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Deriv; Head of winged bull, 9th c. BC, Assyrian and bronze relief decorated the gate at the palace of the Assyrian ruler Shalmanesar III

The Military Campaigns of Tiglath-pileser III: Sieges on Kingdoms – Part 2

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The storm was on the horizon and it was time to pay financially, for King Menahem gave a thousand talents of silver (about 37 tons, or 34 metric tons, of silver) to Tiglath-pileser by extracting 50 shekels from each wealthy man. An enormous 60,000 citizens of wealth gave up their money to the Assyrian coffers. This makes one wonder how many poor people in turn had to repay those wealthy citizens for their lost monies.

After receiving his tribute, Tiglath-pileser left the outskirts of Israel, leaving the kingdom intact and still in the hands of Menahem. One can only speculate if this was a one-time tribute deal, or it was performed multiple times, year after year. In either case, Menahem had just made his kingdom look impotent before the king of Assyria.

[Read Part 1]

Menahem was a king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel.

Menahem was a king of the northern Israelite Kingdom of Israel. ( Public Domain )

King Menahem remained on the throne six more years before he died. His son Pekahiah took the throne and reigned for only two years before he was murdered inside the palace by Pekah and 50 Gileadites in Samaria (II Kings 15:23-26). It seems Pekah murdered Pekahiah because he had continued to let Assyria dominate Israel. This made the people of Israel mad, and the result was a murdered king by a man of the military. The prophet Hosea mentions many reasons as to why Israel acted the way it and these four verses sum up the situation well.

They have set up kings, but not by me:
they have made princes, and I knew it not:
of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.

I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.

I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.

Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor.

Israel was in a state of revolt both politically and spiritually and there is no way out for them, except the way of the sword:

They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.-- Hosea 7:7

King Pekah quickly made an alliance with King Rezin of Damascus. This move indicated that Pekah was cutting the Assyrian yoke from Israel's neck. Pekah also went to the Edomites and the Philistines for their support of a joint coalition to stop Tiglath-pileser from further expansion into their respective territories. In a way, this alliance was really an attempt to counter-balance the Assyrian power to the east. Pekah may have sent emissaries to King Jotham at the time, asking him to join the alliance against Assyria, but we have no word of it, and one can only speculate.

It seems that Jotham would have known of this alliance but decided not to join it, and probably for good reason. Jotham may have questioned why fight two enemies when I can easily just face one? There was no telling what Israel and Syria had in store, for Judah was not popular with either Israel or Syria. This might be the reason for the attack on Judah by King Pekah and King Rezin.

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Top Image: Deriv; Head of winged bull, 9th c. BC, Assyrian ( Public Domain ) and bronze relief decorated the gate at the palace of the Assyrian ruler Shalmanesar III ( Public Domain )

By Cam Rea

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