From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

(See Hoshea .) Son Of Remaliah. "Captain" and "aide de camp" ( Shalish ) of Pekahiah, king of Israel, whom he murdered, as also his aides de camp Argob and Ariyeh. Became king by the help of 50 Gileadites of the king's bodyguard; perhaps Pekah was a Gileadite himself; energy for good or evil characterized the hardy highlanders of Gilead, as Jephthah and Elijah. To strengthen his kingdom which had suffered much by civil wars and foreign exactions ( 2 Kings 15:19-20;  2 Kings 15:25-31), and to gain spoil, he joined alliance with Rezin of Damascus against Jotham of Judah ( 2 Kings 15:37-38). Jotham's pious and vigorous reign (2 Chronicles 27) deferred the blow; but when the weak and worthless Ahaz succeeded Pekah attacked Jerusalem (2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 27). (See Ahaz ; Obed; Immanuel ) He slew 120,000 Jews in one day at the first campaign.

But his plot with Rezin to set aside the line of David, and raise "the son of Tabeal" (Probably A Syrian Favored By A Party In Jerusalem:  Isaiah 8:6 ;  Isaiah 8:9 ;  Isaiah 8:12 ) to the throne of Judah, was ultimately frustrated according to God's purpose and word ( Isaiah 7:1-16), for "Immanuel" must succeed as Son and Heir of David, which Pekah's plot was incompatible with. The project of the two allies was probably to unite the three kingdoms, Syria, Israel, and Judah, against Assyria. Egypt favored the plan ( Isaiah 8:18;  2 Kings 17:4). Ahaz' leaning to Assyria made them determine to depose him for a nominee of their own. But Ahaz at their second inroad applied to Tiglath Pileser, who slew Rezin and carried away the people of Gilead (Including The Whole Territory Of Reuben, Gad, And Half Manasseh  1 Chronicles 5:26 ) , Galilee, and Naphtali ( 2 Kings 15:29). In Pekah's weakened state Hoshea (His "Friend": Josephus, Ant. 9:13, Section 1) conspired against and slew him, and after an interregnum of eight years reigned. Thus was fulfilled  Isaiah 7:16. Pekah reigned from 757 to 737 B.C. In the Assyrian inscription Menahem is mentioned as the king of Israel whom Tiglath Pileser subdued; possibly a mistake of the engraver, confusing Pekah with the king whom Pal reduced to be tributary. (See Menahem .)

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Pe'kah. (Open-Eyed). Son of Remaliah, originally a captain of Pekaiah , king of Israel, who murdered his master and seized the throne, and became the 18th sovereign of the northern kingdom, B.C. 757-740. Under his predecessors, Israel had been much weakened through the payment of enormous tribute to the Assyrians, ( See, Especially,  2 Kings 15:20, and by internal wars and conspiracies. Pekah seems to have steadily applied himself to the restoration of power.

For this purpose, he contracted a foreign alliance, and fixed his mind on the plunder of the sister kingdom of Judah. He must have made the treaty by which he proposed to share its spoil with Rezin, king of Damascus, when Jotham was still on the throne of Jerusalem,  2 Kings 10:37, but its execution was long delayed, probably in consequence of that prince's righteous and vigorous administration.  2 Chronicles 27:1. When, however, his weak son, Ahaz, succeeded to the crown of David, the allies no longer hesitated, but entered upon the siege of Jerusalem, B.C. 742.

The history of the war is found in 2 Kings 13 and 2 Chronicles 28. It is famous as the occasion of the great prophecies in Isaiah 7-9. Its chief result was the Jewish port of Elath on the Red Sea; but the unnatural alliance of Damascus and Samaria was punished through the complete overthrow of the ferocious confederates by Tiglath-pileser.

