People - Ancient Near East: Ahab
Ancient Near East
Ahab in Wikipedia
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims (Hebrew: אַחְאָב, Modern Aẖ'av Tiberian ʼAḥʼāḇ ; "Brother of the father"; Greek: Αχααβ; Latin: Achab) was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri.
Ahab became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Asa, king of Judah, and reigned for twenty-two years. William F. Albright dated his reign to 869 – 850 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 874 – 853 BC.
Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of the King of Tyre and the alliance was doubtless the means of procuring political support. Jezreel (city) has been identified as Ahab's fortified chariot and cavalry base. 1 Kings 16-22 tells the story of Ahab and Jezebel, and indicates that Jezebel was a bad influence on Ahab.
Shalmaneser III's (859-824 BC) Kurkh Monolith names King Ahab.(see List of artifacts significant to the Bible
During Ahab's reign, Moab, which had been conquered by his father, remained tributary; Judah, with whose king, Jehoshaphat, he was allied by marriage, was probably his vassal; only with Aram Damascus is he believed to have had strained relations.
Battle of Qarqar
The Battle of Qarqar is one event mentioned by external sources and was perhaps at Apamea where Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought a great confederation of princes from Cilicia, Northern Syria, Israel, Ammon, and the tribes of the Syrian desert (853 BC), including Ahab (A-ha-ab-bu mat) (Adad-'idri).
Ahab's contribution was reckoned at 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men. The numbers are comparatively large and possibly include forces from Tyre, Judah, Edom, and Moab. The Assyrian king claimed a victory, but his immediate return and subsequent expeditions in 849 BC and 846 BC against a similar but unspecified coalition seem to show that he met with no lasting success. According to the Tanakh, however, Ahab with 7,000 troops had previously overthrown Ben-hadad and his thirty-two kings, who had come to lay siege to Samaria, and in the following year obtained a decisive victory over him at Aphek, probably in the plain of Sharon at Antipatris (1 Kings 20). A treaty was made whereby Ben-hadad restored the cities which his father had taken from Ahab's father (that is, Omri, but see 15:20, 2 Kings 13:25), and trading facilities between Damascus and Samaria were granted.
Death of Ahab
Three years later, war broke out on the east of the Jordan River, and Ahab with Jehoshaphat of Judah went to recover Ramoth-Gilead. During this battle Ahab disguised himself, but was mortally wounded by a randomly shot arrow (ch. 22). The Hebrew Bible says that dogs licked his blood, according to the prophecy of Elijah. But the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) adds that "pigs" also licked his blood. Israelites of course abstained from pork, but Ahab was married to a Phoenician princess, Jezebel, and his capital of Samaria was said to follow Canaanite gods.
He was succeeded by his sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram.
Order of events
It is very difficult to obtain any clear idea of the order of these events (the Septuagint places 1 Kings 21 immediately after 19). How the hostile kings of Israel and Syria came to fight a common enemy, and how to correlate the Assyrian and Biblical records, are questions which have perplexed all recent writers. The reality of the difficulties will be apparent from the fact that it has been suggested that the Assyrian scribe wrote "Ahab" for his son "Jehoram", and that the very identification of the name with Ahab of Israel has been questioned...
possibly Jehu, described as "son of Omri", or Jehu's ambassador, kneeling at the feet of Shalmaneser III on the Black Obelisk.
While the above passages from 1 Kings do not view Ahab unfavourably, there are others which are less friendly. The murder of Naboth (see Jezebel), an act of royal encroachment, stirred up popular resentment just as the new cult aroused the opposition of certain of the prophets. Indeed, he is referred to, for this and other things as being "more evil than all the kings before him". The followers of Yahweh found their champion in Elijah, whose history reflects the prophetic teaching of more than one age. His denunciation of the royal dynasty, and his emphatic insistence on the worship of Yahweh and Him alone, illustrated by the contest between Yahweh and Baal on Mount Carmel, as told in 1 Kings 18, form the key note to a period which culminated in the accession of Jehu, an event in which Elijah's chosen disciple Elisha was the leading figure.
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