tighlath pil'eser, as the name is read in 2 Kings, tilleghath pilnecer, in 2 Chronicles; Septuagint Algathphellasar; Assyrian, Tukulti-abal-i-sarra):
King of Assyria in the days of Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah, kings of Israel, and of Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz, kings of Judah. The king of Assyria, whom the historian of 2 Kings knows as exacting tribute from Menahem, is Pul (2 Kings 15:19). In the days of Pekah who had usurped the throne of Menahem's son and successor, Pekahiah, the king of Assyria is known as Tiglath-pileser, who invaded Naphtali and carried the inhabitants captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). This invasion is described by the Chronicler (1 Chronicles 5:25) rather differently, to the effect that "the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river of Gozan, unto this day." Still later we find Pekah forming a coalition with Rezin, king of Damascus, into which they tried to force Ahaz, even going the length of besieging him in Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:5). The siege was unsuccessful. Ahaz called in the aid of Tiglath-pileser, sacrificing his independence to get rid of the invaders (2 Kings 16:7,8). He offered the Assyrian the silver and gold that were found in the house of the Lord and in the royal treasury; and Tiglath-pileser, in return, invaded the territories of Damascus and Israel in the rear, compelling the allied forces to withdraw from Judah, while he captured Damascus, and carried the people away to Kir and slew Rezin (2 Kings 16:9). It was on the occasion of his visit to Damascus to do homage to his suzerain Tiglath-pileser, that Ahaz fancied the idolatrous altar, a pattern of which he sent to Urijah, the priest, that he might erect an altar to take the place of the brazen altar which was before the Lord in the temple at Jerusalem. It is a significant comment which is made by the Chronicler (2 Chronicles 28:21) upon the abject submission of Ahaz to the Assyrian king: "It helped him not."
From the inscriptions we learn particulars which afford striking corroboration of the Biblical narrative and clear up some of the difficulties involved. It is now practically certain that Pul, who is mentioned as taking tribute from Menahem, is identical with Tiglath-pileser (Schrader, COT, I, 230, 231). In all probability Pul, or Pulu, was a usurper, who as king of Assyria assumed the name of one of his predecessors, Tiglath-pileser I, and reigned as Tiglath-pileser III. This king of Assyria, who reigned, as we learn from his annals, from 745 BC to 727 BC, was one of the greatest of Assyrian monarchs. See ASSYRIA. From the fact that no fewer than five Hebrew kings are mentioned in his annals, the greatest interest attaches to his history as it has come down to us. These kings are Uzziah or Azariah, and Jehoahaz, that is Ahaz, of Judah; and Menahem, Pekah and Hushes of Israel. Along with them are mentioned their contemporaries Rezin of Damascus, Hiram of Tyre, and two queens of Arabia otherwise unknown, Zabibi and Samsi. When he died in 727 BC, he was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV, who had occasion to suspect the loyalty of his vassal Hoshea, king of Israel, and besieged him in Samaria.
Schrader, COT, I, 229-57; McCurdy, HPM, sections 279-341.
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