Ben-Hadad III of Aram and Jehoash of Israel (2 Kings 13)

Bilderesultat for Ben-Hadad III of Aram

Illustration: This may be Ben-Hadad III (Bar-Hadad III in Aramaic)

During the second half of the ninth century B.C., the northern kingdom suffered a great deal in wars with Hazael, king of Aram (2 Kings 8:28-29, 13:3, 22). During the reign of Jehoash (ca. 798-782 B.C.), however, the tide turned. Elisha predicted that Jehoash would be victorious over the Arameans three times (13:17). In about 800 B.C. Hazael was succeeded by his son Ben-Hadad. (Being the third king with that name in the Old Testament, he is usually referred to as Ben-Hadad III.) Elisha’s prophecy came true as Jehoash defeated Ben-Hadad III three times and recovered all of the cities Hazael had captured from Israel (13:24-25). This most likely occurred after Ben-Hadad’s subjugation by the Assyrians, when the Aramean kingdom was considerably weakened.

The Tell al-Rimah Stele, an inscription that comes from Adadnirari III (king of Assyria from 810 to 783 B.C.), mentions Jehoash and apparently Ben-Hadad III. Discovered in 1967 at the site of Tell al-Rimah in modern Iraq, some 64,5 km west of Nineveh, it is a record of Adadnirari’s campaign to the west in about 796 B.C. According to the stele Adadnirari received tribute payments from “Mari of Damascus”, Joash the Samarian and unnamed rulers of Tyre and Sidon. Mari of Damascus is probably Ben-Hadad III; the inscription states that he sent vast amounts of silver, copper, iron and clothing to Adadniari. Joash the Samarian is Jehoash of Israel (see 13:9-14, 25). The amount of tribute paid by Jehoash and the rulers of Tyre and Sidon is not mentioned, but in another stele, the “Sabaa Stele”, Adadnirari gives another account of a triumph over “Mari of Damascus”, whom he confined to Damascus and from whom he exacted an enormous amount of gold and silver.


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