son of Hil•kiʹah, who was in charge of the household, Shebʹnah the secretary, and Joʹah son of Aʹsaph the recorder came out to them.”

*** it-1 p. 186 Asaph ***
3. Among the officials of King Hezekiah (745-717 B.C.E.) is mentioned “Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.” (2Ki 18:18, 37; Isa 36:3, 22) While John Kitto’s Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature (1880, Vol. I, p. 233) applies the term “recorder” to Asaph, most scholars view it as applying to Joah (thus, Joah ben Asaph, the recorder). Since the term “son” is often used in the sense of “descendant,” some suggest that this Asaph is the same as No. 1.

(2 KINGS 18:21)

“Look! You trust in the support of this crushed reed, Egypt, which if a man should lean on it would enter into his palm and pierce it. That is the way Pharʹaoh king of Egypt is to all those who trust in him.”

*** w10 7/15 pp. 12-13 “Do Not Be Afraid. I Myself Will Help You” ***
Look! you have put your trust in the support of this crushed reed, Egypt, which, if a man should brace himself upon it, would certainly enter into his palm and pierce it.’” (2 Ki. 18:19, 21) Rabshakeh’s accusation was false, for Hezekiah had not made an alliance with Egypt. Still, the accusation emphasized what Rabshakeh wanted the Jews to remember clearly: ‘No one will come to your aid. You are on your own—isolated.’

*** w05 8/1 p. 11 par. 5 Highlights From the Book of Second Kings ***
18:19-21, 25—Had Hezekiah made an alliance with Egypt? No. Rabshakeh’s accusation was false, as was his claim to have come with “authorization from Jehovah.” Faithful King Hezekiah relied solely on Jehovah.

*** it-1 p. 77 Alliance ***
Faithful Hezekiah of Judah, however, though falsely accused of trusting in Egypt, relied solely on Jehovah and was saved from the Assyrian Sennacherib’s attack.—2Ki 18:19-22, 32-35; 19:14-19, 28, 32-36; compare Isa 31:1-3.

*** it-2 p. 763 Reed ***
Figurative Use. “Reed” is used in the Bible to represent instability and frailty. (1Ki 14:15; Eze 29:6, 7) Egypt was compared to a crushed reed, the sharp, pointed slivers of which would penetrate the palm of anyone leaning upon it. (2Ki 18:21; Isa 36:6)

(2 KINGS 18:22)

“And if you should say to me, ‘We trust in Jehovah our God,’ is he not the one whose high places and altars Hez•e•kiʹah has removed, while he says to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You should bow down before this altar in Jerusalem’?”’”

*** w10 7/15 p. 13 “Do Not Be Afraid. I Myself Will Help You” ***
Planting Doubts Fails to Succeed
Rabshakeh used cunning reasoning in an effort to plant doubts. He said: “Is [Jehovah] not the one whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has removed? . . . Jehovah himself said to me, ‘Go up against this land, and you must bring it to ruin.’” (2 Ki. 18:22, 25) Thus Rabshakeh argued that Jehovah would not fight for His people because He was displeased with them. But the opposite was true. Jehovah was pleased with Hezekiah and the Jews who had returned to true worship.—2 Ki. 18:3-7.

(2 KINGS 18:26)

“At this E•liʹa•kim son of Hil•kiʹah, and Shebʹnah and Joʹah said to the Rabʹsha•keh: “Speak to your servants, please, in the Ar•a•maʹic language, for we can understand it; do not speak to us in the language of the Jews in the hearing of the people on the wall.””

*** it-1 p. 145 Aramaic ***
It seems that it is this Official Aramaic that is found in the writings of Ezra, Jeremiah, and Daniel. The Scriptures also give evidence of the fact that Aramaic was a lingua franca of those ancient times. Thus, in the eighth century B.C.E., appointed spokesmen for King Hezekiah of Judah appealed to Assyrian King Sennacherib’s representative Rabshakeh, saying: “Speak, please, to your servants in the Syrian [Aramaean, and hence, Aramaic] language, for we are listening; and do not speak to us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.” (Isa 36:11; 2Ki 18:26) The officials of Judah understood Aramaic, or Syrian, but evidently it was not understood by the common people among the Hebrews at that time in Jerusalem.

*** it-1 p. 1069 Hebrew, II ***
In the eighth century B.C.E., the difference between Hebrew and Aramaic had become wide enough to mark them as separate languages. This is seen when King Hezekiah’s representatives requested the spokesmen of Assyrian King Sennacherib to “speak with your servants, please, in the Syrian [Aramaic] language, for we can listen; and do not speak with us in the Jews’ language in the ears of the people that are on the wall.” (2Ki 18:17, 18, 26) Although Aramaic was then the lingua franca of the Middle East and was used in international diplomatic communication, it was not understood by the majority of the Judeans. The earliest known non-Biblical written documents in Aramaic are from about the same period, and these confirm the distinction between the two languages.

(2 KINGS 18:28)

“Then the Rabʹsha•keh stood and called out loudly in the language of the Jews, saying: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of As•syrʹi•a.”

*** it-1 p. 957 Assyrian Empire ***
[Picture on page 957]
Sennacherib’s representative taunts Jehovah and demands Jerusalem’s capitulation

(2 KINGS 18:34)

“Where are the gods of Haʹmath and Arʹpad? Where are the gods of Seph•ar•vaʹim, Heʹna, and Ivʹvah? Have they rescued Sa•marʹi•a out of my hand?”

*** it-1 p. 179 Arpad ***
ARPAD
(Arʹpad).
A royal city of N Syria always associated in the Bible with the city of Hamath. Arpad has been identified with Tell Erfad (Tell Rifʽat) about 30 km (19 mi) NNW of Aleppo. Situated on the road leading S to Hamath and Damascus, it came under frequent attack from the Assyrians and was eventually conquered by Tiglath-pileser III and later by Sargon II. Thus Sargon’s son, Sennacherib, when threatening Jerusalem in 732 B.C.E., had his spokesman Rabshakeh refer to the fate of Arpad as an evidence of the inability of the gods of the nations to resist Assyria’s mighty power. (2Ki 18:34; 19:12, 13; Isa 36:19; 37:12, 13) The prophet Isaiah had earlier foretold such boasting. (Isa 10:9)

(2 KINGS 18:37)

“But E•liʹa•kim son of Hil•kiʹah, who was in charge of the household, Shebʹnah the secretary, and Joʹah son of Aʹsaph the recorder came to Hez•e•kiʹah with their garments ripped apart and told him the words of the Rabʹsha•keh.”

*** it-1 p. 186 Asaph ***
3. Among the officials of King Hezekiah (745-717 B.C.E.) is mentioned “Joah the son of Asaph the recorder.” (2Ki 18:18, 37; Isa 36:3, 22) While John Kitto’s Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature (1880, Vol. I, p. 233) applies the term “recorder” to Asaph, most scholars view it as applying to Joah (thus, Joah ben Asaph, the recorder). Since the term “son” is often used in the sense of “descendant,” some suggest that this Asaph is the same as No. 1.

Sept. 21 Bible reading: 2 Kings 19-22


(2 KINGS 19:1)

“As soon as King Hez•e•kiʹah heard this, he ripped his garments apart and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of Jehovah.”

*** it-1 p. 338 Blasphemy ***
Talmudic tradition also prescribed that when the religious judges heard testimony setting forth blasphemous words supposedly used by the accused, they were to rend their garments, following the example at 2 Kings 18:37; 19:1-4.—The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol. III, p. 237; compare Mt 26:65.

(2 KINGS 19:7)

“Here I am putting a thought in his mind, and he will hear a report and return to his own land; and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.”’””

*** si p. 73 par. 27 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Sennacherib returns in defeat and takes up dwelling in Nineveh. There his god Nisroch fails him once more, for it is while he is bowed in worship that his own sons kill him, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.—19:7, 37.

(2 KINGS 19:9)

“Now the king heard it said about King Tir•haʹkah of E•thi•oʹpi•a: “Here he has come out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hez•e•kiʹah, saying:”

*** g90 6/22 p. 26 Meroë—Testimony to Forgotten Grandeur ***
According to the Bible account, Assyrian king Sennacherib was battling Libnah while at the same time preparing to attack Jerusalem. Suddenly, word came that King Tirhakah was on the way to fight the Assyrians. (2 Kings 19:8, 9;

*** w88 2/1 pp. 26-27 Part 1—Ancient Egypt—First of the Great World Powers ***
Years later, during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, King Tirhakah of Ethiopia (probably the Ethiopian ruler of Egypt, Pharaoh Taharqa) marched into Canaan and temporarily diverted Assyrian king Sennacherib’s attack. (2 Kings 19:8-10) Sennacherib’s own annals, found in Assyria, apparently refer to this when they say: “I personally captured alive . . . the charioteers of the king of Ethiopia.”—Oriental Institute Prism of Sennacherib, University of Chicago.

*** it-1 p. 758 Esar-haddon ***
Conquest of Egypt. The outstanding military accomplishment of Esar-haddon was the conquest of Egypt, overcoming the Egyptian army under Ethiopian ruler Tirhakah (mentioned as “the king of Ethiopia” at 2Ki 19:9) and taking the city of Memphis. Esar-haddon thus added to his many titles that of “King of the kings of Egypt.”

*** it-2 p. 894 Sennacherib ***
The Assyrian committee returned to Sennacherib, who was now fighting against Libnah, as it was being heard “respecting Tirhakah the king of Ethiopia: ‘Here he has come out to fight against you.’” (2Ki 19:8, 9) Sennacherib’s inscriptions speak of a battle at Eltekeh (c. 15 km [9.5 mi] NNW of Ekron) in which he claims to have defeated an Egyptian army and the forces of “the king of Ethiopia.” He then describes his conquest of Ekron and his restoration of the freed Padi to the throne there.—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, pp. 287, 288.

*** it-2 p. 1109 Tirhakah ***
During Hezekiah’s reign, while Assyrian King Sennacherib was fighting against Libnah, news came that Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt, was on his way to fight the Assyrians. (2Ki 19:8, 9; Isa 37:8, 9) An Assyrian inscription, though not mentioning Tirhakah, indicates that Sennacherib defeated the forces that came from Egypt and captured “the charioteers of the king of Ethiopia.”

(2 KINGS 19:12)

“Did the gods of the nations that my forefathers destroyed rescue them? Where are Goʹzan, Haʹran, Reʹzeph, and the people of Eʹden who were in Tel-asʹsar?”

*** it-1 p. 993 Gozan ***
GOZAN
(Goʹzan).
A name seemingly applied both to a place and to a river. At 2 Kings 19:12 and Isaiah 37:12, Gozan appears to embrace an area larger than a city, for its inhabitants are listed among the “nations” conquered by the Assyrians. Many scholars, evidently basing their conclusions on word similarities, believe that Gozan may correspond to Gauzanitis, a district of Mesopotamia referred to by Ptolemy and considered to be the same as the “Guzana” mentioned in Assyrian records. Ancient Guzana is commonly linked with modern Tell Halaf on the upper Khabur River, about 590 km (367 mi) ENE of the Sea of Galilee.

*** it-1 p. 1034 Haran ***
The name Haran also seems to have embraced the surrounding area, for Haran is listed among “the nations” conquered by the kings of Assyria.—2Ki 19:11, 12.

*** it-2 p. 1075 Tel-assar ***
TEL-ASSAR
(Tel-asʹsar).
A place inhabited by “the sons of Eden” mentioned along with Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph—sites in northern Mesopotamia. (2Ki 19:12; Isa 37:12) Sennacherib boasted, through his messengers, that the gods worshiped by the people of these places had been unable to deliver them from the power of his forefathers. Because of the reference to “the sons of Eden,” Tel-assar is generally associated with the small kingdom of Bit-adini along the Upper Euphrates. Assyrian monarchs Tiglath-pileser III and Esar-haddon both refer to a Til-Ashuri, but its location is considered to have been near the Assyrian border of Elam. Hence, identification of Tel-assar remains uncertain.

(2 KINGS 19:13)

“Where is the king of Haʹmath, the king of Arʹpad, and the king of the cities of Seph•ar•vaʹim, and of Heʹna, and of Ivʹvah?’””

