Jeroboam II

Jeroboam II

Jeroboam II (ירבעם השני) was the son and successor of Jehoash, (alternatively spelled Joash), and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years according to the "2 Kings" (2 Kings 14:23). His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah ("2 Kings" 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), and extended Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain" (14:25; "Amos" 6:14).

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 786 BC-746 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 782 BC-753 BC.

In 1910, G. A. Reisner found sixty-three inscribed potsherds while excavating the royal palace at Samaria, which were later dated to the reign of Jeroboam II and mention regnal years extending from the ninth to the 17th of his reign. These ostraca, while unremarkable in themselves, contain valuable information about the script, language, religion and administrative system of the period.

Archaeological evidence confirms the biblical account of his reign as the most prosperous that Israel had yet known. By the late 8th century BCE the territory of Israel was the most densely settled in the entire Levant, with a population of about 350,000. [Broshi, M, and Finkelstein, I, The Population of Palestine in Iron Age II, "Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research", 287: 47-60.] This prosperity was built on trade in olive oil, wine, and possibly horses, with Egypt and especially Assyria providing the markets. [The number of settlements devoted to olive production, identified by olive persses and other installations, increased dramatically in the 8th century. The Samaria ostraca record the commerce in oil and wine. For a brief description, see Finkelstein, I, and Silberman, N.A, "The Bible Unearthed", 2001.]

Jeroboam's reign was also the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, and Amos, all of whom condemned the materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of their day: "Woe unto those who lie upon beds of ivory...eat lambs from the flock and calves... [and] sing idle songs..." The book of Kings, written a century later than the time of Jeroboam and from the perspective of the puritanical court of Judah, condemns Jeroboam for doing "evil in the eyes of the Lord", meaning both the oppression of the poor and his continuing support of the cult centres of Dan and Bethel, in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem.

His name occurs in the Old Testament only in "2 Kings" 13:13; 14:16, 23, 27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; "1 Chronicles" 5:17; "Hosea" 1:1; and "Amos" 1:1; 7:9, 10, 11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam I, the son of Nebat that is meant.

ee also

*Jonah was the prophet during Jeroboam II's reign.

References


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