Thursday, December 15, 2016

King Jehoshaphat and the El Amarna Period

Guests at the funeral banquet

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

 

 

My focus has fallen upon the Vizier Ramose. Although the history books deny Amenhotep son of Hapu of any known sons, the Vizier Ramose is thought to have been, at least, a relative of Amenhotep’s.

 

 

 

 

 

A Ruler of Some Substance

 

 

Introduction

 

UK revisionist Peter James tells of Velikovsky’s hopeful identifications, in the el Amarna [EA] series, of King Ahab of Israel and his pious contemporary King Jehoshaphat of Judah:

 

http://saturniancosmology.org/files/.cdrom/journals/review/v0203/80date.htm


 


The Dating of the El-Amarna Letters


PETER JAMES


 

….

The final three chapters of Immanuel Velikovsky's Ages in Chaos are devoted to a discussion of the el-Amarna letters, the correspondence of the Pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV (Akhnaton) with their fellow rulers in Anatolia and Mesopotamia and with their vassal rulers in Syria and Palestine. According to his revised chronology, these Pharaohs ruled in the mid-9th, and not the 14th century BC and the letters themselves date roughly to between 870 and 840 BC (1). For this to be so it was necessary for him to demonstrate that the letters from Syria and Palestine were written by the kings of the mid-9th century known to us principally from the Bible and from some secondary sources such as the annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, "if it is true that Egyptian history must be revised and moved forward more than half a thousand years".

 

Velikovsky based his comparison of the events of the letters and those of the Scriptures on the identifications of Abdi-Hiba of Jerusalem with King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Rib-Addi of Gubla (and Sumur) with King Ahab of Israel, and Abdi-Ashirta and his son Azaru of Amurru with Ben-Hadad and Hazael, rulers of Damascus. With the latter two identifications he seems to be on firmest ground, in that we have a succession of two rulers, both of whom are characterised in the letters and the Scriptures as powerful rulers who made frequent armed excursions - and conquests - in the territories to the south of their own kingdom. In the letters their domain is described as "Amurru" - a term used, as Velikovsky has pointed out (2), by Shalmaneser III for Syria in general, the whole area being dominated by the two successive kings in "both" the el-Amarna period and the mid-9th century.

 

Mackey’s comment: For my enthusiastic acceptance of Velikovsky’s biblical identifications of EA’s Abdi-Ashirta and his son Aziru of Amurru, see my:

 


 


 

James continues:

 

From Assyrian evidence is it known that Hazael succeeded to the throne between 845 and 841 BC, and thus we have a reasonably precise floruit for those el-Amarna correspondents who relate the deeds of Abdi-Ashirta and Azaru, particularly for Rib-Addi. whose letters report the death of Abdi-Ashirta and the accession of Azaru (3). ….

 

Mackey’s comment: What served to make Velikovsky’s “firmest ground” (James) even firmer, were his identifications in EA of some of the high officials of King Jehoshaphat. Though Velikovsky may have overstated his case somewhat, when he wrote the following, he had nevertheless made some impressive finds (http://www.varchive.org/ce/assuruballit.htm):

 

The list of identified persons in the el-Amarna letters in chapters of the Scriptures of the time of the middle of the ninth century, as presented in Ages in Chaos, is imposing. Among those names mentioned in both the letters and in the books of Kings and Chronicles are such unusual ones as Jehozabad, Adaja, Ben Zichri, Biridri, and many more. And is it little that, from five generals of king Jehoshaphat named by the Scriptures, four of them signed their letter by the very same names and one is referred to by his name?

 

Captains of Jehoshaphat
el-Amarna correspondents
Adnah (II Chr. 17:14)
Addudani (EA 292)
Son of Zichri (II Chr. 17:16)
Son of Zuchru (EA 334, 335)
Jehozabab (II Chr. 17:18)
Iahzibada (EA 275)
Adaia (II Chr. 23:1)
Addaia (EA 285, 287, 289)

 

Not only personal names, but dozens of parallels are found between the texts of those tablets and the scriptural narrative in the books of Kings and Chronicles, and also between them and the Assyrian texts of the ninth century.