The kingdom of Damascus was finally suppressed, and Rezin put to death, while Pekah was deprived of at least half his kingdom, including all the northern portion, and the whole district to the east of Jordan. Pekah himself, now fallen into the position of an Assyrian vassal was, of course, compelled to abstain from further attacks on Judah. Whether his continued tyranny exhausted the patience of his subjects, or whether his weakness emboldened them to attack him, is not known; but, from one or the other cause, Hoshea, the son of Elah, conspired against him, and put him to death.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

PEKAH was one of the last kings of Israel. The country was unsettled, and there was great discontent on account of the heavy tribute paid to Assyria. Pekah made himself the organ of the dissatisfaction, and murdered his king Pekahiah (  2 Kings 15:25 ). He needed the help of only fifty soldiers or bravos to accomplish his purpose. Once on the throne he set on foot a movement against the Assyrians in which all the kingdoms of Syria were to unite. When the king of Judah held out against it, Pekah and Rezin invaded that country, as is set forth in the art. Ahaz. The Assyrians were prompt in meeting the coalition, and the issue can hardly have been doubtful, except to those who were blinded by patriotism. The fall of Damascus was followed by the ravaging of the districts of Israel north and east of Samaria, and the transportation of their inhabitants to remote portions of the empire. The capital would no doubt have been besieged had not the party friendly to Assyria got the upper hand and removed Pekah by the usual method of assassination (  2 Kings 15:30 ). The leader in this movement, Hoshea by name, had an understanding with the Assyrian king, and was perhaps from the first a creature of his. Abject submission on his part saved Samaria for the time being. The length of Pekah’s reign is given as twenty years, which is difficult to reconcile with other data at our command. The true period cannot have been more than five years.

H. P. Smith.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

The closing years of the kingdom of Israel (the northern part of the divided kingdom) were marked by the domination of Assyria. The Israelite kings Menahem and Pekahiah had survived only by buying protection from Assyria. The commander of the Israelite army, Pekah, tired of this pro-Assyrian policy, assassinated Pekahiah, seized the throne and tried to make Israel independent of Assyria ( 2 Kings 15:19;  2 Kings 15:23-25;  2 Kings 15:27).

Pekah formed an alliance with Rezin, king of Syria, with the aim of withstanding Assyria. In an attempt to force Ahaz of Judah to join their alliance, Pekah and Rezin attacked Jerusalem. Ahaz, against the advice of the prophet Isaiah, went to Assyria for help. Assyria replied by conquering Syria (732 BC), then overrunning much of northern and eastern Israel and taking the people into captivity ( 2 Kings 15:29;  2 Kings 16:5-9; for details see Ahaz ). Pekah’s policy had proved disastrous, and he was assassinated by Hoshea, a sympathizer with Assyria, who then became king ( 2 Kings 15:30).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

Son of Remaliah and captain to Pekahiah, king of Israel, whom he murdered, and then seized the throne: he reigned 20 years, B.C. 759-739. He invaded Judah, and slew 120,000 in one day, and carried away 200,000 'women, sons and daughters.' It was on this occasion that the prophet Oded, with others, protested against their brethren, the children of Judah, being made slaves; the captives were thereupon released, clothed out of the spoils, and sent back to their homes. Pekah afterwards formed an alliance with Rezin, king of Damascus, against Judah; but Ahaz, king of Judah, called to his aid Tiglath-pileser, who killed Rezin and destroyed Damascus, and then attacked Pekah, and carried away captive the two and a half tribes on the east of the Jordan, B.C. 740. Pekah was killed by Hoshea, in what is called the 20th year of Jotham, that is, the 4th year of Ahaz, which would have been the 20th of Jotham.  2 Kings 15:25-37;  2 Kings 16:1,5;  2 Chronicles 28:6-15;  Isaiah 7:1 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

Son of Remaliah, and general of the army of Pekahiah king of Israel. He conspired against his master, attacked him in the tower of his royal palace of Samaria, and having slain him, B. C. 758, he reigned in his place twenty years. In the latter part of his evil reign he formed an alliance with the Syrians of Damascus, and they attacked Ahaz king of Judah, who in turn sought the aid of Assyria. The result was, that Damascus was taken by Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and with it all the lands of Israel east of the Jordan and north of the Sea of Galilee, their inhabitants being carried captive. Shortly afterwards Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah, slew him, and reigned in his stead,  2 Kings 15:25-38   16:1-9   Isaiah 7:1-8:9   17:1-14 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Pekah ( Pç'Kah ), Open-Eyed.  2 Kings 15:25. The son of Remaliah, a captain in Pekahiah's army who conspired against his master, slew him, and reigned over Samaria in his stead for 20 years (758-738 b.c.). His conduct was evil; he maintained the sinful worship set up by Jeroboam I. He was slain by conspirators headed by Hoshea, who afterwards obtained the crown.  2 Kings 15:25-38;  2 Kings 16:1-9;  2 Chronicles 28:6;  Isaiah 7:1-16;  Isaiah 8:6.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 2 Kings 15:25 2 Kings 15:37 16:5 2 Kings 15:29 2 Kings 15:30 16:1-9 Isaiah 7:16 8:4 9:12 Zechariah 11:16

