The War in the Bible
The war in the Bible is omnipresent, not only in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament: does not the latter end, in the Apocalypse of John, with a great war? cosmic, in which the divine army confronts and defeats the forces of the devil? God is involved in human wars, interfering with them or giving the order to go to war. This aspect, which many Bible readers may find shocking, nevertheless reflects a common understanding among the cultures of the ancient Near East.
Formerly, as today, war seems to be a means that cannot be renounced in the face of certain conflicts or threats. The Hebrew word for war, milḥama, derives from the root l-ḥ-m, also attested in other West Semitic languages and meaning “to be tight, to clash, to fight”. However, there is also the substantive lèḥèm, which translates as “bread” or “food”. So is there a link between war and food? Does the expression “the sword devours” bear witness to this?
We often oppose war to peace. In Hebrew, it is the word šalom which means “prosperity, plenitude, well-being, peace”. It is derived from the root š-l-m, attested in other Semitic languages, “to be complete, intact, accomplished”, and corresponds to the Egyptian concept of Ma’at.
A Bible manuscript from 1300. The National Library of Israel Collection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
But contrary to what one might think, war…
Name of conflicts
|Battle of Siddim||The Battle of the Valley of Siddim , also known as the Battle of Siddim or the War of the Nine Kings, is an event described in Genesis 14 in which an alliance of four Mesopotamian kings waged war against five kings of the cities of the plain.||Genesis 14:1–17||Samaritan Pentateuch||Five Cities of Jordan Plain defeat Mesopotamian kingdoms at Siddim (near Dead Sea?)||Early 2nd millennium BCE|
|Crossing the Red Sea||The Passage of the Red Sea is a biblical account (Exodus 14:15-31) according to which the sea which blocks the passage of the Israelites fleeing the Egyptian army, miraculously opens for the let pass and closes in on their pursuers.
A concrete manifestation of divine redemption, this story is one of the founding events of Judaism, founding its faith in a personal God who burst into history. The story is much later taken up by the Koran (chap. 26, 63-68).
|Exodus 13:17–15:21||Samaritan Pentateuch||Yahweh parts Red Sea so Moses & Israelites cross, then drowns chasing Egyptians||(13th century BCE)|
|Battle of Refidim||Battle of Rephidim, as described in theBible, was fought between the Israelites and theAmalekites, at Rephidim, while the Israelite people were heading towards the Promised Land. The description of this battle is found inthe Book of Exodus.||Exodus 17:8–13||Samaritan Pentateuch||Yahweh assists Moses & Israelites in defeating Amalekites at Rephidim||(13th century BCE)|
|Golden calf massacre||During the Exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt to the promised land, during the ascent of Mount Sinai by Moses to receive the Tables of the Law, the Hebrews, newly freed from the yoke of Pharaoh, urged Aaron to show them a god who can guide them.
Aaron then commands the Hebrew people to break the gold earrings of the women and children, so that he can melt down a calf which they designate and worship as a god, in imitation of the Apis bull which was worshiped in Egypt . When Moses descends from Mount Sinai and sees the Hebrews worshiping an idol, which is forbidden by the Second Commandment, he is seized with such anger that he smashes the Tables of the Law on a rock. God then orders Moses to kill all these heretics, and Moses transmits this order to those among his people who have remained faithful to him.
|Exodus 32:26–28||Samaritan Pentateuch||Moses instructs Levites to kill Israelites as punishment for golden calf|
|Conquest of Heshbon||The Heshbon Expedition is the name commonly used to refer to five seasons of archaeological excavations looking for biblical Heshbon at Tall Hisban in Jordan.||Numbers 21:21–30||Samaritan Pentateuch||Moses & Israelites kill all Heshbon soldiers (and civilians?)|
|Conquest of Bashan||The Bashan was ultimately conquered and pillaged by the Assyrian Empire, which held onto it from 732 to 610 BCE. It later saw security and prosperity under Achaemenid rule; its settlements became better developed and culturally Aramized.||Numbers 21:33–35||Samaritan Pentateuch||Moses & Israelites kill all Bashan soldiers (and civilians?)|
|War against the Midianites||Numbers 31 is the 31st chapter of the Biblical Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Pentateuch/Torah , the central part of the Hebrew Bible ( Old Testament or Tanach ), a sacred text in Judaism and Christianity.||Numbers 31||Samaritan Pentateuch||Yahweh assists Phinehas & Israelites in massacring Midianite men, enslaving virgins||(late 13th century BCE)|
|Conquest of Canaan||Moses dies on Mount Nebo, seeing the Promised Land from a distance. It was his assistant, Joshua, who had the honor of crossing the Jordan to conquer Canaan. At the same time, Israel enters into history. In the book of Joshua, conquest is presented as easy and quick.||Joshua 2–19||Joshua 10–11: Joshua & Israelites swiftly completely conquer Canaan|
|Battle of Jericho||The battle of Jericho is an event linked to the conquest of the land of Canaan, recounted in the book of Joshua, where the people of Israel sounded their trumpets under the walls of Jericho, to which access was forbidden to them. This sound brought down the walls of the city.||Joshua 5:13–6:27||Yahweh assists Joshua & Israelites in destroying Jericho||(16th or 13th century BCE)|
|Battles of Ai||In the Book of Joshua, chapters 7 and 8, the Israelites attempt to conquer Ai on two occasions. The first, in Joshua 7, fails. The biblical account portrays the failure as being due to a prior sin of Achan, for which he is stoned to death by the Israelites.||Joshua 7–8||Yahweh assists Joshua & Israelites in destroying Ai|
|Battle of the Waters of Merom||According to Joshua 11 in the Hebrew Bible, the Battle of the Waters of Merom was a battle between the Israelites and a coalition of Canaanite city-states near the Waters of Merom. Archaeologist Nadav Na’aman has suggested that this battle may never have taken place, and that its narrative might have “preserved some remote echoes of wars conducted in these places in early Iron Age I.||Joshua 11||Yahweh assists Joshua & Israelites in defeating Canaanite city-states.|
|Post-Joshua raids||According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, but modern scholars view it as part of the Deuteronomistic History, which spans the books of Deuteronomy to 2 Kings, attributed to nationalistic and devotedly Yahwistic writers during the time of the reformer Judean king Josiah in 7th century BCE. This chapter focuses on the military failure and apostasy of the Israelites following the introduction in the first chapter.||Judges 2:10–23||A pattern of Israelite apostasy, foreign raids as punishment, and Israelite repentance to Yahweh is established that is repeated throughout the Hebrew Bible.
Judges 2 seems a summary of what is to come rather than a unique set of battles.
|Moabite conquest of Israel||The War of Israel and Judah Against Moab (2 Kings 3:4-27) 30 January Mesha, king of Moab, declined to give Israel his customary tribute following the passing of King Ahab of Israel. An inscription found on the Moabite Stone, a pillar that is currently housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, attests to the presence of this Moabite ruler.||Judges 3:12–14||Yahweh punishes Israelites: Eglon’s Moabites, Ammonites, Amalekites conquer Israel.|
|Battle of the Jordan fords||The Battle of Jordanów took place on 1–3 September 1939, during the Invasion of Poland and the opening stages of World War II. It was fought between the German XVIII Panzer Corps of Gen.E.Beyer and the Polish 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade under Col. Stanisław Maczek.||Judges 3:15–30||Yahweh helps judge Ehud murder Eglon, Israelites defeat and vassalise Moabites.|
|Battle of Mount Tabor||The Battle of Tabor must have taken place in the middle of the 12th century BC. before Israel and Judah were established as kingdoms. The battle is mentioned only in the Bible as well as the Torah and was between Canaanites led by King Jabin of Hazor’s chief commander Sisera and a coalition of Israelite tribes led by Barak and Deborah. The battle is described in the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5.||Judges 4–5||Judges Deborah and Barak lead Israelites to defeat Jabin’s Canaanites.|
|Gideon’s campaign against the Midianites (Well of Harod)||As is the pattern throughout the Book of Judges, the Israelites again turned away from Yahweh after 40 years of peace brought by Deborah’s victory over Canaan, and Midianites, Amalekites and other Bedouin peoples harried Israel for seven years.||Judges 6–8||Yahweh assists Gideon in driving out Midianites and other invaders. In return, Gideon destroys all sanctuaries of ‘foreign’ gods and goddesses such as Baal and Asherah.|
