saved. Jehu was "the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi" (2
Kings 9:2; compare 1 Kings 19:16).
Jezreel, Blood of
the murder perpetrated here by Ahab and Jehu (Hos. 1:4; compare 1
Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 9:6-10).
Jehovah is liberal; or, whom Jehovah impels. (1.) A son of
Shimeah, and nephew of David. It was he who gave the fatal
wicked advice to Amnon, the heir to the throne (2 Sam. 13:3-6).
He was very "subtil," but unprincipled.
(2.) A son of Rechab, the founder of a tribe who bound
themselves by a vow to abstain from wine (Jer. 35:6-19). There
were different settlements of Rechabites (Judg. 1:16; 4:11; 1
Chr. 2:55). (See RECHABITE T0003080.) His interview and
alliance with Jehu are mentioned in 2 Kings 10:15-23. He went
with Jehu in his chariot to Samaria.
(2 Kings 10:27). Jehu ordered the temple of Baal to be
destroyed, and the place to be converted to the vile use of
receiving offal or ordure. (Compare Matt. 15:17.)
fountain of gardens. (1.) A town in the plains of Judah (Josh.
15:34), north-west of Jerusalem, between Zanoah and Tappuah. It
is the modern Umm Jina.
(2.) A city on the border of Machar (Josh. 19:21), allotted to
the Gershonite Levites (21:29). It is identified with the modern
Jenin, a large and prosperous town of about 4,000 inhabitants,
situated 15 miles south of Mount Tabor, through which the road
from Jezreel to Samaria and Jerusalem passes. When Ahaziah, king
of Judah, attempted to escape from Jehu, he "fled by the way of
the garden house" i.e., by way of En-gannim. Here he was
overtaken by Jehu and wounded in his chariot, and turned aside
and fled to Megiddo, a distance of about 20 miles, to die there.
God scatters. (1.) A town of Issachar (Josh. 19:18), where the
kings of Israel often resided (1 Kings 18:45; 21:1; 2 Kings
9:30). Here Elijah met Ahab, Jehu, and Bidkar; and here Jehu
executed his dreadful commission against the house of Ahab (2
Kings 9:14-37; 10:1-11). It has been identified with the modern
Zerin, on the most western point of the range of Gilboa,
reaching down into the great and fertile valley of Jezreel, to
which it gave its name.
(2.) A town in Judah (Josh. 15:56), to the south-east of
Hebron. Ahinoam, one of David's wives, probably belonged to this
place (1 Sam. 27:3).
(3.) A symbolical name given by Hosea to his oldest son (Hos.
1:4), in token of a great slaughter predicted by him, like that
which had formerly taken place in the plain of Esdraelon (compare
Hos. 1:4, 5).
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
(2 Kings 10:12, 14; marg., "house of shepherds binding sheep."
R.V., "the shearing-house of the shepherds;" marg., "house of
gathering"), some place between Samaria and Jezreel, where Jehu
slew "two and forty men" of the royal family of Judah. The Heb.
word Beth-eked so rendered is supposed by some to be a proper
bravery, the third king of the separate kingdom of Israel, and
founder of its second dynasty (1 Kings 15; 16; 2 Chr. 16:1-6).
He was the son of Ahijah of the tribe of Issachar. The city of
Tirzah he made the capital of his kingdom, and there he was
buried, after an eventful reign of twenty-four years (1 Kings
15:33). On account of his idolatries his family was
exterminated, according to the word of the prophet Jehu (1 Kings
16:3, 4, 10-13).
God has gratified me, or is gracious. (1.) One of the sons of
Heman (1 Chr. 25:4, 25). (2.) A prophet who was sent to rebuke
king Asa for entering into a league with Benhadad I., king of
Syria, against Judah (2 Chr. 16:1-10). He was probably the
father of the prophet Jehu (1 Kings 16:7). (3.) Probably a
brother of Nehemiah (Neh. 1:2; 7:2), who reported to him the
melancholy condition of Jerusalem. Nehemiah afterwards appointed
him to have charge of the city gates.
remembered by the Lord. (1.) Son of Jeroboam II., king of
Israel. On the death of his father there was an interregnum of
ten years, at the end of which he succeeded to the throne, which
he occupied only six months, having been put to death by
Shallum, who usurped the throne. "He did that which was evil in
the sight of the Lord, as his fathers had done" (2 Kings 14:29;
15:8-12). In him the dynasty of Jehu came to an end.