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 2 Kings 15:25 2 Kings 15:27 2 Kings 15:30Menahem

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

Son of Remaliah. ( 2 Kings 15:25) He that opens, from Pacah.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

pē´ka ( פּקח , peḳaḥ , "opening" (of the eyes) (  2 Kings 15:25-31 ); Φάκεε , Phákee ):

1. Accession:

Son of Remaliah, and 18th king of Israel. Pekah murdered his predecessor, Pekahiah, and seized the reins of power ( 2 Kings 15:25 ). His usurpation of the throne is said to have taken place in the 52nd year of Uzziah, and his reign to have lasted for 20 years ( 2 Kings 15:27 ). His accession, therefore, may be placed in 748 Bc (other chronologies place it later, and make the reign last only a few years).

Pekah came to the throne with the resolution of assisting in forming a league to resist the westward advance of Assyria. The memory of defeat by Assyria at the battle of Karkar in 753, more than 100 years before, had never died out.

2. Attitude of Assyria:

Tiglath-pileser 3 was now ruler of Assyria, and in successive campaigns since 745 had proved himself a resistless conqueror. His lust for battle was not yet satisfied, and the turn of Philistia and Syria was about to come. In 735, a coalition, of which Pekah was a prominent member, was being formed to check his further advance. It comprised the princes of Comagene, Gebal, Hamath, Arvad, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Gaza, Samaria, Syria, and some minor potentates, the list being taken from a roll of the subject-princes who attended a court and paid tribute after the fall of Damascus. Ahaz likewise attended as a voluntary tributary to do homage to Tiglath-pileser ( 2 Kings 16:10 ).

3. Judah Recalcitrant:

While the plans of the allies were in course of formation, an obstacle was met with which proved insurmountable by the arts of diplomacy. This was the refusal of Ahaz, then on the throne of David, to join the confederacy. Arguments and threats having failed to move him, resort was had to force, and the troops of Samaria and Damascus moved on Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 16:5 ). Great alarm was felt at the news of their approach, as seen in the 7th and 8th chapters of Isa. The allies had in view to dispossess Ahaz of his crown, and give it to one of their own number, a son of Tabeel. Isaiah himself was the mainstay of the opposition to their projects. The policy he advocated, by divine direction, was that of complete neutrality. This he urged with passionate earnestness, but with only partial success. Isaiah (probably) had kept back Ahaz from joining the coalition, but could not prevent him from sending an embassy, laden with gifts to Tiglath-pileser, to secure his intervention. On the news arriving that the Assyrian was on the march, a hasty retreat was made from Jerusalem, and the blow soon thereafter fell, where Isaiah had predicted, on Rezin and Pekah, and their kingdoms.

4. Chronicles Ancillary to Kings:

The severely concise manner in which the writer of Kings deals with the later sovereigns of the Northern Kingdom is, in the case of Pekah, supplemented in Chronicles by further facts as to this campaign of the allies. The Chronicler states that "a great multitude of captives" were taken to Damascus and many others to Samaria. These would be countrymen and women from the outlying districts of Judah, which were ravaged. Those taken to Samaria were, however, returned, unhurt, to Jericho by the advice of the prophet Oded ( 2 Chronicles 28:5-15 ).

