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Icons of the Bible: King Menahem- Distinguished by His Cruelty

painting of king menahem
King Menahem

Few Israelite kings were as ruthless in achieving their ambitions as Menahem. In 752 BC he seized the throne by murdering the previous king, then eliminated any opposition to his rule with brutal cruelty (2 Kings 15:14; 2 Kings 15:16). He then survived for the next ten years by buying the protection from Assyria. Here is his story..

King Menahem: An Archaeological Biography

Carved stone of Menahem
King Menahem

Hebrew: מְנַחֵם, mĕnaḥēm

Image of King Menahem
King Menahem

In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart all his days from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. (2 Kings 15:17).

Menahem was an 8th century BC ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, reigning for a decade, from ca. 752–742 BC.1 He took the throne in after killing Shallum, a usurper to the throne who had reigned only a month in Samaria after he himself had assassinated Zechariah, the last king of the line of Jehu (2 Kings 15:10,14).

Menahem’s name appears multiple times in the archaeological record. Some inscriptions clearly refer to the king of Israel of that name (see below). The name Menahem has also appeared on a seal, currently housed in the Louvre Museum, and on a recently-discovered bulla (seal impression) from Jerusalem.2 While these date to a time after King Menahem’s life, they demonstrate the name was in contemporary use in the Iron Age II period.." from the article: King Menahem: An Archaeological Biography


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