*** it-1 p. 179 Arpad ***
ARPAD
(Arʹpad).
A royal city of N Syria always associated in the Bible with the city of Hamath. Arpad has been identified with Tell Erfad (Tell Rifʽat) about 30 km (19 mi) NNW of Aleppo. Situated on the road leading S to Hamath and Damascus, it came under frequent attack from the Assyrians and was eventually conquered by Tiglath-pileser III and later by Sargon II. Thus Sargon’s son, Sennacherib, when threatening Jerusalem in 732 B.C.E., had his spokesman Rabshakeh refer to the fate of Arpad as an evidence of the inability of the gods of the nations to resist Assyria’s mighty power. (2Ki 18:34; 19:12, 13; Isa 36:19; 37:12, 13) The prophet Isaiah had earlier foretold such boasting. (Isa 10:9)

(2 KINGS 19:21)

“This is the word that Jehovah has spoken against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you, she scoffs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head at you.”

*** it-2 p. 1158 Virgin ***
Cities, Places, and Peoples. Often the term “virgin” is used in connection with cities, places, or peoples. Reference is made to the “virgin” or “virgin daughter” of “my people” (Jer 14:17), as well as of Israel (Jer 31:4, 21; Am 5:2), Judah (La 1:15), Zion (2Ki 19:21; La 2:13), Egypt (Jer 46:11), Babylon (Isa 47:1), and Sidon (Isa 23:12). The sense of this figurative use appears to be that the various peoples or locations thus referred to either had not been seized and ravished by foreign conquerors or at one time enjoyed an unsubdued state like a virgin.

(2 KINGS 19:24)

“I will dig wells and drink foreign waters; I will dry up all the streams of Egypt with the soles of my feet.’”

*** it-2 p. 502 Nile ***
The Nile figured prominently in Egyptian defenses against invasion. Its cataracts to the S made the land difficult to attack from the direction of Nubia-Ethiopia, while the swampy land around the Delta region hindered the entrance of large armies from the Asiatic continent. Some scholars suggest that Assyrian King Sennacherib’s boast of drying up all the Nile canals with his feet signified his confidence in his being able to overcome defensive water-filled moats around Egyptian cities and strongholds.—2Ki 19:24.

(2 KINGS 19:25)

“Have you not heard? From long ago it was determined. From days gone by I have prepared it. Now I will bring it about. You will turn fortified cities into desolate piles of ruins.”

*** w99 8/15 p. 14 par. 3 Living by Faith in God’s Promises ***
With progressive action, Jehovah causes himself to be the Fulfiller of all his promises. Consequently, Jehovah is spoken of as ‘forming,’ or fashioning, his purpose concerning future events or actions. (2 Kings 19:25; Isaiah 46:11) These terms are from the Hebrew word ya•tsarʹ, related to the word meaning “potter.” (Jeremiah 18:4) Just as a skillful potter can shape a lump of clay into a beautiful vase, Jehovah can shape, or maneuver, things to accomplish his will.—Ephesians 1:11.

(2 KINGS 19:26)

“Their inhabitants will be helpless; They will be terrified and put to shame. They will become as vegetation of the field and green grass, As grass of the roofs that is scorched by the east wind.”

*** it-1 p. 994 Grass ***
The Israelites were very familiar with the withering of grass under the sun’s intense heat during the dry season. So the transitoriness of man’s life is fittingly likened to that of grass and is contrasted with the everlastingness of Jehovah and that of his “word” or “saying.” (Ps 90:4-6; 103:15-17; Isa 40:6-8; 51:12; 1Pe 1:24, 25) Evildoers also are compared to grass that quickly withers. (Ps 37:1, 2) The haters of Zion as well as people about to be subjugated by military conquest are likened to shallow-rooted grass growing on earthen roofs, grass that withers even before being pulled up or that is scorched in the wake of the east wind.—Ps 129:5, 6; 2Ki 19:25, 26; Isa 37:26, 27.

*** it-2 p. 1148 Vegetation ***
Figurative Use. During the Palestinian dry season, vegetation, when subjected to the scorching heat of the sun or a parching east wind, quickly dries up. Accordingly, people about to be subjugated by military conquest are likened to “vegetation of the field and green tender grass, grass of the roofs, when there is a scorching before the east wind.” (2Ki 19:25, 26; Isa 37:26, 27) Similarly, when severely afflicted, the psalmist exclaimed: “My heart has been struck just like vegetation and is dried up.” “I myself am dried up like mere vegetation.”—Ps 102:4, 11.

(2 KINGS 19:28)

“Because your rage against me and your roaring have reached my ears. So I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, And I will lead you back the way you came.””

*** it-1 p. 367 Bridle ***
Jehovah told King Sennacherib of Assyria: “I shall certainly put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, and I shall indeed lead you back by the way by which you have come.” (2Ki 19:28; Isa 37:29) Not willingly, but by Jehovah’s hand, Sennacherib was forced to forgo any siege of Jerusalem and to return to Nineveh, where he was later assassinated by his own sons.

*** it-1 p. 1136 Hook ***
Human captives were sometimes led by hooks in the lips, nose, or tongue. An Assyrian pictorial representation shows the king holding three captives by cords fastened to hooks in their lips while he blinds one of them with a spear. It was, therefore, understandable to King Sennacherib of Assyria when Jehovah spoke figuratively to him through the prophet Isaiah: “I shall certainly put my hook in your nose and my bridle between your lips, and I shall indeed lead you back by the way by which you have come.”—2Ki 19:20, 21, 28; Isa 37:29.

(2 KINGS 19:32)

““‘Therefore this is what Jehovah says about the king of As•syrʹi•a: “He will not come into this city Or shoot an arrow there Or confront it with a shield Or cast up a siege rampart against it.”

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Through Isaiah, who was inside Jerusalem, Jehovah said of Sennacherib: “He will not come into this city nor will he shoot an arrow there nor confront it with a shield nor cast up a siege rampart against it. By the way by which he proceeded to come, he will return, and into this city he will not come.”—2 Kings 18:17–19:8, 32, 33.
Did Jehovah stop Sennacherib, as promised? That very night 185,000 Assyrians were struck down by means of God’s angel! Sennacherib pulled away and returned to Nineveh, later to be killed by two of his own sons while he was bowing down to his god Nisroch.—2 Kings 19:35-37.
Of course, haughty Sennacherib would not be expected to boast of this loss of his troops. But what he does say is interesting. His annals, recorded on both the Oriental Institute Prism and the Taylor Prism, say: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.” Sennacherib says that “the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship” overwhelmed Hezekiah. Yet, he does not say he captured Hezekiah or conquered Jerusalem, as he had said about the “strong cities” and “small villages.”

(2 KINGS 19:34)

““I will defend this city and save it for my own sake And for the sake of my servant David.”’””

*** si p. 145 par. 14 Bible Book Number 28—Hosea ***
However, Hosea had foretold that Jehovah would show mercy to Judah and save her, but not by military might. This was fulfilled when Jehovah’s angel slew 185,000 of the Assyrians threatening Jerusalem. (Hos. 1:7; 2 Ki. 19:34, 35)

(2 KINGS 19:35)

“On that very night the angel of Jehovah went out and struck down 185,000 men in the camp of the As•syrʹi•ans. When people rose up early in the morning, they saw all the dead bodies.”

*** w93 6/1 p. 6 A Lost Empire That Embarrassed Bible Critics ***
And why was Sennacherib unable to boast about conquering the Judean capital, Jerusalem, in the way he boasted of his conquest of the Judean fortress Lachish? Three Bible writers give the answer. One of them, an eyewitness, wrote: “The angel of Jehovah proceeded to go forth and strike down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When people rose up early in the morning, why, there all of them were dead carcasses. Hence Sennacherib the king of Assyria pulled away and went and returned and took up dwelling in Nineveh.”—Isaiah 37:36, 37; 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:21.
In his book Treasures From Bible Times, Millard concludes: “There is no good reason to doubt this report . . . Understandably, Sennacherib would not record such a disaster for his successors to read, for it would discredit him.” Instead, Sennacherib tried to create the impression that his Judean invasion had been a success and that Hezekiah continued in submission, sending the tribute to Nineveh.

*** w88 2/15 p. 28 Part 2—Cruel Assyria—The Second Great World Power ***
Did Jehovah stop Sennacherib, as promised? That very night 185,000 Assyrians were struck down by means of God’s angel! Sennacherib pulled away and returned to Nineveh, later to be killed by two of his own sons while he was bowing down to his god Nisroch.—2 Kings 19:35-37.
Of course, haughty Sennacherib would not be expected to boast of this loss of his troops. But what he does say is interesting. His annals, recorded on both the Oriental Institute Prism and the Taylor Prism, say: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke, I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts and to the countless small villages in their vicinity, and conquered (them) . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.” Sennacherib says that “the terror-inspiring splendor of my lordship” overwhelmed Hezekiah. Yet, he does not say he captured Hezekiah or conquered Jerusalem, as he had said about the “strong cities” and “small villages.” Why not? As the Bible shows, the elite of the troops that Sennacherib had sent to do so had been destroyed!

(2 KINGS 19:36)

“So King Sen•nachʹer•ib of As•syrʹi•a departed and returned to Ninʹe•veh and stayed there.”

*** it-1 p. 160 Architecture ***
Sennacherib’s palace at Nineveh was an immense structure of about 70 rooms, with over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of wall space lined with sculptured slabs. (2Ki 19:36; compare Jon 3:2, 3.) Sennacherib is also believed to have built the 48-km (30 mi) aqueduct that carried water from the Gomel River to the gardens of Nineveh.

(2 KINGS 19:37)

“And as he was bowing down at the house of his god Nisʹroch, his own sons A•dramʹme•lech and Shar•eʹzer struck him down with the sword and then escaped to the land of Arʹa•rat. And his son Eʹsar-hadʹdon became king in his place.”

*** si p. 73 par. 27 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Sennacherib returns in defeat and takes up dwelling in Nineveh. There his god Nisroch fails him once more, for it is while he is bowed in worship that his own sons kill him, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.—19:7, 37.

*** it-1 p. 52 Adrammelech ***
1. A son of King Sennacherib of Assyria. Adrammelech and his brother Sharezer killed their father while he was bowing down at the house of his god Nisroch at Nineveh. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, apparently in the location of ancient Armenia in the mountainous region to the W of what is now known as the Caspian Sea. (2Ki 19:35-37; Isa 37:36-38) An inscription of Esar-haddon, another son of Sennacherib, relates that as his father’s successor he engaged and defeated the armies of his father’s murderers at Hanigalbat in that region.

*** it-1 p. 146 Ararat ***
In the reign of King Hezekiah, it was to “the land of Ararat” that Sennacherib’s sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, fled after murdering their father. (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38) Jeremiah foretold that Ararat would be among “the kingdoms” to come up against Babylon at the time of her destruction, in the sixth century B.C.E. (Jer 51:27) These latter Scriptural references indicate a land N of Assyria. Eusebius, Jerome, and the majority of other early “Christian” writers considered Ararat as equivalent to Armenia, and the Greek Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 37:38 and the Latin Vulgate reading of 2 Kings 19:37 so represent it. Numerous Assyrian inscriptions from the reigns of Shalmaneser I, Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, Tiglath-pileser III, and Sargon II in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E. make reference to Ararat as “Urartu.” An inscription of Esar-haddon, another son of Sennacherib and successor to the Assyrian throne, says that he defeated his patricidal brothers’ armies at Hanigalbat, in the area of Armenia. On the basis of these inscriptions and the association by Jeremiah of Ararat with the kingdoms of Minni and Ashkenaz, it appears that the land of Ararat was situated in the mountainous region of Lake Van in ancient Armenia, with the headwaters of the Tigris River to the S and the Caucasus Mountains to the N.