|Shechemite rebellion||Abimelech was the king of Shechem and a son of biblical judge Gideon. His name can best be interpreted as “my father is king”, claiming the inherited right to rule. He is introduced in Judges 8:31 as the son of Gideon and his Shechemite concubine, and the biblical account of his reign is described in chapter nine of the Book of Judges. According to the Bible, he was an unprincipled and ambitious ruler, who often engaged in war against his own subjects.||Judges 9:22–57||Abimelech kills his 70 brothers, becomes king, Shechemites rebel and defeat him.|
|Israelite–Ammonite war||Ammonites Threaten War. For 18 years oppression by the Ammonites continued. This was permitted by God because the Israelites had unfaithfully turned to serving the gods of the nations round about. But now the sons of Israel were brought to their senses, repenting of their folly and calling on Jehovah for help.||Judges 11:4–36||Yahweh helps Jephthah defeat the Ammonites in return for sacrificing his daughter|
|Gileadite–Ephraimite war||The War Between Ephraim and Gilead (Judges 12) October 2 The Gileadites were a clan within Manasseh, dwelling east of the Jordan and north of the Dead Sea. They appear to have been very independent of their tribe, and this independence irked the men of Ephraim, who generally headed the House of Joseph.||Judges 12:1–6||Ephraimites complain to Jephthah about not inviting them to help fight the Ammonites.|
|(Shibboleth war)||A shibboleth (emphasized shibboleth or schíbboleth is a linguistic feature that allows a speaker to be assigned to a social group or region. Distinguish shibboleths from tongue twisters , which are difficult for all speakers to pronounce. Rather, shibboleths are words whose different pronunciation reveals the origin of the speaker and which thus become a social code.||Jephthah’s Gileadite army attacks and kills Ephraimites who can’t say ‘shibboleth’.|
|Samson versus Philistines||Samson (from the 9th-century Hebrew Bible vocalization, Chimshon; in Hebrew שִׁמְשׁוֹן, from the root chemech, meaning “sun”) was a nazir from his mother’s womb and a judge of Israel for twenty years (12th century before JC.). The story is written in the Book of Judges||Judges 15:6–20||Avenging his wife’s murder, Samson attacks and kills ‘many’ Philistines,||–|
(Sack of Laish)
|The Micah idol narrative, as told in the Book of Judges, concerns the tribe of Dan , the conquest of Laish, and the sanctuary that was later created there.
Judges 18 is the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition the book was attributed to the prophet Samuel, but modern scholars view it as part of the Deuteronomistic History, which spans in the books of Deuteronomy to 2 Kings, attributed to nationalistic and devotedly Yahwistic writers during the time of the reformer Judean king Josiah in 7th century BCE. This chapter records the activities of the tribe of Dan, and belongs to a section comprising Judges 17 to 21.
|Judges 18:9–31||600 Danites sack the poorly defended city of Laish.
They rename it “Dan”, rebuild and repopulate it, and adopt Micah’s idolatry.
|Benjamite War / Battle of Gibeah||Jabesh is mentioned in the biblical episode of the Levite’s concubine, also known as the Benjamite War, during which eleven tribes of Israel had massacred the Tribe of Benjamin. The eleven tribes relented from wiping the whole tribe, and decided that they needed to find wives for the 600 remaining Benjaminite men since all other people in Benjamin had been killed. However, they had taken an oath not to give their daughters to a Benjaminites, so they found the one city in Israel that had not joined the fight: Jabesh. The city’s inhabitants were executed under the Herem except for 400 virgins. They brought back 400 virgins from Jabesh and gave them to the men on Rimmon Rock (Judges 21:8–15).||Judges 19–21||After Levite’s concubine’s gang-rape, other Israelite tribes attack Benjamites|
|Battle of Aphek||The Battle of Aphek is a biblical episode described in the First Book of Samuel 4:1–10 of the Hebrew Bible. During this battle the Philistines defeated the Israelite army and captured the Ark of the Covenant. Among biblical scholars, the historicity of the early events in the Books of Samuel is debated, with some scholars leaning toward many events in Samuel being historical, and some scholars leaning towards less.||1 Samuel 4:1–10||Because judge Eli’s sons were ‘wicked’, Yahweh allows the Philistines|
|Battle of Mizpah||According to the Book of Samuel, the Battle of Mizpah (1084 B.C.) was a battle in Israel that occurred when the Ark of the Covenant was captured in the Battle of Aphek.||1 Samuel 7:5–14||With the Ark’s return, Israelites reject Baal and Ashtoreth worship, reconnect to Yahweh|
|Siege of Jabesh-Gilead||Jabesh means “dry” in Hebrew, a name possibly attributed to the site’s well-draining soil. Gilead means ‘heap [of stones] of testimony’. There is also an alternative theory that it means ‘rocky region’.
