From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Son of Gadi. Slew Shallum, and seized the throne of Israel, 772 B.C.; reigned ten years. The words ( 2 Kings 15:14;  2 Kings 15:16) "from Tirzah" imply that Menahem was a general under Zechariah, stationed at Tirzah (now Tallusa ), and that he marched thence with some troops to Samaria, and avenged his master's murder by Shallum. He then, proceeding "from Tirzah" ( 2 Kings 15:16) where Israel's main army was posted, smote Tiphsach (Thapsacus on the Euphrates), Israel's northeastern border city under Solomon ( 1 Kings 4:24), restored by Jeroboam II ( 2 Kings 14:25;  2 Kings 14:28), but having probably revolted again during the anarchy at his death. Situated on the western bank of the Euphrates on the great trade road from Egypt, Syria, and Phoenicia to Mesopotamia, it was important for Menahem to secure it.

With savage cruelty, "because they opened not to him," and to strike terror into all opponents, Menahem "smote it and ripped up the women with child," copying the unscrupulous Syrian Hazael's cruelty ( 2 Kings 8:12). In religion "he departed not all his days from the sins of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin." Hosea and Amos depict Israel's demoralization at the time. In his reign first appear the Assyrians as invaders of Israel from the N.E. under Palestine. Menahem, at the cost of 1,000 talents of silver (400,000 British Pounds, Reckoning The Silver Talent 400 British Pounds) , induced him to "confirm the kingdom in his hand." By exacting 50 shekels a head from 60,000 wealthy men of Israel, Menahem raised the money. The name Pal appears in an Assyrian inscription as "Phallukha," who took tribute from "the house of Omri" (Beth Khumri), i.e. Samaria. Tiglath Pileser II, the first monarch of the new dynasty, mentions Menahem in another inscription. Menahem died in peace; Pekahiah his son succeeded him.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

MENAHEM , one of the latest kings of Israel, was a usurper, like so many other monarchs in this period. He and Shallum planned to seize the throne about the same time (  2 Kings 15:13 f.), Shallum having possession of Samaria, while Menahem commanded the ancient fortress and former capital, Tirzah. War raged for a brief time with unusual ferocity, resulting in the defeat of Shallum. Menahem seems not to have felt secure on the throne, and to have purchased the help of Assyria by paying a heavy tribute to Tiglath-pileser (called Pul in   2 Kings 15:19 ). Or we may suppose the Assyrians to have invaded the country because it was so weakened by civil war that it could no longer make effective resistance. The tribute was a thousand talents of silver, and it was raised by a direct tax on the holders of landed property. The assessment of sixty shekels each shows that there were sixty thousand proprietors in Israel at this time. From the Assyrian sources we learn that this tribute was paid in the year 738 b.c.

It is interesting to note that in the literature of Judaism Menahem (= ‘Comforter’) is a title of the Messiah.

H. P. Smith.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

The sixteenth king of Israel, previously general of the army of Zachariah. He was at Tirzah when he heard of his master's murder; and immediately marching against Shallum, who had shut himself up in Samaria, he captured and slew him, and them ascended the throne. He reigned in Samaria ten years, 771-760 B. C., and was a tyrannical and cruel idolater. Pul, king of Assyria, having invaded Israel during the reign of Menahem, obliged him to pay a tribute of a thousand talents, which Menahem raised by a tax on all his rich subjects of fifty shekels a head. He seems to have died a natural death; but his son and successor Pekahiah reigned only two years, and was the last of the dynasty,  2 Kings 15:13-22 . The name of Menahem is found on the Assyrian tablets recently discovered.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

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 smashed any opposition to his rule with the most brutal cruelty ( 2 Kings 15:14;  2 Kings 15:16). He survived for ten years, but only by buying the protection of Assyria. This policy was not only economically costly to Israel, but it also opened the way for eventual conquest by Assyria ( 2 Kings 15:17;  2 Kings 15:19-20).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Men'ahem. (Comforter). Son of Gadi, who slew the usurper, Shallum, and seized the vacant throne of Israel, B.C. 772. His reign, which lasted ten years, is briefly recorded in  2 Kings 15:14-22. He maintained the calf-worship of Jeroboam. The contemporary prophets, Hosea and Amos, have left a melancholy picture of the ungodliness, demoralization and feebleness of Israel. Menahem reigned B.C. 771-760.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

Son of Gadi: he conspired and slew Shallum king of Israel, and reigned in his stead. He was a cruel and idolatrous ruler. To avert an Assyrian invasion he paid a thousand talents of silver, which he exacted from the people. He reigned ten years, B.C. 772-761.  2 Kings 15:14-23 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Menahem ( Mĕn'A-Hĕm ), Consoler. A king of Samaria. His reign, which lasted ten years, b.c. 771-760, was distinguished for cruelty and oppression.  2 Kings 15:14-20.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 2 Kings 15:10-14 2 Kings 15:16Tiglath-Pileser