[End of quote]

 

Whilst some of Velikovsky’s identifications may be disputed, one has to marvel at this one:

 

Son of Zichri (II Chr. 17:16)
Son of Zuchru (EA 334, 335)

 

See also on this my:

 


 


 

It seems that Velikovsky was closer to the mark with his kingdom of Judah identifications than with his attempted kingdom of Israel ones. James, continuing, tells of Velikovsky’s complete erasure of Jehoram of Israel:

 

This, as well as Velikovsky's claim that the deeds attributed to Jehoram of Israel in the Books of Kings and Chronicles should be ascribed to Ahab (4), would require a lengthening of the reign of Ahab, whose last year is usually attributed, on the basis of other synchronisms with Assyria, to 853 BC (5).

 

However, in the accompanying paper [“The Two Jehorams”] Martin Sieff has thrown serious doubt on Velikovsky's hypothesis of an extended reign for Ahab. The writers of Kings and Chronicles, and Josephus as well, seem to have been in little doubt that the siege of Samaria by Ben-Hadad, the wars of Hazael with Israel and the rebellion of Mesha of Moab took place under the reign of a Jehoram, be he the son and successor of Ahab, or a "ghost" of his namesake ruling in Jerusalem. Other researchers, working independently from Velikovsky and within the conventional chronology, have suggested that Jehoram of Israel did not exist as a separate entity from his southern namesake. Writing in the 1927 edition of the Cambridge Ancient History (6), S. A. Cook discussed the similarities in the names and policies of the two Jehorams: "The coincidence of these traditions may tempt the conjecture that there was only one Jehoram over a single kingdom, and that we have the Judaean and Ephraemite versions." And the "ghost" Jehoram hypothesis has been re-argued more recently by John Strange of Copenhagen, in a paper read at the annual meeting of the Collegium Biblicum in January 1973. Strange believes that "the Deuteronomist deliberately used every ambiguity in his sources and created a 'ghost' in Israel" (7). But neither Strange nor Cook argued that some of Ahab's years and deeds had been attributed to this "ghost" Jehoram.

….

In view of the above problems regarding the Biblical accounts of Jehoram of Israel, which still await adequate resolution, it will be difficult to give any definitive evaluation of Velikovsky's arguments relating events in the el-Amarna letters to those of the northern kingdom in the mid-9th century. In the case of the southern kingdom we are in a much better position, from the point of view of the Biblical evidence, for a critical analysis of Velikovsky's identification of Jehoshaphat of Judah with Abdi-Hiba of Jerusalem. To the best of my knowledge, no one has cast any doubt on the veracity of the accounts of Jehoshaphat and his son Jehoram given in Kings and Chronicles. There are certainly none of the textual ambiguities which have given rise to the problems and hypotheses reviewed above. Moreover, there can be no doubt whatsoever, as there might be with Velikovksy's identification of Sumur and Gubla with Samaria and Jezreel, that the Jerusalem from which Abdi-Hiba wrote was the same Jerusalem that was the capital of Judah in the mid-9th century BC.

 

James now refers to John Day’s criticism of Velikovsky’s identification of King Jehoshaphat with EA’s Abdi-Hiba:

 

Moabites or Philistines?

 

In an earlier publication of the SIS (10), John Day raised a fundamental objection to Velikovsky's identification of Abdi-Hiba with Jehoshaphat:-

 

"Velikovsky claims that Abdi-Hiba, king of Jerusalem, is to be equated with Jehoshaphat. Abdi-Hiba means 'servant of Hiba' - Hiba being the name of a Hittite goddess. Can one really believe that Jehoshaphat, whom the Old Testament praises for his loyalty to the Israelite god, could also have borne this name involving a Hittite goddess?"