Jabesh-Gilead is a central setting of 1 Samuel 11. After Saul is anointed by Samuel, Nahash of Ammon attacks Jabesh-Gilead. Having subjected the town to a siege, its inhabitants sought terms for surrender, but were told by Nahash that they had a choice of death by sword or having their right eyes gouged out. The population obtained seven days’ grace from Nahash, during which they would be allowed to seek help from the Israelites, after which they would have to submit to the terms of surrender. The town’s inhabitants sought help from the people of Israel, sending messengers throughout the whole territory, and Saul responded by raising an army which decisively defeated Nahash and his cohorts at Bezek. After the war is over, the Israelites assemble at Gilgal to renew Saul’s kingship over Israel.
|1 Samuel 11||Ammonites besiege Jabesh-Gilead, but Yahweh helps Saul relieve it. Saul is crowned king.||11th century BCE|
|Battle of Michmash||The battle of Michmash was a battle mentioned in the Old Testament and the Torah, the battle was between the Israelites under Jonathan, who was the son of Saul , the king of the Israelites, and the Philistines. The battle took place at Mikmash which was a city east of Bethel and south of Migron.||1 Samuel 13–14:23||Antiquities of the Jews, VI.6||Israelites led by Saul’s son Jonathan defeat Philistines.||11th century BCE|
|Saul’s campaigns against various tribes||Saul waged successful campaigns against the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites. Saul defeats the Amalekites of Havilah and pursues them to Shur. Facing capture, Saul takes his own life. His body is fastened to the city walls at Beth Shean by the Philistines and his armour is displayed inside the Temple of Ashtoreth.||1 Samuel 14:47–48||‘Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines’, ‘the Amalekites’.||11th century BCE|
|Saul’s Amalekite campaign||So Saul promised to do what he was commanded; and supposing that his obedience to God would be shown, not only in making war against the Amalekites, but more fully in the readiness and quickness of his proceedings, he made no delay, but immediately gathered together all his forces; and when he had numbered them in Gilgal, he found them to be about four hundred thousand of the Israelites, besides the tribe of Judah, for that tribe contained by itself thirty thousand.||1 Samuel 15:1–11||Saul exterminates Amalekites. Yahweh rejects Saul as king for not killing Amalekite livestock.||11th century BCE|
|David or Elhanan versus Goliath||Goliath, also known as “Goliath of Gath”—named after one of the five Philistine city-states—is a biblical character from the Tanakh and the Old Testament. In the Bible, the story of his fight with David is in chapter 17 of the First Book of Samuel. In the Quran, Goliath is known as Jalout. The story signified Saul’s unfitness to rule, as Saul himself should have fought for Israel. Scholars today believe that the original listed killer of Goliath was Elhanan, son of Jair, and that the authors of the Deuteronomic history changed the original text to credit the victory to the more famous character David.
The phrase “David and Goliath” has taken on a more popular meaning denoting an underdog situation, a contest wherein a smaller, weaker opponent faces a much bigger, stronger adversary.
|2 Samuel 21:19||2 Samuel 21:19: Elhanan, son of Jaare-oregim kills Goliath the Gittite in the Battle of Gob
(1 Chronicles 20:5: Elhanan, son of Jair kills Lahmi, brother of Goliath the Gittite in battle)
|Foreskin war||David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.||1 Samuel 18:24–30
(2 Samuel 3:14)
|1 Samuel 18: David kills 200 Philistines and takes their foreskins as bride price for Michal.
(2 Samuel 3: David betrothed Michal for 100 Philistine foreskins, demands Saul deliver her.)
|11th century BCE|
|Battle of Mount Gilboa||The Philistines make war again, assembling at Shunem, and Saul leads his army to face them at Mount Gilboa. Before the battle he goes to consult a medium or witch at Endor. The medium, unaware of his identity, reminds him that the king has made witchcraft a capital offence, but he assures her that Saul will not harm her. She conjures a spirit which appears to be the prophet Samuel, and tells him that God has fully rejected him, will no longer hear his prayers, has given the kingdom to David and that the next day he will lose both the battle and his life. Saul collapses in fear, and the medium restores him with food in anticipation of the next day’s battle.
The victorious Philistines recover Saul’s body as well as those of his three sons who also died in the battle, decapitate them and display them on the wall of Beth-shan. They display Saul’s armour in the temple of Ashtaroth (an Ascalonian temple of the Canaanites). But at night the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead retrieve the bodies for cremation and burial. Later on, David takes the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan and buries them in Zela, in the tomb of his father.
|1 Samuel 28:4
2 Samuel 1:1–16
1 Samuel 31:1–4
1 Chronicles 10
|Josephus||Philistines invade and defeat Israelites.