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 2 Kings 15:14-22

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(Hebrews Menachem', מְנִחֵם , Comforting [comp. Manaen ,  Acts 13:11; Sept. Μαναήμ , Vulg. Manahem ; Josephus, Μανάημος , Ant . ix, lj, 1), the seventeenth separate king of Israel, who began to reign BC. 769, and reigned ten years. He was the son of Gadi, and appears to have been one of the generals of king Zachariah. When he heard the news of the murder of that prince, and the usurpation of Shallum, he was at Tirzah, but immediately marched to Samaria, where Shallum had shut himself up, and slew him in that city. He then usurped the throne in his turn, and forthwith reduced Tiphsah, which refused to acknowledge his rule. He adhered to the sin of Jeroboam, like the other kings of Israel. His general character is described by Josephus as rude and exceedingly cruel (Ant . 9:11, 1). The contemporary prophets, Hosea and Amos, have left a melancholy picture of the ungodliness, demoralization, and feebleness of Israel; and Ewald adds to their testimony some doubtful references to Isaiah and Zechariah. (For the encounter with the Assyrians, see below.) Menahem died in BC. 759, leaving the throne to his son Pekahiah ( 2 Kings 15:14-22). There are some peculiar circumstances in the narrative of his reign, in the discussion of which we follow the most recent elucidations. (See Kingdom Of Israel).

(1.) Ewald ( Gesch . Isr . 3:598), following the Sept., would translate the latter part of  2 Kings 15:10, "And Kobolam (or Keblaam) smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead." Ewald considers the fact of such a king's existence a help to the interpretation of  Zechariah 11:8; and he accounts for the silence of Scripture as to his end by saying that he may have thrown himself across the Jordan, and disappeared among the subjects of king Uzziah. It does not appear, however, how such a translation can be made to agree with the subsequent mention ( Zechariah 11:13) of Shallum, and with the express ascription of Shallum's death ( Zechariah 11:14) to Menahem. Thenius excuses the translation of the Sept. by supposing that their MSS. may have been in a defective state, but ridicules the theory of Ewald. (See Kings).

(2.) In the brief history of Menahem, his ferocious treatment of Tiphsah occupies a conspicuous place. The time of the occurrence and the site of the town have been doubted. Keil says that it can be no other place than the remote Thapsacus on the Euphrates, the northeast boundary ( 1 Kings 4:24) of Solomon's dominions; and certainly no other place bearing the name is mentioned in the Bible. Others suppose that it may have been some town which Menahem took in his way as he went from Tirzah to win a crown in Samaria (Ewald); or that it is a transcriber's error for Tappuah ( Joshua 17:8), and that Menahem laid it waste when he returned from Samaria to Tirzah (Thenius). No sufficient reason appears for having recourse to such conjectures where the plain text presents no insuperable difficulty. The act, whether perpetrated at the beginning of Menahem's reign or somewhat later, was doubtless intended to strike terror into the hearts of reluctant subjects throughout the whole extent of dominion which he claimed. A precedent for such cruelty might be found in the border wars between Syria and Israel ( 2 Kings 8:12). It is a striking sign of the increasing degradation of the land, that a king of Israel practiced upon his subjects a brutality from the mere. suggestion of which the unscrupulous Syrian usurper recoiled with indignation. (See Tiphsah).

(3.) But the most remarkable event in Menahem's reign is the first appearance of a hostile force of Assyrians on the. north-east frontier of Israel. King Pul, however, withdrew, having been converted from an enemy into an ally by a timely gift of 1000 talents of silver, which Menahem exacted by an assessment of fifty shekels a head on 60,000 Israelites. This was probably the only choice left to him, as he had not that resource in the treasures of the Temple of which the kings of Judah availed themselves in similar emergencies. It seems, perhaps, too much to infer from  1 Chronicles 5:26 that Pul also took away Israelitish captives. The name of Pul (Sept. Phaloch or Phalos) appears, according'to Rawlinson (Bampton Lectures for 1859, Lect. iv, p. 133), in an Assyrian inscription of a Ninevite king, as Phallukha, who took tribute from Beth Kumri (=the house of Omri=Samaria), as well as from Tyre, Sidon, Damascus, Idumaea, and Philistia; the king of Damascus is set down as giving 2300 talents of silver, besides gold and copper, but neither the name -of Menahem, nor the amount of his tribute, is stated in the inscription. Rawlinson also says that in another inscription the name of Menahem is given, probably by mistake of the stonecutter, as a tributary of Tiglath- pileser. (See Nineveh).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

men´a - hem ( מנחם , menaḥēm , "one who comforts"; Μαναήμ , Manaḗm  ;   2 Kings 15:14-22 ):

1. Accession and Reign:

Son of Gadi and 16th king of Israel. He reigned 10 years. Menahem was probably the officer in charge of the royal troops in Tirzah, one of the king's residences, at the time of the murder of Zechariah by Shallum. Hearing of the deed, he brought up his troops and avenged the death of his master by putting Shallum to death in Samaria. He then seized the vacant throne. His first full year may have been 758 Bc (others, as seen below, put later).

