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The Kings Of Tirzah
Tirzah is first mentioned in Bible History in the time of Joshua. The Canaanite king of Tirzah was removed, along with thirty others in the region, and the city was made Israelite.
"12:7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel smote on this side Jordan on the west, from Baalgad in the valley of Lebanon even unto the mount Halak, that goeth up to Seir; which Joshua gave unto the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions ... 12:24 The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one." (Joshua 12:7,24 KJV)
Tirzah, in Hebrew pronounced teer-tsaw, means delightful, which it apparently was, or was situated in a beautiful area at the time. Amorous King Solomon also literally spoke of the beauty of the city, albeit in a somewhat contradictory manner i.e. "beautiful," but "terrible as an army with banners."
"6:4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners." (Song Of Solomon 6:4 KJV)
"To reign over all Israel in Tirzah"
Later, after the death of Solomon, when the united kingdom of the Israelites split into two separate kingdoms, Israel and Judah (see the Fact Finder question below), Jeroboam, the northern kingdom's first king, in effect made Tirzah the capital city of Israel i.e. it was the place of the king's residence. It would remain so from approximately 933 to 886 BC, during the reigns of Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri and Omri. Omri replaced Tirzah with Samaria as Israel's capital.
The division of Israel happened because of Solomon's apostasy, but both Israel and Judah soon became even more corrupt than Solomon. Israel's first king, Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel), who established the royal residence at Tirzah, quickly became perverted - and brought the wrath of the LORD upon himself for it.
"14:15 For the LORD [i.e. Jesus Christ; see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM' and 'The God Of The Old Testament'] shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
King Baasha apparently intended to move the capital to Ramah, but an invasion from Benhadad of Syria caused Baasha to remain at Tirzah.
"15:20 So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 15:21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah. 15:22 Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah." (1 Kings 15:20-22 KJV)
Baasha reigned, corruptly, from Tirzah for twenty-four years; he was buried in Tirzah. The LORD chose Baasha's successor.
"15:33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. 15:34 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin." (1 Kings 15:33-34 KJV)
King Elah reigned in Israel for two years. He was assassinated while in a drunken stupor; his entire family was killed, ending his dynasty (the northern kingdom had nine royal lines, or dynasties - just as democracies do when father and son(s) are elected as president; see also see Israelite Dynasties). Zimri, one of Elah's military commanders, assassinated and succeeded Elah as king.
"16:8 In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.
Zimri lasted a week as king in Tirzah before the people rose up in retaliation for the assassination of Elah. Zimri committed suicide by burning his palace to the ground with himself in it. Omri, another of Elah's military commanders, was then proclaimed king (see Royal Democracy).
"16:15 In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. 16:16 And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri, the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. 16:17 And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. 16:18 And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died, 16:19 For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin." (1 Kings 16:15-19 KJV)
Omri reigned in Tirzah for six years, before establishing the capital at Samaria.
"16:23 In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel [see Kings of Israel and Judah], twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. 16:24 And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." (1 Kings 16:23-24 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) How and when did the Israelite monarchy begin? (b) What war resulted in all of the tribes of Israel united under a single king? (c) Under what two kings did Israel remain united? (d) Why did the LORD cause Israel to become two kingdoms? (e) How did the northern kingdom become "the lost ten tribes of Israel"? (f) Where did the southern kingdom go into exile? Why was Judah allowed to return 70 years later? (g) Who is the King Of Israel?