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
Nineveh, Assyria’s capital, was the site of excavations that unearthed the immense palace of Sennacherib, containing about 70 rooms, with sculptured slabs lining over 3,000 m (nearly 10,000 ft) of the walls. One depicted Judean prisoners being led into captivity following the fall of Lachish in 732 B.C.E. (2Ki 18:13-17; 2Ch 32:9; PICTURE, Vol. 1, p. 952) Of even greater interest were the annals of Sennacherib found here at Nineveh, which were recorded on prisms (clay cylinders). On certain prisms Sennacherib describes the Assyrian campaign against Palestine in Hezekiah’s reign (732 B.C.E.), but, notably, the boastful monarch makes no claim of having taken Jerusalem, thus confirming the Bible account. (See SENNACHERIB.) The account of Sennacherib’s assassination at the hands of his sons is also recorded on an inscription of Esar-haddon, Sennacherib’s successor, and the assassination is referred to in an inscription of the following king. (2Ki 19:37)

*** it-1 p. 155 Archaeology ***
As an illustration, the Bible record states that King Sennacherib of Assyria was killed by his two sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, and was succeeded to the throne by another son, Esar-haddon. (2Ki 19:36, 37) Yet, a Babylonian chronicle stated that, on the 20th of Tebeth, Sennacherib was killed by his son in a revolt. Both Berossus, Babylonian priest of the third century B.C.E., and Nabonidus, Babylonian king of the sixth century B.C.E., gave the same account, to the effect that Sennacherib was assassinated by only one of his sons. However, in a more recently discovered fragment of the Prism of Esar-haddon, the son who succeeded Sennacherib, Esar-haddon clearly states that his brothers (plural) revolted and killed their father and then took flight. Commenting on this, Philip Biberfeld, in Universal Jewish History (1948, Vol. I, p. 27), says: “The Babylonian Chronicle, Nabonid, and Berossus were mistaken; only the Biblical account proved to be correct. It was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esarhaddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this event of Babylonian-Assyrian history than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition.”

(2 KINGS 20:7)

“Isaiah then said: “Bring a cake of pressed dried figs.” So they brought it and applied it to the boil, after which he gradually recovered.”

*** w03 5/15 p. 25 Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree ***
H. B. Tristram, a naturalist who visited the Bible lands in the middle of the 19th century, observed that the local people still used a poultice of figs for treating boils.

*** w03 5/15 p. 25 Each One Will Sit Under His Fig Tree ***
Pressed figs also had medicinal value. A poultice of pressed, dried figs was applied to a boil that threatened the life of King Hezekiah, though his subsequent recovery was principally due to divine intervention.—2 Kings 20:4-7.

(2 KINGS 20:11)

“So Isaiah the prophet called out to Jehovah, and He made the shadow on the stairway of Aʹhaz go back ten steps after it had already descended the steps.”

*** it-1 p. 593 Day ***
As to “the shadow of the steps” referred to at Isaiah 38:8 and 2 Kings 20:8-11, this may possibly refer to a sundial method of keeping time, whereby shadows were projected by the sun on a series of steps.—See SUN (Shadow That Went Ten Steps Back).

*** it-2 pp. 1043-1044 Sun ***
Shadow That Went Ten Steps Back. The use of sundials extends back beyond the eighth century B.C.E. in both Babylon and Egypt. However, the Hebrew word ma•ʽalohthʹ, translated “dial” at 2 Kings 20:11 and Isaiah 38:8, in the King James Version, literally means “steps” (NW) or “degrees,” as is indicated in the King James Version marginal readings on these verses. This word is also used in the superscriptions of the 15 ‘Songs of the Ascents,’ Psalms 120 to 134.
In the scriptures mentioned, at 2 Kings 20:8-11 and Isaiah 38:4-8, the account is related of the portent God gave sick King Hezekiah in answer to Isaiah’s prayer. It consisted of causing a shadow that had gradually fallen to reverse its direction and go back up ten steps. This could refer to the steps, or degrees, of a dial for measuring time, and it is not impossible that Hezekiah’s father possessed such a sundial, even obtaining it from Babylon. However, the Jewish historian Josephus in discussing the account speaks of these steps of Ahaz as being “in the house,” apparently indicating that they formed part of a stairway. (Jewish Antiquities, X, 29 [ii, 1]) There may have been a column placed alongside the stairs to receive the sun’s rays and cause a shadow to extend gradually along the steps and serve as a measurement of time.
The miracle performed could have involved the relationship between earth and sun, and if so, it could have been similar to the miracle recorded at Joshua 10:12-14. (See POWER, POWERFUL WORKS [Sun and moon stand still].) It appears that this portent had far-reaching effects, inasmuch as 2 Chronicles 32:24, 31 shows that messengers were sent from Babylon to Jerusalem to inquire about it.

(2 KINGS 20:12)

“At that time the king of Babylon, Be•roʹdach-balʹa•dan son of Balʹa•dan, sent letters and a gift to Hez•e•kiʹah, for he had heard that Hez•e•kiʹah had been sick.”

*** it-2 pp. 380-381 Merodach-baladan ***
MERODACH-BALADAN
(Merʹo•dach-balʹa•dan) [from Babylonian, meaning “Marduk Has Given a Son”].
“The son of Baladan” and king of Babylon who sent letters and a gift to King Hezekiah of Judah following that king’s recovery from illness. (Isa 39:1) He is called “Berodach-baladan” at 2 Kings 20:12, but this difference is generally considered to be the result of a scribal error, or else to represent an attempt at transliterating an Akkadian consonant with a sound somewhere between that of “m” and “b.”
The name of Merodach-baladan occurs in Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions as “Marduk-apla-iddina.” He there appears as the ruler of a Chaldean district known as Bit-Yakin, situated in the marshlands above the head of the Persian Gulf and S of Babylon. He claims royal descent, giving the name of King Eriba-Marduk of Babylon (considered as of the early part of the eighth century B.C.E.) as his forefather.—Iraq, London, 1953, Vol. XV, p. 124.
Tiglath-pileser III, whose rule extended into the reign of King Ahaz of Judah (761-746 B.C.E.), refers to Merodach-baladan as ruler of a Chaldean tribe rendering homage to him when the Assyrians made a campaign into Babylonia.
Sends Delegation to Hezekiah. Merodach-baladan is stated to have entered Babylon and proclaimed himself king at the time of the accession of Sargon II to the Assyrian throne. Merodach-baladan had the support of the Elamites in this action, and although Sargon soon endeavored to dislodge him from Babylon, the Chaldean was able to maintain his position there for a period of about 12 years, according to the Babylonian King List. It may have been during this time that he sent his embassy to King Hezekiah, either in the 14th year of the Judean king (732 B.C.E.) or shortly thereafter. It is suggested by some, including Jewish historian Josephus, that Merodach-baladan’s expressions of interest in Hezekiah’s health involved more than a formality and that his ulterior motive was to attempt to gain the support of the kingdom of Judah, along with that of Elam, in a coalition against Assyria. At any rate, Hezekiah’s action in showing the royal treasure-house and his armory (2Ki 20:13) to the Chaldean’s messengers was roundly condemned by the prophet Isaiah as presaging eventual conquest of Judah by Babylon.—Isa 39:2-7.

(2 KINGS 20:13)

“Hez•e•kiʹah welcomed them and showed them his entire treasure-house—the silver, the gold, the balsam oil and other precious oil, his armory, and everything that was to be found in his treasuries. There was nothing that Hez•e•kiʹah did not show them in his own house and in all his dominion.”

*** it-1 p. 1105 Hezekiah ***
Hezekiah’s Mistake and Repentance. The Scripture record states that “according to the benefit rendered him Hezekiah made no return, for his heart became haughty and there came to be indignation against him and against Judah and Jerusalem.” (2Ch 32:25) The Bible does not say whether or not this haughtiness was connected with his unwise act in showing the entire treasure of his house and all his dominion to the messengers of the Babylonian king Berodach-baladan (Merodach-baladan) who were sent to Hezekiah after he recovered from his illness. Hezekiah may have displayed all this wealth to impress the king of Babylon as a possible ally against the king of Assyria. This, of course, could tend to excite the greed of the Babylonians. The prophet Isaiah was against any alliance with or dependence on God’s age-old enemy Babylon. When Isaiah heard how Hezekiah had treated the Babylonian messengers, he uttered the inspired prophecy from Jehovah that the Babylonians in time would carry away everything to Babylon, including some of Hezekiah’s descendants. Hezekiah, however, humbled himself and God kindly allowed that the calamity would not come in his days.—2Ki 20:12-19; 2Ch 32:26, 31; Isa 39:1-8.

(2 KINGS 20:20)

“As for the rest of the history of Hez•e•kiʹah, all his mightiness and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought the water into the city, is it not written in the book of the history of the times of the kings of Judah?”

*** w09 5/1 p. 27 Did You Know? ***
Did King Hezekiah really build a tunnel into Jerusalem?
Hezekiah was a king of Judah in the late eighth century B.C.E., a time of conflict with the mighty Assyrian power. The Bible tells us that he did a great deal to protect Jerusalem and to secure its water supply. Among the works he undertook was the construction of a 1,749-foot-long [533 m] tunnel, or conduit, to bring springwater into the city.—2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:1-7, 30.
In the 19th century, just such a tunnel was discovered. It became known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, or the Siloam Tunnel. Inside the tunnel, an inscription was found that described the final phases of the tunnel’s excavation. The shape and form of the letters of this inscription lead most scholars to date it to the time of Hezekiah. A decade ago, however, some suggested that the tunnel was built about 500 years later. In 2003, a team of Israeli scientists published the results of their research aimed at fixing a reliable date for the tunnel. What conclusion did they reach?
Dr. Amos Frumkin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem says: “The carbon-14 tests we carried out on organic material within the plaster of the Siloam Tunnel, and uranium-thorium dating of stalactites found in the tunnel, date it conclusively to Hezekiah’s era.” An article in the scientific journal Nature adds: “The three independent lines of evidence—radiometric dating, palaeography and the historical record—all converge on about 700 BC, rendering the Siloam Tunnel the best-dated Iron-Age biblical structure thus far known.”

*** w97 6/15 pp. 9-10 Jerusalem in Bible Times—What Does Archaeology Reveal? ***
Other questions have been raised about the famous Siloam Tunnel, likely dug by King Hezekiah’s engineers in the eighth century B.C.E. and referred to at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. How could the two teams of tunnelers, digging from opposite ends, manage to meet? Why did they choose a serpentine path, making the tunnel considerably longer than a straight one? How did they get enough air to breathe, especially since they would likely have used oil-burning lamps?
The magazine Biblical Archaeology Review has offered possible answers to such questions. Dan Gill, a geological consultant of the excavation, is quoted as saying: “Underlying the City of David is a well-developed natural karst system. Karst is a geological term that describes an irregular region of sinks, caverns and channels caused by groundwater as it seeps and flows through underground rock formations. . . . Our geological examination of the subterranean waterworks beneath the City of David indicates that they were fashioned essentially by skillful human enlargement of natural (karstic) dissolution channels and shafts that were integrated into functional water supply systems.”
This may help to explain how the Siloam Tunnel was excavated. It could have followed the winding course of a natural channel under the hill. Teams working from each end could have dug a provisional tunnel by altering existing caverns. Then a sloping channel was dug for the water to flow from the Gihon spring to the Pool of Siloam, which probably was located inside the city walls. This was a real engineering feat as the height difference between the two ends is only 12.5 inches [32 cm], despite its length of 1,749 feet [533 m].

*** w96 8/15 pp. 5-6 Practical Lessons From the Promised Land ***
Jerusalem drew a supply of water from the Pool of Siloam. However, during the eighth century B.C.E., in anticipation of a siege by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah built an outer wall to protect the Pool of Siloam, enclosing it within the city. He also stopped up the springs outside the city, so that the besieging Assyrians would be hard-pressed to find water for themselves. (2 Chronicles 32:2-5; Isaiah 22:11) That is not all. Hezekiah found a way to divert an extra supply of water right into Jerusalem!
In what has been called one of the great engineering feats of antiquity, Hezekiah dug a tunnel from the spring of Gihon all the way to the Pool of Siloam. Averaging 6 feet [1.8 m] in height, this tunnel was 1,749 feet [533 m] long. Just imagine it—a tunnel almost a third of a mile [half a kilometer] long, cut through rock! Today, some 2,700 years later, visitors to Jerusalem can wade through this masterpiece of engineering, commonly known as Hezekiah’s tunnel.—2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30.
Hezekiah’s efforts to protect and increase Jerusalem’s water supply can teach us a practical lesson. Jehovah is “the source of living water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) His thoughts, contained in the Bible, are life-sustaining. That is why personal Bible study is essential. But opportunity for study, and the resulting knowledge, will not simply flow to you. You may have to ‘dig tunnels,’ such as through your hard-packed daily routine, to make room for it. (Proverbs 2:1-5; Ephesians 5:15, 16) Once you have begun, stick to your schedule, giving high priority to your personal study. Be careful not to let anyone or anything rob you of this precious water supply.—Philippians 1:9, 10.

