Saturday, November 1, 2014

King Ahaz, Son of Jotham

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Hello friends, The following is evidence of King Ahaz. 
King Ahaz did evil in the sight of The Lord and even after he had been smitten by the king of Syria, he would not repent and do what is right Before The Lord, but instead kept doing more evil, ending up being ruined (Credit given at the bottom of the article :D) 

2 Chronicles 28 

28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father:
2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim.
3 Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
4 He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter.
6 For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men; because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers.
7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the king.
8 And the children of Israel carried away captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and took also away much spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria.
9 But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded: and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, because the Lord God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, and ye have slain them in a rage that reacheth up unto heaven.
10 And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you: but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the Lord your God?
11 Now hear me therefore, and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken captive of your brethren: for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.
12 Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war,
13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the captives hither: for whereas we have offended against the Lord already, ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass: for our trespass is great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.
14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation.
15 And the men which were expressed by name rose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat and to drink, and anointed them, and carried all the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren: then they returned to Samaria.
16 At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him.
17 For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives.
18 The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.
19 For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord.
20 And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
21 For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.
22 And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord: this is that king Ahaz.
23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
25 And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the Lord God of his fathers.
26 Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem: but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

Praise The Lord JESUS CHRIST!!!

First Impression: What We Learn from King Ahaz’s Seal 

by Robert Deutsch

It is time to give Biblical Archaeology Review readers a look at the first seal impression of a Hebrew king ever found. Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks knew of its existence before I showed it at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans in November 1996, so before the meeting he announced a contest to guess the name of the king After the public lecture at the Annual Meeting, he disclosed the name of the king and announced the winner of the contest, a woman from Switzerland. Now, having published the seal impression in Hebrew, it is appropriate that its first English publication be in Biblical Archaeology Review.

Ahaz's seal from the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, London

The king whose seal is impressed in this well-preserved piece of reddish-brown clay is King Ahaz of Judah, who ruled from 732 to 716 BCE. Alas, he was not a good king: He "did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done" (2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chronicles 28:1). He worshipped idols and followed pagan practices. "He even made his son pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations" (2 Kings 16:3).

This lump of clay, called a bulla, was used to seal a papyrus document. We know this because the back of the bulla still bears the imprint of the texture of the papyrus. Also on the back of the bulla, we can see the impression of the double string with which the document was tied.

On the left edge of the front of the bulla is a fingerprint that may well be that of King Ahaz himself! Around the edge of the seal impression is a groove about a millimeter thick. This indicates that the seal with which it was impressed was set in a metal bezel, either in a signet ring or in a pendant.

We do not know where the bulla came from -- nor how it was found. It is presently in the collection of Shlomo Moussaieff of London, whose pieces have been featured several times in this magazine. Anything that comes from the antiquities market naturally raises questions of authenticity. Happily, there can be no doubt in this case.

The seal contains not only the name of the king, but the name of his father, King Yehotam. In addition, Ahaz is specifically identified as "king of Judah." The Hebrew inscription, which is set on three lines, reads as follows: "l'hz*y/hwtm*mlk*/yhdh", which translates, "Belonging to Ahaz (son of) Yehotam, King of Judah."

Note that dots, or word dividers, separate the words. (The slashes merely indicate line breaks.) The engraver had no hesitation in continuing a word (Yehotam) from one line to the next, a common custom even though they had no hyphens in those days.

Although there are word dividers, the usual register dividers (incised lines that separate the lines of text, as in the example shown on p.56) are absent from this seal. The letters are small (the seal itself is only 2/5 of an inch wide), but they are of very high quality. A triple framing line is engraved around the edge of the oval seal.

Does it seem plain for a king? Perhaps so. The seal is aniconic, that is, without any illustration or decoration whatsoever. The back of the seal may well have been engraved with some symbol or royal emblem, but we only have the impression of the front. More than half a century ago, a seal belonging to a high official of Ahaz's court was published. This seal contains, in addition to the man's name and his identification as a "servant of Ahaz," an engraving of a sun disk with ram's horns, three Osiris crowns and uraei (sacred asps) hanging from the ram's horns. We might expect a king's seal to be equally ornate. But if any royal symbols appeared on Aliaz's seal, they were on the back.

The name Ahaz is an interesting one. It appears in the annals of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BCE), who boasts that he received tribute from Ahaz. Here it is spelled Ia-u'-ha-zi or Yeho-ahaz (in cuneiform). This longer form of Ahaz's name indicates that the form used on the seal has dropped the theophoric, or divine, element. Such divine elements often appear at the beginning or end of ancient names. Many divine names -- Qos, Baal, Milcom -- are incorporated into personal names in this way, as is, of course, the name of the Hebrew God Yahweh (YHWH). The form of Yahweh incorporated into names in the northern kingdom of Israel differed from that used in the southern kingdom of Judah. In the north Yo (YW) was generally used at the beginning of a name and -yo (YW) or -yah (YH) at the end of a name. In Judah it was Yeho (YHW) at the beginning of a name (as in the cuneiform example mentioned above) and -yahu (YHW) at the end.

Several kings of Israel and Judah bear the name Ahaz combined with a theophoric element. From Judah we have not only the owner of this seal but also Ahaz-yahu (also called Yeho-ahaz), son of Yeho-ram and the sixth king of Judah, who reigned only one year in 84l B.C.E., and Yeho-ahaz, son of Yoshi- yahu and the seventeenth king of Judah, who reigned only three months in 609 B.C.E. Ahaz means seize, so the full name means "seized of Yahweh." A name composed of a compressed sentence like this is called a hypocoristicon.

You will now recognize the theophoric element in the name of Ahaz's father as given in Ahaz's seal: Yehotam. The name appears 19 times in the Bible, but it is spelled Yo-tam in each case, with the theophoric element used in the northern kingdom of Israel (YW).

Somehow it got misspelled in the Bible. The correct spelling of the theophoric element is Yeho- (YHW). So we now know from this seal how Ahaz's father's name should be spelled.

The word for "son of" (BN, or ben) is missing from before the name of Ahaz's father. But this is not unusual on seals. We know from the form of the inscription on innumerable seals that Yeho-tam (placed after Ahaz's name) is the name of Ahaz's father -- and this is confirmed in the Bible. The word "son" was probably omitted simply for lack of space.

Spelling comes up in another context in this seal. "Judah" is spelled defectively, to use the scholarly term. This doesn't mean that it is spelled incorrectly. The Hebrew alphabet is essentially composed of consonants only. But at this time a few consonants were beginning to be used as vowels. These are called matres lectionis, "mothers of writing." When they are used, the spelling (or orthography) is said to be plene, or full. Without the discretionary vowel, the spelling is said to be defective. Here the word "Judah" is spelled YHDH instead of the usual YHWDH. Judah appears in the Bible more than 800 times, but it is always spelled YHWDH. Now we know it could be spelled YHDH, without the letter waw, a mater lectionis. Interestingly, after the Babylonian destruction of the Temple in 586 BCE, Judah was spelled in several ways: YHWDH, YHDH (as on our bulla) or YHD. Now we know a variant spelling was also used as early as the 8th century BCE.

This modest lump of clay thus has much to teach us -- in addition to providing the thrill that comes from such a direct connection to an ancient king of Judah.


1 comment:

  1. Good post. I wonder how I can follow your post or be alerted by email for new ones