Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography The Kings of the Hebrews

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Here beginneth the Third Series, The Kings of the Hebrews.


AFTER SAMUEL the prophet [came] SAUL, the first king. He reigned over the children of ISRAEL, according to EUSEBIUS, forty years, and according to ANIANUS twenty years. And in his third year SAUL conquered AMALEK, and in his thirty-first year a festival took place in YONATH, which is in RAMA, and SAUL also prophesied with the prophets. In the thirty-fifth year of SAUL, SAMUEL the prophet died. And after five years SAUL and JONATHAN his son were killed in the war.


After SAUL, DAVID, the son of JESSE, reigned forty years, seven in HEBHRON and thirty-three in JERUSALEM; all [the days of] his life were seventy years. He built SEHYONON (SION or ZION). And in his tenth year he took up the Ark into the tabernacle which he had constructed for it. DAVID was born in the tenth year of the kingdom of SAUL, and he was anointed [king] in the twenty-third year of SAUL, being thirteen years old. And he slew [18] GULYADH (GOLIATH) in the thirtieth year of SAUL.

And in the thirty-ninth year of the kingdom of DAVID he divided the tribes of the LEVITES, and he appointed from among them one (two?) hundred and eighty and eight ‘praisers’ (i.e. singers). And he separated them into twenty-four divisions, and he appointed twelve in each division to sing. And DAVID warred with the peoples round about him and conquered them. And in the twenty-eighth year of DAVID the king EPHESUS was built, and also SAMOS.

[In other manuscripts [it is written]: It was he who acted deceitfully in respect of URIAH, the captain of his host in the war. And through the fraud which he perpetrated upon him he took from him BATHSHEBA his wife, whilst URIAH was engaged in the war of the peoples, and from her was born SOLOMON, his unlawful son, and he sinned. (1)] And in his time lived EMPEDOCLES, the great philosopher, who was one of the five pillars of wisdom, viz. he and PYTHAGORAS, SOCRATES, PLATO, and ARISTOTLE. And there is attributed to him a certain book which abolished the new life after death which [men] were wont to assign to the rational soul, and it agreed with the opinion of SOLOMON in the Book of KOHLATH (2) (ECCLESIASTES). And he was the first to think that in the Divine Nature there is not a plurality of names, even though it is said that He is wise, and good, and all mighty. He doth not possess the various senses to which these names apply, but He is One, Simple, Lord-like, and not One who doth accept division, neither in sense nor in fact.


After DAVID [came] SOLOMON his son when he was twelve years old, and he reigned forty years; and all [the days of] his life were fifty-two years. In the fourth year of his kingdom he began the building of the Great Temple, and he finished it in seven years, in the mountain of the AMORlTES, that is JERUSALEM, in the threshing-floor of ‘ARAN, the JEBUSlTE. Its length was sixty cubits, its width twenty cubits, and its height was thirty cubits. In the thirty-fourth year of his kingdom he forsook the God of ISRAEL, and he builded a high place in the mountain in front of Jerusalem to CHEMOSH [a god] of MOAB, and to MALKUM [a god] of the children of AMMON. Its length was one hundred cubits, and its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. And he made for it shields of gold, and a sea of brass, and bulls. [19] And at the beginning of his kingdom ‘IROMOS (HIRAM) ruled over TYRE, and he sent to SOLOMON to help [him] in building the temple eighty thousand men. And according to some men HOMER and HESIOD were renowned at that time. SOLOMON uprooted ‘ANTIOCHYA and built seven cities, viz. PALMURA (PALMYRA), which is TEDHMUR (TADMOR), MALO, HASOR, MAGHDO, GHAZAR, Lower BETH HAWRAN, [and] BA’LUTH. And from the Exodus from EGYPT to the building of the Temple was six hundred and thirty-four years. In other manuscripts [it is written] six hundred and ten, and in the Book of KINGS four hundred and eighty is written, leaving out the years of the domination of enemies. And thus also PAUL, the Apostle, saith, ‘He gave them Judges for four hundred and fifty years’ until SAMUEL [came]. And from ADAM to the building of the Temple was four thousand, one hundred, and sixty-eight years.


After SOLOMON, REHOBOAM his son reigned over JUDAH in JERUSALEM seventeen years.

And at the beginning of his kingdom JEROBOAM reigned with rectitude over ISRAEL for twenty-two years. And he made two calves of gold, one in DAN, and one in BETHEL. And he said, ‘Behold thy gods, O ISRAEL, who brought thee up out of the land of EGYPT’. And SHAMA’YA the prophet came from JUDEA, and rebuked him for the sin which he had committed, and [for making] ISRAEL to sin. And he prophesied and said, ‘Altar, Altar, hear the word of the Lord. Behold a son shall be born to the house of DAVID, JOSIAH [shall be] his name, and he shall sacrifice heathen priests upon thee, and he shall burn the bones of men upon thee.’ And because of this JEROBOAM stretched out his hand to slay him; and his hand withered. And when JEROBOAM entreated the prophet it was healed. And EPIPHANIUS saith that the name of this prophet was YOYADA, from SHAMRIN (SAMARIA). It was he whom the lion killed, because he heard ‘ABHITON the prophet, an old man to whom he had lied. And he ate bread and transgressed the command. And he took a garment and tore it into twelve pieces, and he gave ten to JEROBOAM.

And in the fifth year of REHOBOAM, SHISHAK, the king of EGYPT, through the treachery of JEROBOAM, went up against JERUSALEM, and he took away the shields of gold which SOLOMON had made, and REHOBOAM made shields of brass to take their place.


After REHOBOAM, ‘ABHYA his son reigned three [years]. And JEROBOAM gathered together about him eighty [20] thousand [men], and the sons of JUDAH were gathered together, four thousand men of war, and JEROBOAM was defeated and fifty thousand [men] of ISRAEL fell. ‘ABHYA took fourteen wives, and he had twenty-four sons and sixteen daughters. And ‘AHIYA and SHAMA’YA prophesied.


After ‘ABHYA, ‘ASA his son reigned forty-one years. And in his tenth year ZARAH, the Kushite king, having taken with him IOBAS (LIBWAS or ‘ALIBWAS), came with a thousand thousand [men] and s hundred thousand KUSHITES and LIBYANS to fight against JUDAH. And ‘ASA went forth and smote them in GADHAR and conquered [them]. And in the fifteenth year of his reign he burned the idols, and he cast out of the kingdom his mother who used to celebrate a festival [in honour] of ‘ASHTORETH, and he burnt her graven image (or, idol) and he expelled fornicators from the land; And in the twenty-ninth year of ‘ASA, ‘ALA reigned over ISRAEL two years, and then ZAMRI, having killed ‘ALA, the son of BA’SHA his lord, reigned seven days. Then ISRAEL was divided; some [went] with TABHNI and some with ‘AMRI. And when ‘AMRI waxed strong TABHNI died. And when ZAMRI saw that the people were content with ‘AMRI he burnt his palace and himself. And when, AMRI had reigned righteously for six years, he bought the mountain of SHAMRIN from SHAMIR his lord, and built a city on it and called it ‘SHAMRIN’. This city was afterwards called ‘SEBASTIA’, and it is that which is NABHOLOS (NABLOS). ‘AMRI reigned twelve years.


After ‘ASA, YOSHAFAT (JEHOSAPHAT) his son [reigned] twenty-five years. And in his second year AHAB, the son of ‘AMRI, reigned over ISRAEL for twenty-three years. This king took to wife JEZEBEL, the daughter of ‘ITHB’EL (ETHBAAL), king of TYRE and SIDON. And he [Hiel?] built JERICHO, which JOSHUA, the son of NON, cursed; he finished it with ‘ABHIRAM his firstborn, and in SHAKHUB, his youngest, he set up its gates. At this time ELIJAR, and OBADIAH, and ABHIHUDH, and ‘OZAIL, and MICAH, the son of YAMSHI, were prophesying; and ZEDEKIAH and ELIAZAR and four hundred others were lying prophets. ZEDEKIAH, the lying prophet, made horns of iron and set them upon his head and said to AHAB, ‘With these thou shalt gore the EDOMITFS and make an end of them.’ And in the twenty-ninth year of JEHOSAPHAT, AHAZIAH, the son of AHAB, reigned [21] over ISRAEL one year; and after him JORAM, his brother, [reigned] twelve years.


