Assyrian Annals Shed Light on Hoshea’s Reign
THE Bible reports that Hoshea formed a conspiracy against King Pekah and “began to reign in place of him in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.” (2 Ki. 15:30) The 20th year is manifestly to be understood as designating the period that had passed since Jotham had become king. The actual reign of Jotham amounted to 16 years.—2 Ki. 15:32, 33.
Although beginning his rule in the fourth year of Jotham’s successor Ahaz, Hoshea seemingly was not fully recognized as king over Israel until some years later. According to 2 Kings 17:1, Hoshea became king in the 12th year of Ahaz. The annals of Tiglath-pileser III shed light on the possible reason for this. A fragmentary inscription from the reign of this monarch reads: “All its inhabitants (and) their possessions I led to Assyria. They [the Israelites] overthrew their king Pekah . . . and I placed Hoshea . . . as king over them.” (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by James B. Pritchard, 1955, p. 284) So it may well be that it was with Assyrian backing that Hoshea established full control over Israel from the capital city Samaria.