*** g96 6/8 p. 29 Watching the World ***
Tunnel Mystery Hypothesis
Archaeologists have long wondered why Hezekiah’s tunnel, excavated during the eighth century B.C.E. to assure water for Jerusalem when besieged by the Assyrian army, followed such a haphazard, meandering course. A straight, more efficient route would have taken only 1,050 feet [320 m] of digging, instead of the 1,748 feet [533 m] the tunnel took. An inscription, written in ancient Hebrew, was found on the tunnel wall in 1880. It explained how two teams of workers started at opposite ends of the rock-hewn tunnel and met in the middle. This raised the additional question of how they managed to do so, considering the tunnel’s wandering route. Geologists now feel they have the answer. According to Dan Gill of the Geological Survey of Israel, the workers followed and widened natural channels formed by water traversing through the rock where cracks occurred under seismic stresses or where different layers met. Over time, these could become quite broad in places, which may explain why the tunnel height varies from 5.5 feet [1.7 m] to as much as 16 feet [5 m] and also how the workers, using oil lamps, could get enough air. The workers were skillful as well, for the success of the tunnel depended on having a slightly descending slope—a mere 12.5 inches [31.75 cm] over the entire course.

*** it-1 p. 151 Archaeology ***
One tunnel, known as the Siloam Tunnel, averaged 1.8 m (6 ft) in height and was cut through rock for a distance of some 533 m (1,749 ft) from Gihon to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley (within the city). It thus seems to be the project of King Hezekiah described at 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30.

*** it-1 p. 1104 Hezekiah ***
One of the outstanding engineering feats of ancient times was the aqueduct of Hezekiah. It ran from the well of Gihon, E of the northern part of the City of David, in a rather irregular course, extending some 533 m (1,749 ft) to the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley below the City of David but within a new wall added to the southern part of the city. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) An inscription in ancient Hebrew characters was found by archaeologists on the wall of the narrow tunnel, which had an average height of 1.8 m (6 ft). The inscription reads, in part: “And this was the way in which it was cut through:—While [. . . ] (were) still [. . . ] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellow, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1,200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 321) So the tunnel was cut through the rock from both ends, meeting in the middle—a real engineering accomplishment.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
He stopped up the water sources outside the city to hide them and make things difficult for the enemy, strengthened the walls, and fortified them. (2Ch 32:2-5, 27-30) It would seem that “the conduit” for bringing water into the city from the spring of Gihon was already constructed at this time, possibly being a peacetime project. (2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30) If, as believed, it was the conduit that includes the tunnel cut through the side of the Kidron Valley with its termination at the Pool of Siloam in the Tyropoeon Valley, then it was no minor project to be completed in a few days. (See ARCHAEOLOGY [Palestine and Syria]; GIHON No. 2.)

*** it-2 p. 651 Pool ***
Pools of Jerusalem. The general location of the ancient Pool of Siloam (Joh 9:7) is thought to be the present Birket Silwan, just SW of the City of David. Likely this is also the approximate location of King Hezekiah’s pool adjoining the conduit that he constructed to bring the waters of the spring of Gihon into Jerusalem.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

*** it-2 p. 944 Siloam ***
Likely this is also the approximate site of King Hezekiah’s “pool” or reservoir adjoining the conduit he constructed to carry the waters of Gihon.—2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:30.

(2 KINGS 21:13)

“And I will stretch out on Jerusalem the measuring line applied to Sa•marʹi•a and use the leveling tool applied to the house of Aʹhab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a bowl clean, wiping it and turning it upside down.”

*** re chap. 25 p. 162 par. 5 Reviving the Two Witnesses ***
In the Hebrew Scripture prophecies, such measuring provided a guarantee that justice would be rendered on the basis of Jehovah’s perfect standards. In the days of wicked King Manasseh, the prophetic measuring of Jerusalem testified to an unalterable judgment of destruction on that city. (2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8)

*** it-2 p. 240 Leveling Instrument ***
A leveling instrument may be used to construct a building properly or to test its fitness for preservation. Jehovah foretold that he would apply to wayward Jerusalem “the measuring line applied to Samaria and also the leveling instrument applied to the house of Ahab.” God had measured and found Samaria and the house of King Ahab to be morally bad or crooked, resulting in their destruction. Likewise, God would judge Jerusalem and its rulers, exposing their wickedness and bringing about the destruction of that city. These events actually occurred in 607 B.C.E. (2Ki 21:10-13; 10:11)

(2 KINGS 21:16)

“Ma•nasʹseh also shed innocent blood in very great quantity until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides his sin of causing Judah to sin by doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.”

*** si p. 74 par. 34 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
Likewise, it was Manasseh’s bloodguilt that finally sealed Judah’s doom. Adding to his sin of false worship, Manasseh ‘filled Jerusalem with blood from end to end.’ Even though Manasseh later repented of his bad course, bloodguilt remained. (2 Chron. 33:12, 13) Not even the good reign of Josiah, and his putting away of all idolatry, could wipe out the community bloodguilt carrying over from Manasseh’s reign. Years later, when Jehovah began to bring his executioners up against Jerusalem, he declared that it was because Manasseh had “filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Jehovah did not consent to grant forgiveness.” (2 Ki. 21:16; 24:4)

(2 KINGS 22:8)

“Later Hil•kiʹah the high priest said to Shaʹphan the secretary: “I have found the book of the Law in the house of Jehovah.” So Hil•kiʹah gave the book to Shaʹphan, who began to read it.”

*** w90 7/15 p. 28 Do We Really Need the Originals? ***
In the time of King Josiah, temple workmen unexpectedly found “the very book of the law,” perhaps the actual document written by Moses. (2 Kings 22:8) Much of what it contained was previously unknown to the king, and the reading of it spurred a great spiritual revival.—2 Kings 22:11–23:3.

*** it-1 p. 1118 Hilkiah ***
During the course of the temple repair work, Hilkiah found the very “book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses.” What made the find outstanding was most likely the manuscript’s being the original book written by Moses. Hilkiah gave it to Shaphan the secretary, who took the manuscript to the king. Upon hearing Shaphan read the book, King Josiah dispatched a delegation headed by High Priest Hilkiah to Huldah the prophetess to inquire of Jehovah in behalf of the king and the people.—2Ki 22:3-14; 2Ch 34:14.

*** it-2 p. 117 Josiah ***
After King Josiah completed cleansing the land of Judah and while he was having Jehovah’s temple repaired, High Priest Hilkiah found “the book of Jehovah’s law by the hand of Moses,” doubtless the original copy.

*** it-2 p. 118 Josiah ***
2Ki 22:3-20;

(2 KINGS 22:11)

“As soon as the king heard the words of the book of the Law, he ripped his garments apart.”

*** w00 3/1 p. 30 Searching for Jehovah With a Prepared Heart ***
Humility Softens the Heart
Humility is a vital factor in having a prepared heart because it makes us teachable and helps us to accept more readily loving counsel and correction. Consider the fine example of King Josiah. During his reign a document containing God’s Law given through Moses was found. When Josiah heard the words of the Law and realized how far his forefathers had strayed from pure worship, he ripped his garments apart and wept before Jehovah. Why did God’s Word so deeply touch the king’s heart? The account says that his heart was “soft,” so that he humbled himself upon hearing Jehovah’s words. Jehovah noted Josiah’s humble, receptive heart and blessed him accordingly.—2 Kings 22:11, 18-20.

(2 KINGS 22:14)

“So Hil•kiʹah the priest, A•hiʹkam, Achʹbor, Shaʹphan, and A•saiʹah went to Hulʹdah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shalʹlum son of Tikʹvah son of Harʹhas, the caretaker of the wardrobe, and she was dwelling in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem; and they spoke to her there.”

*** it-1 p. 893 Gate, Gateway ***
The gates named in Nehemiah’s record are gates that had been in the wall that was built prior to the eighth century B.C.E. and in the wall surrounding “the second quarter.” (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22; Zep 1:10) “The second quarter” was a northern part of the city bounded on the W and part of the N by Hezekiah’s wall (2Ch 32:5) and joined by Manasseh’s wall, which continued on the NE and E. (2Ch 33:14) This was N of the earlier city and wall, but apparently it did not extend as far W as the earlier wall.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
During Josiah’s time “the second quarter” (“the new town,” JB) of the city receives initial mention. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) This “second quarter” is generally understood to be the section of the city lying W or NW of the temple area.—Zep 1:10.

*** it-2 p. 906 Shallum ***
8. Husband of Huldah, the prophetess whom King Josiah’s delegation visited; son of Tikvah. He was presumably “the caretaker of the garments,” either for the priests or the king. (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22) Possibly the same as No. 10.

(2 KINGS 22:20)

“That is why I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be laid in your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see all the calamity that I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they brought the reply to the king.”

*** w00 9/15 p. 30 Humble Josiah Had Jehovah’s Favor ***
Because of humbling himself before Jehovah God, however, Josiah will not have to look upon the calamity. He will be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.
Was Huldah’s prophecy accurate, since Josiah died in battle? (2 Kings 23:28-30) Yes, for the “peace” in which he was gathered to his graveyard is in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:28) Josiah died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E. when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. And ‘being gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death. A comparable expression is used with reference to both violent and nonviolent deaths.—Deuteronomy 31:16; 1 Kings 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** w00 12/15 p. 30 Do You Remember? ***
• Was Huldah’s prophecy, as recorded at 2 Kings 22:20, accurate, that Josiah would die “in peace,” since he was mortally wounded in battle?
Yes, he died in peace in the sense that he died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E., when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem.—9/15, page 30.

*** it-1 p. 1157 Huldah ***
When Josiah heard the reading of “the very book of the law” found by Hilkiah the high priest during the temple repair work, he sent a delegation to inquire of Jehovah. They went to Huldah, who, in turn, relayed the word of Jehovah, indicating that all the calamities for disobedience recorded in the “book” would befall the apostate nation. Huldah added that Josiah, because of having humbled himself before Jehovah, would not have to look upon the calamity but would be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2Ki 22:8-20; 2Ch 34:14-28.
Some consider Huldah’s prophecy to be in error in view of Josiah’s death in an unnecessary battle. (2Ki 23:28-30) However, the “peace” in which Josiah would be gathered to his graveyard is obviously in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28) Josiah died prior to the coming of that calamity in 609-607 B.C.E., when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. Additionally, that the expression ‘to be gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death in warfare is indicated by the use of the comparable expression ‘to lie down with one’s forefathers’ with reference to a death in battle as well as a nonviolent death.—Compare De 31:16; 1Ki 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** it-2 p. 591 Peace ***
The prophecy concerning Josiah’s ‘being gathered to his own graveyard in peace’ indicated that he would die before the foretold calamity upon Jerusalem. (2Ki 22:20; 2Ch 34:28; compare 2Ki 20:19.)

Sept. 28 Bible reading: 2 Kings 23-25


(2 KINGS 23:4)

“The king then ordered Hil•kiʹah the high priest, the priests of the second rank, and the doorkeepers to bring out from the temple of Jehovah all the utensils made for Baʹal, for the sacred pole, and for all the army of the heavens. Then he burned them outside Jerusalem on the terraces of Kidʹron, and he took their ashes to Bethʹel.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16) Concerning the kingdom of Judah, it is noted that right in the temple of Jehovah there came to be “utensils made for Baal and for the sacred pole and for all the army of the heavens.” Also, the people throughout Judah made “sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2Ki 23:4, 5; 2Ch 33:3; see also Zep 1:4, 5.

(2 KINGS 23:5)

“So he put out of business the foreign-god priests, whom the kings of Judah had appointed to make sacrificial smoke on the high places in the cities of Judah and the surroundings of Jerusalem, as well as those making sacrificial smoke to Baʹal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations of the zodiac, and to all the army of the heavens.”

*** it-1 p. 229 Baal ***
There are indications that Baal and other gods and goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon were associated in the minds of their worshipers with certain heavenly bodies. For instance, one of the Ras Shamra texts mentions an offering to “Queen Shapash (the Sun) and to the stars,” and another alludes to “the army of the sun and the host of the day.”
It is, therefore, noteworthy that the Bible makes several references to the heavenly bodies in connection with Baal worship. Describing the wayward course of the kingdom of Israel, the Scriptural record states: “They kept leaving all the commandments of Jehovah . . . , and they began to bow down to all the army of the heavens and to serve Baal.” (2Ki 17:16) Concerning the kingdom of Judah, it is noted that right in the temple of Jehovah there came to be “utensils made for Baal and for the sacred pole and for all the army of the heavens.” Also, the people throughout Judah made “sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.”—2Ki 23:4, 5; 2Ch 33:3; see also Zep 1:4, 5.

