Appendix B : The years of anarchy

In the century or so before the fall of Samaria the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah went through a tumultuous time.  Whilst we know the time frame into which these events fit there are four particular statements which at first sight look out of place.  However each statement is perfectly reasonable and does tell us something important.

The rule of Jeroboam

We are told that Azariah (Uzziah) came to the throne in the 27th year of Jeroboam.  This cannot refer to the 27th year after Jeroboam became King of Israel which was in 3182 only 14 years before Azariah became King of Judah.  Therefore, it must mean that Jeroboam was pro-rex, carrying out duties as a King whilst his father was still ruler, from 3169.  This was not unusual in practice and other examples can be found in the Bible.

Jeroboam then reigned for 41 years as King dying in 3223 but his son, Zechariah did not begin reigning until the 38th year of Azariah, which was 10 years after the death of Jeroboam.   Neither Zechariah, nor his brother who reigned after him lasted a full year and it seems therefore that after the death of Jeroboam there was ten years of dispute before Zechariah was made king and that the kingship question was not solved by this.

The rule of Hoshea

Hoshea came to rule when he led a conspiracy against King Pekah of Israel.  We are told that he reigned in place of Pekah in the 20th year of Jotham, which would be 3268.  Curiously, however, Jotham had died four years earlier.  Whilst it might seem odd to name Jotham, in the flow of the book of Kings no mention of Ahaz, the son of Jotham, has been made when Hoshea is introduced.

Later it is stated that Hoshea became King of Israel in Samaria in the 12th year of Ahaz (2 Ki 17.1) which is the year 3277.  It appears therefore that from 3268 to 3277 Hoshea was ruling Israel but had not been made King, so that it took him 9 years to secure the kingship.

© David Phillips 1995-2021