 

Velikovsky did in fact prefer the earlier reading of the name, Ebed-Tov ("Good Servant"), a name without idolatrous connotations. And he also claimed that: "The King of Jerusalem, unlike other vassal kings, omits expressions of respect for the gods of Egypt; he does not call the pharaoh 'my sun, my god', as all other vassal correspondents did; in distinction to other writers of the letters, he does not mention his God; he may be recognised as a servant of a Lord whose name he would not profane in his letters to his pagan protector." (11)

 

It would seem, on the face of it, that Velikovsky had good grounds for identifying Abdi-Hiba with the pious Jehoshaphat. But unfortunately, his belief that Abdi-Hiba did not address the Pharaoh in the same way as the other vassal rulers seems to be based on an oversight: letter no. 288 begins as follows:-

 

"To the king, my lord, my Sun-god, say: Thus, 'Abdu-Heba, thy servant. At the two feet of the king, my lord, seven times and seven times I fall." (12)

 

Moreover, as John Day pointed out, the reading "Ebed-Tov" is now "universally rejected" (13).

[End of quotes]

 

James would proceed from there to contribute one of the more convincing modifications of Velikovsky’s revision, with EA’s Abdi-hiba now to be identified as, not the goodly Jehoshaphat, but rather his idolatrous son, Jehoram.

For my enthusiastic acceptance of this reconstruction, too, see my:  

 

King Abdi-Hiba of Jerusalem Locked in as a ‘Pillar’ of Revised History

 


 

 

A Realistic View of

King Jehoshaphat

 

That Jehoshaphat was a great and goodly king is apparent from the biographies of him in Kings and Chronicles. However, we need to be realistic about any of these ancient kings and not to judge them according to modern standards, or Christian ideals. So, whilst I Kings will provide this rosy account of him (22:41-43, 45-46):

 

Jehoshaphat son of Asa began to rule over Judah in the fourth year of King Ahab’s reign in Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi.

Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the example of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.

….

The rest of the events in Jehoshaphat’s reign, the extent of his power, and the wars he waged are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. He banished from the land the rest of the male and female shrine prostitutes, who still continued their practices from the days of his father, Asa [,]

 

it will split it in twain with this less than glowing appraisal (vv. 43-44): “During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. Jehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel”.

This last statement tells of a fatal flaw in the behaviour of all of the kings of this dynasty: namely, making peace treaties with renegade kings. Had not Jehoshaphat’s father, Asa - when under pressure from King Ba’asha of Israel - renewed an alliance with Ben-Hadad that Asa’s father, Abijah (Abijam), had also apparently held with this duplicitous king of Syria? Thus Asa to Ben-Hadad (2 Chronicles 16:3): ‘Let there be a treaty between me and you’, he said, ‘as there was between my father and your father’.

The Apostle Paul would later warn in no uncertain terms about ‘yoking oneself to an uneven team’ (2 Corinthians 6:14): “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

But Jehoshaphat would seem to have outdone his father in this, making alliances with Ahab (including a marriage alliance), with his son, Ahaziah, and with his son, Jehoram.

More on that soon.

But let us firstly read further about the great and inspiring deeds of King Jehoshaphat and his loyalty to Yahweh - this time from 2 Chronicles 17.

Firstly, vv. 1-6:

 

Jehoshaphat … [Asa’s] son succeeded him as king and strengthened himself against Israel. He stationed troops in all the fortified cities of Judah and put garrisons in Judah and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.

 

Compare this last statement with I Kings 22:43 above, “… he failed to remove all the pagan shrines”. This last, however, may be an overall summary of his reign, whereas the passage above from 2 Chronicles seems to be referring to the very early part of Jehoshaphat’s reign (see “third year of his reign” below), when he was full of fervour. Vv. 7-11:

 

In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah to teach in the towns of Judah. With them were certain Levites—Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah—and the priests Elishama and Jehoram. They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people.

The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. Some Philistines brought Jehoshaphat gifts and silver as tribute, and the Arabs brought him flocks: seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred goats.

 

Already, from these vv. 1-11, we learn some very interesting things.

Jehoshaphat, a contemporary of Ahab, of the very powerful Omride dynasty – {the Assyrian kings would still be referring to “the House of Omri, in the C8th BC: Bît Humri} - had actually “put garrisons … in the towns of Ephraim [Israel]”.

Was this done in concert with Ahab, or not?