(2.) The father of Abi, who was the mother of Hezekiah (2
fruits, "the Jezreelite," was the owner of a portion of ground
on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel (2 Kings 9:25, 26).
This small "plat of ground" seems to have been all he possessed.
It was a vineyard, and lay "hard by the palace of Ahab" (1 Kings
21:1, 2), who greatly coveted it. Naboth, however, refused on
any terms to part with it to the king. He had inherited it from
his fathers, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property
(Lev. 25:23). Jezebel, Ahab's wife, was grievously offended at
Naboth's refusal to part with his vineyard. By a crafty and
cruel plot she compassed his death. His sons also shared his
fate (2 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 21:19). She then came to Ahab and
said, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard; for Naboth is not
alive, but dead." Ahab arose and went forth into the garden
which had so treacherously and cruelly been acquired, seemingly
enjoying his new possession, when, lo, Elijah suddenly appeared
before him and pronounced against him a fearful doom (1 Kings
21:17-24). Jehu and Bidcar were with Ahab at this time, and so
deeply were the words of Elijah imprinted on Jehu's memory that
many years afterwards he refers to them (2 Kings 9:26), and he
was the chief instrument in inflicting this sentence on Ahab and
Jezebel and all their house (9:30-37). The house of Ahab was
extinguished by him. Not one of all his great men and his
kinsfolk and his priests did Jehu spare (10:11).
Ahab humbled himself at Elijah's words (1 Kings 21:28, 29),
and therefore the prophecy was fulfilled not in his fate but in
that of his son Joram (2 Kings 9:25).
The history of Naboth, compared with that of Ahab and Jezebel,
furnishes a remarkable illustration of the law of a retributive
providence, a law which runs through all history (compare Ps.
the name of one of the cities of refuge, in the tribe of
Benjamin (Josh. 21:18). The Jews, as a rule, did not change the
names of the towns they found in Israel; hence this town may
be regarded as deriving its name from the goddess Anat. It was
the native place of Abiezer, one of David's "thirty" (2 Sam.
23:27), and of Jehu, another of his mighty men (1 Chr. 12:3). It
is chiefly notable, however, as the birthplace and usual
residence of Jeremiah (Jer. 1:1; 11:21-23; 29:27; 32:7-9). It
suffered greatly from the army of Sennacherib, and only 128 men
returned to it from the Exile (Neh. 7:27; Ezra 2:23). It lay
about 3 miles north of Jerusalem. It has been identified with
the small and poor village of 'Anata, containing about 100
heights of Gilead, a city of refuge on the east of Jordan;
called "Ramoth in Gilead" (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8; 21:38). Here
Ahab, who joined Jehoshaphat in an endeavour to rescue it from
the hands of the king of Syria, was mortally wounded (1 Kings
22:1-36). A similar attempt was afterwards made by Ahaziah and
Joram, when the latter was wounded (2 Kings 8:28). In this city
Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, was anointed by one of the sons of
the prophets (9:1, 4).
It has with probability been identified with Reimun, on the
northern slope of the Jabbok, about 5 miles west of Jerash or
Gerasa, one of the cities of Decapolis. Others identify it with
Gerosh, about 25 miles NE of es-Salt, with which also
many have identified it. (See RAMATH-MIZPEH T0003066.)
Jehovah his sustainer, or he whom Jehovah holdeth. (1.) The
youngest son of Jehoram, king of Judah (2 Chr. 21:17; 22:1, 6,
8, 9); usually Ahaziah (q.v.).
(2.) The son and successor of Jehu, king of Israel (2 Kings
10:35). He reigned seventeen years, and followed the evil ways
of the house of Jeroboam. The Syrians, under Hazael and
Benhadad, prevailed over him, but were at length driven out of
the land by his son Jehoash (13:1-9, 25).
(3.) Josiah's third son, usually called Shallum (1 Chr. 3:15).
