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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(D10) The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam II

Prof. Oded Lipschits

Jeroboam II was one of the greatest kings who reigned in Israel, and during his time the kingdom reached, for the last time in its history, the peak of its expansion and wealth, and this just a single generation before its rapid collapse, destruction and exile.
During the long reign of Jeroboam (786-746 BCE) the international system changed in a surprising and unexpected way, which allowed the Kingdom of Israel an unprecedented scope of action. The great weakness of Aram-Damascus, together with the Assyrian disappearance from the area for many years, allowed the Kingdom of Israel to spread northward, and even conquer Damascus itself. Israel reached the peak of its power towards the middle of the reign of Jeroboam II, after the Assyrian campaign to Damascus, and although there is no information about this, it can be assumed that the strengthening of the kingdom of Israel was even supported by the Assyrians and suited their interests. Even from the material culture, it is evident that the reign of Jeroboam II was a period of flourishing, construction and prosperity all over the kingdom.
Although he reigned for a longer period of time than all the other kings of Israel, despite the wide-scale conquests and despite the prosperity that occurred in his time, the biblical descriptions of Jeroboam II are very short, sparse in details, and mainly include explanations by the Biblical historiographers to themselves and their target audience in Jerusalem, how Jeroboam achieved such great success even though he was defined as a sinful king.
In this chapter of the podcast I suggest that the Biblical historiographer also had a source of information about Jeroboam II that included prophetic stories, and in this case it was the book of Amos, which contains all the details that were told about the days of Jeroboam in the Book of Kings and many others, that were not told by the Deuteronomistic historiographer.

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