The enthusiastically Torah-promoting Jehoshaphat became feared by the neighbouring nations. No wonder then that, at this time, contemporaneous with pharaoh Akhnaton and the EA age, according to the revision, Israelite wisdom began to permeate Egypt! Many have commented on the likenesses between Psalm 104 and Akhnaton’s Sun Hymn. To give this one example (http://www.dubiousdisciple.com/2013/04/psalm-104-the-great-hymn-to-the-aten-2.html):

 

What’s curious about the Great Hymn to the Aten is that it closely mirrors Psalm 104 in our Bible as a song of praise to the creator, though written hundreds of years before any of the Bible [sic]. Psalm 104, of course, is addressed not to the Aten but to YHWH, the god of the Hebrews. Here are some parallels highlighted by Knight and Levine’s book:

 

O Sole God beside whom there is none! – to Aten

O YHWH my God you are very great. – to YHWH

 

How many are your deeds … You made the earth as you wished, you alone, All peoples, herds, and flocks. – to Aten

O YHWH, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. to YHWH

 

When you set in western lightland, Earth is in darkness as if in death – to Aten

You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. – to YHWH

 

Every lion comes from its den – to Aten

The young lions roar for their prey .. when the sun rises, they withdraw, and lie down in their dens. – to YHWH

 

When you have dawned they live, When you set they die; – to Aten

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die – to YHWH

 

You set every man in his place, You supply their needs; Everyone has his food. – to Aten

These all look to you to give them their food in due season. – to YHWH

 

The entire land sets out to work – to Aten

People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening – to YHWH

 

The fish in the river dart before you, Your rays are in the midst of the sea. – to Aten

Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there – to YHWH

 

Birds fly from their nests, Their wings greeting your ka – to Aten

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches – to YHWH

 

He makes waves on the mountain like the sea, To drench their fields and their towns. – to Aten

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills … The trees of YHWH are watered abundantly – to YHWH

[End of quote]

 

Returning back to 2 Chronicles 17, we learn of Jehoshaphat’s increasing might, his military strength, and his extensive building works - and we again meet his captains, vv. 12-19:

 

Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful; he built forts and store cities in Judah and had large supplies in the towns of Judah. He also kept experienced fighting men in Jerusalem. Their enrollment by families was as follows:

 

From Judah, commanders of units of 1,000:

Adnah the commander, with 300,000 fighting men;

next, Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000;

next, Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered himself for the service of the Lord, with 200,000.

From Benjamin:

Eliada, a valiant soldier, with 200,000 men armed with bows and shields;

next, Jehozabad, with 180,000 men armed for battle.

 

These were the men who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout Judah.

 

As we proceed on now to 2 Chronicles 18, we learn that Jehoshaphat had made a marriage alliance with Ahab. {Later, in 21:6, we shall be told that: “Jehoram followed the example of the kings of Israel and was as wicked as King Ahab, for he had married one of Ahab's daughters [she was Athaliah]. So Jehoram did what was evil in the LORD's sight”}. The Yahwistic prophets mentioned at this time, Micaiah and Elisha, though much slower to criticise King Jehoshaphat whenever he erred, were scathing against King Ahab and his sons. Here follows the fiery encounter of Ahab in alliance with Jehoshaphat (apparently cautious about Ahab’s choices of prophets) and the prophet Micaiah (vv. 1-27):

 

Now Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor, and he allied himself with Ahab by marriage. Some years later he went down to see Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle for him and the people with him and urged him to attack Ramoth Gilead. Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?”

Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”

“Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.”

Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them. Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’”

All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.”

But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.”

When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”

“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.”

The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

“‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.

“‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

“So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.

Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”

The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”

Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

 

Even the Syrian opposition seemed to show some respect for King Jehoshaphat, whilst seeking out, and finally managing to slay, King Ahab (vv. 28-34):

 

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him.

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.

 

On this occasion, the prophet Jehu did not spare Jehoshaphat, though he acknowledged the good that the king had done (19:1-3):

 

When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you. There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”

 

The prophet’s words may have had good effect, because we then learn of Jehoshaphat that he got busy again with his Yahwistic reforms (vv. 4-11):

 

Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”

In Jerusalem also, Jehoshaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families to administer the law of the Lord and to settle disputes. And they lived in Jerusalem. He gave them these orders: “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord. In every case that comes before you from your people who live in the cities—whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees or regulations—you are to warn them not to sin against the Lord; otherwise his wrath will come on you and your people. Do this, and you will not sin.