*** it-2 p. 355 Mazzaroth Constellation ***
MAZZAROTH CONSTELLATION
(Mazʹza•roth).
The Aramaic Targum equates Mazzaroth with the maz•za•lohthʹ of 2 Kings 23:5, “constellations of the zodiac,” or “twelve signs, or, constellations.” (NW; KJ margin) Some believe that the word is derived from a root meaning “engird” and that Mazzaroth refers to the zodiacal circle. However, at Job 38:32 a singular pronoun is used in Hebrew in the expression “in its appointed time,” whereas the reference in 2 Kings 23:5 is in the plural. Hence, Mazzaroth appears to refer to a particular constellation rather than to the entire zodiacal circle, but no positive identification is possible at present.

*** it-2 p. 1240 Zodiac ***
ZODIAC
The band of stars seen from the earth as appearing within nine degrees on either side of the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun. Concerning King Josiah of Judah, 2 Kings 23:5 says: “And he put out of business the foreign-god priests, whom the kings of Judah had put in that they might make sacrificial smoke on the high places in the cities of Judah and the surroundings of Jerusalem, and also those making sacrificial smoke to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations of the zodiac and to all the army of the heavens.” The expression here rendered “constellations of the zodiac” comes from the Hebrew word maz•za•lohthʹ, which occurs but once in the Bible, although the word Maz•za•rohthʹ found at Job 38:32 may be related. It is the context that helps make clear its meaning.
The discovery of what may be called the zodiacal zone is generally credited to the early Babylonians. They doubtless observed the apparent yearly path of the sun among the stars, which path is now known as the ecliptic. The astronomers could note that within a zone about 18 degrees wide, extending 9 degrees on each side of the ecliptic, lie the apparent paths of the sun, moon, and major planets, as viewed from the earth. It was not until the second century B.C.E., however, that a Greek astronomer divided the zodiac into 12 equal parts of 30 degrees each; these parts came to be called the signs of the zodiac and were named after the related constellations. The word “zodiac” is from the Greek and means “circle of animals,” since most of the zodiac’s 12 constellations originally were designated by the names of animal or marine life.
These signs today no longer coincide with the constellations after which they were originally named. This is due to what is known as the precession of the equinoxes, which results in a gradual eastward shift of the constellations by about one degree every 70 years in a cycle that takes some 26,000 years to complete. Thus the sign of Aries, in the past 2,000 years, moved approximately 30 degrees, into the constellation Pisces.
Connection With Astrology. The zodiacal constellations were made objects of false worship from early Mesopotamian times onward. Certain qualities were attributed to each of the different constellations, and these were then used in astrological predictions based on the particular position or relationship of the celestial bodies to the signs of the zodiac at any given time. As shown by the text at 2 Kings 23:5, such use of astrology was introduced into Judah by foreign-god priests whom certain kings had brought into the country. Jehovah God long before had prohibited such star worship on penalty of death.—De 17:2-7.
Astrology was a predominant facet of Babylonian worship. The predictions based on the zodiac by her astrologers, however, did not save Babylon from destruction, even as the prophet Isaiah had accurately forewarned.—Isa 47:12-15; see ASTROLOGERS.
In modern times the zodiacal signs continue to play an important part in the worship of many people. Interestingly, the signs of the zodiac found their way into some of the religious cathedrals of Christendom and can today be seen in such places as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, as well as on the cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres, France.

(2 KINGS 23:6)

“He brought the sacred pole out from the house of Jehovah to the outskirts of Jerusalem, to the Kidʹron Valley, and he burned it in the Kidʹron Valley and ground it to dust and scattered its dust on the graves of the common people.”

*** it-1 p. 378 Burial, Burial Places ***
The reference to “the graveyard of the sons of the people” (“the burial place of the common people,” RS) in the Valley of Kidron is believed to refer to a graveyard for the poorer class. (Jer 26:23; 2Ki 23:6)

*** it-2 pp. 835-836 Sacred Pole ***
The degraded worship of Asherah came to be practiced in the very temple of Jehovah. King Manasseh even placed there a carved image of the sacred pole, evidently a representation of the goddess Asherah. (2Ki 21:7) Manasseh was disciplined by being taken captive to Babylon and, upon his returning to Jerusalem, showed he had profited from that discipline and cleansed Jehovah’s house of idolatrous appendages. However, his son Amon resumed the degrading worship of Baal and Asherah, with its accompanying ceremonial prostitution. (2Ch 33:11-13, 15, 21-23) This made it necessary for righteous King Josiah, who succeeded Amon to the throne, to pull down “the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of Jehovah, where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”—2Ki 23:4-7.

(2 KINGS 23:7)

“He also tore down the houses of the male temple prostitutes, which were in the house of Jehovah and where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”

*** it-2 pp. 835-836 Sacred Pole ***
The degraded worship of Asherah came to be practiced in the very temple of Jehovah. King Manasseh even placed there a carved image of the sacred pole, evidently a representation of the goddess Asherah. (2Ki 21:7) Manasseh was disciplined by being taken captive to Babylon and, upon his returning to Jerusalem, showed he had profited from that discipline and cleansed Jehovah’s house of idolatrous appendages. However, his son Amon resumed the degrading worship of Baal and Asherah, with its accompanying ceremonial prostitution. (2Ch 33:11-13, 15, 21-23) This made it necessary for righteous King Josiah, who succeeded Amon to the throne, to pull down “the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of Jehovah, where the women were weaving tent shrines for the sacred pole.”—2Ki 23:4-7.

(2 KINGS 23:8)

“Then he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and he made unfit for worship the high places where the priests had been making sacrificial smoke, from Geʹba to Beʹer-sheʹba. He also tore down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the chief of the city, which were on the left as one entered the city gate.”

*** it-1 p. 277 Beer-sheba ***
Beer-sheba came to stand for the southernmost point in describing the length of the Promised Land, as expressed in the proverbial phrase “from Dan down to Beer-sheba” (Jg 20:1), or, in a converse direction, “from Beer-sheba to Dan.” (1Ch 21:2; 2Ch 30:5) After the division of the nation into two kingdoms, Beer-sheba continued to be used to indicate the southern extremity of the kingdom of Judah in the expressions “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba” (2Ki 23:8) and “from Beer-sheba to the mountainous region of Ephraim” (where the northern kingdom of Israel began). (2Ch 19:4) In postexilic times the expression was used in a yet more limited form to refer to the area occupied by the repatriated men of Judah, extending from Beer-sheba “clear to the valley of Hinnom.”—Ne 11:27, 30.
In reality, there were other towns of the Promised Land that lay to the S of Beer-sheba, even as there were Israelite towns N of Dan. However, both Dan and Beer-sheba were situated at natural frontiers of the land. In the case of Beer-sheba, its position was below the mountains of Judah on the edge of the desert. Additionally, it was one of the principal cities of Judah (along with Jerusalem and Hebron), and this was not only because it had an excellent supply of water as compared with the surrounding region, thus allowing for both farming and grazing of herds and flocks, but also because important roads converged on it from several directions. From Egypt an ancient route led up by the “Way of the Wells” through Kadesh-barnea to Beer-sheba, being joined by another road over which traveled the camel caravans from the “Spice Kingdoms” of the Arabian Peninsula, heading for Philistia or Judah. From Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba, another route led up through the Arabah and then turned W, climbing the Ascent of Akrabbim to Beer-sheba. At Gaza, in the Philistine Plain, a road branching from the highway led SE to Beer-sheba. And, connecting it with the rest of Judah, a road ran from Beer-sheba to the NE, climbing the plateau up into the mountains of Judah to Jerusalem and points farther N.—Ge 22:19.

*** it-1 p. 897 Gate, Gateway ***
At 2 Kings 23:8 reference is made to “the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the chief of the city, which was at the left as a person came into the gate of the city.” Here “gate of Joshua” is not the name of a city gate but evidently is a gate within the city walls leading to the governor’s residence, which was at the left as a person entered the city gate.

*** it-1 p. 902 Geba ***
Geba apparently was situated by the northern boundary of the kingdom of Judah, whence the expression “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba.” (2Ki 23:8)

*** it-2 p. 115 Joshua ***
3. Chief of Jerusalem in the time of King Josiah. It appears that high places used for false worship were located near Joshua’s residence, but Josiah had these pulled down.—2Ki 23:8.

(2 KINGS 23:10)

“He also made unfit for worship Toʹpheth, which is in the Valley of the Sons of Hinʹnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Moʹlech.”

*** w88 1/15 p. 31 Sacrificing of Young People—Not From God ***
OUTSIDE the walls of Jerusalem, there was in ancient times a place called Topheth. There, apostate Israelites, including Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, used to practice the terrible custom of child sacrifice. Finally, the faithful king Josiah stopped the practice by making Topheth a place unfit for religious ceremonies.—2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4; 33:1, 6.
Why was the place called Topheth? The origin of the word is disputed, but it is interesting to note what Jewish scholar David Kimḥi (c. 1160-c. 1235) had to say about the place. Discussing 2 Kings 23:10, where Topheth is mentioned, he wrote: “The name of the place where they caused their sons to pass through [the fire] to Molech. The name of the place was Topheth, and they said it was called thus because at the time of worship they would dance and strike tambourines [Hebrew, tup•pimʹ] so that the father would not hear his son’s cries when they were causing him to pass through the fire, and that his heart might not become agitated over him and he take him from their hand. And this place was a valley that belonged to a man named Hinnom, and it was called ‘Valley of Hinnom’ and ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ . . . Josiah defiled that place, reducing it to an unclean place, to cast there carcasses and all uncleanness, that it might never again come up into the heart of a man to cause his son and his daughter to pass through in the fire to Molech.”

*** it-1 p. 1119 Hinnom, Valley of ***
At the point just above Hinnom’s convergence with the Tyropoeon and Kidron valleys, it widens out. Here was probably the location of Topheth. (2Ki 23:10)

*** it-1 p. 1120 Hinnom, Valley of ***
King Josiah, Manasseh’s grandson, put an end to this detestable practice in Topheth by defiling the place, desecrating it, thereby making it unfit for worship, possibly by scattering bones or refuse therein.—2Ki 23:10.

*** it-2 p. 43 Jerusalem ***
His grandson Josiah temporarily reversed this decline, and during his rule the Valley of Hinnom, used by idolatrous persons for vile ceremonies, was “made unfit for worship,” likely desecrated by being made into a city garbage dump. (2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 33:6)

*** it-2 pp. 1114-1115 Topheth ***
TOPHETH
(Toʹpheth).
A place outside Jerusalem where, for a considerable period, apostate Israelites, including Ahaz and Manasseh, engaged in child sacrifice. Finally, King Josiah made it unfit for worship. (2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 33:6; Jer 7:31-33; 19:3-14; 32:35) Topheth probably occupied a section of the eastern part of the Valley of Hinnom near the Gate of the Potsherds.—Jer 19:2, 6, 14; see HINNOM, VALLEY OF.
Commenting on 2 Kings 23:10, the Jewish commentator David Kimhi (1160?-1235?) offers this possible explanation concerning Topheth: “The name of the place where they caused their sons to pass through [the fire] to Molech. The name of the place was Topheth, and they said it was called thus because at the time of worship they would dance and strike tambourines [Heb., tup•pimʹ] so that the father would not hear his son’s cries when they were causing him to pass through the fire, and that his heart might not become agitated over him and he take him from their hand. And this place was a valley that belonged to a man named Hinnom, and it was called ‘Valley of Hinnom’ and ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ . . . . And Josiah defiled that place, reducing it to an unclean place, to cast there carcasses and all uncleanness, that it might never again come up into the heart of a man to cause his son and his daughter to pass through in the fire to Molech.”—Biblia Rabbinica, Jerusalem, 1972.

(2 KINGS 23:11)

“And he prohibited the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun from entering the house of Jehovah by the chamber of Naʹthan-melʹech the court official, which was in the porticoes; and he burned the chariots of the sun in the fire.”

*** it-1 p. 428 Chariot ***
Sacred chariots and the horses that drew them were dedicated to sun worship by apostate Judean rulers.—2Ki 23:11.

