Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Extensive Empire of Asa ‘the Magnificent’. Part One: Building a New Scenario

 Damien F. Mackey



As one would expect from the revised chronology, the long-reigning King Asa of Judah, conventionally dated to c. 900 BC, now gains added dimensions and new contemporaries.

In this series I shall attempt to discern the extent of the royal dominion of Asa, truly a most successful and magnificent king.



King Asa’s Contemporaries

  1. Non-revised


We know from the biblical accounts about King Asa of Judah in 1 Kings 15:10-24; 16:29 and in 2 Chronicles 14-16, and from well-established history, that his contemporaries were:


In Israel:

Jeroboam and Nadab; Baasha and Elah; Zimri; Omri and Ahab;


In Syria:



In Assyria:

Ashurnasirpal II;


In (Egypt)/Ethiopia:



  1. Revised (Velikovskian)


Now, thanks to the fine insights of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos, I, 1952, and Oedipus and Akhnaton, 1960), we can know much more. We can know that the entire and well-documented period of El Amarna [EA], when pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV (Akhnaton) ruled over Egypt - conventionally but quite wrongly dated to the C15th BC - must be shifted down, holus bolus, into this same approximate era of Asa (and his descendants, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram). That means that the myriad EA correspondents find themselves near, or exact, contemporaries of King Asa of Judah.

Now, a major one of these is the king of Amurru, Abdi-ashirta, Velikovsky’s Ben-Hadad. Others are the above-mentioned pharaohs of EA, belonging to Egypt’s 18th dynasty.

Regarding king Asa’s mighty foe, “Zerah the Ethiopian (or Cushite)”, 2 Chronicles 14:9, Velikovsky argued (in Ages in Chaos, ch. 5) that he must have been pharaoh Amenhotep II, who died a few decades before EA.

In Syria (Amurru):



In (Egypt)/Ethiopia:

Amenhotep II.


Putting it all together




King Asa of Judah was prepared to renew an old alliance with Syria, in order to join forces against the troublesome Baasha, king of Israel. And the liaison proved effective (2 Chronicles 16):


In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,

There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.

And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.

And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.


Ben-Hadad would go on to become a mighty king, a master king, having later, in the time of king Ahab of Israel, “32 kings allied with him” (I Kings 20:16).

Velikovsky’s extension of the highly duplicitous Ben-Hadad to include Abdi-Ashirta of EA, I have further extended to embrace also the mighty Mitannian potentate, Tushratta (Dushratta), both in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



and in a more recent article:




But Syro-Mitanni was by no means the extent of this shrewd king’s dominion. 

We find both Ben-Hadad, in his guise as Tushratta, and his great Egyptian contemporary, Amenhotep III, dipping also into Assyria. The fact that Tushratta sent the image of Ishtar of Nineveh to Egypt, to heal Amenhotep III [EA 23], along with other considerations, has led me to conclude, that Tushratta was also the ruler of Assyria at the time, Ashurnasirpal II. See my:


The Many Faces of Ashurnasirpal and his Son



Ashurnasirpal II, moreover, is my preference for the Book of Jonah’s “king of Nineveh”:



the “Asnapper” (or Osnapper) of tradition.

A master king indeed!

But apparently pharaoh Amenhotep III also claimed to have some sort of dominion over Assyria. This is evidenced by “the inclusion of Assur (Assyria) in lists of Amenhotep III”, according to P. James and P. van der Veen, in “When did Shoshenq I Campaign in Palestine?” (with reference to Edel and Görg 2005):


Now this brings us to a most interesting situation.

Given, in a revised context, the contemporaneity of Asa and pharaoh Amenhotep III, ‘the Magnificent’, as he is known, if the latter’s influence had extended all the way to Assyria, then might we not expect an almighty clash between he and the extremely powerful King Asa of Judah? In “Ben-Hadad I as El Amarna’s Abdi-ashirta = Tushratta”, I had made a similar observation about EA:


….  Now, an apparent anomaly immediately strikes me in regard to this connection between Ben-Hadad I and Abdi-ashirta, though it is not one of Velikovsky’s making but one that pertains to the EA structure itself. It is this: Why do we never hear of a conflict

 - or perhaps an alliance - between this Abdi-ashirta and Tushratta (var. Dushratta) of Mitanni? Why, in fact, do we never hear any mention at all of these two kings together in the same EA letter? I ask this firstly because, as Campbell has shown, Abdi-ashirta and Tushratta were exact contemporaries, reigning during at least the latter part of the reign of pharaoh Amenhotep III and on into the reign of Akhnaton, and, secondly, because their territories were, at the very least, contiguous.


Again, D. Murphie had raised a point along such lines in his “Critique of David Rohl’s A Test of Time” (C and C Review, Oct 1997:1), that, for those who would prefer Ramesses II as the biblical “Shishak”, they would be running into the formidable problem of Ramesses II having the powerful king Asa of Judah, in all his strength, sandwiched right between himself and the pharaoh’s Hittite ally, Hattusilis. The biblical account of Asa tells nothing of this.

So, what then does it tell us about the might of King Asa?


King Asa of Judah  



“As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”



Asa was, for the most part, a loyal Yahwist and a most successful king of Judah, somewhat reminiscent of King Solomon himself, with his generally long and peaceful reign, but falling away to some extent at the end. We read in 2 Chronicles 14:


1And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. Asa his son succeeded him as king, and in his days the country was at peace for ten years.Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

“Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.


Against “Zerah the Ethiopian”


Far more formidable than Asa’s northern foe, Baasha, was Zerah with what may have been, until that time, the largest army ever assembled (2 Chronicles 14):


Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.

Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

11 Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you.”

12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. 14 They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen on them. They looted all these villages, since there was much plunder there. 15 They also attacked the camps of the herders and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.


Surely the tiny state of Judah would not have been sufficient to contain the immensity of what King Asa had now become! Especially given his alliance with the mighty Ben-Hadad. Now there is this enigmatic biblical statement that hints at so much more (I Kings 15:23): “As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”


It is apparent, then, that there is much more to this intriguing Judaean king than we are able to read about in Kings and Chronicles, and I hope to probe further Asa’s secrets in Part Two.






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