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Jezebel, Elisha, Baal, Jehu, Omri, Judah, Israel, Gods, Assyrian

Abraham & Isaac

However, the establishment of a temple to the pagan god Baal (one of the main Canaanite gods), for Jezebels use. And Jezebels attempts to spread the cult of Baal, aroused great opposition on the part of the zealous Yahwists (Yahway - the Hebrew name for God), among the common people.

 

There was also resentment at the despotic manner of Ahabs rule, which was though to have been incited by Jezebel. She and her cult were challenged by the prophet Elijah - One of Elijah's disciples Elisha, organized the slaughter of Jezebel, Ahab and the whole royal family, as well as all worshippers of Baal. This put a stop to the Baalist threat. "Jehu" Elisha's co-conspirator, and Jehoram's general, who had led this massacre. Became king and established a dynasty that lasted almost a century (842–745 B.C.), the longest in the history of Israel.

 

 


Beyond his bloody coup d'etat, little is known of the events of Jehu's reign. He was hard pressed by the predations of Hazael, king of the Arameans, who is said to have defeated his army "throughout all of the territories of Israel" beyond the Jordan river, in the lands of Gilead, Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. This perhaps would explain why Jehu is offering tribute to Shalmaneser III on his Black Obelisk (where his name appears as mIa-ú-a mar mHu-um-ri-i or "Jehu son of Omri"); It is though that Jehu was encouraging an enemy of the Arameans into being his friend. In the Assyrian documents he is simply referred to as "Jehu son of Omri," that is, Jehu of the House of Omri, an Assyrian name for the Kingdom of Israel.


Meanwhile, in Judah, the Baal cult introduced by Athaliah, who was the queen mother, and effective ruler for a time: Was suppressed by a revolt led by the chief priests. Athaliah was killed and her grandson Joash (Jehoash) was made king. In the following period, Judah and Israel had alternating relations of conflict and amity, and were both involved in the alternating expansion and loss of power in their relations with neighboring states.


The Aramaeans of Damascus were the main enemy. Damascus annexed much of Israel's territory, and exercised suzerainty over the rest. They also exacted a heavy tribute from Judah. However, under Jeroboam II (783–741 B.C.) in Israel and Uzziah/Azariah (783–742 B.C.) in Judah, both of whom had long reigns at the same time, the two kingdoms cooperated to achieve a period of prosperity and tranquility, unknown since Solomon's reign.

Canaan, Tiglath-pileser, Hebrew, King, Assyria, Roman, Samaria

Young King David

The threat of the rising Assyrian Empire under Tiglath-Pileser III, soon reversed this situation. In 734 B.C, Tiglath-pileser invaded southern Syria and the Philistine territories in Canaan, going as far as the Egyptian border.


Damascus and Israel tried to organize resistance against him, to this end, they marched against Judah to force its participation in the fight against Assyria, the Judahite king Ahaz (735–720 B.C.) instead called on Assyria for protection; In 733 Tiglath-pileser devastated Israel and forced it to surrender large territories, captives were taken and tribute had to be paid. In 732 he advanced upon Damascus, first devastating the gardens outside the city and then conquering the capital and killing the king, whom he replaced with a governor.


In 721 B.C, the Assyrian king Sargon II, laid a protracted siege on the Israeli city of Samaria. After Samaria fell, the Samarian upper class was deported to Assyria and Babylon. Samaria was repopulated with Assyrians and Babylonians.


Later, Assyrian king Esarhaddon campaigned in Canaan. The Sidonian king Abdi-Milkutti, who had risen up against the Assyrian king, was defeated in 677 B.C, and beheaded. The town of Sidon was destroyed and rebuilt as Kar-Ashur-aha-iddina, the "Harbor of Esarhaddon".

