pek-a-hi'-a, pe-ka'-ya (peqachyah, "Yah hath opened" (the eyes) (2 Kings 15:23-26); Phakesias; Codex Alexandrinus Phakeias):
Son of Menahem, and 17th king of Israel. He is said to have succeeded his father in the "50th year of Azariah" (or Uzziah), a synchronism not free from difficulty if his accession is placed in 750-749 (see MENAHEM; UZZIAH). Most date lower, after 738, when an Assyrian inscription makes Menahem pay tribute to Tiglath-pileser (compare 2 Kings 15:19-21).
2. Regicide in Israel:
Pekahiah came to the throne enveloped in the danger which always accompanies the successor of an exceptionally strong ruler, in a country where there is not a settled law of succession. Within two years of his accession he was murdered in a foul manner--the 7th king of Israel who had met his death by violence (the others were Nadab, Elah, Tibni, Jehoram, Zechariah and Shallum). The chief conspirator was Pekah, son of Remaliah, one of his captains, with whom, as agent in the crime, were associated 50 Gileadites. These penetrated into the palace (the Revised Version (British and American) "castle") of the king's house, and put Pekahiah to death, his bodyguards, Argob and Arieh, dying with him. The record, in its close adherence to fact, gives no reason for the king's removal, but it may reasonably be surmised that it was connected with a league which was at this time forming for opposing resistance to the power of Assyria. This league, Pekahiah, preferring his father's policy of tributary vassalage, may have refused to join. If so, the decision cost him his life. The act of treachery and violence is in accordance with all that Hosea tells us of the internal condition of Israel at this time:
"They .... devour their judges; all their kings are fallen" (Hosea 7:7).
3. Pekahiah's Character:
The narrative of Pekahiah's short reign contains but a brief notice of his personal character. Like his predecessors, Pekahiah did not depart from the system of worship introduced by Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, "who made Israel to sin." Despite the denunciations of the prophets of the Northern Kingdom (Amos 5:21-27; Hosea 8:1-6), the worship of the calves remained, till the whole was swept away, a few years later, by the fall of the kingdom.
After Pekahiah's murder, the throne was seized by the regicide Pekah.
W. Shaw Caldecott