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The Kings of Syria - 883 BCE. to 849 BCE
Ben Hadad I & II
From "The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran"
I have written quite a lot about this period of Ancient History and in particular the year 853 BCE - the year of the Battle of Qarqar. It is an extremely important year, because all chronological schemes hang on it for their are archaeological 'direct evidences' that in that year, King Shalmaneser III was King of Assyria; that King Ben Hadad II was king of Syria, and that King Ahab was King of Israel.
The reason I have written so much is that the artificial calendar of the Kings Calendar demonstrates that King Ahab of Israel had been dead for 10 years already by 853BCE See Section 2 and see King Ahab of Israel
For this period in History, the King's Calendar has King Hazael on the throne of Syria in 849BCE. This is some 7-8 years earlier than currently accepted history.
Having already explained the reasoning for 849 BCE as Hazael's commencement in other articles related to Ahab, Jehoram, Ahaziah and Jehu, I won't bore you with a repetition.
Today, I want to look at Hazael's predecessors, Ben-Hadad I and Ben-Hadad II.
A Problem in Biblical History:
1 Kings 22:47 states that there was no King (but a deputy) in Edom during Jehoshaphat's reign but the Septuagint (3 Kings 16:28) reads 'Syria' not Edom. According to Bright, ( 1981, p.274) 'Aram' and 'Edom' look nearly the same in Hebrew. In understanding the situation in Syria at this particular juncture in Israel's history, the fact that 1 Kings 22:47 may be read as a reference to Syria, is important to the understanding of the political situation during the reign of Jehoshaphat (and therefore Ahab) between 880 BCE. and 858 BCE.
The more coherent rendering (from the perspective of the King's Calendar Artificial Calendar) would be that it was Syria (Aram) that was ruled by a deputy during Jehoshaphat's reign (or part thereof) and it may be possible to provide indication of this by assessing the military strength of Syria at this time, as presented in the biblical narratives, with particular emphasis on the person of Ben-Hadad.
Bright (1981, p.240) provides the following dates for Ben Hadad I & II as follows:
Ben-Hadad II, was leader of the coalition that met Shalmaneser at Qarqar in 853 BCE and if we believe current opinion that King Ahab died just after this battle, then the picture is clear that Ahab was Ben-Hadad II's inferior.
However, if Chapter Twenty-two of First Kings Chronologically follows Chapter Twenty, then Ahab died subsequent to a period of five years in which he twice defeated Ben-Hadad II; obtained concessions from him; and enjoyed three years of peace - and it was not Ben-Hadad who broke that peace.
Ben-Hadad II then, the great leader of the coalition in 853 BCE, had been at the mercy of a satellite kingdom for some time, and if this were so, then the Kurkh Stele may indeed be correct in ascribing to Ahab an army larger than the rest of the coalition all put together.
If in fact Ahab was at Qarqar, then it would seem rather strange that he would be subordinate to a King who was effectually his inferior. In fact, the events of Chapters Twenty and Twenty-two of First Kings demonstrate clearly that Ben-Hadad II was not yet a strong military leader, and that the events they describe, certainly occurred well prior to the Battle of Qarqar, before he came to prominence as leader of the Syro-Palestinian coalition.
If we follow the Septuagint version of 1 Kings 22:47 (3 Kings 16:28), and have a deputy ruling not Edom but Syria during a part of Jehoshaphat's reign, then the 'King's Calendar' suggests that by the beginning of Ahab's reign, Ben-Hadad I was deceased and that Ben-Hadad II, was a minor. (Jehoshaphat came to the throne in Ahab's 4th year)
From this perspective then, Ben Hadad II was only just beginning to exercise his military and political muscle in 868 BCE when he besieged Samaria (1 Kings 20). It would be sometime before he would become leader of the Syro-Palestinian Coalition which withstood Shalmaneser in 853 BCE.
Placing his death circa 850 BCE, the 'King's Calendar' would give Ben-Hadad II a reign of at least 18 years.