 

The population was deported to Assyria, and a share of the plunder went to Baal I, the king of the rival city Tyre, who was himself an Assyrian puppet. The partly conserved text of a treaty with Tyre mentions the kings of Judah, Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Byblos, Arvad, Samsi-muruna, Ammon and Ashdod: ten kings from the coast of the sea, and ten kings from the middle of the sea (usually identified with Cyprus), as Assyrian allies.

 

It was only the eloquent guidance of Isaiah, that restored the morale of the people. And even the weakness of Hezekiah's son Manasseh, did not bring about complete ruin. Another strong king, Josiah (640–609 B.C.), arose in time to restore the ebbing fortunes of Judah, but only for a few years. During this time, much of the ancient territory of the united Israel was brought back under the rule of his dynasty. By now, Assyria was rapidly declining in power. And in 612 B.C. its hated capital "Nineveh", was destroyed by the Medes.

 

In 130 A.D. The Roman Emperor Hadrian planned a great temple to Zeus in the newly founded city of Aelia Capitolina, which was on the ruined site of Jerusalem. Moreover, Hadrian had recently outlawed circumcision. these Romanizing acts of the government, easily ignited the second great revolt of the Hebrews against Rome. This was the Bar Cochba or Kochba, (nickname for Simon - (Son of the Star), Revolt of 132 to 135 A.D, which was led by Simon ben Kosiba, (Simon son of Kosiba). Once again the Romans raised an enormous army to put down the revolt. Hadrian personally led the Roman attack on the rebels.


The number of Hebrew communities elsewhere declined, and many once Hebrew towns became Roman or received large numbers of Roman inhabitants. The towns lost their old Hebrew names for new Roman names. The ban on circumcision remained in effect until Antoninus Pius, who recognizing its dangerously provocative effect, revoked it. After 135 A.D. Hebrews no longer had political, urban, or territorial institutions that could support another revolt, but they managed to maintain national identity as a result of the growth of rabbinical institutions and the patriarchate in Galilee. Poverty, famine, plague, and crime left the Hebrews too weak to mount any organized resistance.

 

The new state of Syria Palaestina thus became a good deal less problematic for the Roman government than Judaea had been. The government continued to permit the Hebrews certain religious freedoms, such as exemption from the imperial cult, and gradually the Roman governors permitted the Hebrews to recover certain of their communal rights, such as local courts and internal government, under the overall authority of the patriarch in Tiberias.

Samaritan, Christians, Roman

 

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The Samaritans (a sect practicing a strict and uncompromising version of the Hebrew religion), fared less well, as the Romans took steps to prevent a resurgence of Samaritan nationalism by founding a pagan temple on Mt Gerizim, just south of Neapolis, and refused to make concessions to Samaritan religious practices.

 

The conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in about 300 A.D. set in motion events that made Palestine a major center of the Christian church.

 

Before the fifth century A.D. very few Christians lived in Palestine.

 

The non-Hebrew regions of the coast, the south, and Aelia Capitolina had several Roman and Greek Christian communities, and a few Minim (Hebrew Christians) lived in such Galilean towns as Sepphoris and Capernaum.

 

But beginning in the fourth century the government responded to Roman Christian interest in the Holy Land;

 

by embarking on a massive program of patronage, especially church-building, that was designed to encourage Christians to move to Palestine.

 

There was also an imperial policy geared to encourage Hebrews to convert to Christianity; this by offering protection and rewards.

 

As a result of Christian settlement in the vicinities of Nazareth, Capernaum, and Tabgha, the region of Galilee lost its Hebrew majority.

 

By about 400 A.D. there were ninety six Christian communities in Palestine.

 

The sack of Rome in 410 A.D. caused a new round of migration to Palestine as a group of aristocratic Romans responded to Jerome's invitation to settle in Aelia Capitolina and Bethlehem, (Jerome was a Caucasian born in Stridon (a city in modern Croatia), he was probably of Turkish/Khazar ethnicity, he was later canonized a Saint by the catholic Church.

 

In addition, numerous Christians came to Palestine not to settle but to visit holy sites on pilgrimage and to scour the land for relics to take home.