The Reign of Jehoash & The Samaria Ostraca

These people are bad.  The majority of them worship Baal or some other false god, instead of You.  Nothing’s changed, and You kill a lot of the people that aren’t with You and it only makes sense this 1 will happen in the end (2 Kgs 11:).

Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel.

Often referred to as the “Capital of the Negev”, it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 197,269.

Beersheba grew in importance in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Turks built a regional police station there.

The Battle of Beersheba was part of a wider British offensive in World War I aimed at breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza to Beersheba.

In 1947, Bir Seb’a as it was known, was envisioned as part of the Arab state in the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.

Following the declaration of Israel’s independence, the Egyptian army amassed its forces in Beersheba as a strategic and logistical base. In the Battle of Beersheba waged in October 1948,

it was conquered by the Israel Defense Forces.

Beersheba has grown considerably since then.

A large portion of the population is made up of the descendants of Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews who immigrated from Arab countries after 1948, as well as smaller communities of Bene Israel and Cochin Jews from India.

Second and third waves of immigration have taken place since 1990, bringing Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, as well as Beta Israel immigrants from Ethiopia.

The Soviet immigrants have made the game of chess a major sport in Beersheba.

The city is now Israel’s national chess center, with more chess grand masters per capita than any other city in the world.

“And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal.

But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.

And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land” (2 Kin 11:1-3).

After seven years Jehoada gathered up the hundreds of rulers with their captains and guards to make a covenant with them, and he showed them the king’s son.  He then said,

“This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house;

And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down.

And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king.

And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in” (2 Kin 11:5-8).

And that is what they did.  The priests handed out the spears and shield that had been King David’s.

“And he brought forth the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.

And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the Lord.

Tell es-Safi
The Tell eṣ-Ṣāfī was a Palestinian village, located on the southern banks of Wadi ‘Ajjur, 35 kilometers (22 mi) northwest of Hebron that was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war on orders of Shimon Avidan, commander of the Givati Brigade.

Archaeological excavations at the site reveal that it had been continuously inhabited since the 5th millennium B.C.

On the Madaba Map, the name is Saphitha, while the Crusaders called it Blanche Garde.

It is mentioned by Arab geographers in the 13th and 16th centuries.

Under the Ottoman Empire, it was part of the district of Gaza.

In modern times, the houses were built of sun-dried brick.

The villagers were Muslim and cultivated cereals and orchards.

Today Tell es-Safi is an archaeological site known as Tel Tzafit.

The remains of the Crusader fort and the Arab village can still be seen on the tel.

And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.

But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord.

And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain.

And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they should be the Lord‘s people; between the king also and the people” (2 Kin 11:12-17).

Jehoiada then made a covenant between God and the people, and then the people tore down the house of Baal, destroyed the images, and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal.  Jehoida then sat at the throne and the people killed Athaliah. 

It was during the seventh year of Jehu that Jehoash, at the age of seven, became king of Jerusalem and he reigned for 40 years.  His mother was Zibiah of 2Beer-sheba (the most southerly town in the kingdom of Judah. 

In the days of the conquest of Canaan it was allotted to the tribe of Simeon.  The expression from Dan to Beersheba is used to designate the northern and southern extremities of the nation of Israel).

“And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.

And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord,

The Western Wall in the midst of the Old City in Jerusalem is the section of the Western supporting wall of the Temple Mount which has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple (70 C.E.).

It became the most sacred spot in Jewish religious and national consciousness and tradition by virtue of its proximity to the Western Wall of the Holy of Holies in the Temple, from which, according to numerous sources, the Divine Presence never departed.

It became a center of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and Israel’s exile, on the one hand, and of religious – in 20th century also national – communion with the memory of Israel’s former glory and the hope for its restoration, on the other.

Because of the former association, it became known in European languages as the “Wailing Wall”.

Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.

But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house” (2 Kin 12:2-6).

Jehoash called in the priest, Jehoiada, and the other priests and asked why they hadn’t done the repair jobs, and told them that they wouldn’t be getting any more money, and they agreed that they wouldn’t, nor would they do any repairs. 

