Joe Baker
Re: In the 24th (not 14th) year of Hezekiah
Thu Apr 12, 2018 07:42

Hi Toby

There are no rules other than common sense, but note that this forum is called “The Ancient Near Eastern Chronology Forum” not the The Ancient Near Eastern Mythological Forum” which later includes biblical figures before (say) Moses. Now I see your just posted last two posts are well within the scope of this forum.

Now further to the fiscal bullae. You can download a 2011 Hebrew paper by Gabriel Barkay (which I have translated) entitled בולה פיסקאלית ממדרונות הר-הבית – עדות למערכת המיסוי בממלכת יהודה, that is, “A Fiscal Bulla from the Slopes of the Temple Mount - Evidence for the Taxation System of the Judean Kingdom”. This gives a completely listing and analysis of all know fiscal bullae up to 2011 - note that as of 2017 the known year dates recorded on these fiscal bullae are years 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 26. Barkay, noting their uniformity, says, because the latest mentions year 26, they belong either to Ḥezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah. However, in a series of points, Barkay eliminates Josiah on archaeological and palaeographic data.

He then eliminates Ḥezekiah, firstly on the grounds that Lachish was destroyed in his 14th year and as a result the fiscal bullae from Lachish, dated to years 14, 19 and 21, show that the fiscal bullae can not belong to the reign of Ḥezekiah. Secondly, for him, two of the Lachish fiscal bullae read b 14 šnh / rʾšnh / lkš / lmlk which he interprets as “in the 14th year, (that is) the first (year), from Lachish, to the king” and so he says it equates a 14th year with a first year. Now for him this does not mean “the 14th year of Ḥezekiah = year 1 of Manasseh” but instead it means “co-regency year 14 of Manasseh = sole year 1 of Manasseh”. Either way his chronology lowers the dates of Ḥezekiah. His internal chronology is actually a year out although he does try to rectify it by suggesting that Ḥezekiah actually died in the 13th year of the co-regency.

He then goes on to justify (in my opinion totally inadequately) how all the fiscal bullae were part of a tax system instituted by Manasseh when he was in his 3rd co-regency year. That is when he turned 15 in the 19th year of his father (all of which sounds ridiculous). According to him one of the main reasons was to raise provisions for Assyrian taxes (such a responsibility at such a young age). He also explains that the earliest fiscal bulla for Lachish is dated to year 14 which shows that Lachish was rebuilt some 20 years after its destruction. As for the last dated fiscal bullae of year 26. He explains this was because soon after Assyrian commanders took Manasseh prisoner to Babylon (a totally fabricate piece of fake news based on the post exilic 2 Chronicles) and so presumably he thinks this form of tax raising ceased and was never re-intoduced once Manasseh was restored.

However there is a problem with Barkay’s interpretation of b 14 šnh / rʾšnh / lkš / lmlk as “in the 14th year, (that is) the first (year), from Lachish, to the king”. When the two bullae with the year 14 imprints were first published by Deutsch in 1997 it was suggested that the term rʾšnh referred to the first (crops) and that the shipment from Lachish involved produce from the first crops harvested at Lachish in that year. But recently Barkay’s claim about it meaning a synchronism has been blown out of the water by Deutsch himself because in a 2017 article entitled "Ten Unrecorded Hebrew Fiscal Bullae" (downloadable for the net - and which Deutsch gave at a seminar to honour his 65th birthday) he published a newly found fiscal bullae which reads
bšnh / hšbʿt / rʾšnh / [ḥ]ṣr šʿl / [l]mlk that is “in the seventh year, first (crop), (from) [Ḥ]azar-Shaul, [to] the king”.

This means that these fiscal bullae contain no evidence of a co-regency . The only reason to stick with a co-regency is because it would make year 14 Ḥezekiah = 701, as required by the Assyrian records. Those who support it (like Thiele) have to reject the synchronisms given in 2 Kings which place Ḥezekiah as a contemporary of the fall of Samaria, whereas the Thiele supporters insist he only began to reign sometime after the Assyrians took that city. Yet if any record existed in Judah about the fall of Samaria one would be hard pressed to explain why the author of the Book of Kings got it so wrong and that he really did not know which king of Judah was reigning when Samaria fell. When I studied Thiele, back in the early 80's, I immediately could see how to reconcile the figures but only by descending into the ridiculous. But a decade later, along came McFall with the exact same idea - an unrecorded co-regency between Ḥezekiah and Aḫaz which really meant that, despite the biblical reign lengths - Ḥezekiah actually reigned for 43 years and Aḫaz for 20 years. Such is the follies of those who postulate co-regencies.

Regards Joe

  • Joe, In your posting, you quote the bible. Yet, you deleted the postings on Nimrod when Rich started looking at the Hebrew. Might you explain the rules? Do you have them posted somewhere? Toby
    • Re: In the 24th (not 14th) year of Hezekiah — Joe Baker, Thu Apr 12 07:42
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