Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Archaeology Series 17:Hazael King of Syria

king hazael of syria
DATE: 842-805 BCE


Hazael (Hebrew Hazael, meaning "God has seen") was a court official and later an Aramean king who appeared in the Bible. He was first referred to by name in 1 Kings 19 when God told the prophet Elijah to anoint him king over Syria.

Years after this, the Syrian king
Hadadezer was ill and sent his court official Hazael with gifts to Elijah's successor Elisha. Elisha asked Hazael to tell Hadadezer that he would recover, but he revealed to Hazael that the king would die. The day after he returned to Hadadezer in Damascus, Hazael suffocated him and seized power himself.

During his approximately 37-year reign (c. 842 BC-805 BC), King Hazael led the Arameans in battle against the forces of King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah. After defeating them at Ramoth-Gilead, Hazael repelled two attacks by the Assyrians, seized Israelite territory east of the Jordan, the Philistine city of Gath, and sought to take Jerusalem as well (2 Kings 12:17). A monumental Aramaic inscription discovered at Tel Dan is seen by most scholars as having being erected by Hazael, after he defeated the Kings of Israel and Judah. Recent excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath have revealed dramatic evidence of the siege and subsequent conquest of Gath by Hazael. King Joash of Judah forestalled Hazael's invasion by bribing him with treasure from the royal palace and temple, after which he disappears from the Biblical account.
(1 Kings 19:15, 17; 2 Kings 8:7-15, 28-29; 9:14-15; 10:32-33; 12:17-18; 13:3, 22, 24,25; Amos 1:4).

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