“Amariah the chief priest will be over you in any matter concerning the Lord, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the leader of the tribe of Judah, will be over you in any matter concerning the king, and the Levites will serve as officials before you. Act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well.”

 

 

Transition from Ahab to Ahaziah

 

 

King Jehoshaphat of Judah, formerly allied with King Ahab of Israel, continues that alliance after Ahab’s death with the latter’s son and successor, Ahaziah.

 

 

The transition from the reign of King Ahab of Israel, killed in battle, to that of his son, Ahaziah, is told in, for instance, I Kings 22:37-40:

 

So the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there. They washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria (where the prostitutes bathed), and the dogs licked up his blood, as the word of the Lord had declared.

As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and adorned with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Ahab rested with his ancestors.

And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.

 

According to my reconstructions, with King Ahaziah of Israel tentatively identified with pharaoh Smenkhkare:

 


 


 

we have now passed into the late phase of the el Amarna era.

The biblical scribes have nothing good to say about Ahaziah, who was a chip off the old block. Thus vv. 51-53:

 

Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done.

 

Yet, despite this, King Jehoshaphat would team up with the “wicked” Ahaziah, to build a fleet, thereby earning a sharp rebuke from the prophet Eliezer (2 Chronicles 20:35-37):  

 

Later, Jehoshaphat king of Judah made an alliance with Ahaziah king of Israel, whose ways were wicked. He agreed with him to construct a fleet of trading ships. After these were built at Ezion Geber, Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade.

 

Strangely, I Kings 22:48-49 seems to deny any such an alliance: “Now Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships to go to Ophir for gold, but they never set sail—they were wrecked at Ezion Geber. At that time Ahaziah son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, “Let my men sail with yours,” but Jehoshaphat refused”.

The prophet Elijah, who had foretold the gruesome deaths of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel (1 Kings 21:21-25), will now proceed to advise Ahaziah about his own fate (2 Kings 1:1-17):

 

After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” So Elijah went.

When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”

“A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”’”

The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”

They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.”

The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’”

“If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!”

The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king.

He told the king, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.

 

As with all of these kings, there was more written about them than we have in our Bible (v. 18): “As for all the other events of Ahaziah’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?”

 

Ahaziah was succeeded by Jehoram [Joram], another son of Ahab’s (v. 17): “Because Ahaziah had no son, Jehoram succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah”.

Here we have reigning at the same time those two Jehorams, one in Israel and one in Judah.

 

As we shall learn next, King Jehoshaphat himself was still alive, also reigning contemporaneously with Jehoram of Israel in the latter’s early reign.

 

 

 

Contemporary of King Jehoram of Israel

 

 

 

King Jehoshaphat of Judah, formerly allied with King Ahaziah of Israel, continues that alliance after Ahaziah’s death with the latter’s brother, Jehoram.

 

 

 

 

The transition from the reign of King Ahaziah of Israel to that of his brother, Jehoram, is told in, for instance, 2 Kings 1:17: “Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram [Jehoram] succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah”.

Although Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, was now - at the accession of his namesake Jehoram of Israel - reigning over Judah, we learn from 2 Kings 3:1 that Jehoshaphat himself was also still reigning in Judah: “Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years”.

Perhaps some of Jehoshaphat’s goodly influence would rub off on Jehoram of Israel, who - though by no means a worthy king - was apparently not as bad as had been his dynastic predecessors, including Queen Jezebel (vv. 2-3):

 

He [Jehoram] did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.

 

Jehoshaphat, whose own son and co-rex, Jehoram, had (as we read previously) married the daughter of Ahab, now made the third of his bad alliances with this dynasty – having previously allied himself with Ahab and Ahaziah.

Some would call this failure to learn from previous mistakes, but to continue on in the same vein: insanity.

King Jehoshaphat had been lucky – {or spared by Yahweh} - not to have lost his life in the case of his alliance with Ahab. And the fleet that he shared with Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, had been wrecked, as the prophet Eliezer foretold it would be.

