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Pekah Of Israel

Pekah, from the Hebrew name pronounced peh-kawkh, meaning open eyes, or watchful, was a military commander in the army of Pekahiah, king of Israel (see Pekahiah Of Israel) until "with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room."

"15:23 In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah [see Uzziah / Azariah Of Judah] Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. 15:24 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

15:25 But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria [see also Baal's Samaria], in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room." (2 Kings 15:23-25 KJV)

As happened a number of times after the division of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" (see The Division Of Israel and the Fact Finder question below), Pekah later led Israel into war against Judah.

"15:37 In those days the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah." (2 Kings 15:37 KJV)

"16:5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz [see Ahaz Of Judah], but could not overcome him." (2 King 16:5 KJV)

"The acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel"

The northern kingdom of Israel was corrupt practically from its beginning with Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel). Over his twenty year reign, Pekah did little to turn Israel back to the LORD i.e. "he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."

The Tribes Of Israel

"15:27 In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. 15:28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." (2 Kings 15:27-28 KJV)

The LORD permitted the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) to conquer Israel, as His wrath for their corruption, just as He later allowed the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) to conquer Judah. It was done gradually however, with plenty of time for repentance, amidst the warnings from His prophets (see the Fact Finder question below). The Assyrian takeover of Israel had already begun in the time before Pekah. About 762 BC, Pul of Assyria imposed a tribute of a thousand talents of silver on King Menahem of Israel:

"15:19 And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem [see Menahem Of Israel] gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. 15:20 And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria.

So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land." (2 Kings 15:19-20 KJV)

When Israel didn't repent, more Assyrian invasions followed. About 738 BC, in the reign of Pekah, Tiglath-pileser of Assyria continued The Galilee Captivity:

"15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria." (2 Kings 15:29 KJV)

It was also during that time that the Assyrians began replacing the exiled Israelites with foreign people, who later became known as the "Samaritans." Ironically, many of those "foreign" people were from the very homeland where the Israelites themselves originated i.e. Abraham was born in the same place that the "Samaritans" were (see The Two-Way Promise Of The Promised Land).

"17:22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 17:23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof." (2 Kings 17:22-24 KJV)

Pekah's reign ended in the same way that it began - the assassin was himself assassinated, with the new assassin making himself king just as Pekah did.

"15:30 And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

15:31 And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel." (2 Kings 15:30-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" and The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" have prophets specific to each kingdom?
See The Prophets: North and South


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