This study deals with the most important king of the Aramaean kingdom of Damascus, Hazael, and the impact he had on biblical literature, which goes beyond the few verses that mention him explicitly in the Book of Kings and the Book of the Twelve. The extra-biblical sources reveal that Hazael managed to create a large kingdom and to expand his authority over the whole of Syria-Palestine, including the Kingdom of Israel and the House of David, during the second half of the ninth century BCE. The Bible presents that power of Hazael as oppression of both kingdoms, yet the biblical writers elaborated a much more nuanced portrait of Hazael than first meets the eye. In the Elijah-Elisha cycles, Hazael provides a theological interpretative paradigm, the Elisha-Hazael paradigm, which provides in the Book of Kings and in the Book of the Twelve (especially in the books of Amos and Jonah) the key to explain God's mysterious dealings with Israel and Israel's enemies. Hazael is presented as a faithful agent of YHWH, who fulfils the divine plan. Beyond the power Hazael yielded across the Levant in his life time, the Elisha-Hazael paradigm reveals his enduring influence in Judah and in biblical literature.
Table of Contents
1. Hazael's Empire in Recent Scholarship. 2. History and Bible. 3. Hazael's Empire in Archaeological Sources. 4. Hazael's Empire in West-Semitic Epigraphic Sources. 5. The Assyrian Inscriptions of Shalmaneser III. 6. The Assyrian Inscriptions of Adad-Nirari III. 7. The Eponyms. 8. Commentary of the Assyrian Sources. 9. Hazael in Extra-Biblical Sources, A Conclusion. 10. The Hazael Paradigm in the Book of Kings. 11. The Hazael Paradigm in the Book of the Twelve.
Hadi Ghantous is an ordained minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon and an instructor of Old Testament at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon.