House of Jehu
The House of Jehu (884-772 BC according to Ussher, or 841-753 BC according to Thiele) was the dynasty inaugurated by the revolutionary general Jehu. It lasted for four generations past Jehu's death, the longest of any dynastic house in the Northern Kingdom. It was marred with continued false worship according to the artificial religious system of Jeroboam I, a military record varying form appalling defeat to stirring victory over Syrian invaders and raiders, and civil disorder that (according to Ussher) included a twelve-year interregnum and certainly (as Ussher and Thiele both agree) occasioned the abrupt end of this house by an act of murder.
The House of Jehu began in 884 BC (or 841 BC) with the revolution of General Jehu. A student of Elisha found Jehu commanding troops at the Second Battle of Ramoth-gilead, performed an anointing ceremony on him, and then fled. Jehu immediately went out, rallied the army behind him, and set off to find his predecessor Jehoram. He killed Jehoram, and also killed Ahaziah of Judah and finally killed Jezebel, the old queen and wife of Ahab.
Elisha, in the end, told him that he would have four generations of descendants--after which the kingdom would begin to disintegrate.
Thiele posits the House of Jehu beginning in 841 BC after synchronizing Jehu with Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Shalmaneser boasts, in his Black Obelisk, of receiving a tributary payment from one "Jehu, son of Omri." Some say that this is doubly inaccurate, because:
- Jehu was not related to the House of Omri, and
- Jehu systematically destroyed the House of Omri throughout his kingdom as part of his revolution against it.
Is this identification therefore false, or contrary to the biblical account, undoing one element of conventional Assyrian chronology that Thiele, and many other Christians, have accepted in the decades since the finding of the Obelisk?
Defenders of Thiele suggest that this apparent problem might be based on misunderstanding. A double event in 841 BC of Jehu’s coup and his payment of tribute to gain international support for his rulership is similar to the behavior of King Ahaz of Judah (and for that matter, Kings Pekah and Hoshea of Israel). Emeritus professor in Egyptology K A Kitchen said this:
|“||... son of Omri (Bit-Khumri) could function for the kingdom of Israel, made internationally notable by the Omrides. Bit-Khumri was used by Tiglath-pileser 3 for non-Omride kings Pekah (733 BC) & Hoshea (732 BC).||”|
Hence House/Land/Kingdom of Omri could apply to later Israelite kings not descended from Omri. Linguistically the formal bit can function wider than “son”, and that a non-Omride could exterminate the Omrides, yet be called Bit-Khumri, is not intrinsically contradictory.
- An identification of the Biblical "Pul King of Assyria" with Tiglath-Pileser III, rather than Asshur-Dan III.
- A concurrency of the reign of Pekah with the reigns of Menahem and Pekahiah, this although all three kings are clearly listed as having begun to reign in vastly different regnal years of King Uzziah of Judah.
Jehoahaz' son Joash proved a better ruler and general. He achieved three victories against the Syrians, each time recovering a Northern Kingdom city. He also prevailed, and dealt a tremendous humiliation, against Amaziah of the Southern Kingdom, who had challenged him to war without provocation.
Jehoahaz' son Jeroboam II would finally restore to the Northern Kingdom all the coastline it had lost, and most of its territory. Under Jeroboam, the Northern Kingdom knew the greatest prosperity it would ever know. Nevertheless, the prophets Hosea and Amos both predicted the Northern Kingdom's ruin.
Jeroboam II, in addition to a forty-one-year lone reign, had a twelve-year viceroyalty according to Ussher. Thiele, however, asserts that Jeroboam II's forty-one-year reign includes his viceroyalty under Joash, rather than following it in sequence.
When Jeroboam II died, the Northern Kingdom was definitely in severe civil disorder. Ussher notes that a careful read of the explicit synchronies between Northern and Southern kings clearly shows that Jeroboam II's reign fell twelve years short of the time when Zachariah, the last king of the House of Jehu, is supposed to have begun to reign. Ussher infers from this that for those twelve years, the Northern Kingdom was in anarchy.
Thiele denies that any such interregnum took place, and says that Zachariah took over at the end of Jeroboam's reign and life. To preserve the explicit synchronies with the reign of Uzziah, Thiele holds that Uzziah's fifty-two-year reign included twenty-four years as viceroy under Amaziah.
|Ussher I||Ussher II||Ussher III||Ussher IV||Thiele I||Thiele II||Thiele III||Thiele IV|
|Jeroboam II||II_Kings 14:23||3168||836||3108||836||3383||836||3323||836||3166||793||3106||793||3381||793||3321||793|
- James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 534-535, 542-3, 546, 547, 549-551, 553, 547, 551-2, 554, 556-8, 564, 567-568
- Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 272-278
- Authors unknown. "King Jehu - Biography." The Kings of Israel, hosted at http://www.geocities.com/ Retrieved June 14, 2007.
- Pierce, Larry, Evidentialism–the Bible and Assyrian chronology, TJ 15(1):62–68 April 2001
- Pierce, Larry? "Some Objections Considered." James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Master Books, 2003, pp. 921-926 ISBN 0890513600
- Kitchen, K A (2003) The Reliability of the Old Testament, Cambridge, Eerdmans, p24
- Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004, Chart 5