[b-hebrew] OT- perspective (was Josiah's book of the Law)

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Aug 5 15:52:50 EDT 2005

Dear Yitzhak,

>Where is "and the empire that he fought?"  Besides building an ivory house,
>I don't see any thing that is so different from other kings who didn't
>successfully defend against the Assyrian empire.

HH: You seem to be requiring the Bible to give a 
certain piece of information to be fair or 
complete. But that is a subjective, obviously 
debatable position to take.

>  > >Or why does Mesha in the Mesha stele claim he revolted under Omri's son?
>>  >Does he have some hidden agenda in claiming that?  Is it not possible that
>>  >the Bible just "slightly corrected" the date of revolt of Mesha so as to
>  > >"fulfill" the prophecy in 1 Kings 21:28 - 29?

1Kings 21:28-29 ¶ Then the word of the LORD came 
to Elijah the Tishbite: "Have you noticed how 
Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he 
has humbled himself, I will not bring this 
disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his 
house in the days of his son."

HH: I am not sure that losing a dependency is 
necessarily the disaster 1 Kings 21:28-29 had in 
mind anyway. It is possible that Ahab did suffer 
some losses of territory to the Moabites, but 
that would not necessarily be disastrous like the 
great wrath that came on Israel in Joram's time 
in his war against Moab (2 Kings 3:27). Joram's 
time was also when Arameans were making raids on 
Israel and taking away its citizens (2 Kings 
5:2). It was generally a time of war with Aram (2 
Kings 6:8). 2 Kings 7 describes a serious Aramean 
siege of the Israelite capital. There was also a 
seven-year famine, serious enough for it to be 
good advice to leave the land for Philistia (2 
Kings 8:1-2). And Hazael, king of Aram, was going 
to set fire to Israel's fortified cities, kill 
its young men with the sword, dash the children 
to the ground, and rip open the pregnant women (2 
Kings 8:12). Joram was killed partly due to 
Hazael's attacks on Israel, at which time he was 
wounded (2 Kings 8:29). Jehu killed the wounded 
king (2 Kings 9:15, 24). Jehu also killed Jezebel 
at that time, Ahab's wife (2 Kings 9:33, 36). He 
had 70 royal members of Ahab's household 
slaughtered (2 Kings 10:7). He next killed all 
the rest of those in Jezreel who remained of 
Ahab's house, plus all his chief men and his 
close friends, leaving no survivor to Ahab's 
house. All of Jehu's actions seem contemporaneous 
with his murder of Joram. So we can well say that 
the prophecy of 1 Kings 21:28-29 was fulfilled in 
the days of Ahab's son, even leaving aside the 
problems with Moab.

>  >> HH: Omri was the founder of the dynasty. We all should be familiar
>>  with the fact that the term "son" can mean grandson or even more
>>  distant kinship links. So a revolt at the time of Ahab's son would
>>  fulfill the words of the Mesha stele:
>The Mesha stele says: "Omri the king of Israel, and he tortured Moab many
>days, for Kemosh has despised his country.  And his son replaced him and
>said also, "I shall torture Moab!"  ... And Omri inherited the country
>of Mehedba,
>and resided in it through the rest of his days and through the midst
>of his son's
>days, 40 years."  This doesn't sound like he is speaking of Omri's grandson.

HH: Yes, this is a difficult issue. Some of the words read:

And his son succeeded him, and he also said I 
will oppress Moab. In my day he spoke according 
to this word, but I saw my desire upon him and 
upon his house, and Israel utterly perished 

Now Omri had possessed all the land of Medeba and 
dwelt in it his days and half the days of his 
son, forty years, but Chemosh restored it in my 
day. And I built Baal-meon and I made in it the 
reservoir and I built Kiryathaim. And the men of 
Gad had dwelt in the land of Ataroth from of old 
and the king of Israel had built for himself 
Ataroth. And I fought against the city and took 
it, and I slew all the people of the city, a 
sight pleasing to Chemosh and to Moab.

HH: I have not studied this issue in depth, but I 
see no reason to assume that the biblical account 
is false. The people writing the account believed 
in a God of truth. There are many other 
possibilities for reconciling the two accounts. 
The Moabite stone seems to record a series of 
events that took place over a span of time. It is 
possible that the repossession of Medeba did not 
involve warfare, or was not regarded as the full 
scale rebellion mentioned by 2 Kings as occurring 
after the death of Ahab.

HH: The fact that the king saw his desire on 
Omri's son and his house could allow that a 
considerable amount of his effort was directed 
against the house. Just outliving Ahab would 
provide a certain sense of victory over him.

HH: Some scholars mention that the forty years 
Mesha mentions would outlast the time of Ahab by 
some eight years if it began with the start of 
Omri's reign, which it might not. For Omri might 
not start oppressing Moab until well into his 
reign. So as a round number it would not be 
accurate, and as a correct number would run well 
into Joram's reign. Omri is supposed to have 
reigned with Tibni from 885 B.C., his sole reign 
beginning in 880. Ahab's reign was about 874-853. 
So even if one began with the time of Omri's dual 
reign, there would still be 8 of the 40 years to 
complete in 853 B.C.

					Harold Holmyard

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