5. Fall of Damascus; Northern and Eastern Palestine Overrun:

The messengers sent from Jerusalem to Nineveh appear to have arrived when the army of Tiglath-pileser was already prepared to march. The movements of the Assyrians being expedited, they fell upon Damascus before the junction of the allies was accomplished. Rezin was defeated in a decisive battle, and took refuge in his capital, which was closely invested. Another part of the invading army descended on the upper districts of Syria and Samaria. Serious resistance to the veteran troops of the East could hardly be made, and city after city fell. A list of districts and cities that were overrun is given in  2 Kings 15:29 . It comprises Gilead beyond Jordan - already partly depopulated ( 1 Chronicles 5:26 ); the tribal division of Naphtali, lying to the West of the lakes of Galilee and Merom, and all Galilee, as far South as the plain of Esdraelon and the Valley of Jezreel. Cities particularly mentioned are Ijon (now ‛Ayun ), Abel-beth-maacah (now ‛Abi ), Janoah (now Yânûn ), Kedesh (now Kados ) and Hazor (now Hadı̂reh ).

6. Deportation of the Inhabitants:

These places and territories were not merely attacked and plundered. Their inhabitants were removed, with indescribable loss and suffering, to certain districts in Assyria, given as Halah, Habor, Hara, and both sides of the river Gozan, an affluent of the Euphrates. The transplantation of these tribes to a home beyond the great river was a new experiment in political geography, devised with the object of welding the whole of Western Asia into a single empire. It was work of immense difficulty and must have taxed the resources of even so great an organizer as Tiglath-pileser. The soldiers who had conquered in the field were, of course, employed to escort the many thousands of prisoners to their new locations. About two-thirds of the Samarian kingdom, comprising the districts of Samaria, the two Galilees, and the trans-Jordanic region, was thus denuded of its inhabitants.

7. Death of Pekah:

Left with but a third of his kingdom - humbled but still defiant - P ekah was necessarily unpopular with his subjects. In this extremity - the wave of invasion from the North having spent itself - the usual solution occurred, and a plot was formed by which the assassination of Pekah should be secured, and the assassin should take his place as a satrap of Assyria. A tool was found in the person of Hoshea, whom Tiglath-pileser claims to have appointed to the throne. The Biblical narrative does not do more than record the fact that "Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead" ( 2 Kings 15:30 ). The date given to this act is the 20th year of Jotham. As Jotham's reign lasted but 16 years, this number is evidently an error.

8. References in Isaiah:

For the first time, the historian makes no reference to the religious conduct of a king of Israel. The subject was beneath notice. The second section of Isaiah's prophecies ( Isaiah 7:1 through 10:4) belongs to the reign of Ahaz and thus to the time of Pekah, both of whom are named in it. Pekah is named in   Isaiah 7:1 , and is often, in this and the next chapter, referred to as "the son of Remaliah." His loss of the territorial divisions of Zebulun and Naphtali is referred to in  Isaiah 9:1 , and is followed by prophecy of their future glory as the earthly home of the Son of Man. The wording of  Isaiah 9:14 shows that it was written before the fall of Samaria, and that of   Isaiah 10:9-11 that Damascus and Samaria had both fallen and Jerusalem was expected to follow. This section of Isaiah may thus be included in the literature of the time of Pekah.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Heb. Pekach, פֶּקִח , An Opening, as of the eyes; Sept. Φακεέ ; Josephus, Φακέας ; Vulg. Phacee ) , son of Remaliah, originally a captain of Pekahiah, king of Israel, murdered his master, seized the throne, and became the eighteenth sovereign (and last but one) of the northern kingdom. His native country was probably Gilead, as fifty Gileadites joined him in the conspiracy against Pekahiah; and if so, he furnishes an instance of the same undaunted energy which distinguished, for good or evil, so many of the Israelites who sprang from that country, of which Jephthah and Elijah were the most famous examples (Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 327). Under his predecessors Israel had been much weakened through the payment of enormous tribute to the Assyrians (see especially  2 Kings 15:20), and by internal wars and conspiracies. Pekah seems steadily to have applied himself to the restoration of its power. For this purpose he sought the support of a foreign alliance, and fixed his mind on the plunder of the sister kingdom of Judah. He must have made the treaty by which he proposed to share its spoil with Rezin, king of Damascus, when Jotham was still on the throne of Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 15:37); but its execution was long delayed, probably in consequence of that prince's righteous and vigorous administration (2 Chronicles 27). When, however, his weak son Ahaz succeeded to the crown of David, the allies no longer hesitated, and formed the siege of Jerusalem. The history of the war, which is sketched under AHAZ, is found in 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28; and in the latter ( 2 Chronicles 28:6) we read that Pekah "slew in Judah one hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which were all valiant men," a statement which, even if we should be obliged to diminish the number now read in the text, from the uncertainty as to numbers attaching to our present MSS. of the books of Chronicles (Kennicott, Hebrew Text Of The Old Testament Considered, p. 532), proves that the character of his warfare was in full accordance with Gileaditish precedents ( Judges 11:33;  Judges 12:6).