1 Samuel 31 & 1 Chronicles 10: Saul lets his armour-bearer kill him.
2 Samuel 1: Saul lets a passing Amalekite kill him.
|11th century BCE|
|David versus Ish-bosheth||Ish-Bosheth was a son of King Saul. His story is discussed in 2 Samuel chapters 2 through 4. David was king in the city of Hebron and over the tribe of Judah. Ish-Bosheth was made king over the rest of Israel: “Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The tribe of Judah, however, remained loyal to David” (2 Samuel 2:8–10).||2 Samuel 2:8–4:5||War of succession upon Saul’s death between his son Ish-bosheth and son-in-law David.||c. 1000 BCE|
|Pool of Gibeon||The Pool of Gibeon is a site in Gibeon mentioned a number of times in the Hebrew Bible. Archeological evidence locates the historical site of the pool in the village of Jib, in the West Bank Palestinian territories.||2 Samuel 2:12–17||David versus Ish-bosheth battle||c. 1000 BCE|
|Siege of Jebus||The Siege of Jebus is a siege described in Biblical passages that occurred when Israelites under King David of Israel besieged and conquered the Canaanite city of Jerusalem , then known as Jebus ( Hebrew , יבוס Yəḇūs , “was”). The Israelites gained access by surprise assault, making Jebus the capital of Israel under the new name, City of David.
The identification of Jebus with Jerusalem has been questioned. Niels Peter Lemche points out that every non-biblical mention of Jerusalem found in the ancient Near East refers to the city by the name of Jerusalem, offering as an example the Amarna letters which are dated to the 14th century BCE. C. and they call Jerusalem “Urasalimmu”. He states that “There is no evidence for Jebus and the Jebusites outside of the Old Testament . Some scholars consider Jebus to be a different place from Jerusalem; other scholars prefer to see the name Jebus as some kind of pseudo-ethnic name without any kind of historical background.”
|2 Samuel 5:6–10
1 Chronicles 11:4–5
|None||David conquers Canaanite city Jebus, makes it his capital (Jerusalem?)||c. 1000 BCE|
|Siege of Rabbah||During the reign of King David, the Ammonites humiliated David’s messengers, and hired the Aramean armies to attack Israel. This eventually ended in a war and a year-long siege of Rabbah, the capital of Ammon.||2 Samuel 11||Israelites led by Joab besiege the Ammonite city of Rabbah.
David arranges Uriah’s death in battle, so that he can take Uriah’s wife Bathsheba.
|c. 1000 BCE|
|Battle of the Wood of Ephraim||The Battle of the Forest of Ephraim is a battle between rebels under Prince Absalom and King David’s forces during a short-lived revolt against his rule. The battle is mentioned in the second book of Samuel and there is debate as to whether it is based on a historical event or not, some biblical scholars believe that the text is largely based on a real event while others believe that the battle is completely made up||2 Samuel 17:24–18:18
(proper: 2 Sam 18:6–8)
|David’s army defeats and kills his rebellious son Absalom||c. 1000 BCE|
|Battles of Baal-perazim
and the Valley of Rephaim
|It was the scene of a victory gained by David over the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:20; 1 Chronicles 14:11). It is called Mount Perazim in Isaiah 28:21. It was near the Valley of Rephaim, west of Jerusalem.||2 Samuel 5:17–25
1 Chronicles 14:8–16
|David defeats the Philistines||c. 1000 BCE|
|Jeroboam’s Revolt||Jeroboam’s rebellion (also called “Israel’s rebellion against the ways of David “) was an armed rebellion against Rehoboam who was king of the united Judah and Israel . The rebellion was led by Jeroboam who was the king of the northern Israelite tribes and took place in the 9th century BC. The rebellion is described in First Kings and Second Chronicles. The conflict began after King Solomon ‘s death and although Jerovam managed to make his kingdom independent early in the conflict, it lasted until the battle at Zemaraimberget when Rehoboam died and his son Abijam took over the throne.||1 Kings 11
2 Chronicles 13
|Archeological findings||United monarchy splits into kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah (Jerusalem)||c. 931–913 BCE|
|Shishak’s sack of Jerusalem||When Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that Solomon had made.||1 Kings 14:25
2 Chronicles 12:1–12
|(Shoshenq I?)||Egyptian pharaoh Shishak sacks Jerusalem during Rehoboam’s reign||c. 926 BCE|
|Battle of Mount Zemaraim||The great Battle of Mount Zemaraim was reported in the Bible as being fought on Mount Zemaraim, when the army of the Kingdom of Israel led by King Jeroboam I met the army of the Kingdom of Judah led by King Abijah I. Around 500,000 Israelites are said to have died after this single confrontation, although most modern commentators consider the figures to be highly exaggerated or symbolic, and some have even questioned their fundamental historicity. A chronology proposed by Edwin Thielesuggests that the battle would have taken place around the year 913 BC.||1 Kings 12
2 Chronicles 13
|Judahites repel an Israelite invasion||c. 913 BCE|
|Battle of Zephath||The Battle of Zephat is a battle that took place in the “Valley of Zephata” according to the records of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. The battle took place in the 10th year of the reign of Asa, king of Judah, estimated between 911-870 BC.||2 Chronicles 14:8–15||(Osorkon I/II?)||Yahweh helps Asa of Judah defeat Zerah the Cushite, killing 1 million troops||c. 911–870 BCE|
(Siege of Tirzah)
|After Zimri had ended his life after a reign of seven days, the people of Israel were divided into two factions, one siding with Omri, and the other with Tibni. They and their forces fought each other for several years until Omri’s forces prevailed and Tibni’s death. It appears that Tibni was regent over half the kingdom of Israel for a period of four years. Tibni had a brother named Joram, who seconded him in the dispute over the throne and who died at the same time as himself, probably at the hands of Omri’s party; however he is only mentioned in the LXX version of 1 Kings 16:22. Tibni’s death is recorded but not explained.||1 Kings 16:21–22
(1 Kings 16:15–20)
|War of succession after usurper Zimri killed king Elah of Israel.
Started with Omri’s brief siege of Tirzah, then 4-year war against Tibni.
|c. 886 to 883 BCE.|
|Israelite–Aramean War||The Second Israelite-Aramaic War is narrated briefly in the Bible, in the first book of kings, in chapter 15 vers. 16. This began when Baasha, king of Israel, began to wall off the city of Ramah, (possibly present-day Ramallah) on the southern border of the kingdom of Israel, to cut off all communication routes to King Asa of Judah, who felt troubled by this bought the help of the king of the Aramaeans Ben-Hadad I who was the son of King Tabrimon, who was the grandson of Rezon, founder of the kingdom of Damascus. Asa sent him the treasures of the house of Adonay , telling him: That the two of us have an alliance, as there was between our fathers, I am sending you these treasures of gold and silver so that you break your alliance with Baasha, so that he may withdraw from me.. Ben-Hadad responded by attacking Baasha and they conquered the cities of Ion, Dan, Abel-maim and other supply cities from Naphtali’s land, so he stopped fortifying the city of Ramah. Asa and his subjects took the materials that remained from the building, and used them to fortify Geba and Mizpah.||1 Kings 20:1–34
2 Kings 6:8–7:16
|Ahab & Israelites defeat Aram-Damascus||c. 874 BCE|
|Edomite and Libnahite revolts||In his days (Jehorah, king of Judah) Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. Then Joram crossed over to Zair, and all his chariots with him. And he arose by night and struck the Edomites who had surrounded him and the captains of the chariots; but his army fled to their tents. So Edom revolted against Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.” (2 Kings 8:20–22)
The book of 1 and 2 Kings was written by Jeremiah in 561 BC.
|2 Kings 8:20–22||The Judahite vassal states Edom and Libnah revolt against Judah.||c. 845 BCE|
|Battle of Zair||2 Chronicles 21 is the twenty-first chapter of the Second Book of Chronicles the Old Testament in the Christian Bible or of the second part of the Books of Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible. The book is compiled from older sources by an unknown person or group, designated by modern scholars as “the Chronicler”, and had the final shape established in late fifth or fourth century BCE. This chapter belongs to the section focusing on the kingdom of Judah until its destruction by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar and the beginning of restoration under Cyrus the Great of Persia (2 Chronicles 10 to 36). The focus of this chapter is the reign of Jehoram, king of Judah.||2 Chronicles 21:8–10||Judahite chariots try to reclaim Edom, but are defeated at Zair, Jehoram narrowly escaping.|
|Philistine–Arab raid on Judah||The Philistines were subdued during the time of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:26) and some, along with the neighboring Arabs, paid tributes to Jehoshaphat during his reign (2 Chronicles 17:11).||2 Chronicles 21:12–17||Yahweh curses Jehoram of Judah, causes Philistine/Arab raiders to invade Judah||c. 845 BCE|
|Sack of Tiphsah||To sack a city is to destroy it. So he burnt buildings, killed people, and looted.
Ripping open pregnant women means he removed their fetuses from their bodies, presumably killing them.
2 Kings 15 is the fifteenth chapter of the second part of the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible or the Second Book of Kings in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The book is a compilation of various annals recording the acts of the kings of Israel and Judah by a Deuteronomic compiler in the seventh century BCE, with a supplement added in the sixth century BCE. This chapter records the events during the reigns of Azariah (Uzziah) and his son, Jotham, the kings of Judah, as well as of Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah and Pekah, the kings of Israel. Twelve first verses of the narrative belong to a major section 2 Kings 9:1–15:12 covering the period of Jehu’s dynasty.
|2 Kings 15:16||Menahem kills Shallum, becomes king, sacks city of Tiphsah for not opening its gates.||c. 745 BCE|
|Tiglath-Pileser III’s||Tiglath-Pileser succeeded in building up Assyria – at the beginning of his reign more of a local power – into the most important superpower in the Middle East. He reformed the structure of the empire and abolished tax privileges to ensure the financing of militarization and expansionist policies.||2 Kings 15:19–20,29
2 Kings 16:5–9
|lots||Tiglath-Pileser III invades several times, increasing Assyrian power.||743–732 BCE|
|Syro-Ephraimite War||The war between the states of Damascus and Israel against Assyria ‘s ally Judah, which ended with the victory of Judah and thus of Assyria.||2 Kings 16:5
2 Chronicles 28
|Assyria and Judah defeat Aram-Damascus and Israel||736–732 BCE|
|Siege of Samaria||The method of siege is common in warfare. Nothing could more awfully illustrate the helplessness of human beings when deprived of the use of the ordinary productions of nature. We depend on God for daily existence, and do not realize it.||2 Kings 17:3–6||Babylonian Chronicle||Shalmaneser V besieges and conquers Samaria,
destroys Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), starts Assyrian captivity.
in the Levant
|Sennacherib ‘s Levantine campaign (also Sennacherib’s Syro-Palestinian campaign ) took place in 701 BC , when the Assyrian King Sennacherib turned his attentions from Babylonia to the western part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, where Hezekiah of Judah, incited by the Egypt and by Marduk-apla-iddina II, had rebelled against him. The revolt involved various small Levantine states, scattered between Phenicia, Philistia and Palestine : Sidon and Ascalonthey were taken by force, and a number of other cities and states, including Byblos, Ashdod, Ammon, Moab, and Edom paid tribute without resistance. Ekron asked Egypt for help but the Egyptians were defeated. Sennacherib then turned against Jerusalem, Hezekiah’s capital. He besieged the city and gave the surrounding cities to the Assyrian vassal rulers of Ekron, Gaza and Ashdod. However, Sennacherib did not breach the walls of Jerusalem and Hezekiah remained on his throne as a vassal ruler.
The events of the war are depicted in the Lachish reliefs (now in the British Museum ), commissioned by Sennacherib to commemorate the feat and adorn his new palace at Nineveh.
|2 Kings 18–19||Sennacherib’s Annals||After Sargon II’s death (705 BCE), various Levantine vassal states rebel against Assyria.
New Assyrian king Sennacherib reasserts control.
|Siege of Lachish||The Siege of Lachish is the name given to the siege and capture of the Judean city of Lachish in 701 BC by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The clash is documented in several sources including the Hebrew Bible, Assyrian documents and the so-called “Relief of Lachish”, a well-preserved series of reliefs that once decorated the palace of the Assyrian king Sennacherib in Nineveh.||2 Kings 18Micah 1:13||Sennacherib’s Annals
Antiquities of the Jews
|Assyrian siege of Jerusalem||Around 701 BC Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attacked the fortified cities of the Kingdom of Judah in a campaign of submission. Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem, but failed to capture it: it is the only city mentioned as being besieged on Sennacherib’s Stele, whose capture is not mentioned.||2 Kings 18Isaiah||Sennacherib’s Annals
Histories (Herodotus) 2:141?
|Battle of Nineveh (612 BC)||The Battle of Nineveh or Fall of Nineveh is conventionally dated between 613 BC and 611 BC , with 612 BC being the most supported date. Rebelling against the Assyrians, a combined army of Medes and Babylonians besieged the Assyrian imperial capital of Nineveh and sacked 750 hectares of what was, at that time, the largest city in the world. The fall of Nineveh led to the destruction over the next three years of the Neo-Assyrian Empire as the dominant state in the Ancient Near East.
Babylon became the imperial center of Mesopotamia for the first time in over a thousand years, leading to the emergence of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, claiming imperial continuity as a new dynasty.
Archaeological records show that the capital of the former Assyrian Empire was largely deurbanised and depopulated in the decades and centuries following the battle. A confused account of the city’s fall later led to the story of the legendary king Sardanapalus.
“Fall of Nineveh” chronicle
|Extrabiblical sources: Medes and Babylonians defeat Assyrians and destroy Nineveh
(Jonah: Yahweh orders Jonah to warn Nineveh to repent or face punishment)
Nahum: Yahweh sends unspecified enemies to punish Nineveh for its sins
|c. 612 BCE|
|Battle of Megiddo (609 BC)||The Battle of Megiddo ( 609 BC ) was a battle between Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt and King Josiah of Judah.
The Babylonians grew more and more powerful and were about to attack Carchemish and thus the Assyrians . Pharaoh preferred weakened Assyrians to strong Babylonians and sent a strong army. King Josiah wanted to please the Babylonians and tried to stop them. Josiah disguised himself as a soldier and entered the battlefield. As he rode from one wing to the other he was struck by an arrow and died. The Egyptians advanced to Carchemish , but the Assyrians and the Egyptians were crushed.
|2 Kings 23:29–30
|Antiquities of the Jews x.5.1
(Histories (Herodotus) 2:159?)
Talmud Lev. 26:6 Taanis 22b
|Egyptians & Assyrians defeat Judahites (and kill Josiah?)||609 BCE|
|Battle of Carchemish||The Battle of Karkemiš was fought around 605 BC between the allied armies of Egypt ( XXVI Dynasty ) and the former Assyrian Empire against the Medo – Babylonian alliance that had overwhelmed Assyria in 609 BC||Ezekiel 30||Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle
Antiquities of the Jews x.5.1
|Babylonians defeat Egyptians and Assyrians||c. 605 BCE|
|Judah’s revolts against Babylon||The Judeo-Babylonian War was a military conflict between the Kingdom of Judah and the Babylonian Empire that took place between 601 BC to 586 BC. The conflict marks the end of the kingdom of Judah and also the end of Jewish independence until the 100s BC. In the final stages of the war, the Temple of Jerusalem was burned down and the Babylonian captivity began.||c. 601–586 BCE|
|Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)||The capture of Jerusalem on March 16, 597 BC. BC was the first recorded capture of the city by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II. In the year 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt and thus gained supremacy over the kingdom of Judah . King Jehoiakim made tribute payments . In 601 Nebuchadnezzar was defeated by an Egyptian army and Jehoiakim stopped paying tribute.
In Kislev (November/December) 598, Nebuchadnezzar was able to conquer the “land of Hatti” (Syria, Palestine. On March 16 (2 Adar ) 597, he also conquered the “City of Jaahudu” (Jerusalem). The city was not destroyed. Details are u. a. handed down in the Bible. Various books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, in Christianity the Old Testament) and a cuneiform chronicle report on the conquest of Jerusalem.
|2 Kings 24:10–16
|Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle||Nebuchadnezzar II besieges and conquers Jerusalem|
|Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)||The siege of Jerusalem, which took place in 587 and 586 BC, pitted the Neo-Babylonian army against the city of Jerusalem, capital of the Kingdom of Judah.
Ending with the destruction of the city, that of the temple of Solomon and the deportation of a large part of the population to Babylon, it puts a definitive end to the ten-year conflict which opposed these two kingdoms.
The destruction of the first Temple is a major event in Jewish history and tradition, commemorated annually by the four fasts mentioned in the Book of Zechariah (Zechariah 8:19). It also helps to prepare the ground for Christianity.
The events and their perception are covered extensively in the Bible, especially in the Second Book of Kings and Jeremiah, as well as in the Book of Lamentations and Ezekiel. They are also related in the Babylonian Chronicles (in) as well as, according to Flavius Josephus, by Berossus, a Babylonian Hellenophone historian of the 3rd century BC. J.-C.
|2 Kings 252 Chronicles 36||None||Nebuchadnezzar II besieges and destroys Jerusalem||c. 587–586 BCE|
|Purim war||Purim which means “Spells” would be a natural miracle, that is to say that the people would have escaped the catastrophe by the game of chance, without supernatural intervention, but by a succession of lucky chances and by the skill of an enlightened leader and an exceptional woman. They are Mordechai the Jew and Esther his niece.||Esther 9:5–16||Antiquities of the Jews xi.6||With king Ahasuerus’ help, Jews in the Persian Empire kill their enemies||5th–4th century BCE|
Photo description: the battle of Jericho is an event linked to the conquest of the land of Canaan, recounted in the book of Joshua, where the people of Israel sounded their trumpets under the walls of Jericho, to which access was forbidden to them. This sound brought down the walls of the city.