Politics of the Iron Age – Biblical Monarchic Period. RJDKnauth
"Conquest Judges: United, a
temple; Divided, north falls. Judah alone to exile, restore!"
1200 1000 925 721 587 538 332
Most important biblical source texts: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings.
Biblical sources contemporary
with events: “Annals of the Kings of Judah/Israel” (interwoven) and others.
But selective treatment w/ specific (theological) purpose: “As for the other events…, they are written in the Annals…”
Extra-biblical historical sources: Shishak victory
inscriptions at Karnak & Megiddo, Mesha Stella,
Tel Dan inscription, Annals of the kings of Assyria and Babylon, Shalmaneser III Black Obelisk,
Sennacherib’s Prism, Nineveh palace relief of the siege of Lachish, LMLK jars, Samaria Ostraca,
Lachish Letters, Arad Letters, Jerusalem Tunnel Inscription, Josephus, Philo.
Problems of confusing terminology: different uses of “Israel” before/after split & exile; repeated names.
Iron I (1200-1000 BCE) –
Settlement and Period of Tribal League (time of the Judges)
Iron IIA (1000-925 BCE) – United Monarchy (Saul, David, Solomon)
1000 BCE Beginnings of Monarchy in Israel under Saul (Gibeah) and David (Hebron > Jerusalem).
Monarchy necessitated by pressure from Philistines (need standing army) despite opposition.
Local power vacuum with Egypt and Assyria both weak allows Israel to flourish.
David builds standing army, conquers Canaanite and Philistine territories, expands empire.
Strategic alliances made w/ Phoenicia (Tyre, Sidon, Byblos) & others, expanding influence, security.
David conquers Jebusite Jerusalem, moves capitol there from Hebron + cult center from Shiloh.
960 BCE Temple of Solomon. Building materials, architects, artists supplied by Phoenicia.
Other building projects (6-chambered gates), taxes, corvee, extensive trade, slow urbanization.
Iron IIB (925-721 BCE) –
Divided Monarchy (North=Israel, South=Judah)
925 BCE Rebellion of the North under Jeroboam I, against Rehoboam (1Ki 12):
Unrest caused by Solomon's extensive building projects, corvee, taxes, unfair burden on North.
But the union was always tentative to begin with, as seen in Judges, so they were quick to rebel:
“To your tents…!” & “What part have we in Jesse’s son?” Kinship society ties not strong enough
Problem of Alliances - foreign wives/queen mothers (bring foreign worship, foreign values)
Incl. David & Bathsheba (Hittite); Solomon & Pharaoh's daughter and others; Ahab & Jezebel; ...
Jeroboam set up rival cult centers at Bethel & Dan w/ calf idols (prevent pilgrimage to Jerusalem):
“These are your gods who brought you up from Egypt” (cf Exod 32); alternative iconography?
Religious power play: Bethel & Dan calves more " traditional" than David/Solomon temple?
923 BCE Shishak invasion: series of destructions in Negev, along coast conveniently mark end of Iron IIA.
Inscription at Temple of Amun in Karnak records victory over 70 place-names; Megiddo stela.
1Ki 15 Judah makes alliance w/ Ben Hadad of Damascus (Aram) in war against Israel.
North weakened by series of bloody coups, rebellions, civil war: Jeroboam<<Baasha<<Zimri<<Omri
Capital of North moves around w/ dynasty changes: Shechem>>Penuel>>Tirzah>>Samaria
882 BCE Omri’s capital Samaria (Shomron<<Shemer) is personal family estate (like “City of David”)
W/in sight of Phoenicia. Note alliance, marriage of son Ahab to Phoenician Jezebel.
Samaria Ostraca (63 tax/provision/supply records); Samaria Ivories.
Extra-biblical refs to “house of Omri” & “house of David” in Tel Dan inscription, Mesha Stella
Ahab (N) & Jezebel palace at Jezreel. Naboth’s vineyard. Opposition of prophet Elijah.