2. Early Acts:

The country at this time, as depicted by Hosea and Amos, was in a deplorable condition of anarchy and lawlessness. Menahem, with a strong hand, enforced his occupation of the throne. One town only seems to have refused to acknowledge him. This was Tiphsah, a place 6 miles Southwest of Shechem, now the ruined village of Khurbet Tafsah . As Menahem is said to have attacked this enclosed city from Tirzah, lying to its North, it is probable that he took it on the way to Samaria, before proceeding to do battle with Shallum. If this was so, it is some explanation of the cruelty with which he treated its inhabitants (  2 Kings 15:16 ). One such instance of severity was enough. The whole kingdom was at his feet. He proved to be a strong and determined ruler, and during the 9 or 10 years of his governorship had no further internecine trouble to contend with.

3. Menahem and Assyria:

But there was another source of disquiet. Assyria, under Pul, had resumed her advance to the West and threatened the kingdoms of Palestine. Menahem resolved on a policy of diplomacy, and, rather than risk a war with the conqueror of the East, agreed to the payment of a heavy tribute of 1,000 talents of silver. To raise this sum he had to assess his wealthier subjects to the extent of 50 shekels each. As there are 3,000 shekels in a talent of silver, it is obvious that some 60,000 persons, "mighty men of wealth," must have been laid under contribution in this levy - an indication at once of the enormity of the tribute, and of the prosperity of the country at the time. However short-sighted the policy, its immediate purpose was attained, which was that the hand of the Assyrian king "might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand" ( 2 Kings 15:19 ).

4. A C onflict of Dates:

A difficulty attaches to the dates of this period. The Pul of  2 Kings 15:19 and   1 Chronicles 5:26 is now identified with Tiglath-pileser III, who took this title on ascending the throne of Assyria in 745 BC. In an inscription of Tiglath-pileser, Menahem appears as Minehimmu Samarinâ (Menahem the Samarian), together with Raṣunnu (Rezin) of Damascus and Hirûmu (Hiram) of Tyre. The date given to this inscription is 738 BC, whereas the last year we can give to Menahem is 749, or 10 years earlier.

5. Proposed Solutions:

The chronological difficulty which thus arises may be met in one of two ways. Either the inscription, like that on the black obelisk of Kurkh (see Jehu ), was written some years after the events to which it refers and contains records of operations in which Tiglath-pileser took part before he became king; or Pekah - who was on the throne of Israel in 738 (?) - is spoken of under the dynastic name Menahem, though he was not of his family. The former of these hypotheses is that which the present writer is inclined to adopt. (By others the dates of Menahem are lowered in conformity with the inscription.) See Chronology Of The Old Testament .

6. Character:

Menahem attempted no reformation in the national religion, but, like all his predecessors, adhered to the worship of the golden calves. On this account, like them, he incurs the heavy censure of the historian.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

Men´ahem (consoler), sixteenth King of Israel, who began to reign B.C. 772, and reigned ten years. Menahem appears to have been one of the generals of King Zechariah. When he heard the news of the murder of that prince, and the usurpation of Shallum, he was at Tirzah, but immediately marched to Samaria, where Shallum had shut himself up, and slew him in that city. He then usurped the throne in his turn; and forthwith marched to Tiphsah, which refused to acknowledge his rule. Having taken this place after a siege, he treated the inhabitants with a degree of savage barbarity, which, as Josephus remarks (Antiq. ix. 11. 1), would not have been pardonable even to foreigners. He adhered to the sin of Jeroboam, like the other kings of Israel. In his time the Assyrians, under their King Pul, made their first appearance on the borders of Palestine; and Menahem was only able to save himself from this great invading power at the heavy price of 1000 talents of silver, which he raised by a tax of 50 shekels from every man of substance in Israel. This was probably the only choice left to him; and he is not therefore to be blamed, as he had not that resource in the treasures of the temple of which the kings of Judah availed themselves in similar emergencies. Menahem died in B.C. 761, leaving the throne to his son Pekahiah .