After JEHOSAPHAT, JORAM his son reigned eight years. This [king] took ATHALIAH. the sister of AHAB, to wife, and he slew all his brethren, the sons of JEHOSAPHAT; therefore was he smitten by the rod of justice, and his bowels came down and he died.


After JORAM, AHAZIAH his son [reigned] one year, and in it he sent ELISHA the prophet, and he anointed YAHO (JEHU), the son of YAMSHI [NIMSHI], over ISRAEL, and he reigned twenty-eight years; and he slew seventy sons of AHAB and the priests of idols, and he destroyed the temple of BAAL. After ELISHA had anointed JEHU, the son of YAMSHI, JEHU slew JORAM, the son of AHAB, and AHAZIAH, the king of JUDAH, and JEZEBEL, the Sidonian woman, the wife of AHAB.


After AHAZIAH, his mother ATHALIAH [reigned] seven years; her son AHAZIAH having been killed she destroyed all the royal progeny, and YOASH the son of AHAZIAH alone escaped. YOSHBA’, the sister of AHAZIAH, hid him–now she was the wife of YOYADHA’ (JEHOIADA), the chief of the priests of idols. And that JEHOIADA gathered together JUDAH and slew ATHALIAH. And he set up [as king] YOASH, who was seven years old, and he also sent the men of JUDAH to the house of BAAL, and he destroyed MATHAN, the pagan priest.


After ATHALIAH, YOASH the son of AHAZIAH, her son [reigned] forty years. And in the twenty-fifth year of YOASH, YAHOAHAZ the son of JEHU reigned over ISRAEL seventeen years. And in the thirty-sixth year of YOASH, ELISHA the prophet died; and after [this] YOASH was killed by his slaves.


After YOASH, ‘AMOSYA his son [reigned] twenty-nine years; this king conquered EDOM and SEIR (or, SHAMIR?), and brought their gods to JERUSALEM, and served them. And in the tenth year of ‘AMOSYA, YOASH reigned over ISRAEL sixteen years. And he went out to war against BAR HADADH (BEN HADAD), king of SYRIA, and he brought back the cities which HAZA’IL had brought back, and he smote the EDOMITES thrice, according to the word of the Lord which was to ELISHA. At that time HOSHA’, and ‘AMOS, and NAHAM, and YONATHAN (YAWNAN or JONAH) were prophesying. And in the eighteenth year of ‘AMOSYA, YORABH’AM reigned over ISRAEL forty years. And ‘AMOSYA, king of JUDAH, fought with YOASH, king of ISRAEL, and the children of ISRAEL went up against JUDAH and destroyed three hundred of its men, and ‘AMOSYA was struck by a spear and died. [22] And according to certain [writers] his slaves stabbed him when he fled to LACHISH. And the children of ISRAEL came to JERUSALEM, and they broke down its wall for four hundred cubits, and they t6ok the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord and in the house of the king, and they returned to SHAMRIN (SAMARIA).


After ‘AMOSYA, ‘AZARYA his son reigned fifty-two years: he is ‘OZIA. And in the twenty-fourth year of his kingdom he made bold and went into the temple of God that he might place (i.e. offer) incense, and being restrained by ‘AZARYA (‘OZIA) the priest, and refusing to go away, suddenly his whole body became covered with leprosy, and from that time YOTHAM his son judged [the people]. Up to this time ISAIAH the prophet prophesied for twenty-four years. And having seen that the king dared [to offer incense], because he did not rebuke him [the gift of] prophecy was taken away from him for twenty–eight years-until ‘OZIA died. And then the righteous man prophesied for sixty-one years. And in the twenty-ninth year of ‘OZIA, ZACHARIAH reigned over ISRAEL six months. Here the four sons of YAHO (JEHU) came to an end.


And after ZACHARIAH, SHALOM reigned for one month; and after him MAHNIM ten years. It was he who smote TAPHSAH because they (i.e. its people) did not open its gates [to him], and he destroyed it, and he ripped up the women who were with child. And in the thirty-fourth year of ‘OZIA, POL, the king of BABHIL (BABYLON), went up against SHAMRIN, and he took from MAHNIM, the king of ISRAEL, one thousand talents of silver and returned. And in the fortieth year of ‘OZIA, PEKAHYA reigned over ISRAEL ten years. And in the forty-eighth year of ‘OZIA, TIGLATH-PILESER, the king of the ASSYRIANS, went up and captured JUDAH and ISRAEL, and carried off into captivity a very large number of the people. This ‘OZIA uprooted the wall of GATH, and ‘ASOTOS (ASHDOD) and YAMNIA. Now he made war on the ARABS who dwell in PATARA (PETRA?). And PORPHYRIOS saith that at this time HOMER and HESIOD were famous.