853 BCE Battle of Qarqar: Syria/Palestine (incl. Ahab w/ Aram) league against Assyria (Shalmaneser III).
1Ki 20 Ben Hadad of Aram (Damascus) makes war against Israel (Ahab); Ahab wins, makes treaty.
1Ki 22 Israel (Ahab) & Judah (Jehoshaphat) attack Aram; Arameans kill Ahab; Moab rebells.
2Ki 3 Alliance of Israel (Joram) & Judah (Jehoshaphat) against Moab (Mesha – see Stella) & Edom.
2Ki 6-8 Ben-Hadad of Aram be sieges Samaria, but killed by Hazael, who takes over Aram.
2Ki 8 Edom rebells against Judah. Israel (Joram) & Judah (Ahaziah) war against Edom &Aram.
2Ki 9 Jehu (N) bloody slaughter of leaders of both Israel and Judah, kills Joram & Ahaziah.
841 Jehu's submission to Assyria (Shalmaneser III black obelisk).
842-836 Ahab’s daughter Queen Athaliah takes over Judah (2Ki 11), ousted by priests (Jehoida)
Priesthood runs Jerusalem w/ child king Joash, repairs temple.
785 BCE Jeroboam II revival of Northern Israel’s power, trade relations; Assyria also regaining power
2Ki 16 Northern Israel (Pekah) alliance with Aram (Rezin), threatens Judah (Ahaz).
738-732 BCE Judah (Ahaz) asks help from Assyria. Tiglath-Pileser invades, happy to oblige:
732 BCE Damascus (capital of Aram) destroyed, both Judah and Israel become Assyrian vassals.
722/721 BCE Assyrian Kings Shalmaneser V/ Sargon II defeat rebellious Israel. Exile of North.
(deportation of aristocracy; outsiders brought in, mixing w/ poorer local Israelites >> “half-breed” Samaritans)
Iron IIC (721-587 BCE) – Judah
alone. Hezekiah (Isaiah),
Manasseh, Josiah (Jeremiah).
727-698 Hezekiah religious revival, building projects, fortifications (Jerusalem wall, water tunnel, LMLK jars).
Rebellion against Assyrian control, alliance with Egypt. Prepares for invasion/siege.
701 BCE Assyria (Sennacherib) invades rebellious Judah (Hezekiah), besieges Jerusalem but fails to conquer it.
Sources for invasion: 2Kings, 2Chronicles, Isaiah, Assyrian Annals, Sennacherib’s Prism, Nineveh Lachish relief.
698-642 “Evil” Manasseh – pagan worship, child sacrifice, etc. (blamed for exile; repented?).
639-609 Josiah “expansion,” religious reform, repairs temple, invites survivors of North to participate.
612 Fall of Nineveh (Assyrian capital) to Babylonia. Assyrian weakness >> Babylon takes over Assyrian empire.
609 King Josiah killed by Egyptian Pharaoh Necho at Megiddo; Egypt appoints new king over Judah
Judah (Babylonian vassal) caught in the middle between Egypt (Assyrian ally) and Babylon.
605 BCE Battle of Carchemish - Babylonians defeat Egypt, gain unchallenged hegemony over ANE.
597 Partial deportation (incl. Ezekiel, Jehoiachin) to Babylon. Babylonian-appointed king Zedekiah.
587/6 BCE Nebuchadnezer invasion destroys Jerusalem (incl. temple). Deportation of aristocracy. Exile.
Babylonian-appointed governor in Judah assassinated, many flee to Egypt (take Jeremiah).
587-538 BCE Babylonian Exile.
561 Evil-Merodach releases Jehoiachin from prison. Deuteronomistic History and Jeremiah end here.
Disintegration of Babylonian empire, willing surrender to Persians under Cyrus in 538 BCE.
538-332 BCE Persian Period Restoration.
539/8 Cyrus the Persian takes over Babylon, issues edict allowing Israelite return to Jerusalem.
332 Alexander the Great conquers Babylon, takes over Persian Empire for Greeks.