His minority would date from around 883 BCE to around 868 BCE (at which time he was old enough to lead his troops and be drinking himself drunk 1 Kings 20:16), a period of about 15 years.
With a Fifteen (15) year minority and a further reign of 18 years (868-850 BCE), Ben-Hadad II will have reigned a total of around 33 years, until his murder by Hazael.
Objection to this interpretation seems certain, but it appears to be more plausible than accepting that a the leader of a strong coalition could be defeated by a vassal kingdom, and remain in that subjection for so long, so soon prior to the most significant stand-off against a mighty nation such as Assyria was at that time.
The 'King's Calendar' reconstruction of the reigns of Ben Hadad I & II therefore would be:
Traditional chronologies for Ahab, Ben-Hadad II and Hazael, have all depended on the Kurkh Stele, and the dating for the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE.
The Biblical Narrative however, together with the Moabite Stone, and other circumstantial evidence, discredits the 'opinion' that Ahab was at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE and that he died soon thereafter.
If the mathematical evidence of the 'King's Calendar' demonstrates a preponderance of accurate specific predictions with regard to the Kings and events of Judah and Israel, then not only will concepts concerning these Kings and events need to change, but so too will concepts regarding other nations and events, such as those concerning Ben-Hadad and Hazael mentioned above.
The perspective offered in this section however, has not been derived from Biblical Chronological Data, but extrapolated from it. There cannot therefore be insistence that it is more correct than current academic opinion.
A Footnote on
The Battle of Qarqar 853 B.C.E.
Ahab king of Israel is named in the Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser as one of the leaders of the coalition of kings who fought against Shalmaneser III. The 'King's Calendar' can provide no evidence to support its claim that Ahab was deceased by 853 BCE., except to rely on the principle of 'mathematical probability'.
The 'King's Calendar' mathematical construct, applied over a thousand year period of history from 1546-516BCE, proves to be consistently correct, harmonizing and synchronizing the Biblical data both internally (between Israel and Judah) and externally (with History) which makes it far more reliable and trustworthy than the Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser III which disagrees in detail with the inscription on the base of Shalmaneser's Throne. (Ahlstrom 1993 discusses the lack of trustworthiness in the details contained in these two records.)
The Rules of Law and Evidence Series at Kingscalendar was specifically written in relation to the problems associated with the Battle of Qarqar.
That 'the 'King's Calendar' can provide no evidence to support its claim that Ahab was deceased by 853 BCE., except to rely on the principle of mathematical probability, may be seen as an 'out', but there are two points to which attention ought to be drawn.
Firstly, whilst 'probability' alone, cannot 'legally' be relied upon in court, mathematical probability (statistical probability) is another thing altogether. For instance a 99% probability match in Forensic Evidence would be accepted in a court of law in conjunction with corroborating evidence. Refer to Ligertwood (1988, p42) for discussion on 'probability' in evidence giving.
Secondly, in so far as the 'King's Calendar' relies on mathematical probability in relation to it's refutation of current academic opinion concerning Ahab's participation in the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE, it bears remembering within the context of current academic opinion, that if Ahab died after the battle, but before Nisan of 852 BCE, then there are only Eleven (11) or Twelve (12) solar years in which to have Jehu of Israel on the throne in 842 BCE or 841 BCE.
If one accepts the current academic opinion that Ahab died very quickly after the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE, and that Jehu murdered Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah in 842 BCE, the following chronological difficulty arises.
One must ask not only 'how' such a thing is possible, but how can the Fourteen (14) years left to Ahab's sons be synchronized with the Sixteen (16) years left to the Kingdom of Judah, for exactly the same period of time, which, according to academics, amounts to only eleven (11) solar years?
King's Calendar Divided Kingdom Chart
The Bethlehem Seal Discovery - Judah 2700 years ago by R.P. BenDedek
Assyrian, Babylonian and Israelite History 8th Century by R.P. BenDedek
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.
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