After ‘OZIA, YOTHAM his son [reigned] sixteen years. This king built a large portion of the wall of JERUSALEM; and he conquered the AMMONITES and laid them under tribute.


After YOTHAM, ‘AHAZ his son [reigned] sixteen years. This king likewise served the gods of the heathen, and he did what was evil. PEKAH, king of ISRAEL, [23] brought RASAN, the king of SYRIA. And he went up against JUDAH and destroyed twelve thousand myriads [of men]. Now ‘AHAZ, king of JERUSALEM, sent to TIGLATH-PILESER, the king of ASSYRIA, and he came and killed RASAN, and made war on DAMASCUS, and captured the EDOMITES (ARAMEANS?); and he took a vast quantity of silver from them and departed to his own country. And in the second year of ‘AHAZ, HOSHA’ rebelled against PEKAH and killed him, and he reigned over ISRAEL nine years. And in the eighth year of ‘AHAZ, SHALMANESER, king of ASSYRIA, went up against ISRAEL, and HOSHA’ became subject to him and gave him tribute, and afterwards he rebelled. And he sent to ‘ADHARMLECH, the KOSHITE, who was dwelling in ‘IGHUPTOS (EGYPT) to come to his help. And when SHALMANESER heard [this] he went up again against SHAMRIN, and he camped about it three years, and he captured it and carried away captive to BABYLON the children of ISRAEL, ten tribes. Now this was the first Captivity.

Now from ADAM to this year, which is the eleventh year of the kingdom of ‘AHAZ, was four thousand, seven hundred, and thirty years.

And ‘AHAZ took down the sea of brass from the oxen of brass, the which SOLOMON had constructed. At this time the island of RHODES was fortified, and it remained [thus] for one thousand, four hundred, and five years–until the ARABS uprooted it. And also in SIKILIA the city of SALINOS was built, and SAKALI and TRAPIZONTA in PONTOS, and KUZIKOS (CYZICUS) in BITHYNEA, and KALONON and LYCANIA in ITALY. And in the seventh year of ‘AHAZ, ROMULUS reigned, and in ITALY he built that great and famous [city of] ROME (RHOMI) and dwelt therein. Now up to this time the kings of ITALY were called LATINS (LATINAYE), but from this time onwards they were called ROMANS (RHOMAYE), that is to say, FRANKS.


After ‘AHAZ, HEZEKIAH [reigned] twenty-nine years. The country of SHAMRIN and all the dominion of the ISRAELITES was in the hands of the ASSYRIANS, and subject to them. And HEZEKIAH was reigning over JUDAH in JERUSALEM. HEZEKIAH alone remained independent.

And in the eighth year of HEZEKIAH, SHALMANESER, the ASSYRIAN, sent men to keep guard over JUDAH. And because the Lord made him to have dominion over them SHALMANESER commanded that they should keep the judgement of the God of the land. And he sent to them a certain priest, whose name was ‘AZARYA, that he might teach them the Law of MOSES. And he wrote for them the ‘ORAITA (PENTATEUCH) in Hebrew, [24] and for this reason the SHAMRAYE (SAMARITANS) accept the Pentateuch only. And it is said that this ‘AZARYA, by the help also of an Aramean book, that is to say, Syrian, wrote the ‘ORAITA, and this is the PESHITTA edition which is in the hands of the SYRIANS.

And in the sixth year of HEZEKIAH, SENNACHERIB, who went up against JERUSALEM, reigned over the ASSYRIANS, and through the prayer of HEZEKIAH he was vanquished, now fifteen years were added to the life of HEZEKIAH, and the angel of the Lord slew in the camp of SENNACHERIB one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. And he heard that TARHAK (TIRHAKAH), king of the KUSHITES, had gone forth to fight with him, and straightway he departed to NINEVEH, and there his sons killed him. And HEZEKIAH made a lake of water, and he made a canal to the city of JERUSALEM, and he brought in water by aqueducts. And having shown to the ambassadors of the king of BABYLON everything which was in his house, the Lord was angry with him, and it was said to him, ‘Everything which they have seen in thy house, [shall be his], and thy sons shall become eunuchs in the house of the king of BABYLON.’ And HEZEKIAH said, ‘Fair is the word of the Lord; O that there may be peace in my days!’ And in his days the righteous man TOBIT, who was of the captivity of ISRAEL, and was dwelling in NlNEVEH, was fed by the angel RAPHAEL, and the blindness of his eyes was cured by the gall of that fish which was given to him by the angel. And at that time SYRACUSE, and KATANA, and LEONTINO, and MAGHLARA, and MARTONIYA (TAORMINA?). and CHRERONESUS were built in SIKILIA (3) And SENNACHERIB built TARSUS of CILICIA.


After HEZEKIAH, MENASSEH his son [reigned] fifty-five years. And in his thirteenth year he killed ISAIAH the prophet by sawing him in twain with a wood saw. Because of this God rejected him and delivered him over into the hands of the ASSYRIANS. And having taken him captive they bound him in strong iron fetters and set him in a brass cage for beasts in NINEVEH. And when affliction waxed sore on him, he turned to the God of his fathers, and offered [Him] true repentance and prayed that famous prayer, and God answered him, and he was released and returned to JERUSALEM. And that image with four [25] faces which he had made he cast out of the temple and smashed it, and he threw away the idols. And he built the south wall of JERUSALEM, and stablished JUDAH. And in PONTOS were built the cities MITHIA, ‘ISTRIS, ‘AKANTHOS, ‘AKARDIA, and ‘ESTAGHIRA, and SALINOS was built in SIKILIA (SICILY). And in the twenty-first year of MENASSEH the city of CHALCEDON was built, and THALIS (THALES) the MILESIAN, the first phusikos (physicus), that is to say, natural philosopher, was known (i.e. famous). And the SCYTHIANS seized the country as far as PALESTINE. And in the thirty-sixth year of MENASSEH, SENNACHERIB THE LESS reigned over the ASSYRIANS, and after one year he sent MENASSEH away. And in the fortieth year of MENASSEH, TULLOS reigned over the RHOMAYE (Byzantines) thirty-three years; the same is HOSTILIOS, who was the first to wear purple apparel and to use royal rods (sceptres). And BOZANTIA, the first building, was built by BOZOS; and after [nine hundred] and ninety-seven years CONSTANTINE restored it and enlarged it, and called it CONSTANTINOPLE.


After MENASSEH, AMMON his son [reigned] twelve years–according to the Hebrew [Bible], and ANIANUS two years. Now this AMMON served strange gods, that is to say, the liar-gods of the heathen, and he offered sacrifices to idols. He was smitten by his slaves and died by the sword.


After AMMON, JOSIAH his son [reigned] thirty-one years. He had four sons, YOKANYA, YOYAKIM, YAHOAHAZ, and ZEDEKIAH. YOKANYA begot DANIEL the prophet; and YOYAKIM begot ANANIAS, AZARIAS, and MISAEL. And ZEPHANIAH, the son of KOSHI the SIMEONITE, was prophesying; and in his thirteenth year JEREMIAH the prophet began to prophesy; and in his eighteenth year HULDHI the prophetess was prophesying. And at that time he displayed care for the Temple of the Lord, and he commanded HILAKYA (HILKIAH) to give money from the treasure of the House of the Lord to workmen. And whilst they were digging [in the foundations] they found a Book of the Law.

And when JOSIAH read it, and learned what things God had commanded, he burned with zeal, and rent his garments, and devoted himself to keeping the whole Law. And he cast out the idols of AMMON his father, and he purified the temple, and he smashed the statues, and uprooted the altars, and slew all the priests, and he burnt their bones [26] on the altar of BAAL. and thus the words of the prophet who came from JUDAH to JEROBOAM were fulfilled. And in the thirty-first year of JOSIAH, NAKHAUTH (NECHO), the same is PHARAOH THE LAME, reigned in EGYPT. He came down on the river FRATH (EUPHRATES) against MABBUGH (MANBIJ), to fight with the king of ASSYRIA, and when JOSIAH went to attack him, he was slain there by NAKHAUTH. And his slaves brought him [back] and buried him in JERUSALEM.


