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The Rise and Fall of Shallum | The Story of One of Israel’s Kings

The son of Jabesh, Shallum of Israel, was the fifteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. Only Shallum served as the representative of the dynasty, also known as the House of Shallum.


King Shallum: A part of God’s plan

God assured King Jehu that He would enable his descendants to rule as kings over Israel until the fourth generation because King Ahab’s entire family was wiped out, fulfilling God’s will. Zachariah, a fourth-generation ancestor of King Jehu, reigns as King.

Zachariah’s reign is when the Jehu dynasty is supposed to come to an end, according to the prophecy. The time has come to a lot for the Jehu dynasty, but who would be bold enough to do so? Who would risk it? The Jehu dynasty’s downfall was brought about during King Zachariah’s reign because every word of God had to be carried out at the right moment.

Shallum plotted against King Zachariah, assassinated him in Samaria, and then assumed control of the government.

The king took power in the 39th year of King Uzziah’s reign. Except for his wicked act of conspiracy, Shallum had no good deeds to his name. You may be sure that, like the monarchs who came before him, he abandoned the Lord and was an evil ruler.


The conflict for power and kingdom

Shallum kills Zechariah, takes over Israel, and rules for thirty days, according to Josephus’ account. Josephus makes no mention of this alleged prophesy. Similarly, Josephus omits biblical details, such as that Shallum’s capital was Samaria and that he ascended to the throne in Uzziah’s 39th year as ruler of the Kingdom of Judah.

The histories of the last several kings of Israel are frequently condensed by Josephus, with only Menahem and Hoshea receiving full-length accounts.

The next character in Josephus’ account is Menahem, who is given the Hellenized name Manamos (Greek). He is known by the Greek name strategos, which means general officer. Menahem is described in Josephus’ account as a commander whose capital was the city of “Thars” (Greek).

When Menahem learns that Zechariah has been murdered, the story has him send his entire army to Samaria to confront him. As a result, Josephus provides a more thorough and believable description of the event than the Biblical sources, where Menahem appears to be acting alone.


How was the situation in Israel? 

Did the populace actively participate in the frequent transfers of power, or did they merely “go along for the ride”? Can you imagine spending those months living in Israel? A new leader’s first few months are frequently the most challenging. They establish new initiatives and pass new regulations to demonstrate their value.

You eventually learn what to anticipate and can settle in. Zechariah’s reign hardly extended past this period. Shallum then appears. He has seized power by force. The public has not chosen him. They don’t carry him inside like a guest. But before the populace can adjust to him, a new heir to the kingdom appears.

Menahem has been establishing a reputation as a man to be feared since the first day of Shallum’s rule. The people are undoubtedly praying for Shallum to end Menaham’s dread but also succumbs to it. The populace is currently in utter fear. They won’t dare to rebel.

Imagine what Menaham would do to people who openly disagree with him if he were thus cruel to pregnant ladies. Now is the moment to keep your head down and hope nobody notices you. Israel has no safety; hide your ladies, kids, and older people.


King Shallum in the Bible

Shallum was once a captain in King Zechariah’s army, but he “conspired against Zechariah and smote him before the people, and slaughtered him, and reigned in his stead” (2 Kings 15:10). Only “a month of days at Samaria” (2 Kings 15:13) did he rule before another captain from Zechariah’s army, Menahem, rose and killed Shallum (2 Kings 15:14–17). Shallum was succeeded as ruler by Menahem.

Shallum’s father is mentioned in the Books of Kings as Jabesh in lines 10, 13, and 14 of Chapter 15 of 2 Kings. The verse may, however, refer to a toponym, designating Shallum as “the son” of a place called Jabesh. This theory may have come from Jabesh-Gilead. Biblical sources make several references to the city.

The male citizens of the town are killed in the Book of Judges (Chapter 21), and their virgin daughters are delivered as wives to the men of the Tribe of Benjamin.


The end of the reign King Shallum

Shallum, the King, ruled for far too little time. He accomplished nothing particularly noteworthy during his rule. Except for his horrible deed of orchestrating a coup d’état to depose and kill King Zachariah, nothing nice was written about him. However, God used King Shallum’s lust for power to carry out his agenda, punishing the Jehu family and ending the Jehu dynasty.

Jesus once declared that everyone who draws a sword would perish by it (Matthew 26:52). This proverb came true in the life of King Shallum because, after plotting to depose and murder Zachariah a month into his rule, Shallum also perished violently after Menahem conspired against him and assassinated him in Samaria.


What happened after Shallum’s death?

Israel’s eighth-century BC monarch Menahem, also spelled Manahem, was known for his 10-year rule brutality. II Kings details the events during his reign. Zechariah, King of Israel (the northern kingdom of the Jews, as opposed to the southern kingdom, Judah), was assassinated around 746 BC. Shallum ben Jabesh, after that, ascended to the throne in the Samaria region.

One month later, Menahem attacked Shallum from his base in Tirzah, the former capital of Israel, and killed him. After that, Menahem gained authority but was rejected by the region around Tappuah. As retaliation, Menahem massacred the city’s residents, including expectant mothers.

Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria (also known as King Paul in the Bible) moved on to Israel toward the conclusion of Menahem’s rule; he was only stopped by a sizable bribe that Menahem demanded from his affluent followers.

Under the direction of Menahem’s son and successor, Pekahiah, who was compelled to pay tribute, Israel continued to be ruled by Assyria. Heinrich Graetz, a 19th-century Jewish historian, conjectured that Menahem brought obscene religious practices from Assyria into Israel.