But Jehoiada took a chest and bore a hole in the lid and put it by the altar, and the priests that kept the door of the church put the money in there.

“And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord.

The Tunnel Alongside the Western Wall
Religious Jews can enter the western wall tunnel from the prayer area, tourist visitors must enter from the north of the western wall plaza.

The western wall tunnel was dug after 1967 in several stages, although some parts are older.

The last short part was dug under the Netanyahu government and caused an Arab upheaval.

Upon entering, a long vaulted corridor turns eastwards to the Wall.

It was built in the early Arab period and served as a secret underground passage.

The roof was used to support the Street of the Chain lying above-ground.

The arches on the left supported a 12.5 meter broad bridge with an aqueduct in Herod’s time which brought water from Solomon’s Pools to the Temple.

The archway was destroyed by the Zealots who defended Jerusalem against the Romans in 70 CE.

Later it was rebuilt again by the Crusaders.

And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord,

And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it” (2 Kin 12:10-12).

None of the money had been spent on bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, or any vessels of gold or silver. All the money was given to the workmen, except the trespass and sin money, that was given to the priests.

“Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.

And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.

And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.

Jehoram of Israel
Jehoram (or Joram) was a king of the northern Kingdom of Israel.

He was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, and brother to King Ahaziah.

According to 2 Kgs 8:16, in the fifth year of Joram of Israel, (another) Jehoram became king of Judah, when his father Jehoshaphat was (still) king of Judah, indicating a co-regency.

The author of Kings also speaks of both Jehoram of Israel and Jehoram of Judah in the same passage, which can be confusing.

Reign

Jehoram began to reign in Israel in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat of Judah, and ruled 12 years (2 Kgs 3:1).

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 849–842 B.C., whereas E. R. Thiele proposed 852-841 B.C.

Like his predecessors, Jehoram worshiped Baal.

With Jehoshaphat of Judah and the King of Edom, Jehoram attacked Mesha, King of Moab.

In the war between Syria and Israel, Elisha befriended Jehoram, revealing to him the plans of the enemy.

Subsequently, when Ben-hadad besieged Samaria, reducing the city almost to starvation, Jehoram sought to kill the prophet.

The latter, however, foretold that a period of plenty was imminent; the siege was soon lifted, the city’s food supplies were replenished, and the old relation between the king and the prophet was restored.

When Hazael, king of the Arameans, revolted in Damascus, as Elisha had predicted (II Kgs 8:12).

Jehoram made an alliance with his nephew Ahaziah, King of Judah.

The two kings set forth to take Ramoth-gilead from Syria.

The project failed; Jehoram was wounded in the fighting, and he withdrew to Jezreel to recover.

It is likely that his defeat at Ramoth-Gilead was a disaster.

As a result, while Jehoram was recuperating at Jezreel, his general Jehu incited a revolt.

Jehu murdered Jehoram by shooting him in the back with an arrow, and had his body thrown into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, as punishment for his parent’s sin in stealing the former’s land.

With the death of Jehoram, the Omri Dynasty became extinct.

Jehu claimed the throne of Israel as his own.

The author of the Tel Dan Stele (found in 1993-94 during archaeological excavations of the site of Laish) claimed to have slain both Ahaziah and Jehoram.

Hazael is the most likely to have written it.

For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead (2 Kin 12:17-21).

1 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6).

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and may there be which go in there at: Boy, do I ever know that gate, you’d think I was the one that made it.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

Took me 45 years, but I found it and I’m not leaving it. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:21-23).

He is not talking about non-believers here, they already have their one-way ticket to hell.  He’s talking about pastors, priests, and the like.  Those that believe and even preach the gospel, but they are doing it for man, and not for Him.

2 Beer-shebe is where Abraham had made a covenant with the Philistine princes (Gen 21:32), where Hagar ran from when Sarah kicked her out (Gen 21:14), where Abraham dwelled after offering up Isaac (Gen 22:19).