After JOSIAH, YAHOAHAZ his son [reigned] three months. When PHARAOH THE LAME came back he carried this king off as a captive, and he set up in his stead JEHOIAKIM, the son of JOSIAH, his brother.

After YAHOAHAZ, JEHOIAIKIM his brother [reigned] eleven years. It was he who is called ‘ELYAKIM, and PHARAOH THE LAME set him in the place of his brother, and laid it upon him to give each year one hundred talents of gold. And in the third year of ‘ELYAIKIM, NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the CHALDEAN, the son of NABHUPALSAR (NABOPOLASSAR), reigned over the ASSYRIANS forty-four years. And he went up against JERUSALEM and brought down captives and the vessels of the Temple; and he laid tribute on ‘ELYAKIM and departed. In this captivity DANIEL and his companions went down to BABYLON. This was the first Captivity which was to BABYLON. PHARAOH THE LAME, having destroyed MABBUGH and slain JOSIAH, returned [to EGYPT]; but he came a second time and camped on the EUPHRATES and there he killed NEBUCHADNEZZAR (sic). And in the eighth year of YOYAKIM and NEBUCHADNEZZAR in his fifth year he went up again against JERUSALEM, and he laid tribute on YOYAKIM and returned. And in the eighth year of NEBUCHADNEZZAR, YOYAKIM died.


After YOYAKIM, his son YOYAKHIN, who is called in the Gospel of MATTHEW, YOKANYA, and who is also called by his father’s name YOYAKIM, [reigned] three months. His heart turned aside from the Lord, and for the third time NEBUCHADNEZZAR went up and carried him, and his mother, and his chief men captives to BABYLON, and he remained there a prisoner for thirty-seven years. And NEBUCHADNEZZAR set up in his stead ZEDEKIAH his uncle, the son of JOSIAH.


After YOYAKHIN, his uncle ZEDEKIAH reigned eleven years. And in the fourth year of ZEDEKIAH, ‘ESTIGHOS (ASTYAGES) reigned over the MEDES thirty-eight years. And in the nineteenth year of his kingdom, that is, in the eleventh year of ZEDEKIAH, NEBUCHADNEZZAR went up a fourth time against JUDAH. And NABHUZARDAN, [27] the captain of his host, burnt the Temple and the city of JERUSALEM. And ne took captive ZEDEKIAH, and blinded his eyes, and with the exception of a few he carried away captives all the JEWS. And the kingdom of JUDAH, which had flourished after the ending of the kingdom of the children of ISRAEL for one hundred and fifty-five years, came to an end. Now when JEREMIAH knew of the burning of the Temple, he hid in a cave the Tabernacle of Witness, and the Ark, and no man knoweth the place. And CLEMENS reckons from the burning [of the Temple] the seventy years of the Captivity until the second year of DARIUS, the son of HYSTASPES. And the prophets HAGGAI and ZECHARIAH bear witness, saying, ‘Lord, how long before Thou wilt show mercy upon JERUSALEM and on the cities of Judah? For Thou hast been angry with them for seventy years.’ And EUSEBIUS and ANDRONICUS also hold this opinion. And others say from the third year of ‘ELYAKIM until the nineteenth year of CYRUS [was seventy years]; and DANIEL the prophet from the thirteenth year of JOSIAH, that is to say, from the beginning of the prophesying of JEREMIAH; and AFRICANUS from the beginning [of the reign of] ZEDEKIAH. The years of the Kings, twenty and three, until the burning [of the Temple] were five hundred and twenty and five; and from ADAM is four thousand, five hundred, and sixteen years.

(1) The passage within square brackets is a note by Bedjan.

(2) On this Bedjan says: ‘This was not the opinion of Solomon, who confesseth the new life in ECCLESIASTES and said, The soul shall return to the earth as it was; the spirit shall return to the Lord who gave it (chap. xii. 7). Therefore Bar Hebraeus, who thought thus about Solomon, erreth.’

(3) The vocalization of these names was corrected by Bedjan from the work of Dionysius of Tall Mahre; see his note on p. 24.