He succeeded his father on the throne, and reigned over Judah
for three months (2 Kings 23:31, 34). He fell into the
idolatrous ways of his predecessors (23:32), was deposed by
Pharaoh-Necho from the throne, and carried away prisoner into
Egypt, where he died in captivity (23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12; 2
terebinth or oak. (1.) Valley of, where the Israelites were
encamped when David killed Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19). It was
near Shochoh of Judah and Azekah (17:1). It is the modern Wady
es-Sunt, i.e., "valley of the acacia." "The terebinths from
which the valley of Elah takes its name still cling to their
ancient soil. On the west side of the valley, near Shochoh,
there is a very large and ancient tree of this kind known as the
'terebinth of Wady Sur,' 55 feet in height, its trunk 17 feet in
circumference, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75
feet. It marks the upper end of the Elah valley, and forms a
noted object, being one of the largest terebinths in Israel."
Geikie's, The Holy Land, etc.
(2.) One of the Edomite chiefs or "dukes" of Mount Seir (Gen.
(3.) The second of the three sons of Caleb, the son of
Jephunneh (1 Chr. 4:15).
(4.) The son and successor of Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings
16:8-10). He was killed while drunk by Zimri, one of the
captains of his chariots, and was the last king of the line of
Baasha. Thus was fullfilled the prophecy of Jehu (6, 7, 11-14).
(5.) The father of Hoshea, the last king of Israel (2 Kings
soldier of Jehovah. (1.) The father of Joab (1 Chr. 4:13, 14).
(2.) The grandfather of Jehu (1 Chr. 4:35).
(3.) One of David's scribes or secretaries (2 Sam. 8:17).
(4.) A Netophathite (Jer. 40:8), a chief priest of the time of
Zedekiah. He was carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon,
and there put to death (2 Kings 25:18, 23).
(5.) Ezra 2:2.
(6.) Father of Ezra the scribe (7:1).
(7.) A ruler of the temple (Neh. 11:11).
(8.) A priest of the days of Jehoiakim (Neh. 12:1, 12).
(9.) The son of Neriah. When Zedekiah made a journey to
Babylon to do homage to Nebuchadnezzar, Seraiah had charge of
the royal gifts to be presented on that occasion. Jeremiah took
advantage of the occasion, and sent with Seraiah a word of cheer
to the exiles in Babylon, and an announcement of the doom in
store for that guilty city. The roll containing this message
(Jer. 50:1-8) Seraiah was to read to the exiles, and then, after
fixing a stone to it, was to throw it into the Euphrates,
uttering, as it sank, the prayer recorded in Jer. 51:59-64.
Babylon was at this time in the height of its glory, the
greatest and most powerful monarchy in the world. Scarcely
seventy years elapsed when the words of the prophet were all
fulfilled. Jer. 51:59 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Now
Seraiah was chief chamberlain," instead of "was a quiet prince,"
as in the Authorized Version.
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labors of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (compare Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
Jehovah-judged. (1.) One of David's body-guard (1 Chr. 11:43).
(2.) One of the priests who accompanied the removal of the ark
to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:24).
(3.) Son of Ahilud, "recorder" or annalist under David and
Solomon (2 Sam. 8:16), a state officer of high rank, chancellor
or vizier of the kingdom.
(4.) Solomon's purveyor in Issachar (1 Kings 4:17).
(5.) The son and successor of Asa, king of Judah. After
fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chr. 17:1, 2), he set
himself to cleanse the land of idolatry (1 Kings 22:43). In the
third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites over the
land to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7-9). He
enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of
God resting on the people "in their basket and their store."
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an
alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel, which involved him in
much disgrace, and brought disaster on his kingdom (1 Kings
22:1-33). Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the
prophet Jehu (2 Chr. 19:1-3) reproached him for the course he
had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with rigour on his
former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening
interest in the worship of God and in the righteous government
of the people (2 Chr. 19:4-11).
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of
Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with
Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped at Ezion-gaber was
speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the
co-operation of the king of Israel, and although it was
successful, the trade was not prosecuted (2 Chr. 20:35-37; 1
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war
against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. This war
was successful. The Moabites were subdued; but the dreadful act
of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls of
Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him
with horror, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in
2 Chr. 20. The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy
with the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The
allied forces were encamped at Engedi. The king and his people
were filled with alarm, and betook themselves to God in prayer.
The king prayed in the court of the temple, "O our God, wilt
thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great
company that cometh against us." Amid the silence that followed,
the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that on
the morrow all this great host would be overthrown. So it was,
for they quarrelled among themselves, and slew one another,
leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of
the slain. This was recognized as a great deliverance wrought
for them by God (B.C. 890). Soon after this Jehoshaphat died,
after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years of age,
and was succeeded by his son Jehoram (1 Kings 22:50). He had
this testimony, that "he sought the Lord with all his heart" (2
Chr. 22:9). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than
under his reign.
(6.) The son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Israel (2
Kings 9:2, 14).
chaste, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians, and
the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31). This was
the "first time that a king of Israel had allied himself by
marriage with a heathen princess; and the alliance was in this
case of a peculiarly disastrous kind. Jezebel has stamped her
name on history as the representative of all that is designing,
crafty, malicious, revengeful, and cruel. She is the first great
instigator of persecution against the saints of God. Guided by
no principle, restrained by no fear of either God or man,
passionate in her attachment to her heathen worship, she spared
no pains to maintain idolatry around her in all its splendour.
Four hundred and fifty prophets ministered under her care to
Baal, besides four hundred prophets of the groves [R.V.,
'prophets of the Asherah'], which ate at her table (1 Kings
18:19). The idolatry, too, was of the most debased and sensual
kind." Her conduct was in many respects very disastrous to the
kingdom both of Israel and Judah (21:1-29). At length she came
to an untimely end. As Jehu rode into the gates of Jezreel, she
looked out at the window of the palace, and said, "Had Zimri
peace, who slew his master?" He looked up and called to her
chamberlains, who instantly threw her from the window, so that
she was dashed in pieces on the street, and his horses trod her
under their feet. She was immediately consumed by the dogs of
the street (2 Kings 9:7-37), according to the word of Elijah the
Tishbite (1 Kings 21:19).
Her name afterwards came to be used as the synonym for a
wicked woman (Rev. 2: 20).
It may be noted that she is said to have been the grand-aunt
of Dido, the founder of Carthage.
Jehovah-exalted. (1.) Son of Toi, king of Hamath, sent by his
father to congratulate David on the occasion of his victory over
Hadadezer (2 Sam. 8:10).
(2.) A Levite of the family of Gershom (1 Chr. 26:25).
(3.) A priest sent by Jehoshaphat to instructruct the people
in Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(4.) The son of Ahab and Jezebel, and successor to his brother
Ahaziah on the throne of Israel. He reigned twelve years, B.C.
896-884 (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). His first work was to reduce to
subjection the Moabites, who had asserted their independence in
the reign of his brother. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, assisted
Jehoram in this effort. He was further helped by his ally the
king of Edom. Elisha went forth with the confederated army (2
Kings 3:1-19), and at the solicitation of Jehoshaphat encouraged
the army with the assurance from the Lord of a speedy victory.
The Moabites under Mesha their king were utterly routed and
their cities destroyed. At Kir-haraseth Mesha made a final
stand. The Israelites refrained from pressing their victory
further, and returned to their own land.
Elisha afterwards again befriended Jehoram when a war broke
out between the Syrians and Israel, and in a remarkable way
brought that war to a bloodless close (2 Kings 6:23). But
Jehoram, becoming confident in his own power, sank into
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his land another Syrian
invasion, which led to great suffering and distress in Samaria
(2 Kings 6:24-33). By a remarkable providential interposition
the city was saved from utter destruction, and the Syrians were
put to flight (2 Kings 7:6-15).
Jehoram was wounded in a battle with the Syrians at Ramah, and
obliged to return to Jezreel (2 Kings 8:29; 9:14, 15), and soon
after the army proclaimed their leader Jehu king of Israel, and
revolted from their allegiance to Jehoram (2 Kings 9). Jehoram
was pierced by an arrow from Jehu's bow on the piece of ground
at Jezreel which Ahab had taken from Naboth, and there he died
(2 Kings 9:21-29).
(5.) The eldest son and successor of Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah. He reigned eight years (B.C. 892-885) alone as king of
Judah, having been previously for some years associated with his
father (2 Chr. 21:5, 20; 2 Kings 8:16). His wife was Athaliah,
the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. His daughter Jehosheba was
married to the high priest Jehoiada. He sank into gross
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his kingdom the anger of
Jehovah. The Edomites revolted from under his yoke, and the
Philistines and the Arabians and Cushites invaded the land, and
carried away great spoil, along with Jehoram's wives and all his
children, except Ahaziah. He died a painful death from a fearful
malady, and was refused a place in the sepulchre of the kings (2
Kings 8:16-24; 2 Chr. 21).
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH T0002735; BABYLON T0000409.)
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (compare Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(compare 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.