Now he joined forces with King Jehoram of Israel. We read the account of it in vv. 4-27, which I give here with some comments:

 

Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

 

That this “Mesha king of Moab” was a true historical figure is evident from the famous Mesha Stele (http://www.bible-history.com/resource/ff_mesha.htm):

 

Mesha Stele (Moabite Stone)


In the Bible it says that Mesha the king of Moab was paying tribute to Israel and that they suddenly stopped: "Mesha, king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel..." (2 Kings 3:5). Well, Mesha made his own record of this rebellion, and the record has been found. It is known today as "The Mesha Stele" or the more popular designation "The Moabite Stone." It was found in 1868 at Dibon, in Moab. Dibon is located 20 miles east of the Dead Sea. Amazingly enough it was discovered by chance by F.A. Klein, a German missionary who had heard rumors of this stone while visiting the area. It was a bluish basalt stone, about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide, and 14 inches thick, with an inscription from king Mesha. When it was found the Berlin Museum negotiated for it while the French Consulate at Jerusalem offered more money.

 

 

So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

“By what route shall we attack?” he asked.

“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.

So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”

11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?”

An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.”

12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”

“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”

 

The prophets, utterly contemptuous of the kings of Israel and their prophets, showed far more respect towards King Jehoshaphat - as we have already noted. This is apparent from the prophet Elisha’s response to Jehoram of Israel:   

 

14 Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you. 15 But now bring me a harpist.”

While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”

20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. 22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

 

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 we read an account, again, of a war of King Jehoshaphat with Moab, with no mention of any alliance with Jehoram of Israel. But this may be an earlier war, from which King Jehoshaphat emerged triumphant (vv. 29-30): “The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side”.

 

All in all, the extremely colourful biblical accounts of the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah depict a highly successful king, greatly favoured by Yahweh and his prophets.

But a king who, nevertheless, seemed forever incapable of learning of the folly of making injudicious alliances.   

 

 

 

Historical Context for the Biblical Data

 

 

 

King Jehoshaphat, a C9th BC ruler of the kingdom of Judah, was a contemporary of the 18th dynasty era of Egyptian history known as the el-Amarna [EA] period.     

 

 

 

Whilst the focus in this series has been primarily upon the person of King Jehoshaphat, it has nonetheless been necessary, for the sake of historical context, both here, and in:

 


 


 

to consider the dynasty to which this great king of Judah belonged, from Abijah to Jehoram:

 

Abijah;

Asa;

Jehoshaphat;

Jehoram

 

Historically, Jehoshaphat’s son Jehoram, at least, has been positively (in my opinion) identified with EA’s Abdi-hiba of Urusalim (Jerusalem).

Whilst the biblical dates, properly calculated, remain the same, the era of EA has had to be lowered on the time scale by some 500 years, down from the C14th BC.

More tentatively, I have proposed an identification of Jehoshaphat’s famous father, Asa, with Amenhotep son of Hapu at the time of pharaoh Amenhotep III (“Asa” article above). It would then follow logically that Asa’s father, Abijah, was Hapu. Perhaps the name “Hapu” pertains to the name Abiu (the Greek version of Abijah, the Latin being Abiam), I have suggested. 

Jehoshaphat for his part, not yet historically (extra-biblically) identified - despite Velikovsky’s hopeful attempt to connect him with Abdi-hiba - we have found to have been a contemporary of three successive Omride kings: viz., Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram of Israel.

Now, according to my works of revision, King Ahab was, for his part, contemporaneous with pharaoh Akhnaton and Queen Nefertiti, the latter being also the wife of Ahab.

 

And Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, was pharaoh Smenkhkare:

 


 


 

This, therefore, places the reign of King Jehoshaphat smack bang in the EA era, which covered most of the reign of pharaoh Akhnaton, the entire reign of Smenkhkare, and part of the reign of Tutankhamun. Overall, we now get this revised package:

 

Judah
Egypt
Abijah (Abiu) = Hapu
 
Asa = Amenhotep son of Hapu
Amenhotep III
Jehoshaphat
Akhnaton; Smenkhkare; Tutankhamun
Jehoram = Abdi-hiba
Tutankhamun

 

According to one view, the six letters of Abdi-hiba (EA 285-290) were written to Amenhotep III (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdi-Heba#List_of_Abdi-Heba.27s_6_letters_to_Pharaoh):

 

During Abdi-Heba's reign the region was under attack from marauding bands of Habiru.[3] Abdi-Heba made frequent pleas to the Pharaoh of Egypt (probably Amenhotep III), for an army[4] or, at least, an officer to command.[5] Abdi-Heba also made other requests for military aid in fighting off his enemies, both Canaanite warlords and bands of Apiru.