(2 KINGS 23:13)

“And the king made unfit for worship the high places in front of Jerusalem that were to the south of the Mount of Ruination, which Solʹo•mon the king of Israel had built to Ashʹto•reth the disgusting goddess of the Si•doʹni•ans; and to Cheʹmosh the disgusting god of Moʹab; and to Milʹcom the detestable god of the Amʹmon•ites.”

*** it-2 p. 553 Olives, Mount of ***
King Solomon built high places for idolatrous worship there “to the right [south] of the Mount of Ruination,” but King Josiah later made these unfit for worship. (1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13, ftn)

(2 KINGS 23:15)

“He also tore down the altar in Bethʹel, the high place that Jer•o•boʹam the son of Neʹbat had made that caused Israel to sin. After tearing down that altar and the high place, he burned the high place, ground it to dust, and burned the sacred pole.”

*** si p. 68 par. 25 Bible Book Number 11—1 Kings ***
25 Jehovah’s power of prophecy is clearly shown in the fulfillment of many prophecies given in First Kings. For example, there is the remarkable forecast, made more than 300 years in advance, that Josiah would be the one to rip apart Jeroboam’s altar at Bethel. Josiah did it! (1 Ki. 13:1-3; 2 Ki. 23:15)

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
In fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy the golden calf of Bethel had been carried off to the king of Assyria (Ho 10:5, 6), but the original altar of Jeroboam was still there in the time of King Josiah of Judah. During or following Josiah’s 18th year of rule (642 B.C.E.), he extended his purge of false religion up into Bethel and also to the cities of Samaria. Josiah destroyed the site of idolatrous worship in Bethel, first burning the bones from nearby tombs on the altar, thereby desecrating it in fulfillment of the prophecy given by “the man of the true God” over three centuries earlier. The only grave spared was that of “the man of the true God,” in that way sparing also the bones of the old prophet occupying the same grave.—2Ki 22:3; 23:15-18; 1Ki 13:2, 29-32.

*** it-1 p. 856 Foreknowledge, Foreordination ***
Jehovah’s prophecy concerning Josiah called for some descendant of David to be so named, and it foretold his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1Ki 13:1, 2) Over three centuries later a king so named fulfilled this prophecy. (2Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) On the other hand, he failed to heed “the words of Necho from the mouth of God,” and this led to his being killed. (2Ch 35:20-24) Hence, while foreknown by God and foreordained to do a particular work, Josiah was still a free moral agent able to choose to heed or disregard advice.

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:16)

“When Jo•siʹah turned and saw the graves on the mountain, he had the bones taken from the graves and burned them on the altar, making it unfit for worship, according to Jehovah’s word that had been proclaimed by the man of the true God who foretold that these things would happen.”

*** it-1 p. 297 Bethel ***
In fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecy the golden calf of Bethel had been carried off to the king of Assyria (Ho 10:5, 6), but the original altar of Jeroboam was still there in the time of King Josiah of Judah. During or following Josiah’s 18th year of rule (642 B.C.E.), he extended his purge of false religion up into Bethel and also to the cities of Samaria. Josiah destroyed the site of idolatrous worship in Bethel, first burning the bones from nearby tombs on the altar, thereby desecrating it in fulfillment of the prophecy given by “the man of the true God” over three centuries earlier. The only grave spared was that of “the man of the true God,” in that way sparing also the bones of the old prophet occupying the same grave.—2Ki 22:3; 23:15-18; 1Ki 13:2, 29-32.

*** it-1 p. 856 Foreknowledge, Foreordination ***
Jehovah’s prophecy concerning Josiah called for some descendant of David to be so named, and it foretold his acting against false worship in the city of Bethel. (1Ki 13:1, 2) Over three centuries later a king so named fulfilled this prophecy. (2Ki 22:1; 23:15, 16) On the other hand, he failed to heed “the words of Necho from the mouth of God,” and this led to his being killed. (2Ch 35:20-24) Hence, while foreknown by God and foreordained to do a particular work, Josiah was still a free moral agent able to choose to heed or disregard advice.

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:19)

“Jo•siʹah also removed all the houses of worship on the high places that were in the cities of Sa•marʹi•a, which the kings of Israel had built to offend God, and he did the same thing to them that he had done at Bethʹel.”

*** it-2 p. 847 Samaria ***
2. The territory of the ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel. The name of its capital city, Samaria, was sometimes applied to this entire area. For example, when Ahab was called “the king of Samaria,” it was not with the restricted meaning of being king of the city only, but in the broader sense as king of the ten tribes. (1Ki 21:1) So, too, “the cities of Samaria” referred to those scattered throughout the ten tribes, not to towns clustered around the capital. (2Ki 23:19; this same expression recorded at 1Ki 13:32 as if used before the city Samaria was built, if not prophetic, may have been introduced by the compiler of the Kings account.) The famine “in Samaria” in the days of Ahab was extensive throughout the whole kingdom of Samaria and, in fact, even took in Phoenicia, extending at least from the torrent valley of Cherith, E of the Jordan, to Zarephath on the Mediterranean. (1Ki 17:1-12; 18:2, 5, 6) Similarly, the restoration promise regarding “the mountains of Samaria” must have embraced the whole of the realm of Samaria.—Jer 31:5.

(2 KINGS 23:20)

“So he sacrificed on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on them. After that he returned to Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 1108 High Places ***
About 100 years after this, faithful King Josiah of Judah pulled down the altar and the high place at Bethel and desecrated the altar by burning human bones upon it. He also removed all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, sacrificed (killed) all the priests of the high places, and burned human bones upon the altars. (2Ki 23:15-20) This fulfilled a prophecy uttered over 300 years earlier by an unnamed “man of God.”—1Ki 13:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 23:26)

“Nevertheless, Jehovah did not turn away from his burning anger that blazed against Judah because of all the offensive things that Ma•nasʹseh had done to offend Him.”

*** it-1 p. 1120 Hinnom, Valley of ***
The prophet, in another pronouncement, told the nation that they would be punished for what Manasseh had done. (Jer 15:4; compare 2Ki 23:26; Jer 32:30-35.) Also, Jeremiah’s declaration at chapter 19, verse 3, is parallel to the statement at 2 Kings 21:12. However, in Jeremiah’s day the people certainly were carrying on with idolatries, which gave evidence that they had not repented in the least for the gross sins they shared in during Manasseh’s reign.

*** w86 10/1 p. 25 Child Sacrifice—Why So Detestable? ***
IN THE days of the Judean kings Ahaz and Manasseh, the nation of Israel fell into the snare of the degraded worship of neighbor nations. This included sacrificing their children to Molech. (2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6, 9) Even though King Josiah later abolished many of “the detestable” practices, “Jehovah did not turn back from the great burning of his anger, with which his anger burned against Judah over all the offensive things with which Manasseh had made them offend.” (2 Kings 23:10, 26) Why? What made the transgression so “offensive” that it could not be forgiven?
“Child-sacrifice was a prominent feature of the worship of the Phenician Malik-Baal-Kronos,” says the Funk and Wagnalls Jewish Encyclopedia. The Phoenicians originally occupied the northern coastal regions of Canaan. Being a seafaring people, they established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, and wherever they went they took with them their detestable ritual of child sacrifice. A recent archaeological find at the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage (now a suburb of Tunis in Tunisia, North Africa) has shed some light on the depth of depravity of this practice.
The site was first discovered in 1921. But starting in the 1970’s, intensive excavation was done because of the expansion of the modern city toward the area. The dig turned out to be a huge burial ground for the remains of sacrificed children. The journal Biblical Archaeology Review reports:
“Here, from the eighth century B.C. until the second century B.C., mothers and fathers of Carthage buried the bones of their children sacrificed to the god Ba’al Hammon and to the goddess Tanit. By the fourth century B.C. the Tophet [from Biblical Topheth] may have been as large as 64,800 square feet (6,000 square meters), with nine levels of burials.”
Similar sites have been discovered in Sicily, in Sardinia, and elsewhere in Tunisia. At one time, all had been Phoenician colonies. In the Carthaginian burial ground, the researchers found numerous stone markers inscribed with figures of the goddess Tanit, who has been identified with the Canaanite goddess Ashtoreth, or Astarte, the wife of Baal. Underneath the markers are found earthen urns, some brightly decorated, that contain the charred bones of the sacrificial victims.
As an indication of the extent of the practice, the report says: “Using the density of urns in our excavated area as a standard, we estimate that as many as 20,000 urns may have been deposited there between 400 and 200 B.C.” This enormous number is made all the more shocking when one bears in mind that in its heyday the population of Carthage, according to the article, was only about 250,000.
Inscriptions on the stone markers show that children were sacrificed to fulfill vows their parents made to Baal or Tanit in exchange for favors. Ranks and titles on the markers indicate that the practice was particularly popular with the upper class, evidently to invoke the blessing of the gods on their efforts to achieve and maintain their wealth and influence. Some of the urns were found to contain the remains of two or three children, possibly of the same family, judging from the age differences.
If the practice of the Phoenicians is shocking, then remember that “Manasseh kept seducing Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do worse than the nations that Jehovah had annihilated from before the sons of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 33:9) It was no exaggeration when Jehovah said: “They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent ones.” (Jeremiah 19:4) Appropriately, the Review article observes: “The growing body of archaeological and epigraphic evidence, provided by the Carthaginians themselves, strongly suggests that the classical and Biblical writers knew what they were talking about.”
Thus, as Jehovah “annihilated” the idolatrous Canaanite “nations,” he did not spare the unfaithful Israelites. They received their just due at the hands of the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E.

(2 KINGS 23:29)

“In his days Pharʹaoh Neʹchoh the king of Egypt came to meet the king of As•syrʹi•a by the Eu•phraʹtes River, and King Jo•siʹah went out to confront him; but when Neʹchoh saw him, he put him to death at Me•gidʹdo.”

*** w00 9/15 p. 30 Humble Josiah Had Jehovah’s Favor ***
Because of humbling himself before Jehovah God, however, Josiah will not have to look upon the calamity. He will be gathered to his forefathers and be taken to his graveyard in peace.—2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.
Was Huldah’s prophecy accurate, since Josiah died in battle? (2 Kings 23:28-30) Yes, for the “peace” in which he was gathered to his graveyard is in contrast with “the calamity” due to come upon Judah. (2 Kings 22:20; 2 Chronicles 34:28) Josiah died before the calamity of 609-607 B.C.E. when the Babylonians besieged and destroyed Jerusalem. And ‘being gathered to one’s forefathers’ does not necessarily exclude dying a violent death. A comparable expression is used with reference to both violent and nonviolent deaths.—Deuteronomy 31:16; 1 Kings 2:10; 22:34, 40.

*** it-1 p. 205 Assyria ***
According to the same chronicle, in the 14th year of Nabopolassar (632 B.C.E.), Ashur-uballit II attempted to continue Assyrian rule from Haran as his capital city. This chronicle states, under the 17th year of Nabopolassar (629 B.C.E.): “In the month Duʼuzu, Ashur-uballit, king of Assyria, (and) a large [army of] E[gy]pt [who had come to his aid] crossed the river (Euphrates) and [marched on] to conquer Harran.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 305; brackets and parentheses theirs.) Actually, Ashur-uballit was trying to reconquer it after having been driven out. This record is in harmony with the account relative to the activity of Pharaoh Nechoh recorded at 2 Kings 23:29, which activity resulted in the death of King Josiah of Judah (c. 629 B.C.E.). This text states that “Pharaoh Nechoh the king of Egypt came up to the king of Assyria by the river Euphrates”—evidently to help him. “The king of Assyria” to whom Nechoh came may well have been Ashur-uballit II. Their campaign against Haran did not succeed. The Assyrian Empire had ended.

*** it-2 p. 483 Necho(h) ***
Toward the close of Josiah’s 31-year reign (659-629 B.C.E.), Pharaoh Necho was on his way to help the Assyrians at the river Euphrates. At that time Josiah disregarded “the words of Necho from the mouth of God” and was mortally wounded while attempting to turn the Egyptian forces back at Megiddo. About three months later, Pharaoh Necho took Jehoahaz, Josiah’s successor to the throne, captive and made 25-year-old Eliakim his vassal, changing the new ruler’s name to Jehoiakim. Necho also imposed a heavy fine on the kingdom of Judah. (2Ch 35:20–36:4; 2Ki 23:29-35) At Carchemish, between three and four years later (625 B.C.E.), Necho’s forces suffered defeat at the hands of the Babylonians under the command of Nebuchadnezzar.—Jer 46:2.

