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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(E1) The Untold Story of the Hundred Years of Assyrian Rule in Judah

Prof. Oded Lipschits

This chapter deals with the untold story of the history of the kingdom of Judah in the days of the authors of the Biblical history, with the aim of examining why they ignored the strict Assyrian rule in Judah from the time of the enslavement to Assyria in the days of King Ahaz (732 BCE) until the Assyrian withdrawal from the area in the days of Josiah, about a century later. The meaning of the long years of enslavement to Assyria was also reshaped after the retreat and collapse of the empire, apparently during the few years of independence of the days of Josiah and at the time when the biblical descriptions were written. In this way, Judah was presented as an independent kingdom, freed from the yoke of Assyria after Sennacherib’s campaign, and returned and enslaved to Egypt after the death of Josiah. All this, in order to express the author’s desire to describe Josiah as a king who was not subject to foreign rulers, and in a way that does not at all reflect the reality of the long period of time during the days of Manasseh, which were the “golden age” of the years of Judah’s restoration during the long period of the “Assyrian peace”(Pax Assyriaca) during most of the seventh century BCE.

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