 

However, no addressee king is actually named in any of these letters. Abdi-hiba addresses his six letters “to the king, my lord”, who could be anyone – and who may not even be a pharaoh.

 

In our quest to find the historical King Jehoshaphat, especially in relation to Egypt, we would be looking for a high official along the lines of Amenhotep son of Hapu - here presumed to be Jehoshaphat’s father, Asa - serving (or spilling over into) Egypt.

We should expect him to be a personality whose career spanned the entire EA age.

And, furthermore, given that “Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king” (I Kings 22:42), and that his father Asa reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years” (15:9), then we could probably expect that Jehoshaphat’s career as an official for Egypt would have commenced during the time of Amenhotep son of Hapu, and before the beginning of EA.  

 

Does anyone famous match this broad identikit?

 

My focus has fallen upon the Vizier Ramose. Although the history books deny Amenhotep son of Hapu of any known sons, the Vizier Ramose is thought to have been, at least, a relative of Amenhotep’s. Thus (http://www.donf.com/egypt/vizier/18ram.htm):

 

Ramose
Vizier of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten

1390 -1358 B.C.

 
Ramose was the Mayor of Thebes and Vizier of Upper Egypt during the later part of the reign of Amenhotep III and the early part of the reign of Amenhotep IV, who later became Akhenaten. He served during the years before the Amarna "heresy" but witnessed the beginning of the Akhenaten's new religion. He died before the new capital of Akhetaten was built.
It is thought that Ramose was a relative of Amenhotep, Son of Hapu (a famous priest of Horus at Athribis and an outstanding architect during this period, who was later deified because of his piety... the only mortal besides the Old-Kingdom vizier Imhotep to be accorded this honor).
Ramose has an unfinished tomb at Thebes which is famous for its reliefs (the picture of him below comes from that tomb), but he died before it was finished and was buried elsewhere in Thebes.
Ramose is shown wearing an elaborate wig, a heavy heart necklace and a small bead necklace, the gold collar of a nobleman, and the white vizier's smock, which seems to be loose-fitting here and may have been worn over other clothing. He is holding the staff of a senior official. The text reads: "Justified before Ra', the Overseer of the City (i.e., Mayor of Thebes), the Vizier Ramose, true of voice."

 

Ramose, whose decorations were all of the finest quality, appears to have been caught somewhat uncomfortably between the old and the new religions, their art and architecture – as we can well imagine the pious Jehoshaphat must have been whilst continuing to befriend the wayward Omride kings. http://looklex.com/egypt/luxor49.htm

 

Tombs of the Nobles. Ramose
http://looklex.com/egypt/x/t.gif
Luxor, Egypt: Tombs of the Nobles
http://looklex.com/egypt/x/t.gif
Ramose was the vizier and governor of Thebes in the 14th century, in the times of the Akhenaten. Akhenaten introduced new religious concepts for all of Egypt, revering only one god, involving the loss of importance for Thebes. The dramatic changes in religious ideas are all reflected in the decorations inside Ramose's tomb. There are decorations according to both the old and the new religious orientations. All in all the decorations in Ramose's tomb are of excellent quality.

http://looklex.com/egypt/x/t.gifAnother interesting aspect with Ramose's tomb is that it has a inner courtyard of about 40 m², situated right before the actual burial chamber. On the left wall of courtyard facing the burial chamber are reliefs before the religious change, hence you can see Amenophis 4 before changing his name into Akhenaten, together with the goddess of truth Maat. On the right wall the transition has taken place, and here are images of Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti below the sun rays of Aten. Ramose is seen right below receiving a golden chain as a gift.

 

 

Image result for jehoshaphat of judah

 

 

 

 

No comments: