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Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 233

Once again the Hebrews came into contact with Assyria. The Dynasty of Jehu had come to an end by this time. Its fall may not have been unconnected with the trend of events in Assyria during the closing years of the Middle Empire.

Supported by Assyria, the kings of Israel had become powerful and haughty. Jehoash, the grandson of Jehu, had achieved successes in conflict with Damascus. In Judah the unstable Amaziah, son of Joash, was strong enough to lay a heavy hand on Edom, and flushed with triumph then resolved to readjust his relations with his overlord, the king of Israel. Accordingly he sent a communication to Jehoash which contained some proposal regarding their political relations, concluding with the offer or challenge, "Come, let us look one another in the face". A contemptuous answer was returned.

Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this, and tarry at home, for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee? But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Beth-shemesh [city of Shamash, the sun god], which belongeth to Judah. And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents.

Jehoash afterwards destroyed a large portion of the wall of Jerusalem and plundered the temple and palace, returning home to Samaria with rich booty and hostages.[505] Judah thus remained a vassal state of Israel's.

Jeroboam, son of Jehoash, had a long and prosperous reign. About 773 B.C. he appears to have co-operated with Assyria and conquered Damascus and Hamath. His son Zachariah, the last king of the Jehu Dynasty of Israel, came to the throne in 740 B.C. towards the close of the reign of Azariah, son of Amaziah, king of Judah. Six months afterwards he was assassinated by Shallum. This usurper held sway at Samaria for only a month. "For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, and came to Samaria, and smote Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria, and slew him, and reigned in his stead."[506]


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