The war is famous as the occasion of the great prophecies in Isaiah 7-9. Its chief result was the capture of the Jewish port of Elath, on the Red Sea; but the unnatural alliance of Damascus and Samaria was punished through the final overthrow of the ferocious confederates by Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, whom Ahaz called to his assistance, and who seized the opportunity of adding to his own dominions and crushing a union which might have been dangerous. The kingdom of Damascus was finally suppressed, and Rezin put to death, while Pekah was deprived of at least half of his kingdom, including all the northern portion, and the whole district to the east of Jordan. For though the writer in  2 Kings 15:29 tells us that Tiglath-Pileser "took Ijon, and Abelbeth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali," yet from comparing  1 Chronicles 5:26, we find that Gilead must include "the Reubenites and the Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh." The inhabitants were carried off, according to the usual practice, and settled in remote districts of Assyria. Pekah himself, now fallen into the position of an Assyrian vassal, was of course compelled to abstain from further attacks on Judah. Whether his continued tyranny exhausted the patience of his subjects, or whether his weakness emboldened them to attack him, we do not know; but, from one or the other cause, Hoshea the son of Elah conspired against him, and put him to death. Josephus says that Hoshea was his friend (Ant. 9:13, 1). Comp.  Isaiah 8:16, which prophecy Hoshea was instrumental in fulfilling. Pekah ascended the throne B.C. 757. In order to bring down the date of Pekah's murder to the date of Hoshea's accession, some chronologists propose to read twenty-nine years for twenty in  2 Kings 15:27. Most, however, prefer to let the dates stand as at present in the text, and suppose that an interregnum, not expressly mentioned in the Bible, occurred between those two usurpers. The words of Isaiah ( Isaiah 9:20-21) seem to indicate a time of anarchy in Israel. (See Chronology).

Pekah must have begun to war against Judah B.C. 740, and was killed B.C. 737. The order of events above given is according to the scheme of Ewald's Geschichte des Volkes Israel, 3:602. Mr. Rawlinson (Bampton Lectures for 1859, lect. 4) seems wrong in assuming two invasions of Israel by the Assyrians in Pekah's time, the one corresponding to  2 Kings 15:29, the other to  2 Kings 16:7-9. Both these narratives refer to the same event, which in the first place is mentioned briefly in the short sketch of Pekah's reign, while, in the second passage, additional details are given in the longer biography of Ahaz. It would have been scarcely possible for Pekah, when deprived of half his kingdom, to make an alliance with Rezin, and to attack Ahaz. We learn further from Mr. Rawlinson that the conquests of Tiglath-Pileser are mentioned in an Assyrian fragment, though there is a difficulty, from the occurrence of the name Menahem in the inscription, which may have proceeded from a mistake of the engraver. Comp. the title, son of Khumri (Omri), assigned to Jehu in another inscription; and see Rawlinson, note 35 on lect. 4. As may be inferred from Pekah's alliance with Rezin, his government was no improvement, morally and religiously, on that of his predecessors. (See Kingdom Of Israel).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Pe´kah (open-eyed), the officer who slew Pekahiah and mounted the throne in his stead (B.C. 758), becoming the eighteenth king of Israel. He reigned twenty years. Towards the close of his life (but not before the seventeenth year of his reign) he entered into a league with Rezin, king of Damascene-Syria, against Judah; and the success which attended their operations induced Ahaz to tender to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, his homage and tribute, as the price of his aid and protection. The result was that the kings of Syria and Israel were soon obliged to abandon their designs against Judah in order to attend to their own dominions, of which considerable parts were seized and retained by the Assyrians. Israel lost all the territory east of the Jordan, and the two and a half tribes which inhabited it were sent into exile. These disasters seem to have created such popular discontent as to give the sanction of public opinion to the conspiracy headed by Hoshea, in which the king lost his life (, sq.; 16:5, sq.; Isaiah 7;; ).