Here God appeared to Jacob (Gen 46:1), where Elijah sought refuge from Jezebel (1 Kgs 19:3), and the prophet Amos  rebuked the idolatrous tendencies he saw infiltrating the religious life of Beersheba from Bethel and from Dan (Amos 8:14).  This town is not mentioned at all in the New Testament, the modern name of is Bir Es Seba.

The Samaria Ostraca

Samaria Ostracon Recreation
The Samaria Ostraca are 64 legible ostraca which were found in Samaria.

These are written in early Hebrew characters, which very closely resemble those of the Siloam Inscription, but show a slight development of the cursive script.

These ostraca were found in the treasury of the palace of Ahab, king of Israel and probably date about his period, 850 B.C.

At least they must all date prior to 750 B.C., when the palace was destroyed.

Description
They are written on fragments of five different types of vessels—large thick amphorae, with a drab or grey surface; large thin amphorae, with a drab or grey surface; jugs of soft brown ware with a reddish slip; basins of the same ware; and bowls of coarse ware with a red or yellow slip, all of these presumably being vessels that were used in receiving and storing the revenue.

Sherds with a smooth surface or a slip would naturally be preferred for writing.

These ostraca are evidently part of a somewhat clumsy method of book-keeping.

Either they were a “day-book,” notes of daily receipts to be written up in some form of “ledger” afterwards; or they were the sole record kept of the amount of wine and oil received in various years from various places.

They may have been written and handed in by the givers, not by the receivers.

All of them began with a date, such as “In the ninth, tenth, or fifteenth year” presumably of the reign of Ahab.

This is followed by the amount and quality of wine or oil received, with the name of the place where it came from and of the giver, such as “in the tenth year wine of Kerm-ha-Tell for a jar of fine oil” where evidently wine was accepted in place of fine oil.

“A jar of old wine” and “a jar of fine oil” are the most usual descriptions.

Examples
Ostracon No. I contains a list of amounts paid in by five people. It reads : IN THE TENTH YEAR. To SHEMARYAU. FROM BEER-YAM Jars of Old Wine. Rage’, son of Elisha’…… ‘Uzza, son of ( ) .. i Eliba, son of ( ) i Ba’ala, son of Elisha…… i Yeda ‘Yau, son of ( ) .. i

Ostracon No. 2 is a similar document: IN THE TENTH YEAR. To GADDIYAU. FROM AZAH Jars of Old Wine. Abi-ba’al Ahaz .. Sheba’ Meriba’al

Ostracon, No. 18 In the tenth year. From Hazeroth to Gaddiyau. A jar of fine oil.

Ostracon, No- 30 In the fifteenth year. From Shemida to Hillez (son of) Gaddiyau. Gera (son of) Hanniab.

Samaria Ostracon, No. 55 In the tenth year. (From the) vineyard of Yehau-eli. A jar of fine oil.

A collection of inscriptions written with ink on pottery fragments or os­traca (singular ostracon) was discovered during excavations at Samaria in 1910.

They record shipments of wine and oil received in Samaria from locations in its vicinity, apparently during the ninth, tenth and fifteenth years of Jeroboam II (c. 786— 746 B.C.), although the dating of the ostraca is disputed.

The texts include some or all of the following elements: date (year of a king), place, clan name, sender, recipient and com­modity (wine or oil).

The ostraca provide samples of Israelite script, showing us how Hebrew was written at this time.

They also illustrate the record­keeping of the time and provide valuable geographic information on towns in the area.

The most interesting aspect of the ostraca is the clan names. Samaria is located in the tribal area of Manasseh.

Ten clans of Manasseh settled in Canaan and received tracts of land (Jos 17:1-13).

Those dans were Abiezer, Asriel, Helek, Shechem and Shemida, sons of Gilead (Jos 17:1-2) and Hoglah, Mahlah, Milcah, Noah and Tirzah, the daughters of Zelophehad, son of Hepher (Jos 17:3-4).

All of the clans named after Gilead’s sons are represented in the ostraca, along with two of the five clans named after Zelophehad’s daughters (those of Hoglafi and Noah).

The clan names preserved on the Samaria Ostraca provide an extra biblical link between the clans of Manasseh and the ter­ritory in which the Bible claims they settled.