(2 KINGS 23:34)

“Furthermore, Pharʹaoh Neʹchoh made Jo•siʹah’s son E•liʹa•kim king in place of his father Jo•siʹah and changed his name to Je•hoiʹa•kim; but he took Je•hoʹa•haz and brought him to Egypt, where he eventually died.”

*** jr chap. 13 p. 158 par. 10 “Jehovah Has Done What He Had in Mind” ***
Regarding Jehoahaz, or Shallum, a son of King Josiah, God foretold that he would be exiled and would never return to Judah. (Jer. 22:11, 12) That happened. (2 Ki. 23:31-34)

(2 KINGS 24:1)

“In Je•hoiʹa•kim’s days King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came against him, and Je•hoiʹa•kim became his servant for three years. However, he turned against him and rebelled.”

*** dp chap. 3 pp. 31-32 par. 3 Tested—But True to Jehovah! ***
3 The next year, Nebuchadnezzar—now enthroned as king of Babylon—once again turned his attention to his military campaigns in Syria and Palestine. It was during this period that he came to Jerusalem for the first time. The Bible reports: “In his days Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came up, and so Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. However, he turned back and rebelled against him.”—2 Kings 24:1.

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Babylon 2Ki 24:1, 12-17; 25:1-21

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
At the age of 18 Jehoiachin became king and continued the bad practices of his father. (2Ki 24:8, 9; 2Ch 36:9, ftn) Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim, had been under subjection to Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar but rebelled in his third year of such vassalage (618 B.C.E.). (2Ki 24:1) This resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem.

*** it-1 p. 1269 Jehoiakim ***
Second Kings 24:1 shows that Nebuchadnezzar brought pressure upon the Judean king “and so Jehoiakim became his servant [or vassal] for three years. However, he [Jehoiakim] turned back and rebelled against him [Nebuchadnezzar].” Evidently it is to this third year of Jehoiakim as a vassal king under Babylon that Daniel refers at Daniel 1:1. It could not be Jehoiakim’s third year of his 11-year reign over Judah, for at that time Jehoiakim was a vassal, not to Babylon, but to Egypt’s Pharaoh Necho. It was not until Jehoiakim’s fourth year of rule over Judah that Nebuchadnezzar demolished Egyptian domination over Syria-Palestine by his victory at Carchemish (625 B.C.E. [apparently after Nisan]). (Jer 46:2) Since Jehoiakim’s revolt against Babylon led to his downfall after about 11 years on the throne, the beginning of his three-year vassalage to Babylon must have begun toward the end of his eighth year of rule, or early in 620 B.C.E.

*** it-2 p. 480 Nebuchadnezzar ***
During his second, third, and fourth years as king he conducted additional campaigns in Hattu, and evidently in the fourth year he made Judean King Jehoiakim his vassal. (2Ki 24:1) Also, in the fourth year Nebuchadnezzar led his forces to Egypt, and in the ensuing conflict both sides sustained heavy losses.
Conquest of Jerusalem. Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

(2 KINGS 24:2)

“Then Jehovah began to send against him marauder bands of Chal•deʹans, Syrians, Moʹab•ites, and Amʹmon•ites. He kept sending them against Judah to destroy it, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken through his servants the prophets.”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Ammon 2Ch 20:1-3, 10, 11; 2Ki 24:2

(2 KINGS 24:8)

“Je•hoiʹa•chin was 18 years old when he became king, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Ne•hushʹta the daughter of El•naʹthan of Jerusalem.”

*** it-1 p. 41 Achbor ***
Elnathan, a prince of the court of King Jehoiakim, and very likely the great-grandfather of King Jehoiachin.—Jer 26:22; 36:12; 2Ki 24:8.

(2 KINGS 24:10)

“During that time the servants of King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city came under siege.”

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
The expression “during that time” (2Ki 24:10) may refer, not to Jehoiachin’s brief reign, but to the general period in which it fits, hence allowing for the siege to have begun during his father Jehoiakim’s reign, as Daniel 1:1, 2 seems to indicate. It appears that Jehoiakim died during this siege and Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. His rule ended, however, a mere three months and ten days later, when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E. (in the month of Adar, according to a Babylonian chronicle). (2Ki 24:11, 12; 2Ch 36:9; Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. Grayson, 1975, p. 102)

(2 KINGS 24:11)

“King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came to the city while his servants were laying siege to it.”

*** g 11/07 p. 16 Does Archaeology Support the Bible? ***
While excavating the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon, in present-day Iraq, archaeologists uncovered some 300 cuneiform tablets near the Ishtar Gate. Relating to the period of the reign of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the inscriptions include a list of names, among which is “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud.” This refers to King Jehoiachin of the land of Judah, who was taken captive to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s first conquest of Jerusalem, in 617 B.C.E. (2 Kings 24:11-15) Five of Jehoiachin’s sons are also mentioned on the tablets.—1 Chronicles 3:17, 18.

*** si p. 132 par. 1 Bible Book Number 26—Ezekiel ***
IN THE year 617 B.C.E., Jehoiachin, king of Judah, surrendered Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, who took the foremost people of the land and the treasures of the house of Jehovah and of the king’s house to Babylon. Among the captives were the king’s family and the princes; the valiant, mighty men; the craftsmen and builders; and Ezekiel the son of Buzi the priest. (2 Ki. 24:11-17; Ezek. 1:1-3)

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
21 Later still, the Bible tells us that Jerusalem under King Jehoiachin was besieged by the Babylonians and was defeated. This event is recorded on the Babylonian Chronicle, a cuneiform tablet discovered by archaeologists. On this, we read: “The king of Akkad [Babylon] . . . laid siege to the city of Judah (iahudu) and the king took the city on the second day of the month of Addaru.”12 Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon and imprisoned. But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 24:12)

“King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, along with his mother, his servants, his princes, and his court officials; and the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign.”

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
21 Later still, the Bible tells us that Jerusalem under King Jehoiachin was besieged by the Babylonians and was defeated. This event is recorded on the Babylonian Chronicle, a cuneiform tablet discovered by archaeologists. On this, we read: “The king of Akkad [Babylon] . . . laid siege to the city of Judah (iahudu) and the king took the city on the second day of the month of Addaru.”12 Jehoiachin was taken to Babylon and imprisoned. But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.
The Babylonians’ own records, found by archaeologists, also confirm this event. The Babylonian Chronicle, ancient clay tablets on which were recorded major events, says that Babylon’s king “besieged the city of Judah [Jerusalem], and . . . took the city and captured the king.

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
His rule ended, however, a mere three months and ten days later, when he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in 617 B.C.E. (in the month of Adar, according to a Babylonian chronicle). (2Ki 24:11, 12; 2Ch 36:9; Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. Grayson, 1975, p. 102)

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 24:13)

“Then he took out from there all the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house. He cut into pieces all the gold utensils that Solʹo•mon the king of Israel had made in the temple of Jehovah, just as Jehovah had foretold.”

*** it-1 p. 1267 Jehoiachin ***
The record at 2 Kings 24:12-16 states that Nebuchadnezzar took these captives into exile, along with “all the treasures of the house of Jehovah and the treasures of the king’s house.” The account at Daniel 1:1, 2 refers to only “a part of the utensils” as being taken to Babylon. The explanation may be that the treasures referred to at Second Kings involved particularly the gold utensils, which are emphasized in that account, and that other utensils were allowed to remain. Another possibility is that, when Jerusalem yielded to the Babylonian siege (which came as a result of Jehoiakim’s rebellion against the king of Babylon), “some of the utensils of the house of Jehovah” were taken to Babylon, and a short time later, when Jehoiachin himself was transferred to Babylon, other “desirable articles of the house of Jehovah” were taken along. This possibility is suggested by the account at 2 Chronicles 36:6-10. From the Chronicles account, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar, after successfully conquering Jerusalem, departed but then “sent and proceeded to bring [Jehoiachin] to Babylon with desirable articles of the house of Jehovah.” In a similar way, ten years later, in the final conquest and destruction of Jerusalem (607 B.C.E.), Nebuchadnezzar retired to Riblah “in the land of Hamath,” leaving the postconquest details to his chief of the bodyguard, Nebuzaradan.—2Ki 25:8-21.

(2 KINGS 24:14)

“He took into exile all Jerusalem, all the princes, all the mighty warriors, and every craftsman and metalworker—he took 10,000 into exile. No one was left behind except the poorest people of the land.”

*** it-2 p. 389 Metalworker ***
Later, when oppressed by the Philistines, the Israelites were not allowed to have their own metalworkers. This measure prevented them from making weapons. (1Sa 13:19-22) Doubtless for similar reasons Nebuchadnezzar took the metalworkers and other craftsmen captive the first time he assaulted Jerusalem.—2Ki 24:14, 16; Jer 24:1; 29:1, 2.

(2 KINGS 24:15)

“Thus he took Je•hoiʹa•chin into exile to Babylon; he also led away the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his court officials, and the foremost men of the land, taking them into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Then, in 617 B.C.E., Babylon’s king Nebuchadnezzar captured King Jehoiachin of Jerusalem and sent him and other “foremost men of the land” as prisoners to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.
The Babylonians’ own records, found by archaeologists, also confirm this event. The Babylonian Chronicle, ancient clay tablets on which were recorded major events, says that Babylon’s king “besieged the city of Judah [Jerusalem], and . . . took the city and captured the king.

(2 KINGS 24:17)

“The king of Babylon made Mat•ta•niʹah, Je•hoiʹa•chin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zed•e•kiʹah.”

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah king in Jerusalem and “changed his name to Zedekiah.”—2 Kings 24:11-17.

*** it-2 pp. 480-481 Nebuchadnezzar ***
Later, the rebellion of Judean King Jehoiakim against Nebuchadnezzar evidently resulted in a siege being laid against Jerusalem by the Babylonians. It appears that during this siege Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin ascended the throne of Judah. But a mere three months and ten days thereafter the reign of the new king ended when Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar (in the month of Adar [February-March] during Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh regnal year [ending in Nisan 617 B.C.E.], according to the Babylonian Chronicles). A cuneiform inscription (British Museum 21946) states: “The seventh year: In the month Kislev the king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Hattu. He encamped against the city of Judah and on the second day of the month Adar he captured the city (and) seized (its) king [Jehoiachin]. A king of his own choice [Zedekiah] he appointed in the city (and) taking the vast tribute he brought it into Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 102; PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 326) Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar took other members of the royal household, court officials, craftsmen, and warriors into Babylonian exile. It was Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah that Nebuchadnezzar made king of Judah, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.—2Ki 24:11-17; 2Ch 36:5-10; see CHRONOLOGY; JEHOIACHIN; JEHOIAKIM.

(2 KINGS 25:1)

“In the ninth year of Zed•e•kiʹah’s reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem. He camped against it and built a siege wall all around it,”

*** it-1 p. 951 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
Babylon 2Ki 24:1, 12-17; 25:1-21

*** it-1 p. 952 Enemy Nations That Attacked Israel ***
[Picture on page 952]
Babylonian record of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah

(2 KINGS 25:4)

“The city wall was broken through, and all the soldiers fled by night through the gate between the double wall near the king’s garden, while the Chal•deʹans were surrounding the city; and the king went by the way of the Arʹa•bah.”

*** it-1 p. 890 Garden ***
The King’s Garden, near the place where Zedekiah and his men tried to escape from Jerusalem during the Chaldean siege, was probably situated just outside the SE wall of that city. (2Ki 25:4; Ne 3:15)

*** it-2 p. 150 Kidron, Torrent Valley of ***
Not far from this spring the Kidron Valley widens and forms an open space. It has been suggested that this open area may correspond to the ancient “king’s garden.”—2Ki 25:4.

(2 KINGS 25:7)

“They slaughtered Zed•e•kiʹah’s sons before his eyes; then Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar blinded Zed•e•kiʹah’s eyes, bound him with copper fetters, and brought him to Babylon.”

*** it-1 p. 789 Eye ***
In order to humiliate and to shatter the power of their enemies, some ancient nations followed the cruel practice of blinding prominent men among the captured enemy.—Jg 16:21; 1Sa 11:2; 2Ki 25:7.

*** it-2 p. 1228 Zedekiah ***
Zedekiah’s sons were slaughtered before his eyes. As Zedekiah was only about 32 years of age at the time, the boys could not have been very old. After witnessing the death of his sons, Zedekiah was blinded, bound with copper fetters, and taken to Babylon, where he died in the house of custody.—2Ki 25:2-7; Jer 39:2-7; 44:30; 52:6-11; compare Jer 24:8-10; Eze 12:11-16; 21:25-27.

(2 KINGS 25:8)

“In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, that is, in the 19th year of King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar the king of Babylon, Neb•uʹzar•adʹan the chief of the guard, the servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.”

*** w07 3/15 p. 11 par. 10 Highlights From the Book of Jeremiah ***
On the seventh day of the fifth month of the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the bodyguard, ‘comes to,’ or arrives at, Jerusalem. (2 Kings 25:8) Perhaps from his camp outside the city walls, Nebuzaradan surveys the situation and plans a course of action.

*** it-1 p. 11 Ab ***
Second Kings 25:8 says that it was on the seventh day of this month that Nebuzaradan, the servant of the king of Babylon, “came to Jerusalem.” However, Jeremiah 52:12 tells us that it was on the tenth day of this month that Nebuzaradan “came into Jerusalem.” The Soncino Books of the Bible comments on this, saying: “The interval of three days may be accounted for as representing the date of Nebuzaradan’s arrival on the scene and the commencement of operations.” (Edited by A. Cohen, London, 1949) It would appear, then, that Nebuzaradan arrived at Jerusalem on the seventh day, made his survey from his camp outside the city walls, and gave directions for the demolition of the city fortifications and the plundering of its treasures; finally, on the tenth day of the month, he entered the city and its holy temple.

*** it-2 p. 482 Nebuzaradan ***
NEBUZARADAN
(Neb•uʹzar•adʹan) [from Babylonian, meaning “Nebo Has Given Offspring”].
Chief of the bodyguard and principal figure in Nebuchadnezzar’s forces at the actual destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. It does not appear that Nebuzaradan was present during the initial siege and breakthrough of Jerusalem, for it was about a month later that he “came to Jerusalem,” after King Zedekiah had been brought to Nebuchadnezzar and blinded.—2Ki 25:2-8; Jer 39:2, 3; 52:6-11.
From outside the city, Nebuzaradan directed the Babylonian operations of destroying the city, which began “on the seventh day of the month” (the fifth month, Ab), and which included looting the temple treasures, wrecking the wall, dealing with the captives, and allowing some of the lowly ones to remain. (2Ki 25:8-20; Jer 39:8-10; 43:5, 6; 52:12-26) Three days later, on the tenth day of the month, it appears that Nebuzaradan “came into Jerusalem” (“entered Jerusalem,” RS, JB) and, after an inspection, put a torch to the house of Jehovah and reduced the city to ashes. (Jer 52:12, 13) Josephus observed that it was on the very same day, the tenth day of the fifth month, when Solomon’s temple was burned, that the temple rebuilt by Herod was also burned, in 70 C.E.—The Jewish War, VI, 250 (iv, 5); VI, 268 (iv, 8); see AB.

(2 KINGS 25:11)

“Neb•uʹzar•adʹan the chief of the guard took into exile the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population.”

*** it-1 p. 415 Captivity ***
Those taken captive to Babylon included “some of the lowly ones of the people and the rest of the people that were left remaining in the city and the deserters . . . and the rest of the master workmen.” The expression “that were left remaining in the city” apparently indicates that great numbers had died from famine, disease, or fire, or else they were slaughtered in the war. (Jer 52:15; 2Ki 25:11)

(2 KINGS 25:14)

“They also took the cans, the shovels, the extinguishers, the cups, and all the copper utensils used in the temple service.”

*** nwt p. 1698 Glossary ***
Extinguishers. Tools used in the tabernacle and temple, made of gold or copper. They may have been like scissors for trimming the lampwicks.—2Ki 25:14.

*** it-1 p. 788 Extinguishers ***
EXTINGUISHERS
Mezam•meʹreth, the Hebrew word variously translated “snuffers” (AS), “knives” (JB), and “extinguishers” (NW), is derived from a root (za•marʹ) meaning “trim; prune.” Hence some believe that scissorlike utensils designed for trimming the lampwicks are meant. However, all that is definitely known about these utensils is that they were made of gold or copper and were used in connection with the services at the temple.—1Ki 7:50; 2Ki 12:13; 25:14; 2Ch 4:22; Jer 52:18.

(2 KINGS 25:17)

“Each pillar was 18 cubits high, and the capital on it was of copper; and the height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around on the capital were all made of copper. The second pillar with its network was like it.”

*** it-1 p. 412 Capital ***
CAPITAL
The uppermost section and crowning decoration of a building’s column. Massive capitals topped Jachin and Boaz, the pillars that stood in front of Solomon’s temple. (2Ch 3:15-17) These capitals and the pillars upon which they rested were made under the direction of the craftsman Hiram at the time of the temple’s construction (1034-1027 B.C.E.) and survived over 400 years until Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. (2Ch 4:11-13; Jer 52:17, 22) In every reference to these capitals, except for one, the Hebrew word ko•theʹreth is used. It comes from the root ka•tharʹ (‘surround’; Jg 20:43) and is related to keʹther (“headdress”; Es 1:11). The Hebrew word for “capital” occurring in 2 Chronicles 3:15 (tseʹpheth) comes from the root verb tsa•phahʹ, meaning “overlay.”—Ex 25:11.
The pillars themselves were of cast copper, about 1.7 m (5.6 ft) in diameter and 18 cubits (8 m; 26 ft) high. In addition, the capitals were 5 cubits (2.2 m; 7.3 ft) high. (1Ki 7:15, 16) In view of the passages indicating that the capitals were five cubits high, a number of scholars have concluded that the reference to “three cubits” in 2 Kings 25:17 is a scribal error. That is why some Bible translations (for example, JB, NAB) have replaced “three cubits” with “five cubits.” Since the pillars were hollow, with walls about 7.5 cm (3 in.) thick, it is reasonable to suppose that the capitals were of similar construction and were also cast in clay molds “in the District of the Jordan.”—2Ch 4:17; Jer 52:21.

(2 KINGS 25:18)

“The chief of the guard also took Se•raiʹah the chief priest, Zeph•a•niʹah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers.”

*** it-1 p. 1112 High Priest ***
The sanctuary, its service, and treasury were under the high priest’s supervision. (2Ki 12:7-16; 22:4) In this responsibility, it appears that there was a secondary priest who was his chief assistant. (2Ki 25:18) In later times, this assistant, called the Sagan, would officiate for the high priest when for some reason the high priest was incapacitated. (The Temple, by A. Edersheim, 1874, p. 75)

(2 KINGS 25:19)

“And he took from the city one court official who was the commissioner over the soldiers, five close associates of the king who were found in the city, as well as the secretary of the chief of the army, the one mustering the people of the land, and 60 men of the common people of the land who were yet found in the city.”

*** it-2 p. 656 Potiphar ***
The “court official [sa•risʹ] that had a command over the men of war” when Jerusalem fell in 607 B.C.E. was no doubt a high government official, not a castrated person lacking masculinity. (2Ki 25:19)

(2 KINGS 25:22)

“King Neb•u•chad•nezʹzar of Babylon appointed Ged•a•liʹah the son of A•hiʹkam the son of Shaʹphan over the people whom he had left behind in the land of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 152 Archaeology ***
Also of interest is a clay seal impression found that refers to “Gedaliah, who is over the house.” Gedaliah is the name of the governor appointed over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar after Jerusalem’s fall, and many consider it likely that the seal impression refers to him.—2Ki 25:22; compare Isa 22:15; 36:3.

(2 KINGS 25:23)

“When all the army chiefs and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Ged•a•liʹah, they immediately came to Ged•a•liʹah at Mizʹpah. They were Ishʹma•el the son of Neth•a•niʹah, Jo•haʹnan the son of Ka•reʹah, Se•raiʹah the son of Tan•huʹmeth the Ne•tophʹa•thite, and Ja•az•a•niʹah the son of the Ma•acʹa•thite, together with their men.”

*** it-1 p. 486 Cock ***
An onyx seal bearing the figure of a cock was found near Mizpah and contains the inscription “belonging to Jaazaniah, servant of the king.” If, as some suggest, this Jaazaniah (Jezaniah) is the one mentioned at 2 Kings 25:23 and Jeremiah 40:8, this would indicate the keeping of cocks in Israel back in the seventh century B.C.E.

(2 KINGS 25:27)

“And in the 37th year of the exile of King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah, in the 12th month, on the 27th day of the month, King Eʹvil-merʹo•dach of Babylon, in the year he became king, released King Je•hoiʹa•chin of Judah from prison.”

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
Later, “Evil-merodach the king of Babylon, in the year of his becoming king, raised up the head of Jehoiachin the king of Judah out of the house of detention.”

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
2 Kings

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
25:27

*** w12 6/1 p. 5 History, Not Myth ***
What about the existence of Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, Evil-merodach? An inscription on a vase found near the city of Susa reads: “Palace of Amil-Marduk [Evil-merodach], King of Babylon, son of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.”

*** si p. 69 par. 2 Bible Book Number 12—2 Kings ***
It was completed about 580 B.C.E. and covers the period beginning with the reign of Ahaziah of Israel in about 920 B.C.E. and ending in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile, 580 B.C.E.—1:1; 25:27.

*** it-1 p. 147 Archaeology ***
Near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon some 300 cuneiform tablets were uncovered relating to the period of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Among lists of the names of workers and captives then living in Babylon to whom provisions were given appears that of “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud,” that is, “Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah,” who was taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 617 B.C.E. He was released from the house of detention by Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and was given a daily allowance of food. (2Ki 25:27-30)

*** it-1 p. 148 Archaeology ***
The name of his successor Awil-Marduk (called Evil-merodach at 2Ki 25:27) appears on a vase discovered at Susa (Elam).

*** it-1 p. 773 Evil-merodach ***
EVIL-MERODACH
(Eʹvil-merʹo•dach) [from Babylonian, meaning “Worshiper of Marduk”].
The Babylonian king who succeeded Nebuchadnezzar to the throne in 581 B.C.E. In the year of his becoming king, Evil-merodach extended kindness to Jehoiachin the king of Judah by releasing him from the house of detention. That was in the 37th year of Jehoiachin’s exile in Babylon. Evil-merodach granted him a position of favor above all the other kings who were in captivity in Babylon. (2Ki 25:27-30; Jer 52:31-34) Josephus claims that Evil-merodach viewed Jehoiachin as one of his most intimate friends.

(2 KINGS 25:30)

“A regular allowance of food was given him from the king, day after day, all the days of his life.”

*** gm chap. 4 p. 48 par. 21 How Believable Is the “Old Testament”? ***
But later, according to the Bible, he was released from prison and given an allowance of food. (2 Kings 24:8-15; 25:27-30) This is supported by administrative documents found in Babylon, which list the rations given to “Yaukîn, king of Judah.”13

*** w88 3/1 p. 29 Part 3—Mighty Babylon—The Third Great World Power ***
Further, the Bible refers to the food allowance that was given to Jehoiachin while he was in exile in Babylon. (2 Kings 25:27-30) Archaeologists have found administrative documents in Babylon that refer to the allowance of food given both to “Jehoiachin, king” and to the “sons of the king of Judah.”

*** it-1 p. 147 Archaeology ***
Near the Ishtar Gate in Babylon some 300 cuneiform tablets were uncovered relating to the period of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Among lists of the names of workers and captives then living in Babylon to whom provisions were given appears that of “Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud,” that is, “Jehoiachin, the king of the land of Judah,” who was taken to Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 617 B.C.E. He was released from the house of detention by Awil-Marduk (Evil-merodach), Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and was given a daily allowance of food. (2Ki 25:27-30)

*** it-2 p. 174 Kings, Books of ***
Notable archaeological confirmation of the last statement in the books of Kings has been found in cuneiform tablets excavated at Babylon. These indicate that Jaʼukinu (Jehoiachin) was imprisoned in Babylon and mention that he was provided with rations from the royal treasury.—2Ki 25:30; Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 308.

NOTE: Not available for download.
You can download the specific information for each week in the digital file that is provided for the Theocratic Ministry School.

Highlights From the Book: The First of Kings

Recommended Contents